Games like: Secret of Mana, Illusion of Gaia, Beyond Oasis
Hours Played: 5 hours
No one roots for the bad guy unless you’re Dr. Evil, Cobra Commander or Barney Stinson. But there are more than a few times that I would have enjoyed playing as the villain in an adventure game. Who wouldn’t like to take a day in the shoes of the likes of Darth Vader, Ganondorf or Browser? Choasoft Games has heard the pleas and created EvilQuest: an action adventure, hack-and-slash RPG of sorts that begs to ask a simple question “Why save the world when you can conquer it?
EvilQuest first saw the light of release on Xbox Live Arcade then slowly showed up on the PC through the likes of Steam and Desura. Simple install through one of these store fronts gives you the power of evil in your hands using either your keyboard or favorite gamepad. Since the game has Xbox Live ties, using my trusty 360 controller gave me all of the button specific menu options and even a sweet controller break down for in-game moves. Using a gamepad will give you access to use the analog stick and directional pad to move your character across the screen. All of the shoulder buttons and triggers are tied to quick items or cycle through your inventory on the fly. Pressing in the right thumbstick will toggle the presence and size of your mini map as you adventure.
You take on the role of Galvis: a dark knight with a quest to secure the ultimate power. Gathering followers he turns his fight to those that oppose him killing one after another. Soon, one of his counterparts betrays Galvis and he is captured set to live out the rest of his days in a prison cell. After the ritual of lunch, a guard takes it upon himself to rid the world of Galvis once and for all only leaving himself dead and Galvis escaping. Now, with revenge on his mind, Galvis sets out of destory the four legendary seals to unlock the ultimate power and take what is rightfully his. Or, at least, what he thinks is his.
You’ll fight enemies hand to hand using an array of weapons including a knife, various swords and axes. Killing enemies will drop certain items like antidotes, health herbs or gold and will also give you experience. Much like any RPG, gaining enough experience will award a level up giving you points to add to certain areas of your character such as strength or magic. Here is the area that you can really fine tune to your type of gameplay.
There’s also a wide range of magic attacks as well. These range from ice, fire, earth and health. As you journey through the game, you’ll have more powerful spells that may cost more mana to perform but will lend to a more devastating blow. Each magical spell has a different path of attack. For instance, the water spell will create waves in four different directions whereas the earth spell creates a giant boulder that rolls at different angles as it touches the screen’s edges. Knowing which spell will work best for which enemies and the surrounding area will help aid in your quest. Your evil quest.
Galvis is a really bad dude. Sure he wants the ultimate power to take over the world, but upon entering certain townspeople’s houses, the altercation would end in the death of the homeowner simply because Galvis doesn’t like the cut of their jib. I always felt weird going into people’s homes and taking their gold much like in the Legend of Zelda. Typically they give you a good bit of information and there just happens to be pots lying around that you smash and take their money. But with Galvis, to me, it feels more justified in killing the homeowner then taking their money. That’s OK to me… for some reason. You learn quickly that Galvis takes no prisoners and cares not what others think of him and it’s up to you to decide if you want to walk in his shoes or not. Because either way, Galvis will continue to kill innocent people for his own gains.
Scattered throughout the land are all types of enemies to encounter and treasure to discover. Most of the dungeons you run through will have some of the armor or weapons that will aid you in your trails. But there’s also quite a bit of chests to uncover in the far reaches of the overworld as well. I get to play one of my favorite games within a game: uncovering the map. The minimap has a “fog-of-war” aspect to it that will only reveal itself once you’ve traveled through it. For some reason, I get great pride in exploring every inch of an area. EvilQuest will reward you for it by hiding some of the better armor and weapons earlier in the game just by walking around and looking for it. Sure, you’ll also get some great stuff from grinding and purchasing them or just naturally as you progress through the game. But EvilQuest allows you to really play the game how you would like to play it.
EvilQuest isn’t without its faults. Towards the beginning of the game, you’ll discover the ability to shoot a projectile by holding your attack button and charging it much like the 360 sword swipe in the Legend of Zelda. But to perform the move, you have to be standing completely still. If you hold the charge and start walking, the attack’s power doesn’t gain unless you stop again. This is either due to a programming restriction or just poor design. So much in fact that I hardly used it because I felt like it was slowly me down. There are many times where you’ll be encountering multiple enemies at once and standing in one place just to charge up your shot would prove useless. You can also use this projectile to hit switches from across the screen but I only saw a reason for this in the beginning few stages of the game.
The hit detection at times seems to be a bit off as well. With the top down perspective, the game will sometimes put enemies above you. If they happen to walk towards your head, you’ll be damaged. Other times, when trying to strike your opponent, you play this back and forth dance trying to hit them. Your weapon comes out straight from your chest like some of the beginnings of the action RPG genre did. This takes a bit to get use to but once you do, the enemies seem to have a mind of their own attacking in one direction only to turn around in mid-strike to hit you. Granted, these things are more nitpicking than anything, but your frustration will grow here and there from it.
EvilQuest’s graphics are some pretty impressive pixel visuals. The style feels more Super NES than anything and the cutscenes use big pixel art. You can tell that it feels like a college students project: strong black outlines, minimal detail. But it definitely gets the job done and you shouldn’t have any issue figuring out what everything is. You’ll adventure through many different areas including a lava island, a winter wonderland and the underground sewers. Accompanying you is some nice, albeit fairly generic MIDI music. The tunes are easily forgettable but does what needs to be done to get an extra push to keep the different areas significant. The boss battles add that extra epic to them as well.
What really doesn’t make that much sense to me? EvilQust is only 1.99 (USD). That’s it. Now, it’s not that long of a game (clocked in about three hours), but there’s a ton of content here. The game is fun, action packed and full of a ton of things to discover. Galvis is a bad, bad dude but he’s well written and justified by his own actions if you play into his role as a character. Sure there’s a couple of things that could use some fixing but EvilQuest completely took me by surprise. It deserves more than just a 1.99. Why Choasoft decided on that price point is a mystery to me. You deserve better EvilQuest.
EvilQuest is an action RPG game that gives you the chance to play as one of the most evil dudes I’ve ever met. Multiple areas to travel, tons of loot to discover such as weapons, armor and magic spells. Nice looking graphics and yet generic music gives EvilQuest a super cheap option for those fans of Illusion of Gaia or Secret of Mana. Don’t cross Galvis. He’ll kill you. Seriously. Then he’ll take your stuff.