Arkista’s Ring Review

Developer: American Sammy Publisher: American Sammy
Release Date: 1990 Also On:

Ahhh, here’s a cute title. Arkista’s Ring is a favorite of mine. The graphics aren’t as polished as they could have been, it feels a little old in comparison to other titles at the time, and it’s long as all hell, but talk about fun! If you’re looking for another Zelda-type game for the NES look no further.

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Graphically, Arkista’s Ring is a little behind the times. It’s easy to tell what most of the characters are, but everything is so tiny and the colors so limited that it feels a little below the NES’ capabilities. Still, no flicker or slowdown, so it’s got that going for it. It’s likely that, because of the sheer number of enemies, the only way to avoid this problem was to go with limited size and colors. The environments are varied and follow different themes, there are a wide variety of enemies to face, a few bosses, and smooth animations. Could have been a little better, but still, Arkista’s Ring doesn’t really fail in the graphics category either.

The sound in Arkista’s Ring works well with the overall theme. It’s not entirely memorable, but it’s definitely catchy and it fits the atmosphere. The boss music was particularly cool and the sound effects were well-placed. Overall, no major complaints here.

Arkista’s Ring, as you may already assume, is a Zelda-styled game that takes you through a variety of worlds fighting many different monsters, collecting power-ups, and so forth. Your goal is to locate Akista’s Ring to save your people, and to do so you need to first find a hidden key on every level to advance to the next. After several dozen levels, you face a boss and move on to the next world, finally making it to the last boss in his castle. There are lots of power-ups to find, items to collect, and strategies you need to learn to win. Here’s a sample:

The great thing about Arkista’s Ring is I can’t say there are any real flaws in the gameplay. It may be a little tedious to some since it’s essentially the same thing over and over, but the variety of power-ups and enemies should keep most gamers amused for long enough. The cool thing about this game, well cool to some people (you’ll see what I mean), is that you can’t finish it properly unless you complete it three times in a row. The first time around you get Arkista’s Ring, a boon because it allows you to heal automatically, so you don’t need to waste potions unless you’re really cutting it close. Then, you get a necklace that increases your points, and finally a mirror that blocks certain enemy attacks (mainly ranged attacks from bows and such). In addition, the game gets progressively harder each time around. The final few levels are quite difficult and will give even the most seasoned of gamers a challenge. Overall, there’s a lot to do here, a ton of levels (well over one hundred if you want to complete the entire game), lots of cool little enemies, good atmosphere, it’s all-around fun. No major flaws (other than the length, which I’ll get to in the proper category).

Arkista’s Ring isn’t very creative. Though a lot of fun, it basically mixes Zelda-styled play with slightly more primitive graphics and throws in some Tower of Druaga-styled play for kicks. The ideas aren’t unique in any way, but it’s well done overall.

I had a lot of fun playing Arkista’s Ring and I can definitely see myself coming back to it in the future. I sat down to play and was hooked immediately. So obsessed I became that I actually sat down for the three or more hours it takes to beat it. That is thus my only problem with this title. Maybe it’s not the flashiest game out there, but it works well. Where it gets tedious, and where it may hinder some players, is the length. This game is a beast. With no password feature to be had, you’re looking at roughly 3-4 solid hours of play before you get close to the end, a lot more time than most retro gamers have (all old with jobs and kids you know). In addition, with the repetition of the levels as you go along (no difference other than faster enemies each time around), it can start to wear you thin. Some more variety in levels later on or at least a password feature would have eliminated this, but as it stands Arkista’s Ring is a little too long for my tastes. I enjoyed it the first time through, but by the third time was getting sick of certain things, especially those damn ninjas near the end. Wow, talk about tough.

Still, in spite of this flaw in length, Arkista’s Ring is an enjoyable title that most NES fans will appreciate playing. It has its own character, lots of cool features, and is easy to get into. Look past the length and you have a great game. A password feature would have been nice, but I don’t regret playing it at all nor would I in the future.

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 5.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.1
Written by Stan Review Guide

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