The nes version of Rygar is a substantial influence on the design of Mecromage. Read on to learn how Mecromage owes some of its flavor to this retro title.
Exploration is a big part of Mecromage, and Rygar contains some interesting lessons. In a side-scrolling adventure, it’s difficult to avoid the rut of needless backtracking and “map dependence” that metroidvanias fall into. While Mecromage has a map, we try to wean the player from constantly checking the map and try to make the action itself self-sustaining and meaningful.
Castlevania 2 lacked a map, and that fact coupled with how the the wilderness templates (and town and dungeon for that matter) were not distinct enough from each other led to the need to create your own map. How does Rygar solve this problem?
- The character moves quickly so that backtracking is less annoying.
- Linear levels, when completed, bring the player back to a hub.
- Levels look and feel distinct.
- “Doorways” (what we call hobbit holes) break the plane of the levels and break up the pacing of levels. The player never knows where these doorways lead, and their placement tantalizes and beckons the player.
It’s fun to feel that you’re off the beaten path, but only when said path is interesting and distinct. Since our game is bigger than Rygar, we need a map, but the map’s purpose, unlike metroidvanias, is to remind the player of general location and is not a grid to be obsessed over.
Rygar was such an interesting game for its time (and still holds up!). It was one of the first games that really felt different to me in a good way when I was younger, and showed me that all games didn’t have to be the same. I am excited to see how you guys pull the elements of Rygar into present-day gaming.