The second week of 2011 would see another promising OHR debut, mjohnson092088's "Final Dragon Legacy". His story begins with Friedrich and Loki battling their way through a dungeon to stop a monster who threatens to end the world, and eventually segues into Friedrich's son Hero and his quest to follow in his father's footsteps.
Effortlessly conveying an 8-bit retro vibe without feeling like he's holding back, mjohnson092088's graphics leave little to complain about. Some grid here or there only serves to remind us of the genre's roots and subtracts nothing from the stylish visuals. His only laziness is in leaving the battle background entirely black. Indeed, laziness is nowhere else to be found. Effort and thought are all over "Final Dragon Legacy", from custom menus to a unique means of escaping battle, mjohnson092088 shows that he's not about to take any RPG tropes for granted. Unfortunately, it's in these decisions that the game shows its faults.
Eschewing the traditions of old, "Final Dragon Legacy" features neither overworld saving nor dungeon save points, instead requiring you to save at a church in town. Running from a hopeless battle means choosing the "Flee" option during your turn and not holding down the venerable Esc key, a command that may or may not be succesful. If it fails you have to hope your turn meter fills up before the enemies have their way with you. It's an admirable attempt to add challenge, but coupled with the old school brutality of the game's battles, it leads to a lot of frustration.
It's easy to imagine a scenario in which a player fights their way across the overworld, from town to the dungeon, battles bravely through the dungeon, exhausts their supplies taking out the boss, only to succumb to a random battle steps from town and have to do it all over again. Behind this merciless nature lies a gem of a game, but you've gotta have a masochistic streak to find it.
I remember watching a stream of this game when it was first released and thinking that I should play it. Took me 12 months but I finally got around to it, and it was well worth the wait. I wasn't the only one to wait either, as "Final Dragon Legacy" went mostly unheralded until May, when Willy Electrix wrote a fantastic review/interview for the 49th issue of HamsterSpeak.
mjohnson092088 is yet another developer with only one release in 2011, though as far as I know he's still tweaking and polishing. If you can stand the difficulty, play "Final Dragon Legacy" now. When mjohnson092088 hits it big, you'll be able to say "I remember when...".
2011 Score(Per Jan 9th): 71 out of 100
Part of Gomey's 2011 Year In Review