Hello dear internet viewer,
Originally today, I wanted to present the second installment of the series Ski King, but since I couldn't make a decent video of the game, because unlike the first, it is extremely difficult to play properly, I told myself that I will maybe do it later this winter… Instead, I will be talking about another game from the same developers, but being a different genre. A game that almost nobody knows, even the most hardcore DOS games connoisseurs. So it is, an obscur semi-serious action rpg game, semi-humorous named Joyous Rebel developed and Published by Axe Productions in 1996.
1996, developed the same year as Ski King. It is also the year when Axe Productions was founded. Founded at the time where Bloodlust Software, although present since 1992, in 1996, was on the top of their popularity in the underground world of the BBS and in the early years of the internet. So, where Windows was becoming more and more used, but that developers had more tools to develop on DOS than on Windows. But the rise of Windows caused that many developers included bitmaps in their project. What makes that we have here a much less pixelated drawing style than what that was traditionally made. Which is closer to the hand made drawing… And speaking of hand made drawing, we can easily see the artistic influence if not said almost plagied of the intro that looks suspiciously like those of Ethan Petty and Icer Addis (Bloodlust Software)… I've been said almost, because in fact taking the exact style on the colors and angles aspects, it does not mean that it is necessarily a plagiarism insofar as this is not the entire works, but simply a style borrowed, kinda like we see for 95% manga and comics, where they all end up looking alike without having the same atmosphere. And it is precisely, here Axe Productions has its own style that despite the similarities, which is very different. It must be understood that the two teams of developers come from the same underground culture, so it's normal that the work of one, will have some winks towards the work of the other, although this is not necessarily wanted…
Now, let's talk about the game! At first, the history of this rpg game, it is the one that we typically see in 95% of RPG games developed before 1998… I.e., that we are in the medieval era, a demonic force has taken over the world, the King is sick and we must find a way to save him. So, the cover of the game is quite similar to the others! However, its game system, it is the rather unique for the time, in fact, it will remind you a bit the game Gauntlet, but more complexified in order to be able to, control and use an inventory of items. For which, with equipment, you can have different orientations of attack and defense depending on what you are going to face. So, this isn't the kind of one-way RPG where you have to rush in the heap. Each player lives a different game experience… So you understand that the game to avoid of being redundant, relies a lot on the customization aspect, so the role of role-playing game and not just the adventure aspect where all we do is to do enigma by rushing in the heap… But speaking of enigmas, this game is no exception against the others of the epoch, the goal, it is indeed to pick up a few items in order to cure the King and defeat the evil forces which are trying to destroy the world, or at less are a world peace menace!
So, If the game was complexified to allow customization of our character, does that mean that the controls are too much complicated? Not at all, on the contrary, they are among the most intuitive of the video industry. A is used to attack mode or instead to remove it to be able to run. S is used to throw projectiles once they have been selected in the inventory. D, is the action button like by example open door and F serves to snoop in the inventory and select items that we needs. And what makes that everything is easy to use, it is while we go to the inventory, it never leaves view our character… So, so we still on the beat of what we were doing and as for the control, we don't have to go back on a menu to access them, we have access to the attacks, actions and items at any time. And you'll notice throughout your adventure that many subtleties that you will help you to not feel the game to be redundant. Well almost! Because, unfortunately, the design of the caves were fast made. So we often find ourselves to waste our time in pointless mazes, who leads to nothing. Because we are not going to die, all we'll do it will just to confront more easy enemies… Wow! The fun in a RPG game, it is not to be constantly blocked in dead-ends, but to live an adventure in which we are the hero.
To conclude, is it a masterpiece? From a technical viewpoint, yes, clearly! But from a durability standpoint, not really, the story is not good enough, too much classic to able have some a long term interest. Which by the way, according to me, this is the reason which why this game still ourdays an obscurity despite all the freaks who seek at all costs to play and make videos of all RPG games that exist on the planet, it remains noneless unknown despite the fact that not only Axe Productions is far from being an unknown in the industry, but Axe Productions has done everything to promote this game, even by making publicities within the Ski King series games… Which unfortunately, despite the popularity of the series, the advertising did not helped much.