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Friday, April 1, 2022

Contact

 Grasshopper is a bit of a low-key cult company, known for making bizarre and often extremely violent games like Killer7, No More Heroes and Killer Is Dead.  Contact was their attempt at an RPG, though with a more kid-friendly presentation despite retaining its stranger themes.  This is evident right away with the dichotomy of art styles on the two screens - the two main characters (Terry and the Professor) live in two very different art styles, with Terry occupying a more photorealistic world while the Professor and his ship look more akin to a 16-bit game (and quite a bit like Earthbound).  The gameplay is an odd duck too, giving the player a degree of control over Terry for most things; however, in combat he largely acts on his own.  One can also attack almost any NPC in the game, potentially accruing negative Karma and causing townspeople to attack you a la some old CRPGs (though there is no real benefit to this as far as I can tell).  There are no preset levels, instead falling back on a system similar to Final Fantasy II or the Elder Scrolls games - your stats gradually improving as you do things that tie to them.  Taking damage boosts your HP, attacking boosts strength, and so forth.  One can also equip outfits and stickers to bolster certain stats, which adds a bit of depth, but combat remains out of the player's hands for the most part.  For this reason you often get stuck for a good while having to grind to power up in order to overcome a particularly powerful foe.  Still, the game's quirky sense of humor and the general weirdness of its presentation and story have earned it a dedicated fanbase, so if you can find a copy, give Contact a try.


Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publisher: Atlus
Released: 2006
Platforms: Nintendo DS