Adventures in Asmik Land
At a Glance: Floating adhesive medical strip clouds? Boss battles of rock, paper, scissors? Weightlifting ghosts? It could only be Adventures in Asmikland, a fitting halfway point in my Final Four Rom Pit Destructidon".
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here)
Download: Download ROM here
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Story: A long time ago, a God of Dragons must have wanted a place to nap. An island of legend rose from the mists of the sea. Using his omnipotence he crafted hills and valleys, seas of blue and brown, and a place for him to sleep. I'm making stuff up now, but I'm assuming that he ran out of ideas or was a very, very dumb omnipotent god. Trees sprouted up from the ground made out of fish. Honestly, how hard can it be to remember what clouds are made of? In Asmik-land clouds are made out of egg breakfasts and crayons. Not having the stamina of Jehovah, the Dragon God must have taken his nap on the third day instead of the seventh because the entire island looks gross, especially the inhabitants.
That's where you come in, Asmik the pink dragon. As one of the only creatures on the island with two working hands and feet, you take it upon yourself to complete your fascist dream paradise by collected six fragments to "enter the Dragon God". With the quality of this game, I'm assuming the journey is anal.
Gameplay: Let me put this on its' own paragraph: Your character, by this I mean a little pink dragon that you control, is adventuring to save magic jewels by farting on his enemies. Now, I know most of you are sold at this point, but stick with me. It gets better. Once your enemies have been smote by your netherwind they turn into eggs. If these eggs aren't picked up quickly they hatch and a little version of yourself with angel wings floats up into the air. (An allegory of the human soul after we've been farted on by, uh, Fate?)
Although the story gives the game a kind and whimsical appearance, actually playing through it is a nightmare with a tractor beam. Your short, stumpy little dragon of a character acts unusually like a stumpy, short creature that can only jump as far as it can fart. The eggs you've been collecting all this time can be traded in for power-ups that can help you out after every boss battle. Most of them are worthless though, something I chalk up to the clerk with a ruler through his head.
Graphics: It only makes sense that if you can't draw a normal human, you would switch to drawing Hooter-chan over and over again on your notebook during lunch hour in the art room. Along this same vein, the creators of Adventures in Asmikland must have decided to take a hard right at "What?" and "Huh?"
The graphics are so odd that it's hard to judge them. I don't really know what a pink squirrel with detached eyes and no arms is supposed to look like. If I did I think I should be worried. To illustrate my point, here is a modern rendering of a battle between Asmik and a frog with sunglasses on it, a typical enemy.
Enemies: I have never seen such a ragtag group of terrible competitors since that movie, The Mighty Cool Comeback Gridiron Benchwarmer Miracle League 2: Breaking the Longest Glory Ice Road. Every single enemy looks like they have had some deep, unfortunate incident in their life that involves some sort of medication and constant physical therapy. All of them are stunted, gimpy legged, barely mobile things that look like fragile and sickly creations of a mentally unbalanced child. Can you still call something an enemy when they would cower in your presence if they had the ability to comprehend it? All of them are easily dispatched by a well placed blast from your rear "fart to egg" cannon.
The bosses, the smartest of your foes, decide to challenge you to a game of chance and wits instead of eggs and asses. This allows for some Christian-friendly fun instead of all that gang violence you heard so much about before D.A.R.E eliminated it all. It would have done the developers some good to have made your enemies a bit more respectful. I'm deeply offended that they resorted to calling on the power of the devil when they started losing.
Fun: As a rule, any game where you die after a single hit is not fun unless it's Contra, Contra-like, or Contra Lite. What gave this game a -7 was the fun I had trying to figure out what would appear in the next stage by throwing darts at the dictionary. Giant floating tomato gods on a checkerboard background is not something the logic chunks of your brain expect.
Defining Moment: Right at the ending the game messed up on me, displaying a nice dull gray screen instead of what I imagine to be the secret formula to figuring this game out. Using this DaVinci code of madness I could build a wormhole in my garage that would lead me to a land where frogs and bunnies are super cool. Now I'll never be able to go where I belong.
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).