First off, you have to love the box art, reminiscent of Capcom’s NES days. I’m immediately reminded of Little Nemo the Dream Master, though Cthulhu and Nemo have naught in common. Cthulhu Saves the World is the second game developed by Zeboyd Games. Much like its precursor, Breath of Death VII (also an awesome game to check out), Cthulhu is imagined in amazing 16-bit graphics, taking us back to a time when RPGs ruled the home gaming console.
Games don’t really seem to fit cleanly into one specific genre anymore. Call of Duty is the most popular FPS ever, but it does have RPG elements to it. You level up, acquire new skills and weapons, gain experience points. Then we have the biggest RPGs like Fallout and Mass Effect, which are basically RPGs turned shooters. The line that used to so clearly define the genre of a game has been blurred, almost completely erased even. Not that I have anything against any of those games, but I like my turn based RPGs dammit! Alas, they are a dying breed. Developers don’t really make them for consoles anymore, because unless you’re a Square Enix fanboy/girl, you want immediate action and swift gratification, which has been the standard for this generation of consoles. I get it… I mean there’s a completely valid reason; video games are more of a “business” now than they’ve ever been so they only push what sells. But that’s exactly why I wanted to review indie games in the first place; As much as I love video games, the artistic endeavor is often cast aside for the commercial product. Over commercialization of anything will ultimately cheapen it. It’s all about how much money they can squeeze out of a franchise. How many Tony Hawk games are there? How many are actually any good? So where have the good traditional RPGs gone? They’re out there, just not so mainstream as they used to be.
Cthulhu has definitely been one of the most undersaturated monsters in the media. Vampires and Zombies are so commonplace, they might as well be a friendly neighbor. How many about Cthulhu? Aside from that one South Park episode, I can’t think of any. Though he has been a familiar face in the gaming culture for years. There have definitely been games about him, but never with him as the star. Cthulhu could not slumber forever. Through the unfathomable power held by the Great Old Ones, Cthulhu has risen from the murky depths and stepped into the limelight. I think once you have a plush novelty doll of yourself, you’ve made it. Would H.P. Lovecraft approve of this game? Is this a bastardization of the Cthulhu mythos? Yes, and it’s good.
The first 5 minutes of the game introduce you to one of the most ingenious plots a god could muster..but not really. Allow me to explain. Residing in his underwater realm of R’lyeh, Cthulhu finally awakens to embark upon his destruction of the world. His plans are immediately thwarted as a mysterious stranger appears somewhat arbitrarily and easily strips Cthulhu of his power. Only by becoming a true hero and saving those in need will he be able to regain his lost power in order to destroy the world. Sounds kind of counter productive doesn’t it? Anyway, thus we are thrust into the game. I really don’t want to give anything of the story away because afterall, RPGs are mainly about the story anyway. Trust me, it is truly entertaining, humorous and just a solid good old school RPG. The dialogue is particularly light considering the cosmic greatness that is Cthulhu, and consists mostly of witty banter. So don’t expect a convoluted adventure, question the meaning of ones existence, like most of the Final Fantasy games. Gameplay is pretty much straight out of NES and SNES Dragon Quest, though with more leveling up options. Depending on your playing style, the game will take somewhere between 6 – 10 hours. Also, it seems a main battle mechanic is to make things insane. I for one am totally for anything that promotes insanity.
I would also like to quickly address the games credits. In the “special thanks” section of the credits, they list Kainazzo, a boss from Final Fantasy II, and the lowercase letter ‘e’. Maybe they thought they could sneak those in there because no one ever reads the credits. But I do!
Available for XBOX Live Arcade at 240 MS points, or on Steam you can get the Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World bundle for just $2.99. You cant go wrong. So do it. If you don’t, you’re basically admitting that you don’t like good games.
Of course I wouldn’t leave you without a chance to see the amazing theme song trailer.
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As promised, the update on Square Enix’s press conference. Since I wasn’t man enough to stay awake and get the information from Square Enix as it unfolded, I’ll just give you all a link right to IGNs report on Dragon Quest X. If clicking on that link is too much work for you, I’ll break down the key important elements here.
- Dragon Quest X will be coming to the Wii and Wii U
- It will be a MMORPG
- There will be 5 playable races along with a job class system
- Player crafted items
- Turn based battles
- There will be an offline mode as well
- Release date set for sometime 2012
Considering there’s an offline mode I wonder how this will work as an online game. Will it be like Final Fantasy XI but in a Dragon Quest setting, and I have to pay $15 a month to play? Or will it be like Diablo, where I can experience the whole game at home by myself and then if I choose, play online with others but at no additional cost? I prefer the latter and hopefully that’s what they decide. Actually, there’s a 3rd possibility I suppose. Phantasy Star Online. Same deal as Diablo, except you still had to pay money if you wanted to play online. Let’s hope that’s not the case, I’d rather it be more like your standard MMO if I have to pay money.
Will there be multiple factions with a PVP system? Will there be a raid system with huge dungeons? If they go with the Phantasy Star Online paradigm, I suspect that won’t be the case. My personal speculation is that it will be PVE heavy and will probably allow you to form groups of 4 -6 people. I base that mainly on the fact that you can play through the game offline. I don’t see a 20 man raid happening with 19 NPCs. I suspect that towns will be hubs where people can gather, then once venturing out into the field, it will act like an instance and only those in your party will be present. Since the battles are turned based, this is the only way I can think of that makes sense.
I am excited by Dragon Quest becoming an MMO. When Dragon Quest IX came out with multiplayer support I thought that was a great idea, but it was too limited by it’s lack of an infrastructure mode. I am worried though. A console MMO hasn’t really “worked” yet. You can argue that Final Fantasy XI was successful and then I’d argue that game was trash. Perhaps excitement with a tinge of nervous anticipation.
The Wii U really didn’t impress me initially, but now that I know this is coming out for it, I guess I’ll have to get one. I am a little disappointed though that they didn’t make any solid announcements for a 3DS game.
I leave you with some gameplay footage from the press conference. Sorry there’s no subtitles, couldn’t find one with any.
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Dragon Quest, my favorite RPG series of all time, celebrates its 25th anniversary with oodles of goodies. This is the best Dragon Quest news I’ve heard since they announced they were finally porting Dragon Quest VI to America. Much of the 25th anniversary information is already common knowledge with fans, but apparently on Monday, Square Enix is going to be dropping a bombshell. This Monday, September 5th, Square Enix will be unveiling a new entry into the Dragon Quest Franchise! Popular speculation believes this will be the big reveal of Dragon Quest X, which has been in development for the Wii for some time. With Nintendo publishing the last few Dragon Quest releases, this makes the most logical case. It’s also no secret there is a 3DS Dragon Quest title in the works, so maybe even both will make a showing.
The press conference begins at 2pm Japans time, which is 1am eastern for us. You can watch the action unfold live on Square Enix’s USTREAM Channel
Other Dragon Quest releases on the way:
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 – Like Pokemon, but with Akira Toriyama‘s monsters. Release Date: Sept 19
Dragon Quest Collection – Containing both the NES and SNES versions of Dragon Quest I, II, and III, unmolested and unchanged, in their original form. Set to release this Sept. in Japan, but still no word if it will ever hit us stateside.
Fortune Street – Not really a Dragon Quest game per se, but it has Dragon Quest characters in it. Itadaki Street in Japan, this series has never been released in America before. Plays like the bastard child of Monopoly and Mario Party. Release Date: Holiday 2011
There’s also a handful of Dragon Quest swag to pick up, including this cute little guy; a 1/1 scale of a King Slime. Unfortunately you’ll most likely have to end up importing these as well. Check eBay because these will probably never show up on our shelves.
I’ll be sure to drop an update once Square Enix makes their announcement.
Finally, I leave you with the Japanese trailer for the Dragon Quest Collection.
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