Hello again my island guests. Today is the official kickoff of this new series I will be hosting on my blog. I talked about what this would be in Part 0 but today we will finally start time traveling. E.V.O The Search for Eden was a game I rented. But it was an american game so I had to rent an adapter with it. I remember really liking this game so I planned to revisit it. After I finished this.. I am pretty sure young Pinkie was either more insane than I am right now… or just really loved the idea of using the adapter. The first destination of the TALDIG… 4 BILLION years ago.
The World Before Land
This 1993 SNES game places you in the shoes of a nameless protagonist creature somewhere in between 4 billion and two billion years ago. The world is ruled by a naked woman with blue waving hair named Gaia who tells you to evolve. Apparently she lost a bunch of crystals across the earth and some creatures where doing bad stuff with it. I never really heard about Gaia in history.. but it might have been a cover up affair given how much she kind of screwed up. With the lewd goddess being completely incompetent it is up to you to save the planet. Yet from the get go.. you are a simple fish. I could not tell what kind of fish.. maybe a Tuna or some Primal Salmon.. Not exactly a heroic creature. So you begin to swim around and try to figure out what you do! You encounter a nice Jellyfish who helps you along who says you can evolve by eating. You thank the Jellyfish by eating him.
That is right Fish Hero can.. .and kinda should.. eat his friends. By eating friendly sea creatures the protagonist can shop for new evolution parts.. which happen through the passage of time! Luckily we don’t actually have to wait in game and our fish just glows yellow and changes shape. Almost as if a pokémon evolving..but with several customisable body parts. Being used to pokémon I decided it was a good plan to grind up for the best parts and create THE ULTIMATE FISH HERO. That cost me about thirty minutes of blob turtle fishie things. So I guess we nowadays do not have green turtle blob fishie things because an ancient times a fish send by gaia ate them all to evolve.. this does make a lot of sense.
Grinding is completely unneeded though..at least for now. With just a few parts you can make fair progress in the game and it did not take me long to reach the final stage on the map…. Apparently I had to go on land to evolve further. But did you know this historic little factoid? Sharks apparently where evil who blocked creature,from going on land! There was one particularly evil one. Which shows the biggest flaw of this game. While the most of the game is a moderately enjoyable grindy game to equip better parts to your creatures..the boss fights are COMPLETELY broken. Hitboxes are awkward, bosses deal way to much damage and the player gets no clear invincibility frames after a hit.. but instead a few stun frames. Thus instead of not taking damage for a bit .. you keep taking damage and are unable to move! FROWNY STORMY! CRAB CAKES! ANGRY BOMB EMOJI!
The Age of the Amphibian
Let’s get this out of the way. E.V.O. is not a fun game, it is awkwardly paced, boss fights are all incredibly unfair and stages feel completely uninspired. Evolving your creature is not as fun as it could be. Most of the times you end up grinding for new teeth just so you can use those teeth to grind up faster somewhere else. It’s a game of settling for something just to get better parts faster afterwards. Horns are horrible and a waste. They break off after sprinting to much into an enemy, and since default walking speed is slower than internet explorer you break them constantly. Difficulty isn’t in how you beat the stages but its about how you cheese fights and soft cheat. Not fun to play at all.
Of course that doesn’t mean I can’t be positive about the game as well, this blog is all about loving, even the bad things, and this game does have some things to love. In all it’s unfairness it has become a great time capsule to simpler times. Where we would still play incredibly unfair games. It has fairly stiff controls, short time loops for music, it doesn’t communicate what you need to do very well to the player and movement is so incredibly slow it feels like walking from left to right takes forever. It had some original ideas but it had no idea what to do with them. It clearly does try very hard to be charming and inspiring but it kinda fails. It kind of reminds me of when one of those miniature humans finishes playing with crayons colouring in a picture totally outside the lines and off colour. Somehow their smile makes it cute still and you say “very well done tiny tim” even though had that been on your computer screen you wonder if someone took a big magnet close to it.. or if your graphic card got busted. This game is that colouring book page.. yet through the effort we can still see the kid.
Ironically this feels a bit like..”my first action RPG” and since it’s set even before the age of dinosaurs ..it timewise is probably the earliest RPG ever as well. Upgrading your parts does feel satisfying. For example as an amphibian I can choose if I become a jumpy one or a tanky one. When buying the parts though you have no idea what part buffs stats by what amount though so you never know if an upgrade is worth anything. Also if you build the wrong animal boss fights go from near impossible to flat out impossible. Tanky Dragon Toad for example can’t defeat the Bee bosses as it still deals insane damage and it always hits you before you hit it. If you can jump to the sky at least you can get in a few free shots. Luckily as an Amphibian I had grinded up plenty of EVO points so when I evolved into the next stage I could skip the slow start….. oh.. when you become a new creature all your evo points reset…….FUUUUUUUUUDGE COLOURED CRYING ICECREAM!
The Age of Flipping Darwin the Bird
First I was a fish which became an amphibian.. which kind of became a tiny dragon, which became a dinosaur, which lept of a mountain and thus became a bird. That bird could become a mouse or mammal that could eventually evolve into a human. Which means that basically your progress in evolution is reset…Had they simply added higher damage numbers across new forms rather than resetting stats (yes you start dealing 1 damage again each time you transcend species) I might not have minded as much. Getting the ultimate parts does do nothing per species other as speeding up the grind. You can take everything down fairly easily with low tier parts… but for the bosses you need to be maxed out just to have a fair chance. Very frustrating. So when my Dino hurled itself of a mountain and it grew wings.. it became a bird.. and it could stay a bird. Becoming a mammal is an option. So I glared at little Charlie D and showed him a picture of my bird now! This is me and this is how I’ll stay! Evolution is not the answer.
After grinding my bird up to maximum I discovered weird historical facts. Like how King Bee and Queen bee had prevented the land from getting vegetation.. and to make plants grow the amphibian had to beat them… okay that one happened before the bird but still.. they didn’t teach you that in history class.Still this game is set in far history so it must be true. Surely they did their research right? So here you have it! In ancient times there lived evil bees who did not like plants! The “story” only gets more insane after that. From weird owl men ruling the world from their sky fortress, to a Yeti family whose member you slaughtered one by one in the eyes of the littlest one who comes back as a monkey evolution thing.. to exact his revenge millions years later. We can side with the eil guys and get one of four sub endings. Which do not give you credits but boot you back to the map screen…. which is kind of annoying because to progress you will still have to do it the right way and you can start all over again.
This game goes completely insane in it’s ending stages, facing off against aliens, gelatinous creatures and laser ball throwing weird creatures. Apparently the age of man was highly contested. The final boss fight and the final stage are a hell but there are ways to cheese it. Upgrading or Downgrading your size does nothing significant throughout the entire game except for altering your hitbox and attack zone a bit.. however evolving always fully heals you.. so in the end we can grind for near infinite health. It doesn’t feel fair, i doesn’t feel fun and it does not feel like time well spent but at least this way we can say glare at mister Darwin and tell him he is wrong. Evolution was not caused by adapting for survival over time.. it was caused by a fish that was enchanted by a blue haired lewd lady who tried to make you do tedious chores over and over again. Sharks, Bees, Frog-lizards and Yeti where the worst enemies.. if we don’t count the megalomaniac owl priest and blobby endboss guy.
This is not a fun game to play, stages are super boring and easily skippable with the right parts. The only reason you have to do anything is to deal with the bosses that remain virtually impossible even after some grueling grinds. Yet there is also something about this game that I can not help but smile about. There is a passion and a love to it.. there is an originality to it, that may or may not have inspired Spore. It’s a game that I want to buckle down on so I can finish it.. as if I owe that to it’s maker. It’s a perfect metaphor what we had to endure as gamers of the past. So at least it was a very good game to start our little adventure.. and since I am in the age of early man anyway let’s see if there is something really fun here to Yaba-Daba-Do.
-Part 0: What is Pinkie Doing Now?