Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

The Countdown Obscura Horror – Day 4: The Immortal

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Day 4: Will Harvey presents The Immortal

the_immortal_title

Back in the early 90s my brothers and I were playing happily on our Mega Mega Drive (Genesis) with happy jolly games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage and Road Rash. Nothing scary there, right? Then we were given this little game called The Immortal. I’m not even entirely sure how we came to acquire it, I mean it was probably purchased for one of my older brother as a gift but my theory was it had appeared in the scary abyss that was our loft in a sorta “Book Of the Dead” like discovery. I remember the cover alone of this game scaring the hell out of me. It’s a skeleton like Grim Reaper with a horrific grin on his face as he cuts up the title of the game with his scythe.

Things weren’t much better for me when attempting to boot this game up as a young lad. The first screen you are greeted to is that scary skeleton again only this time his eyes are glowing red because that’s really helping with the fear factor. Keep in mind at this stage there were no age restrictions introduced on video games so with me being the curious young lad I was, I insisted on continuing forward. What I soon realized was, I was playing as a Gandalf like wizard who is running through dungeons where literally everything wants to kill him, and it was terrifying.

the_immortal_1The Immortal is a isometric style dungeon crawler with adventure elements. This game has a very unique control system. It actually helps a lot if read the manual. Had my younger self actually done this before diving head first into this brutal experience then I probably wouldn’t have died constantly on the first level of the game. Navigating the dungeon is pretty straight forward, but, when you encounter enemies you enter a battle screen with two gorgeously detailed sprites filling up the screen. One being a goblin or some other horrible beast and the other being your brave wizard character (who by way, is not named). What your supposed to do is press the left, right, or A buttons to attack your foe with your trusty dagger, the real skill is dodging, where you have to hold a direction down and press the C button. This sounds simple on paper but these battles are very fast and you have to combine attack and dodge in order to succeed. Should you win the day, you will literally destroy the enemy in multiple gory fatalities such as exploding their heads, turning them to stone or electrocuting them. But if they kill you, you will just sort of die on the floor in a pool of blood. But if your a fan of all the horrific ways your character could die in Resident Evil 4 then you’re in for a treat with The Immortal. You can fall down pits, get burned alive, melt into a horrible mess on the floor as well as get eaten by various monsters in the game like spiders. In case you didn’t guess this game is very difficult and quite unforgiving. You can quite easily die just by stepping on the wrong tile, or facing an enemy you wanted to actually avoid in battle. You only have three lives to pass each level, but if you make it to the next section you’ll get a horribly long password to write down to continue your progress. Thank God for the Internet.

the_immortal_2While I was playing this game to discuss this article the lady in my life pointed out the odd noises that come out of the characters sounds like a grumpy old man having sex. The sound in the The Immortal is not the most effective but it makes up for that in it’s graphical quality and tone. It has that plane shade of uncertainty. Character models are impressively detailed and the attention to detail in some of the level environments is phenomenal for a Mega Drive title. The most memorable for me was walking past the spider webs on the walls, they looked terrifying. Interesting fact this game was originally designed to be a mutliplayer on the Apple II of all things, could image how ahead of its time it would have been if this happened.

The Immortal on Mega Drive has light puzzle elements to it. You have to talk to characters use items in the right place and once you’ve gotten everything in the right order, as well as avoided dying constantly you will find its quite the linear experience, but a memorable one. This is a game I also really enjoyed reading the manual for. Not only do you get a little background on the story but the manual also acts as a mini guide book, to guide you through the early stages of the game, going as far to present diagrams of the dungeons and give you more depth on the control system. The Immortal is a game that scared me a lot when I was younger and to this day is a worthwhile adventure worth trying for fans of dark fantasy.

The Verdict: Always read the manual.

Written by jamalais

October 26, 2015 at 11:00 am

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