Mad Paradox Review

Title: Mad Paradox
Alias: マッド・パラドックス
Release date: 1992-08-28
English release date: 1994 (DOS)
2008-02-06 (FM-Towns)
Developer: Queen Soft
English publisher: Samouraï Éditions (DOS)
Demoniac (FM-Towns) (as a fan-standalone)

"Mad Paradox" is the only game ever released in English by the French manga publisher "Samouraï Éditions" as a part of its Geisha Pink Zone label before its bankruptcy. Maybe it's for the better, as MP neither got a decent localization, nor was it a decent game to start with.

First of all, let's explore the fact that there actually are two different English versions of the game. One is a DOS port of the Japanese PC-98 game, and was published officially by Samourai. This version suffers from terrible localization. I played only a few minutes of the DOS release using DOSBox and haven't encountered a single sentence without some sort of grammatical mistake (your/you're is especially prevalent). It was an almost painful reading, which is kinda understandable, considering the game was localized by a French company.
The quest begins.
The other game is a standalone fan release of an FM-Towns version. While it used the official localization as a basis, the game was partially retranslated, re-edited and proofread. Additionally, characters were colour coded during dialogues, which makes a much more pleasant reading experience, not that there is much reading to do. Graphically both versions are almost identical with FMT having a slightly lighter colour palette. There is only one problem - FMT version has a bug which prevents the main character Mash from using potions in a battle. This is a much lesser problem than it sounds - I personally never used a single potion during a battle. Potions are kind of useless, and even more so in a fight, because corresponding healing spells recover a much higher amount of hit points (not to mention that characters can only use potions on themselves anyway). Not counting this very minor bug, FMT version is vastly superior to the DOS release and it should be played in favour of the latter.
Yes, we get it, Gorgas is evil.
"Mad Paradox" would be the most generic 90's RPG if not for the fact that it is also an erotic game. Erotic, in this case, means purely softcore pictures of naked girl that, while good looking, do not make the game any better. The game would be a dreadfully short affair, which could be finished in 2 to 3 hours if not for an insane amount of grinding required to proceed without being ripped to pieces. Basically you have to do every dungeon until all the enemies there deal only 1 HP of damage to you, otherwise the dungeon's boss will have your hide. The maximum level you can achieve is 40, and you will need every single of those levels to beat the final bad guy. Don't even bother approaching him with anything less then a maxed cap.

The gameplay mechanics are the most simplistic I have ever seen. You have only two stats: offence and defence, and you increase those by leveling up and by buying better equipment (even "Final Fantasy 1" had more complexity). At the very least, money is easy to come by in MP and you will never have any problems outfitting your heroes with the best gear. Strange thing though - you can buy equipment, but you cannot sell it. Commerce really doesn't work right in the game world.
Hellfire is the most useful spell in the early stages of the game.
The plot of the game is a clusterfuck of clichés. You are Mash, an orphan in a tiny hamlet of Dorah... or rather that's what you have been told. Now you are finally 17 and the truth is revealed to you - apparently you are the only son of the lord Laggs, who was killed by the Big Bad Gorgas. So, you decide to go out and kill Gorgas dead for revenge. Along the way you are joined by a sorceress-swordswoman Elle and the warrior of the Fire Realm Fugg (though, actually, Fugg only joins you for a short while and quickly leaves taking all his equipment with him - he is a temporary character at best). Because Gorgas wields the fire element, the only thing that can beat him is the Water Sword. So of course, you have to find all the components of the Sword and assemble it, in order to stand any chance against Gorgas.
Because I'm gonna kick your ass for revenge.
The game holds no surprises (except for one at the very end). You trek through different realms, gather the pieces, assemble the sword, beat the Big Bad. And then... surprise! Mash goes on and marries some broad, Gorgas was keeping captive and whom he has never met before, instead of his companion Elle. Well, fuck this - these characters had no personality to start with. It's not like I care what happens to them anyway. At least I hoped the villain would be interesting and menacing. Nope, you meet him at the very end of the game for the first time and then you ice his sorry ass. No chance to even ask why he decided it was a good idea to take over the world, well, excepting an obvious case of megalomania.
The only saving grace is the erotic content. Every town will have one or more girls you can visit in order to get some, admittedly, good looking anime pictures of them in immodest attire. Some of these encounters are optional, some you get as part of your journey. Erotic CGs may look good, but the game itself is pretty poor looking. The colours blend together, backgrounds are bland and uninspiring, repetitive music starts getting on your nerves after a while and the scanlines... why there had to be scanlines at all?! God dammit, game, it's not like you were made in 1992... oh, wait...

Anyway, "Mad Paradox" (what's with the title, anyway) is a pretty poor game. It lacks compelling gameplay, plot or characters. It remains a (mostly forgotten) oddity within English language eroge repertoire. And its obscurity is not entirely undeserved, considering the game completely lacks substance.

Links of Interest

Download English DOS version of the game
Download DOSBox emulator
Download English FM-Towns version of the game
Download UNZ, an FM-Towns emulator
Download FM-Towns Bios (required by the emulator)
Mad Paradox walkthrough

Final Verdict: 41%


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