Friday, 22 June 2012

The Adventure of Little Ralph (PSX)

A.k.a. Chippoke Ralph no Daibouken. I checked, and The Adventure of Little Ralph is a translation, not a subtitle.

It doesn't seem to have gotten a release outside of Japan, presumably because it belongs to one of the PlayStation's most forbidden genres... it's a 2d platformer with pixel art sprites.

The game starts out with a short cut-scene showing this guy (Big Ralph) jumping in to save the townsfolk from a monster attack. He's doing a pretty good job of it too until they de-age him with a magic fireball.

Now only a kid, poor Little Ralph has to be bailed out by a sorceress, but they soon overpower and kidnap her.

Something's gotta be done about these monsters, and now that Ralph's got himself a magic sword that appeared in the air out of nowhere (about a minute too late to be any use), and some clothes that fit, he's a bit more confident about his chances.

I'm sure the on-screen text explains what's actually going on, but it's all in Japanese and I can't read it.

Nope, can't crush the pigs under my mighty boots. At least now I know I can take a hit or two before I'm out.

Look at that smug bastard, riding his line of pigs through town, terrorising the pedestrians. He's asking for a good stabbin' in my opinion. Interesting how his row of pigs is about the same length as my jump distance. Like the game's saying 'this one ain't going to be about jumping over your problems'.

This sword attack's actually pretty effective, I'm cutting through these things in a single hit. Hope whoever's living here doesn't mind a bit of robot shrapnel.

Why do so many platform games have people throwing crap out of windows at the hero? Surely these guys should be on my side.

Actually to be fair these guys are actually hurting the enemies too, so I guess they've just been driven insane by terror. Still gonna have to cut them though.

Crap, I actually made it through the raining bricks, but slipped down a hole afterwards. Ralph's a little slow to steer in the air, so by the time I realised I'd overshoot, I was too late to do anything about it.

Well as much as I'd like to waste hours trying to make that jump, I've got a time limit, so I'm gonna have to take the easier path running underneath instead. What a shame.


LATER.


Oh good, lots of jumps over a nice big deadly pit. Still, it's not as if I can overshoot anything this time.

Ow... that's nasty. Back to the start of the rope jumping then. I guess I need the practice.


LATER.


I really didn't need a boss battle though, but it's not like I didn't see it coming. Dragging the game to a halt and forcing me to figure out a enemy's pattern is a platformer tradition.

This guy's moving these wrecking balls on a rail, and when he gets them over my head he lets them drop. That's not too difficult to dodge, but the cunning part of his plan... is that he's also dropping snails. Deadly snails.

I had my own plan of running up to him and hitting him in the face with a sword, but I just couldn't get enough hits in fast enough to break through his window. The guy definitely got his money's worth out of this death machine, it's even magic sword-proof.

Maybe if I keep an eye on the snail chutes I can smack the snails just as they're falling out. Then I'd have a few seconds free to wail on the operator until the next snails arrive.

Here's an interesting fact I learned while jumping up to hit the snails: I can dismantle his machine with my sword. Snail hatches and everything. Guess it wasn't so well made after all.

Look at the guy at the controls freaking out. Sorry friend, you're gonna have to wait your turn. I'll be down there in a minute when I've made sure you're absolutely helpless.

The boss is defeated, and I'm free to leap across the rooftops again. It's a little hard to see what's safe to land on, especially with the platforms blending in with the scenery, but I'm sure I can't go wrong if I follow the fruit.

The fruit betrayed me.

Oh no the floor is collapsing and I have to jump!! To be honest I only used this screenshot because it's got a good view of the church in the background. The game ain't ugly.


LATER.


And now I'm in a sewer. I have no idea where Ralph's headed, but he's sure picked a weird route to get there.

These green things crawl around in rows like the pigs at the start. But I've learned now that if I hold the attack button for a second, I can use a super attack and smack the closest one across the screen and into all his friends, taking them out in one move, Mario Koopa shell style.

Oh crap, that was close. These damn blocks like to fall into the sewage without warning, and poor Ralph can't swim.

Hey is that blue glowing ball new, I don't remember it being there a second ago. Oh, it must be my extra hit point marker! I'll probably find out for sure any second now.

Yeah like I said, the blocks have a fondness for falling into the sewage. I wasn't expecting the next one along to drop simultaneously though. They gave me nowhere to escape to!

Well this path didn't lead to the exit, but treasure's the next best thing. I'm pretty sure all it gets me is points though, and I haven't cared about setting high scores in a game since... well, ever. Still, maybe I'll get an extra life out of it eventually.

Second boss is an evil Little Ralph clone with purple hair and bat wings. They had a bit to say to each other but I haven't gotten any better at reading Japanese in the last hour, so I've no idea what was said. Probably something like:

Evil Little Ralph: "This is as far as you go regular Little Ralph, you've done well but your adventure ends here!"
Little Ralph: "No it doesn't, shut up!"
Evil Little Ralph: "Seriously, I have so much more health than you. You're basically fucked, so you'd better just turn the console off now and save yourself the humiliation."
Little Ralph: "Yeah, but I have infinite continues. Bring it."
Evil Little Ralph: "Don't underestimate my powwwaaaaahhh!!"

I've collected a sword power-up that lets me shoot fireballs across the screen with every swipe. Trouble is it doesn't work so well when the enemy's behind me. No matter, now he's sitting on the wall I can just climb up, smack him, then get out of the way. I don't even need a fireball.

Should have seen that coming. Well okay, the plan was sound, it's just my execution that was off. I just need to dodge him as he jumps off the wall and I'll be fine.


SEVERAL DEATHS LATER.


Oh, now he's got a fireball too? I am so screwed.

I think I'll be turning the game off next time I hit the continue screen, because I just haven't got the patience to keep walking all the way back to this room after every lost life. I honestly don't get why they couldn't have just respawned me at the doorway, with the sword upgrade sitting nearby.


TEN THOUSAND CONTINUES LATER.


I can't help but notice they've put enemies between myself and the next rope. I (still) struggle to jump between ropes at the best of times, so slashing these guys on the way over is going to be awkward.

Wow, mummy pits. The next step up from spike pits. I don't even want to know what'd happen if I fell in there.

Hey look, he's standing on the slope properly with his back leg bent. How often do you see that in a sprite platformer? Full marks for attention to detail.

So are the Egyptian gods working with the monsters then? Perhaps they were just a little bored after sitting on their asses for the last few millennia, and decided they might as well join in terrorising people for a laugh.

Or maybe Ralph just decided to take a shortcut through their sealed sacred tombs because he's an idiot and there were no sewers around this time.

Hah, I knew that wall would break or open to reveal a secret passage. Though knowing this game it'll be more difficult than the main path.

I don't like the secret passage!


Slash slash slash slash slash slash slash slash slash slash slash... oh bollocks to it. I've never done very well with boss fights, especially ones with no health bar that drag on forever. Sorry giant firebreathing Tutankhamon, but I'm going to end this here.

I love how that screenshot looks like a mock-up though. Seems so fake somehow.


So far this feels like a slightly bland remake of some classic 1994 SNES platformer. The gameplay's solid, the graphics are pretty, but it seems determined to stick to the platformer rulebook and not try anything too clever. But hey, I'm still stuck on the early levels, maybe it gets more interesting as it goes on.

The game only gives you two hit points, and plenty of opportunity to lose them. So even on the easiest sections you're only two mistakes away from failure, and the game only gets harder. Fortunately the infinite continues and autosaves take some of the sting out of screwing up, so it's a series of challenges rather than an endurance run.

To be honest I'm on the borderline of not giving this a gold star, because I'm a baby who doesn't like boss fights or too much of a challenge. But the game's played fair, I'm the one that's continually fucking up, and I've gotta admit it's more than earned it.

2 comments:

  1. Man, thank you. Seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  2. amazing game i played in peru and i defeated deztarroza and valgo

    ReplyDelete

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