Title : Arkista's Ring
Publisher : American Sammy
Genre : Action Adventure
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1990
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $8-$10
Ah, what a way to start the New Year. After playing the Legend of Zelda approximately a million times when I was a kid, I was always craving something that could fill the void and match Zelda's epic-ness. Sure enough, there are plenty of them on the NES, but nothing quite met up to the standards that Zelda set. Arkista's Ring being one of them. Now this is one of those games that I played through a few times when I was younger as I thought it was pretty damn entertaining. It's not quite like Zelda as some of the other top down action / rpg games, but the box art makes it look the story revolves around like an 80's anime-styled female link, versus a Gundam-esque Gannon.
The question remains, does Arkista's Ring at least get the formula right? Well, let's see.
So as soon as you start playing the game, you're first reaction is....what the hell is this. It acts like a cross between Adventures of Lolo and Gauntlet without the puzzles. Not only that, I feel like I'm walking around the open world of a Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest game. You take the role as Christine...some elvish archer, who needs to battle her way through over 100 levels of monsters and mayhem.
There's a slew of monsters scattered about the game. At least the game does a good job of changing it up each level and introduces new monsters pretty consistently. Repeats make appearances throughout the game, but at least they all have their own abilities that annoy the crap out of you Destroy enough monsters, and you get a key to unlock the door to the next level.
At first you're equipped with only your bow, but monsters will occasionally drop item upgrades to help you along your tedious travels. You'll acquire a few items : potions, wands that destroy everything on the screen, weapon upgrades, armor upgrades, health upgrades, etc. Typical RPG themed items.
The game has a few annoying quirks that just drove me absolutely mad. I hated it most NES games where you can't just change your direction by tapping on the directional pad without making your character move one tile forward. This is one of those cases. Do you know how many times I forced myself to run into a monster, just because I had to switch the way I was aiming?
Another thing was the repetition. There just wasn't enough variation between the levels to hold my interest. It was basically all mindless dungeon crawling without the exploration. If there were puzzles added to these stages, this game would have been taken to a new, and much improved state. To make matters even worse, there are only 32 different variations of stages. Remember I said that there are over 100 levels? Yeah, well you repeat the levels 4 times. Come on, that's just lazy.
The game plays like an arcade game much more than an action-RPG. With that said, I shouldn't even be lumping this is in as a Zelda comparison. In fact, now that I think about it, screw it. Arcade game..not an action-rpg. Should be called more of a Gauntlet clone. Despite it's downfalls, it's mindless action is still entertaining, but can only last for so long.
Final Score (out of 5) :
Until next time. Keep on gaming!