Since angrily reviewing poor-quality NES games is still all the rage these days, I've been wondering why I don't see more reviews of games by unlicensed NES developer Color Dreams (before it became Wisdom Tree). It could be because this is the only video game site I read, but they pretty much fit all the criteria an Old Skool VG nerd could want: obscure, crappy, frustrating to the nth degree, bizarre in implementation... why am I the only reviewer I've heard of who actually goes into depth on these games?
Well, having played two more, I have one theory: THEY ARE ALL THE SAME.
And I don't mean in the way that Crystal Mines was redone several times in Christian Edutainment versions. I mean if you've played RoboDemons, there's really no reason to bother with King Neptune's Adventure. Rather than beat a dead horse, I'll beat TWO dead horses! Presenting King Neptune's Adventure vs. Challenge of the Dragon!
Both lose major points right off the bat. Anything with "Quest", "Adventure", "Dragon", "Dark", or "Blood" in the title is lame. I'm wearing my DragonQuest VIII t-shirt right now, so I guess that's an exception. And I'd proabably play something called "Adventure of the Dark Blood Dragon's Quest". Okay, so forget what I said. Neptune's title at least gives you an idea of the kind of game you're playing.
Round One: Neptune.
Challenge, like the shit sandwich called RoboDemons, loudly declares that its graphics were done by the one-and-only Dan Burke. Surprinsgly, this game is actually a major graphic improvement over RoboFeces, in that every frame DOESN'T look like a major glitch. In fact, there are birds flying in randomly generated patterns in the background of one level, a mediocre detail, but a detail nonetheless. Sure, your character is as blue as a Smurf, but he's not Chicken Man.
Neptune, on the other hand, tells you to blame "the Lady Ninja and Miles O' the Forest" for the visual crapfest. I thought the names were interesting at least, but I'm beginning to think Ol' Mr. Burke is "the Lady Ninja" and "Miles O" is his imaginary friend, because if Chicken Man was a mermaid, then HoboDemons would look EXACTLY like King Neptune.
Round Two: Challenger.
What, you were expecting a gentle learning curve that makes the game fun to learn but hard to master? Begone heathen, that's not the Color Dreams way! In Challenger, the enemies zip around the screen spastically, and your only hope is to get up close and hit them hard. This isn't a problem until the later levels, where you find ninjas that can nail you with a throwing star from across the screen, then teleport to the other side before you even get close. It's tough to describe how hard this game is, but it's playable.
Neptune, on the other hand, gets his weapons at the same discount shop as Chicken Man. You get lightning bolts, which your enemies can dodge, and bubbles (yes, fucking BUBBLES) that don't really go anywhere. Imagine playing Megaman with only the M. Buster. Now imagine the M. Buster can't hit the side of a shopping mall, and you can't steal other robot's powers. That's Neptune's weapons.
Round Three: Challenger.
For some reason, Color Dreams always has a little something that makes the games different from any other cheap NES game.
In Challenger, your character will sometimes do a little prissy kick instead of waving his sword like it's a pixie wand. You can also knock your enemies into one of the bottomless pits that are always in these games, and if you manage to do it with a kick, you can yell out the name of an ancient Greek city-state in homage to a certain homoerotic movie whose name I forget.
In Neptune, you move freely across the screen collecting shit like in Legend of Zelda, but your weapons and enemies behave like a shmup. I guess that's about it.
Round Four: both fail for being Color Dreams games.
I really can't recommend you play either of these, for any reason. It's a wonder we can get gold like Cave Story out of one guy, and download it free from the 'Net, but Color Dreams gave us crap like this and expected us to PAY for it.
Challenge o' The Dragon