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Up from (Super) Obscurity

As you may recall, last time I was talking about reasons why you might want to stop playing the SNES Action-Role-Playing-Game-em-Up Lagoon...
...even before you find out your main weapon is a short sword with a really short reach. I mentioned the odd introductory silent movie, your creepy-lookin' mentor, and the goofy "ZOMG the water is all muddy!" plot. Now let's continue, with the next three reasons why Lagoon may turn you off before you even get to fight an enemy*.
*: and lose badly, because, y'know...your miniscule sword.
Before we continue, don't worry folks -- the cast of Lagoon is cool with a little good-natured ribbing. After all, it's all in good fun!
Oh...uh, or not. Sorry, sir!
Issue 4: The buildings cover a lot of turf
Ok, after your mentor finishes his long-winded shpeel, here's the first screen you see:
There's a two-story billing to your left. You may notice that it's shadow is only ONE story tall. This is because Lagoon takes the "realistic" view of a building's footprint vs. the amount of ground it obscures, when seen from above. For example, here's me walking behind that house:
And here's an x-ray view of where I am (the game doesn't provide that, but you can see it by de-activating certain layers of the background):
Let's ignore for the moment that they used "half-tree textures" to control where you can and can't walk behind the building, and just focus on the fact that buildings can obscure what's going on.
Of course, that's probably not an issue, because they wouldn't have very large multi-story buildings in their pseudo-medieval village, would they? I mean, it's in the country of LAKEland, for cryin' out loud: the water table below the ground wouldn't SUPPORT houses that big, would it?
May the bubbly gods of non-muddy water help you if any NPCs happen to wander into that vast obscured area!
Issue 5: speaking of NPCs, let's look at some of them!
Well, I don't want to say they're all super-generic Fischer Price people,, wait, that's exactly what I want to say.
But at least they spent a little more time on the close-up portraits for characters you meet in stores and "cut-scene" houses:
I'm not leaving until you say, "Kiss my grits!"
Wait, is this the Faith Store?
This is perhaps the most half-hearted example of Nintendo of America's "DO NOT MENTION CHURCHES" policy.
Issue 6: Your mission, if you choose to accept it...
Your first 3 tasks/plot-points involve talking to redundant, wishywashy teleporting people. You may notice the Mayor's Wife's dialog above, where she tells you that the Mayor has gone to the "worship site."
You know what, Martha Washington? I came here from the worship site. Me and the Cleric were just sharing an awkward conversation there, in a completely empty church site of worship:
"...yeah, I've been workin' out."
...and I walked directly from there to your house, Mrs. Mayor's Wife, so if the Mayor had walked from your house to the location where worshipping of potentially a theological nature may occur, I would have seen him! But I'll humor you and go check again --
Son of a bitch.
...and that's how it goes for the first two or three events: the mayor mentions the muddy waters, then some guy runs in and tells you about a demon attack in the mine (or perhaps I should say, "area of subterranian economic work").
So, to summarize: there's a problem. Also, "pants."
You rush to the scene (actually, you all instantly appear there -- I guess the mayor was kind enough to let you share his teleporter), and find an injured miner. Then the mayor entrusts you with an important task:
You have been raised to be the Champion of Light! Only you can go tell the Cleric that the Mayor is going to handle the problem! GODSPEED, CHAMPION OF LIGHT!
...and it's another bait-and-switch, complete with teleporting mayor: when you walk back to town, the cleric tells you to meet him at the Mayor's house. There he has some more words for you:
"My bad, I forgot you were the protagonist. YOU handle it."
But here's where we get to the point where I nearly gave up during my first play-through:
Issue 7: Bad Store Name = Bad Start to a Game
At first, it seems like all is well and the game's ramping up to let you, y'know, PLAY:
Yup, the traditional "here's some dough, buy some gear" screen. And fortunately, I saw the Weapon Shop's the one to the east with the "Jar" hanging above the door. Let's go there and get my initial equipments!
Hmmm. Well, that's odd. There were guards blocking the mine earlier (when we first found the injured guy) --
...and I'm pretty sure they said I couldn't go in without a sword. But maybe now that the Mayor HIMSELF said they'd keep the cave open for me, they'll stand aside! Let's go have a word with these peons:
Hmm; that's the same thing the guards said before. Where is my weapon? IT'S AT THE CLOSED WEAPONS STORE, and no amount of "coming back again" will make them open and sell me a weapon.
I think there's only one way to respond to this:
...and THAT'S why I almost* quit Lagoon before finding out how bad the combat is!
*: For those of you completists who MUST know how to solve this puzzle, I'll include the solution: [ [ SPOILER ALERT ] ] There's another shop -- called an ARMOR SHOP -- which sells weapons.
— carlmarksguy, 2013-06-21
If you do keep playing, wait until you get to the part where you have to escort a guy who walks .00000000000000000093235 mph out of the mines.
I actually started playing this afternoon and completed the Escort mission; I didn't mind the walking speed too much. I've basically got the hang of fighting the 2 enemies in the cave...but the first boss? Ye gods, what a horrible battle of attrition.
I'm actually playing this game quite a bit now and am at the Dwarf Desert. That's one of the upsides of having to write about games I gave up on very quickly: sometimes I take some time to see what they're about. I think the sword can definitely get adjusted to for everything but bosses: so far both boss battles have been ridiculous.
For me the worst boss in the game was the ice cave boss. That thing is a pain in the ass, even if I'm at the level cap for it.
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