This review was published on 09/25/2009.
Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! No, that wasn't a badly capitalized sentence; it's the game's title. This is a game so nefarious, that it's named after a Batman reference. You play the part of the enigmatic God of Destruction, summoned by a dastard overlord who goes by the name of Badman. It is your job to aid him in his ruthless quest for world domination... by playing the house-keeper of his dungeon. I'm not sure why a God of Destruction has to help a lowly overlord, especially one as pathetically apologetic as Badman. Perhaps he was demoted at the god academy to one of those lesser gods that is forced to do the bidding of whoever summons him.
Your objective is to design an efficient dungeon that will give birth to a monster army competent enough to slay any heroes stupid enough to venture into your abode. Victory is yours if you manage to defend your fortuitous fort against the intruders, and you lose if they capture your whiny overlord. The story is divided into segments, each one bringing forth a group of heroes that get progressively stronger as you count your victories. Since you keep the current dungeon you're working on throughout the story mode, your army will also increase in size as you make your way to the game's thrilling conclusion. In between stages, you can expend points to upgrade your monsters, which is a nice touch. Now, I'll list my two main complaints with this whole setup. One, if you lose, you've got to start all over again, from stage 1. The scores and such are saved, but your actual progress is lost. It's not hard to imagine why this sucks, though the game is short enough that it shouldn't take you too long to get back to where you once were. The other complaint I have has to do with the monster upgrade system. Well, it's more of a minor complaint: the upgrades you get aren't applied to the current monsters in your lair. Rather, they're only applied to any newly created monsters instead. That's just so counter-intuitive, especially with how little time you have to prepare before each group of valiant heroes start exploring your dungeon.
To foster a truly monstrous monster army (of monsters), you need to have a good ecosystem in your dungeon. The way in which you go about this is both the most engaging and uninviting thing about this game. See, you don't have direct control over any of the monsters in your dungeon; the only way for you to get them to do what you want is to "guide" them by carving out paths within your luxurious lair. It all starts with the slime monsters that you can obtain by breaking blocks with "nutrients" in them. From there, you wait for the slimes to start giving birth to other slimes, then, um... they do something to a few blocks, and when you break these blocks, you get better monsters, such as flying insects and lizardmen. I'll be honest; the actual process for how to get new monsters is a little complex, and I don't fully understand it myself. Anyway, your main problem is keeping the monsters alive and from eating each other. Those higher up on the food chain will eat your weaker monsters, which is good for powering up those higher-end monsters but bad if you intend to use the lower-end ones. So like a demonic ant farm, you isolate certain species of monsters from each other and watch as they reproduce.
The process may sound very uninvolving, but the monsters in your dungeon are the stupid kind. They boldly walk in a single direction until encountering a wall, which is when their Einstein logic will kick in and make them turn to start walking in another direction. And that's just another reason why the way you design the dungeon is so important; if you build large hallways, your monsters won't walk into the places you want them to, instead wasting time running about in circles and dying of starvation. Dungeon design also has an impact on the heroes, as they tend to avoid conflict with your monsters if they can find any unguarded paths. To force the unsuspecting heroes to lock swords with your creatures of terror, you need to build a whole lot of narrow paths filled to the brim with monsters. It's good practice to make a lot of dead ends, too, so the heroes take much longer to find your overlord.
For some reason, this game is rendered in a pseudo 8-bit style, reminiscent of games like Cave Story. Perhaps it's part of the theme that you're the scourge that the heroes of most Dragon Quest games are sworn to defeat. Only now, you defeat them. Another charming quirk that this game has is the overlord character; he acts as your guide in tutorials, but always has some joke or pop culture reference to make. He sadistically wraps all his heartfelt praise of you, the God of Destruction, in thinly veiled insults. Quite frankly, I'm surprised you aren't allowed to kill him yourself.
It's now time for the conclusion. Should you bother with this game? My answer would be: only if you have a way of trying it out for free. There's not much wrong with it, but it's so short and lacking in the kind of depth that a retail game goes for, that you're not likely to spend a whole lot of time with it. Understandable, considering it's not a full retail game, but still... it could stand to have been a bit longer. I've seen tons of downloadable games that last much longer than this one. As it is, this is more like a demo to demonstrate an innovative game mechanic than a real game.
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