Surprise! Fish!
June 4, 2007 1:05 PM   Subscribe

La-Mulana is a Japanese homebrew game, with English translation available, for Windows that exhaustively replicates the experience of playing on an MSX home computer, a machine not sold in the U.S. but was contemporary with the likes of the Commodore 64 and Amiga in other markets. (Fun fact: the "MS" in MSX stands for Microsoft!) Although it looks very much like retro warez, La-Mulana is freeware. It is also notoriously long and difficult, with a character who controls like old-school Castlevania, enemies that will frequently knock you around like a rag doll, puzzles of amazing deviousness, and traps that think nothing of walling up a player without escape, or forever restricting access to certain powerups.

That said, the game does have charm, and is basically a love letter to the MSX hardware. Those who want to see it without beating their hands bloody against the keyboard can watch a guy play through the whole game in 85 installments, cursing at it all along the way.
posted by JHarris (14 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for posting about this here. It's a really well-done game, derivative in all the right ways.

Just chiming in to vouch for the MSX as an awesome gaming (and music!!!!!) platform - Anyone who hasn't played the "true" Metal Gear 2 on MSX (also recently released with an official translation as a pack-in with Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence for PS2!) is missing an awful lot of incredible gaming.

More modern games with retro style, please!
posted by jake at 1:24 PM on June 4, 2007

Hay, thanks for posting. I really enjoy the "Let's Play" threads over at Something Awful. Watching someone play a game is strangely soothing.

Thanks again.
posted by wires at 2:32 PM on June 4, 2007

anyone know if an italian version is available?
Thank you!
posted by giuonline at 3:20 PM on June 4, 2007

Watching that youtube guy play it is actually really entertaining.
posted by puke & cry at 4:20 PM on June 4, 2007

qiuonline: No idea, I suspect not though as even the English translation is unofficial. If you use a walkthrough like the one deceasedcrab provides in the videos though it may be possible to finish it without translation.

Puke & cry: Yep, there's a reason I titled the thread "Surprise! Fish!" Hearing him moan about how Surprise Fish and Catball get together to have tea and talk about ways to make his life miserable I found absurdly entertaining: absurd in how entertained I am, and absurd that it's entertaining at all.
posted by JHarris at 4:54 PM on June 4, 2007

Looks like Cave Story a lil' bit.
posted by bardic at 5:28 PM on June 4, 2007

I was thinking the same thing, bardic.
posted by brundlefly at 5:48 PM on June 4, 2007

Watching him play is pretty entertaining, but his narration is really annoying. I don't know why, something about his tone.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:53 PM on June 4, 2007

I don't really mind it, but I kinda sound like him so that may be why. My only problem is that he doesn't explain everything in as much detail as I'd like.
posted by puke & cry at 7:28 PM on June 4, 2007

Ok, scratch that. This guy is pretty annoying in spots.
posted by puke & cry at 8:03 PM on June 4, 2007

I predict this playing video games with commentary is going to be the next big thing.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:51 PM on June 5, 2007

Elaborating on my last comment, in the episode that he gets the final life gem, he has a really embarrassing nerdgasm and it's tough to watch.

Also, it's interesting to watch his mood change as the videos progress. In episodes 61 & 63 he's really depressed about something, he hints about weight loss and some kind of responsibility but it's hard to know for sure.
posted by puke & cry at 8:34 PM on June 6, 2007

p&c, I hear (haven't gotten that far, I'm Playing Along At Home so I'm only up to about video 38 or so) that poor deceasedcrab begins a slow descent into madness after he wins the game and then tackles the optional, hyper-difficult "Hell" dungeon.
posted by JHarris at 9:06 PM on June 7, 2007

puke & cry, if you're still around:
I'm playing through the game while watching the videos so it's taken me this long to get to the "nerdgasm" part you spoke of. It's in video 47.

My response? I just finished that same puzzle, and I say his excitement is not misplaced.

There is a kind of mania that attends success in these kinds of ultra-hard games. Speaking as a person who's beaten Athena for the NES, has unlocked everything in Super Smash Bros. Melee, who has forgotten more game accomplishments than remembers them....

If you're playing a game like this and do not feel momentary euphoria, just like this, when finishing one of the great challenges in video gaming, then what on earth are you playing it for?
posted by JHarris at 12:50 AM on June 11, 2007

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