53 people found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 24.5 hrs on record
Posted: Nov 11, 2014 @ 10:06am
Updated: Mar 15, 2015 @ 3:39pm

Elliot Quest is an exploration based platformer that borrows heavily from the platforming classics of yesteryear such as Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Kid Icarus, Metroid and Wonder Boy in Monster World. You play as Elliot, a young man with a troubled past, afflicted by a powerful curse. The story here is secondary and is conveyed through short, vague cutscenes and occassional flashes of internal dialogue. It has yet to draw me in and is so far nothing more than a simple backdrop for the game itself.

Mechanically the game is very impressive and satisfying. You start with the simple ability to shoot and jump. Jumping is floaty and allows for change in trajectory mid jump which enables tricky platforming sections and the ability to fight in mid air. The arrows Elliot fires travel along a set arc rather than directly ahead allowing you to kill grounded enemies from above and calculate your aim. Killing enemies in succession fills a 'chain' meter in the bottom left of the screen which seems to increase your overall damage, of course it could be doing anything which leads me neatly to my next point.

Elliot Quest in true old-school style presents incredibly little in the way of tutorial, granted there's not a lot you can do at the start, but simple keybinding would have been sufficient. This becomes a greater problem later down the line however as new items and upgrades don't even come with a line of text explaining what they do or to what extent. Additionally, the game contains no options whatsoever beyond adjusting audio levels. No remappable keys, no screen-size options, nothing. The game opens in a window by default which can be maximized but cannot enter fullscreen and while controller support exists it does not seem to allow control with the analogue sticks, these are, however, only minor criticisms.

The game employs an overworld map with sidescrolling levels and enemy encounters (think Gargoyle's Quest on the gameboy).The metroidvanian influence becomes clear during the first level as I was soon presented with inaccessible secrets and shortcuts I would have to come back to later with enhanced abilities. Those who care to explore will be rewarded with many 'secret walls' and rooms containing treasure, all optional and all hidden. There are a number of collectibles to find including rare treasures which are housed in Elliot's trophy room and 11 crystals - I have no idea what either might do, but I want them all.

The first dungeon boss bestowed upon me the power of the wind which can be used not only as a means of traversing new areas, but for combat aswell, allowing me to travel through enemies and stun them while still being able to fire arrows from within my mighty typhoon. Pretty much all spells and items thus far have had different uses in and out of combat making the upgrades you receive feel more meaningful as opposed to simply being a tool to beat the dungeon it was found in. The inspiration from the Zelda series is undeniable here from the dungeons, to the items ,even the aesthetic. And as expected, before long, I found ERROR sitting happily in one of the village houses.

Graphically, the game creates a pleasing, simplistic pixel world with vibrant colours and a charming style. Nothing fancy here, and I wouldn't ask for any more. The soundtrack by Michael Chait is well constructed with suitably archetypal tracks that scream 'dungeon, or 'town' or 'forest' (which if I didn't know any better was a straight rip from A Link to the Past's lost woods theme). Some of the compositions are very enjoyable to listen to and knowingly harken back to the 8-bit classics the game so heavily resembles.

Mild rpg features such as exp and skill trees grant a sense of purpose to the never ending slaughter in which you will partake. Enemies respawn every time you exit and re-enter an area and many cannot be comfortaby avoided. The fact that even when revisiting an area for the umpteenth time and having to kill the same enemioes over and over, im still benefitting myself reduces much of the drudgery of backtracking. Additionally the passive abilities granted by the multiple skill trees can assist somewhat in combat and help to vary gameplay styles a little potentially aiding replayability. By the time the second town is reached the gold gained from backtracking and grinding can be put to good use for more meaningful equipment upgrades, Elliot keeps getting stronger and the pace never slows.

Overall Elliot Quest is a fun, suitably challenging (the difficulty seemed to leap up after the first dungeon, compounded by the fact that health is scarce) adventure-platformer that should appeal greatly to sidescroller, Zelda and metroidvania fans. It's a little rough around the edges but the gameplay shines through. There's a meaty amount of content on offer here, rife with secrets, shortcuts and easter eggs. There are a few frustrations such as sometimes cheap insta-deaths (which can be a real pain late on in the game as dying results in loss of XP), and I got painfully lost on more than one occasion, but those looking for a challenge should feel right at home with Elliot Quest's old-school style of action platforming.

=EDIT=
Developer Ansimuz has continued to patch and update the game. Fullscreen option can now be toggled from the ingame pause menu. Game fixes and enhanced pixel resolution have also been added.

Pros:
+Nice overall difficulty
+Exploration is fun and rewarding
+Classic dungeon delving meets metroidvanian upgrade syatem
+Clean pixel graphics
+No hand-holding

Cons:
-No hand-holding
-Backtracking can become a tedious memory game
-Some music tracks border on plagiarism (overall nice)
-Lack of polish

Score: 8.5/10
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3 Comments
EmP Mar 1, 2017 @ 12:30pm 
Hey - there was a gap in our group's review rota, and I've remember liking this one when I read it a while back, so I've spotlighted it for the day. You can see it HERE , if you'd like. Good work!
AmBrew Mar 23, 2015 @ 3:35am 
Great and well written review from someone who has clearly had much experience with retro platformers. While many people say this reminds them of Zelda 2, I feel that this has Wonder Boy In Monster Land written all over it... Easily the best game on Master System IMO.
Arthur McLane Mar 22, 2015 @ 5:47pm 
Wie bescheuert muss man sein für ein Game das am C64
schon als Augenkrebsgame gegolten hat Geld auszugeben.
Ja es sogar noch Postiiv zu finden ??

Mainstream = PISA LIVE !!