The Cruel King and the Great Hero
One of the most serious disadvantages of The Cruel King and The Great Hero is, oddly enough, the lack of Russian localization. Because it's almost a perfect game for kids 7–10 years old, which just begs to be called «My first jRPG». And it's all the more frustrating that many kids will bypass it because of the language barrier.
The story of a girl, Yuu, the daughter of a great hero, raised by the Dragon King, — it's the cutest fairy tale book. And the authors don't shy away from positioning their creation that way. The characters look like they came out of a children's book. Each location looks like a cartoon appliqué. And the imagination with which the authors approach the surroundings is at times astonishing. And the fact that all the screen savers in the game are voiced by the same actress, once again reinforces the impression that you are being read a bedtime story.
And its bookishness Cruel King tries to use everywhere. Okay, not here «quests», Yuu just does «good deeds». Formally our beautiful heroine with a pot on her head doesn't kill anyone, she just beats up wild monsters until they escape. There is even an option to let weakened opponents go (to do so, however, is problematic, because they must first be punched on weakness, and opponents often have time to «die» before that).
The combat mechanics of the game as a whole is based on a simplified turn-based system — in a way that won't scare off a young player. When travelling through the local world, Yuu can randomly encounter a group of monsters at any time and find herself in a mini-arena with fixed positions of enemies and characters, where the order of actions is determined by level and speed parameter. Yuu initially only has a normal punch, but as she gains levels she automatically learns powerful special moves that use up her slowly regenerating energy in combat. Everything is very simple, straightforward and surprisingly placating, for the ear-to-ear grin on Yuu's face when the dragon-daddy unobtrusively lights his sword for the most powerful attack, just warms the soul with its mimicry.
In fact, simplicity, clarity and cuteness — these are the main components of the game. So, the way Yuu moves can be used to gauge the danger of an area. If the girl runs, it means that either there are no enemies in the area, or they are quite weak, and if she just walks — There's a small chance of getting beaten up. Also, we're always told in advance if anyone around here needs Yuu's help. The map always clearly shows where to find the right item/character. Which, however, does not save from the need to chat with everyone you meet, because the monsters of one type barely differ from each other in appearance, and the star on the map shows the position of the desired with a very large margin of error.
And if we're swearing, it's worth noting this: if you're strictly following the story, then Cruel King is a pretty short game, but if you do good deeds, you can get stuck for long hours, full of constant backtracking through side-scrolling levels and corridors. And it is overshadowed by the fact that Yuu run into monsters well too often. And even if there's a consumable in the game designed to temporarily scare away the petty scum, our heroine will still fight with the weaklings not much less.
No less strange work and the probabilities of individual skills. So, at one point we're given an untrained partner with a special move «hide», Due to both lower the aggressiveness of opponents in her attitude, and increase the chance of evasion. Made it so that she'd have time to pump in a few battles and not be a burden. You only have to use a special trick when the monsters start harassing the new girl and hit her with surprising accuracy and pain. And given that the game was released long ago back home in the Land of the Rising Sun, and all the major bugs should have been fixed long ago, we can only assume that everything works exactly as intended.
And yet, despite the slicing circles on the map, the overkill of battles with petty racket and not always clearly working buffs, the game evokes positive emotions. In this fabulous world is just a pleasure to be. And you can watch Yuu's animations for hours, soaking in her wild delight and joy of learning.
The Cruel King and The Great Hero — it's a great game for kids, but it's also easy for an adult to enjoy. From a nice style. From the warmth that radiates from the characters. And just from a good tale. Such games are needed to relieve stress, and The Cruel King and The Great Hero does an excellent job of this.