Landstalker review - Sega Megadrive

Read Original Review PDF for Landstalker

Landstalker box artNIGEL'S DIARY - 9th after Septmass... A strange thing happened yesterday, I had just arrived in Kavla after a horrible ferry-crossing from Gamul, where my expedition to find the treasure of Gypta had at last been successful. With the Gypta statue under my cloak, I headed past the guards at customs, hoping that our 'gentlemen's agreement' was still in place and I wouldn't be searched. Then, at Jamal's, just as I was closing the deal for the booty, a tiny faerie girl flew through the window from the street below, begging for my protection. Seconds later, that ruthless bounty-hunter Kayla appeared with her two hench-lizards, demanding the sprite be handed over in no uncertain terms.

Being heavily outnumbered, I jumped over the parapet with the girl and hid in some bushes! After giving them the slip, I grilled her on why they were after her. Turns out she knows the whereabouts of King Nole's treasures on some nearby island, making her a very popular contact at the moment. Gold coins in my eyes, I suggested we hop onto an Eagle and do a little exploring of our own. We reached the island and found board in a one-mule town called Massan - perfect because it's near the caves. An early start is planned for tomorrow…

What the Mean Machines staff thought

Reviewer

" Megadrive moaners are always saying the best games on the machine are groovy and playable but often too shallow. Silence, fools! Landstalker is lavish, action-packed, taxing and extremely deep. In just about every department: graphics, playability, game plot and size. Landstalker defers to nothing else. The programmers have produced a really solid-looking isometric 3D world, with amazing stone and wood textures. There's a vast variety of locations and landscapes, each with its own excellent soundtrack. But Landstalker is made a classic by the involved plot that surrounds your adventuring. The story adds another dimension to exploring the vast dungeon areas, making it as much a brain game as an action adventure. The more you play, the more you realise this is by far the best adventure game on the Megadrive. "

" Landstalker doesn't make for any ground-breaking achievements but is something very different for the Megadrive. At times I find that the odd perspective employed is confusing - platforms that appear in one location may lie in another. Pitfalls often prove lethal as Nigel's journey progresses so this becomes a bit irritating. Other than that the game is a marvel. Not only is it visually magnificent but the interaction between characters is always entertaining with a great line in humour supplying light relief on occasion. Every location in the vast adventure is richly depicted with as much care applied to the background images as the main players. Consequently the eyes are always entertained by places and characters visited many times before in the course of the exploration. Sega also provide an outstanding musical score, yet again, with a consistently good mix of soothing madrigals and rousing marches. Landstalker is guaranteed classic status in no time at all. "

Reviewer

Overall Score94%

Retrospective comments

Reviewer

There are some moments in your life that just stick with you.

Not just important stuff like last day at school, the birth of your child, who you were thinking of when you had your first wan…. (I'll leave that one for now).

I'm talking about random stuff that sticks in your brain for no reason at all.

You know the kind of thing: You can't remember your wife's middle name but you can remember the number of the bus in Speed.

One of the moments from my life that sticks with me was riding in the back of my parents' car, looking through my new copy of Mean Machines Sega. I can't remember most of the mag, I can't remember the weather or what was on the radio, but I do remember turning the page and seeing the review of Landstalker staring up at me.

I fell in love with this game instantly.

I hadn't even read the review or seen the score, I just knew deep down inside that this game was something special. My holy grail! I don't know what it was; maybe it was the colours, maybe it was the cute design of the characters, maybe it was just the page layout. What ever it was, I was sat mouth open, dribbling onto the page.

I'd just started work when I bought this game, and I really hated my job. I used to ride my moped (yes I know, not cool, just read the rest of the article) up the road, around the corner, down the next road, park up where I could see when my parents had driven off to work and then I'd go back home. I then spent most of the day in my room playing Landstalker. Six hours later I would eat my sandwiches, go to the shed to get my hands dirty (I worked in a sheet metal factory) get back on my mope... my motorized bike and perform the reverse journey around the block so that my mum could see me coming home. Result!!

Unfortunately for me, I got too involved in the game one day, lost track of time and…. You guessed it, mummy came home. Major Bollocking!

This prompted me to my next place of refuge, my friend's house. His mum was easy going and always used to let him skive off of school, so when I turned up to hang out in his room playing Landstalker while he was at work, she didn't bat an eyelid and even made me cups of tea (really!).

So there you have it, I eventually went to work on a regular basis and still haven't completed Landstalker, though I am still trying, and in case you were wondering I was thinking about Cathy Dennis when I…you know…in the shower ;o)

Now..what is my wife's middle name? Susan?…Diane?….Jane?…

MOB

aurickandrien - 18 May 2010, 10:39 GMT

If you told me that I was going off to that old hypothetical desert island and that I could only take two games then one of them would be Asteroids. As for the other? That would definitely be Landstalker. No other game ever grabbed me as much before and no other game ever has since.

This game had all the classic moments: from saving the village chief's daughter from being sacrificed by Orcs at their shrine deep in the swamp; to delving into ancient crypts and solving the riddles contained within; to facing off against the fireball throwing wizard on the highest floor of his tower; and much much more! Not to mention the fact that you weren't the stereotypical hero in this to save the princess (though there was one!) you were a treasure-hunter searching for the riches of an long-dead(?) tyrant!

To my mind there will be two groups of opinions when it comes to this game: those who know its awesomeness and those who just can't get past the isometric gameplay and the impossible jumps. Yeah, Landstalker probably was a bit ambitious trying to be Zelda-flavoured Tombraider of its day back before they'd even invented 3D cards, but seriously I don't know what you'd be doing playing Tombraider when you could be playing Landstalker.

An absolute Classic. I think that all the other Japanese RPGs out there would do well to learn a little from this one.

...

Somewhat mixed feelings about the fact that the PSP version probably isn't coming out any more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjS76n7eg7Y

Dan - 29 Jun 2010, 11:34 GMT

This was kwality. you could pick at it's faults and the music grated me after a while, but as an overall experience it was something very different and grand fun.

Tim Chuma - 22 May 2013, 09:09 GMT

I would always try to hire this when I could. I actually completed it once on an emulator. The funniest thing I remember reading was an FAQ saying "the guy at SEGA screamed when he heard this" in regards to the one puzzle where you had to walk in the gaps to make a boulder roll over your head. You actually didn't, you could just jump up and down in the first slot and the boulder would bounce. The puzzles were hard including one where you get turned into a dog, but it turned out they were what kept you coming back. There was the infamous brothel that turned into a "ballet school" for the English language version and some other naughtiness. I did try "Ladystalker" but wasn't as impressed. Had heard reasonable things about Dark Saviour but have not seen anything as good as this from the developers since.

Shapey Fiend - 19 Dec 2013, 22:07 GMT

I know they edited it for the English version but I still got the sense of it despite not knowing what a brothel was.

Dan is obviously a fellow Irish man.

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