仙劍奇俠傳 (Chinese Paladin)

Nostalgic Game Review

Welcome to a new episode of the Nostalgic Game Review, where each month I muse over an old game I played long ago. Other than indulging my own nostalgia, this column also hopefully shed some light on game design and reflect on how gaming technologies have evolved.

I tried to cover the games in chronological sequence, so it’s interesting to note that, as I was preparing what to cover in this issue, I honestly can’t remember what other games I played between 1992 and 1995. Those 3 years seem to be gone in my memory, and I have a few theories about why. 1) there was some personal/family incidents I had to navigate through, and no, I didn’t get abducted and brainwashed by aliens; 2) it’s around my middle school years, and there were… friendships, romance (or at least I thought that’s what it was) and whatever else the hormone made me go through; 3) it was the time when I gotten access to a lot of games on Nintendo Game Boy and a few on Sega Game Gear; 4) I got plugged into the social network of the era: BBS.

Regardless, in 1995 I was ‘awakened’ with an upgraded set of computer hardwares: colored CRT display, Intel Pentium processor, hard drive storage (before that it was just floppy!) and CD-ROM. USB is not a thing yet, so most of the peripherals are connected via serial port (mostly for game controllers, flight simulator joysticks) or parallel ports (mostly printers), oh, and there’s a dial up modem to connect to… THE INTERWEB! I think it was doing 14.4kbps at its best days, if I remember right. Wow I am truly in my nostalgic spirit right now. But… ‘the show must go on!

Without further ado…

仙劍奇俠傳

This is a super famous game (franchise now) for the Chinese gamers. It plays an important role in a lot of PC/RPG players’ hearts.

What is it?

It’s an RPG where the players play as the young lad named ‘李逍遙’ (li-xiao-yao) who started out as a nobody in a little village, followed by a series of incredible encounters and events, which led him on the path of becoming… a Chinese Paladin (the game’s translated title). He would travel through the world, sometimes by himselfs, sometimes team up with others (up to 2 other people), and eventually acquired a ton of skills (kung fu) and help defeat the evil villains.

The common gameplay involves navigating through the world and the dungeons. (src: cqucg.com)
Inventory is mostly text with an image for the selected item.
the characters and the interesting dialogs builds up an engaging story.
The battle system is very engaging, with detailed animations, exciting music and vivid sound effects.
The final battle, and the sad yet mysterious ending are all very memorable.
I personally love this kind of ending. It can be interpreted in various ways.

I have to talk about the music, since throughout the year its rhythm comes into my head very frequently (in a good way. :p) Here is a video where someone plays its main song on piano:

My impression

Absolutely love the story, characters, and the touching music that make this one of the most memorable games to me.

After the success of the first game, it was followed by a series of sequels, and now Chinese Paladin 7 (!) is planned to be released in 2021 here is a gameplay demo. If you ask me… I am not sure. I feel that the IP has been fully exploited/exhausted, and there are just too many games out there with the kind of gameplay (the 7th seems like a combination of “Breath of the Wild” and “Tomb Raider”) and storyline (spiritual/fantasy beasts… need I say more?). It seems like continuing with this IP will only risk tainting its name, I mean, just look at the rating history of all its iterations. Pushing out more sequels has everything to lose and little to gain.

Other than games, the IP also turned into novels, comics, and TV series. There are at least 4 TV series made, and here is the first one in 2005 that’s based on the original game story:

Recognize the actress who plays the leading female role (bottom left)? Yes, she also plays Mulan in the recent Disney movie!

Here is a playthrough video starting with chapter 1 of the game:

That’s it for this episode of Nostalgic Game Review! Thank you for visiting! I appreciate any comments/feedback or if there’s a game you would like me to cover 🙂

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