Chimera Crusader: Defender of Dominicus
Chimera Crusader: Defender of Dominicus, is an ultra retro-condensed RPG that harks back to the early days of DOS (or perhaps even earlier), CC:DD brings us back to a certain old school charm, of black screens and abrasive beeps, but then hammers it away by being about as forgiving as an offshore license tie-in NES cart.
So what’s it all about? Chimera Crusader is about being as minimal as it gets. On booting up the game, I find myself immediately accosted by the King, demanding my service to dispose of some nasty monster that’s been busy gobbling up the locals or some such, which is not good for tax revenues, apparently. Being about as old school as it gets, I am unsubtly instructed to delve into the nearby forest to kill easy monsters before working my way to the mountains. If only work in the office was so simple, “go slay 5 goblins in the park in front of the building, and then reach level 2”, that’s promotion material right there.
My local hood had all the needs of a paladin covered, with a magic shop and weapons shop right by my house. Unfortunately, I must’ve spent all my money getting such prime real estate that I couldn’t even afford the crummiest weapon in the store. So, time to kill stuff, I do what anyone in their right mind would do, and immediately ignore the king’s advice and wander into the hills. I’m sure with my decades of video game experience I’ll be able to beat whatever lies in wait.
Probably not then. To the forest! Trying the game one more time, I’m able to instead enter the forest and beat a “Zinj”, gaining a massive 1 point to my maximum HP and 10 gold pieces. Just another 490, or roughly 49 more Zinj fights, before I can afford babbys first weapon!
So yeah, Chimera Crusader does capture that certain wacky, minimalist magic of the very first RPGs in a very condensed way, but “condensed” doesn’t apply to the grinding. It’s a grindfest, and the developer himself admits this. It’s a known fact that most hardened adventurers eventually fall prey to the hordes of evil creatures, not out of struggle but out of boredom. By the time the party gingerly takes a step in the dungeon and the 50th patrol of 8 level-scaled peons assault them, the thought of yet another drawn-out fight wiping the floor with their intestines is enough that they eventually just drop their weapons and let the grubby peasant have their way.
Despite this, I suffer for my art. I spent some time chipping away at the Zinj hordes and eventually, managed to move up to about 70 HP, and move on to the cliffs and defeat my first golem. The gold and HP gains are much, much higher, but knowing how far away I am from any semblance of real progress is demotivating.
Chimera Crusader does at least add one interesting twist to the concoction though, allowing you to target specific body parts. Hitting them in the head lowers their accuracy, while knocking their arm (1 or 2) about lowers strength, giving you that tad bit more survivability. Thankfully targeted attacks also do damage, so they aren’t completely worthless. Breaking a body part sometimes also makes a monster much easier to kill overall. It’s not entirely transparent (is it easier to whiff targeted attacks? does it do less damage? probably. who knows.), but does at least it add some variety to the proceedings.
Chimera Crusader can’t be wholly recommended as a game, it’s the nostalgia card mostly, harking back to historical but important enough period in cRPG development for us oldies. As such, though, if you want something that catches a similar old school vibe but with actual (really good) gameplay, then head on over to download Void Pyramid. I can’t recommend it enough, seriously, just download it now. But uh, give Chimera Crusader a spin while you’re waiting for Void Pyramid to download.
Chimera Crusader | download