Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Clueless Gaijin Gaming: Monster Maker

In which my American self attempts to play Japanese games with precious little working knowledge of the language.

This is a 1994 PC Engine Super CD-ROM import title I picked up last year, called Monster Maker. It appears to be trying to capitalize on the Princess Maker series, at least in terms of its overall cuteness factor, but it's more of a standard RPG in style.

Our purple-haired heroine is friends with all the animals, including a beautiful dragon.

Uh-oh! Something's gone terribly wrong at home. Better hurry back to town and see what the inciting incident is.

I have no idea what these people are saying, though I'm sure they're all worried about something having to do with their charred houses and injured children. In the spoken dialogue heard during my play session, I recognized only two Japanese phrases: Kawaii!, meaning "Cute!", and Gomen nasai, meaning "I'm sorry." So if I ever insult someone by calling them cute in Tokyo, I know what to say.

After some introductory speechifying, our heroine finds the road out of town blocked by a couple of inconveniently placed villagers, who are unlikely to move before she talks to the right people and learns more about the story. Of course, since I do not read or speak Japanese, all I can do is make her wander randomly around town and hope something triggers the next stage of the game. So we make the usual RPG rounds, talking to every person available and ransacking the chests in their homes to steal valuable items for her quest; apparently the citizens have appeared in an RPG before and are accustomed to this sort of intrusive behavior by adventurers, as nobody says a word about it.

At last we meet an elderly gentleman, who speaks to us in close-up with a full voice track for quite a while, then takes us downstairs to show our plucky gal some guy the villagers have tied up in a basement. Kinky!

But there's no time for deviant activity now. Our heroine finds a sack (stop it!) in someone's house which apparently has great sentimental value to her. As she leaves town, she contemplates it with brimming eyes and hugs it close to her chest.

Now she's officially off on her quest. The first "monster" she encounters outside of town is a little forest animal buddy first seen following her in the animated opening. No, he's not a stalker, he's a good guy. At least I think so... during the opening we observed him hiding in the bushes to watch some fairies bathing in a river. But cute critters in Japanese videogames are never evil, and he has the courtesy to wear overalls.

So he joins the party, and we're off to fight some monsters! Or make some. I haven't quite figured that part out yet. (Technical aside - the monster battle sequences run in a higher resolution than the rest of the game, probably for the sake of squeezing more statistics onto the screen.)

So we wander around on the map very, very briefly, then our heroine's plucky group runs into some killer rabbits.

We manage to take out two of them, but then...

Bunnies suck.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck sticking with this one--I admire your resolve!