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The Adventures of Meow: CSC vs. haappy_aardvark
The Adventures of Meow: CSC Do you dare enter the cat CIA? (dun dun duhh..)
Monheart
Download: 1.01 MB
V.S.
haappy_aardvark
Play Time: 2 hours and 50 minutes
Review # 1 for haappy_aardvark Do you dare enter the cat CIA? (dun dun duhh..)
Them's Fightin' Words
    The Adventures of Meow: Cat Scratch City is a well made game full of innovative ideas that keep it interesting the whole way through. It shows great use of plotscripting, puzzles, and graphics. There are a few gameplay and originality problems, but overall, TaoMeow shines with creativity and is very fun to play through. It's a surprise that it has been released for a year and a half without becoming terribly popular or recognized.
Graphics
    Monheart has an incredible artistic ability. Maptiles are interesting, colorful, and detailed. Enemies are shaded beautifully and the attacks are awesome, making the battles an animated masterpiece. My favorite graphic is the one of Meow's critical where claws seem to be slashing through the backdrop! Plotscripting is used well to switch in and out additional graphics for special abilities and character expressions. Unfortunately, none of the battles except the first two seemed to have backdrops, having instead just a black screen (but with cool little pictures of Meow and Two at the top and some neat shading effects with the active time and health bar). I would also have liked to see the battle graphics for ants and fruit flies more detailed than one pixel. Overall though, the visual strength of this game is great.  
Storyline
    For the most part, perfect. TaoMeow is based off of a novel that Monheart wrote, so the storyline is bound to be a strong part of the game. It guides the player stealthily into a very intriguing plot that will leave you wondering more about the origins of Meow and Two. The intro is especially captivating (if not a little confusing). Some parts of the story seemed to be skipped over quite quickly, without full development, making the plot seem rushed. For example, when you visit the junkyard, you don't stay for very long, in fact you don't even really get to walk around and explore much at all. More full screen pictures and dialogue between characters could really help. Also, a lot of the story seemed to be adapted from the musical cats. A little bit of this is okay, but there was too much in my opinion (I don't really want to read the songs in text boxes).  
Gameplay
    For this game, gameplay has its ups and downs. The game is full of puzzles, which will leave you cheering with glee when you finally figure them out, or will make you beat the keyboard with frustration when you spend an hour on one puzzle. Battles are well done, but are far too frequent. Minigames are cool, but buggy. It's definitely a fun game to play through, just make sure to take a deep breath and remember all the possibilities.  
  Battle
    Wonderfully balanced. Monheart has created a good battle system with lots of abilities to gain, but you don't gain them so fast that you don't know how to use them. Only the first couple of battles will be difficult, as your cats learn an arsenal of attacks like cat attack, speed, and brace. It's very surprising how a battle where your heroes have the exact same moves can be so entertaining. The biggest problem here, is that battles occur way too often, making the player frustrated, especially when they are trying to explore or solve a puzzle, both of which you are doing almost all the time. The cats are already invincible after the first couple of battles (now that they've learned "brace," an ability that heals you and raises your defence for free), so the lost experience won't cause anyone to die. I would like to see the battles be probably one fifth as frequent.  
  Map Design
    Generally well done, nothing is too repetitive or boring due to the variety of NPCs and tiles. All of the areas are pretty fun to play through, although the last dungeon is huge and confusing (good thing there are no battles and you move at speed 10). I would really like to see more hints to help the player through the puzzles. I was able to solve all of them, but I had to use debugging keys to get into the fish puzzle chamber (I tried every statue on the pedestal with no luck) and I couldn't figure out the very last puzzle to open the doors. This actually prevented me from finishing the game, but I know I was near the end anyway.  
  Balance
    The game is interesting throughout, and there are no lulls of inactivity in the plot. Battles were well balanced and fun to fight (although they were quite long). The battles got a bit too easy toward the end of the game. It also seemed like too much plotscripting was being used at once in some places. I got a lot of script buffer overload messages in the final dungeon and I don't think the "s" key should be used for both "smell" and "sprint." A few things were buggy due to an overuse of plotscripting. There are lots of innovative ideas in the game but it seemed there were too many to implement correctly (ie, the sequence where the amount of food you've collected counts up doesn't seem to work very well or add to the game).  
Music
    The music is "borrowed" from Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Cats: the Broadway Musical. A good choice of music if you ask me, and it was all pretty much well placed. There are a few spots in the intro when the music changes every two seconds, which annoyed me because I didn't even get a chance to figure out what songs they were. Overall, the music definitely enhanced the atmosphere.  
Enjoyment
    Definitely worth your while to download. The puzzles and battles are really neat to see. The only enjoyment problems (like too many battles) can easily be fixed. There are parts that will frustrate you, but the rest of the game more than makes up for that. Everyone should at least give it a try.  
Final Blows
    This game was shorter than I thought is was set up to be. Also, bugs prevented me from getting to many parts of the game. I never got to see the ending, and am still wondering how the story finishes. Additionally, I couldn't get past the first challenger in the battle city mini game. Spend some time fixing bugs and tweaking the gameplay, Monheart, and you could come up with a really amazing game. (Also, please make up some attack names that aren't from Pokemon).
Heehee! Look at that kitten jump!

Heehee! Look at that kitten jump!
Final Scores
Graphics: 9/10.0
Beautiful. Please draw some more battle backdrops so we can see more of your artistic ability.
Storyline: 8/10.0
Very original. I would like to see more development as I don't think the game adequately covered the story it is based on.
Gameplay: 6.5/10.0
The weakness and the strength of the game. Some parts are very enjoyable and innovative, while others are frustrating and annoying.
Music: 7/10.0
Ripped from various commercial video games and cats the musical. Placed nicely, nothing amazing though.
Enjoyment: 7.5/10.0
Very enjoyable... if you can figure out the puzzles. Hello?! How could an RPG about yellow kittens not be enjoyable?
Overall Grade: B+
Final Thoughts
    A great combination of originality, graphics, and plotscripting. Although I have a few problems with the gameplay and storyline development, it is worth a playthrough to anyone. TaoMeow:CSC deserves a higher grade, and can get it with a few finishing touches.  


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