Game Boy Advance - USA - 1st edition.
In the game, you play as Lady Sia, a shape-shifting warrior princess who must defeat a dangerous army of anthropomorphs called the T'soas, created by a warlock named Onimen.
|Yes. Not all collectibles.
I did an online search for underrated Game Boy Advanced games, and this title came up on many of them, so I decided to play it. I had high hopes for it, and the game had some interesting ideas, but it was clearly released prematurely and pretty disappointing. It would have been a much better game if it had a couple more months of polish.
Best Version: Game Boy Advance
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The game has great pixel art and animation. It also takes advantage of sprite rotation.
- Each level has new enemies, background art, interactive devices, etc. It's clear a lot of work went into the game's design.
- The game has the simple level-based platformer concept of the 1990s which feels a bit dated by 2001.
- The audio is pretty bad. The music has such a low fidelity, it sounds like it was arranged on a Game Boy tracker rather than for the Game Boy Advance, and the timbre of the music doesn't fit a fantasy theme. The game is also lacking sound effects when you'd expect them so there are rarely any auditory cues throughout the game. This makes it difficult to know if what you're doing is the right thing.
- Enemies have very large hit boxes with their attacks and collisions, so you often take hits from them even if their weapons don't visibly reach you.
- The detailed backgrounds may look nice, but they often make it difficult to know what you can stand on. I died several times assuming something would be solid.
- Most levels end when you reach the far right of the map, but not all of them. There also isn't a visual cue for the exit. This means you will sometimes inadvertently end the level. This wouldn't be such a problem, but one of the game's goals is getting all the collectibles, and, if you end it before you get them all, you will have to replay the whole level to get the ones you missed.
- The shielded enemies take too many hits to defeat.
- With all its problems, it's pretty clear that the game was shipped before it was complete. One clear example of this is that there was supposed to be a final boss sequence where you actually get to defeat the boss, rather than it just flying away, but it was cut from the game (though some of the graphics and code remains in the ROM).
- A lot of the levels were poorly designed. The Gremlins Machine, for example, has several sections where it isn't very clear what you're supposed to do. There are cages where you can drop cages over floor switches. Initially, you might think that you're expected to trap the bunny monsters in them to have them hold down the switches, but the bunnies don't trigger the switches when they walk over them, and, besides, they can walk through the cages anyway. But, in fact, you are supposed to do this. It turns out, the bunnies are unable to walk through the cages when you drop one on them, and, only while in the cage, they somehow weigh enough to trigger the floor switch. Later, in the same level, you ride a mine cart. You're going so fast, it's difficult to see the break in the track which drops you to your death, so you'll likely die your first time on it. The next few times you ride the same cart, there is so much on the screen, its difficult to see it, but in the lower right, the game is prompts you to mash the jump button to avoid the pit. You're only given about a half-second to notice and respond to it before dying, but, if you hit jump, you'll clear the chasm, only to be expected to do it again a second later. If you survive both falls, you'll jump from the mine cart onto a narrow platform above a deadly pit while mashing the jump button and likely fall anyway.
- I found the bosses to be particularly annoying. Not because they were especially hard, but because I couldn't find ways to actually hurt them. The walrus left me scratching my head until I stumbled upon a path to victory, and the final boss required me to read the manual to learn about a control not used elsewhere in the game. Most bosses are in an invincible state while attacking you, then become vulnerable for a moment so you can get a hit in, then repeat the loop. This is typical (if lazy), so it wasn't too bad. However, without sound effects or visual cues, it's often hard to tell if you're actually hurting them. They just require a lot of trial and error, but repeatedly dying in the process, was not very fun.
- I encountered a few bugs while playing:
- In beast mode you frequently fail to land a jump and hover just above the ground. This usually corrects itself on the next jump.
- In the final boss, sometimes the little monsters get stuck in the floor where you can't reach them. Since you can't kill them, the boss never drops the stone block, and you're forced to kill yourself on the spikes to prevent a soft lock.
- When you reach the ending of the credits sequence, the text becomes garbled and the credits never end.
|Strong female character?
|Lady Sia is not only a powerhouse, she's also playable and the lead heroine!
|I think there is only one named woman.
|Strong person of color character?
|There are no non-white characters.
|There are no queer characters.