Released NA in 1990
When you look at ‘top games lists’ for the TG 16 or other systems, you see the same games listed again and again. Most people just repeat what others say. So what is the verdict on Neutopia?
*Neutopia was played on actual Turbografx 16 hardware on a CRT TV. No emulation used.*
Neutopia is boring. It is a cute game. It has charm. The fire wand is cool. But that’s about it. The game lacks a certain edge. The beginning of the game is very easy, very cliche, and it is extremely boring. As the difficulty increases, the game becomes more fun. But the difficulty turns into frustration (screw that level 8 boss). This game is not bland. It is very boring.
“But Zelda clone! Zelda clone!” Zelda consistently was interesting. Zelda, and especially Zelda 2, had a dark edge, a foreboding, about the world. In this game, it is lame. Why must your character run up to every NPC he sees and talk to them? The NPCs hanging by the chains in the dungeons do not seem to serve much of a point.
The problem is that Neutopia is not a bad game for 1990. It is just boring. The best way to look at Neutopia is that its purpose is not to be a game, its purpose is to do the job Zelda does for the Turbografx 16. Does it achieve this? Well, something is better than nothing I guess. Those who grew up with the TG 16 will swear by this game. They swear by it because it did scratch that Zelda itch back in 1990 for that console. Neutopia isn’t trying to be a great game, it is trying to fill a gap in the console’s library in order to compete with the NES. There has to be a Zelda-esque game so Neutopia was it.
Oh, and the passwords really, really suck. No wonder RPGs never became popular in TG 16. There were no saves (unless you buy more hardware, extremely expensive today)!
If you limit your gaming world to just the TG 16 library, Neutopia is a great zelda clone. But if you compare Neutopia to an open library as gamers do today, Neutopia is boring, frustrating, and generally lame. The game has charm, but it never transcends like Zelda, Metroid, or even Mega Man. Zelda is classic Coke. This is some watered down third rate cola. Don’t bother. There are much better games on the TG 16 to be playing.
Above: Neutopia is third rate cola. Zelda is classic coke!