LYCHNIS / Soft-Max / PC
 
 
 
Technological restrictions prevented MS-DOS games from ever getting near the console platformers of the early-mid 90s, even though the computers had more raw power. Picking MS-DOS for your platformer was basically like picking Nightmare Mode for a developer, so kudos to Soft-Max for managing to get as close as anyone could to console quality. You still won't mistake this for an SNES platformer, but it's about as close as you could possibly manage at the time.

This is a Korean game that never got a translation of any sort, so the opening cinemas are all in Upside Down Moon Runes, but from what I can google up it's a fairly stock fantasy story. You pick either the knight Lychnis or the sorceress Iris as your character, then go forth through cutesy side-scrolling worlds to stop the machinations of some substitute teacher who has gone to the dark side. The visual inspiration definitely seems to be the Wonder Project J and Popful Mail games, the latter of which also probably contributed some to the gameplay here.
 


The two characters have slightly different abilities. Lychnis attacks with a short-range sword and can jump off walls, while Iris fires projectiles and can double-jump. I didn't get all the way through this one but there really doesn't seem to be much point to picking Lychnis; both characters seem to do the same amount of damage, and the double-jump is WAY more consistently helpful than the wall jump is.

Even with the double-jump, however, the game is already irritating to play right from level 1-1 thanks to iffy platforming (you fall through the ends of platforms when it looks like you should be landing) and an insane amount of bounce-back when any enemy touches you, meaning even incidental contact near a pit usually leads to you flying uncontrollably to your death. Shame as so much of this is well-done, but the actual platforming is nothing but a headache and the sloggy pace makes it really tedious to keep re-treading the same ground after an enemy cheap-hits you into a pit.
 
 
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