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Capsule Review - Square no Tom Sawyer

Title Square no Tom Sawyer
Developer Square
Year 1989
Platform NES
Capsule Rating
 
Capsule Review: Absolutely true story: around ten years ago, it occurred to me that one could make an RPG out of Mark Twain's book "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." The game, I envisioned, would be somewhat similar to Mystic Quest, and follow the title character through all the places he visited in the book. I then forgot all about this idea. Ten years later, I found out that some mental giant actually took it and ran with it, and I realized that some wishes are best left unspoken.

Not only is Square no Tom Sawyer a blemish on Square's otherwise good name, it's a blemish on the entire genre. I really do think that this is a prime candidate for the title of worst RPG ever made, and I've played Brandish. It's really a shame, as I think that this is the only book-to-game adaptation (well, except for Parasite Eve, I guess) ever made. And then, it doesn't even follow the book - in the beginning of the game, your character meets a hideously deformed (I'm not kidding, folks) black kid who is sweeping the road with a broom. And then, after doing irreparable harm to the civil rights movement, he joins you and some fat kid (who is supposed to be Huck, I guess) into a forest, where you fight a huge frog-like thing who is several times stronger than all three of you. Huh?

What inspired the supposedly Japanese designers of this game to do such a thing? What transpired in their heads? Haven't they seen the negative consequences of gratuitous stereotyping in the way they themselves have been oft portrayed by certain Americans? And what the hell gave them such an idea in the first place? What interest would a Japanese person have in adapting Tom Sawyer to video game format to reach a supposedly Japanese audience, especially given how loosely the source material was followed? Why wasn't there even one person in the entire company who realized that this game was better left unmade? The world may never know. If you want to play this, I don't think anything I can say will dissuade you, Strom Thurmond, but there really are better ways you can spend your time.

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