One idea I had was that I could turn the site around and start going back the way I came, revisiting all the games I've played, starting with Carmageddon, then Spy Fox, and so on all the way back to Deathbringer. Then I had a slightly less terrible idea: I could work through a huge chunk of my game requests all at once! 50 games in one article, each getting a screenshot and a couple of lines of text. It'll be just like the olden days when I'd put up a few dozen half-assed posts a day because I didn't know what the hell I was doing.
But in the end I realised that if I want to go back to Super Adventures' origins what I really need to do is find an old obscure Amiga game I haven't heard of and go into it blind.
|Developer:||Krysalis|||||Release Date:||1996|||||Systems:||Amiga AGA, CD32, DOS|
So this week on Super Adventures I'm playing Legends!
I know about all kinds of games, Amiga games especially; it's a side effect to suffering prolonged exposure to a shelf full of game magazines as a child. But I have never heard of this one in my life and that's kind of weird, because it's by Krysalis, the folks who created Soccer Kid and Arabian Nights.
I've got a theory about why it slipped under my radar though, and that's because my Amiga magazines only go up to 1995. By the time this came out everyone was moving away to SVGA PCs and next gen consoles and I doubt even the DOS port of this low-res Amiga game got much attention. So they left it a bit late there. But then I suppose a game like this takes a while to make... possibly. Depends on what kind of game it is really.
The title screen up there makes me think it's some kind of strategy game with empires clashing across the world, or an RPG with classes from across history, but that doesn't narrow it down much and it's just as likely to be another platformer. All I know for sure is that it's not that classic isometric RPG; that's Legend without the S.
The text that comes on screen says "A short time in the future, in a galaxy very close by..." and then it immediately contradicts itself by saying that this is our moon. That means it's in the same galaxy as us mate.
This is in the future though, as we're in the year 2025AD. The alien civilization up here on the Moon has secretly been our neighbour for a very long time now and they're starting to get a bit sick of us. You see they created the human race as an experiment, but during the 20th century we started blowing the crap out of each other with increasingly destructive weaponry.
I get that this is supposed to illustrate the world in conflict, but why did they give it a face? And shoes? And why is it inflatable? And why does the satellite have duck feet?
Anyway the aliens had no problems with our self-destructive ways, much the opposite in fact, news coverage of the wars was popular entertainment for them. But the Earth was slowly engulfed by a tide of peace and alien TV ratings started to plummet.
Their plan was simple: travel back in time through the time portals of Yieeowza and butterfly effect the hell out of humanity by seeding the past with technology from the future.
I had a thought that this might even be animated or narrated for the CD32 or PC versions, but sadly no. The intro's exactly the same wherever you get it, and man they've really packed a lot of text into the thing. Every time another picture comes up the lights go dim and the screen fills up with another screenful of backstory.
Their plan is to go back in time through the portals and then use a soul transfer beam to have Billy borrow the body of one of the locals, so that he can single-handedly defeat the evil folks who've used digital watches and washing machines to dominate their people. So basically it's Back to the Future combined with Quantum Leap except Marty is leaping back to murder ancient warlords.
But hang on, they made their Doc Brown an English professor? Not a history professor or a scientist, or something halfway relevant to his hobbies of time-travelling and body swapping? That's a bit weird. Maybe they meant that he's a professor from England...
The birds aren't singing by the way, it's lying. All I can hear right now is the music, and it's either nothing like you'd expect or entirely what you'd expect depending on how many Amiga games you've played. The CD version's music fits the era a little better with its chanting, but its high quality instruments don't fit the lo-fi graphics much and it doesn't loop properly either.
Well I'm blocked by a wall of flowers to the south and there's strange alien bush creatures everywhere else, so I'm thinking that I should go into my tepee. Oh they're meant to be trees! These things must belong to the same mutant species as the ones in A Link to the Past.
|The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)|
Though Link to the Past only lets you walk around the screen for a while before you reach the edge and it scrolls across to put you into an adjacent area. Legends doesn't split its overworld up like that, and I'm considering that to be a good thing.
Alright let’s check out the tepee.
It's clear to me now that I made a horrible mistake not installing the game to hard drive, if it's going to flash up this loading screen and make me wait every time I enter a door. But there's no guarantee that installing it will help and it's loaded now, so I'll keep going and see how it goes.
Also the blocks of text are here to stay it seems. This particular box full of words was spoken by the father of the guy I'm possessing, who is sending his son on a quest to find the 'sacred bundle'. He's not going to tell him what a sacred bundle is, that'd be too easy, but I've learned that the medicine man will help us out and he's also hidden a bow and some arrows for us nearby. The penalty for failure is banishment, so I should probably try to not screw this up for this innocent bloke I've soul-jacked.
I stepped back out, sat looking at that loading screen for 15 seconds, and then walked over to collect my weapon.
I have to scroll the map around to examine it in game, but I figured I'd stitch the screenshots together and show it all at once for you. I'm the bronze guy waving his arms just a little left of the middle and that's the family tepee between the trees to the left of me. You can also just about make out the row of flowers below it that I'm going to destroy with my infinite arrows to escape.
And I'm going to do it quickly as a noise just started that sounds like a cross between an alarm and a baby crying, and if I stay here any longer it'll drive me mad.
Also I can shoot projectiles out of the air! But they can too so this is a stalemate. Actually it's worse than that as I can't hit him at all up there, my arrow just hits the wall beneath him. That area he's in is entirely out of my reach, so I'm going to have to leave that spinning coin for later. It's okay, the things are everywhere.
This is the PC version of the game by the way, with its enhanced tepees and fluffier trees. If you're put off by dithered shading the extra colours are a definite improvement, but there is one little drawback to the DOS port: if you're playing on keyboard the keys are P, L, Z, X and Space! Also it doesn't let you shoot projectiles out of the air any more, so the combat's slightly different. On the plus side, there's no long wait for loading when you go through doors!
The dad mentioned that the kid's upset because he lost his rattle so I tried looking around their tepees for it, but all I found were coins. I helped myself to their cash and then left to carry on with my noble quest. Now I'm looking for the sacred bundle, the medicine man and a baby rattle.
This is a dead end, but I passed a path heading north along the way so I'll check that out.
Also I think I just did double zero damage to this wild boar. Fortunately the other numbers I've gotten out of him were more reassuring, though he didn't drop a healing health heart for me when he eventually died, unlike the human enemies I've killed. Hang on, I've just realised that my life meter isn’t made of three separate Zelda hearts, it’s a health bar! They tricked me.
The forest turned out to be another dead end, but it was a dead end containing dynamite, so I'm happy. Finally something properly anachronistic! And now I need to go back the way I came and fight all those wild boars again, as enemies respawn once I've scrolled the screen away.
Okay, so my to-do list is now: find the baby's rattle, find a lighter. Oh plus I need to speak to the medicine man about this sacred bundle, can't forget that.
The mushrooms I've found can't sit still either, which is annoying because it makes them look like I could grab them for health. I don't need their false hope!
This seems to be the place though. I just hope it's not a Sunday.
Right, so I need to go to the secret forest and bathe in the enchanted waters, got it. This isn't actually going to get me my bundle, the guardian spirit just won't help me until I've had a bath. Though they did give me a full health refill on the way out, which was cool. Plus despite how it looks, the medicine man didn't actually burn to death and descend to hell so I can repeat the cutscene for another refill as much as I want.
It didn't take me long to come across more red gems, set up on either side of a wall of trees like the yellow gems from earlier, but now that I'm carrying a red warp crystal I can teleport between them! After wandering around this new area for a bit I discovered a yellow warp crystal just lying on the ground and ran all the way back to give the yellow teleporter a try as well... but it still didn't do anything. So I'm a bit confused now.
Metal Gear all over again, except more annoying as I have to wait a few seconds for the inventory to come up. Though at least I don't get the full loading screen.
This reminds me a little of Arabian Nights' inventory screen, which is I guess is fitting as Arabian Nights' inventory reminded me of Link to the Past.
Diablo aiming right now (released the same year by the way).
The most annoying part is that the hearts they drop only give me back like a pixel of my health bar, and that thing has like 24 pixels it! The only way to cure myself out here is to kill a bunch of them without getting hit myself, and it's starting to seem like it's faster just to run back to the medicine man and endure a loading screens and cutscene.
On the plus side, these warp gems have opened up a lot more of the world to me, so I've been able to find even more coins and items that I can't quite reach yet! I really want that medal as well, it looks cool. I've still no clue why I'm even collecting these coins though. I can't imagine this tribe has a local shop I can visit to trade my shiny bits of metal for essential supplies.
Suddenly everything is explained: those aliens have ruined American culture by inflicting Soccer Kid on them 500 years early! I was wondering why I've been seeing Soccer Kid dolls in half the tepees I've been in.
The guy's also offering a raft ticket for 300 coins, which sounds even more useful to me, so now I have to search every corner of the map and collect all the loose change I guess. I'll add that to the list along with 'find rattle', 'find lighter' and 'get to the secret forest'. Sure would be nice if I could just ask someone for directions.
There's only like two NPCs out here I can ask and they only know two places each, but this is still a big help.
So I hiked over to secret forest entrance inside the big forest and met a man outside who warned me not to travel into the enchanted waters without a gift or else I'll die. He didn't tell me what kind of gift I should bring though, so I guess I'll have to go inside and hope there's someone I can ask.
The only way this could be more awkward is if I was playing with the P, L, Z and X keys on the PC version. I've tested this extensively... damn trial took forever to get past.
After proving my boar shooting abilities the guard let me go by as promised and also gave me some advice. He told me that the guy in the water is grumpy because he's missing someone. So that's another clue to what I need here.
So Billy inevitably got bee'd to death and reappeared all the way back home. That's not a huge shock, I haven't activated any of the restart flags I've seen around, but I was a bit surprised when "CONTINUES REMAINING 0" appeared on screen.
Okay first, those are called lives, not continues. Second, I only get two lives? This isn't a small game! In fact it seems like it'll take me hours just to finish the America stage.
Right, now I need to roam the land and find grumpy water a guy a gift to convince him to let me into the fairy box to purify my heart so that I can chat with the guardian spirit about getting a sacred bundle.
This is about as many enemies as I've ever seen on screen at once and I'm a bit concerned about that as without continues if I lose the rest of my health it's GAME OVER.
Different enemy types have different behaviour I need to account for. The bloke with the axes and the guy with his head stuck in a tree down there like to charge right at me, the brave with the bow prefers to keep his distance and snipe at me, and the birds and bees circle around me until they're ready to strike (or they get bored and fly off).
Anyway this seems like an excellent time to run back to the medicine man for health. Seems like a more efficient use of my time than getting a game over and having to replay it from scratch. This also seems like a good time to check a longplay on YouTube to learn what I'm actually meant to be looking for here, because searching blindly is getting old.
Turns out that the guy in the water was missing his daughter, so I found her, brought her back to the secret forest and was allowed to bathe with the fairies. I also had another chat with the guardian spirit who gave me a blue warp crystal, so I need to look out for another teleport point.
I should probably explore the dungeon and see if there's any new weapons to collect before rushing into anything dangerous, but it looks like there's a pirate rave down there and I want to check that out first.
I have no idea who this guy is but he's immune to my arrows and he's sent his humanoid plants to keep me busy while he throws things at me, so I'm thinking we'll never truly be friends. Shooting the plants is actually easier than shooting regular enemies, but I also have to watch out for those blue things bouncing around at the same time. Makes things tricky.
Hang on, the damage numbers are going down each time, are my attacks getting weaker? Is this boss fight going to stretch onto infinity with me eventually dealing one millionth of a hit point damage each time? Oh duh I just figured it out and it's so obvious... the number is showing me his remaining health! So all those times I thought I was rolling for 0 damage, it was really telling me that the enemies were one hit from death.
The thing was pretty effortless to beat even after I lost so much health in the first phase, and I received a golden turtle shell for my trouble! Wait, why do I need a turtle shell? How does this help? Give me a baby rattle or a match, something I can use!
The way it works is that every time I stomp on a poor innocent worm the timer gets reset, giving me a few seconds to get over to another one while it's still sticking its head up. Actually getting my hero to step in the right place is a bit of a challenge though, as I'm trying to hit dots on the floor here.
Huh, it kicked me out after I'd gained a single continue? That's bullshit, total bullshit! Though I guess having one continue in the bank is much better than the zero continues I came in with. Plus to be honest it's relief that I can stop rushing around now.
I ended up leaving the dungeon with a few extra coins, a turtle shell and a pool ball, so I went back to speak with the medicine man for further info. He basically gave me a shopping list of items I need for the sacred bundle, including a bear's claw, an eagle's feather... and a golden turtle shell. So I'm a third of the way there!
Then I remembered I'd picked up that blue warp gem, so ran back to the top of the map, used the yellow gem to teleport into the forest, ran to the right side of the map, use the blue gem teleporter, and collected the fire torch! Now I can finally light the dynamite and get into the cave.
With these explosives I was able to go back across the yellow teleporter and blow open another cave on the other side of the map! This second cave had a winch in it, so I grabbed that and ran all the way back over to the first cave to raise a bridge. So much backtracking in this game.
And across the bridge I discovered...
It'd be great if they actually had licensed No Limit by 2 Unlimited for this tepee rave, but they went with a sound-alike instead and it's not the best techno I've heard coming out of an Amiga. What's worse is they won't even sell me a drink here!
So I took their money and their earthquake medallion and left. I'm sure I remember an NPC saying that I should use this at the pinnacle of the cliffs nearby so I guess I need to make my way back up there through the caves.
This bizarre earthquake-triggered phenomenon opened up a new section of a map with some coins, a nice looking water fountain and a guy looking for a pool ball. Hey I picked up one of them in the dungeon!
With his ball in hand, the guy told me some important advice: sometimes people hide things under their beds. Uh thanks, that's... good to know. Oh no, now I have to go inside every tepee on this bloody map and check both sides of every bed. All those loading screens. Why does this game hate me so much?
SOME BED SEARCHING LATER.
Trouble is that I'm fighting birds this time and they're a little more mobile than your average turtle. It was going fine while they were orbiting the room and minding their own business, but when they started shifting their flight plan I was quickly destroyed. Now I'm back down to having zero continues, so my next mistake will end this run.
Though its just occurred to me... all the earthquake medallion seems to do is make the screen shake a bit, but it goes into a weapon slot so maybe can I use it on enemies as well.
I got the bear's claw here in the boxing match, the birds dropped the eagle's thing when I went back and destroyed them with earthquake powers, and I already had the turtle's whatever from earlier. So it seems like that's it, I've got all the ingredients I need for the sacred bundle! Even better, I found that baby's rattle along the way, so I was able to finally shut him up as well! Plus I got a continue from a post-boss bonus game! Everything's finally going my way.
I went back to the medicine man with all the ingredients and the guardian spirit told me he wouldn't make me the bundle until I first got him an orchid. Balls.
So now I'm searching under people's beds trying to find... well anything really. A secret passage is a good start. Fortunately the parents of the baby gave me a lantern in exchange for the rattle so I can explore down here in the dark tunnels under the village.
This time I know where to go though, as I remember one sitting on the cliff above the first cave.
Oh drat, I need secateurs to snip it free... which I have. So that's it then, I've won this level. I've done everything the guardian spirit could want from me.
Except no I haven't, as he says I have to be 'a warrior' to get the sacred bundle. I just killed three bosses and a few dozen assholes along the way, how am I not a warrior yet? Do I have to go kill their chief or something, is that what you want from me? No seriously, I'd really appreciate a clear goal and some direction.
Well there's flashing skulls on his tepee so I guess I'm fighting the Big Chief then.
He never actually fires the thing, he just bounces around the screen, but that's plenty threatening on its own. Or at least it would've been, but my earthquake power basically gives me a free win.
So I defeated the evil chief and saved the future of America! Feels good man. Then I raced back to the guardian spirit and he finally gave me my damn sacred bundle! But once the fireworks were over he told me about a new presence down at the mysterious crop circle. Shit, I hope I don't have to fight another boss. Sooner or later one of these things is going to be immune to my earthquakes and then I'll be in trouble.
Still he's got the sacred bundle now, everyone loves him and he's not going to be exiled from the village, so really all I did here was put right what once went wrong. Which means that I've finished my quest and I can turn this off already.
Though I am slightly just a little bit curious about what the next level's like.
SOON, IN 400BC CHINA.
Okay I'm done here now.
I had no idea what to expect from Legends, but I have to admit that when I realised it was pulling a Zelda my heart kind of sank. Not because I don't like Zelda games (though I'm not a big fan) but because I've never seen a good Zelda-style action-adventure on the Amiga. None that I can remember anyway.
But I didn't hate this! Sure the fighting was a bit rubbish but it got better once the I got the hang of making archers vulnerable by stepping to the side and forcing them to reposition themselves instead of shooting back. Then it got even better when I got a power that let me destroy everything on screen with just 10-100 button presses! I get the impression that the developers assumed the earthquake medallion would be too tedious to be abused, but they may have underestimated how tedious firing arrows is. Though in the end I found that all the backtracking went much smoother when I ignored enemies entirely and slipped by them. The only benefit to fighting them is to get hearts, and they're the stingiest healing hearts I've ever collected in a video game, so it seems fair to say that the combat isn't rewarding.
Enemies aside, the gameplay is mostly about searching the map for items and places to use those items, opening up warp points, blocked entrances and short cuts as you go. It's actually pretty non-linear at times. Plus it's got a map and a message review feature to help you out. Unfortunately there's not much to review as the NPCs rarely tell you where you need to be, only that you need to find more stuff. Exploring for treasure has its appeal but my eagerness to search every tepee faded fast after sitting through loading screens both ways. Installing the game or playing the CD32 version seems to shorten the loading times, but from my experience the only way to be rid of them is to play the PC game. I ended up resorting to a YouTube video as a guide a few times to speed things up and I was much happier for it.
It doesn't let you save by the way, so you're stuck doing the whole era in one sitting. It does at least give out passwords and I appreciate that, it's more than Arabian Nights ever gave me, but I'm less keen on the 'after every level' part of the arrangement. You could spend hours beating one of these stages and that's a lot of progress to lose if you fuck up or have to turn the game off, and it's easy to fuck up when you only have one extra life. Also the game makes you use the keyboard to access the inventory, view the map and switch weapons, but it doesn't let you just type the bloody passwords in!
But the game has something going for it, and that's that it's weird. It never hits ZX Spectrum levels of absurdity, but you can tell right away it's got that old fashioned British developer humour to it and it's that personality that gives it value. I'm not saying I found it all that funny, and the visuals don't typically have the charm of a Zelda game, but when the artists had a chance to play around they took the ball and ran with it. I mean for all the shit I gave the loading screens, I still inputted all the level passwords just to see what the others are like.
I won't give it a 'Not Crap' star, because I can live without getting any further in it, but if you really want to play Zelda on the Amiga this might actually be your best option.
Normal service has resumed.
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