Old RPG Review #17: Faria: A World of Mystery and Danger!

NuMetalManiak
What the hell?

Okay, this is an NES game, very much a hybrid of two different types of RPGs. Game Arts developed it, but it didn't sell well. If anything, I just randomly picked this game. Now, I don't think it's "worst RPG ever" material, but it's far from best. Under average would be how I'd describe it; okay let's go.

Gameplay: Faria combines the navigation of Final Fantasy and the action-adventure aspect of Legend of Zelda. Moving the character around the overworld, only to be thrown into a random battle (yep random encounters again), but your character has free movement. The battles end when you kill everything that tries to kill you. Pretty typical, but you also gain experience and levels as you defeat monsters. Well there's always running away, but in this game, running away is a damn penalty. You might lose things like money, items, even equipment and experience! This actually means that grinding is unfortunately a thing, and unfortunately for this game it's easy to forget when you gain a level (there's only a tone that tells you you did).

In battle, your character usually wields a sword-like weapon, like an actual sword or in the beginning, a small knife or something. It's obviously a close range weapon done in Zelda-style. But there are other too. Two types of magic can be used as long range attacks, and you get arrows to fire at a distance. There's also bombs, but these are the hand bombs, you know the ones with handles on them that you throw, and they DO hurt you unlike how Link's bombs worked in Zelda. There are jump shoes, almost fully evasive things to use. One more item, which is crucial for certain enemies, is magic glasses, which can see invisible enemies. Only one of these secondaries can be used alongside the close-range weapon, which makes things a bit more of a strategy game. Let's not forget you have a limited number of arrows, bombs, etc.

Leveling up your character increases the power obviously, and makes taking out enemies much easier. Trying to hit enemies with a sword is actually a little tougher. One complaint have is my character's hitbox is larger than it really should be, especially from the north side, making it tough to avoid damage. Enemy movements are usually predictable, some are horizontal melee, others diagonal melee. The most annoying enemies are the ones with ranged attacks, worst of them are the tiny invisible wizards, most often seen in forest regions, which have made me rage for the worst. A very select few enemies are capable of poisoning your character, and curing it is not easy at all. Either have the RIGHT TYPE of antidote or just go to a town clinic. I'd recommend loading a save state if it ever happens.

Last thing, dungeons. These are entirely Zelda style, usually with a predicable boss at the end. Lots of treasure, and some enemies in every room. A few nasty surprises involve pit traps which take you to another room. The nastiest dungeon is the Phantom Towers. Although you only need to enter one, the layout of the towers is infinite. Only by looking in VGmaps.com did I find the right path to go. If you ever play this game, use the maps on VGmaps or you'll be lost. Gameplay Grade: C+

Plot: I'm skipping the characters section as there's not much to talk about there.

Faria is actually the name of the world you're in. You name your character at the start, and she (yes it's a GIRL you're playing as!) appears in a town called Ehdo. Going to the nearby castle, she is tasked with rescuing the king's daughter from an evil wizard (yep, the cliche of princess rescue exists here). When your character does that, she takes her back. Now the law of rescuing the princess means that the person who rescued her has to marry her. But guess what? Lesbianism or whatever isn't a thing in this game. Not to worry, there's just a random party instead, and the people of Ehdo are somehow inflicted with food poisoning. Also, the princess is a f****** butterfly.

To save the town, our heroine has to find some medication. Simple? Well not really, there's a lot of walking involved. Although she cures the town, returning to the castle finds that the king has been petrified. The only way to reverse this is to kill what's responsible. And so the heroine has to continue trekking across the landscape, and even a trip to the sky of all places. At one town, it is revealed that the princess of Ehdo is actually an impostor. Our heroine journeys to the Phantom Towers, reveals the real one, gets past the boss there, and rescues the real princess (who's still a f****** butterfly). Upon returning to the castle, the impostor princess is revealed as the wizard, and you fight him. You know, the only thing worse than a butterfly princess is an evil bastard masquerading AS a butterfly princess. What the hell.

Anyways, defeating the wizard does two things. First, it cures the king of the stone state he was in. The second, much more surprising, is that it restores our character's gender. Apparently, our character was from an empire of awesome men, and that assh*** wizard came along and turned them all into women. Well defeating the wizard reversed that as well, and our new hero has a stereotypical Final Fantasy fighter look.

Back to the plot. Well, the wizard has that never say die attitude, so his ghost tries to merge itself with a dragon, and by doing that he will become invincible. Okay, now your GUY has to go after him, and this ends up in the final moments of the game, traversing icy caverns to the final dungeon, filled with many bad monsters. By killing the wizard just before he completely merges his soul into the dragon, the hero captures him in the legendary sword inside the dungeon and then returns to the castle. Happy ending for everyone? I think so.

Overall this plot is very cliche in a lot of places, from the rescuing of a princess, to someone posing as the princess, to a villain that never wants to die, to a dragon. There were some interesting twists, sexually speaking. I'm not a fan of the plot, the gameplay was alright. Also, the princess is a f****** butterfly. Grade: C

Music: A high point, thankfully. The town themes are good for the NES. The overworld theme is very somber and imposing, and the battle theme is also very saddening. But in a good way. I like Faria's music. Grade: A-

Overall Grade: C+

As I said, Faria isn't worst material at all. But it's not great. For an NES game, it's hard, it's basic in design. Music is fine, and the hybrid gameplay is pretty cool, but it isn't popular just because it combines action-adventure with regular navigation. The hitbox of the character brings it down. If you want to check it out, do it out of curiosity, as I did, but don't be blown away by it.

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