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Young Merlin (SNES) Review

Received: May 2nd, 2020 | Written: September 1st-18th, 2020Year: 1993 | Developed by: Westwood Studios | Published by: Virgin GamesAh, Merlin, progenitor of all wizard characters of fiction everywhere!  🧙  Everyone knows of the eccentrically ic...

Dialogue Box   (add comment)

about 4 weeks ago

Badges
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Treasure Hunter: 1000+ games
On Fire: 3 beat or complete in a row
Broken Sword 3 is certainly an interesting game. A departure in many respects from the first 2 games, and not always for the better. I played through probably about half of it years ago but stepped away and haven't gone back since, though i am frequently tempted to return to it. Curious to hear your thoughts on it.
about 1 month ago

Badges
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
[Link] Tonight I have just uploaded my thoughts on Young Merlin
about 2 months ago

Badges
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Invincible: 10+ beat or complete in a row
I saw you comment about Broken Sword on @MotherKojiro's page. I totally forgot about that game! Thanks so much for mentioning it. I'm gonna pick it up!
about 2 months ago

Badges
Backlog Beaten: August 21, 2014
Backlog Completed: September 27, 2014
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Treasure Hunter: 1000+ games
Cursed: 10+ new games in a row
Focus: Only playing one game
Thanks! I spent it a bit unceremoniously, but I'm not much for annual special occasions... except Halloween, when I usually like to play Costume Quest, and I kinda did last night? This DLC pack for Borderlands has a similar vibe, if only visually.
about 2 months ago

Badges
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Confused: Playing 10+ games at once
But most importantly, definitely try getting a mouse. Unless there is support for the SNES version, the PlayStation version with the mouse is the best way to play it on consoles. The Genesis version of 2 has six-button controls. And 3D Lemmings? You'll definitely need one.

"Let's go!"
about 2 months ago

Badges
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Confused: Playing 10+ games at once
Hah! Wait 'til ya get to "Heaven can wait (we hope!)" You'll be wishing for mercy.

(And then be sure to play the other Lemmings games. Lemmings 2, Oh No! More Lemmings, and 3D Lemmings.)
about 3 months ago

Badges
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Confused: Playing 10+ games at once
They were rivals in Snoopy's Silly Sports Spectacular as well... although that was originally a Donald Duck game, so they had to figure out something.
about 4 months ago

Badges
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Confused: Playing 10+ games at once
And is a pretty good game for what it is.

Funny enough, nobody seems to talk about the Genesis version. It's always the SNES version. I think the Genesis version of Pac-Man 2 is superior, if only for the inclusion of a modified Ms. Pac-Man called Pac-Jr.

Sorry, Pac-Man 2 is a childhood favorite of mine, and don't like how the game has recently gotten traction from YouTube memes. I think I saw that Vinesauce guy do a video on one recently.
about 5 months ago

Badges
Backlog Beaten: August 21, 2014
Backlog Completed: September 27, 2014
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Treasure Hunter: 1000+ games
Cursed: 10+ new games in a row
Focus: Only playing one game
I feel almost like Young Merlin had a similar problem to Faria; Faria had so much going for it, and then wound up blowing it, because it couldn't decide whether it wanted to be an Action-Adventure or some kind of RPG, so it turned into a hot mess. Young Merlin's dilemma is between Action-Adventure and Point-and-Click Adventure, but it's still a crisis of identity. Everything is structured well; everything unfolds well; it's just that it feels like nobody tested it out to see if it really worked. That all said, if you like how there was no dialogue, but it still managed to convey an interesting story, I'd recommend Operation Logic Bomb; it does the same, and even though it can't decide whether it wants to be Contra or Zelda, it marries the concepts well enough. It's one of my favorite games on the system, in fact.

Alcahest is great; the music is like if Arcana was less chill and more action... mostly; the one boss fight legit sounds like a Kirby invincibility tune. Either way, you can tell that it's Hal, and yeah, it's some of their best, I'd say. That does make sense as a comparison, but I'd liken it more to Arcus Odyssey on the SEGA Genesis (and damn near the SNES, but it was never released), because you do have the longer, not-entirely-linear missions in an overall linear game; companions that come and go; and a strong narrative for that type of game.

I absolutely love palette swaps, and I love changing color as you gain more powers - don't think I need to tell you that I'm big into Mega Man - so it scratched an itch that I didn't think was possible. That's something that I miss from the older Zelda games: you had that sense of becoming more powerful as you get swords or clothing of a different color. I know that's just me being weird, but Hal does stick to that; they had a lot of different palettes in the GBA remake of Kirby's Adventure (something I never thought they'd do) and just for the hell of it in Milky Way Wishes in Kirby Super Star. They do also reference their more obscure games a fair amount; Kirby 3 has both Ripple Field and Hyper Zone from... well... Hyperzone.

And thank you; I had a lovely day staying 10 feet away from my own mother.
about 6 months ago

Badges
Backlog Beaten: August 21, 2014
Backlog Completed: September 27, 2014
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Treasure Hunter: 1000+ games
Cursed: 10+ new games in a row
Focus: Only playing one game
Young Merlin is one of those games that I absolutely ADORE... on paper. Great concept having 7 magical weapons based on the colors of the rainbow that you get over time; great concept working more of the Adventure side into an Action-Adventure, having more inventory puzzles and things like that; great early Spring soundtrack and similarly charming visuals, especially in the big flower garden... and super janky gameplay that kinda trashes the whole experience. It's similar to how I feel about the early Ys games; dat bump system.

Also, happy super-belated birthday!
about 7 months ago (edited)

Badges
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
It's my birthday today! Just turned twenty-nine!
about 9 months ago

Badges
Backlog Beaten: August 21, 2014
Backlog Completed: September 27, 2014
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Treasure Hunter: 1000+ games
Cursed: 10+ new games in a row
Focus: Only playing one game
Funny you should mention The Lion King, because the Genesis version is the Matt Furniss work that reminds me of Klepacki. I assume that Hans Zimmer is the one who wrote the music for the actual movie, which I got dragged to when it came out, and haven't seen since; his name sounds like a movie composer. Young Merlin is really damn janky, but the visuals carry a very rare type of charm. If you're looking to get into his music, Dune 2 (particularly the Genesis version) and the first 2 Legend of Kyrandia games are probably my favorites of his. I heard this, and was instantly hooked: [Link] I don't care how absurdly 1993 it is; it's just so soothing.
about 9 months ago

Badges
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Welp, guess who subjected himself through The 7th Saga all the way through for the past few days and just beat it for a second time (this time as Wilme, last year I played as Valsu; slightly bearable given Wilme is strong enough as he is that he needs no equipment whatsoever and I've largely remembered what to do but had to refresh myself on a few occasions because I hadn't played it in a year, but still obnoxiously handled Westside--I mean, it's all right if you want to inject some difficulty, but build up on it instead of immediately throwing it all out on you so that you save yourself countless hours of excess level grinding and/or money farming; purported bug or no bug, that's no excuse) and presently listening to its credits music (sometimes I like to leave the console on while listening to the credits music until I eventually turn it off thirty-ish, give or take, minutes later). So, over a year ago I beat the original Japanese version Elnard with all seven characters all in quick succession; I don't believe I'll do it in as quick a succession with The 7th Saga (I think I'll wait a little before I play it again, maybe a month or two) but I've come up with a crazy thought in the past week or so and decided to try to beat the American version with all seven characters as well if time allows (at this point I figure why not? I've already beaten it with two, might as well do it with the rest, resilience and determined perseverance and frustration guaranteed). I have further plans for Elnard Lesser Edition yet.
about 9 months ago

Badges
Backlog Beaten: August 21, 2014
Backlog Completed: September 27, 2014
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Treasure Hunter: 1000+ games
Cursed: 10+ new games in a row
Focus: Only playing one game
And the funny thing is that I think it's the best game of the three. The first one was decent, but when I first played it, all I could think was, "This is no Castle of Illusion. Hell, this isn't even Mickey Mousecapade." The third one just felt like it was going through the motions. The second one, though, felt a little like a revisit of the first, but still had enough to keep it pretty fresh.

I've only played the SNES version of Mickey Mania, and to me, that's the only soundtrack that sounds any good, probably because the Genesis can do some great things, but often struggles a great deal with orchestral music. I've heard that the actual game has a lot more content than the SNES version, though, so it's on my list for Round 6. Not sure if I'm going to go for that or the SEGA CD version, though. But yes, Matt Furniss is the Yuzo Koshiro of North America; dude's done EVERYTHING, and he has one hell of a range. I've heard stuff of his that I could SWEAR was made by the Follin Brothers, Frank Klepacki, and more; he's like a damn audio chameleon. Traveler's Tales definitely made some special games back in the day. They still do, if you're into LEGO.

Super Metroid is my favorite Metroid by far for its beauty and isolation, and also how everything flows so well. Fusion screwed that all up by not letting you backtrack or explore that much for most of the game... and yet, it does an EXCELLENT job with horror, and I'm not sure that'd work as well in a more open experience... and YET, I'd love to see them try it. Imagine something more like Super Metroid... you're in the darkest depths of Maridia, and everything is serene, but foreboding... you head down a rock tunnel in that pitch-black-yet-crystal-clear water, and you see it. Some big, dark... thing the size of T-Rex Mother Brain just sitting... dormant... It's eyes flash open, and some horrifying sound comes from its mouth as it rumbles to life... OK, so that's actually just a dream that I had about 15 years ago, but tell me that wouldn't be awesome. Either that or something like the SA-X stalking you, but you never know where on this giant planet's subterrane it's going to show up. You'd definitely get to put that Speed Booster to good use!
about 9 months ago

Badges
Right Hand of Bak'laag: 1000+ unfinished games
Treasure Hunter: 1000+ games
Confused: Playing 10+ games at once
Oh yeah, I remember those battles... At least the soundtrack retains the same quality Camelot is known for, however. Speaking of bad PS1 RPGs, I have unfinished business with Shadow Madness. Soon...

Here's to another ten, man.
about 9 months ago (edited)

Badges
Right Hand of Bak'laag: 1000+ unfinished games
Treasure Hunter: 1000+ games
Confused: Playing 10+ games at once
Happy Anniversary, bud. That is crazy! You've been here longer than most.

I should pick up Beyond the Beyond, one of these days. I just remember the opening hours being a real slog to get through.
about 9 months ago (edited)

Badges
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Oh my God, it's my tenth Backloggiversary today, can you believe it? I can't! Where did time go??
about 10 months ago

Badges
Backlog Beaten: August 21, 2014
Backlog Completed: September 27, 2014
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Treasure Hunter: 1000+ games
Cursed: 10+ new games in a row
Focus: Only playing one game
I did enjoy it! I haven't played it in ages, but I agree with most everything that was said, other than that I didn't remember a single song from the soundtrack. I find most orchestral soundtracks to be pretty boring though, so take that as bias, if you will.

I did, however, play and finish the NES Boy and his Blob, and it is a very different game; it's one big open world (okay, technically 2 of them) that you get thrown into, and it's, "Figger it out, Kiddo," as my sister's master chef used to say to her. What I liked about that is that not only were things strange, they were also very mysterious, because you never had any idea what the hell you were doing or why, but there were these twinkly things to collect, and a counter at the top of the screen. The only thing I really didn't like was how trial-and-error things were. I am totally fine with trial-and-error, when it's done well, but when you start the game with a finite number of jellybeans and have to experiment, that's really not great design.

I couldn't really get into the Game Boy sequel, but maybe I'll try it again someday when I'm feeling more patient. Its world is much smaller and less imaginative, though. One great thing about the NES game is that you had the dark city with some really unusual color palettes that worked very well, and Blobolonia, which had giant veggies; 'nuff said. They were places that were fun not just to solve one large overarching puzzle, but also to explore, and I can't say that about the Game Boy sequel.
about 10 months ago (edited)

Badges
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
It's December 25th! Merry Christmas, everyone!!!
about 11 months ago

Badges
Backlog Beaten: August 21, 2014
Backlog Completed: September 27, 2014
Minion of Bak'laag: 100+ unfinished games
Master of Unlocking: Majority of games are completed
Treasure Hunter: 1000+ games
Cursed: 10+ new games in a row
Focus: Only playing one game
It's definitely worth a look, if you're seeking to expand your SMS collection, and if you have a system, that's likely, because it has so little. That was my biggest problem with the console back in its day; I had a handful of games, and I really enjoyed them all, but it was so hard to find good new games, given that I don't live in Brazil. Alex Kidd in Miracle World is a neat game, when you really get down into it; lots of secrets to find, and the castles have such interesting design. [Link] Doesn't that just make you want to go exploring!? But yeah, it's rough as hell. It was impressive how SEGA basically built their own goddamn software library, and how much variety it has, but it's clear that they were often struggling with it.

I always thought that was odd, too, especially considering that it's a 16-bit version of the one that kidnaps her in Ghosts & Goblins, and you fight, like 3 of them as bosses in that. Guess he learned his lesson after all that. "And this guy! He *sobbing* burned me to death in his underwear!" At least I did; when I beat Ghosts & Goblins, I got stuck with the torch for my entire first loop. In most other games, it'd be a great weapon, because it's strong, but in a game where you're constantly besieged by legions of one-hit enemies, a slow-but-powerful weapon is a fucking DEATH SENTENCE. I did okay with it, but was pretty glad to see a dagger (or any weapon power-up, for that matter) at the beginning of my second loop.
Saying to each their own fills me with DETERMINATION