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Hydlide (NES)

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Hydlide
175300-hydlide-nes-front-cover.jpg
"Bees... Why did it have to be Bees?"
— Indy
Protagonist(s): Jim the Knight
Genre(s): Action
Role-Playinɡ
Platform(s): Nintendo Entertainment System
Release: March 18, 1986
Developer(s): T&E Soft
Publisher(s): T&E Soft
Series: Hydlide
Successor: Hydlide II: Shine of Darkness


Hydlide was an action RPG released in Japan in 1984 for the NEC PC-6001 and NEC PC-8801 computers. It was then ported to the MSX, FM-7, and NEC PC-9801 in 1985. It was a huge hit in Japan and eventually hit the Famicom in 1986. It wasn't until 1989 that North America saw Hydlide for the Nintendo Entertainment System. By then, The Legend of Zelda was released and Hydlide was seen as primitive.

Plot

An evil man steals one of three magic jewels that keep the evil demon Varalys sealed away. Without the third jewel, Varalys escapes and causes chaos. During this time, the other three jewels are stolen and Varalys turns Princess Ann into three fairies. It's up to Jim the Knight to find the fairies, destroy Varalys and restore peace.

Gameplay

Despite its negativity, Hydlide was one of the first action RPGs to hit Japan and although it hasn't aged well, it had a few mechanics that are used today. For instance, you are able to regenerate your health by standing still. Future games such as Halo (in the form of a regenerating energy shield, and later, also regenerating health) and Call of Duty would use this mechanic.

In addition, there are two modes, Defend and Attack. By using Defend, you take little damage but also deal less damage. By using Attack, you deal more damage but are more vulnerable.

Why It Should Be Stung by Bees

Note: This will mainly focus on the NES version.

  1. There is only one song throughout the game that sounds like the Indiana Jones theme. It never ever stops, except for the final battle with Varalys.
  2. There is no animation for combat. You have to hold the "A" button for Attack Mode and run into enemies. This takes away the appeal of combat as it doesn't feel like you accomplished anything.
  3. Though it's a very short game, it takes a long time to level up. In fact, grinding to the next level takes up the biggest part of the game.
  4. The main character's named Jim, which is unfitting for a heroic-fantasy context.
  5. The game has a poor save system. Gamers would hit the save button and turn off the game only to learn it wasn't battery packed. The save only quicksaves and instead uses an overly-long password system, which is tedious to enter should you wish to continue where you left off.
  6. The magic system is heavily flawed. You have to press B to cycle through the magic and then both A and B to activate. In addition, only Turn, Wave, and Flash are of any use while Ice is pretty worthless. The fire has only one major use in the game, to burn a tree leading to the final dungeon.
  7. If you strike an enemy with magic, you get no experience points.
  8. The game is very cryptic and no clues are given at all in-game.
  9. Despite having a health regeneration system, it is very slow, wasting time, especially during the final battle with Varalys where the health regeneration takes several minutes to finish if you can avoid damage.
  10. The first fairy can be found in a tree just south of where Jim the Knight starts. However, the tree is always random and if you pick the wrong tree, bees will come out. The bees can easily kill Jim so gamers will have to escape the area and wait until the bees disappear, wasting time.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Despite the game feeling like a Legend of Zelda rip-off, it did bring many ideas to the tables of many developers working on other RPGs, such as regenerating by not moving, and quickly saving and load options. It was also originally released on Japanese computers in 1984, two years before Zelda hit the NES.
  2. Jim and Ann's character sprites are admitably cute.
  3. The American box art is amazing.
  4. Jokes on Lucasfilm, Indiana Jones' Desktop Adventure actually ripped off the gameplay style of Hydlide and Zelda, and it just so happens that the theme song of Hydlide is a ripoff of the Indiana Jones theme.

Reception

AVGN Enraged.jpg "What were they thinking?"
The Shit Scale
Games that are debatably bad High level of shit contamination The very high category The severe zone Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Major code red
👆
This game/console belongs to the "High Level of Shit Contamination" category of the AVGN's Shit Scale.

When Hydlide was initially released on Japanese PCs in 1984, it received generally positive reviews and is considered an innovator, as it brought many ideas to the tables of many developers working on other RPGs, such as regenerating by not moving, and quickly save and load options. The success of the game in Japan spawned two sequels, Hydlide II: Shine of Darkness and Hydlide 3: The Space Memories, the latter of which was ported to the Sega Genesis and released overseas under the title Super Hydlide, and a remake of the original game for the Sega Saturn titled Virtual Hydlide. While the the NEC PC versions have been considered good games, the NES port received mixed reviews upon release, but over time, retrospective reviews became more negative.

Decades later, however, people have started to like this game less and less. e.g. ProJared giving this game a bee sting (1!) out of 10.

The Angry Video Game Nerd reviewed this game and called it "a mediocre adventure games with some serious flaws".

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