Monday, 30 July 2018

Ruruli Ra Rura (PC FX)

It's a PC FX game! So let's get all the usual cliches out of the way first: it's got beautiful animated FMVs, it's a console with lots of wasted potential, this game was inexplicably released in 1998, I have no idea how anyone turned a profit making games for a console with such a tiny userbase. Anyway, Ruruli Ra Rura, is a kind of metrovania-type affair, though it leans heavily towards puzzles than action. Also, besides the obligatory excellent FMVs, it looks like it could have come out on the PC Engine a decade earlier. The in-game graphics are really simple, with really small sprites and so on.

You start the game as a Samurai guy, and as the game goes on, you meet and recruit more allies, all with different abilities: shooting fire to destroy ice walls, running across narrow ridges, swimming, and so on. There's a common complaint levelled at metrovaniae, as well as similarly-structured games in other genres, like the Legend of Zelda games, for example, that most of the abilities you acquire have no practical purpose except for acting as keys to unlock the specific obstacles they're designed for. I think Ruruli Ra Rura is the most egregious example of this I've encountered. You can only switch characters at save points, and when you're not specifically sending an ally out to get past an obstacle, you're better off playing as the Samurai, as he's the only one that's remotely competent at fighting enemies. Plus he's got a fast normal walking speed (which is still very slow. Slow walking speeds are a plague in this game).

Though I've got a lot of complaints about this game, I can't honestly say I haven't enjoyed playing it. There's just something slightly satisfying about the slow-but-sure progress you make through the world. There's a translation patch available that translates all the menus, making te game a lot more playable to the Japanese-illiterate, though unfortunately, unlike the patch for Tyoushin Heiki Zeroigar, it doesn't add subtitles to the FMVs, so you don't get the exact nuances of the plot. Although I don't think we're missing out on a great deal, since as far as I can tell, the tone is that of a very silly slapstick comedy, very much in the vein of all those Dungeons and Dragons-inspired OAVs of the 90s like Slayers, Dragon Half, Ozanari Dungeon, etc.

I think I've covered everything I need to here, right? It's a deeply flawed, but fun and charming game, with all the 90s anime polish you'd expect from a PC FX game.

No comments:

Post a Comment