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Great Greed (Game Boy) artwork

Great Greed (Game Boy) review


"Having been abruptly stolen away in the middle of an epic battle against acid rain by the fell sorcery of Microwave, the task now falls to you – Sierra Sam, Earth Guy! – to protect once-pristine Greene Kingdom from the horrifying machinations and discarded Styrofoam containers of dread lord BIO-HAZ."



Having been abruptly stolen away in the middle of an epic battle against acid rain by the fell sorcery of Microwave, the task now falls to you – Sierra Sam, Earth Guy! – to protect once-pristine Greene Kingdom from the horrifying machinations and discarded Styrofoam containers of dread lord BIO-HAZ.

"…"

While everyone remembers the Tales of Whatever series when it comes to Namco RPGs, it’s a shame that Great Greed was passed by virtually unnoticed back on the original Game Boy. Not only is it sure to leave a lasting impression thanks to utterly ridiculous enemies and the most outlandish eco-friendly plot this side of Captain Planet, but take a closer look and you’ll discover an old school RPG whose inventive mechanics are no laughing matter.


Assisted by such faithful NPCs as Chief Bodyguard Lunch Box, Princess Cup Cake and random peasant Mr. Springroll, your destiny to scour the countryside of Bio-Haz’s devious plot to turn the world into one massive garbage heap is certainly a unique one in the annals of RPG history. Occasionally one of the treasure boxes will contain “trash,” which you can’t remove from your already limited inventory space until you pay someone in town to recycle it; after all, simply discarding it on the ground would be LITTERING. Yet despite all the silly names and situations, you’ll also encounter an awful lot of sad music and innocent people dying, not to mention some rather suspicious activities.

After becoming entangled in a heated mayoral election for the town of Tuna, you’ll be offered a juicy bribe by the smog-loving opponents of virtuous Candidate Cabbage Head. Unlike our own politicians, these deceitful fiends want to irrevocably foul the atmosphere under the guise of constructing a Happiness Factory, so it’s quite the moral dilemma! Snag the cash and it’ll look like your brazen greed has gone unnoticed – until the end of the chapter when you realize the boss is considerably tougher than normal, so let’s hope you spent some of that ill-gotten wealth on sharp swords. Haha sucker, you should have known that crime doesn’t pay! On that note, another quaint little hamlet invites you to randomly change their laws via a giant slot machine so the guards can round up unsuspecting citizens to slave away in the Toxin Mines.


But don’t think that you’re always defending the environment from people named after foodstuffs – there’s shameless nudity, too! After someone runs off with all your equipment during a relaxing afternoon at the hot springs, you’ll have to fight your way through monstrous lemon-infested forests without so much as a towel. That said, if it’s really base lust you’re after, try pairing up with the tomboyish warrior princess Citrus and her bid to acquire weapons of mass destruction by winning the local beauty pageant. Can she possibly wrest the title from the likes of seductive Miss Carbo? Let’s ask!

Miss Carbo: “I’m Miss Carbo. Bhuheeeen.”

Lest there be any jealousy, over the course of your travels you’ll come across a number of inexplicable inventory items like a dress and some rouge, prompting our hero to exclaim “I feel pretty!”

"…"

The overhead graphics are nothing special (although riding giant turntables to navigate through Lola Leftover’s abandoned record factory is pretty cool), but the combat sequences more than make up for that. In addition to the typical wizards and dragons, you’ll frequently find yourself facing giant hot dogs with beefy (hoho) arms and legs, uncommonly lethal vegetables, and of course the dreaded SALTPORK, a bipedal boar decked out in ninja gear. The enemies aren’t just considerably more detailed than everything else – many have multiple sprites that change whenever they attack or fall to your thuggish fists.


More importantly, the combat system is a breath of fresh air. Instead of menus, every action is directly mapped to a button or direction on the crosspad. Since these battles are strictly one-on-one, both of you attack at the same time, and your opponent sneaks in a free hit if you wait too long, random encounters tend to be extremely fast-paced. Namco even implemented an excellent autosave system that records your progress after every battle, so you never have to worry about losing an hour’s work just because of an unforeseen carnivorous artichoke attack.

Definitely a smart move there, because the encounter rate is incredibly high (the survival rate, not so much). Like most RPGs from this period it’s full of mindless level building and copious equipment buying before you can even think of tackling the dungeon areas. Furthermore once you leave a chapter you can never go back, and you’re always pathetically weak at the beginning of each one. This is nothing compared to the tortures inflicted by Square’s Final Fantasy Legend series, but if you can’t stand playing 8-bit RPGs anymore don’t expect to be converted by this one, no matter how unique the scenarios might be.

But unique they are, right up to the short but awesome ending which not only provides several variations, but the opportunity to be a total jerk and a few clear violations of Nintendo’s censorship guidelines. If you’re one of the many classic gaming fans who missed out the first time, there’s clearly no better way to show your love for the world’s natural beauty than by spending all day in a darkened room playing Great Greed on a tiny monochrome screen.

“BHUHEEEEN!”

Rating: 8/10

sho's avatar
Staff review by Sho (April 30, 2007)

Sho enjoys classic video games, black comedy, and poking people until they explode -- figuratively or otherwise. He also writes a bit.

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