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Continuing my N64 journey with: Quest 64. Wow.

Content of the article: "Continuing my N64 journey with: Quest 64. Wow."

Last week I streamed Quest 64 and… Wow. (I know no one is going to read all this but I'm writing it anyway because this game pissed me off)

Let me start by saying I played the NTSC-U version. I am well aware of ALL of the adjustments and improvements of the JP release. But I'm not here to talk about the alleged "good" version. I'm here to talk about the version I would have played as a kid growing up in the US. The version I bought for the console region I own.

This game is awful. It's miserable. It's not the absolute worst game I've ever played but it's on the podium, it's up there. It's not taking home the gold but its popping bottles in the champagne room. The entire time I played this game I kept referring to it as a beta, an early access, because that's what it is. It's incomplete. It's like they started working on the game one afternoon and.. I'll start with the basics:

The music sucks. It just sucks. It's RPG Maker elevator music if there ever was a category. There's 1 track in the entire game that some might consider decent. It's not offensively bad, it's not horrible, it's just boring and you better get use to hearing that battle music because you're going to be listening to it an awful lot.

Random encounters can happen immediately following random encounters. There's no cooldown on battles, no limit on how many times you can get attacked. You can finish a battle, take 2 steps and enter another battle and this can keep happening. Now I know this is something that is typical of practically all RPGs at the time, and even today, but this game goes way overboard. There are no "repel" like items or abilities that can decrease your chances of battles either. The only thing that can kind of, sort of reduce your battle chance is by running up against walls. See, enemies can't spawn if there isn't enough room for them to do so. There are many areas in the game that can be considered "safe" simply because the walkway is too narrow for a battle to take place. So if you want to avoid fighting I hope you like staring at flat, texture-less walls. Ok, that might not be the games fault. It's a product of its time sure, but these caves and caverns you spend the majority of the game exploring are incredibly bland and samey. Every hallways looks the same as every other hallway. Landmarks, differences in the scenery, all that flavor, variety and detail you expect from a GOOD game is non-existent. For me it's just one of those things that indescribable. You don't know how important it is until it isn't there. I can't tell you how many times I accidentally got turned around in a cave and found myself running back to the entrance.

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The difficulty: This is one of the easiest games I've ever played-after I got the Avalanche spell. AFTER I got the Avalanche spell. Now this game was really, really easy to start with. Then I met the first boss. And then I met floor. Then I went for a rematch. Again I hugged the floor. I leveled my character up so damn much for this first boss that, after I beat him, the game was even easier than before. Well, until I met my first random Wyvern encounter. Suddenly I'm kissing the floor again. The difficulty in this game isn't flat, it's not a curve, it's not a cliff, it's a Sonic level. It just loops all over the fucking place. So instead of grinding out more HP/MP, I just avoided fighting Wyverns. Unless, that is, if they were in a group of smaller enemies.

Unlike a traditional RPG where your entire team gets to attack and then the entire enemy team attacks, the battles are a bit different here. You attack, 1 enemy attacks, you attack, 1 other enemy attacks, etc. So you only get hit once in between turns making it much easier to beat down the Wyvern as it doesn't get to burn you every turn. But if my encounter featured a single Wyvern, I was out of there. Thankfully escaping a fight is very easy and can't be failed like most other RPG's. Run to the edge of the arena and that's it. After passing the Wyverns I didn't die again until the final dungeon where there are giant snakes with tinfoil hats called "Pin Heads" who killed me in 2 hits. Again, just avoid them and kill all the lesser monsters in the area. The final boss was the biggest joke and most anti-climactic let down I've ever experienced in a video game.

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This game has some very neat ideas. You can combine elements in different ways to cast different spells. Similar to the Magicka franchise. It's the earliest game I can think of with a spell crafting mechanic like this. Too bad all the spells are completely useless save for 2; Avalanche and Magic Barrier. Avalanche has the highest base power of any offensive spell in the game and it can hit multiple times. While it is RNG based as to whether or not any rocks even land on enemies it's still the only attack worth using even if it manages to completely miss multiple turns, that's how much the other spells suck. You'd rather do no damage several times in a row than use another attack. Magic Barrier makes you invulnerable to everything for 2-3 turns. The cast can fail so it's important to use it early and use it often.

Leveling up is peculiar. You increase your HP by running or getting hit by enemies. The more you move the more HP you eventually have. It's recommended to tape your control stick to the side and leave the console running over night while your character runs in a circle in a town to raise your HP to ungodly levels. You increase your MP and level up elements by successfully hitting with spells. Defense increases by getting hit. Agility by running and misses. That's pretty cool but it all boils down to a great big nothing. I can go on and on about how much I hated this game but who cares? I wanted to like this game, and I would have, if it was an entirely different game.

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I'm playing Pokemon Snap, Starfox 64 and Nightmare Creatures this week.


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