Quality Control: Faxanadu
Falcom is known for two major series – the Dragon Slayer series of games, and the Y’s series of games. The game I’m trying this time is from the former series. I’ve played one game in the series previously – Legacy of the Wizard. To be frank, I enjoyed the game, though I had no idea what I was doing, and I had a lot of problems navigating through the levels, but I had fun.
I did not have fun with Faxanadu.
The Premise: The premise of the game is, your character has returned to his home after a long journey, to find that his home town is dying. Aside from the monsters besieging the land, the land itself is dying, with the crops withering and dying, the wells drying up, and the walls of the town itself falling into disrepair. Something is wrong with the World Tree, and you need to find out.
Well, the premise is interesting, but what about the game?
The Game: The game is, basically, a side-scrolling action RPG for the NES. That, in and of itself, is not a problem. The problem is that the game is incredibly unforgiving. The basic problems are, there are enemies too low for you to hit with your starting weapon, but you can jump over them (one of the problems I had with Dragonlance: Heroes of the Lance). However, you encounter a lot of them early on, causing you to lose a lot of life (particularly trying to fight them and failing). Furthermore, while you can get trained in various special attacks and spells in town before you set out, if you fail to learn those spells early on, you cannot backtrack to town to get them. The way behind you is shut.
Additionally, if and when you die, you respawn at the last temple you stopped at to get a password, but you lose all your gold, and any experience you earned below what you needed to get your next level. This makes the game incredibly hard, more than even the most hardcore modern gamer can probably stand. I grew up on this generation of gaming and I find the difficulty incredibly annoying.
Is It Worth The Hype? No, it’s not. This game is not worth your money, and unless you like an exercise in futility, it’s not worth your time. If you want to play an old-school Falcom game, go with Ys instead, either picking up the titles individually, or getting Legacy of Ys: Books 1 & 2 for the DS. You’ll find it a lot more fun, unless this game gets a more forgiving re-make on a newer system.