Sunday, June 11, 2017

Nice Package! (Mizzurna Falls, PlayStation)

I've been obsessed with Mizzurna Falls since I first read an article about it on the now-defunct Eastern Mind blog a number of years ago.

You might think it piqued my interest because it's often described as being something of a precursor to the 2010 cult classic, Deadly Premonition. In reality, the thing that initially attracted me to Mizzurna Falls, which released in Japan (and only in Japan) in 1998, was its captivating cover art.

There's just something about its wintry landscape, and the illuminated town that's nestled among its shadowy mountains and trees, that made me want to own and play this game.

I also was drawn to its odd title and even odder subtitle (the latter being "Country of the Woods and Repose"). And then, of course, I couldn't help but find the Twin Peaks-esque story--that focuses on the mystery of a missing girl--and open-world gameplay alluring.

Another intriguing aspect of Mizzurna Falls: it was developed and published by Human Entertainment, the same company that gave the world the classic survival-horror title, Clock Tower.

Not that the two games are at all alike. Oh, Mizzurna Falls has an unsettling air about it, but I wouldn't say it ever even approaches the terrifying heights of Clock Tower.

Given the above, it shouldn't be too surprising to hear this game's instruction manual is a bit quirky. My favorite spread is the one highlighted above, which details the titular town's map.

I also like the pages near the end of Mizzurna Falls' manual, which offer up English and Japanese lyrics to the title's theme song.

For some dumb reason, I failed to take a photo of the Mizzurna Falls game disc when I snapped the others showcased here. I'd take one now, but I didn't bring the CD with me when I left Seattle early this year. (It's currently in storage--and won't be reunited with me until sometime this summer.)

I can tell you that you're not missing a whole lot. The disc basically depicts the same scene printed on the Mizzurna Falls manual cover--only in black and white rather than in color.

Oh, well, the gameplay embedded on that disc is what's important, right? And Mizzurna Falls' exploration-heavy gameplay is--or at least seems to be, I've only played a small portion of it so far--pretty special.

I'll try to share some more detailed impressions of Mizzurna Falls once I get my hands on its CD again in a month or two. At that time, I'll also scan its instruction manual and share the resulting images in a future installment of my "Manual Stimulation" series.

In the meantime, I'd highly recommend reading the Eastern Mind blog post I linked to earlier. It's more than a review; it offers up all sorts of background information and in-depth analysis that help explain why Mizzurna Falls is so impressive--especially for a 19-year-old game.

See also: previous 'Nice Package!' posts about The Adventure of Puppet PrincessMoon: Remix RPG Adventure, Ore no Shikabane o Koete Yuke and PoPoLoCrois Monogatari.

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