Aggelos

The princess has gotten herself kidnapped once again, presumably such a frequent occurrence by now that nobody has really gotten around to doing anything. You however, according to Aggelos‘ intro, find this unacceptable and set out to rescue her. Hopefully there’s a reward.

Aggelos_1

Nope, just plant monsters and bored giant spiders

Technically, Aggelos is a demo but it appears to be its own side story that while relatively short (roughly an hour), it’s a pretty complete platform-RPG experience that it really deserves to be considered its own mini game.

A lot of people ask me which retro game I’d most want to see a followup/remake to. Most assume Shining Force 2 or Final Fantasy Tactics – good guesses since these are my all-time favourites… However, my personal pick would have to be Wonderboy in Monsterworld for the SEGA Megadrive. Not since that game has anyone done such a solid, polished, classical side-scrolling RPG (Castlevania SOTN is a better game.. but more metroidvania action orientated). Aggelos‘ developer must’ve heard my wishes by moonlight, since this game is pretty much shaping up to be exactly what a full-fledged Wonderboy followup should be like.

Aggelos_2

not since The Happening have plants been so bothersome

Aside from its exploration platformer goodness, with secret heart containers, strength and defense boosts to find, Aggelos builds on the ancient Wonderboy formula, adding some modern RPG staples such as XP and level ups, MP, and a much swifter protagonist. These additions add some much-needed evolution to the template Aggelos is set upon; combat is quick and painless, while the XP makes fighting feel less of a distraction, and since your MP regenerates with every successful attack on an opponent, magic is actually frequently used and useful instead of carefully conversed until a boss.

You’ll also gain a more complex moveset, with the now obligatory double-jump making the first appearance in the form of a dragon punch style sword attack for added vertical reach and, once you get your first element, a fireball spell that doubles as a portal-esque teleport, and later an air dash. Mix in some platforming sections and secret ledges that require careful use of all three in unison and you have some quite tricky and far more involving platforming ahead.

Aggelos_3

Surprisingly not named Erol

All these things clearly add up to a marked evolution of retro flavoured goodness. On the flip side, though, it does seem the execution of these neat new moves could stand to be tweaked. Having to execute an upper attack every single time you need to simply double jump (which you’ll need to do often) feels a bit weird (and pushing jump, then holding up+attack every time you do it is far less fluid than simply pushing jump twice), but more pressingly, the secondary magic abilities can be a bit too hard to pull off reliably without dedicated button mastery.

It’s a bit hard to explain in words, but the most notable reason if using a gamepad is that the element (spells) button only seems to register if you are not pressing or holding any other button on the gamepad… Yet since you’ll often want or indeed need to execute a combination of jump, up+attack to double jump, then quickly (very quickly) shoot out a portal or activate an air dash, most of the challenge lies in overcoming the control scheme rather than the gameplay itself. It may be that only certain gamepads or systems like mine have this problem, since apparently you can do this:

Aggelos_4

not a chance

Having said all that its important to note that even if I had to forgo a few secret chests, it didn’t stop me from playing and immensely enjoying the rest of the game to the end. Secondly, the fact that it’s an early demo means there’s a good chance the controls will be further refined by final release.

Aggelos | Download on Itch.io

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About J.C

I grew up in the dark dingy arcades of the 1980s, blasting heads with Robocop 2, but grew up in an era that spanned the introduction of the x86 home computer, through to the 16-bit revolution, into the polygon age and beyond. I write about food, travel and of course, New Retro Games. I started newretrogames.wordpress.com and contribute to www.thecitylane.com. I am also a freelance business researcher, writer, and editor having published academic and corporate articles on innovation and intellectual property.

Posted on February 5, 2016, in Platformer, RPG and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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