Monday, May 11, 2015

RETRO REVIEW SERIES: Hydlide for the NES


  
You know what's bad? Hydlide for the Nintendo Entertainment System is pretty bad. Yeah, it's an action/adventure/RPG that is a lot like The Legend of Zelda except that The Legend of Zelda is a far superior game, but to Hydlide's defense the game was created about 3 years prior to the original Zelda. That, of course, was back before they had the technology to polish a game and make it engrossing like they did with Legend of Zelda. Hydlide was originally a PC game that had been released in 1984 that was eventually ported over to the NES sometime in 1988, the problem is that in the 4 years between it's original release and it's life on the NES they didn't appear to do anything to make the game any better from a graphical standpoint. Since I've never played the PC version of the game in it's entirety I have to assume that it's an exact port and that the Nintendo version is the same as it's PC counterpart from start to finish. Which is mind blowing to me in many ways because the NES was capable of producing a much better looking game than this with additional enhancements in gameplay. At the time of it's NES release the console already had games out at the time that trump Hydlide in almost every category you could rank them at so taking a few months to enhance the game for the NES would've done it a whole lot of good.
    This game really doesn't have much going for it, either. The graphics are extremely poor, the control is kinda slow and chunky, and it's one of those games where you cant really tell if you're hitting the enemies or not. In combat when you attack nothing really happens except for a small health bar that appears at the top of the screen and depletes when an enemy is dying. This makes things really difficult when fighting monsters because you have no sense of spacing, you end up taking a lot of damage thanks to your sword not moving outward to hit your opponent. Also, if your enemy hits you first you have to back up before attacking again otherwise you'll continue to lose heath, which is extremely annoying and makes you want to punt an elderly woman in her jaw. Or better yet, it's so annoying it makes you want to unleash a poisonous snake into an
infant ward at a hospital.
    Another thing I kind of dislike about the game is that there is a lack of dungeons, or at least a lack of cool dungeons I should say. For an action/adventure/RPG game such as this I look forward to dungeon crawling and fighting awesome bosses, but sadly Hydlide doesn't offer a whole lot of cool dungeons or fun bosses with most of them being annoyingly fast skeletons or some kind of variation of other monsters already in the game. Most of Hydlide's dungeons are more like navigating houses from a top down view. Instead of going into a dungeon and adventuring to the final boss like in Zelda or a game like Dragon Warrior, the dungeons are not presented on their own screens, they share the outside view along with the grass and trees. The only time a dungeon becomes it's own screen is if there is a downstairs or an upstairs, which happens from time to time but isn't really fun or engaging and ends up being more of a death maze more than anything.

    The game as a whole wasn't really popular either. I personally knew one person who had it back in the “NES Age” and he didn't really play it much, in fact almost every review I've read basically ranks this game among the worst in the NES library. But was it really all that bad? I mean, yeah, it's bad.....but it isn't the worst game in the extensive annals of the NES. That will forever be reserved by Impossible Mission II. Impossible Mission II was a game so bad it was unlicensed by Nintendo and I happened to buy it for $7 during the prime of the NES. In a time when Nintendo games were $49.95 brand new you knew you were getting a real classic when you found one for under $10 still in it's factory seal. Could you sense the sarcasm? I've also played a few other games that suffered from worse game play mechanics, worse music, worse control, and other factors that would lead me to play this game before I even looked at them. So I guess all in all Hydlide is just bad and not completely terrible like some would lead you to believe.
    And with that said, Hydlide does have some charming aspects to it that actually make it quite fun at times. First of all, the music is pretty catchy. Sure, it's a simple looping theme that sounds a bit like the Indiana Jones theme and doesn't have a whole lot behind it, but it does kind of makes you hum along to the soundtrack while your playing. And second, the main character moves at a speed that makes it kind of easy to escape a potentially bad and/or hazardous situations. I actually like that in my video games. I know that isn't a glaring example as to why someone should purchase and play Hydlide, but at least it's something to separate this title from the sea of bullshit that is floating around out there. But that's about where the good graces of this game come to an end. I think one of the must frustrating aspects of this game is that it takes place within a small window on the screen thanks to an overlay that takes up a great deal of space. Was this really necessary? You're health, magic, and XP bar are located on the side of the screen on what looks to be a brick wall that also shows a small picture of your character alongside another bar that for some reason shows you if you're defending or attacking. To make matters even worse the brick wall that takes up almost half your screen manages to display the Hydlide logo at the top while showing the name of the game along the bottom. That's some serious bullshit because the player obviously knows what game they're playing and there was no need to spam the title on the screen twice. Well, instead of going off more about how disappointed I was with Hydlide I think I'll just wrap this puppy up and hit you with the final numbers......

Graphics/Visuals - 4/10
Sound/Music - 7/10
Control/Handling - 6/10
Fun/Enjoyment - 4/10

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