Neutopia (TG-16)

Neutopia Box Art


System: TG-16

Release Date: April 15th, 1990

Developer: Hudson Soft

Publisher: NEC

Genre: Action Adventure

Hudson Soft felt they needed an epic adventure and aped the best in Neutopia. A beautiful princess kept the land in peace and prosperity until she was kidnapped by the evil demon, Dirth. Eight medallions were stolen, setting in motion the fall of society. Enter the warrior Jazeta, who sets out on a journey to travel through labyrinths to collect the medallions and save the Princess.

Let’s get it out of the way, if you were to say to me, “hey, this looks like the Legend of Zelda!” I would agree with you wholeheartedly. The graphics certainly look better, but the gameplay is pretty much identical in design. Your sword is mapped to Button I. Button II is your utility button. You can switch different items into that slot, but will mainly be using the Fire Wand and bombs. The Fire Wand varies in form and power as the amount of health you have changes. Wings take you to your last save point. The ring will turn some difficult enemies into a weaker form. You can hold up to two potions at a time which will replenish your health. Finding monks or defeating bosses will give you another point of health.

There are four different Spheres, which are your overworld levels. You have to seek out the Labyrinths resting within. These are relatively straightforward to find, as you can press the RUN Button to get to your status screen and see the Charmed Compass. This will point you in the general direction of the next Labyrinth you should be heading to. There are plenty of rooms to find, which will give you hints, hold items for you to take, have merchants for you to buy from, healing, saving, and more. Sometimes you have to burn a tree, bomb a wall, kill all enemies, or move a stone to reveal the entrance.

Dungeon design is just what you expect. Rooms have enemies that you can run by if there is an open exit available. Hidden in each Labyrinth is a Crystal Ball, which gives you a map of the dungeon, and a key that opens the door to the boss. Not all rooms are visible on the map and you’ll spend a good amount of your time bombing walls to find your way. At least half of the bosses were dispatched quickly by spamming the sword attack. Others required learning their pattern and attacking, while avoiding their attacks and healing as needed.

Graphics: 3.5

I think everything looks really nice. Plenty of colors, nice sprites, decent animations.

Sound: 3.0

Music is atmospheric and enjoyable. There’s a constant bleating low health alarm that needs to die.

Gameplay: 3.0

It’s a very simple gameplay loop. Find the Labyrinth, find the key, kill the boss, repeat.

Difficulty: 3.0

Death takes you to your last save point (or password if you’re playing without backup memory) without any other consequences. I died once.

Fun Factor: 3.0

I had a good time, but at six and a half hours, it kind of overstayed its welcome.

Overall Grade: 3.1

Neutopia earns a B. It’s a solid paint by numbers rip off of the Legend of Zelda. It looks good, it sounds and plays well, you could do a lot worse.

Neutopia Video Review on YouTube