84. Hydlide

Hydlide (1989, NES) by FCI

Current NES Leaderboard (Any%)

“This game… is ******* Hydliiiiide” -Toad22484

This is a game that will infuriate you, frustrate you, and make you turn it off so quickly that your head will spin.  You’ll curse the 20 second loop of music that NEVER stops and you can NOT turn it off.  You’ll hate the sound effects that come right from an Atari 2600 game.  The graphics are so simple that Zelda 1 looks like Red Dead Redemption 2 in comparison.  And the controls are decent at best, convoluted and awkward to get used to.

So why is this game cherished in Japan and other places as a classic?  Why is there more runs of this game on the leaderboards than so many others that are honestly much better speedruns?

“Because this game… is ******* Hydliiiiide” -Toad22484

In all seriousness, this is a port of an old Japanese computer game from many platforms including the MSX.  Hydlide was ported to the Famicom in 1986 (as Hydlide Special) and was a smash hit, coming out around the era of The Legend of Zelda.  In fact, Zelda 1 was directly influenced by this game, as was the classic action RPG series Ys.  You run into enemies to attack them, using A to attack with higher damage at the risk of taking damage yourself.  You are Jim, the mighty warrior… until you die to a slime.  And then die again.  And again.  Even the freaking world record dies multiple times.  This game is HARD.  Prepare to grind a LOT.

This game released in North America in 1989, and by then this game had already aged like cottage cheese in a hot box.  Despite its’ significance in gaming history, playing this game in 2022 is such a bad idea… right?

Well, that depends.  The speedrun IS fun, as even though it’s like 80% grinding, the grinding involves total focus and you cannot get lazy.  This actually makes the grind a bit engaging, and it isn’t as terrible as it might seem.  Honestly, if you could turn the music off and just play with your own music in the background, this would be a much more palatable speedrun.  It’s tough, there’s some fun tech… and the save scumming.  Oh, how lucky we were that they made this game with saving and loading resetting the RNG.  This allows us to skip MOST encounters until the very end of the game… although this *is* slow and doesn’t guarantee anything, plus you miss out on valuable XP.

I’ll be honest: as fun as this is, unless you want a grindy RPG challenge, stay away.  Play Ys or Zelda.  Heck, fire up the ol’ Virtual Hydlide.  Anything is a better experience than this… unless you are like me.  Or the others that discover that even a game that smells like a turd might only be a little gas.

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