From Reality to a Nightmare...
In Sega Saturn's Dark Savior you are Garain, one of the infamous Bounty hunters responsible for the capture of the most gruesome (and more infamous) mass-murderer of all time, Bilan. Your job is to transfer Bilan to a maximum security prison called Jailer's Island for his execution. You begin your journey on a ship, but something has gone wrong- and Bilan escapes!
I was really excited to play this "Role Playing Fable". But all that changed when I actually began playing. First, I found myself reading what the characters were saying instead of hearing it. This is a CD ROM game! Shame on the makers of Dark Savior for turning my Sega Saturn into a Sega Genesis. A bad start for a bad game.
The game looks a lot like Legend of Oasis on the surface. You see your character from the 3rd person and can move him about, with buttons for jumping and attacking. Dark Savior, however, has a 3/4 perspective and gives you the ability to rotate the view.
The first part of the game takes place on the ship. There you are forced to sit through several minutes of text 'dialogue' which can't skipped before you begin your mission to find and kill Bilan. While you are on the ship, there is a timer in the lower right hand side of the screen. As the timer's color changes, so does Garain's future. Your future on Jailer's Island can be pleasant or it can be tough, it just depends on how fast or slow you are. When you arrive at the Island you will not timed anymore, but try to get there quickly! This is really where the self proclaimed "role playing fable" begins. On the Island, Garain can walk around and talk to criminals, guards and visitors. If you look hard enough, you might even find some treats and meet some interesting people.
Most of the game involves moving through different rooms, jumping on or off things, pulling switches or moving boxes until you can get out the door on the other side. Frankly, it's boring. It's like that experiment where they test the chimpanzee to see if it can move the furniture to get at the banana hanging from the ceiling.
Garain has with him a Bounty Hunter's handbook, which is invaluable because it is really the options menu. The first chapter is all about Jack. Jack is this funny looking bird who follows you around, tells you what to do and then tells you to give up. Jack is good for something, though. He can help Garain regain his life ( 20 points worth ). He can also give you a hint about what to do next (the cost depends on where you are in the game). He can also promote you to the next level for 500 points.
The next 'chapter' shows you what items Garain has accumulated. Here is where you use the various items you pick up. The next chapter shows you the status of Garain and any creature he has captured.
The fighting in Dark Savior is similar to most hand to hand combat games like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat... minus all the cool moves. The only bonus is that Garain can capture his opponent at the end of battle and can use the creature in the next combat instead of fighting himself. A cool new concept! Or so I thought. The problem is, when the creature dies, so does Garain. It really defeats the purpose of having somebody fighting in your place. Oh well.
The makers of this game have a long way to go if they want to create a good role playing game. I did enjoy the fact that there are different ways the story can continue, but who cares? After waiting for the dialogue and the credits, this game lost my attention. Dark Savior is a cool story... too bad about everything else in the whole game.