Saturday, November 25, 2017

Game 271: Knights of Xentar (1991)

Knights of Xentar
Elf Co. (developer); MegaTech Software (publisher)
Released 1991 for PC-98, 1992 for FM Towns and Sharp X68000, 1994 for DOS
Date Started: 22 November 2017
If there's some subset of readers chortling in anticipation about what the Puritan CRPG Addict is going to say about an erotic role-playing game, I suppose I'm going to have to disappoint you. Context is everything. Yes, it's a bit weird for nudity to appear in a mainstream RPG, and so I've commented on it when it happens. Commented--not expressed outrage or demanded apologies or indicated that I was somehow scarred by the experience. Then I get a dozen comments misinterpreting what I said, and I spend so much time responding to them that it seems like I care more about the issue than I do.

Rance was an exception. That game actively bothered me. It wasn't about sex or nudity; it was about rape. In a genre where the driving game mechanic is murder--mass-murder if we're being honest--why should we care so much about rape? That's a legitimate question--one that I wrestled with and perhaps did not satisfactorily answer. Perhaps it's that sexual violence is always gratuitous in a way that regular violence is not. Perhaps it's that enjoying scenes of rape has implications that enjoying scenes of regular violence does not. Perhaps it's that there's a good chance that rape has occurred to someone you know--perhaps you yourself--whereas comparatively few of us have been stabbed with swords. All I know is that if there was a version of The Punisher in which Frank Castle systematically sodomized everyone who had wronged him instead of killing them, it would feel messed up--unwatchable and unenjoyable as entertainment--in a way that the regular Punisher does not.

Knights of Xentar doesn't quite have these problems. While there is still something vaguely creepy and exploitative about the number of nude women depicted in the opening stages of an assault, the game at least depicts such situations as wrong, and the hero (at least so far) intervenes to save the women. His own sexual adventures are consensual. As for the nudity, anyone buying the game knew what he was getting. It's not gratuitous; it's half the point of the game. I won't be showing uncensored images in this entry, not because I care but because I don't want Google to flag my blog as containing adult content. Such images are easily searchable.

A typical Xentar scene. At least in this game, the protagonist rescues women in this situation instead of putting them there.
Knights of Xentar is part of the Dragon Knight series from Japanese developer Elf. It was known as Dragon Knight III in Japan, and it's the only game in the series to receive a western release. That release wasn't until 1994, so some of the shots below are a bit more advanced graphically than we typically see for a 1991 game, although they reflect their original PC-98 counterparts. A lot of the text was apparently changed to incorporate more North American references, and the graphics were at least slightly censored, although this is reversible with a patch. To confuse things even more, in 1995 the North American publisher released a second version on CD-ROM with recorded dialogue. I'm pretty sure I'm playing the patched version but without voiced dialogue; I listened to a bit in a YouTube video, and it's pretty bad.

The original Dragon Knight series comprises five titles between 1989 and 1995, all with adult themes. The hero is named Takeru in the Japanese originals, but the default name is "Desmond" here. Dragon Knight was a first-person game in the style of Wizardry in which Takeru saved the all-female kingdom of Strawberry Fields from the titular Dragon Knight. Dragon Knight II is also first-person and concerns Takeru's liberation of the town of Phoenix from a witch queen.
The title screen in the Japanese release.
This third edition changes the interface completely to a third-person oblique-angle perspective. It's the uniquely Japanese style, favored by console games of the era, in which a childlike protagonist bustles about on squat little legs and interacts with people and objects mostly by running headlong into them. The style goes back to the proto-RPG Tower of Druaga (1984) and was made famous in RPGs like Dragon Slayer (1984), Hydlide (1984), and The Ancient Land of Ys (1987) as well as non-RPGs like The Legend of Zelda.

The protagonist in this game is named Desmond (unless you change it), and there's no creation system (which is also common to this type of Japanese RPG). He starts at Level 25 with 255 hit points, 49 dexterity and speed, 56 strength, 25 intelligence, an attack score of 56, and a defensive score of 6.

The back story isn't very inspiring: Desmond wanders drunk into the city of Squalor Hollow (that name's got to be tough on property values) and is immediately set upon by a gang of thugs who steal his weapons, clothing, and jewels. He awakens in the home of an old man named Larrouse and immediately sets out in his birthday suit, determined to recover his gear.
Already, I can identify with the lead character.
The NPCs and shopkeepers in town have various comments on Desmond's state of undress. The town is small, consisting only of a couple of residences, an inn, a tavern, and a weapon shop/pharmacy.
Your clothes. Give them to me.
Desmond's first ribald adventure comes as he enters the tavern, where a gang of bandits is assaulting the tavernkeeper's daughter, Mona. Dialogue is mostly on the main interface screen, but for longer encounters it transitions to full-screen graphics, lightly animated (e.g., the speaker's mouth), with the dialogue text below.
At Level 25, Desmond doesn't need a weapon or clothes.
This encounter resolves automatically, with no player input, as the unclothed Desmond somehow manages to brawl the gang to submission. Before he can reclaim any of his property, they run off, but Mona tells Desmond that they live nearby on Mount Litmus. There, a great demon protects them, and in return for the favor, the bandits "impregnate women with his evil seed," creating half-demons who "do not reveal their true nature until their 19th birthday, when they take a knife to their parents." The town's baron--Don Frump--is offering a bounty to anyone who can end the raids. This being the kind of game it is, Mona conveys all of this while barely concealing her exposed chest with one hand.
Desmond makes a resolution.
Desmond can get 50 sovereigns from the tavernkeeper and then see Don Frump for a leather suit and a knife as an advance on killing the bandits. Frump promises to reclaim Desmond's weapon and armor from the pawn shop if he succeeds in the mission.

For commands, the interface uses menus that can be activated with either the mouse or the SPACE bar. I wish there were keyboard shortcuts for the sub-menu commands, but I have to live with such omissions in most titles. I have no idea what the bar to the right of my name is showing, but everything else is relatively straightforward.
Desmond checks out a menu while wandering the wilderness.
A child NPC told me that the mountain was to the west, so I left the city to try to find it. Leaving brought me to a smaller-scale map, and the mountain wasn't very far. On the way, I fought my first combat--or, more accurately, watched my first combat. Particularly at the beginning of the game, there really isn't anything to do in combat, as the character automatically attacks using the default settings. "Tactics" are found within those settings. The first is an "attack gauge" that, if I understand it correctly, balances speed (lower settings) with power (higher settings). The second sets the balance between offense and defense, and the third determines how you prioritize multiple enemies: weakest first, strongest first, or mix it up to "scatter" everyone.
Doing battle with some giant clams, which seem tougher than they ought to be given the lack of appendages.
For now, I've left the settings at the defaults until I have time to experiment more. It appears that later there will be more in-combat options as I acquire magical capabilities; I assume that's what the grayed-out options like "Earth," "Fire," "Blizzard," and "Thunder" are along the bottom. Right now, the only thing I can do in-combat, other than watch, is use an item like a healing potion.
This enemy, on the other hand, would terrify me in real life.
The mountain led to a windy corridor in which I fought numerous "giant clams" and picked up experience, gold, and the occasional healing potion to keep me going. I leveled up during this process and got boosts to my maximum hit points and attributes. Treasure chests supplied items like smoke grenades and healing potions. I soon ran out of the latter, though, and towards the end of the maze, I had to flee from combats to avoid dying.
Entering my first dungeon.
Eventually, I met the "bandit leader," who revealed himself as a demon and intimated that he had known my mother. He suggested he knew the purpose of the jewels I had been carrying (and lost to the bandits) and mocked me for my own ignorance. I'd assume that he's my father except that he calls me "heavenspawn" at one point. "Why am I so important?" Desmond asks, and he replies, "Why? You truly do not know? That explains why your few thoughts are always nestled between your legs." Ouch. One for you, demon.
Is it just me, or does this demon have a really small head?
Promising that his pillaging was done for now, the demon banished me from the mountain. I returned to Squalor Hollow to learn that Don Frump had gone to some other village to sell jewels--my jewels? Either way, I stayed at the inn to restore hit points, then went to the shop and bought a shield.
The shop menu.
I wasn't sure what to do next, but an NPC told me about a village called "..." to the North. (She acknowledged that an ellipsis was a stupid name.) Heading north, fighting easy battles with slimes, battle bees, and "daos" along the way, I found a passage through the mountains. Don Frump had set up guards to block me, but Larrouse was there and gave me a magic medal that, if I kissed it, would stop time long enough to run past the guards.
That turned out to be a bad idea.
On the other side of the mountain, my health (both current and maximum) depleted rapidly as I entered the nameless city. Checking Desmond's character sheet, I found him busted back down to Level 1, with 0 experience and single digits for all his attributes. As Desmond reacted with despair to the situation, I entered the village and found Frump in what looked like an inn. He said that he had my sword and asked me to follow him into a basement. There were numerous levels of stairs, passing skeletons, before I caught up with him. He called me a fool and revealed his true form as "Byrt, master of hatred." He said that the medal I had kissed was "poisonous to the spawn of Light," accounting for my level loss.
I guess this is the same as the last demon? There's no way to be sure.
The demon prepared to kill me, but some blinding light appeared and drove him away. A woman's voice explained that a group of demons had orchestrated the theft of my equipment and the reduction of my skill, and that I should continue on my quest to find my jewels, sword, and armor. She disappeared, and on the way out of the dungeon, I found Frump restored to his own body, promising to give me a reward for the bandits if I returned to his mansion in Squalor Hollow.

NPC dialogue is clearly a major part of the game, which I admire, but sometimes it goes on a bit too long. Having to take it in one line at a time is a little annoying. Humor is, of course, a key part of the dialogue. Mostly, it pokes fun at Desmond's characterization or RPG and fantasy tropes in general. None of the jokes have been gut-bustingly funny so far, but neither have they been groanworthy. I smirked a few times.
An NPC from the town of ...
On the way back to the city, the same enemies that I'd blown through before gave me much more trouble now that I'm starting over from Level 1. I spent some time hanging around the city--where I can rest to restore hit points--and grinding before heading out to explore more. It didn't take more than 30 minutes to get to Level 6.
After a couple of kills. I acquired a leather helmet at some point, too.
I was just beginning to think that the game's reputation as an eroge was overblown; then I wandered into a random building and found a sentient wolf assaulting an unclad girl on a bed. He killed me in the ensuing combat. Guess I'll have to grind some more.
Did it have to be to the groin?
After the first session, I'm on the fence as to how well Knights of Xentar plays as an RPG. It has some decent elements but no truly outstanding ones. The NPC interaction is nice, but all of the conversations are scripted. Because of that and minimal character creation, there's a strong sense of simply watching the plot rather than participating in it. While I don't care for the graphical style, I admit that in both graphics and sound it feels more like a 1990s game than most of the titles we've seen so far. I hope it doesn't last into the dozens of hours, but I'll be glad to see where it goes for at least 10-12.

Time so far: 3 hours


I had to skip Quarterstaff temporarily while I work out some issues with Mac emulation so I can play the earlier version alongside the later version. It'll probably be the next game.


  1. I'll admit to being mildly curious with regards to your reaction to the salacious content. Only mildly, mind.

    It's more that I have a fondness for JRPGs, and it's always entertaining to see them pop up on this blog, especially in this era where they've already begun diverting from CRPG design in major ways. I'm not sure Knights of Xentar is anyone's idea of a genre classic (though it's probably in the upper echelons as far as eroge games go) but it's one of very few 90s PC-only JRPGs to really see much Western penetration, so to speak.

    Hopefully it doesn't drag too much. I suspect 10-12 hours might be optimistic.

    1. From memory, I think it lasts 30-40, but I could have been taking too much time looking at the pictures ;)

  2. Didn't this game have an option to fight with "intelligence" ? Which meant at the beginning you wouldn't do much damage to the enemy but your intelligence level on this particular monster would increase. Then when it got to 100%, you'd do massive damage on each attack.

    1. Yes, it's an interesting mechanic. I didn't know enough about what it was doing to cover it this time, but I'll mention it next time.

  3. You've probably already got these, but note Quarterstaff came with some important "extra" items: a two-sided coin, and a parchment with a poem on it. (I do have them, so you can ping me if you're missing one/both.)

    Tempting to try to do a simul-play again (All the Adventures is still going strong, I've got all the 1970s done) although with how Fallthru crashed and burned I'm not so sure. Quarterstaff is a lot more text adventure than Fallthru ever was, though.

  4. Things I HATE JRPGs for:

    "NPC dialogue is clearly a major part of the game, which I admire, but sometimes it goes on a bit too long. Having to take it in one line at a time is a little annoying."


    "The NPC interaction is nice, but all of the conversations are scripted. Because of that and minimal character creation, there's a strong sense of simply watching the plot rather than participating in it."

    I can only tolerate JRPG-like games when they come with *very* good combat, which is pretty rare, but I have a few examples: Jeanne D'Arc is one, a recent release Regalia: Of Men and Monarhs is another, though both are rather Tactical RPG, another nearly-unique Japanese genre. Disgaea almost makes the 3rd example, but the amounts of grind are impossible for me to overlook - I can't play this series.

    1. Extra Credits made a good video a few years back whose central argument was that western RPGs and JRPGs should be considered fundamentally different genres, with JRPGs having a more tightly scripted narrative and western RPGs being more open ended, allowing the player to craft their own story.

    2. I think that's right. I wish the whole world would agree, so we could stop putting Zelda, Final Fantasy and Fallout on the same list.

    3. I don't think they should be considered fundamentally different genres so much as different subgenres, because of how often ideas cross over between them. It's not like the 2000s-era fad for RTS/RPG combinations, and instead it's pretty consistent even if the modal CRPG differs from the modal JRPG.

      Take dungeon RPGs, for instance: while the majority of them are Japanese now, the Japanese ones are mostly just different from American and European ones in aesthetics, not mechanics, and there's several large American and European dungeon RPGs in production, such as Bard's Tale IV.

    4. Yeah, I also think that they are as different subgeneres as Dungeon Master and Ultima IV are from different subgeneres. Precisely with this site you can see how JRPGS and western RPGS are just cousins, with mostly the same mechanics. The difference is not that there is more or less narrative, but the kind of narrative that is done.

      As for this game, back at the time there was some kind of anime/manga invasion (early 90s) that ok, that was ok, loads of new stuff, loads of talented people, but also a lot of bs about "these are more adult because there is nudity". I think I was not completely gay at the time and actually this sexual content aroused me, but now...

    5. I agree with MaxEd that linear plots and no player choices in dialogue offer a worse RPG experience than the typical western alternative. Unfortunately, that typical western alternative really hadn't appeared yet, so for the era, a JRPG offering a detailed plot and any kind of NPC personality at all is a step forward.

    6. The thing I hate most in JRPGs is the little-to-no choices you have in character development. When you level up there is usually nothing to decide and the HP and skill increases happen automatically.

    7. Progression of the sort you prefer has been rather limited in games covered by this blog.

    8. I'm going to take this opportunity to cherry pick from all the counter-examples from console RPGs up to mid-1993:

      Zelda II - Experience is gained and can be spent to increase defense, attack, or magic.

      Langrisser/Warsong - Every 10 levels offers a character specific class path to follow.

      Final Fantasy Legend (I + II) - No levels in this game, but human and monster characters are all choosing stat increases. In the second game, robots' stats are modified by current equipment.

      Dragon Warrior (all 4 NES games) - Not sure this counts, but stat gains per level are influenced by the hero's name.

      Final Fantasy Adventure - Increase a particular stat each level: str, agl, wis, or mana (iirc).

      Arcana - Items that directly increase a specific character's stat.

      Defenders of Oasis - It's a stretch, but one character's stats are tied to using items to increase them, and he doesn't level up any other way.

      Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes - There's a manual level-up setting that allows the player to assign stat gains for every character: str, dex, int, luck. There's also an auto mode where the game balances points between all stats.

      The more common level-up/stat choices I've seen in JRPGs (if there is one) is a system to influence stats rather than assign points (e.g. equip a gizmo and gain +5% extra str each level it remains equipped), or items that increase stats directly.

      Back on this thread's topic, these narrative lines get really bad when you know exactly what you're supposed to do, but one random NPC is a trigger for the appearance of another NPC you know you need to find. There's no option to go off and follow some other line because there's only one.

  5. Lol this game when i was a kid my dad got me this powerdolls(wich wasent really erotic) and some detective game wich was just like this it came in a bundle with a big sticker saying not for kids I guess he thought they where since there was a warning on them lol

    1. some detective game wich was just like this

      You've got to be talking about "Cobra Mission".

  6. I remember this game; a friend had it. I think even at the time we thought it was pretty bad but because it had naked boobies in it we played it to the end.

    Apparently Dragon Knight was a revolutionary series in actually bringing decent gameplay to eroge -- but it was quickly eclipsed by the move to dating sims and visual novels.

  7. I thought this game was hilarious as a teenager. The manual was especially well done.

    1. I haven't been able to find a manual, alas.


      Here is the manual and other files. I leave a Google-translated link, as the site is in Russian.

    3. Manual is here-

      There's a lot of background in there that I don't think is explained in the game. :)

    4. Just downloaded and read it. It certainly does put tongue firmly in cheek.

    5. Thanks, guys. Every attempt I made to find the manual before would take me to a dodgy site that had the manual in .exe format or something.

      This definitely helps clear up who some of these NPCs are.

  8. Thought I'd pop in for my yearly check-in and boy did I pick a good time to come back! I didn't expect games like this to make the cut, but hey you do a good job analyzing them so whatever.

    I'd make the argument that this sort of portrayal of sexual violence isn't THAT much better than the kind in Rance. Sure, the "player character" isn't the one committing the acts, but they're still blatantly put in to appeal to the player (who is presumably into this sort of thing). Whether the "perpetrator" is the one labeled as the PC doesn't really matter, when A) the player barely has any control over the PC in these games anyway and B) the scenes are included for largely the same reason. To put it another way, it still comes across as a celebration of sexual violence, even if the protag isn't in on it. Obviously, stuff like Rance is still WORSE, but that doesn't mean it should be glossed over.

    That all being said I haven't actually played this game, so I'm basing this on your descriptions/images - maybe the bulk of the game is really tasteful and those were outliers, I dunno.

    1. Whoops! I meant to post this as a standalone comment rather than reply to John. Sorry John, I didn't mean to attack you in any way!

    2. You didn't, it's just the way blogger places profile images that makes it look that way.

      On that subject, is there a way to register with blogger directly without creating a Google account (or livejournal, ...)?

    3. For what it's worth, I couldn't disagree more with both of those examples being equivalent. In an eroge, walking in on a rape scene is just as expected as walking in on any scene of "traditional" cruelty or injustice happening in a non-eroge. Of course the protagonist, if he isn't complete and utter scum himself, will step in and try to help the victim in either case. I couldn't play (and enjoy) a game where the "hero" aims to rape anything and everything in sight, or, for that matter, murders, robs or tortures innocents instead of naturally condemning all those things. If the game gives you enough freedom that all of those things are an option in case, for whatever reason, you want to roleplay a heinous criminal, that's fine. If you aren't given any choice in the matter, it's not, because at that point it does indeed imply that such things appeal to the player. Again, in my understanding, that is not at all true if rape (or other atrocities) are simply depicted, let alone when they are openly condemned. I hope it doesn't need to be said, but I'd personally never rape, torture or kill anyone, nor do I have such fantasies (except maybe the latter two, if I feel a person deserves it--but I digress.); in fact, witnessing any kind of injustice against innocents makes me angrier than anything else, maybe with the exception of wanton irrationality... but I digress again. Still, I have no problem with the depiction of such things in media unless they are clearly only depicted for the enjoyment of the viewer.
      Sorry for the rant. I also wish my command of the english language allowed me to better convey my thoughts. I really just wanted to say that, for me personally, the kind of sexual violence in, say, Rance is as fundamentally different from that seen in this game (which I also haven't played) as it can possibly be. Intention is absolutely essential, and whatever enjoyment a viewer/player gets out of any medium is not *necessarily* in its creator's control.

    4. Ugh, sorry again for the wall of text.

    5. No need to apologize, you made some good points.
      I phrased my post -really- badly, and regretted it immediately after I clicked "publish". Obviously this game is not even remotely on the same level as Rance. The point I was trying - and failing - to make was that I get the impression that this game is still fetishizing rape even if it's condemning it on a surface level. I didn't mean to give the impression that the two are equivalent, just that Knights of Xentar has some of the same problems and those problems shouldn't be excused just because the product as a whole isn't as reprehensible.

    6. I really don't know why I felt so strongly about your post in the first place that I absolutely needed to reply. Now I wish I hadn't, but what's done is done.
      There is always going to be a strong element of personal opinion involved when it comes to this kind of game, but so long as we all agree that rape is bad, it's all good. Uhm, you know what I mean. :)

    7. I thought you both made good points and it was a somewhat productive discussion. Yes, buy rescuing the victims from assault, Desmond is on much firmer ethical ground than Rance; but on the other hand, the initial scenes of assault are clearly drawn to titillate, making them at least a little creepy. Moreover, in saving the girls from rape, Desmond is typically rewarded with sex, which has at least some bothersome implications.

    8. While you are quite correct here, at least from a modern viewpoint, the "Hero's Reward" was subjected to much less analysis 20 years ago, especially in Japan.

    9. Rance or this both fall under what we'd call 'sexploitation' if we were talking in film terms. One is more celebratory of sexual violence and the other keeps a moral escape clause, but both exploit the material.

      And the player playing the game is the active agent presumably enjoying the exploitation, so we all have to make our own choices in the matter.

  9. I wasn't sure what to do next, but an NPC told me about a village called "..." to the North.

    On my attempted playthrough, this is where I put a couple of boring hours into grinding my character's abilities up through the relatively easy combats before proceeding. OK, well prepared for whatever comes next, right?

  10. Oh wow, THIS game. My roommate had this game, and I recall that he had to order a patch to "upgrade" the game to have voice acting and the erotic scenes, which were on a separate floppy disk. So in theory, you could probably play the game without them... but I'm going to guess that the abandonware versions are already pre-patched.
    In the version my roommate had, everyone - including that wolf - made it very clear in their dialogue that all women are over 18.

  11. Your sexual puritanism doesn't derive from the game content itself, it derives from the fact that you don't approve of hetwhite cismales getting what they want out of a sexually charged game. The Other must never be allowed to 'win', i.e. achieve its objectives of sexual satisfaction, especially when women of color are being visually feasted upon. It is well and good that The Other should be vexed incessantly and never get any release.

    1. Hi there, anonymous commenter bravely working to red-pill the SJWs out of obscure dissatisfaction that other people's opinions about cartoon boobs are different to your own! Nice attempt, but for next time: 1) "hetwhite" isn't a thing any of us say; and 2) "the Other"/"Othering" is how we talk about the way people of color and other out-groups get exoticized and dehumanized by white supremacy/the male gaze/etc., so labeling your notional "hetwhite cismales" as "the Other" is broadcasting that you're just throwing around buzzwords without knowing what you're talking about.

      Hope this is helpful moving forward!

    2. You seem to have accidentally posted in CRPGAddict's comments instead of on /pol/! This is a rare mistake, as this isn't even 4chan at all. How strange.

    3. The Emperor summons before him Bodhidharma and asks: “Master, I have been tolerant of innumerable gays, lesbians, bisexuals, asexuals, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, transgender people, and Jews. How many Virtue Points have I earned for my meritorious deeds?”

      Bodhidharma answers: “None at all”.

      The Emperor, somewhat put out, demands to know why.

      Bodhidharma asks: “Well, what do you think of gay people?”

      The Emperor answers: “What do you think I am, some kind of homophobic bigot? Of course I have nothing against gay people!”

      And Bodhidharma answers: “Thus do you gain no merit by tolerating them!”

      If I had to define “tolerance” it would be something like “respect and kindness toward members of an outgroup”.

      If you’re part of the Blue Tribe, then your outgroup isn’t al-Qaeda, or Muslims, or blacks, or gays, or transpeople, or Jews, or atheists – it’s the Red Tribe.

    4. This dumb troll post somehow reminded me of a stupid joke that I made a while ago about the queen in some graphically primitive game being nude. This was meant to poke fun at some commenters here, but I realize now that it could have been easily misunderstood as making fun of Chet's alleged prudity - the exact opposite of what I was trying to say. Anyway, I find these console style RPG on PCs somewhat odd. Like a mix of different styles (of graphics, gameplay and interface) that don't really blend that well.

    5. Aww, buddy - I know it sucks when you try to think up something new and fall flat on your face, but that doesn't mean you need to immediately rush for the protection of an argument as hoary, old, and busted as "how can you say you're tolerant when you don't tolerate intolerance?" I know you want to be able to head outside your bubble and shitpost the libs like all the cool kids, but I think it's going to take another couple of years before you're ready. Don't worry, you'll get there!

    6. Upon reflection, my post above was unduly harsh on your retreat to cliche, because actually there is a pretty innovative self-own you managed to slip into your cute little cod-Buddhist fable. The whole message of the real story is that the point of supporting Buddhism isn't to win extrinsic validation, so actions taken with that end in mind are useless. The parallel argument you're attempting to construct gets away from you, because after setting up the premise that the point of not being a hateful asshole to, say, Muslims, isn't to get extrinsic validation, you then pivot to be like no, actually you would get extrinsic validation if you subbed in "misogynists" for "Muslims." But that's not how it works - the point of not being a hateful asshole is not to be a hateful asshole. External validation has nothing to do with it, even leaving aside the fact that disliking misogynists doesn't make you a hateful asshole (just the opposite!)

    7. Remember, it's not whether or not you hate. Hating is perfectly okay provided you hate the right people, for the right reasons. There is no such thing as tolerance. Tolerance is a pretense used to disarm your enemy so that you can more effectively change who gets hated and why.

    8. Thank you tetrapod for cutting through the convoluted rhetoric with your responses. I never encounter people like this, and am really happy I almost never have to see similar commenters on this blog. The mental gymnastics necessary to turn everything into the victimization of straight white guys is so astounding I wouldn't know where to begin. Good work!

  12. My enjoyment of this post was enhanced by mentally replacing Don Frump with Donald Trump. Probably intentional on the developer's part.

    1. Given that MegaTech was very much in the "translated wrongly as a joke" vein when it came to CRPGs, I was actually assuming that it was both a reference to Donald Trump and completely unrelated to anything in the original text, myself.

    2. I remember the guys at MegaTech Software were Howard Stern fans.

    3. Had this game came out in 25 years later, Don Grump would not just set up guards to block Desmond; he'd build a wall and make Desmond pay for it.

  13. Wow. I remember when I played this game, I laughed at the absurdity of the situations, and the whole "rape is bad" thing was always pretty much well understood, there was no need for over-explaining how doing something to someone against their will is wrong. I think they trusted the player to know this already.

    The opening paragraph made this game much sleazier than it ever set out to be & sucked all the fun out of what is simply a purposefully silly, immature plot, with a couple of genuine good jokes towards the end.

    Are we allowed to laugh, or must we always over-analyze every little thing & continually hang our heads in shame? Probaly do a bit of slef-flagellation to atone for our sins, too, whether we committed them, thought about something bad or merely laughed at a joke.

    It all kind of reminds me of religious fanaticism, only with a different deity to prostate ourselves to.

    The biggest irony is, Knights of Xentar is one of the few RPGs where you NEVER get to do bad things, and probably the only one where you never even think about being evil once. It's just good-natured, stupid boyish fun, but I guess that's a crime these days.

    1. Using rape as "good-natured, stupid boyish fun" is exactly the problem. It's one brick in the road that led us to where we are today.

    2. There is no rape in KoX.

      There are attempts, by the EVIL, BAD enemies, and you SAVE them. Every time.

      Again, there is no rape in KoX, it is not encouraged by anything in this game, it is considered bad, everyone knows it's bad.

    3. Izzy managed to say much of what I was trying to express in my overly long post above, which I already regret typing, only much better.

      I believe that the *game* can be "good-natured, stupid boyish fun" and still use the concept of rape to illustrate that the bad guys are bad. After all, we don't usually question the use of other forms of violence for the same purpose (not to mention the copious amounts of violence used by the protagonists of virtually any RPG--at least those don't typically torture their victims before killing them, and only the "bad guys", of course.)

      I'm genuinely curious; maybe most people just consider rape automatically and fundamentally worse than other forms of physical or psychological violence. I for one honestly couldn't say that I'd prefer to be raped *or* hurt/tortured in another way *or* have the same done to someone dear to me; they're equally, unquantifiably undesirable possibilities.

      ...and here I go, over-explaining things...

    4. Thanks, Atantuo.

      Let me say that your statement of "use the concept of rape to illustrate that the bad guys are bad" hits the nail on the head.

      This wasn't something we questioned, or even thought about. It was as simple as "oh, these guys are harassing a woman, time to kick some butt."

      At the risk of being controversial - just kidding, I already was, apparently - maybe rape is "worse" because it's the new trendy thing to be against. Just like it was trendy to be against big corporations in the 90s, and now everyone uses brands as personality. Hmmm...

      Well, let me jump in on the bandwagon & say that I too, am against rape. For good measure, I'm also against violence, against abuse of children, against animal cruelty, against human traffic, etc.

      There, that should cover a couple of decades worth of fads.

      I'm against bad things & pro good things, retweet & like, for I am a good person.

    5. The problem is that the rape scenes are obviously being used for sexual excitement, but allowing the player to save the woman. This is a big complaint that a lot of women have about rape or potential rape as a plot device -- it is almost always from a male viewpoint and serves as a plot device to motivate the male heroes, with no attempt to understand the experience of women who are victims of sexual assault. If you google "rape in tv shows" you'll find many well-written articles from women discussing what is so problematic about the use of rape as a plot device.

      The idea that "people know rape is bad" is something you only hear from men. And thus we have a serial sexual assaulter in the white house and another poised to win a Senate seat. Ask women you know if they think people generally know rape is bad. Ask the women who are only now breaking their silence to accuse their bosses, former bosses, and coworkers.

      Here's the uncensored image of what Chester posted above:

      The scene is set up with the sexualized, mostly nude woman at the center. The intent is clearly to create an erotic image for the pleasure of the player. Of course the game isn't literally telling the player "rape is good!", but that's not the issue. The issue is that we have a huge problem with sexual assault and rape in our society.

      I suggest reading, with an open mind, things that women have written about rape culture and the use of rape in movies and television. They can articulate this more clearly than I can.

    6. One additional note: The picture posted there depicts rape. The woman is being sexually assaulted. The protagonist may stop the men before they do certain things to her, but it's already rape. Part of what women refer to as rape culture is the idea that someone could look at that picture and think it's not rape because there's no penetration.

    7. ^ This. I've not played the game, but from Chet's description it sure seems like in some cases, there are rape scenes being used as a reward for the player, which isself-evidently problematic regardless of the player character's behavior. Having a problematic element doesn't necessarily mean something is terrible and worthless, of course, but engaging with those questions honestly requires understanding how and why those pieces have some issues.

    8. Ok.

      So how would you write this game, then?

      Or a TV show?

      Or address the problem of rape in any way, shape or form, in a manner that isn't "problematic"?

      This are genuine questions, I am truly interested in your takes on the issue.

    9. Ask women you know if they think people generally know rape is bad.

      What if the issue isn't whether they know, but that they don't really care?

      Having been unlucky enough to know a few perps in my life -- and been targeted by one, who fortunately didn't get any further than low-grade unwanted touching -- I can assure you that they knew perfectly well the difference between right and wrong, but simply didn't care, or even actively took pleasure in doing the wrong thing. And as for people in general, I don't think most people care about much beyond their immediate self-interest, quite frankly.

      All of this is why it boggles my mind that people think "education" or "teaching men not to rape" will ever stop sexual assault. It won't, period.

    10. This is the last post I'm going to make about this.

      >So how would you write this game, then?

      By not using scenes of rape or sexual assault as erotic material for the player.

      As for the wider issue, like I said, I would suggest googling "rape on tv shows" and reading what women have written about it. They can speak to this more clearly and with more personal knowledge than me.

    11. Yeah, from what Chet said there's lots of consensual sexual content too so easy enough to stick with that. More broadly, of course there can still be value in culture that has problematic elements - I mean, basically everything from the Iliad and Odyssey on down has lots of them. And sometimes examination of the problematic elements can be part of a work's value, though the stakes for that are high, as is the difficulty of pulling it off successfully, so probably you're better off steering clear of those complications if you're making a comedy game about cartoon boobs.

    12. PK Thunder, I don't know if you agree or disagree with me, but I completely agree with you.

      The issue of rape has nothing to do with education, unless it's a widespread cultural thing.

      Some people just like to force others to do what they want them to, period. They were born this way and nothing is going to change them.

      That's why after centuries of civilisation, we still have prisons and always will.

      Someone will always have less than nice tendencies.

    13. I probably should've mentioned this before, but I never considered the rape scenes as "reward for the player".

      Sure, there may be a naked leg sticking out, or the odd nipple peeking out, but the girl is always in a state of distress, and I don't think that's meant to be erotic.

      If it was meant to reward the player, then the scenes with the hero would be pretty much the same, but they certainly aren't.

      There's a huge difference in the depiction and demeanour of the girls.

      So your solution I guess would be an entirely different type of game. What would happen to these? You did not suggest it, and I'm not going to put words in your mouth, but if they're not supposed to be written this way, I can only see censorship as a solution.

      I haven't watched TV shows or movies in a long, long while, but I cannot remember one "rape" scene, much less one that was supposed to arouse me.

      I do have vague recollections of the Pam Anderson movies, Dragon something and Barb Wire, I think it was? Those sure did something to my teenage self, but from what I remember, they were depicting consensual intercourse, and Ms. Anderson was not been forced to do those parts.

      Honestly, I completely fail to understand how you can say that a rape scene is "a reward for the player", and thinking about it, I'm even insulted.

    14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    15. Izzy, I don't know what your problem is. I acknowledged everything you say right at the beginning by drawing a direct CONTRAST between this game and Rance. I admit that it's funny and lighthearted.

      At the same time, it's an erotic game. So if we're going to analyze it--which is, of course, the entire purpose of my blog--we have to analyze that aspect. Just as you wouldn't expect me to write about a tactical RPG without analyzing whether the tactics hold up, how am I to play an eroge and not talk about whether the nudity and situations are actually erotic?

      As for the later discussion, I have to agree with Kurisu that even the scenes showing sexual assaults, which Desmond is clearly AGAINST, are draw in such a way that I think they're clearly meant to titillate and/or amuse the player. I'm stopping short of actually condemning such scenes because there's an overall sense of lighthearted whimsy about them. The girls don't seem particularly victimized. THAT in and of itself may raise some issues, but overall the scenes are clearly closer to the "No no no / yes yes yes" scene from Singin' in the Rain than Jodie Foster on the pinball machine.

      The discussion also raises the issue of why depictions of rape are particularly worse than depictions of other types of violence. I have no good answer to that one. It's a similar argument to "alcohol has a much worse impact on society than most other drugs; why are they illegal and alcohol isn't." When you truly analyze it, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that alcohol SHOULD be illegal and we should be disgusted by ALL depictions of violence for entertainment (which in either case isn't the way that those making the arguments want us to go). Both conclusions so severely grate against our culture that we almost immediately reject them. We perhaps just have to accept the paradox. Maybe a graphic image of beheading orcs with a sword is just as bad as a graphic image of rape, but if we can live without one of them, isn't that better than living with both?

    16. Chet: Part of the answer you’re looking for involves the power dynamic between the actors involved.

      Consider the difference between chopping an orc’s head off in battle vs beating an orc child unconscious, whipping an enslaved orc to death or brutally torturing a bound orc.

    17. Mr. Bolingbroke, after rereading what you wrote, I will admit I was more upset than it was warranted.

      Your critiques were indeed towards Rance - an entry I haven't read yet, but I will soon.

      Maybe it was just unexpected. My memories of KoX are all of mirth and silliness, so reading that second, not first, paragraph, was like an unexpected bucket of cold water.

      The rest of your post is certainly much more in line with the feelings I got from the game when I played it.

      I guess I feel that the Rance bit wasn't really necessary, and the post would actually work better without it. It feels like a speed bump in the post and really has nothing to do with KoX, but that is just my own opinion, of course.

      I apologise if I brought an unwanted discussion to your blog, and I hope it doesn't put you off the game.

      It's surely no masterpiece, and its intended audience are teenagers, but I think it's a worthwhile experience that, surprisingly, sticks with you for a long time.

      To finish, I will say that once again I fully agree with what Atantuo posted, and Tristan Gall was the star player, as he summed it all up pretty well with just a couple of sentences.

    18. I have to agree with Tristan there.
      During a Rape Scene there is at least one clear Victim which is usually in a state of weakness while during a fight for life or death that´s not the case that we have a clear Victim / Culprit side.

      I guess it´s hard to include sexual violence without one being clearly the Victim and the other Clearly the Culprit ... during a fight you don´t randomly try to "Cop a Feel" or so while avoiding sword blows or whatever unless you are vastly overpowering your enemy and are just playing with em thus => unbalanced power dynamic.

      I´m also not a big Fan of murdering innocents, unconscious or otherwise incapacitated enemies that can´t fight back .. uuh .. in Video games of course ...

    19. Tristan makes a good point; here's another.

      I think the reason we find rape so much more horrible than violence is because sex is an inherently pleasurable, intimate activity, and frequently an expression of love. It's what we all come from.

      Thus, when we see it turned into a form of violence, it's jarring in a way that normal violence isn't.

      Normal violence is done with weapons clearly meant to hurt, so while it's terrible, it makes sense to us.

      Sexual violence is using something inherently good as a means to take away someone else's control for your own pleasure, which is one of the most profane things we as a species are capable of.

      That's why rape is so shocking to us.

    20. If any of you guys (and it is, invariably, guys) want to stick up for games like Knights of Xentar because you stop rape from happening by beating the bad guys (let's forget that you also get sex as a reward for a moment), then the game would be best designed in such a way where if you stop the assault successfully, you do not get to look at titillating pictures of the beginning of the assault. And if you don't, you get to see terrifying images of what rape would be like, and then get a game over.

    21. Late to the party but there's an important point that hasn't really been addressed. What a few of you are missing is that when it comes to the topic of the depiction of sexual violence in media, your personal experience isn't very important. People don't say "this rape scene is problematic" because they haven't heard Bob from Ohio say "but it didn't turn me on, so what's the problem?!" Because you don't personally feel that sexual assault is okay, and even because the artist doesn't condone it, doesn't mean that the image is innocent. There's a very important concept about the human mind called the unconscious, which is the part of the brain where ideas and feelings live that we don't normally have access to. In other words, the thoughts at the front of your head, that say "rape is bad, this image of a naked woman being assaulted doesn't interest me," may not necessarily coincide with the things going on behind the curtain of the unconscious. And the same goes for the artist. The artist had fun making these images. The artist wasn't in excruciating pain, thinking about the suffering of this poor woman. Whether or not he wants to admit it, or even knows it, a part of him liked the idea of a woman getting assaulted, and that's why he drew it. There is no emotional weight to this game, please do not try to argue that these images were intended to enhance the power of the story. As Helm said, if that was the case, rescuing the women would be its own reward, not sex. And just because the image excites you doesn't make you a bad person. You telling yourself "I'm a bad person because I like this" is just the front of your brain trying to push scary stuff to the back of your brain. The human mind is a whacky thing, all sorts of things are going on, it doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. What might make you a bad person, if you were to really strongly commit to it, is ignoring the many many women who have said "seeing these images is painful to me, because I've been assaulted." It is very likely that a good percentage of the women in your life have been assaulted. What's happening in the news is proof that it's a huge problem. So just because you don't think the image is offensive, it's important to listen when someone else says it is, because there might be more happening under the surface that you can't recognize because you are only experiencing it with the thoughts at the front of your head. If you've never been assaulted, you get to enjoy the privilege of pushing away thoughts that trouble you. Someone who has been assaulted doesn't get to do that, because what is troubling happened to them physically and consciously. So especially when it's a woman saying, "hey, there's something wrong here," you listen. But there are other folks who have thought about this and considered it carefully, and they should be listened to as well.

      In terms of the question, "So, what, we just never show rape anymore? Liberals live in the clouds!" My response is to ask if we should just ignore the problem. There are all sorts of solutions, generally to be dealt with on a case by case basis, let's not choose to simply ignore the problem because coming up with a real solution is too hard. As people who aren't producing these stories, it's not our job to come up with solutions. Our job, as human beings, is to respect the pain others have felt, and try to reflect that in paying close attention to the things we consume as entertainment, and acknowledge, not ignore, problems as we find them.

    22. Joet88, the only flaw in, or perhaps asterisk to, your argument is that so far we haven't heard from any sexual assault victims who say they find the images bothersome. I suppose it's logical to think that they WOULD, but not a foregone conclusion. I've been robbed on the street but I don't particularly mind scenes of robberies in films.

      The other important thing to remember is that these images aren't being hosted on billboards somewhere. You have to purposefully seek them out by buying, installing, and playing this game.

    23. From how you describe it the game sounds like pretty light fare, and I certainly don't judge anyone who enjoys it. But I do think it points to bigger issues. My point is just that there's nothing wrong with clear-sighted analysis for the sake of understanding the bigger picture, regardless of our personal feelings.

  14. You're right about the text being changed for the Western release. As far as I know, the original Dragon Knight III was at least mostly serious, so most, if not all of the levity would have been added by the translator(s). Can't say I begrudge them: perhaps it makes me juvenile, but I still find the writing in this game to be a hoot.

    On an unrelated note, I'm also amused by the commenters coming out of the woodwork who are offended by Chet's supposed prudeness. I hope it isn't too discouraging to open up with a paragraph on having been misinterpreted on the issue in the past, only to have it happen yet again anyway.

    1. "As far as I know, the original Dragon Knight III was at least mostly serious, so most, if not all of the levity would have been added by the translator(s)." I can't say either way, not being able to read Japanese, but it's hard to believe that simply because the IMAGES aren't very serious. Serious text would conflict with the pictures.

    2. Dragon Knight IV supposedly has a very deep and moving story for a porn RPG, but naturally it's possible it's the first (and last) one in the series to have a serious script.

      (Though it's possible the original script was somewhat humourous as well, I bet my head any pop-culture references or fourth-wall breaking are an invention of the localisation.)

  15. "It's the uniquely Japanese style, favored by console games of the era, in which a childlike protagonist bustles about on squat little legs and interacts with people and objects mostly by running headlong into them. The style goes back to the proto-RPG Tower of Druaga (1984) and was made famous in RPGs like Dragon Slayer (1984), Hydlide (1984), and The Ancient Land of Ys (1987) as well as non-RPGs like The Legend of Zelda."

    So.. Like... Has Chet never played a Zelda game? Not a single Zelda game has a Hydlide/Ys style combat system...? How did this not come up a single time above?

    1. I think Chet's point about the artstyle (as summarized by "childlike protagonist bustles about on squat little legs and bumps into things") applies to Zelda, even if it gives you an attack button and Ys does not. It also applies to Final Fantasy, for instance, and that has full combat screens.

      It's pretty widely popular in Japanese games around that time, and not nearly so much in American and European ones.

    2. I can not see how anybody who has played either can possibly find the Addict's description to apply to Zelda or Final Fantasy games in any way, shape or form.

    3. Well, I didn't apply the description to Final Fantasy, so that deals with that part of the argument.

      As for the rest, I admit it's been a long time since I played the original Zelda, so I took a look at some gameplay video here:

      1. "Childlike protagonist." The protagonist's icon is a squat little boy with a pointy hat. This is in contrast to western RPGs that, eve when using icons, try to depict more realistic-looking warrior types.

      2. "Squat little legs." The Zelda protagonist clearly has them. They run back and forth as he walks. That may seem like nothing to you, but the default interface for third-person western RPGs of the era was a more static icon that didn't try to realistically depict running motions.

      3. "Interacts mostly by ruing headlong." How does the protagonist pick up items? Open chests? Find secret doors? He just runs into them. This is, again, in contrast to the typical western RPG where the player must pause and use some kind of keyboard command to open a door or pick a lock.

      No, Zelda's protagonist does not engage in COMBAT by bashing into enemies. (Although, to be fair, it looks like maybe he CAN.), but I didn't emphasize combat in my description. Even if I had, you're drawing too fine a distinction. The purely-action combat in Zelda is a lot closer to Hydlide than it is to say Ultima or any of its turn-based clones.

      In short, I think you're a bit crazy if you can't see a direct line from Druaga to Zelda, and since western RPGs (with perhaps a few exceptions) NEVER really developed anything in the same style, I don't feel bad calling it a "uniquely Japanese style."

    4. I'm not contesting the earlier influence of Druaga. I guess my issue is this: when I think about combat in Ys and Hydlide, I think of a guy literally running into baddies. That is basically "the" way to summarize those games. So hearing that description and then seeing it applied to Zelda just seemed.. misleading.

      I also want to comment on this point: "The purely-action combat in Zelda is a lot closer to Hydlide than it is to say Ultima or any of its turn-based clones. "

      While I agree that Zelda is closer to Hydlide than Ultima, I'd actually go further. Ultima is closer to Hydlide than it is to Zelda! The reason that matters is that Zelda has always had solid, sometimes even groundbreaking action-style combat. Zelda 1's action elements hold up better than most of its purely twitch NES contemporaries; Zelda 2 introduced a pretty interesting side-scrolling combat system; Zelda Ocarina of Time basically created the mold of 3D sword and shield combat, still followed today by the Dark Souls lineage of games. Hydlide and Ys (especially in their early outtings) more fundamentally follow RPG traditions by emphasizing stats over maneuvering and twitch skills. I mean, Hydlide is 90% stat grinding and walking into enemies. Zelda has little grinding (arguable over whether Zelda has grinding at all) and no walking into enemies.

      Overall, while elements of the comparison are true, I'm just not convinced that Zelda should be mentioned side by side with Ys and Hydlide when it shares at least as much with Metroid or Castlevania 2 (perhaps even more).

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. A few minor notes:
      1. I didn't bring Final Fantasy into the discussion. That was the additional commenters.
      2. As evidence for some of my points, here is direct text from the Ys 1 Wikipedia article:
      "Combat in Ys is rather different from other RPGs at the time, which either had turn-based battles or a manually activated sword. Ys instead features a battle system where fighters automatically attack when walking into their enemies off-center."
      It is described literally as "walking into enemies", and it brings up "manually activated swords" as an alternative (likely a direct reference to Zelda in all actuality).

      But yeah, the broader argument.. I honestly wasn't even commenting on at all. I do have thoughts on art style and how characters are modeled, but that really wasn't the core of my comment.

      It definitely appears that I misread your original comment's tone on combat, but I still think that language is a bit misleading. You also muddy the waters here by seemingly defending this view above ("Although, to be fair, it looks like maybe he CAN.")

    7. 1. Is a graphical limitation induced by the game's perspective. If you look at the original manual art, Link wouldn't be too out of place in any Western game. To me, at least, he resembles Bilbo Baggins from the old Rankin-Bass cartoon more than anything else.

      2. is nothing more than "this is animated instead of a static image." Nothing "uniquely Japanese" about this - it just more similar to action-based games than it is to RPGs. This is entirely reasonable, because none of the Zelda games are RPGs except arguably Zelda II. Atari's 1985 title Gauntlet is very similar overall.

      3. Again, this is not a "Japanese thing", it is a "Action Game" thing. It is also incorrect, as much of the interaction in Zelda games requires using an object from your inventory at the proper time, not just pushing into things.

    8. Combat in THIS game is much more complex than Hydlide. I wasn't trying to claim that every element in my list is present in every JRPG of the era, and I think you're all reading criticisms in my description where I didn't intend any. I was simply describing the overall look and feel of the interface, noting that it traces its lineage to Druaga, mentioning other RPGs of a similar lineage (even if they don't adopt all elements), and noting that western RPGs by and large did not adopt the same style.

      Having not played Zelda in decades, I will refrain from using it an an example of anything anymore. But since killias presses me on the point, I now want to know: in the video, it looks like if you don't attack at range and instead run up and press against an enemy, this counts as an attack. Am I right or wrong about that?

    9. Well, there are several ways to attack. If you have full health, your sword shoots a ranged attack. You can also attack at range with a bow, a wand, and a boomerang. You can drop bombs and start nearby fires with candles as well.

      The normal sword attack is a melee attack, but the distinction between Zelda-style combat and Hydlide/Ys-style combat is significant. The former puts most of its emphasis on your ability to dodge enemy attacks while sneaking your own attacks in. The sword isn't a "part" of Link that allows you to run into enemies (a la Druaga). It is its own sprite with its own collision detection, neither of which are true with the other games.

      Link does run into a few things: blocks to solve Sokoban-style block puzzles; treasure/hearts/items to pick them up; a -few- invisible doors. But combat is significantly different than Hydlide or Ys or even Druaga.

      Another thing to consider.. you can beat most of Zelda without even picking up a sword, and you can beat all of Zelda without getting any extra hearts or other upgrades other than the last sword (which is mandatory) and the last arrow. Does it.. even make sense to talk about beating Hydlide or Ys or Druaga without a sword? Like.. that concept doesn't even slot into those games. And beating Ys or Hydlide without leveling or grinding is completely impossible. Again, Zelda is much more of an action/twitch-focused game that gives flexibility to solve problems; Ys and Hydlide are pretty straightforward, streamlined RPGs that lean much more heavily on stats than "skill".

    10. This conversation has completely gotten out of hand, haha, but just to be clear, here's a video:

      I've timestamped right before a big combat scene. Notice that the sword has its own sprite, and it actually has a pretty significant range. It may not seem it if you haven't played it much, but it does. It allows you to attack just over a full square away from an enemy, keeping you save from touching the enemy. Also, while he's at full health, his sword also gives ranged attacks. He uses bombs to help take out enemies as well, in addition to finding a clock that temporarily freezes time.

    11. - Here's an image of the sword when swung

      I should also clarify how the sword works: you don't just hold a button to hold your sword out. You push the sword button to swing it. During that swing, the sword will hit/hurt/push back any enemies it comes into contact with (and shoot a single laser blaster if at full health). The swing will quickly end, however, and the sword will no longer be outstretched. Every swing requires a new button press, not unlike Ninja Gaiden for the NES or other sword-based melee action games from the time.

    12. There are also precisely zero enemies in the game that can be killed by mere contact.

      That said, I don't think any of this conversation was meant as criticism. The main thrust was that your own gaming focuses can provide some blind spots, and you seem to be making too broad a generalization from your limited experience.

      One important final point. According to Nintendo, the original Legend of Zelda was created from ideas "rejected" from the original Super Mario Brothers, and it was not knowingly inspired by Hydlide, Ys, or Druaga - games which everybody in the design team claims to have had no knowledge of at the time.

  16. Off topic a little, but could anyone direct me how to get Quarterstaff running on my 2017 MacBook Pro? I've wanted to play it ever since I was a kid, but had a C64 instead of the requisite Macintosh.

  17. I have no comments on the game (which I've never actually played), but I do want to comment on the sex vs. violence thing which seems to perpetually hover in the background when issues like gratuitous nudity crop up. There is a common assumption that if you're fine with violence, you must be fine with sexual content, or else you are a hypocrite.

    But in fact, there is a very core difference between sex and violence. Sex is an intimate and private activity, violence is a public activity. This is why we might see people fighting one another on the street - but sex, or even just nudity, on the street, is a different story. Not because of laws, but because we just don't like being exposed that way. Nudity and sex involve the exposure of those body parts we label as privates - that's a hint right there. It's a distinction made solely for the sexual organs: I mean, even when a person is literally cut open during surgery, no one is concerned about privacy ("oh how embarrassing, the heart is showing" - no one ever, after watching a publicised video of a heart surgery), unless the sexual organs are involved.

    In this sense, then, it is perfectly normal to differentiate between sex and violence, and it is perfectly normal to complain about gratuitous sex more than about gratuitous violence, simply because gratuitous violence means simply too much of something that in lesser amounts would be considered reasonable, whereas gratuituous sexual content is gratuitous not by there being too much of something that would otherwise be reasonable*, but by the inherently unreasonable public exposure of something that should be private.

    Now, what particular situations we consider to be un-gratuitous sexual content will obviously depend on the context (ever seen the film Ten Canoes? Two hours of perfectly reasonable and unobtrusive male and female nudity), but also on particular moral values held by a given individual, and there is always plenty of room for debate on both counts. But the mere understanding that depictions of sex should be much more restrained than depictions of violence, is more or less universal, and in no way related to moral values.

    (yes, even the people who respond to comments about gratuitous nudity by scoffing about hypcrisy and prudery, in fact share this view: the proof is in the fact that for all their claims about sex being just normal, they still, with very few exceptions, keep their own sexual lives private and never think twice about this as being somehow hypocritical)

    1. This is an interesting comment, Jakub, and I appreciate you trying to engage the issue. I have to reflect a bit as to whether I completely agree with you argument, but it's certainly a plausible one.

      I do agree 100% with your last statement. I often wonder how many of my commenters from all those "enlightened" countries where "nudity isn't even sexualized" would be comfortable walking down to the corner store stark naked.

    2. Most people don’t beat their partners or children in public either.

    3. This is where I totally disagree, I'd even say this is a typical US American point of view.
      As a German I would argument more along the line that non-violent sexuality does not harm anybody though violence always does. I just don't get the general idea of how could be violence - something that destroys - be tolerated or even worshiped and sex - something that builds emotional bonds and brings life - is so frowned upon.
      But this is the typical European vs. US american discussion ... so we should try not to way down this forum with it.

    4. And sorry, just because something is called "privates" in your language just shows how people thought about things some hundred years ago - the question is if you want to continue looking at things that way.

    5. This is interesting, but doesn't quite gel with me. For one, I don't consider violence a public activity. By modern standards, it's not appropriate in any real-world venue (other than maybe ritualized in sports). I'd wager most of us have had more sexual encounters than violent encounters. Sure, it's not common in public - this past weekend a couple was making out in a hotel lobby, waiting for their elevator, and it was definitely awkward, but my family would have been a lot more disturbed if the couple had been in a fistfight instead.

      Furthermore, I think there's greater nuance to the subject than a simple public/private divide. The things that go into our entertainment don't mirror either of those things, and I would suggest should be a third category. There's definitely a lot more of both sex and violence put into entertainment, and I don't think either of them really hinges on what we do in public or in private.

  18. Curious thing... there's apparently a fan-translation project going on for DK4. I bet that game contains even more of nudity etc., assuming they're doing the original PC-98 game. SFC port had a ton of censorship, as far as I know. Maybe they'll tackle the first two games as well, though I wouldn't really count on it.

    1. Is there? I'm actually super interested, since that game supposedly has a great, moving plot that my Japanese is too bleh to understand right now.

      Although I wonder if the people who saying that are the same guys who read Playboy "for the articles" back when it was relevant. :P

  19. I played this game in my teenage years and I have good memories about it. I remember it as a light-hearted game, linear, with sometimes funny text and nice pictures :-).
    About the discussion here from my side - I think it´s clearly depicted here, that rape is bad, because girls look not happy in that pictures and they ask for help. When you help them, they are usually nice with you. Which is clear message "It is not good be harsh with girls, it´s much better to be nice with them". Ok, that was small joke from my side.
    Maybe sometimes in our adult years we are overthinking or trying to be too much "correct" about some things.

    1. I like to think that in our adult years, we become more interested in how different forms of media shape our opinions, attitudes, and behavior. My code of ethics from ages 12-18, roughly, came directly from Ultima IV. I can't acknowledge such an effect and not wonder about similar, negative effects our entertainment choices might have. I'm not going to apologize for analyzing game content on a blog specifically created to analyze game content.

    2. Ah, sorry, CHester, if you took my words personal. My last sentence was not about you, but about all of us here, who are talking so deeply about sexual content, how it was meant, how to take it, if it is good or not... somehow it seemed to me that we are making "too much fuss" about it.

    3. Maybe one more thing - I completely understand your point of view. I think my code of ethics probably also came from these ages, in my case from the books, mostly probably of the books from Karel May and books about knights from legends - Roland, Arthur (and his guys), Cid, Richard the Lionheart, Robin Hood (ok, he was not a knight, I know).

    4. It wasn't your words in particular but every time the topic of sex and nudity comes up, a host of commenters use terms like "overthinking" or "over-analyzing." As if analyzing every pixel of a dragon's wing is okay but a few comments on a visible pudendum are worthy of ridicule.

    5. You can be sure I would have similar comment, if here would appear such discussion about dragon´s wing, food and torches in long forgotten dungeons or anything else. Maybe except of books :-)
      I think I made this comment also little under influence of that "MeToo" campaign (which I am glad was not mentioned here in discussion).
      It just seemed to me that today almost everybody tries to "analyze" this to go with "fashion".
      I apologize for my not so good English, but I hope everybody will understand, what I wanted to say.

  20. Played this a long time ago. Assuming you have enough interest to beat this, explore thoroughly. There's at least one spell if not more that can only be obtained by venturing off the beaten path instead of just following the storyline. Not that I need to tell you this given your expertise thus far, but just wanted to state that there are some very obviously missable items by endgame.

    1. I found all spells except for the Warp and Earth (Healing) to be pointless. Either you use offensive spell and take low damage in a battle or you don't use it, take slightly more damage and then cast a healing spell instead. The end result is the same.

      The battle system in Knights of Xentar felt a lot like playing Whac-A-Mole to me. All you need to do is look at the healthbars and if one gets too low you use a potion or, once you have the girl, cast a healing spell.

    2. It's just for collection purposes. I beat the game without some of these and I noticed gaps in the sections so I decided to go around and fill them up.

    3. I'm not even sure what you mean by "following the storyline." I don't see any storyline that takes me from place to place. I've only been finding things by exploring in a counter-clockwise pattern around the perimeter of the map. I'll definitely look for side areas.

  21. "I listened to a bit in a YouTube video, and it's pretty bad."

    Pretty bad? That´s just pretty bad for you?? Is being burned alive just a "Minor inconvenience", too? xD

    By all that is holy I am surprised that this never comes up in Bad Video Game Dialogues. I think my Hair turned white after listening to it .. too afraid to check it out ...

    1. To be fair, asking voice actors to read some of those lines is a bit cruel.

  22. Nobody mention of the enemy knowledge system yet?
    It's poorly documented, but basically the more you know about the enemy, the easier they'll be to defeat. First encounters against new enemies can be brutal, but if you keep fighting the same enemies it'll become easier and easier to grind them for xp and cash.'s an interesting system, haven't seen it in any other RPG.

    1. I didn't really understand it in time for the first entry. I talk about it in the next one.

      Might and Magic X is the only one I know for sure has something like that.


I welcome all comments about the material in this blog, and I generally do not censor them. However, please follow these rules:

1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) THIS ALSO INCLUDES USER NAMES THAT LINK TO ADVERTISING.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters.

3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

NOTE: I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.