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Retrospective: Dicing Knight Period for WonderSwan Color

I obviously have my own taste and there are many popular games I will never talk about due to my own personal interests (or disinterest). I hope readers can appreciate my attempts at informing them of good games they've never heard of. Sure, it may be fun for you to see me mention a favorite of yours but isn't it better to read about what may become a new favorite? Regardless, I usually try to switch things up and provide a bit of variety in my game retrospectives. That said, after talking about both a roguelike and a WonderSwan Color game in my two most recent posts, now feels like the perfect time to talk about a roguelike for WonderSwan Color, Dicing Knight Period (aka Dicing Knight.)!...


(Screenshots taken from an unofficial English ROM translation)

Roguelikes tend to be turn-based both because of their origin and usual emphasis on deep strategic gameplay. Dicing Knight Period is a realtime roguelike. The gameplay differences are pretty obvious, as they are similar to the differences between a turn based strategy game and a realtime strategy game. The developers could have easily made this game turnbased without changing much but their decision to go realtime makes for a refreshing (albeit not entirely necessary) change in the genre.

While the game features roguelike features such as random dungeons and hunger stats, it differs from the average in a few ways. Permadeath is non-existent here. Dying will only force you to restart that particular floor and find where you dropped your items. (You can also choose to regenerate any of the game's dungeons and start them over.) While hardcore roguelike fans may frown at the lack of permadeath, the realtime gameplay is much more unpredictable. Permadeath would be extremely harsh. Therefore, it was a good design decision. Another difference from average roguelikes is the focus on action rather than strategic depth. For example, compared to most roguelikes items are simpler, less varied and usually only dropped by enemies. The game also features different bosses with specific attack patterns at the end of each dungeon.


(Screenshots taken from an unofficial english ROM translation)

Now for the part that just may rock your world. As you may have figured out, Dicing Knight Period plays a lot like a Legend of Zelda roguelike. You have a sword and shield on you at all times, making the combat very similar. The inventory system is similar to Ocarina of Time in that you have one of the WonderSwan Color's d-pads mapped to picking up and using items at any time. While there aren't really any trademark Zelda-style puzzles, the general feel of the game is very similar. You can also cast magic spells, but I don't recall Zelda games using magic in the same way, though they very well could. As an interesting side note, the magic attacks seem to resemble danmaku or "bullet hell"-style shmup game attacks. This makes sense given the developer's doujinsoft roots.

Dicing Knight Period was created by the popular doujinsoft developer PlatineDispositif and is similar to Judgement Silversword, as it is a WonderWitch programming contest winner that went on to be published. Like Judgement Silversword, Dicing Knight Period also has fantastic graphics and sound despite the WonderSwan Color's limited hardware. The game's graphics are gorgeous in action and resemble Super NES quality. One particularly cool effect is a shower of dice that comes flying out as you attack, actually representing the random values being used. The sounds are simple but well done and the music is beautiful albeit a bit repetitive.

Dicing Knight Period does a great job of standing apart from other roguelikes while remaining a great, solid game. Just be aware, there may be no permadeath but the game is still very challenging!

For more information see, MobyGames.

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