The First 100% QuickBasic Game Review Magazine
Updated November 20, 2004

Game Reviews 42 RPGs 55 Arcade 34 Puzzle 18 Platform 10 Strategy
Sections QB News Site Archives Game Guides Our Projects Entertainment Awards QB Links
Interact QB Chatroom Mailing List Submissions Link to Us Job Openings

Mattress Warrior
(Darkness Ethereal)

"Cooey's Sidekick Enters the QB Spotlight"

After years of being in Cooey's shadow, it's Mattress's turn to go treasure-hunting and quest-seeking! In this mini-RPG, you take on the role of Cooey's partner in creature-slaying, experience gathering, and boss-killing.

With a new set of skills, potions, and enemies, Mattress must brave a world bullied around by an incredible evil. Can the valliant sidekick of Cooey survive?

Game Review
Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
All the graphics, as intended of course, have a Dragon Warrior feel. But rather than look quaint, "retro", or even gothic as DarkDread sometimes aims for, it just ends up looking a little cheap. This style of art is now so normal, so expected, and so dated, that it doesn't add enough ambiance to the game. Some of the enemy drawings are dreadful-- for example, you fight two trolls in the game, and they both look like something Mattress should be able to squash underneath his shoe. Worst of all, the final boss is tiny, and more than a little pathetic looking. I appreciate that graphics aren't the focus of the game, but surely he could have spent an hour after he was finished to fix a few things?

Attention usually paid to intricate details in Darkness Ethereal games is also missing in Mattress Warrior. One thing really bugged me about the graphics for the house-- the shading is all wrong. The only way to explain the shading in this game is to imagine that in the Secret of Cooey world there are two suns, one at a steep angle casting a black line on the right hand side of buildings (and into the buildings themselves-- what, do they not have roofs or something? What do they do when it rains?), and another at the back of all the buildings, shining sunbeams through the windows into the house. Bizarrely enough, there are even shadows in the caves, but no light sources.

Of course, this is DarkDread we're talking about. Needless to say, it's not all bad. The NPC drawings are quite good, and Mattress himself is well drawn (although when he walks left and right his hair flashes different shades of black). All the other characters, especially Cooey, look terrific. Most of the tilesets are pretty good too, if a little crude. It really speaks of DarkDread's experience that he can make graphics lke these, practically without trying.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
Although there's no sound in the game whatsoever, there is some music. The music in this game isn't really that bad, but it's a huge step back from the likes of Mysterious Song, which features one of the best QB soundtracks ever. In Mattress Warrior, I personally kept getting the feeling that DarkDread really just couldn't be bothered with it. The songs are short, repetitive and cheery, with the exception of the cave theme, which although no less repetitive than any of the other songs, is kinda moody and pleasant to listen to. In fact, it kinda reminded me of the sad stages in "Mayhem in Monsterland" for the Commodore 64, with it's bouncy low baseline and implied rhythm. Personally, if I was playing this game again though, I'd play with the nosound option on and stick in a metal CD. Once again though, the simplistic music in this RPG is mostly due to the fact that the game was programmed in only 48 hours as part of a MiniRPG competition hosted by the RPGDX, a website for indie-RPGs.
Gameplay (n.)
The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe
Unfortunately, DarkDread's latest RPG offering falls short where it matters most. The Dragon Warrior- style battle system lacks variety and substance, with the spell list far too unbalanced, and items too difficult to procure. Surely the focus of a Dragon Warrior-type RPG is it's battle system. Why then, are the later spells so useless? When you're at a high enough level to use spells like Fury and Omen, it just isn't cost effective because they use up most of your MP. And you desperately need to hang on to your MP, because it's the only effective way to heal yourself (potions only give you back a measly 100 HP). You can't actually buy any items in the game, you have to be fortunate enough to find them when you kill an enemy.

That said, it's not all bad. It gives you a reasonable challenge, and the battle frequency is low enough (and the random encounters easy enough) so that the game never really feels like a chore. The bosses are fairly fun as well. However, nothing novel is introduced to the overused Dragon Warrior combat style in this game. The game could have been much, much better had DarkDread made the battles somewhat more strategic. As it is, the game ends up as nothing more than an uninspiring Dragon Warrior clone.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
DarkDread really didn't even try to incorporate a story into Mattress Warrior. Unlike the way 'Secret of Cooey III' attempts to be a spoof of RPG clichés, Mattress Warrior simply embraces RPG clichés everywhere - bored warrior seeks treasure, finally realizes he just wants to be with his friends. 

Whereas in the Music and Graphics category, I could understand if DarkDread's work was a little rushed, given the nature of how it was programmed, I can't give such an excuse for the game's plotline. Personally, I found the game's hero (Mattress) very uninspiring. It is the actions that Mattress takes throughout the story that cause the plot to blunder back and forth from cliché to cliché. Therefore, I can't in good conscience give Mattress Warrior a respectable mark for story.

Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
(Very Poor) With no scores, complex or appealing spells, unique challenges or any secrets and sub quests at all, I honestly couldn't find a single thing that would make me want to relive the Mattress Warrior "experience". And I looked. Really hard! I even played though the game a second time, looking for cool extras. Unfortunately, as far as I can see, there isn't a single one, at least not an obvious one.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
The Dragon Warrior-style challenge in this game is reasonable, but it really only depends on what time you have. A tried and tested method for leveling-up effectively is to fight your current batch of enemies until they become fairly easy, and then move onto the next batch. The problem is that you don't really earn anything from playing the game. Sure, your character becomes better, but anyone can level up an RPG character, especially when all that's involved is fighting and automatic stat leveling up. Some interactivity, like choosing which stats to level up as you gained experience, would have helped.

Worse still, there's very little strategy involved in the battles. Say in a platform game, where you have to perfect your timing on a jump, or a fighting game where you have to learn new moves - once you've done that, you feel like you've conquered a real "challenge". Mattress Warrior practically involves no strategy-- anybody can finish Mattress Warrior if they put enough time into leveling up.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
I'm sick to death of QBRPG clichés being seen as all part and parcel of working in QB, and how mediocrity rules when a decent indie RPG plot is concerned. QB programmers don't have the resources of professional developers, and understandably, we sometimes have to settle for mediocrity in music, and in graphics. What we can do, and what should be our niche, is to make original and interesting storylines. What I think annoyed me more than anything about Mattress Warrior is the the obvious lack of effort made to make a good RPG story. To be honest, it made me a lot less sympathetic in the other categories as well.

There's actually quite a lot to like about Mattress Warrior. The conversation between Cooey and Mattress at the start set the scene for a promising game. I like the fact the entire game was coded during a two-day sitting. I always like to see new QB games, especially from Darkness Ethereal. However, there's an equal amount not to like. I don't like the way the menus in the game run slowly on my Pentium 466. I don't like the moronic character you play as. But it's still a fun game, if entirely too typical.

I respect DarkDread. I really do. I think Mysterious Song is the currently the best RPG made in Quickbasic. But I also think that a programmer should constantly be trying to better himself or herself, and unfortunately Mattress Warrior is a step back, and not a step forward. After seeing the QBRPG scene explode over the last few years, an explosion which is due in part to DarkDread himself, we've come to expect better, even if this is only a minigame.

Mattress Warrior Reviewed by Terry Cavanagh

Players 1 player Genre: Role Playing Game
Rating To solve: 1-2 hours Final Rating: 15/35

To download Mattress Warrior (755KB), click here.
wMattress Warrior uses DS4QB, and must run under Windows if you want music. Otherwise, simply use the nosound option explained in the readme file.
wTo play Mattress Warrior, unzip the file and run "SNDSETUP.EXE" to change sound settings, then run "MWMUSIC.EXE".

Back to RPG Page

Game Summary
Coding Group
Darkness Ethereal
Homepage URL
Final Rating
15 out of 35 points

The Highs: DarkDread is to Hideo Kojima as Secret of Cooey is to Metal Gear Solid-- any game you download from the Secret of Cooey series is legendary.
The Lows: Cooey is to Solid Snake as Mattress is to Raiden-- the pathetic storyline and average graphics and music make the main character unenjoyable.

V Planet! Archive
This is an archive of V Planet, circa November 2004, when the site was last active. This is read-only, and preserved here as part of the QB Zines Archive at Pete's QB Site.

Site Highlights
2004 QB Gaming Gold Awards Almost Set To Begin!
Get ready for this year's Gaming Golds! After a long hiatus, this year promises to be one of the biggest galas in the history of the QB world. Who will take home the gold this year?

Site Watch
Pete's QBasic Site
The original king of QB reviews is back with a vengeance! Check out the new and improved version of his website and don't forget to upload your latest QB projects to Pete's new download section!

Antz Entertainment
GBGames QBasic
HyperRealistic Games
Jocke the Beast
Pete's QBasic Site
Pickers Games Website
Piptol Productions
Programmer's Heaven
QB Colony
QB Chronicles
QB: Cult Magazine
QBasic/QuickBasic News
QBasic Contest
Statto Software


QBasicNews.comGBGames QB Game Review SiteStattoNet (Links/Site Reviews)Antz EntertainmentQB Top 50QBRPG Top 50The Hulla-Balloo NetworkQB45 (Future Software)