Minority Report: Dreamcast Imports
Tom Charnock rummages around his Dreamcast Junkyard to unearth some of these cult classics
Developer: Caramelpot ■ Year: 2000
Sometimes, the story behind a game’s creation is every bit as interesting as the game itself, and The Lost Golem definitely meets this criteria. Released in 2000 by tiny Japanese developer Caramelpot,
The Lost Golem is a puzzle game that looks fairly simplistic on the surface, but becomes insanely difficult as you progress through its stages.
Caramelpot was formed by a group of students who were studying various courses at Kyushu University in the late Nineties and The Lost Golem wasn’t just the only title the team created for the Dreamcast, it was the only title Caramelpot developed before disbanding. The members of the development team went their separate ways afterwards and so this game represents the single title with a Caramelpot logo on the cover. In an interview with fan site Lostgolem.com, lead developer Shuichi Ishikawa even goes as far as stating how disappointed he was with the final game.
Tellingly, The Lost Golem only sold around 500 copies at retail when it went on sale in Japan and due to this incredibly low figure, copies that do pop up online can fetch serious sums, especially when complete with spine card. Furthermore, you’d be forgiven for having never heard of this title, such is its scarcity. But what of the actual game itself? It goes a little something like this. You assume the role of the titular golem, and are tasked with assisting the king through a series of rooms in his castle. The king moves autonomously, walking forwards until he hits a wall or other obstruction, thus changing his direction. As a huge stone golem, you have the ability to push certain walls around with your gigantic bulk, creating a series of surfaces for the bumbling king to bounce off.
The main aim is to guide the regal idiot through the exit door and on to the next room, however things get tricky when you realise that you also have to have a certain number of these moveable walls connected to each other in order for the king to continue on his journey. Simply getting him through the door without meeting this ‘linked walls’ objective will mean you have to replay the same room. It sounds complicated, and it is. The opening stages ease you in to the mechanics of the game, presenting you with fairly simple puzzles, and as you progress new problems and traps are introduced. Walls that can be rotated around a pillar and walls that can only be pushed forwards and backwards
make what was already a pretty brain teasing experience the Dreamcast equivalent of a Mensa test. There are 100 or so rooms to traverse, and once you beat the main game a two-player mode and a create-a-stage option are unlocked, meaning the number of potential stages is almost infinite. The Lost Golem really is one of the best puzzle games on the Dreamcast, but also one that a criminally small number of people will have even heard of, let alone played. If you’re lucky enough to find this one for a reasonable price, you’d be advised to pick it up.
[Dreamcast] The level only really begins once you open the door and let the king in. [Dreamcast] You’ll encounter your fair share of oddities whilst guiding the king around.
[Dreamcast] The Lost Golem didn’t sell well at all, and now copies fetch mad money on auction sites.