What's this? Adam doing something dumb and incredibly ill-advised? Nah, that couldn't be the case. He is very well-known for doing precisely not that sort of thing. So what exactly is all this about, then?
.....oh. That's what this is about. Some game or other published on a Nintendo console made by King Arthur can't be bad though, right? I mean after all, he was a pretty heroic guy (or gal, according to a certain series) and wouldn't put out anything that was truly awful. So what's the hubbub here, what game is it?
.....that one! Published in the long-distant year of 2001 (god damn I feel old; I remember when this was new) on the Game Boy Advance. Yes, it was the 'Game Boy Advance' and not the 'Gameboy Advance' or the 'Gameboy Advanced' or whatever other such nonsense you want to call it or remember it being. There's a reason it was called the GBA. I'm too stubborn to accept any other reasons why it was called that, let's move on.
This game and its sequel (which was actually just the second half of the story and kept most of the juicy plot reveals or important info for itself and, yes, which I will also be playing if my energy and/or sanity holds through long enough) were...in a bit of an awkward spot. At the time of their release they were certainly entertaining and fairly well done. For something released on the GBA at the time, they were remarkable and in some cases compared favorably to (or even stated to be outright better than) some similar games for full home consoles at the time. They received high reviews across the board, and won several awards.
Even today, the games aren't terrible by any means. They're not masterpieces or anywhere near as good as they once were, and haven't aged spectacularly well, but they still remain fun enough in some respects. They're two-decade old RPGs published on a handheld system, though, what else could you expect?
I played the original game many moons ago, when I was still a wee lad working my way through school. I remember being absolutely entranced (though that isn't hard to do, much like a cat with a laser pointer) and spent many, many, many hours playing and looking up guides and help whenever I could get to a computer. I wasn't able to finish it at that time, and it would take many years for me to actually accomplish that and get around to playing it to completion and moving on to its sequel.
The games are...clunky. The design and pacing leave much to be desired. There are virtually no choices or decisions of any real impact. The plot and story are confusing and barely held together, with logic and sense seeming to be suggestions (or completely forgotten) rather than the rule in places. The first game is heavily railroaded, and as my memory serves has little in the way of sidequests or optional things to be done outside of the main locations you're "supposed" to be at any one time; the sequel improved on this aspect, though didn't fix the problem entirely.
But all that said...the game is still a pleasant memory for me. It was a source of much entertainment and amusement, and helped me wile away many weeks and months of boredom playing it in my off time on weekends, after school and when slacking off during gym classes. It has a certain sort of nostalgia to it so that I can't help but look back on it fondly in spite of all its flaws and the frustrations of certain parts caused, and I don't think I'll ever have anything but good memories.
....so naturally, that means it's time to do a Let's Play of it and go for a full 100% completion so I can drive myself into utter insanity and destroy any pleasant childhood memories of the whole thing!
Now, as I said there isn't very much in the way of anything like...choices or that kind of thing in these games. Maybe in the sequel (which I remember much less clearly than the original, but ssshhh), but in the first every choice but one has next to no impact on anything beyond some immediate dialogue, as far as I can tell. (And with a game script on hand, I can tell quite a bit. But shush, again.) No choices, but it does have the fun option to rename all of the major and important characters, including your party. It's a "secret" in how to do so, really. Normally you only get to rename one of them.
That one being our friend Isaac here. He's the main protagonist (or at least the main 'main' character as he's the one you always have control of) of the first game, and is of typical "silent hero" fare; he never has any written dialogue or text in the first game, but still manages to communicate with others just fine. He's an earth-aligned character and has all around good stats (very high attack, good agility, average HP and defense, only offset by somewhat low PP [this game's equivalent of mana[). Being the main protagonist, he's always in your party and under your control regardless of circumstances or situations.
As for the other characters, well... If you do the incredibly intuitive thing of pressing 'Select' three times on the name input screen there, you can name your other three party members, too!
That's Garet. He's your number two guy, who you'll pick up in your party pretty quickly. He's a fire-aligned character, and as such is pretty hotheaded and impulsive. (And also a bit of a doofus.) His stats aren't quite as good all-around as Isaac (very high HP and defense, average attack, low agility and PP), but he's still solid and can take a heavy beating better than most.
Then there's Ivan, here. He's a wind-aligned character, and has all kings of weird mysterious spooky powers and stuff. He's an odd one, but he tries to be helpful. His stats are...a mixed bag, and he's kind of close to being an opposite of Garet (very high agility and PP, very low HP, attack and defense).
Finally we have Mia here, the last to join your party. She's a water-aligned character, and has natural abilities for healing and control over ice. Her stats are rather interesting (HP, attack and defense higher than Ivan's but still somewhat low; Agility higher than Garet's, but otherwise still fairly slow; her PP is rather high, but below Ivan's) and definitely make her a solid healer, but she's definitely not limited to just that role.
And that's your party. After them, though, there is a somewhat....frustrating and esoteric manner to get to name a few other characters, as well. Once more on the name input screen, you put in a specific code (Up, Down, Up, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Right, Down, Left, Up, Select) and you can name three additional characters, as well!
This here is Jenna. She's a 'guest' character in the first game, before becoming a more major party member in the sequel. She's also a fire-aligned character, and is the childhood friend of Isaac and Garet. She has mostly average stats in every area (save for above average agility), making her fairly useful and with no glaring weaknesses to speak of.
This is Felix. He's Jenna's older brother. He....does things.
And lastly, this is Sheba. She becomes much more important in the sequel when she becomes a party member, but she is still present and around in the first game.
Of course, those are all just the default names for everyone. By all means, anyone and everyone is welcome to comment and offer suggestions for changes. The names will be persistent and carry over to the sequel, as well, due to the magic of file transfers, so even more fun! Just throw your ideas for names in here, if you have any, and slap 'em in bold for quick and easy referencing.
And there you have it, folks. The start to what is sure to be a wonderful and not at all maddening journey through some old classics. If you've played these games before, you may or may not agree with that sentiment (whether sarcastically or honestly). On that note: there's some really wacky and ridiculous stuff that goes on in this game, plot-wise. So that said, feel free to talk about anything and everything you want, but don't go dropping any obvious spoilers or anything (is it spoilers for a 20-year old game? Technically yeah, but....eh) because some of the absurdity in here just needs to be seen completely fresh.
I should also mention these games are very...very...very wordy. (At least twice as long as the original Metal Gear Solid in terms of script length, and we all know just how long-winded Hideo Kojima of all people can be.) There will be very many screenshots to provide insight into things, transcription of text, and (if I can figure out how to do so acceptably) occasionally gifs and videos of particularly important (or amusing) moments.
For various text within this mess, it'll mostly be as follows...
- Plain, normal text will be used for direct transcriptions of dialogue from the game itself.
- [Text in brackets will be used to convey actions or things which take place outside of text, but still directly form the game.]
- Text in italics will represent my personal commentary/input or just attempts at being funny and general shenanigans.
- Text in bold will be general notes or other things as appropriate.
The regularity of which I will manage to produce updates or posts for this, as well as just how long it will actually last, well...that remains to be seen, now doesn't it? Won't have any way to be certain until I get started! This is mostly a way to provide a kick in the butt for me to play these old games I once loved again, but I certainly hope it will be entertaining enough for anyone who's interested and reads along.
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