#438 – Mystery Quest

The plot coagulates!
Not the precursor to Quest 64.
That mantis is terrifying, but our boy’s all smiles.




GENRE: Action/adventure

RELEASE DATE: April 1989

I’d much rather play a slightly boring Japanese game than a slightly boring American game, if only because, even at their slightest, you can always laugh and ask, “What the hell’s going on?” Mystery Quest is slightly boring, and when it’s not slightly boring, it’s slightly entertaining. It’s the tale of a young boy who traverses through a land of little. Enemies are sparse, there’s nothing really to collect, and thus, there’s not that much to do. The land you’re in is bright and chipper, and your enemies, when they do appear, are realistic creatures like scorpions or hawks. When I realized I could jump onto the top of a tree, I was elated; that should tell you something about the content of Mystery Quest. There’s absolutely nothing unusual about any of the aforementioned, which is what makes it so unusual. At the top of the screen, there’s a display for how many points you have, your Vitality/Life bar, and finally, the section you’re in. The section begins at 1-A, and the farther you walk, it moves towards 1-B, 1-C, etc. By the time 1-K rolled around, I was beginning to wonder if I would have to stroll through this smiley sunshine land all the way to Z. When would the brightness end?! Luckily, a castle appeared, and I could enter it, no problem. This is where Mystery Quest began to excel. You have a goal now and it is to get out of the castle! Of course the castle isn’t linear, so figuring out how to get out if your main task. Breakable walls and useful items like keys and rafts (your little buddy Hao can’t swim) finally come into play. You could say that, once you enter the castle, Mystery Quest goes through development puberty and becomes a real game. After you exit the castle, the game becomes a mix of standard platforming and exploration, and despite all odds, managed to win my heart. If only slightly.


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