I beg of you Lin– err… I mean, Jazeta, save the princess!

She turned me into a— oh… nevermind…

And now, on to mediocrity!

I love The Legend of Zelda. I always have. The dungeon-crawling, the treasure-hunting, the monster-slaying, the whistle-blowing, and oh-my-goodness the ever so original and incredible music of these games. I honestly feel that Zelda will influence my emotions positively until the day I die. It’s my favorite game series of all time, and I will likely devote an entire saga of posts to it one day. Until that time, however, I shall present you with something far less interesting more relevant.

Neutopia is, quite simply, The Legend of Zelda. There’s really no better way to describe it. Follow the links above and you’ll quickly see the similarities. Most of the game play elements that made Zelda so unique from the rest of the gaming world at the time of its inception are brought to the TurboGrafx with updated graphics.

The sad thing is, that seems to be the only improvement over Zelda. Don’t get me wrong, the game is fun. Slay monsters, find stuff, rescue things, whatever… But it’s overly simplified when compared to the original Zelda for the NES. For example, no less than 5 minutes into the game you have already found bombs and medicine for your character. And, in 10 minutes, you’ve probably already found the fire wand, which allows you to burn down trees to find hidden stairways into all sorts of places (okay, maybe not all sorts of places, cause they all look about the same, and usually they’re just full of people telling you stuff that a 5-year old probably already figured out about the game).

But it almost works. Almost.

Anyone that is over the age of 10 and has played any of the other Zelda titles, particularly the original or A Link to the Past, is going to find the game beneath them. I’ve been using the game as little more than a pastime, once I realized how simple it is. But, at the same time, it’s easy to pick up and play for a short while, because it rarely takes more than an hour to accomplish a significant goal in the game (i.e. finding one of 8 medallions so you can rescue the princess).

So, why buy it?

Well, if you are a Zelda fan, and you want something to tide you over until the next 2-D top-down release, it’s not a bad way to keep yourself occupied. And there are some plus sides to the game for certain types of players. For example, if you don’t care overmuch for the more puzzle-y side of Zelda titles, you don’t need to worry. It becomes pretty obvious early in the game where to bomb for secret doors, and the fire wand can be used again and again to burn away bushes (and for some reason, rocks) to find hidden stairs. The most complicated puzzle I’ve encountered so far is what to do with the rest of my day after I finish the game (it appears to be fairly short, ‘though I’m only a little less than halfway through the levels, and they may get significantly longer in the second half).

Regardless, if you can’t play Zelda, play a Zelda-clone. Just don’t tell anyone that you think it’s better than Zelda. It’s likely to get you mugged.

(Originally posted October 2, 2007)

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