They don’t make ’em like they used to. Sure, there are thousands upon thousands of games for your iPhone, but how many can really bring you back to a simpler time like Golvellius can? While we never played the original Sega Master System version back in the day, we’re very familiar with its overhead, critter-slashing, world-exploring mechanics that were first made famous by The Legend of Zelda.
You play as a green-haired lad named Kelesis who is seeking a kidnapped princess, and must find seven crystals in order to face the enemy Golvellius. These crystals are guarded by hideous old women who must be defeated. Actually, it’s the boss monsters you must defeat, in order to win the favor of the old women, but we think it’d be much easier if you could just take the crystals directly from the old women and leave the monsters alone.
Link all grown up.
Unlike in Zelda, in Golvellius you’ll only use a sword to attack, but you can buy more powerful versions of it and shields to limit your damage. Instead of hearts, you can buy potions that stand in for your life bar. And while Zelda’s dungeons were maze-like and full of puzzles, in Golvellius the puzzles involve finding the dungeon’s entrance, while the dungeons themselves are straightforward platforming sequences.
This is where things can get a little dull. Finding the entrance to the dungeons usually requires an hours-long effort to stab every rock or bush, or kill a few monsters on each screen before a hole in the ground appears. This hole might lead to an old woman who can sell you an extra life potion or a Bible that can let you carry more gold (totally unexplained and unexplainable), or just a fairy that will taunt you for wasting your time.
Without a walkthrough’” and there are several available on the web’” you’ll spend most of your time wandering around the scenery in Golvellius, battling overworld creatures and poking around in a lot of holes. Take it from us: the best encounters in the game are the dungeons and boss battles, and you probably won’t get to those without some serious assistance from the Internet.
If you choose to go it alone, don’t say we didn’t warn you. But if you’re trying to recreate the pre-Internet, mind-numbingly difficult experience of playing through Golvellius with nothing but a case of cola and dozens of hours of free time, this iPhone version is a perfect way to do it. The emulator works very well, with unobtrusive buttons and a smooth frame rate. A few extended periods of slowdown occurred, but a quick save and reset fixed it every time. We hope Sega is paying attention, because this is one emulated game we can actually recommend.