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Review: Lost Valley
This is a great game, and it's obvious that a lot of work went into making it. I especially appreciate the fact that there's some opening cinematics that detail the story: a bad guy shows up, starts causing trouble, and you have to collect some crystals in order to beat his ass. It's not an innovative story by any means, but I appreciate the fact that the author went to the trouble.
Now, while it may be a great game, it still has a lot of annoyances. First off, you're going to spend a lot of time wandering around, not knowing where the hell you're supposed to be going. Scattered around, you'll find people and fairies who live in secret holes in the ground and provide you with useless information. They will tell you about items that will allow you to go into various areas, and items that will benefit you in various ways, but they will rarely tell you where to find these items, and when they do, you probably won't be able to get to them at that time anyway. So, you climb back to the surface, and the monsters there will have respawned by that time. Once, I fought through a bunch of skeletons in a graveyard and entered a secret cave. The stupid whore in there actually told me that skeletons will come alive when you walk near them. Now, how could I have gotten there and not have known that? Anyway, I left, and the skeletons had come back, and they killed me. Thanks, bitch!
Anyway, get used to it. A lot of times, you'll come out of a hole, and the enemies will be right next to you, and moving in your direction. Sometimes this happens when moving from one screen to the next, and if you ever look at your inventory after killing all the enemies, well, it'll probably happen then, too.
This is another vey annoying aspect of the game. In this game, you are going to die. A lot. Many, many times. And a lot of times, it will be through no fault of your own. I've never been a huge fan of games that cast you as the lone hero, up against innumerable enemies, and then proceed to kill you over and over again. Why doesn't the king send an army into the Lost Valley? Why can my character come back from the dead anytime he wants. It's just a little bit unrealistic, I think. Certainly, it happens in many games, but that's no excuse. If you want to kill me, make it hard, okay? And once it happens, keep me dead, or at least give me some reason to believe that my coming back to life makes any kind of sense. Anyway, here's the deal: you start off with 5 hit points, which ain't a whole lot. When you level up, that goes to ten. Trouble is, a lot of the enemies you'll start seeing will still kill you in one hit anyway. So, you have to wander around some more, killing enemies until you level up enough to get 25 hit points and take two hits from these guys. It's funny: any of the enemies who you'll face at level 3 are tougher than the first boss. You'd think they'd wise up and move in on his turf or something. Anyway, levelling up is just a pretty stupid convention to begin with. I mean, it's not like you're ever at work, and suddenly you've gained enough experience to be twice as good at your job as you were the moment before. But once you do level up in Lost Valley, the game is going to tell you about it almost every time you enter a new screen. It's kind of an annoying glitch that seems like it should have been easy to avoid having in the game. But anyway, I'm digressing a little. Another bad video game convention used here, which I thought had died out long ago, is manual mapping. Some of you old folks may remember, long ago, computer game makers actually felt it was reasonable to expect game players to bust out paper and pencil and draw their own maps of computer game worlds, as if everyone on the planet is a total dork with no life. Weren't computers invented for the purpose of taking care of menial chores like this? Just give me my automap, and let me play the game.
All that said, Lost Valley is still head and shoulders above most click games. It looks and plays like a professional game from the early days of computer games, which is about as much as one can expect from people who work alone on 2D games. The bottom line is that, despite it's annoyances, it's fun, it's free, and it was a lot of work on the part of the author. Good job, and thanks for releasing it to us.
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