Now ever since I started watching JewWario’s You Can Play This, I had a keen interest in importing games from other countries, especially Japan. In the US, it’s kind of easy for most consoles, but PAL, sometimes not too kind, US SNES can play Famicom games while PAL cannot unless you have modded your console or have a universal adapter.
I do not have a Japanese imported game as of yet, but hopefully when I get adaptors I will get some imported games, until then, it’s emulators for me, and one Famicom game I found and really liked was Quest of Ki (or Kai no Boken, released only in Japan and was developed by Game Studio (…that’s quite a generic name for a game developer) and published by Namco in 1988.
Interesting fact about the game was that’s it’s actually a prequel game to 1984’s The Tower of Druaga and The Quest of Ki was the third game in the the Babylonian Castle Saga series and The Tower of Druaga was the first game in the series.
The demon Druaga has stolen the Blue Crystal Rod and has taken it to his tower. A goddess named Ishtar assigns the priestess Ki to go to the tower and retrieve the rod. So her objective is to go to the top of the tower to get the rod back.
So it’s mostly a puzzle/platform game with 100 levels, you must collect a key in each level, collect a chest for items if possible and go to the exit. Simple enough, but you do have to avoid enemies like slimes, ghosts, wizards, some other enemies that are too hard to explain.
Most of the time to get to places you must levitate, but there are some things that make levitating difficult, if you levitate and hit the ceiling, you will feel it and drop down until you hit the floor and you can go back to levitating again, even when you dash to a wall you fall and get stunned. The levels are easy at first, but then it gets tougher by level 20 and it will kick your backside, trying to jump over enemies and projectiles get harder and trying to levitate and move to another part can be a great challenge as you have to time your jumps carefully. If you do die many times on one level, the game can be quite forgiving and take away some enemies to help you, which is a nice thing for the game to do.
There many puzzle elements in the game and they can be very challenging but you will use many strategies to accomplish many tasks. There are treasure chest(s) in each level that can help you through the level but whatever ability you gain in a level can only be used within that level. I like some of the graphics, it’s quite appealing but some parts can be off-putting, the level design is incredibly repetitive, the same textures and walls over and over again. Some game enemy sprites have been taken from other Namco games like the Ghosts from Pac-Man and the tomato and dragon enemies from Dig Dug…well you will see them if you complete the game and the play ANOTHER 40 levels, they’ll be waiting. Speaking of, most of the original enemies look kind of scary, even for 8 bit they’re very effective. There is a lack of music though and the level music plays through all the levels, I find it memorable but you might find it irritating.
Overall, I found it to be a fun game, it has a great challenge and you feel good completing difficult levels, it’s a great import for an English speaking gamer, just don’t expect to understand the story at all if you can’t understand Japanese text…unless you get a translation patch.
You can get it on Famicom.