Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"8 Eyes", NES, 1988. (Part II)

Compare and contrast. Of the two ads, this one clearly has had more work put into it; yet as with Hydlide previously (well, this one actually came first in the chronology, but later in my analysis 8), this one also was by far the less-widely-seen of the two ads. Fancier ad = more expensive to reproduce = less widely circulated?

Features Unique Cooperative 2-Player Simultaneous Mode! Contains Password Level Select!

Control man and bird in a fight for the eight jewels of power!

After eons of chaos, mankind has finally emerged from the ruin brought on by nuclear war. The world has flourished once again under the guidance of the Great King, who has harnessed the power of the 8 Eyes to rebuild the planet.

The 8 Eyes -- strange and powerful Jewels -- were formed in the stellar centers of eight thermonuclear blasts. To possess them is to possess all earthly power.

Now, a loose confederation of dukes has through treachery banished the Great King and seized the 8 Eyes in a bid for power. And already their petty infighting has the world trembling on the jagged edge of atomic war.

The task of retrieving the Jewels falls to you, Orin the Falconer -- the bravest and mightiest of the King's Guardsmen. With your fighting falcon, Cutrus, you must penetrate the donjon keeps of each of the faithless dukes. There you will face the ducal mercenaries -- and battle living skeletons, giant wasps, mud men, and other mutated horrors. You must defeat the monstrous Boss of each fortress to retrieve the Jewel he guards. If you are able to return the 8 Eyes to the Altar of Peace, the Earth will pass into another millennium of peace and plenty. If not...

So many similarities, so many differences -- the background remains a mustard mist with minaret-esque towers, the hero still well-defined in his struggle against a skeleton, and some avian raptor in the fray also... though here it looks like the hero is contemplating whacking his pet like a peeved NetHack player. The battleground is also better defined, no longer just a slope but a mound of sorts, straddling the slain corpse of a kind of goblin jester / shaman, apparently for a treasure of other Taxan NES cartridges.

The text tells us a great deal more (and omits the buzzword phrase DUAL ATTACK MODE), revealing a plot that is considerably more intriguing -- no longer a played-out generic fantasy kingdom, but a contemporary and current low-tech-future projection. The gems of power formed in nuke craters? Classic! The dukes, it turns out, represent lords of different terrestrial fiefdoms (all apparently presented as Castlevania levels): Germany, Italy, Spain, Egypt, Africa, Arabia, India, and most fearsome of all, The House Of Ruth (which, based on a little research, doesn't seem like such a bad place after all.)