Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Game 1 - GDLeen Part 4

I've thought more about how long I'm going to play each game. Here's one rule I'm going to use -- normally I am not going to make use of walkthroughs (unless absolutely stuck) or emulator features. But if I've played a decent amount of a game and it's getting boring or frustrating to the point where I'm wanting to move on, I'll first switch to using a walkthrough more and even some save states if necessary. Which is where I am with GDLeen. I detailed some of the problems with this game in the last post, here are some more:

  • Your inventory is extremely limited, particularly the usable items like healing salves, stat restorers, etc. You can only carry 6 types, and even among those types you're limited in the total number of what you can carry. One space has to be taken by "cliff ropes" to progress in some of the caves, so you're down to 5 types of items.
  • When you take an item from a chest, the game will tell you you're carrying too much, and you have the option to discard something. But there's no indication what type of item you just picked up, and it's not always clear whether something is a "various", a "combat", or a "tool". You only get one chance -- if you discard something and you still don't have space, you lose the item permanently.
  • Because of these factors, status effects can be brutal. If Ryuu is asleep, petrified, etc., you can't run from the fight. It can be hard to heal the status effect because you might not have enough items to heal him. You can use a Mole Call to escape from the entire dungeon. If you finish the fight and Ryuu is dead or petrified, you have one chance to heal him, if you can't do it, the game treats it as a game over.
  • So with these status effects added to the instadeath criticals, any fight can result in a game over regardless of your stats or preparation. And the encounter rate is very high, with a slow walking speed.

Anyway, at the end of the last post Fana had left to tend to her mother. Unfortunately that village gets attacked and she is (once again) captured, so we have to go after her. We go to the Temple of the Sun in the capital of the Euredona, where a priest named Luna joins our party.

She has the same spells as everyone else
Luna is necessary because we need her power to open the Cave of Darkness, where Fana and several other women have been taken by followers of Zuul. The Cave is long and has a lot of treasures, as well as places where the ceiling falls in on you. This can result in gold, enemies, damage, or even healing (via water that comes out).

The worst part is the slowness of the messages telling you what happened

At least the cave has some different views to add some atmosphere.

You have to use ropes to descend through holes in the cave as you go. The monsters aren't all that hard, unless they come out with the status effects I was talking about earlier. Here's an example:

End of the first round of this fight. Ryuu is petrified, and Tao Ho and Luna are confused. So it's hard to even cure Ryuu's petrification because the confusion makes it hard to use items successfully. I tended to run from this particular fight whenever I saw it come up, and this is also where I started using Monster Repellent as often as possible. It doesn't last very long, but it avoids a good number of the encounters.

Eventually we reach a room with 4 Zuul Priests, who get an unusually graphical battle sequence, where they went through the trouble of making four separate sprites for each priest. Now this is the fight I was talking about in my previous post, where the first hit was a super critical for 985 damage. I reloaded a save state after this.

Who dares to meddle with the sacred sacrifice!
Is this the only fight in the game with a background?

Unfortunately even after defeating them, the girls fall through a hole, leading you to another boss fight against a dragon with three heads, which must be defeated one by one.

Oh no, this fight has a background as well.

And then we save Fana and the others. Luna leaves the party, so she was just a Fana substitute. Are we ever going to get a party member who is not a magic user?

Returning to the village, we learn more about what we have to do next -- it's a multi-part fetch quest.

We must recover 5 heavenly stones to get to Coldarn
Now what do bad RPGs do in order to increase the play time without putting in extra work? Make you revisit previous dungeons. The first heavenly stone is in a Cave of Treasures, which is a lot like the Cave of Darkness with slightly different graphics:

But after this, we next have to go back through all the previous dungeons. I had noticed locked doors in them, and now with the magic key I can go back to each one and open the door to get one of the orbs. There may be one new dungeon in the Bavaris capital, which I did accidentally go to when I was blundering around looking for the Cave of Treasure. But my next destination will be three previous dungeons to pick up the orbs. Time to replenish my supply of Monster Repellent and get going.


  1. Wow, those problems are making me reconsider my first (rather favourable) impression of this game. Inventory limitations are never fun, and the way picking up items with a full inventory is handled is simply inexcusable.

    For what it's worth, I don't mind looking at a FAQ if I get stuck to keep the rhythm going, and if the alternative is not having fun with a game (and thus, losing motivation to play at all), even save states are okay, though I try to use those as a last resort, and as sparingly as possible. I also love to use turbo mode or the like when available, to speed up backtracking or slow combat.

    1. I use the turbo also, especially for the slow battles.

      This game has a lot of promise, but it mostly squanders it. It's especially embarrassing when you consider that Final Fantasy IV is only a few months away.

  2. Really, even Final Fantasy 2 handled temporary party members better, and that was on the original Famicom.

    And considering this is the first game on this blog, perhaps it is adequate that you already face many of the kinds of gameplay problems that will probably come up again and again over your quest.

    1. I was hoping these gameplay problems had been worked out by now. Initially I had considered starting with the Famicom but I decided to go with SFC instead -- I think things will get better, but this is a rocky start.

  3. For all its faults, graphics are still pretty though. You can't even find a CRPG in the next 2 years after this game's release to have enemy portraits look half as badass as those 4 priests.

    1. Yeah, the graphics are definitely a strong point -- especially when you look at some of the games around it which basically look like slightly upgraded Famicom graphics. The music is pretty good too.