There is much debate as to what the worst console RPG in existence is. Many people tout Quest 64 as being the worst. I’ve also heard people shouting out that games like Final Fantasy VII are the worst. That such disparity exists to cause quality games like FFVII and decidedly awful games like Quest 64 to vie for the title “worst RPG in existence,” is shocking. Now allow me to throw another entry into the nominee pool for “worst RPG in existence.” My nominee is Bokosuka Wars for the NES, which I must admit has a cool sounding title.
The background is a black screen sparsely populated with simplistic, pixilated sprite trees. The main hero sprite is paper-white and drawn like a stick figure, save for the large torso with powder-blue stripes. The enemy sprites fare better, though, with more varied colors. Although, the ones that are purple with red clothing are a strain on the eyes. For comparison’s sake, I thought the graphics in Ski-Whee for Windows were better. The sprites were better drawn, easier on the eyes, and had more animations.
The graphical highlight of Bokosuka Wars is the “WOW! YOU LOSE!” screen. In that screen, the hero and his two powder blue/ white buddies are being chased by a large, darker blue guy with a large crown, a red cloak, googly eyes, and a waggling tongue. It’s definitely amusing at first, but can get annoying as it’s shown quite often. Forget “All your base are belong to us,” this has greater potential for infamy.
The music consists of about three looping PCM tunes that last about five seconds apiece. Neither of them are very good compositions. They have no catchy melodies or anything. The title screen music at least attempts to make a melody. I don’t expect compositions of Uematsu or Mitsuda proportions in a simple game like this, but if you’re going to include music in a game, at least make it decent or don’t include any at all.
There isn’t any text in the game except for the “WOW” screen, and plot, as a whole, is nonexistent. My take on the plot was gleaned through play, extrapolation, and my imagination. You’re that blue-striped white guy in enemy infested woods. I’m guessing the bad guys tore down all the trees since there are so few there. After a couple of screens, you see a large red square in which people who look like you are trapped. The object must be to rescue them, but how? The box is impenetrable.
There are enemies everywhere, and that evil king in the “WOW” screen must be at the helm of something sinister, but what? And how do your cronies from the “WOW” screen come into play? And what exactly were/are the Bokosuka Wars? Dig that… I turned a nothing plot into something intriguing. Well, I guess in some cases you can turn something bad into something good. Who knows, maybe if the developers had more time to doctor up Bokosuka Wars more, there could have actually been an interesting storyline.
In a word, sluggish. You press a directional button, and it takes about a second for our protagonist to respond. Such sluggish control is unacceptable to me.
You just walk around the forest and run into enemies. After you run into an enemy, a flashing icon of crossed swords appears in the spot where you hit the enemy. The game then randomly determines whether you win or not. This gives new meaning to the term random battles. In 99% of my attempts to play this game, the first enemy killed me.
It was through skipping battles and blind luck that I saw the hero’s imprisoned friends. This game requires no skill at all. Of course when you lose you get treated to the “WOW! YOU LOSE!” screen I spoke of earlier. I saw that screen more times in a half hour than any other game over screen, and without the save-state feature of an emulator, there is no way to save the game.
But overall, this game isn’t a total loss. It reminded me of how good I have it now as an RPG fan today. Bokosuka Wars is akin to having that slice of dry meatloaf to truly make you appreciate all that filet mignon or even hamburgers. The game has a cool name and potential for a plot, but the end result is an almost unplayable piece of software that will try the patience of even the most hardcore gamer.
Even bad RPGs such as Quest 64 or Super Hydlide triumph in every aspect over Bokosuka Wars (although upon rereading my review, plot could be debatable and there is a storyline written in the instruction manual). So fins a way to play it and never again take for granted how good we have it today regarding RPGs.