Mi­nor­ity Re­port: Dream­cast Im­ports

Retro Gamer - - CONTENTS -

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.

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