Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rygar (and Bionic Commando)

Rygar is one of the first RPGs I played. Much like Final Fantasy 3 did later in life, Rygar provided a huge shift in what games were for me. Unlike FF3, Rygar was a side-scrolling action RPG with more similarities to Zelda II than Final Fantasy. There was a power gain, as marked via experience gain. This is why I can categorize Rygar as an RPG to begin with.

Though Rygar provided an interesting plot, an unlocking ever expanding world (much like metroid), and an almost free-roaming gameplay experience; it did not have a save function. Which meant to reach completion, the player would have to be there the entire time, from start to finish. Looking back, another game that had a similar feel was Bionic Commando, which also had no save function.

The shift of view I experienced was the concept of character growth. Again this was also in Bionic Commando, and I’m starting to think I should credit both games for this development, considering that I played them at almost the same time.

For me though, while Rygar made sense, Bionic Commando was difficult to interact with as a child. Moving across the map, choosing the right weapons, and deciphering the uses of the communication devices at the age of 7 was difficult for me.

On the other hand, Rygar just let you run around and explore, much the same way Metroid did, which at the time was a much easier concept than maps and equipment. It is interesting then that we left RPG elements from our games for so long, when we had games from the late 80s already incorporating RPG into other genres.

It is this kind of integration that I’m interested in, and that I want to bring to games. Even if the increase is small or only provides health, it can help ease the curve of challenge in games so that it better fits an individual’s playstyle.