Posted on July 9th, 2009 4 comments
Swiped from YCS
I’m sorry, GameSpot forum user “KojiSakujin”!
Posted on July 9th, 2009 7 comments
Maker: Victor Musical Industries
Release Date: 9/23/88
Price: 5200 yen
Media: HuCard (2 Mbit)
PC Engine FAN Score: 22.28 / 30.00
Kōgien: “The first PC Engine game released by Victor Musical Industries. Among the early games in the PCE lineup, this one is overall very well made and also boasts decent controls. The animation and tricks you face in each stage are innovative.”
It’s also the first PCE title published by Victor for the PCE; they were at their most prolific from 1986 to 1996 before hitting it big with the Harvest Moon series. Victor’s game-publishing arm was spun off in 2003 and reworked into what is today Marvelous Entertainment.
Some Japanese sources claim that Atlus developed this game for Victor, but those duties were actually handled by Aicom, a freelance contractor that was bought by Sammy in 1990. The designer, Tokuhiro Takemori, is also credited in The Astyanax, a Jaleco arcade/NES game that came out a year after this. Takemori really liked side-scrolling games starring muscular cavemen with magical, rechargeable tomahawks.
Makyō Densetsu, like a lot of other action games from around this era, is all about memorization and execution. You need to learn the pattern for dealing with every type of enemy you run into, and you need the reflexes (and mental stamina) to execute that pattern perfectly every time. A man’s game, in other words, befitting the PCE’s core image. This is true from Zone 1 right on through to the end. To beat bears, hit one, jump and hit again, jump and hit again, etc. To beat title-screen guy, wait until his fireballs boomerang back and hit him with three full-powered swipes. To beat the screen-sized end boss, put the turbo switch as high as it can go and bash away at those lean, mean ankles. And so on. Learn all that and take care not to get knocked off platforms to your death, and you’re gold.
The game is not original gameplay-wise…or, for that matter, particularly great design-wise. It’s solid, but you can tell Aicom was pinched by the two-megabit boundaries. It comes out in the way boss characters routinely become minion-level bad guys in subsequent stages, as well as the horrifying Zone 5, a labyrinth of 23 identical-looking sublevels that loop repeatedly if you take a wrong turn. There’s also a boss which is a giant, apparently sentient rolling boulder. Don’t ask too many questions. We live in legendary times.
Maybe this is nothing you couldn’t get on the Famicom at the time, but Makyō excels in all the extra details. Despite the two-mega limits, the graphics are extraordinary — you can tell where they didn’t have enough variety in graphic tiles to make very good-looking trees and water, but all the same everything’s extremely colorful and varied. In its own way, the visuals here are even more impressive than R-Type’s because of how much more of the PCE’s palette gets exercised at once.
Even more impressive is the soundtrack. It’s by Jun Takema Chikuma, a lady who did some work for Hudson around this time — mainly under the pseudonym Atsushi, an alternate reading of the character that makes her first name. She wasn’t super-prolific in games (her day job is composing and playing Arabian music on the ney flute), but her contributions — Adventure Island, Faxanadu, all the Bombermen until the 32-bit era, Nectaris, even Jaseiken Necromancer — are all amazing pieces of chiptune work, and she deserves a great deal more respect in the West for this short, but extrenely high-quality, side career she had.
<a href=”http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm301087″ mce_href=”http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm301087″>【ニコニコ動画】PCエンジン 魔境伝説 (1988)</a>
There are a lot of short clips of Makyō on YouTube, but instead I want to link to the above Nico-video, a 35-minute tour of the game, because it demonstrates how patterns and the ability to execute them make this notoriously difficult contest seem like Baby’s First Axe Platformer. Have fun watching.