Review by TheSAMMIES
Cut down an army of orcs and their giant flea minions!
As mentioned on many other reviews for X68000 games, the computer system was really good at arcade conversions. The powerful processor and superior hardware were ideal for games that had fast action. Gardis Light is not an arcade game, but it could have fool everyone with its gameplay and general style. The game itself is very similar to Golden Axe and even has a strange one-player co-op gameplay mechanic with the computer acting as your buddy. It may not be the best beat em up out there, but it has never been on any system but the X68000 and makes for an enjoyable, if a bit generic, experience.
Story- The two main characters are the warriors Spura and Raite. Spura is a girl that fights with a shorter sword. Raite uses a much larger sword and looks kind of like Guts from Berserk. They live in Gardis, which is currently under attack by monsters. Spura and Raite are given orders to escort the princess of Gardis to a safe place and avoid getting killed by monsters. Unfortunately, the monsters kidnap her and the two warriors are out to save her and eventually get her back to safety.
Gardis Light, despite its name, can get pretty dark at times. You know about how your AI companion follows you around? He or she has their own invisible health bar and they will die before the game is over. You will be on your own in this game and there is nothing you can do about it.
Presentation- Gardis Light has a very interesting look to it. Human characters have no faces and generally look realistic. Monsters on the other hand, have faces, and generally look more detailed and sometimes a little scary. Human characters very rarely talk, or even make any noise for that matter. Monsters grunt when they feel pain or die. Its a little surreal, but it makes for a somewhat interesting approach to sound effects. Some of the enemies look pretty cool and unusual too, like any of the giant insect monsters and most of the bosses. Nothing beats mowing down an army of giant fleas with nothing but your sword.
The music is pretty good too. Its pretty heavy on the synthesizers and drums, which will get on some peoples nerves. The music is also very loud too, which may bother a some people. If you do not like the music, you can always turn it off. If you do like it, theres always the sound test screen where you can listen to the songs. It is available from the beginning, which is pretty cool.
Gameplay- Gardis Light is a little unusual as far as action games go. You move from one side of the screen to the other while trying to fulfill objectives that are not always communicated in an obvious way. The first level, for example has you protecting the princess and her horse. It is not immediately obvious that you are to do this, but you have to do it anyway. There are a few puzzles later on that might stump a few players, but otherwise the game is straightforward.
Combat is pretty simple. You can slash and jump with the Z and X keys. You cab also block by hitting the up arrow key. Blocking is essential, as enemies will sometimes attack faster than you are, but leave some room open for you to counterattack. It may not be the deepest combat system, but it is pretty fun. Most enemies have all of the same abilities that you do too, so fighting can get very engaging, especially if you are up against more than one enemy at a time.
For a short time, you will have an AI companion to help you. This AI companion will eventually die, probably around the first boss, maybe a little later if you are skilled enough. Your partner is very smart, though, and part of the fun of Gardis Lights early levels is trying your best to protect your companion. Keeping him or her alive will make the game easier, so it helps to do this.
Even with all of these good things, Gardis Light still has its share of flaws. Bosses may look cool and intimidating and have their own fun theme music, but they are usually boring to fight against. Just memorize their patterns, attack when they are vulnerable, and repeat. They tend to have very large health bars and take forever to defeat.
Gardis Light is also pretty short. This is not really a problem for me. I can appreciate a short game, but Gardis Light is the kind of game that you could beat in less than a day. It took me longer to write this review than to get to the end of the game. At least it is not too long. If Gardis Light were any longer, it would have started to drag on and get stale, which is something games with relatively shallow gameplay should not do.
Cool Fact- Gardis Light is a very buggy game. Turn on the NUM lock and mash the Number Pad. Somehow, this lets you skip levels. Its like a save feature and a cheat both rolled into one that damages your computer!
Also Try- Sprite made some good games for the X68000. They may look a little low budget compared to some of the computers other games, but they are generally pretty good. Try Zugya. Its a great overhead shooter thats similar to Bosconian and puts its own spin on the formula.
Product Release: Gardis Light (JP, 12/31/94)
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