Back when I first sampled this game about three or four years ago, I thought that this game was pretty cool and that it had a
lot of potential. Fast forward to the year 2007...and one thing hasn't changed; The game had lots of potential. What has changed is my opinion of this game, and it's not for the better...but first, I'll mention the intro of the game.
"In 1999, the Krion Empire Robot Battalion descended upon the Earth, and brought the planet to the brink of destruction. The Krion Empire demanded the immediate and unconditional surrender of the world. When Planet Earth refused, the Krion Empire started a massive general attack. The Krion Empire set up large bases at points all over the world from which they sent out their robots. The robot hoardes attacked indiscriminately. Their power overwhelmed even the most advanced armaments of the world. Nearly everyone believed the world would soon be ruled by the Krion Empire."
[the following text is not in the intro]
However, one day, a youth (named Kagemaru in Japan) is fleeing for his life from robots sent by the Krion Empire. When all hope seems lost, a mysterious staff that the young man was carrying with him begins to glow and destroys the robots that were chasing him. The staff then transforms into a girl! This girl's name is Francesca (Doropie in Japan) and she is a witch that has enough power to destroy the robots! When all is said and done, you are then thrown into the game to fight robots and save the Earth from destruction. It's funny how a game that takes place during the year 1999 is more futuristic than the point in time that we're in now.
The game actually has several anime cutscenes, a little more violence and a much appreciated plot in the Japanese version (done much in the same fashion as Ninja Gaiden), but the U.S. version was torn apart and the end result was a nearly non-existant plot with a TERRIBLE ending that I won't spoil here. Basically put, you were a witch with great magical powers in Japan. As for everywhere else, you're some generic heroine going against robots for bragging rights as Earth's protector and due to the lack of script or direction, you generally just scratch your head and nod, but it's no big deal if you are used to an NES action game. By the way, am I the only one who thinks that guy on the U.S. box in the lefthand corner looks suspiciously like Darth Vader? Geez, this game is full of conspiracies...and speaking of conspiracies, what else can I say about this game?
First, I want to get one thing out of the way here; The game has many...choice facets of a Mega Man game, as many people will tell you. From the
way your main character, Francesca, changes colors with different powers to the way you can charge a shot to the way your life is set up
at the side with little rectangles to the way you battle a robot empire to the way certain enemy models and tactics are almost carbon copies of those
found in Megaman games to EVEN the way your protagonist dies in battle and walks...it's amazing Capcom hasn't sued Vic Tokai and Keiji Inafune (the designer of Mega Man) would undoubtedly look at this game with a little skepticism. I also want to say
that NONE of the aforementioned things will affect my evaluation of this game. I'm totally fine that it attempted to emulate Mega Man in design. However, the big problem with the Krion Conquest upon retrospect is that it is NOT a great clone. There are many minor issues this game could have easily rectified before it's release, but Vic Tokai didn't do it. Considering this, the game may be an exercise in frustration.
The graphics are decent enough. If you liked how bright and colorful the Megaman games were, you will feel right at home playing TKC since the game looks very similar to Mega Man in many ways. The stages are fairly presentable in appearance with a few nice level designs spanning five stages, which are broken into thirteen levels. Some graphics effects like Francesca's fire spell and Thunder Knight's blazing energy trails produce cool effects and adversaries like Yukimaru are funny looking. The audio is also decent, if not a little on the repetitious side and it even "echoes" Mega Man in terms of the style. It won't turn you away from playing the game in any way, though the Japanese version has a few different tunes that are better IMO. The gameplay, however, is a little questionable. For starters, Francesca has numerous abilities for various situations. She has her standard shot, a bouncing shot that gets foes up in tricky areas or in the air, a fire attack which kills all enemies on the screen, a shield skill to block projectiles, a freeze shot and the ability to ride on a broom.
All of Francesca's moves have their uses...except for the ability to kill all enemies. It requires her life to use it...ALMOST HALF...and this game falls victim to the "tirelessly respawning enemy" syndrome. Kill an enemy,
take a step forward, retreat from two enemies, kill them, walk forward, repeat. This spell should help during situations of unavoidable chaos, but any damage you would sustain rushing through enemies would offset the damage inflicted by the use of the spell. You're much more likely to sustain LESS damage just taking the oncoming blows.
This wouldn't be so bad if some enemies weren't placed in spots so devious that even the classic ritual of "enemy placement and level memorization" has little weight to it. The game seems flawed to the point where you may HAVE to get pummeled by a foe to reach your next destination since some areas are too cramped for their own good and the enemy placement is somewhat cheap. To add to this, life is scarce in this game, and you don't even heal all your life when you complete a level, NOT EVEN A BOSS STAGE. To take the icing off of the cake, you struggle to a boss, lose a life, and have to start the PREVIOUS LEVEL OVER AGAIN!! Oh yeah, and there are no continues in the U.S. game...and the next to last boss is like four times as hard to kill because it has more stamina. What does this mean? Not only does the Japanese version give you continues, you don't have to start any stages over should you lose and the boss is pretty easy. Was it an attempt to hide the horrible truth from North American gamers? I don't know why the U.S. version was made to be exponentially more challenging (especially since this isn't some "Coin-op-to-NES" game), but it doesn't exactly do the North American version any favors.
If you thought games like Ninja Gaiden were frustrating, you should probably give this game a go...you may have a whole new outlook on video games thanks to the U.S. game having no continue feature. The Krion Conquest is a game that I feel is more trouble than it's worth. I tried hard to like this game...to see what fascinated me so much about this game in the first place, but to no avail. I tried to give this game more credit, but considering that it's one of the middle-ground NES games released in the early ninties, it's harder to stand by it IMHO. This is one game starring a female heroine that you'll want to steer clear of, though to be fair, it's Japanese counterpart is a more noteworthy game. Just get Mega Man or some other more balanced action platformer. Try other Vic Tokai releases like Trouble Shooter (Genesis) and Clash at Demonhead (NES). If you can find it and afford it, you may also want to get the Japanese version, Magical Doropie, as well.- Written by Vyse the determined -