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DARK LORD / Ascii / NES
Dark Lord seems inspired by the Dragon Knight series, of which we got a random handful translated into English such as Legacy of the Wizard and Sorcerian. Dark Lord is really a lot like Sorcerian, it just swaps clunky action-based side-scrolling combat for clunky overhead-view RPGing with Shining Force-style battles.
Anyway, the introduction gives you some epic NES art but the story is all forgettable generic fantasy. Evil King, Good King, sealed away, bla bla bla bla bla. There's sort of an ongoing narrative but it isn't really developed very well. Since the game is kind of open-ended, and you take on quests as they please you, it's more like playing an ongoing series of unrelated episodes.
As with Sorcerian, the framework sets the game up for greatness, but the sloppy execution ruins it. The menu system in the main town where you manage characters and take on quests seems lazily done and is somewhat confusing. It is never really made clear how to actually use the job system in the game, and you start out with only the ability to create Fighter and Wizard characters. I presume that more classes are available once your character burns some years working at their selected trade, as in Sorcerian, but as to how to actually accomplish that I still don't know.
Combat is what really sinks the game, though. It is godawfully slow and your characters seem to whiff on their attacks even more than the first Final Fantasy game.
Also, I really love Aeon Genesis and all the wonderful free translation work that they do, but the "ye olde Englishe" font that they picked for this particular game is headache-inducing.
In sum this is a slow-paced and frequently confusing game that will take serious time and patience to get into, and I don't see a reason to put forth either the time or the patience when all that is on offer in return is slow repetitive combat and a generic fantasy story.
Aeon Genesis translation patch
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