Rolan's Curse

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North American box art.

Rolan's Curse is a fantasy hack-and-slash adventure game developed by NMK and published by Sammy for the Game Boy on 1990-10-26. The player controls the knight as he attempts to defeat the evil lord of demons, Barius, who has corrupted the land of Rolan with monsters.

I learned about this game from the video game reviewer Jeremy Parish, who didn't have much good to say about the game, but did point out that he was able to beat the game without too much difficulty, which led me to want to play it and beat it for myself. I never got a chance to play it in 2-player mode, but I presume it would be even more annoying because you'd have to share the power ups.

Status

I do not own this game, but I have beaten it.

Review

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4 3 6 4 3 40%

Best Version: Game Boy

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • For a Game Boy title, the graphics are pretty decent with attractive sprites and adequate backgrounds.
  • The game is generous in the amount of health and armor boosts that drop from slain enemies.
  • Dying is mercifully lenient. You keep all your power-ups, and are just returned to the beginning of the map.

Bad

  • The special weapons are poorly balanced. In a new map, the magic axe is invaluable at breaking through barriers to reach chests, but, when preparing to fight a boss, the potion of life, which effectively doubles your life power, is vastly superior to the ring, shield, or power crystal.
  • Monster sprites are reused too much through the game. The same enemies from the first stage are seen in the last, and, even though they look identical, they're faster and deal more damage.
  • Chests are poorly balanced. Some yield a valuable gauntlet or portion of life, while others simply give chainmail, the same thing that frequently drops from regular enemies.
  • The music is made up of very short repetitive tunes that become annoying pretty quickly.
  • With only three levels and a mini level for the finale, the game is too short.
  • The NPC dialogue in towns is pointless chatter that doesn't add anything to the game.
  • The ending is anticlimactic.

Ugly

  • Player control is terrible. You knight moves very slow, and most enemies move faster than you (the bosses especially). Enemies don't suffer knock-back when hit, either, so there is nothing you can do to prevent a fast enemy from plowing you over. The developers could have fixed this, preferably by including a way to boost your speed, or by having enemies suffer knock-back. Also, you can't change your direction of attack without first moving toward that direction. This means, if an enemy is approaching you in a narrow winding passage, you're guaranteed to get hit by it.
  • The game is extremely repetitive. Each new land is made up of the same rooms from previous lands, re-ordered to form a different map. With only a little extra work, the developers could have made the map be randomly generated which would make the game more interesting and add more replay, but, instead, the game is entirely fixed.
  • You lose all your attack and life power boosts at the onset of each new land. Since the bosses are quite difficult, this requires you to spend a fair amount of time grinding enemies in order to boost your stats back up. This is not fun.

Media

Box Art

Documentation

Videos

Titles

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Rolan's Curse
Japanese ベリウス ローランの魔獣 Beriusu Roran no Majuu Barius: Rolan's Demon Beast

Link

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