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The Wizard of Oz Meets JRPGs in Beyond the Yellow Brick Road

| 20 Jul 2009 20:40
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Previously Japan-only RPG Riz-Zoawd is coming Stateside as The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road, a new take on L. Frank Baum's classic tale that tells the story of what happened to Dorothy after she made it to Oz.

First it was Grease, now it's The Wizard of Oz. Seems game companies these days can't get enough of turning Movies Your Mom Loves (or should it be grandma?) into videogame adaptations. Beyond the Yellow Brick Road, XSeed's take on the Oz mythos, however, sounds like it might be a far cry from the MGM classic we all know and love (or hate).

The point of Beyond the Yellow Brick Road, XSeed says, is to show "a unique new perspective on what happened after reaching the end of the Yellow Brick Road," hence the title. Here it seems the focus isn't so much on Dorothy getting to Oz as it is what happens afterward: turns out that the land has been taken over by four evil witches and it's up to Dorothy, her dog Toto, and her pals to take them down.

"XSeed is extremely happy to be taking part in bringing this beloved tale to life in an interactive format," said Jun Iwasaki, president of XSeed. "Everyone knows the story of how Dorothy arrived in Oz, but this is a unique interpretation on what happened afterwards."

Well, that definitely sounds like a premise for a videogame. Beyond the Brick Road takes on the form of an RPG, featuring what XSeed calls "an unorthodox yet accessible method of gameplay." As Dorothy, you explore a 3D Oz using a virtual trackball on the touch screen. When you run into bad guys, you'll engage in first-person, turn-based battles with "multiple customization options" and "involved gameplay."

The box art for the game looks rather benign, suggesting this is very much the Oz from the movie, but the screens, which show the game's somewhat surrealistic color palette and weird green ghost monster thingies, suggest that this could be a quirkier take on the source material than you, or, rather, your mom, might be expecting. Just don't be surprised when she calls you up one night and asks you: "Sweetie, what do HP and MP stand for?"

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