Woody Poco

Tonight I tried out Woody Poco. I had been under the misconception that you played a woodpecker, but actually you play a wooden boy. It seems to be an adventure game where you can save your progress as you go. It’s a bit hard because I sometimes run into enemies that can kill me in one hit, so I’ve only explored about eight overworld screens, but the game is so far quite fun and shows a decent amount of depth.

The overworld is bright and vibrant but can turn dark and dangerous at night. At one point, shooting stars attacked me but later in the game I found some kind of cross and a helmet, so perhaps that is protecting me, or maybe the shooting stars only appear on certain screens.

From the overworld screen, so far, there are two other kinds of screens to be accessed – underground holes and buildings. You can buy, sell, give, or trade items in different locations that help you progress through the game. Many stores say they only serve women, so I am guessing you need to find someone else on your quest who complements you in your journey and you can then go back to previously inaccessible locations.

There haven’t been many kinds of enemies, but one in particular was kind of interesting – the old men. By default they are jolly and blue in color, and they only bump into you and hurt you a bit, taking a bit of your money in the process. But if you try to attack them, they turn violent and bright red, becoming incredibly powerful. They will charge at high speed and kill you. So they’re just something to put up with, it seems, not fight against, but maybe later you can get revenge.

It’s another game with 400-line graphics (640×400) and FM sound, the graphics look quite good compared to the previous game I was playing (Euphory), but the music is similarly short and repetitive.

Euphory

Ventured into an actual RPG this time.It’s called Euphory. Even before I played, I noticed some major differences to most games I’d played and introduced on the X1 before. This game was designed for the Turbo series and above, so it utilizes 640×400 resolution at 24kHz refresh rate, a big jump in hardware and disk capacity requirements. It also leverages the FM sound modulation instead of PSG, so it has more of a melodic sound than most previous games.

That said, the graphics look clean, but not incredibly impressive, and the music is really simple so while the hardware makes it sound distinct from the PSG experience, the end product isn’t that impressive.

But it seems like a pretty good game. Much more an RPG than Dragon Buster was, in this game you name your character, buy and sell weapons and character power-ups, manage an inventory, can explore the world freely instead of linearly, etc. Doesn’t have the traditional stats, though. The underlying story is you need to find a cure for your mother’s illness, although I assume it involves some far more sinister scenario once you get deep enough into the game.

There is a good variety of background imagery, it seems. It also allows you to explore underwater as well as on ground. One really unique feature is that you can play two players simultaneously – the brother and the sister – as you make your way through your quest.

Dragon Buster

Game for the evening is Dragon Busters. It’s an RPG-accented platformer. Tonight was my second attempt and I managed to pass level three, where I died last time, without enough vitality left to sustain one more hit. Skin of my teeth! Managed to get to the boss of level five this time.

You choose your destination in the overworld map, and you can go any direction in the dungeon, so in that respect it has a little Super Mario Bros. 3 vibe. The RPG elements are really generic and not a lot of choice is involved, but like in most RPGs, you can get health augmentation, spells, weapon upgrades, attack upgrades, special items that confer bonuses, etc. Doesn’t really satisfy the RPG itch, but it is a good environment and a fun game.

Each dungeon has a minor boss (in early levels, only requiring two hits, but around level 3 or 4 they started requiring three hits), and you might run into several of these boss-type characters, but one of them is guarding the secret exit for the level, so you need to get through that one to proceed. The last dungeon of each level is a boss fight. So far, it’s always been a big green dragon. Each level, its vitality increases by 10 and its attacks become more complex, and by level three you’d better have some strategy besides pushing forward and striking, or you’ll die. There’s a good variety of enemies in the game, each level introduces two or three more.

Excitebike

X1 game of the night is Excitebike. Another Nintendo classic on the X1 series.

This one doesn’t play as smoothly as the original, although I feel the graphics themselves are superior. For example, depending on your current speed and terrain, you sometimes watch your bike suddenly appear a few pixels ahead of the previous position, as opposed to watching him ride there.

The music is also not quite as smooth, it seems like a slightly dragged-out and distorted version of the original.

But the game is still quite enjoyable on this platform!