Tuesday, February 21, 2012

8BE-Nanjing/Nice Code Links Awakening
First: Feng Yin Dao, a pirate Famicom cart produced jointly by Shenzhen Nanjing Technology Co. and  Nice Code (two Chinese companies) aims to be The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening.

SN/NC Links Awakening Title
"Link's Deserted Island?"
Second: Feng Yin Dao has eff-all in common with Link's Awakening. Where Waixing managed to make an enjoyable port of A Link to the Past for Famicom, Shenzhen Nanjing/Nice Code (SN/NC hereafter) seems to have said, " 他妈的给谁呢?"

Angry Link
Angry Link
is Angry.
Feng Yin Dao has the same sword-and-shield adventure bones of a Zelda title, but bones are all the progenitor and this Chinese hellspawn share.

The first (and most glaring) difference is the poor art. Look at that title screen, for the love of Pete! And poor Link! Our spritely hero has been turned into an angry emo kid. The only one remotely Hyrulian sprite in the entire game is a green chu-chu with creepy clown eyes.

Overworld Map
The game's over-simplified plot compensates for any ignorance of Chinese. The world map is divided into 9 segments--7 dungeons, 1 Village and 1 waste of space; the only real challenge (especially for those who don't read simplified Chinese) is discovering the order in which to finish the dungeons.

Every Friggin' Dungeon
Every friggin' dungeon.
The dungeons are linear mazes without the keys, puzzles and equipment which make the Zelda games so fun. There is no Boomerang, no Hookshot and no Bow. Emo Link wanders the same five blue rooms until he finds a boss (or treasure chest) and kills it.

To artificially elongate game play, Emo Link must travel back to the main village after each dungeon to receive more items or have another gate opened. Most of Feng Yin Dao is trekking between dungeons and the Village.

Inventory Screen
Is that a bong down there?
Emo Link starts with very poor hit direction (which eventually upgrades to "somewhat poor" hit direction), but the game's design makes it imperative that Emo Link be the harbinger of ultimate death. The game does not respawn baddies until Emo Link reaches a new dungeon or map area and there are only a dozen or so map tiles, so the only way to guard against walking around in circles is to brutally murder every sentient life form.

By the start of Dungeon 7 (the final level) Emo Link has collected a variety of useless equipment. Save the map, each item is a chotchkie to open the next area and can't actually be "used."
The 6 Dungeon Bosses for Feng Yin Dao's 7 Dungeons. Dungeon 3 has no boss.

Marin's Glittering Undercarriage
What is Marin douching with to
make her undercarriage glitter?
After grinding (clockwise) around the Island, Emo Link puts My Chemical Romance on his iPod and enters Dungeon #7. The final boss (the red bat-looking guy up there), has taken Link's ladyfriend captive (apparently). Emo Link bursts in to save her and is immediately dispatched. Only by the love of his ladyfriend is Emo Link saved. Revived and now with the power to shoot beams from his sword, Emo Link finds the gaping safe spot in the boss' attack pattern and beats the bat-thing to dust.

The subsequent ending can only be described as "Chinese Pirate-ish."

Feng Yin Dao is not a particularly good game. Compared to Waixing's A Link to the Past port it's pretty bad. Compared to even the worst Zelda game, it's downright terrible. It would be unfair, though to simply write off Feng Yin Dao as trash. The truth is, Feng Yin Dao has its own dilapidated charm--like a three-legged puppy. The game is colorful, and the boss battles offer varied and unique challenges. Divorced from any notion of the Zelda franchise, it would be more fair to call Feng Yin Dao a slightly worse than average adventure title.

For those who enjoy inflicting pain upon themselves, gameplay videos of each of Feng Yin Dao's 7 Dungeons can be found at youtube.com/users/keithisgoodvideos.

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