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Sep 28

The Game From The Black Lagoon

I have something of a complicated relationship with the 1992 SNES game Lagoon, most of them having little to do with the game itself. For more on those feelings, you’d be well-advised to set aside a day and check out my playthrough of it.

This, though, will focus only on my feelings of Lagoon as a game. And as a game, it’s…interesting. I’ll first point out that the game was first released on the Sharp X68000 with Ys-like gameplay, where you crashed into your enemies to damage them. For whatever reason, the SNES version uses a different system, such that the game almost becomes A Link to the Past with more RPG elements.

The issue with this change, and likely the main reason people know of the game: The range of your resulting attack is ridiculously short. The best part of this is that the initial sword you acquire is named “Short Sword”. “Okay, that’s cool, it’s a short sword, surely the next sword I get will be longer”, the game goads you into thinking. Nope.

Or rather, the graphical representation of said attack is very short–the actual hitbox of the attack is a bit longer, such that you get used to it fairly quickly when attacking horizontally. You also, eventually, acquire magic spells that alleviate the problem of “Why does my attack have no range?” when not fighting bosses.

Speaking of bosses, some of them are quite challenging, due mainly to that short-range attack I wrote about earlier. In particular, the second boss, Natela, is a challenge pretty much no matter what, and another boss, Ella, is known for her 93977993 attack pattern, but is actually pretty easy once you know that pattern. The rest of the bosses, though, have the annoying sword working for them. When attacking vertically, you pretty much have one pixel along the Y axis you can stand on and hit them. Not my idea of fun, especially when the second-to-last boss in the game stopped me from beating him for about 20 years due to my inability to locate the one spot in the room you could stand to damage it.

One of the more amusing things about the game is how gloriously “stereotypical fantasy” it is. You have your Elves (In a forest), your Dwarves (In a desert), and your Hobbits (In a valley), plus another area names for Gnomes. And the thing is..the plot as constructed would work just fine if all of these races were to be changed to simple humans. It’s like the developers said “This is fantasy, so we need fantastic races, even if they make no difference to the actual game!”

In all, though, I enjoyed the game more than I expected to. Owing mainly to those feelings I mentioned earlier, I expected to be thoroughly miserable throughout my time playing it, but except for a few parts of the playthrough mostly unrelated to the game itself, I didn’t find it to be a bad experience. The music in particular is very enjoyable, taking its cue from Ys in terms of giving a more rock feel as opposed to the symphonic scores associated with the genre.

-EE

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