Name: Crusader of Centy
Format: Sega Genesis / Megadrive
This almost completely overlooked game is actually a very playable Action RPG in the vein of The Legend of Zelda for the Snes. RPG games from this era were usually Snes games - due in no short way to Square's involvement (creating more RPGs than any other third party company could shake a joypad at), and the way that the console hardware was engineered for the kinds of functions needed in RPG's. Even so, though, Sega's machine was capable of providing some rival fun for pointy hat hit point afficianados.
Crusader of Centy centres around a young boy who comes of age in Soleil Town, and so is naturally given a sword and shield and told to go and train. He heads out to the nearby training course and completes the easiest route, before heading home for a breather. Someone in his home town mentions that one of their friends is lost out on a nearby mountain, and so the hero naturally goes to kick ass and chew gum, shortly before discovering he is all out of gum. Hilarious consequences ensue, including the hero losing his ability to talk to humans, but gaining the ability to talk to animals and plants, travelling in time, saving the world, lather, rinse, repeat.
The game is set in a somewhat "cutesy" world. If this sounds like a problem then I would advise you to stay away - health is measured by amounts of apples, there are villages full of animals, dancing flowers and you are attacked by such fearsome enemies as tree stumps and starfish.
If you can get past this hurdle though, there is a reasonably enjoyable, if quite short game underneath. Graphics are pretty good, apeing Zelda without making it too obvious; controls are excellent, once you have learned to jump; and the overall premise of the game, while not original, still gives you a sense of doing some good. The abilities are where the game becomes very interesting - instead of Zelda's set of items (hookshot, bombs, bow and arrow etc. the character simply has the ability to throw his sword (once it is charged) and animals to help him. Any 2 of the selection of 15 can be equipped at one time, each giving benefits, and some pairs provide a bonus when combined. The animals are:
- Mac the dog. This is the first animal you get, he is the pet of the main character. He can be "dropped" at a location, and he will slow down enemies who touch him.
- Chilly the penguin. Rescued after defeating the octopus boss. His ice powers allow a thrown sword to have ice magic, and do more damage.
- Cecil the flying squirrel. Makes a thrown sword rebound off walls and fly a lot further.
- Flash the cheetah. Allows the player to run twice as fast.
- Inferno the lion. His fire powers allow a thrown sword to have fire magic, which easily defeats "cold" enemies - eg. snowmen.
- Dippy the dinosaur. He is necessary for swimming across parts of the world map and for safely getting over areas with spikes etc.
- Leviathan the dragon. This guy makes your sword swing twice as a fast.
- Pieces the caterpillar, who after a while evolves into Monarchy the butterfly. He allows you to control your sword while it has been thrown, and so hit switches inside tight passages.
- Rio the armadillo, who when used rolls into a ball, which can be thrown into water and used as a stepping stone.
- Dodo the... well, dodo, who makes your thrown sword stick in enemies and items, pulling them back to you.
- Moa the moa bird, who simply strengthens the ability of whatever other animal you have equipped - eg. equipping Flash and Moa allows you to run 3 times as fast as normal.
- Wong the racoon dog, who can change into an image of the player, which enemies will then attack, instead of the real player.
- Kitty the cat, who is a one use animal (you have to buy her back from a shop each time you use her); restores your health.
- Batty the bat, who is a one use animal; protects you from damage for a short time.
- Edgar the eggbomb, who is a one use animal; explodes and damages all enemies on screen.
Obviously, if you can accept the existence of a bat called batty, or have ever heard of an "Eggbomb" as a type of animal, then you are either the developer or his best friend. However, the above animals provide an efficient way of having an action RPG without any items.
This game, as long as you can stomach it, will probably keep you playing for a while, with the only problem being that you will finish it far too soon. It is a short game, but if you want a quick blast of cutesy entertainment, I can heartily recommend this game. The rom is widely available on the Internet, as with most other 16-bit games.
fondue has informed me (thanks a lot) that Crusader of Centy was the title for the NTSC release of the game, and so this is how most americans know it. In Europe, the PAL release was called Soleil (which is the name of the character's home town), and the Japanese release was known as Ragnacenty (I presume that "Ragna" is Japanese for Crusader).
Triften says ""Ragna" isn't Japanese, so it may be an abbreviation or a referrence to Ragnarok." - Thanks for pointing this out. It sounds plausible enough to me.