Legacy of the Wizard
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System, 1988.
Know a horrible ROM? Email me!
Story: Generations later, the shameful genetic remnants of that one night stand dwell blissfully in their forest home. But the mighty Legacy of that Douchebag Wizard stirs in their veins, causing them to transform into magical, viking-helmet-wearing beings and triaipse into the cesspool of pixels that constitutes a "maze" just outside their home.
Of course, there is no reason for them to leave their home. It's cozy. The whole family's there. There's a nice shop right next door, located at the end of a convenient 80-foot-long ladder. Yet day after day they journey into one of the vastest mazes I have ever seen for a reason that is NEVER GIVEN TO YOU. OR EVEN HINTED AT. JUST STAY AT HOME. BAKE A CAKE OR SOMETHING. JESUS.
Gameplay: Legacy is a maze exploration game/platformer, in which you take one of five little dudes and putz around in a massive maze designed by someone who personally hates you. Each member of the Magical Masochistic Family has three stats: how far they can jump, how hard they hit with their magic, and how far their projectiles reach. Of course, once they run out of magic, they're boned, so you're constantly killing mans and staying at inns in order to replenish your magic. But that's not the only thing you get to keep track of, cuz Legacy makes you hoard enough useless shit to make a cat lady with OCD cringe.
Graphics: When I saw the LOVELY, PRISTINE STARTING AREA THAT YOU WOULD NEVER WANT TO LEAVE OH MY GOD, I was optimistic. Of course this is 100% based my affinity for bright pretty colors that I share with most lesser vertebrates, but whatever. I can't really say that the graphical quality of the maze is bad, but its craziness just blows all other consideration out of the water.
A-MAZE-ment! (teehee.): The maze is both enormous and demented, winding through an endless array of nonsensical passages. At first, I thought it was a case of "Hey guys! We just figured out how to use RPG Maker and we're going to put ladders in the middle of walls and shit!" But unlike Foton, the maze a) has non-identical rooms and b) obeys the basic laws of physics, so it's theoretically possible to navigate.
Or it would be, if anyone told you what the fuck you are supposed to be looking for. I've heard rumors that there's something in the center, but the game itself gives absolutely no indication that there is an objective. This wouldn't be so bad if certain areas weren't solely accessible by certain characters, which means you have to strategize your journey based on nothing. Plus, you constantly have to find your way back to the tree house to get another little dude and explore more areas at random. I admit, it could have been a fun idea, but chances are you're going to completely run out of magic power just trying to remember which way is up.
Fun: Complexity is often a big part of what makes a game magic, but Legacy of the Wizard takes it too far, to the point where I'm pretty much certain the whole game is the result of the level designers getting completely wasted and deciding to fuck with us. It's actually not so bad if you're a hardcore gamer with reasonably low standards as to what you're going to spend the next 30 hours of your life doing, but if you're a simple-minded little tyke and/or an extremely pressed-for-time columnist with a hangover, it can all be a bit much. Then again I really can't talk about games being "too complicated," as I just spent six straight hours destroying my relationship through Dokapon Kingdom, a strategy/party game/rpg hybrid so-called because it sounded better than the more accurate Rapemachine Cocaine.
Defining Moment: Remember how I said certain areas can only be explored with certain characters? Well if you end up with the wrong character, as I did with lizard-dog, in the wrong place, such as this pit full of spikes, hijinks ensue! By "hijinks" I of course mean "you have absolutely no way to escape and you will die a slow, agonizing death!" This is the only one of such moments I, personally, felt like putting up with, but I am pretty sure there are a lot in this fukken game. Hooray for the magic of exploration!
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst)