--------THE TALE OF THE FIRESTRIKERS--------
You ever wonder what other games besides a few Sports games, Bomberman titles and Secret of Mana could use that one accessory on the SNES that you wanted to use more? No, I'm not talking about the SNES Mouse, The awkward Super Scope, or even the obscure Satellaview, I'm talking about the one that throws the "two's company, three's a crowd" logic out the back of my two story window. That's right, I'm talking about Multi-taps, those magical little accessories that let you call your friends over and turn an ordinary game into a party. Well, if you aren't very familiar with this system, let me just tell you that more of these games exist than you might think, but we'll just be talking about this strange little game today, known as Firestriker.
As the story goes, there are four kingdoms and a sacred sword that ruled over the world. The Kingdom of Wind, which is known for it's honesty, houses the legendary sword known as the TRIALIGHT, created by a powerful Arch Mage known as WYLDE. The Kingdom of Fire, reputable for its courage, is home to some of the greatest warriors in the land. The Kingdom of Water is pure and just, and helps sustain all life in the world. Lastly, the Kingdom of Earth is a peaceful kingdom void of conflict. However, the kingdoms weren't always unified. The four kingdoms once battled for the TRIALIGHT, for he who possesses it can effectively rule over the land, and the Arch Mage eventually became twisted as he saw everyone fighting for power and dominance.
WYLDE: "What good are humans when all they know of is war and foolishness? Why have people around at all? The repetitious cycles of mankind and all lesser beings are utterly boring! They're nothing more than a pitiful pile of secrets! I should do something equally as boring and make them all do my bidding... yes, that sounds sublime! If I do that, Gaming Sanctuary might actually get bored enough to write an article chronicling my incredibly evil deeds. Yeah... that sounds good... I should write that down for later... humph. I had better stop talking to myself and run to the Temple of Anima before the FIRESTRIKER gets me. This game is pretty darn short!"
WYLDE eventually decides that he hates all things including shallow words like PEACE and HARMONY, so he decides to take back what is rightfully his and plunge the world into darkness. Arch Mage WYLDE summons four terrifying beasts to overthrow the unified world and a creature capable of turning humans to storn (whatever that is). As all of the kingdoms fell under the might of WYLDE's demons, only one hope remained in the Kingdom of Wind; a hero who could control the power of the TRIALIGHT, known as a FIRESTRIKER, and only one person of that caliber remained... a young knight by the name of SLADER. It's all up to you now. Take control of SLADER, free any comrades you can find along the way, and smack around a fireball of fury with the powerful TRIALIGHT, for it is the only weapon capable of slaying the bad guys and putting an end to WYLDE's insanity. The weirdest part about the story isn't even the fact that WYLDE made a weapon capable of defeating himself or the strange (and very literal) translation, but the way that certain words are all caps.
--------A SIMPLE STORY BACKED BY A SIMPLE PRESENTATION--------
The presentation of this game can be summarized in one paragraph. For an SNES game made during the mid nineties, it certainly doesn't look great. Most of the enemies aren't really detailed, might have about two or three frames of animation, the backdrops are very simple, and the game won't impress you on any level. This isn't to say that the game looks bad, it just doesn't look that good. The music is equally as unremarkable. It certainly won't get on your nerves, but if there were ever an unmemorable game based on looks and sound alone, this would be one of the highest games on the list. I'll give this game some credit, considering that the staff behind the game is very limited. When you consider that the same guy who did the story (Jun Ikeda) also did the character designs along with Jose Shibata and Gonta Ikeda (who went on to work on the graphics) and that there are seven people total who actively worked on the game (not to mention there were more Play Testers than developers), it could have been a lot worse.
--------ARKANOID MEETS ZELDA--------
What little is present is actually kinda original and a very good idea for a game. In Firestriker, you’ll travel across the land, smacking a fireball around with the Trialight as you go. In the 1-P or 2-P (Story) mode, you will travel around a tiny world, rescuing different strikers along the way that you'll need to use to get farther in the game. Each striker has slightly different characteristics such as speed and you will also be assisted by a nameless mage (who you can use as a goalie with the L and R button to smack the ball around) who's useful at holding your position. You have very simple missions on each screen, such as finding a key or defeating a certain group of enemies to proceed to the next screen. Should your fireball slip past your team and into a crack (resulting in an exaggerated display of explosive cruelty) or if you are defeated by the monsters, you'll literally die (in the game of course). When this happens, the Wind King will tell you how miserable you are and somehow revive you with a "Statue of Revival".
The bigger highlight here should be the Multi Mode, where up to four players can duke it out in pint-sized arenas, either scoring goals on each other in a Soccer-style game or knocking people out of the ring. This mode would be really fun, except once all four characters and the ball are on screen, you have about three spaces between each other to not step on each others toes. Of course, the stakes differ depending on which field you select, but the multi-player mode would undoubtedly be a lot cooler if the screen was panned out and the maps were bigger. Any other problems with the game? Well, the way the ball reacts when it's hit is almost random, and the thing flies around so fast at times that only the striker of fire (Eon) can keep up with it.
That saying "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained" might be true to an extent, but sometimes, you don't miss out on much by not giving something a shot. Firestriker is one of those things. The only other things I can say about this game is the obsessive censorship on Nintendo's behalf (with the title being changed from "Holy" to "Fire") is a little uncool, and that the Japanese version has different sound effects, which are actually more annoying than the ones in the U.S. game, so there's something to look forward to if you're a gamer in the U.S. Firestriker isn't bad, but it's very... ah screw it. You probably know what I'm going to say anyway. At least you can add it to that list of games that uses the multi-tap.
- Written by Bel Cain The Eternal -