game is often judged on sight and sound alone without the benefit
of playing it. In the past, game programmers had very little
to work with, so they spend their time working on the other
portions of the criteria; gameplay and replayability.
Forest offered some astounding gameplay elements that may seem
commonplace now, but for 1983 - were truly amazing.
the first thing you will notice about the game is the incredible
MUSIC. Spooky. Haunting. Obviously well
done. These days, game companies have a whole TEAM dedicated
to game music. But back then, Paul Norman did it ALL himself;
including the game's eerie and ever-changing music.
the intro is complete (you saw a recreation of it in Flash when
you entered the site; provided you had the plugin installed)
and you begin playing you will notice the many levels of parallax
and realistic landscaping on the screen. 'Distant' trees move
slower than 'near' trees, and properly appear behind them. Monsters
appear in front and behind the landscape. A very realistic environment
for a very low res game.
it just get darker? Yep, notice the moon is dropping slowly
across the sky? It does indeed become night time in the Forbidden
Forest. The stars appear, glow and twinkle. The landscape turns
dark under the canopy of night. Attention to detail. One of
the many things that makes the game so remarkable.
about the forest creatures? Nothing as cute as squirrels and
chipmunks in this Forbidden Forest. Giant spiders, plagues of
huge frogs, freaky snakes that can spit venom even when you
can't see 'em, multiple attack dragons, screaming ghosts, heck,
a plethora of creatures awaits you. Of course, the badass of
the forest, the Demogorgon, is at the end of the hordes - awaiting
I mention you are an archer? Oh yes. Your only weapon is a trusty
bow and 4 quivers of arrows each level. The game also introduces
some 3Dish elements too. You can actually position indicators
on the side of the screen to show roughly how 'far up' you are
shooting. In some cases, the creatures can appear in the distance
as well as nearby. You will learn to master your bow's trajectory
- but do it quickly; the creatures aren't going to wait!
first major game, Forbidden Forest had to break some molds and
make a name for the new Cosmi programmer. If the great environment,
spooky creatures, and awesome music that changes to meet the
current scene weren't enough, we are also treated to some of
the goriest graphics of the day! When the archer is killed,
blood splatters everywhere! Sure, every game now has gore -
but back then, gore was near unheard of. Dragons burn alive
when you kill them. The Ghost screams when you put an arrow
in his face. You are splatted into a pool of goo when the frog
lands on you. Your body sizzles and dissolves when the snake
spatters you with venom. Way too much fun.
the game is relatively easy to play (heck, even to beat on the
'Innocent' level) playing the hardest level all the way through
is quite a challenge. And you'll have fun pounding the crap
out of the creatures over and over again. Maybe the Demogorgon
will freak you out. It did me the first time!