Saturday, 23 December 2017

Micom Slayer (PC)

So, this is a free Japanese game, and if I forget to add the link here when I upload this post, please comment and remind me to (since I write posts as plain text documents well in advance of them actually being uploaded). Anyway, it's also a total love letter to the 8-bit microcomputers (or "micoms", if you will) of 1980s Japan, like the MSX, the Sharp MZ-700, the NEC PC88, and so on, as it's a semi-linear platform game about a girl on a quest to collect them all (plus a few slightly later 16-bit computers too).

There's twelve stages, two each for each area, and each area is based on a particular old computer, with graphics and sound to match (though your characters' sprites are always modern and hi-res. I don't have much experience with some of these computers, but to my eye, all these homages seemed spot on. I especially love the MZ-700 stages with their blocky text mode enemies and such, they're just really cute. I was even able to identify some game-specific homages, too, with a stage that looks just like Lode Runner, and bosses that harken back to the likes of Donkey Kong, and, oddly, Capcom's awesome arcade platformer Black Tiger.

Anyway, these stages are all huge and filled with treasure chests, which contain keys, food (for replenishing health, of course) and coins (if you have at least one hundred coins when a character dies, you can bring them back) or, very rarely, a computer. The computers don't do anything, other than their collection being your ultimate goal. Every stage has two of them somewhere, either hidden in a chest or hoarded away by the stage's boss, who can't be fought until you find the chest with that stage's boss key. Some bosses don't have computers, meaning that their stages must have both of them hidden in chests. What these bosses do give you is new characters.

There's six characters in total, and as well as acting as extra lives, they all have different abilities. The girl who's a clear homage to the Valis games is just generally better at jumping around and attacking than the default character, while the lizardman/troll guy and the stickman can break the large square rocks that block off certain parts of each stage and jump really high respectively. So yeah, there's a kind of backtracking exploratory element in there game, too. Fitting to the game's theme, it's more of a Maze of Galious situation rather than a Metroid or Symphony of the Night one.

There's not much more I can really say about Micom Slayer. It's a great little game that's both fun to play and super-charming, and it's free so I recommend you go and get it right now. The only problem I have is that for some reason, it didn't save my game. Though this is only a minor problem, and I'm sure I've probably set something up wrong while installing the game. If anyone figures out the solution to this problem, please let me know!

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