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Briley Witch Chonicles (c64)


Reaperman

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Briley Witch Chonicles is great. Go buy them.

 

I don't think that's any secret over in C64 places, but here in Atariland word hadn't reached me about these, though search here reveals a few mentions over the years. Briley Witch 1 and 2 are over on the SarahJaneAvory itch.io (here). It's amazing to see the c64 doing all of this so smoothly, and for the only time in my life I'm 9hrs+ into a c64 game. 

 

I picked the first one up during the black friday sale, intending at first to buy a (shmup), but whatever.  I was/am having unexpected amounts of fun, and then surprise--a few days later the second game came out so had to buy that day-one even if I'm not ready for it. Where I am in the first game is leaving the equivalent of 'Midgar' in ff7--first 6-8 hrs take place in one small town, and at the semi-conclusion of a storyline, the world map opens.

 

somebody's hardware capture of typical raw gameplay:

 

 

Briley Witch is a linear-story, turn-based japanese-style RPG, based on a series of self-published books. I'm assuming the books are for a younger audience than me, and the further translation to short dialogue boxes can honestly sometimes leave the characters feeling buffoonish. The game is not selling me on these books, but on a technical level, it's amazing to see the c64 humming along like this, and I have no memory of it doing similar BITD.

 

The little technical things really add up. dialogue boxes float over the background complete with names/portraits, music interrupts for jingles and then resumes, the game scrolls smoothly even with an on-screen party of 3 following around. Speaking of music, it's pleasant/memorable enough, even having variations around a main theme. It never gets in the way (as c64 music tends to do) and I don't get sick of it. I think the controls are even as perfect as is theoretically possible (👍), in either one or two button formats. 

 

The creator's an old hand at this. Soulstar on sega cd is probably the previous standout but there's a lot. So 'fantastic on a technical level' isn't entirely news here, but I didn't know that before looking into it.

 

Gameplay-wise Briley Witch has an interesting daily rhythm, like a harvest moon/rune factory game. Wake up, do jobs, pick plants, crafting/shopping, have whatever adventure, recharge amulets at night, bed. That's the standard loop, but of course it will deviate from it. The more modern gameplay additions like a mild focus on gathering/crafting, combined with the technicals, make it feel like a modern game for a 30 year old system--but it's a 40 year old system.

 

official trailer for the 2nd one:

 

Edited by Reaperman
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