When I first fired up Okedoke! for the initial playthroughs of the 2009 8-bit contest entries, I immediately wondered what I was about to get into. And while that statement may sound cryptic on its own--and standard toward all games--I must defend it on the account of the game's title screen. Part of the contest's rules were to limit the game's palette to a mere 16 colors. And it seemed the tile screen used a small fraction of those colors. And yet the thing blazed with life.
Then I started the game and was immediately impressed with the Game Boy Color looking professionalism. The floors had that classic style found in most early '90s games, the characters very cartoony, and the map layout just worked. The first town was quirky, was colorful in its own way, and the two paths clearly divided its branching chapters.
And I played about 8 minutes into it, saved it, continued on up the Mountain Path, had my butt handed to me by some scorpions, and I told myself I'd go back to play some more another day in a time after I finished playing all the other entries, in a time where I might've had the chance to sit down and give the next twenty or thirty minutes of remaining gameplay its due.
The following week I went back to try again. I had a strategy in mind--I'd level-bust a bit, despite how bored I get with level-busting, just to make sure I had the strength to get to the end of that cave at the top of the mountain, that same cave where I fell the first time. And I fought, and I returned to town to take a nap, and I fought, and I returned to town to buy some equipment (after spending a looong time trying to earn money for it), and I hacked my way through the caves with new equipment to the best of my ability, despite El Garbanzo's terrible ability to aim--even when he's attacking inanimate objects (get some training, man!!!)--and I finally got to the other end, expecting the game to tell me I had reached the end of the demo because Dark Blubber (or frrshnt...something on this forum) only had a month to make it, and I kept pressing forward waiting for that end, waiting for that moment when I could reclaim my life, and it didn't end. There was a ghost town on the other side. And another cave. And...and...the game just kept going. Just when I thought the story had to end at demo stage, there was a brand new section, and a city, and a Ninja Turtle, and I ended up having to check some of Dark Blubber's posts on Castle Paradox just to see if it was even a demo because this thing, despite having only been worked on for a month, was massive.
But, just when I thought it wouldn't end. It did. And I was disappointed because after spending five hours with it, I wasn't ready to stop. I had just broken down in front of a mountain town (maybe in Virginia, Kentucky, or some place in the Appalachians, I'm guessing), and the guy with the gastrointestinal problems told me that the demo was over, though I could load up a saved game and search for missed items some more if I wanted to. And I thought, I don't want to go back. I want to go forward. That way. Toward the mountain.
And that was about eight hours ago. Then I came to Slime Salad to see what was going on now, and I saw that Okedoke! had finally been uploaded here. And my first thought was, ooh, maybe this is the updated version. Maybe I get to go through all this again and go past the mountain town. But alas, the game's description convinced me otherwise. There's still more to come, and it's not coming today.
Moral of the story is this: for having only a month to work on this, I'm stunned at how much Dark Blubber crammed into this game. I'm stunned at how nice it looks, despite having five hours of gameplay and only a month of production time. And the characters were memorable to me--I'd say on the scale of Walthros, not so much for the diversity but just the fact that these characters could've been plucked right out of something off of Cartoon Network or Comedy Central. And the jokes are flawless. And as a practitioner of pop culture parodies, I'm very pleased with the level of intelligence he put into his rips. I mean, just the fact that he turned the Power Rangers into...well, I really shouldn't spoil this for you...I think it's fair of me to say that this is one of the best classic RPGs to come out of 2009 (and I think I just had a moment of deja vu in saying that), and really should not be missed, nor should it be left in limbo. I rank it up there with just about anything that ever came out on the NES or Game Boy.
I look forward to the full game.
Just please do something about everyone's ability to aim. It gets kinda lame to watch three characters miss a scorpion three turns in a row.
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