Monster Slayer Review

Monster Slayer Screenshot

Author: Noah Daleo
Genre: Platform Game
Reviewer: Dragonstein
Size: 64 KB

Monster Slayer
First Impression To be brutally honest the primary impression that this game gives is that you've just downloaded a real stinker. Due to the fact that the source could not be compiled you have to enter in the location of the program files every single time you load it up. After that, behold, a screen comes up with the standard Qbasic font saying "Welcome to a game by Noah Daleo". Oh joy. You are then subjected to a one-note-at-a-time beeptastic feast of musical annoyance. You know the score. Beep dit beep dit beep beep etc.... etc.... After a verse of this preposterous nonsense the title 'MONSTER SLAYER' appears to yet more enthusiastic beeps.

This is followed by instructions that appear every time. A character that looks like a cross between Hitler and the serial killer from Halloween explains that you must meet with the king. The briefing is done in that quaint effect of loading each letter individually and beeping after each letter like it's some sort of pre- 1980's government space project. In the right situations this can look quite good but this is supposed to be a medieval quest. It's out of place and looks tacky. You'd have thought all that would have exhausted your patience enough but oh no you haven't been subjected to the calculating computer speed.

This seriously takes about 2 minutes every time. After loading some graphics you finally get to start the game. From here on in, thank God, things drastically improve. Having a thing like, "Welcome to a game by Noah Daleo..." is O.K. but the crime in this game is you can't press escape to skip it. You have to enter the destination of the files, listen to that horrible little tune, hear the briefing from the king, and have your computer speed detected every single time you die because there's is no replay level prompt. The program quits when you die. Noah Daleo obviously is an intelligent chap. Even I could have cut the loading time from 3 minutes to about 50 seconds so why hasn't he? I must confess my copy has been altered to be a little less time consuming.

What It's Like In this game you are the monster slayer asked by the king to perform different tasks. The game is split into 4 episodes. Episode 1, 2 and 3 are a screen-to-screen platform game and level 4 is a side scrolling, flying shoot-um-up. The controls in this game are adequate. Of course there is no multiple key pressing so tapping keys left, right and up will move you in those directions and pressing down will hold you still. Space will result in a furious and violent attack either by the sword in episode 1, 2 and 3 or by fire balls in episode 4. There are level bosses to kill at the end of the first 3 episodes and quite a few different enemies. The game is split into 4 different .bas files so you can play the episodes in any order which is quite good.
Other things you should know It makes me furious when people judge a game out of context. People are very prone to picking up an old platformer like 'Duke Nukem 1' and saying, " This is rubbish. I much prefer Abe's Oddysee". Duke Nukem was the first game I got. When it was released it was one of the best games for the PC; The graphics were the finest I'd seen in just 16 colours; the PC- Speaker was at it's best and the atmosphere was so involving you were instantly hooked . But now it is amazing to think that I found this so emersive. Nowadays in a computer industry dominated by 3D it's hard to imagine a world without it, unless you were around at the time. When I got 'Duke 3D' and found that 'Duke 1' was included I instantly loaded it. To me, it would always be a masterpiece because I remembered the first time, the time when it was the best there was. Monster slayer was the first Qbasic game I played and likewise comparing it with the modern day library injected brilliance of Peanut Patrol, or anything like it, would be foolish. The graphics aren't the best, there's no scrolling and the PC speaker music isn't brilliant but in those days Noah Daleo was one of Qbasic's favorite sons. Noah Daleo makes it clear that the last episode in his game heavily relies on code from the revolutionary guide to qbasic. What a decent chap.

Monster Slayer Screenshot

The rating
Programming The programming in this game is superb. Noah Daleo's technical skill is what makes the game so good. There are no bugs that I know of . Although there is no scrolling the game is still very complex. Your character can jump and walk up and down slopes. The enemies are extremely varied - each one has it's own characteristics. I looked at the source and found a lot of things that have only been made possible due to the nifty programming tricks . For instance the big text in the game is created by scanning the standard Qbasic font then reproducing every letter in circles of customizable colour and size, it actually looks really good. The faces that come up on the briefings are also customizable to the programmer. So you can choose whether your character has a moustache, glasses, hair colour etc. I personally thought this was very clever and would be very useful in an RPG with lots of characters. Of course the graphics don't do justice to th! e idea resulting in the type of freaks that adorn episode 1 and the end of episode 3 ( She's no princess to look at). I think it's only fair to give full marks for programming and technical competence.
Graphics/Sound he sound in this game is nothing special for a PC speaker - it's not that good, it's not that bad. Like the sound, the graphics are seriously crippled from a lack of technology. This game uses screen mode 7h for the page flipping and background saving. I think the graphics were created with a pretty primitive Qbasic paint program. Don't think that because screen mode 7h has only 16 colours good games cannot be made with it. 'Commander Keen', 'Duke 1' and the most graphically impressive, 'Bio-menace' were all made on this screen mode. Suffice it to say the graphics in this game are a bit gory. The animation of the man walking is extremely funny. He does a sort of Charlie Chaplin walk with his legs and flips his shoulders spasmodically from side to side . I say he should participate in the Qbasic dance. Neither the graphics or the sound in this game are anything special but at the time this game was made, good graphics were hard to create.
Plot/Story This game advances the plot with a briefing from someone at the beginning and a sort off debriefing at the end of each episode. The story's not complex but at times is slightly amusing. There is even a cut scene at the end. Cool! The best bit about the story in this game is the abuse that you can give the king. At the beginning you can attack him and at the end you can get yourself banished from the kingdom. It's not exactly on line with an epic RPG but hey it's sort of appealing.
Variety The thing that I really love about this game is the variety. Each episode has it's own set of monsters and traps and the last episode is an entirely different game altogether. One minute you could be fighting snakes in a cave, the next you're flying through the mountains fighting errr..... things. Back in those days of yore if somebody had told me they were trying to create a platform game in Qbasic I'd have said "you must be dreaming". A platform game although being one of the oldest and most established genres is also very hard to execute. The programming is difficult and you have to keep up consistent excitement and variety. Amazingly 'Monster Slayer' pulls it of. Each Episode has about 3 new baddies and it's own set of little characteristics like falling rocks, moving floors, moving platforms etc. In the first three episodes there are also quite good end bosses As far as variety goes this game is tops.
Overall Impression This is a very good game and if you haven't played it I suggest you download it now. What the game lacks in visuals and sound are made up in gameplay. However, the game does have it's faults. Firstly the character is quite hard to control and he takes his time to lolop across the screen. Also a menu and all the features that one would expect are missing . Episode 2, I think, is spoilt by the falling rocks at the end. If you get that far you will find it the most screen punching fist-in-mouth piece of computer gaming since 'Rebel Assault' . Partly because it seems to be built entirely on the RND function. Big mistake. The rocks go far to fast to dodge and you will probably give up. This is a pity because the boss in that episode is really well thought out, there is actually a clever way of killing him. Noah Daleo left the Qbasic community a long time ago now. He also says in the readme he works better on his own. Stupid, because if h! e teamed up with a good graphical artist, a musician and a couple of other programmers he would go far. I think this game deserves a 4. It's not quite perfect but at the end of the day it's fun to play.
20/25 * 4 =