Sunday, March 9, 2014

Janshin Densetsu (Quest of Jongmaster)

Aicom / NEC Home Electronics
Arcade CD-ROM

Quest of Jongmaster is an RPG that has you defend a town from a death dragon, the world from spacecraft-piloting invaders, and your own hide from all sorts of frightful things.

Of course, to do away with your multitudinous adversaries, you'll have to defeat them in mahjong matches.

And of course, the wicked beasts and horrifying creatures eventually reveal themselves to be silly anime girls who possess very little clothing.

If your interest has somehow been piqued by all this but you have concerns about the possibility of a language barrier, have no fear: it's very easy to figure out how to keep your character in good health and well equipped (with most articles enabling you either to win matches more swiftly or to hold out longer while you receive a pummeling).

The adventure is as linear as they come--you can't stray from the correct path to travel even if you want to, and the "mazes" are hilariously simplistic in design.

Questing and labyrinth navigating were never meant to be the title's most enticing elements, though. Sure, the story has its interesting moments...

...but any fun you manage to have will likely come from meeting the strange beasts/wild ladies who inhabit the land. The designers came up with lots of nice girl and monster designs...

...but were unsuccessful in their endeavors to provide quality in-game graphics, as the charm of the funny-looking, large-headed sprites fails to offset the blandness of the environments.

Dull field visuals are hardly the title's most significant problem, though. The matches play out slowly; and for all the "thought" your opponents put into their moves, they simply aren't very good at mahjong. I do realize that the designers didn't want players to have to experience a high number of draws and defeats with so many random matches to play through, but easy victories don't make for fun, rewarding gameplay in the long run.

As the adventure is far too simplistic to appeal to RPG fans and the "battles" are too slow and easy to prove worthwhile for mahjong aficionados, I don't believe there's really much of an audience out there for Jongmaster. The naughtiness factor prevents me from recommending it even to the many little kids who are looking for a good mahjong RPG, which is quite unfortunate.

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