Friday, September 12, 2014

Nerdicus SNES Review #39: Brain Lord

Title : Brain Lord

Publisher : Enix

Developer : Produce

Genre : Action RPG

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1994

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $20-$30

Before Squaresoft and Enix joined forces to become a powerhouse in RPG supremacy, they both devoted their time to producing some of the best RPG's for practically every console out there. Primarily, Enix stuck around with Nintendo and they seemed to have a really, closely bonded relationship. It wasn't surprising that Enix kept on pumping out games like the Dragon Quest (Warrior) series, and some other little forgotten games like this guy here. And...there's sort of a reason why it's forgotten.

Brain Lord was one of those games that I owned as a kid, and was regrettably stolen from me thanks to lending it to a friend. Point of advice. Don't loan games out to friends that are jackasses, because you won't get them back. You know, I'm talking to YOU. You know who you are, JOHN. Don't make me give your full name and address so my millions of followers can hunt you down and rescue my copy of Brain Lord from your vile clutches.

Did I say millions of followers? I meant ten. 
Anyway, Brain Lord wasn't the traditional RPG with turn based battles a la Dragon Warrior. Instead, Enix tried their luck with the Action RPG genre a la (I've used that twice in two sentences....editing, eh?) Legend of Zelda, which to this day remains to be my go-to genre. The combination of RPG and Action elements just brings the pace to a whole new level. And when Enix is at the helm, you know the game just has to be a success. Or does it?

The question remains - ARE YOU THE BRAIN LORD!?

Brain Lord revolves around the story of Remeer, who is one of the last of the Dragon Warriors. HA! Oh, Enix. I see what you did there. Are you incorporating Dragon Warriors into other so silly. Remeer is on a quest to discover what happened to his missing father, after he went off to explore the reason why dragons were attacking villages. Numerous allies join you in your quest, including a witch, a warrior, a bounty hunter, and a spiritual guru...not sure about the last one. It's up to you to solve the riddles of the dungeons that your father passed through and discover what really happened to him.

And ultimately become the BRAIN LORD, of a city called Toronto. Yup, Canadian love!

Honestly, for an Enix game I am surprised. The story is actually kind of weak. It seems like they tried to focus entirely on the gameplay here and disregard how important the story was. The NPC's and the cutscenes do provide some insight as to what's going on, but honestly, it's one of the weakest story lines I remember for the SNES. Shame on you, Enix.

But, this is an action RPG, so the real guts of this game is in the game play, is it not? So, let's check that out.

Your journey will take you across five different dungeon. The Tower of Light, Ancient Ruins, The Ice Castle, Droog Volcano, and The Platinum. Five may not seem like a lot, but these dungeons are somewhat long and equally grueling. Your quests through these dungeons will finally make you understand why this damn game is called BRAIN LORD. It's 75% about puzzle solving.

Sure, there are enemies, and you'll encounter quite a lot of them, they really aren't the focus of this game. I sort of felt like they were just in the way when I was trying to figure out how to hit switches, or move objects in order to get to the next room. It's hard to compare this to Zelda, but when you were playing Zelda the puzzles all had a trick to it, typically involving an item you just acquired in that dungeon. These puzzles just felt lackluster in design, and each dungeon had the same damn puzzle with the same damn solution for the most part. You're killing me, Enix...

And remember how I said you do have assistance in the form of allies? Well, these allies are more like the spiritual allies you'd find in other games. They aren't controllable, and they just float around helping you here and there with enemies that are being a nuisance. Even the boss fights (which there aren't many of), are really ill conceived.

The one thing this game had going for it was the sheer amount of weapons and items you can find during your quests. It does give you a hell of a lot of variety when you are fighting said enemies. The Boomerang has to be my personal favorite. So reminiscent of Link.

When you think of Enix, what do you think of? If an amazing soundtrack comes to mind, then you're dead on! Unfortunately, this game has a pretty pitiful score to it. Not sure what happened here, but this doesn't sound like an Enix game at all.

Besides the music, the graphics are so flat, with an overabundant use of tiles that it drives me absolutely mad. Talk about repetition....every location is a mirror image of the last one with a new tile set. 

What can I say? This game was a thorn in my foot and I had to bite my tongue saying it wasn't all it was cracked up to be especially due to my love affair with Enix. But this game isn't that good, and if you are looking for a good action RPG, stick with Zelda. This game doesn't even come close.

*smacks Enix's hands* BAD ENIX...BAD!

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until next time, keep on gaming!



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