Before Final Fantasy VII, the role playing game genre just wasn’t that popular. Playing a turd like this, I can see why, as this must have been what games like Dragon Warrior and Zelda must have looked like to most gamers. Believe it or not, this was actually a very popular RPG for Japanese computer systems. It was regarded as one of the first console RPGs. However, it wasn’t bought to America until a few years later, and it’s ‘innovations’ had already been done by other games, most notably the awesome Legend of Zelda. By it’s release, not only were the graphics sub-par, the story was virtually nonexistent and the gameplay was a serious and boring pain in the ass. With stupid looking enemies, a nonsensical battle system, and boring gameplay, this early NES game would turn anyone off to the genre. For years to come, this game’s pitfalls caused mainstream gamers to sleep on quality titles such as Lufia, 7th Saga, and Final Fantasy 2 – 6, or at least that’s what I think happened. After all, who’d want to play this crap when they could be playing Double Dragon or Castlevania?

Hydlide’s story is your typical fantasy RPG fare. An evil wizard has stolen a magic gem and turned the princess into three fairies. Playing as a knight named Jim, you set out to rescue the princess, defeat the wizard, and restore peace to the kingdom. To do so, you must develop your skills to become strong enough to defeat the monsters plaguing the kingdom, and that means LEVEL GRINDING! Sadly, this isn’t Diablo-style addictive and fun level grinding, this is frustrating pain in the ass Hydlide level grinding. To attack an enemy, you hold down the A button while running into them. It’s unsure weather you’re the one taking damage, or the enemy. The game’s world is arranged by tiles, so as you scroll across, the screen jerks over to the next section. Add in a repetitive music score (which sounds like the Indiana Jones theme played on a keyboard), and you have a game that no one is going to stick through to finish.

There were a few sequels, and although they added some new features (a crude morality bar and shops for items) they weren’t much better than the original. There was a remake of the game for the Sega Saturn featuring 3D graphics which was an improvement, but that isn’t saying much.