SNES - 1993
Also available on: Genesis
Description of Arcus Odyssey SNES
Arcus Odyssey is a hidden gem of the 16-bit era. A very rough gem, whose flaws distract from some of the innovations, but a gem nonetheless.
A.O. is a Gauntlet-like action dungeon crawl with RPG elements. Each of the characters has unique attacks and, therefore, play styles. Two characters have long ranged attacks, while the swordman has a devastating close range attack. Another character with a flail has intermediate range but with a “swing” that can hit multiple enemies around her. Players must explore and fight their way through a number of dungeons to save the world from an evil sorceress who will usher in an era of endless darkness and turn mankind into demon slaves.
The thin veneer of plot frequently cracks under a bad engrish translation. It's difficult to lay fault at the feet of the creators or the translators, but either way, the story is a mess, and clues and directions given to you by NPCs are somewhat muddled. This makes a few of the puzzles in certain dungeons a bit more difficult to solve than they should be, but not impossibly so. The rapid respawn of enemies within the dungeons is the bigger problem, given that you may need to backtrack in a few places.
There's some good character and concept art in A.O., but we don't really see enough of it, and the environments a tad monochromatic, even if there is a good variety between the levels. The NPC allies are a neat touch, even if their AI is doltish. It's a better-than-okay time-killer, and the multi-player mode might be fun to run with friends, but just really needed a bit more polish to live up to its potential.
Review By P. Alexander
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