The Nerd: (disgusted) Ugh, Hydlide. Just saying the name gives you a gag reflex, like you're about to puke. HYDLIDE. Sounds so wretched and foul. Maybe it's pronounced "hid-lide", but who knows, and who even knows what the fuck it means?
The Nerd: It's a typical adventure game where you play as a guy with a sword who has to explore a fantasy world, fight monsters, collect treasures, and rescue a princess. Picking up a game like this in itself is like embarking on an adventure. You can stick to the familiar NES classics, or you can be a brave explorer and search for the unknown. You might uncover a gem, or a turd covered in vomit. And this is the turd covered in vomit.
The Nerd: While the concept isn't very unique, the first thing you see is a dragon that shoots fire at a princess, making her explode into three fairies. I've... never seen that happen.
The Nerd: As soon as you start playing the game, the first thing that comes to anybody's mind is Legend of Zelda. Now, be prepared, we're gonna reference Zelda an awful lot. It seems like Hydlide would've ripped off Zelda, but actually Hydlide came out first on the PC88, which was a home computer in Japan. It came out on the NES after, following in Zelda's wake. Imagine buying this game based on its cover expecting something as good as Zelda, and then going home and playing it and finding out it's a piece of shit.
The Nerd: If there's anything this game truly ripped off, it's the music. (Music plays and an image of Indiana Jones is shown) It's just a variation on the Indiana Jones theme. And it never stops. It's like winding up a music box and letting it play for an eternity. Except for the last screen, which ALSO sounds like Indiana Jones.
The Nerd: Let's get down to the gameplay. Attacking is a joke. You're supposed to hold down the A button and run into the monsters. In Zelda, you actually see the sword come out. But here, there's nothing. Did they forget to animate it? Am I supposed to use my imagination like a fucking board game?!
The Nerd: When you kill something, they just disappear. Nothing happens. They don't burst or make a sound effect or do anything to make you feel the satisfaction of killing an enemy.
The Nerd: There's no skill involved. You'll never know whether or not you're hitting the monster or the monster's hitting you. It's just as random as rolling the dice or playing the lottery. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. But I guess it's better than using drugs or alcohol, because with drugs and alcohol, especially drugs, you always lose.
The Nerd: If you're lucky, your experience will go up, but it only goes up one pixel at a time. If you wanna level up, you gotta fill up the whole bar. This is what it looks like in fast speed, but can you imagine how long it takes to do this? You can't, unless you played it. You can also do a magic attack by pressing the B button, but it's really confusing. You have to scroll through your different magic spells and when you get to the spell you want, hit the A button to be in attack mode, and then hit B to cast a spell. By the time you do all that, you're already dead! (He takes damage from a rock) And what the fuck is this, am I fighting a rock?!
The Nerd: Whenever you die, take a guess what happens. You go back to the beginning. Yep, it's one of those games; no extra lives, no continues, you don't get diddly-dick. There is a password system, but it's the most perplexing, back-assed and unorthodox use of a password I've ever seen in a game. First, you bring up the menu and go to Save. That sounds pretty simple, right? You just save the game. But no, that's not at all how it works. All Save does is give you a password. But it doesn't show you the password, and you'll never even know it's there until you go down to Password. And there you go. Now you gotta write the fucking thing down. The time it takes to write it down and then re-enter it is almost the same time it takes to just start the game over. What were they thinking? They couldn't come up with a better way? How about just giving me the password after I die? How about extra lives? How about a continue option? Or even better, how about a battery backup like in Zelda and actually making Save really save the game?
The Nerd: Load? When would I ever want to load a game from within the game? If I died, I'd be doing this from the main menu screen with the Password option, unlike the Password option from the menu within the game which gives you the password the you got from the Save option. Speed?! Do I really care what that does? GAME? Does that let me pick a different game? Because THAT would be a good fucking idea!
The Nerd: Even if you get used to this whole Password fiasco, figuring out how to play the game is a puzzle itself. There's treasure chests, which some you can open, and others you can't. Sometimes you go into dark caves, but this is suicide because you're just gonna run into walls and get killed by fireballs, and sometimes you just die at complete random.
The Nerd: There's probably something in the dark killing me, like a rat or some kind of pitfall. Who knows? You can't see it, unless you get a lantern. To get the lantern, you have to kill a vampire. How do you kill the vampire? Oh, the cross. Of course. (The Nerd uses the cross on the vampire and dies) Oh wait. What the hell? (The Nerd attacks the vampire from behind and succeeds) Oh, you gotta hit them from the back. Ugh. Anyway, I got the lantern. Now I'm going back to that dark cave to figure out what the fuck was killing me. (The Nerd sees nothing.) I don't see anything. So that only concludes there was nothing. That's a cheat if I ever saw one. The game kills you with NOTHING! (It might actually be a ghost.)
The Nerd: Anyway, you make it through this maze and get a stronger sword, you write down the password, die, enter the password, pick up where you left off, make it a few steps further, write down the next password, die, re-enter the password, and repeat. You collect a pot, a jewel, and fairies from random trees, then you go across a desert to the castle which warps you to the water and you swim to the island with the two wizards, hit them with the wave magic at the same time, obviously. The three fairies fly you to the island, burn the bush, grab the gravestone, kill the dragon, get the jewel, go back to the castle, kill the last guy... (sigh) ...and you win. Do I feel accomplished? No. I feel like this game just wasted my fucking time, making me have to figure out all this cryptic shit.
The Nerd: That's not to say Zelda didn't have its own cryptic shit. You have to burn a bush to reveal a staircase, and there's thousands of bushes where it could've been. There's a lake where you have to use a flute, a statue that you have to push, and a specific rock where you're supposed to lay a bomb.
The Nerd: I'm only raising the question - what is it we love about all the puzzle-solving that goes on in Zelda? Perhaps it wasn't as hard to figure out. Maybe there were more clues within the game, and people discussed this game much more, sharing all its secrets. But I do have to admit, my first time playing through Zelda, I got stumped a lot, too. Maybe it just boils down to the fact that it's a much more well-designed game and it's fun, so you enjoy playing through it and trying to figure it all out.
The Nerd: Hydlide just doesn't have the same fulfillment. It's a mediocre adventure game with some serious flaws, and that's what you get for reaching into the dark depths of the NES library. You might as well be reaching into a dog's asshole. 'Cause all you're gonna find is shit.
- The Hydlide protagonist's name is Jim, but the Nerd never refers to him by his name.