Title: Aspic: Madao no Noroi
Genre: Action
Developer: XTal Soft
Released by: Bothtec
Date: March 31, 1988
Japanese level: 3
MSRP: 2980 yen
Current Price: 1200 yen

In the days before in-cartridge batteries, times were hard for console RPG fans. The first two Dragon Quests in Japan used passwords, believe it or not. As a result RPGs of the time were perfectly suited to the Disk System, where you can actually save your game and not have to worry about how good your handwriting is.

Aspic, a port over from ye old Japanese 8-bit MSX computer, is about as generic an Ultima ripoff as you can get. You play a brave dude named Samson who sets out on a quest to defeat a large snake with super powers, delusions of grandeur and all of the local monsters in his army.

The overhead map and 3d dungeons will immediately remind anyone who played the 80s era Ultima games of nostalgic times in front of the Apple. Even the good guys' castle is a 3d dungeon, and the king is just sort of hanging out in the middle of a room, making you wonder if the kingdom sold the furnishings to raise the dough to hire you. Battle scenes, though, are overhead action style, at a tempo slightly slower than Zelda's.

This game is so generic that you don't really need to know Japanese because everyone's lines have been said in so many RPGs before and since...