Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Fausseté Amour (TurboGrafx-CD)

Faussete amour title screen
Developer:AIM|Release Date:1993|Systems:PC Engine CD

Today on Super Adventures I'm taking a quick look at Fausseté Amour, which is almost certainly some kind of platformer. Probably.

One of the special talents I possess that sets me apart from the average game writer is my ability to consistently spell 'TurboGrafx' right without looking it up, but it's turning out to be a pretty useless skill seeing as everything I play for the system lately turns out to be exclusive to the Japanese PC Engine version of the machine. Like this for instance.

The title 'Fausseté Amour' on the other hand, I've been having to double check every time. I keep putting in too many 't's or not enough 's's or throwing in an 'r' and changing it to 'armour'. Google Translate tells me that it's French and is pretty close to meaning 'false love'. Which is a bit of a warning sign perhaps, but it's a console game so I'm sure it'll be perfectly wholesome and safe for the whole family to enjoy! Probably.



Well the game's entirely in Japanese, which isn't a huge shock considering it was made in Japan by Japanese speaking developers exclusively for the Japanese market, but I'm a little surprised they haven't given me any text at all to work with.

Like with that Renny Blaster game I played a couple of months back, the developers have used their 700 MB of spare CD storage space to give the game a spoken narration without subtitles, so I have absolutely zero idea who these creatures are, or why I'll likely find one waiting to kill me at the end of each world.

This is helpful though; even I can understand simple comic book panels!

A horde of monsters is attacking a town, with eyeball bats swooping down and preying on the townsfolk as they flee from their burning homes. It's all very straightforward. What I don't get though, is why the cutscene's got a jazz soundtrack.

Also this guy looks way too into it.

You know, it occurs to me that we can't see any of the other faces clearly. Maybe this is just some kind of festival. The eyeball bats could be parade balloons, the demons could be in Halloween-style costumes. Us English folk like to celebrate around huge bonfires every 5th of November, so even that's not that weird. This would even explain the music... kind of.

On a hill overlooking the carnage/festivities, a blur-haired girl meets an old wizard-looking man and the jazz is replaced with violins.

Well the voice acting seems decent enough (especially for 1993), but it's hard to really tell when I don't understand any of the words.

I assume they're talking about this happy rich couple though. Well not so happy any more, as the next shot reveals the woman chained up in a dungeon with her dress torn open. Plus the monsters stole her bra!

I'm likely making it sound worse than it is, you'll see more flesh in an average comic book, but it's the cutscenes coming up that I'm worried about! It's bad enough sitting through a story I don't understand without the lead character turning out to be the hero's bare ass cheeks.

It's probably for the best that the romance didn't work out though. All their children would've ended up with boring shades of brown hair, setting them apart from the brightly coloured anime aristocracy. They'd have been exiled to the village to live amongst all the other commoners.

Monsters are rampaging, couples are being broken up and dresses are being torn, and our blue-haired protagonist has apparently had enough of it. A panning shot reveals that she's changed out of the dress into her asskicking gear... well the top half of it anyway.

She is surprisingly well armoured, though most of it is hanging off her shoulders. Covering up her arms or legs would only slow her down, but it's essential that she has huge metal plates either side of her head, angled to deflect all incoming attacks directly towards her neck.

I'm liking that huge double-bladed staff she's got though. It looks like it could do some serious damage, plus it's colour-coordinated with her outfit!

Okay, what's the gameplay like then?

It'd be fair to say that the game is definitely a platformer and not a terrible looking one, though there's definitely something up with that walk cycle. But who am I to presume how someone would actually move in that armour? I'm liking the double-bladed staff even more now I know that the blades spring out on a chain, rapid fire. That totally makes up for the fact that weapon's shrunk to half its size in game.

Oh crap I just realised that they guy I hit looked like a regular human instead of a monster and he wasn't even holding his axe. Well, no body and no witnesses means that it never happened.

That's so cruel, giving me a giant door shaped hole in the background I can't go into. Also all those platforms along the top are way too high for me to reach.

At least this gives me an excuse to show off another enemy, which is a some kind of floating dragon... ball that spits out smaller versions of its own heads from its own heads. Fortunately my sword fires diagonally too, so with five or six hits I was able to free him from his nightmarish existence and make the world a little bit safer for commuters.

Uh... so I guess I jump off then? I can't pull the camera down by crouching to check if it's safe, so all I can really do is make a leap of faith. Or I could stay up here and listen to the music for a bit.

Nah, this tune is pretty much the opposite of catchy, I think I'd rather throw myself off a cliff.

There's a crossbow archer riding a tiny rhino down here! I just don't know how to deal with that.

I'm not sure how I ended up landing on the horn though, she usually has better mid-air steering than that. Perhaps she'll be more agile now that she's done a Ghouls'N Ghosts and dropped the bulky armour.

Actually looking at it closely, that armour wasn't knocked into pieces, it was beamed back to the mothership completely intact!

Big loss, it could only take one hit anyway.

Without armour she only lasted until the next hit, before pulling a Super Metroid and suffering a complete wardrobe failure on death. I guess the developers were trying to make the game sexier so it'd appeal to that crucial male pervert demographic... they just didn't think it through and ended up producing fan service for necrophiliacs.

Actually now that I think about it, even Super Metroid stopped short of having Samus's underwear explode.

Losing a life put me back at the start of the game, so this time I tried jumping down a different hole and found an underground passage. I also found that I can smack fairies to mug them for their stuff. I've no idea what this thing I've collected does, but I'm sure it'll come in handy eventually.

By the way, if you see any GIFs like this, cropped down and with the background not moving, then you should be aware that I've edited out the scrolling to keep the filesize down. Thankfully the game designers avoided putting in any multi-layer parallax backgrounds, so that made my job easier. Probably would've made the game look better if they had though.

The top path leads to a rhino riding mid-boss, and the bottom path leads to a complete dead end! I'm kind of struggling to complete level one to be honest.

Plus it turns out that there's no way to jump back out of the hole, as all the platforms are too high up for me to reach. I'm actually stuck down here.

Oh shit, I've got a double jump grappling hook move! This is the one of the best double-bladed chain-sword staves I've ever used in a video game.

Now I just need to jump again at the highest point of her arc to make it up to the next platform, and... fuck, I missed and fell back down again. I love the idea of this grappling mechanic, but it sure is a pain in the ass to use.


EVENTUALLY.


Oh, well now I feel stupid.

It took me way too long to figure out that I can just hit the attack button mid swing to fling myself into the air as a spinning ball of instant death, like I'm Sonic the Hedgehog. No worries about where I'm landing, as anything I touch like this is obliterated.

And somehow she manages to walk in a straight line afterwards without toppling over dizzy.


LATER, AT THE FIRST BOSS FIGHT.


I was able to take the rhino mid-boss on my second try and continued all the way to the exit lift, which took me to... a church. Holy ground isn't traditionally where demons like to hang out, but from the look of those red-eyed faces glaring at me from the ceiling I'm guessing this isn't a traditional place of worship.

The guy didn't transform right away, the two of them stood there for a while and had a bit of a chat first, but it was all entirely lost on me. All these PC Engine games I've played and I haven't picked up a word of Japanese from any of them

Man, that was a far easier fight than the mid-boss! I've barely cut anything out of this clip, it really was a massively one-sided battle. It's not often that I walk out of a boss fight with as many lives as I came in with.

I killed him so hard that he melted!

Oh he was just changing back into his original form... of a woman in skimpy red armour. Hey weren't you wearing purple a minute ago?

No idea what's going on here, but at least it looks pretty good. The style suits the system's limitations far better than Renny Blaster's dirty scanned cutscene art.


LEVEL 2.


It just pulled the old Castlevania instant-death water knockback trick on me! With armour I can usually survive a single hit, but on this raft even a single mistake is going to send me back to the start of the level.

By the way, that water flickering isn't so bad in the game at the proper framerate. It's a cunning trick used to fake transparency, though it works better on an old CRT screen than a monitor.

At the end of the raft sequence the water level dropped to let me move on, but there was nothing stopping me turning around and walking across the dry riverbed, so I decided to head back the way I came and grab the fairy pickups I missed (like that armour). This turned out to be a smart move, as I've finally accidentally figured out what the orbs do!

Pulling down and attack in mid-air makes our hero spin her blade around, but the orbs power the move up with an extra attack. The green orb for instance gives me three diagonal bullets that can utterly destroy any piranha plant fish that dares to invade my airspace.

Damn, I was so surprised to see a Half-Life headcrab here in a 1993 Japanese platformer that he was able to catch me off guard by firing his own tongue at me.

The trouble I'm having here is that I don't know how many hits an enemy type will take. I mean the different types seem consistent, but when I face a new kind of threat I don't know if it's going to take one attack or a half-dozen, and I'm an idiot so I always assume if I hammer the button fast enough I can get them before they get me.

Faussete Amour continue screen
Something I can read at last! I've never been so happy to see a game over screen.

For the sake of science I went and got the hero killed off another 15 times or so and it seems like I very well might have infinite continues here! There's no password or save function so once the machine's off I'm back to square one, but it's only game over when I say it is.

Using a continue put me back at the start of the stage again, but that's nothing new. If the game has checkpoints in it, I haven't found them yet.


EVENTUALLY, AT THE LEVEL 2 BOSS FIGHT.


This level two snake demon boss fight dragged on approximately forever, but wasn't a massive challenge once I'd gotten the pattern down. Jump the fire, duck the energy wave, jump the fire, duck the energy wave, and so on.

It was a beautiful woman all along! I'm spotting a bit of a pattern here.

Hey... I know you from the continue screen I saw earlier! Well her eyes are a different colour, but close enough. I guess it must it must change each level to show the next boss coming up.


LEVEL 3.


Uh... what? Well I guess it makes sense that sideways facing stalactites would fall sideways.

I'm only up to the third level, but I'm already getting the feeling that I'm reaching the half-way point. There were five bosses in the intro and I've already killed two of them, so unless there's some kind of twist coming up there's not much left to go.

I've got no interest in actually finishing the game though, so I plan to stick with it until the end of this stage, kill the next boss and then turn it off. Or lose to the next boss, either's good.

This stage is a big winding S-shape filled with respawning imp-things that crawl out of the ground, sans-ass or legs. Well, more of a Z-shape really, as I go all the way to the right, drop down, go all the way to the left, drop down, etc.

You know what I miss? Using the grappling hook move. I had a couple of opportunities early on, but now there's barely any platforms to jump or swing around on. Seem a bit of a wasted mechanic really.

And at the bottom of the Z is the level's bastard mid-boss, turning up right on cue. Only there's two of them this time, knights in pedal-powered robot rooster scooters, and they're coordinating their headlight energy blasts to give me no hope of evading them!

I tried my normal trick of hammering away at the button to kill them before they got another chance to attack, but it didn't work out. Back to the start of the stage again.


A FEW TRIES LATER.


Huh, I can fall through the stairs? Oh of course, I saw the gremlin do it earlier in that previous GIF. Wow, that means I can turn the level from a Z-shape to a 7-shape and skip right to the mid-boss fight!

And then get my ass-kicked again, because fuck those guys and their lasers.


A FEW FAILURES LATER.


I'm really starting to regret my decision to stick with the game now.

What's weird though, is that there's extra lives along the way inside semi-hidden fairies, so every time I fail at the mid-boss my count goes up by one. The game's trying to trap me in here, giving me no hope of a humane game over!


EVEN LATER.


YES, I've finally beat one of them using my new star attack! Oh shit, now the other guy has upgraded his own weapon! Well that's just not fair.

You saw how many hits the pink chicken laughed off in that earlier GIF, now I've got to hit the green one that many times and then some, all while dodging upgraded super-blasts at point-blank range.


EVENTUALLY.


I don't believe I actually did it! I actually had the patience to keep coming back here and replaying this fight until they were both dead, that's... implausible.

And then I immediately got my poor hero killed off by headbutting a bubble. Back to the start of the entire stage then.

Oh thank fuck, the game has a checkpoint after the mid-boss! Thank all of the fucks!

I guess that losing a continue now would put me back to the start of the level again, but with seven lives in the bank that's not something I'll have to worry about for a while.


SOON, AT THE LEVEL 3 BOSS.


And then the level boss turned out to be a total pushover again, what's up with that? I don't even have to describe how I beat it, you're watching my technique in its entirety here.


CONCLUSION

Well there you go, that's half of Fausseté Amour, apparently. I found to a be a pretty easy ride except for the mid-bosses and I expect that someone better at platformers could probably make it through the whole game in around an hour; less if they skipped the cutscenes.

I can only judge the game on the first three stages but it seems... alright actually. The character moves a bit slow, but she's precise at least. She's got a decent amount of mid-air control and doesn't tend to throw herself off cliffs until she absolutely has to. Personally I got bored with the platforming early and was looking for any excuse to quit, but I'm not sure that's entirely the game's fault. It's competently made, I just wasn't doing anything in it I hadn't done a thousand times before for the most part. Some interesting level design might have helped, something I could actually use my grappling hook spin move on.

As soon as the old wizard's gone the game pretty much features an all-female cast, and... well you can see the amount of restraint (or lack of it) the developers have shown for yourself. It's not hentai by a long shot, but it gets 'sexy' in the weirdest places. I've no idea what the story was actually about, but it seems that the actors were playing it straight and I get the impression that they knew what they were doing with their lines. For 1993 it's actually impressive how terrible they're not.

I'd say it's probably worth a look if you like platformers, more so if you're fluent in Japanese, but I've personally got no interest in playing it further.


There's another game off the request list for you. Tune in next week to read my fascinating opinions on another one of those modern(ish) multi-platform games that's already been played, reviewed and dissected by basically everyone! You'll never guess what it is though, I've made the 'next game' picture extra tricky this time.

PS. leave a comment if you want.

8 comments:

  1. I haven't played the next game, if it makes you feel any better.

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    1. Excellent, if only all my readers were like you. Then I'd be able to make up anything I wanted about the game and get away with it.

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    2. Speaking of which, have you ever thought about doing a joke article like that? Like, playing a famous game but making everything up, or maybe you could pretend to play a game that doesn't exist like Half Life 3 or something? Maybe that could be your 2016 april 1st article?

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    3. I think about that every year, but always decide against it in the end for a few reasons. Mostly because I think it'd look like I was trying too hard and come out really lame. Also putting together 30 fake AAA quality screenshots sounds like effort.

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  2. One day I will actually get around to playing Mass Effect.

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  3. Thank you for reviewing another PC Engine game! I enjoy playing this game, although I still have yet to beat it.

    I'm still looking forward to your review of Sapphire for the PC Engine CD whenever you get around to it.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure I even have Sapphire on my request list. That's easily fixed though.

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