Kikan (Remake)
Release Date
Requires MegaZeux 2.81 or newer.
Kikan (Remake)
No summary available.
asgromo  said:
Last modified 2017-07-23 20:04:40
Kikan is Luke Drelick's best game, so if you're the least interested in him or MegaZeux, you can't miss it.

That's not to say it's flawless, or even always fun or rewarding, but it is a strange, silly, serious adventure in the fashion of a very small-scale (six hours, perhaps) 16-bit-era Japanese RPG.

And it has The Best Ending Ever, a finale so heavy it kind of tips the otherwise meager game end-over-end like a Mexican jumping bean. There are fireworks and explosions and space demons and swirling portals and the whole shebang. The stakes get higher and the special effects get shinier and the dialog gets charmier. Understand--given you're willing to play a MegaZeux game in the first place--finishing Kikan is worth more than a shot.

Retaining much of the setting and visual style of the 1998 action RPG of the same title, but replacing the juvenile humor and buggy "Mana" series-style battles of the original with subdued political commentary and a functional but limited Dragon Quest clone turn-based system, the new Kikan is leaner and feels less like a total waste of time than its senile predecessor. The original's "good and evil" mechanic with its two distinct storylines was also thrown out, but you'll think nothing of it.

Kikan has a high degree of polish but occasionally rings lacking in technical accomplishment, depth, and breadth. As expected, you spend the vast majority of your time in battle. But there's no traversable world map (you select a location and are instantly teleported there, "taking the bus"), and next to nothing off the beaten path. Kikan is nearly devoid of side quests. The three available minigames are adequately fun and well-designed (Maxim handled the first two), but two are very easy to miss. Occasional puzzles break up the dungeons, a few of which involve moving blocks. One or two are criminally boring and ill-conceived (depending on your taste).

The only heavily programmed aspect of the game to speak of is the battle system, which aforementioned plays like Dragon Quest. Therefore the rest of the game tends to feel like an aesthetically appealing but very traditional MegaZeux adventure--by no means a bad thing--though probably less than desired of a prolific and talented developer given today's community standards.

What carries Kikan despite its thin gameplay is a deliciously unique plot of drug traffic, addiction, gang violence, racism, third world politics, inner-city life, and personal redemption. It's probably not for everyone. And it tends to take itself so lightly, strutting around in flamboyant Super Nintendo script/scenario-writing and a Japanophilic alternate dimension video game version of New York City, that the player might not notice how special it is, how well-built and complete and unusual.

I presume some players might find Kikan's story tiresome, preachy, and plainly ridiculous. Let's not give any thought to their right to such an opinion, but instead to how their opinion can be seen as tiresome and preachy, and a little bit pessimistic, especially given the goddamn lackluster state of storytelling in MegaZeux. I would hazard that there having been nothing quite like this before should be evidence enough for its lasting worth.
KKairos  said:
Posted date unknown
Kikan is a solid MegaZeux RPG. Think about that for one second. It's a solid MZX RPG. Did I mention that the word "demo" cannot be found anywhere in its title, and that it has more than one or two, even more than three or four hours of gameplay? This is a feat in and of itself especially for anything in MZX that's rightfully called an "RPG," and I should admit it predisposes me towards this thing in a positive fashion from the start.


Graphics are fairly solid. There are few if any real out-of-battle animations, but the characters are all nonetheless nicely drawn and it's quite obvious that Luke put a lot of effort into the scenery, perhaps most notably in the towns. There are a couple of silly graphical bugs, but these really don't do too much to distract from the standards we've come to expect from Drelick.


The plot is far from standard RPG fare, dealing with the internal and external struggles of a drug addict named B.D. (and to a lesser degree with various sociopolitical issues.) The plot in my opinion was most interesting when it focused more on B.D.'s personal demons and quest rather than providing political commentary, but that was most of the time and the plot moves quickly enough to keep your attention.


Presentation hurts the game a little in this respect. As has been noted by some in the game's official thread, the in-battle animations tend to move a little slow. I also have to confess to frustrations regarding the seemingly high enemy encounter rate. These in my opinion kept the battle system from perfection, but by and large battles were good and well-presented.

The game boasts all of the other standard RPG pieces, which are all well-presented. You have a full range of equipment at your disposal and it all seems to work fine, and there are lots of little accessories. The game only has four characters, but again I consider this a feat rather than a setback, and I think it's worked in Luke Drelick's favor: The game is, after all, finished.


The game plays very well. Luke Drelick worked with a strong effort and attention to detail, and it showed. There are a few little details that keep the game from being an absolutely perfect RPG experience, but it is still an exquisite piece of "high" adventure.
Terryn  said:
Posted date unknown
The Kikan remake is unusual. It's less of a remake and a lot more of a purification ritual. Luke Drelick excised everything he found bad about the original: the horribly broken Star Ocean ripoff battle engine, the bestiality/toilet/sex humor, and almost the entirety of the plot, leaving... the locations of the game and a character name or two. It was a harsh evaluation, but sadly true; if you doubt me, play the original for yourself and get the kind of pain one only experiences through tempting fate.

Thankfully, the new parts of the game are several leagues better than the original.

The game comes with a serious plotline: B.D., a midwestern truck driver, is found in New York by a jogger after a homicidal auto wreck. His family has been kidnapped by a drug lord, and B.D. tries his hardest to save them, as well as curb the drug issues which caused the whole situation in the first place. Not only is the plotline serious, but Drelick carries it out as seriously as it merits. Although Drelick loads the game's writing with his usual touches (leftie politics, gaming love, music worship, bits of blaxploitation, and an amusing section of Japanophilia at the end), the game carries a plot handled with enough respect to actually cause some suspension of disbelief. Remembering that this is a MegaZeux game, the plot is thoughtful, and at times, uplifting (one sequence around the end was especially well-done). Drelick definitely worked hard in making an honest plot about the problems of hard drugs, and though it occasionally comes off somewhat trite, it is a very refreshing thing to do.

The meat of the gameplay is a Dragon Quest battle system, with simple menu options (Attack, Focus, Ougi (i.e. special abilities), Item, Flee) and turn-based battling against up to six enemies. Affixed to this is a Shadow Hearts-esque timing system; at first, this seems like a pretty good addition, but it is so easy to use that it becomes a simple gimmick. All abilities are available from the beginning; each character has his/her own role (brute fighter, technician, fighter/agitator, healer) and attack/tech profiles to fit. Standard status afflictions exist, and enemy variety is decent. Dungeons are moderately-sized, for the most part, and encounters are random. Simple puzzles appear occasionally, as a nice change of pace, and Maxim developed some good, diversionary minigames for this project.

Unfortunately, the gameplay has some issues. Although Drelick was incredibly receptive to changing the game from his original plans (and in fact tweaked several things substantially), there are still a few problems left over. The biggest of which is the pace of battle (slow). Actions which boost/harm everyone's stats at once are the biggest pacing killers, as they do their graphical effects one-at-a-time with considerable pauses. Characters do not develop outside of their stats; even equipment changes only upgrade stats. The encounter rate is on the higher side, but nothing ludicrous like Lufia I or Vay. Boss difficulties lie in being giant HP sinks rather than genuine threats to the party (outside of the hidden boss, who actually is a serious threat to the party). Charging attacks is only useful for timing/accuracy purposes and thus will be rarely used, especially since it wastes a turn and does low damage.

It's a good thing, then, that its trappings are uniformly wonderful. The artwork is some of Drelick's better work, with cities, buildings, and outdoor locations looking vibrant. The extreme brightness saturation present in most of Drelick's older artwork is mercifully gone. The music is a selection of professional tracks (mostly house) which, while bloating the size of the game, were fitting enough for me. The sound is pretty good, though nothing worth description.

Given a tolerance for somewhat repetitive RPGs, this game is well worth the seven to ten hours of time it requires.

4.3 (rounded down to four stars)
Maxim  said:
Posted date unknown
First off, I just have to say that this is a very good game. An RPG with a menu-based battle system is an extremely difficult thing to write, and Drelick wrote one that works well with no bugs. The combat is entertaining enough that it didn't start wearing on me--except for some of the slowness mentioned by other reviewers. Yeah, a few things just move too slowly. That's just a drop in the pan, though. As of 2010, this is still the best JRPG made in Megazeux.

Combat is interesting. It uses a "judgment line" where you have to time spacebar presses for your command to work. If you miss a keypress, your attack will be weakened or fail entirely. Menu-based combat in general can easily become boring, but this little gimmick keeps the player focused. Most of the items and equipment are very useful, as well as most of the spells. This is rare for an RPG made in Megazeux. Again, there are no bugs. The balancing is incredibly well done. The only thing that hurts it is that battles take too long--some normal enemies simply can not be killed in less than 6 hits without extremely rare or expensive items. Combine with the high encounter rate and...ouch. Still, it's nothing game-breaking.

Plot... yeah, it's highly unusual. Sometimes it seems like a collage of random ideas and people. For one, you play as a meth-addicted trucker, a refugee from Colombia, and.... a descendant of Thomas Malthus? Still, after the first dungeon I was sucked in to the game's plot. Yeah, it's not perfect but it IS that good! Rare in a Megazeux game.

Graphics are, like in all of Drelick's games, beautiful. You can tell what nearly everything is upon first glance. There is heavy use of character and palette editing, and not without purpose. All of the environments are rendered beautifully. I didn't even notice that the battle system used the default EGA palette until near the end of the game. That's how good it looks.

Music... originally I was strongly opposed to the idea of having 50MB of OGG Vorbis music for the game. That "Music Revolution" song, I still don't like. The rest is very nice and suits the game well though, especially that awesome battle theme. Sounds are well-chosen except some of the battle sounds kinda sound like farts.

Don't miss this one. It IS unusual, and if you aren't into hardcore JRPG games, you might have a tough time with it--the game doesn't punish the player, but you do have to pay attention to what's going on or you'll die. Still, it's awesome and very polished. 5 stars.

And I hope that this is NOT the last game we will see from Drelick in Megazeux.