Witches study various ancient mysteries, but some mysteries are too arcane even for them. Such as retro technology.
This game is largely based on Falcom's 1984 Dragon Slayer, with my reference version being the MSX port. Much of the premise is the same: you collect different power-up items and bring them back to your base, which allows you to level up to allow you to fight stronger monsters and in the end you face the final boss -- which is the Dragon in Dragon Slayer, and the save icon in this game.
The initial enemies can easily kill the player, and the first course of action would be to start collecting various colored coins and bring them back to the purple magic circle. You will learn new magic spells as you kill enemies, and once you have killed 99 enemies (there's a counter on top-right) you can take care of the save icon and finish the game. Each time you kill an enemy, the game will spawn a new one, and they'll be stronger than before.
The rough estimate to defeat the boss is +5000 ATK and DEF, or there might be an easier way.
Falcom claims Dragon Slayer to be the first Japanese Action RPG (Hydlide also disputes this claim) and as such it is well-respected, but I found it to be not quite well-playing. In Dragon Slayer, the player can collect multiple power-up items and bring all of them to the base at once, except the crucial one that increases Attack which must be carried one at a time, around ~160 round trips.
Also, after the player slays the Dragon in Dragon Slayer, the player needs to find three "Crown" items that scatter to the random places, all the while fending off unbeatable ghost monster who will randomly take away your items and drop them in random places. I completely cut this part, as I found it an exercise of frustration. With these two major changes, the game came to feel a bit bland but I prefer a bland game than one that overstays its welcome.
The basis of this code is forked from about 1/4 of the way of Porklike tutorial, and the player character bumping into the wall would feel familiar to anyone who's played it. One of my goals with PICO-8 was to create something like Hydlide, and I think I'm coming close to it.
With no items to recover magic it is quite possible to get completely lost and have no way to return back home to recuperate your lost hit points, @katiusza, since it costs 100 magic each time. Suggest magic is recovered when you WARP home, not just hit points.
Also the original of this game was ported to B&W Gameboy.
@dw817 The green coins increase 20 magic each, and magic is meant to be a limited, although not scarce, resource. But I'll think about it, maybe it could set magic back to minimum 100 each time you check back to the magic circle.
The Gameboy port of Dragon Slayer is the worst version of the game that exists. It's extremely sluggish and controls poorly.
Ah but it was the first I ever saw not having that BASIC, and yes, the controls were awful, @katiusza. Still it gave me months of fine game play ... and of course many ideas for future games. :)
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Let me try playing again collecting green coins. ??? No, touching green coins does not increase magic.
I think I see where the confusion was. The powerup occurs when you bump into the circle -- the circle has collision as it is also something that can be kicked around. But I still needed to send the player on top of it when the return magic is used, because if the game sent the player to a tile next to it, you could technically surround the circle with blocks and trap yourself in the wall otherwise.
I changed it so the powerup occurs when the player uses the warp to return to the circle, and also it will let you keep minimum 100 magic.
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