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Hydlide Cover.jpg
Publisher(s) T&E Soft
Platform(s) MSX, Nintendo Entertainment System, PC-6001, PC-8801, Sharp X1
Release date(s) 1985

Hydlide is a video game developed by T&E Soft. It was originally released for the NEC PC-6001 and NEC PC-8801 computer in 1985, in Japan only; an MSX release came the following year. A Famicom version was first released under the name Hydlide Special on March 18, 1986 in Japan; three years later, in June 1989, that version saw a North American release by FCI, its title having been returned to simply Hydlide.

Notable aspects

The game is notable for being one of the first ever console role-playing games (see the chronology of console role-playing games). The graphics appear to have been influenced by the blockbuster computer RPG of the time, Ultima III, though Hydlide had very different gameplay and ultimately failed to capture the same attention.

The game also features quick save and load options, which can be done at any moment of the game, provided the console is not turned off. However, the game uses passwords as the primary back-up.

Hydlide is also infamously known for its repetitive music, which bears similarity to John Williams' Indiana Jones theme. For the Famicom (NES) version this repetition is understandable, since it is one of the only two RPG/Adventure games made for the Famicom without bankswitched memory, and the other, Enix's adventure game PORTOPIA Renzoku Satsujin Jiken, has no music at all.


Hydlide spawned quite a few follow-ups:

  • Hydlide II: Shine of Darkness was originally released for the NEC PC-8801 in 1985 and then was ported to the MSX in Japan. No version of this game was ever released outside of Japan.
  • Hydlide 3: The Space Memories was released in 1987 for the MSX in Japan; a Famicom version (with the subtitle 闇からの訪問者 = yami kara no houmonsha = visitor from darkness) was released in Japan only, on February 17, 1989.
  • Super Hydlide was an extensively upgraded version of Hydlide 3 released for the Sega Mega Drive. It was released in Japan on October 6, 1989, in North America by Seismic in early 1990, and in Europe by Sega in 1991.
  • Virtual Hydlide was a Sega Saturn game inspired by the previous Hydlide games and still developed by T&E Soft. It was released in Japan on April 28, 1995, in North America by Atlus later that year, and in Europe by Sega on December 29, 1995.

External links


Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Box artwork for Hydlide.
Developer(s) Toshiba EMI
Publisher(s) Toshiba EMI (JP), FCI (US NES)
Japanese title ハイドライド・スペシャル
Release date(s)
Genre(s) RPG
System(s) NES, MSX, Windows
Players 1
Followed by Hydlide II: Shine of Darkness
This is the first game in the Hydlide series. For other games in the series see the Hydlide category.

The name Hydlide has appeared many times on various "Top 10 worst NES games" lists over the years. Many players have compared it to The Legend of Zelda which was released for the NES nearly two years earlier. But this comparison is unfair because the game was actually developed in 1984, two years before The Legend of Zelda was published in Japan (it was simply released too late in the NES's lifetime to be appreciated).

In Japan, Hydlide enjoyed a tremendous fanbase, having been published for every major popular home computer in the Japanese market before being developed for the Famicom. It's arrival on the Famicom was celebrated as a remake to a very popular game, rather than being seen as a game which tried to compete with similar games on the market. In fact, there were no similar games available for the Famicom at the time. Hydlide was billed as an "Active Role Playing Game" combining the top-down iconic overworld style of games such as Ultima (which enjoyed some popularity in Japan) with the collision based combat system in The Tower of Druaga (also very popular in Japan).

When Hydlide was released for the Famicom, it was actually given the name Hydlide Special to denote certain enhancements that this version contained over the original. Magic was only introduced to the series in Hydlide 2, but was retrofitted for use in the Famicom version of the original Hydlide. As a result, it plays only a minor role in the game. Hydlide is rather small, and can easily be beaten in only a couple of hours if one knows exactly where to go.

However, players of more modern RPGs will find the experience less than enjoyable for a few reasons. The game's very short tune plays repeatedly without change to many players' annoyance. The combat system takes some getting used-to, and the player's defense rarely ever improves. And last, but not least, the task of leveling up can be quite repetitive, and requires a lot of patience. While Hydlide was celebrated as an evolution in the Role Playing Genre in Japan, it was simply seen as a poor imitator in America.

In 1999, a special remake of Hydlide was released for Windows 95/98 that allowed players to choose between the look of the original PC-8001 version and a new high resolution Arranged mode. It has been translated into English by, and the patch for the translation can be downloaded here.


In the kingdom of Fairyland, three magic jewels were enshrined in the palace to maintain peace in the kingdom. One day, an evil man broke into the palace and stole one of the three magic jewels. Without the third jewel, the two remaining jewels lost their magic sparkle. The magic spell that sealed the power of Varalys, the most vicious demon in the kingdom, was broken. During the turmoil which followed, the last two jewels were stolen. Varalys cast a special magic on Princess Ann, turning her into three fairies, and hid them somewhere in the kingdom. He then let loose a horde of monsters across the land and became the ruler of the kingdom.

Finally, the young knight Jim stood up and took action to restore peace in the kingdom. He bravely made his way into the wilderness in full armor to fight the monsters...

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