GSJ10: Drakkh attakh

Did you notice the awesome Magma reference in the title? I tell you what, Skyrim is really putting me back in touch with my progressive/teutonic origins.

This piece from GameSpite Journal 10 pretty much pegs it: I did not get Drakkhen when I rented it 20 years ago. At all. It was a wide-open, confusing, hostile video game. Random things happened. The world was a vast, empty space. Giant cat heads appeared out of the ground for no reason. I seem to recall constellations randomly coming to life and killing me. But — as indicated in the opening paragraph of this blog entry — I have a lot more experience with open-ended, Western-style RPGs these days. Maybe I’d better appreciate Drakkhen if I tried it again. Then again, maybe I’d just become so frustrated with the game that I’d want to scoop my brain out with a melon baller.

11 thoughts on “GSJ10: Drakkh attakh

  1. GSJ10 looks pretty nice! Seems like I have to clear some bookshelf space.

    For anyone interested:
    I am not sure if the promotional code is only for valid in Germany, but as Jeremys US-code was valid here, GESCHENKE should get you a 30% discount if you are buying 2 books or more (at least until November 30)…

  2. The problem with Drakkhen wasn’t really that it was the world gave you too many options. It was that the interface gave you too few. You know how sane console RPGs generally accept that they should do everything through a series of nested menus? Drakkhen seemed to be more of the philosophy that hey, Adventure was a 2600 port of a freaking text adventure that got by just fine with no text, and they only had 1 button…

  3. I remember Drakkhen as a brutal, unenjoyable disaster for the most part, but the stars arraying to attack you was laudably surreal and memorable.

  4. This is uncanny, right down to renting it from a video store adjoining a gas station, and going back to renting Final Fantasy II after days of frustration.

  5. Oh man… I died so many times playing this. My soul did, at least.

    But yeah, I never got anywhere of note that didn’t end in my death at the feet of some unstoppable monster. Or… a body of water. “Hey, it’s a pond, let’s all stand in it! *glub glub*”

  6. There was no Final Fantasy to turn to if you played this when it first came out. But if you soldiered on to the ending, man did it feel satisfying.

  7. I just want to say… this game is just as linear, if not moreso, than any FF game, even XIII. When you first start out, you can’t go anywhere. Any time you try to leave the first area, this old man appears and tells you that you suck too much to leave and sends you back. You have to go to the first castle before you can do anything, and follow a very pre-scripted set of objectives after that to beat the game. There are no side quests, no secrets. Any sense of freedom is just as illusionary as Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest.

    • That said… what really makes Drakkhen distinct is its downright bizarre atmosphere and haunting soundtrack, neither of which are mentioned here…

  8. From what I hear, the SNES port of Drakkhen is the only version out there with an overworld map. And even then I would keep walking past destinations on the map. Imagine navigating the game using only the sun and the (killer) stars.

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