Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"8 Eyes", NES, 1988.

Some ads make better use of their comic-book context than others. I know nothing about this game, but its ad artwork is awesome, using flat colours (a technique that would eventually be emulated in a very hardware-intensive fashion as "cel shading") to evoke 5 parallax fields of depth with virtually no details beyond the central hero, his dashing costume (though you tell me -- is he wearing pants or not?), and his immediate boney opponent's ribcage. If I was to play this game on period hardware I'd hope that the display would look virtually nothing like this ad, but I dig how they're going for an expressionistic shot at giving the reader a feeling of what playing the game is like -- teaming up against overwhelming odds. The other enemies are just vague blobs of menace -- the reader gets to fill in the blanks with their own imagination. Well played!

8 EYES

Featuring the new
DUAL ATTACK MODE!

As Orin the Falconer, you must save the world from the evil of the 8 Eyes. Thse Jewels of Power are held by the King's dukes, who plan to rule the world for their own profit. Control Orin and your falcon Cutrus alone, or in the unique simultaneous mode, where you are Orin, and your friend is Cutrus. Contains Password feature.

Taxan (and more specifically, their sexy and exciting Consumer Division -- we won't get into their research wing and the military contracting here) isn't exactly a household name (though it must bear some relation to Naxat, because... we need a sister corporation and we have no imagination) but they're out there selling their game like a boss. We just don't care how ridiculous our game's logo is, or the metaphorical leap you need to make in order to associate the gems with "eyes"; our game has a couple of standard features you should know about and also it has a plot which will no doubt captivate you. (Well, needing to save the world from those who plan to rule for their own profit is as timely now as it ever was.) Who is this King, and is he friend or foe? What is his relation to the sinister Dukes? Is he a benevolent monarch whose hands have become constitutionally tied by his vassal aristocrats in some Magna Carta-type affair? Taxan, if you didn't want me asking these questions, you shouldn't have mentioned the King in this ad.

Single-player control over two characters is a curious innovation (I guess this is "the new DUAL ATTACK MODE!"); password feature however isn't anything to crow about, except of course that what they're saying is "we were too cheap to add a battery for game saving but the game is big enough to benefit from sustained play over a long period", which isn't bad, even if it manifests as using a joystick to enter AJRUENW5LXURNS89I1 correctly. (C'mon, at least jumping through those hoops with the Game Genie gets you some sort of enhanced play experience, not just a resuming of what you got when you powered up!)

Taxan, would you like to say the names Orin and Cutrus a few more times? And my parting shot: wanna bet that Cutrus is some spoony retranslation of "Curtis"?