Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gargoyle's Quest

The Red Gargoyle Strikes Again
 Here is yet one more reason why the Gameboy has lasted so long. Horridly hard games that you just can't seem to put down. Okay, I'm stretching it a bit. But seriously, after running into spikes on the ground, spikes on the walls, and spikes on the ceiling, one does tend to get a bit jaded with the whole game-playing experience. However, this game came out back when I was in sixth grade, I think, and we generally bought any cool-looking game we could get our hands on back then. Anyways... 

GRAPHICS: For the Gameboy, these were cool. FireBrand the Gargoyle and all of his adversaries are drawn large, making the playing field a bit tighter than usual but letting you see small details, like an enemy opening up its weak spot for a well-placed fire blast. The sprites are really the best part, actually, especially when you see the almost unreservedly huge and menacing end-of-level bosses (fish on first level EVIL!) The backgrounds, as well, are drawn down to tiny details. When you see the burning buildings in the background, or look closely at the ground and realize (with revulsion if it weren't such a common sight in video games today) that it's made of skulls. You thought Castlevania was evil? This is a world that's so hostile that even the ghouls are having trouble surviving, not to mention your hapless gargoyle! Aside from a bit of shoddiness on the world map (darn, this blasted wasteland looks exactly the same everywhere I go!) the graphics are sweet almost without exception. 

SOUND: Bringin' it down a point here! Sorry, but GameBoy music is rather hard to do right under the best of circumstances, and they weren't exactly trying very hard on this one music-wise. The sounds were HORRID. It's bad enough having to hear the same music every time you get into a random battle, having to hear the overdone fanfare whenever you won has been proven to cause hypertension and schizophrenia, especially after extended play sessions. TURN THE SOUND OFF! You'll thank me later, trust me. 

STORY: Magnificent! The most convoluted reasoning behind a story that I've ever seen! Whereas normal games have you as the good guy fighting the evil guy, in this one you're the evil-but-sorta-good creature battling to save the evil-but-good-in-their-own-way ghoul population from the rule of one of the evil ghoul princes who seeks to take over the realm by sitting in his big chair and sending his envoys out to do the dirty work. Apparently there's some evil magic involved, but the evil prince Breager never gets off his lazy butt to cast it, so we're assuming he hired a passing mage to do that too. Which leads to the question: Why did the other ghoul princes not hire a bunch of guys to go kick Breager's butt? I mean, sure, ''sit in chair and wait for hero to come rescue you'' may be a good strategy for most video game damsels in distress, but these are rulers, for crying out loud, we're looking for a slightly more substantial strategy than that. Now you can see why these supposedly ''revolutionary'' plots aren't used that often.

GAMEPLAY: Immensely. You can hover on your wings and shoot fireballs. Power-ups given to you by grateful(and weak) ghoul princes increase your life, give you special fireballs to shoot(such as those that can break through walls or stick onto spikes,) increase your jumping power(you DO have to jump before you can fly, Daniel-san,) and increase your ''hang time''(nothing to do with basketball, although Firebrand would make a mean point guard.)Gameplay goes in a style pretty much like Zelda 2, which has long, side scrolling main levels and small bouts in the overworld where you can run into random battles. You don't get experience, but you DO get vials(of cocaine, I'm assuming, since anyone who actually WANTED to live in this place would have to be mostly drugged out of his brain anyway. Oh yeah, I forgot, these are zombies we're talking about. Generally not the smartest things in the world when it comes to choosing hospitable places to live. All major points of interest-such as bridges and buildings-are inaccesible to anyone who can't fly, and even if you can, there's a whole lot of spikes put everywhere to discourage any actual thoughts of living there. It's an undead life, I guess. But it's really annoying to have to go back and replay an entire level because the stupid spikes hit you again! There are also some rather major problems with flashing and slowdown, but then again, that's normal for the Gameboy. What should NOT be, however, is the horrid difficulty of the two last bosses, who give you the pleasure of a clear shot at their weak point aroud...once every ten minutes, maybe. BAD DESIGNERS! Still, there's an aura of mindless fun about Gargoyle's Quest, great for a quick play, especially if you ahve it emulated and can save-state your way through the tough spots. 

OVERALL: You gotta hand it to Firebrand. No matter how often life shoves a spike in in one of his many orifices, he still manages to keep that unflappable smile for all good little devils to see. But I'm thinking. Why bother saving this spike-ridden realm when he can go to Hollywood or Washington and gain some real fame? It's not like half the people there aren't his kind of people anyway. He'd fit right in. Failing that job, there's always his old fallback of knocking Arthur's armor off in one more round of Ghouls n' Ghosts. What a little gargoyle could do in this world... 



1 comment:

  1. The sound in this game is short of AMAZING! Just the intro music alone sets the mood perfectly. Apart from that: Nice review :)