Written by Gav Russell. Twitter is here.
Welcome back to Romdom Number Generator, a monthly feature where I pick ROMS using a number generator, force myself to play them for 20 minutes whatever they may be and then write about them! Because …well, I don’t actually know. You can read the full rules and a longer introduction by checking out month 1 right here and see the series so far by clicking this. So, without further delay…
Just for a bit of context, I’m one of those pricks you’ve been reading about that have performed this one weird trick and as a result am playing Dark Souls 3 early. I’ve logged over 30 wonderful hours since I started playing it 3 days ago (which is no mean feat, considering the fact that I have to ignore my children in order to do so) and so it’s with some small upset that I’m switching it off to play some Old Shite instead. So, with that rather deflating intro out the way, let’s crack on!
It’s a shame that I’ve got no real way of proving to you that the results of my random number generating are legit or not. I could screen-grab the random.org page, I guess, but then I could always be manipulating that. The best proof I have is the quality of some of the games that are being dragged up. I could lie, you see, and claim that it keeps spitting back Mario titles to avoid playing any old toss, but seeing as honesty is my middle name (it’s actually Thomas), it’s time to play fucking Tecmo Super NBA Basketball on the Sega Genesis. It’s not that it’s a bad game (although to be fair I have no yardstick by which to measure that judgement), it’s just that its a sports game. And I have about as much interest in sports games (especially ones from 1993) as I do in real life sports: none. I did used to love NBA Jam back when I was a wee lad, though, so I can tell you that Tecmo NBA isn’t a patch on that, opting instead for a more ‘basketball-sim’ approach as opposed to Jam’s flaming basketballs. The season mode is very in-depth in Tecmo NBA but I kept being shouted at by the ref for breaking the rules. See ya.
Next up? It’s Illusion of Gaia from 1993 which, despite sounding like a song by a vegan-edge band, is in fact a SNES RPG developed by Japanese studio Quintet. Quintet actually went on to provide dev support for Shenmue, fact fans! Boring trivia aside, though, Illusion of Gaia is wonderful.
The nostalgia I feel for 90’s RPG’s is so immense, so all-powerful and so blinding that even if Chrono Trigger assumed a human form, slept with my mother and never called her back, I’d still love it. There was always something about the enormous scope of an RPG in contrast to the standard 8 levels of a 90’s platformer that turned my tiny child mind into a goo, and sent my imagination into hyperdrive. Their visual style, too; chunky, brightly coloured sprites; enormous, occasionally badly drawn demons. And oh, the soundtracks. Don’t it all just make you feel warm? Anyway, um… oh yeah, Illusion of Gaia was ace and is still ace. My short time-limit with each game for this feature doesn’t lend itself well to a humongous RPG though I did get to the bit where you find a pig in your house but not to the bit where you can shape-shift into a badass knight with flowing blonde hair.
Random number generation gives not one fuck as to whether I can speak Japanese or not, evident in our next title from the lucky dip : Langrisser 2! A tactical RPG and a sequel to Warsong, this was never released outside of Japan although it has been preserved over the years with re-releases on the Playstation, Saturn and eventually on Japanese PSN and Virtual Console as recent as 2009. But is it any good? Well, the intro is excellent :
but I had a hard time understanding setting things up
and the narrative was lost on me
BUT, once I’d learnt how to end my turn, it was …. still in Japanese. The problem with trying to play a tactical game in another language is that it’s in another language and so any chance of making any tactical plays are rendered impossible. Or at the very best – totally accidental. Here’s a new sub-section though: General Observations Which Disregard The Language Barrier
- It’s pretty dull due to the amount of units that both you and the enemy have coupled with the fact that you can only move about 2 squares at a time, so initially you’re just inching your way towards each other across a very nicely drawn battlefield. A process that felt like genuine pain.
- The music is cool.
- The bad guy looked like a right smarmy bell-end.
Back to the good ol’ SNES for our final game this month, with our digital Tombola pointing me towards the letter ‘I’ and the game Incantation. A game which barely AnyCunt gave a shit about back when it was released at the end 1996 as the SNES was basically on its arse by this point and we all had Duke Nukem 3D by then.
Cool box art. Incantation is a fairly unremarkable side-scrolling platformer with some very nice graphics and a soundtrack that makes me want to kill people. It does an annoying progress-gating thing where you have to collect three shafts of wheat which are scattered around the stage so that the warthog holding a stop sign at the end (!) will let you get to the boss. However if the boss kills you and you go back to the start, you have to collect the three wheat keys again. Fuck that all the way to the bank. On the plus side I did get an upgrade for my wand which basically turned it into a shotgun (which I’ll give 4 DOOM’s out of 10), so maybe Duke Nukem had his work cut out after all. Either way, back to obscurity you go, Incantation.
JOIN US NEXT MONTH FOR PART 4 OF ROMDOM NUMBER GENERATOR