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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 514
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Adventures of Bill by Mark
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=7
Didn't we just have a game called Adventures of Bill and a game called The Adventures of Mark made by someone named Mark? Yes, but this is a different Bill and a different Mark. All these games came out around the same time, which is why all remained pretty obscure; I'm one of the few people to have looked through and tried to thoroughly analyze all three, and definitely gave this one, the best of the three, a good look no later than 2008. Why, Adventures of Bill and Adventures of Bill the Smiley are even both named Bill.RPG. I keep almost all OHR games not made by myself in a single folder together, so for a little bit there was an amusing situation where I could load a Bill the Smiley save file to have completely broken, wonky, discolored and misnamed versions of Adventures of Bill in the party.

Adventures of Bill uses a lot of sarcasm, dry humor, and misdirection. It is heavy on self-deprecation and has a slight satirical bite to it aimed towards slightly lazier games - it has enough clear effort put into it that the self deprecation doesn't ring hollow and the satire doesn't feel hypocritical. The game's description page says if you're looking for a fully fleshed out RPG like the Final Fantasy games made by full teams of developers, you're likely to be disappointed and I agree; don't go in with that mindset, go in with a mindset of remembering that the "good" games in the OHR community to this point are Bill the Smiley, Vengence, Adventures of Mark, and Monterey Penguin. This game basically takes the best elements of each of those and does them all one step better.

The adventure begins by describing a small, idyllic culture in a walled off piece of wilderness completely cut off from all civilization and culture. It says this while showing us there is a McDonalds location inside the village. Said village is populated by "blobby things", small mouthless blobs with two feet and two huge eyes. Our protagonist Bill is a wonderful deep blue, my favorite color.

Bill, upon hearing the intro, declares he's heard better intros in Hindi films and demands to know who writes this crap. He quickly concedes to himself out loud that this is only a demo and implores Mark, the game's author, to put violent space battles (ripping off Star Wars) and rolling boulders (referencing Indiana Jones) to the game's intro despite those having nothing to do with the story. I forgot about this, but it's nice to see Bill himself isn't a flawless avatar of the author's own desires and tastes in storytelling; he's basically the sort of person who would call Black Panther the best movie ever if it starred a blue amorphous goo and this was the first time that very specific large corporation cast such an actor in the lead role for a mindless action movie; Bill is all about superficial spectacle, not about what makes sense or realistic expectations. He wants his own game to have all the graphics and presentation of a main line Final Fantasy, the Star Wars movies, and Indiana Jones despite being made by one guy on his home computer. Bill, while our game's hero, is flawed both in objective standards and in the creator's own, but his personality is relatable and a little charming; not everything he says will be praise of Mark's tastes nor needless antagonism towards all things Mark dislikes.

The maptiles and character sprites in this game are simple, but cartoony. Everything in the first few areas is original art assets and drawn competently. The characters use two or three shades of color per object, but actually have lighting to them; Bill isn't just a blue circle with a slightly darker blue circle around it and an even darker blue circle around that, but actually has heavier brightness to one side than the other, as do his similarly shiny shoes. Using a gradient is bad if you actually do it correctly, and thick black outlines on every important object like walls and characters helps them stand out against background tiles such as the grass and dirt.

Bill begins stocked up with several consumable items; three McBurgers (heal HP), two McColas (heal MP), and two McCoffees (raise the dead). This indicates immediately that he should get an ally soon enough, as revive items are useless to a singular hero. Rather than giving Bill a best friend with boosted attack power and a Jump attack, Bill himself simply has slightly higher Attack than his other (mostly balanced) stats and knows a Jump attack that boosts damage from the start; this costs him 3 MP per use from his starting max of 10, so there's a potential reason to hold back and not use it in place of his normal attack at all times. Bill is his own party's Cool Best Friend.

An NPC stands in front of the gate outside of town, proclaiming Bill can't leave the village. When asked why, the NPC says it's because he's standing in the way; they both agree that this is soundly logical. The town is named Billsville and everyone who lives there has a name ending in -ill; Drill at the front gate, Mill asking Bill if he's heard about the secret laboratory in town, and Phil running an inn. Bill's girlfriend is a pink blob with a big yellow ribbon on her head, named Jill; this is a simple and immediately recognizable way of highlighting their respective masculinity and femininity. Playing with such signals can be a lot of fun, but if playing it straight wasn't retained as the norm all such variances would lose any meaning or whimsy.

Bill's neighbor Yill informs him that Jill is missing; Bill hadn't heard this yet and asks Yill if he's been reading ahead in the script. The answer is yes, and tells Bill it'd be best to give up here and now as it's a pretty dull story. The story itself is pretty dull, but the characters it happens to are fun, so a dry plot summary just wouldn't do it justice.

All other buildings in town are simple brown wooden structures, but there's one huge building made of gray concrete with a neon sign on it flashing the words "SECRET LAB" and another sign next to it with an arrow pointing at it, also highlighting that it's a secret lab. Grill, the red blobby thing, is wandering the lab's front yard and tells Bill he can't find the secret lab, but encourages Bill to use his masterful investigation skills to find and search it.

Bill barges into the front door to find a mad scientist in a gray labcoat and huge blue sunglasses. He is bald, with a huge, wild red mustache; clearly, he is inspired by none other than Doctor Ivo Robotnik. His name is Bad Linen, and he's a Nazi war criminal, made back when teenagers knew what actual Nazis were and didn't just think it meant "person who disagrees with my version of eugenics, government takeover of all private industry, and pointless race wars".

Bad Linen gives very specific denial of his mad science laboratory for making Nazi super soldiers being exactly that rather than merely a residence. Bill takes him at his word and tries going home immediately, only to find the front door locked behind him. Bad Linen immediately goes back on his paper-thin charade of being anything but a crazed Nazi scientist bent on taking over the world and sics his "pet", a spider genetically modified to have Adolf Hitler's head with a bad combover, an armband on one of its right legs, and a Nazi flag jammed into its abdomen on a pole. The oozing spider-Nazi calls Bill a swinehund as it attacks him and goes down after a couple well-placed jump and kicks.

Bill picks up a hammer dropped by the Nazi spider, only to realize to his horror that he has been mutated by exposure, causing him to grow a pair of hands with bright white gloves on them. He detests this new mutant power of his, calling it a deformity and demanding Bad Linen return him to his normal form; this is a lot like some other stories where a major character becomes something really cool and clearly physically superior to his original form, but mopes about losing his humanity or whatever, but more nakedly transparent. Bill even calls these newly-existent hands the worst of all sexually transmitted infections he's ever gotten.

Bad Linen is impressed by Bill's new form, however, and declares an interest to make his future army simply consist of one hundred blobs with hands, like Bill himself. "With a hundred of you, I could conquer the entire civilized world, and possibly parts of Africa as well!"

Bill construes this as a threat to send him, personally, to Africa and immediately threatens to attack Bad Linen; the mad scientist runs out his front door, locking it again behind him. Bill must explore the back rooms of the facility, fighting lab rats (who seem to be laboratory assistants, wearing labcoats and glasses similar to Linen's) and vacuum cleaners (called Psycho Hoovers because this is a British game; the in-game money is also pounds instead of dollars).

The game uses a mix of ripped music (Final Fantasy battle themes and some victory music I'm not familiar with) and the OHR's free music (Humoresque No. 1 plays during the intro and the entire town/laboratory).

Bill finds Jill's bow on the floor of the lab and has a flashback of first meeting her; he was at the bar drinking and surprised by her walking in, but in hindsight she lived right next door to it and he admits he shouldn't have been surprised (the small town I grew up in also only has one bar and some houses only two buildings away, next to the pizzeria and other restaurant). Bill's immediate attempt at wooing Jill was to recount an anecdote about people in a moving truck tossing a live dog into a cement mixer and how he thought it was hilarious; Jill's first words to him were to ask him to sit at a different table because he was bothering her. Not overblown anger or disgust, just mild irritation; I'm not surprised they eventually became a couple after that first meeting.

At some point after starting their relationship, Jill left without leaving a goodbye note or a final conversation, but did return Bill's Huey Lewis and the News records unscathed, so it was clearly not parting on bad terms (or she was upset at him, but not petty enough to destroy art over it).

In the next room, Bill finds a huge gray mouse tied up with rope and suspended over a big vat of green bubbling fluid. Was Bad Linen making bootleg PowerStick deodorant? I wouldn't put anything past a Nazi or any other far-left totalitarian movement, for that matter. Bill asks the mouse if he knows where Jill is; the mouse tells him that she's been taken to Linen's personal mansion in the south and implores Bill to let him down. Bill is initially going to leave the mouse to his fate callously; he's not malicious so much as oblivious and turns around at the door to ask the mouse if he wants to be set free. There's some really good comedic timing to this game's cutscenes I can't do justice in a textual summary, an example of using plotscripting for its actual intended purposes and doing it well.

The mouse proclaims a grudge against Professor Bad Linen and a desire to chew the guy's ankles off; he immediately joins Bill in his adventure. It'd be a little predictable for me to say he's my favorite party member in this game and actually untrue; I actually like the first three heroes of the game equally and they play off each other beautifully.

Mouse is equipped with a twig to use as a magic wand and the duo find a lab coat for him to wear as armor in one of the treasure chests; in an RPG especially there's not much difference between mad science and black magic, so while there's a vaguely scientific theme to his armor, the mouse is just a straight up wizard. He begins with a spell named Burn! which as expected, is a weak but cheap to cast fire-elemental attack.

If you check an empty treasure chest, the game gives you a snarky message about how there isn't anyone going around refilling treasure chests for you; normally an empty treasure chest would be a maptile and its lid an NPC that vanishes when activated, no text message at all for checking an empty chest. In this game, each treasure chest is hand crafted to use a separate tag; extra work to get one more joke out of the game, and makes it every bit as easy for every single treasure chest to contain a different item as it is for there to be a repeat (the standard style makes it a lot easier to have dozens or hundreds of chests with identical contents than to give them each unique contents). I for one appreciate the extra effort, and found this joke really funny the first time I fell for it (treasure chests' appearances reset when you reload the map) and still appreciate it even if my laughter is no longer out loud a decade and some change later.

Bill is banished from the town for having hands; "The ability to manipulate objects is the road to sin" according to the guy at the front gate. It was either this or have the entire town burn down, but this location actually still has some jokes left in it later.

The mouse, visually, looks a lot like Rat from one of my favorite newspaper comic strips: Pearls Before Swine.

Bill and Mouse find the brick wall in front of Bad Linen's mansion to have a white picket fence for a gate, which is locked. Bill asks what they should do next and the mouse suggests turning off the computer and doing something productive. Having nowhere else to go, the pair head east to the city of Keating.

The innkeeper of Keating has "many bed" and "many sleeps" for sale. I find this particular mangling of the language funny, maybe it's not your cup of tea. He also says "Special for you, triple price. You like?" - being a monopoly, he can charge whatever he wants; his final price is not a multiple of 3, however.

I have, at this point, played the game for as long as I did PowerStick Man and Adventures of Mark, but none of this time was spent grinding; I've just been interacting with fun flavor NPCs, the plot, and whatever battle or treasure crosses my path. There was a block pushing puzzle in one room of Linen's laboratory and it was nicely laid out; easy, but possible to lose if you don't pay attention, and easy to reset.

Keating's McDonalds cashier asks us out of habit if we'll be eating in or taking out; there are no chairs or tables in the McDonalds and with how careful this game tends to be with its "lazy" presentation, I have to assume this is intentional.

One NPC in the town is a woman who proclaims she doesn't have a crush on a specific famous local man, to which one of the main characters comments she must be a lesbian. The game then makes a note about how it is very much not promoting lesbianism for personal gain and any support it gives of the concept of lesbianism is purely coincidental (a bit of ribbing at certain other works actively pushing whatever the author's personal sexual fetishes are, and it was made when a few such people notable in our community were but wee babies). Maybe Mark did have a personal fetish for lesbian porn (I hear it's quite common among men) and that's why it became the specific target of this bit of optional satire. A lot of funny jokes like this are missed out on if you only look at the main plot and ignore the flavor NPCs scattered around the towns.

The people of Keating look like completely normal RPG humans; if Mark had wanted to just make a plain high fantasy adventure with this attention to detail he certainly could have done an outstanding job of it, but I think we'd all be missing something.

The town's weapon shop has stolen sprites of a sword and breastplate laying out on a table; Bill comments that they're stolen and asks if Mark has any shame at all. This exact same breastplate was used as the sign for the armor shop in Adventures of Mark, made by the other Mark. Technically it's every bit as illegal in both games, but I find Bill's use of it a lot more artful rather than just lazy. The shop sells dorky wizard hats for Mouse and fedoras for Bill (this was back when that style of hat was primarily known for Indiana Jones, not for fat, unshaven Atheists too lazy to form their own opinions).

The man that so many women in the town gush about (with the exception of its sole lesbian) is Sir Ronan of Keating, the town's ruler. His town is being periodically harassed by the Four Backing Singers of the Apocalypse, Steven, Shane, Keith, and Mickey. These are either a reference to a real band I'm not familiar with or a sendup of boy bands in general, a concept that was quite popular at the time this game was made.

Between screen transitions, a shirtless man with stubble on his face and a very blocky head inserts himself into the party. Bill asks him "Who are you and how did you insert yourself into the game without anyone noticing?" - he proclaims his name is Bassist Dave and that there was an entire scene of him meeting the others and deciding to join them on their quest to save Jill, but his scene was edited out. Mouse tells Bill to watch his wallet because bassists are all thieves. This is just specific enough to give me the impression that Mark is mocking a specific, singular bassist he knew and the concept of using a game to soapbox your personalized gripes in this way.

In the castle, I find a gnome standing next to a treasure chest and proclaiming nobody can ever get what's inside of it while he stands guard. Bill just steps around him and grabs what's in it anyway: An axe. This is his best weapon for the majority of the game's length. It roughly doubles his attack power from what it would be unarmed at this level and comes with a small debuff to accuracy compared to the fist or hammer.

Dave attacks by throwing plectrums at his enemy; standard plectrum, explosive plectrum, smart plectrum. This game is where I learned the word "plectrum", which is apparently a guitar pick. I don't know or care if it means anything more specific like a singular style of guitar pick or only when used with a certain type of guitar. Dave also has more HP than Bill, but worse speed and does as Mouse implied have the ability to steal items from monsters (so yes, Bassist Dave is the party's thief, but also a tank rather than a DPS skirmisher).

One NPC in the castle asks your opinion of the game; you can either say it's not bad or that it's awful. I say it's not bad, and the NPC then asks you to donate 5 or 10 pounds a month to support Mark, but lists his address as

MARK WEALLANS
THE DITCH NEAR JOHN'S CROFT
ISLE OF SKYE

So clearly he didn't really want our money, but was making a joke about asking people to pay for things like this. This was long, long before Patreon and the tendency for certain sorts of leech to abuse the platform because this is a humanity problem, not a specific website problem.

Sir Ronan asks Bill if there's anything he can do for him. Bill responds with "Well, unless you have a secret passage into Bad Linen's mansion, but that would be too coincidental even for this game." Sir Ronan has exactly that, and offers it as a reward if Bill and friends defeat the four Backing Singers of the Apocalypse for him.

And so the three heroes finish kitting themselves out with equipment and head for Mount Boyzone, where the boy band lurks. An NPC on the mountain sells "McBurgers" for 1 coin instead of the usual price, but these are clearly expired (it has the same item name as the real one, but a different item description). I don't remember if these ones hurt the eater or just restore so little HP they wind up not being worth the price, but it's a well telegraphed trap purchase. The random battles on Mount Boyzone are fat caterpillars and earthworms; I think I see a theme which could've been made more complete by also adding snakes and eels. It was subtle enough to fly under my radar when I was 25, but now that I'm a jaded, worn-down 32 year old I see what's going on here and giggle immaturely. The game also openly talks about STDs, lesbians, and implies the Sir Ronan all the straight girls are after might be gay pretty heavily so it's not like it was some dirty humor inappropriately put into something made for kids, either, just a sexual joke a bit more subtle than those around it in a game that uses many other types of humor as well.

When the four Backing Singers say they don't do autographs, Dave asks them if it's because they don't know how to spell their own names (Mickey is sometimes called Mikey, Keith is sometimes called Kieth, etc.); they retort by telling him to know his place, because as a bassist nobody will remember who he is even if his band gets famous. A good little joke for you music nerds out there! (Personally I don't know many bands at all, but I love the sound of bass guitars...especially electric bass.)

The entire exchange with these characters is golden. And when it comes to the actual fight, while it's difficult for Mouse and Bill, Bassist Dave is completely immune to all attacks the boy band can throw at him; if I wanted I could slowly wear them down with him alone and let the other two die to revive them later. I instead put in my casual RPG tactics skills to use, consume some healing items the game's been loading me up with, and persevere; Mouse drops to 1 HP once and both he and Bill spend half the fight below half health, but in the end the entire group gets experience points from their experience in Mount Boyzone.

Sir Ronan's secret passage to Bad Linen's mansion (is this because so many high-ranking Nazis were secretly gay, I wonder?) is a long, winding tunnel with no treasure and no random battles. Bill and an NPC have a discussion about this and how Mark likely originally intended to put more content in it, but rushed himself through the area as an afterthought; it's not too long or too boring for this fourth wall break to be frustrating instead of funny.

Emerging in Linen's mansion, the characters fight random enemies who are deformed variants of Bill (too short, too tall, tentacles instead of arms, three eyes, etc.) and after the first such fight, Bill remarks that despite the mansion having a red carpet instead of a gray floor, it uses the same battle backdrop. Mouse agrees with him that this is sloppy game making; I was interested enough in the deformed Bill sprites not to notice until they pointed out even on this, my third or fourth playthrough of the game.

Bad Linen's castle is full of puzzles (block pushing, floor switches, etc) that are actually pretty well built and designed. He compliments his own genius in his diary entry about the floor button puzzle, laying out exactly what sequence the buttons must be pressed in, then writes down a reminder not to leave his diary on the floor next to said puzzle; this changes it from a boring puzzle into a funny joke.

If you go a little bit above and beyond with the switch puzzle, doing more than the bare minimum needed for progression, you get a weapon upgrade for Bill. His first weapon was a cartoony mallet, his second was a heroic but brutal labrys. What's his third? A pistol. A pistol that shoots globs of jam out of it, which damages the enemies somehow, and is also based on his strength. The Jam Gun honestly looks more like a lipstick tube than anything else to me.

Mark finds an air vent in one room of the mansion, and notes that if American action movies have taught him anything, it's that air vents always lead straight to the bad guy; the air vent has a locked door on it, Bill asking why anyone would do such a silly thing. My guess is that Bad Linen has been watching the same American action movies. Unlike his diary which Linen abandons right next to the puzzle he describes it in, he locks the key to the air vent in a locked safe.

Bill and friends try to barge into the main door, but it's blocked by two doormen who are too tough to defeat (the game doesn't make you reload a save if you lose, it restores the party to 1 HP in a room with no random battles and a convenient healing spot nearby).

Now here's where the game has me stumped: I know Linen's pet penguin Oliver knows the code to the safe, I know the safe has the combination to the vent, I've interacted with all the flavor NPCs on the floor...I just can't figure out how to get the pieces to fit together. I did this with no trouble at all the first time around, something just doesn't seem to be triggering, and I have no idea what step I'm missing. I open the tag list with the debugging keys and see reference to an item called YakBerry I don't remember existing and no unexplored places where it could be hidden.

Cheating, I just flip the tag on that says the heroes know the safe combination; inside is a fish, I take the fish to the penguin (apparently Linen INTENDED to put the key in the safe and the fish in his penguin but got the two mixed up), kill the penguin, and finally unlock the air vent to go fight the boss. Inside the vent are random encounters with small patrol robots, a palette swap of the lab rats from the first area, and some feral rats with wheels instead of legs.

At the end of the vent maze, the group encounter a gray switch similar to the blue, green, red, and yellow switches that have all been used throughout the dungeon. Bill proclaims he's had enough of colored switches and colorful blocks appearing and disappearing; while he's mid rant, Bassist Dave walks up to the gray switch, wonders aloud what it does, and throws it. It opens a trap door on the exact spot Bill was standing (so if he'd just walked up to it and thrown it himself, none of them would be standing on that space) which drops into a room full of spikes, which itself opens into a room full of alligators. Bill sarcastically remarks a wildebeest stampede might come next, and then exactly that happens to him. A gay man named Big Bob then attempts to rape Bill, who escapes into the next room (unscathed by the spiked floor, alligators, wildebeests, and the worst horror of the lot at the end) and pushes a box in front of the door.

Bill meets a friendly NPC who rather than charging money, trades items for the items that monsters in the mansion drop on defeat or can have stolen from them; I decide I still don't want to actually pay for any McDonalds and just get the item that will teach Bassist Dave a new skill when the group gets back together; Mouse and Bassist Dave look for a different route off-camera rather than going down the trap door.

Bad Linen proclaims Jill is important to his plans of world domination; when Bill asks him how, he says he hasn't read that far into the script yet. He then releases Evil Bill to duel the real Bill; Bill says "That looks vaguely like me!", as Evil Bill is likewise a blobby thing with hands, but he's got distinct evil eyes and is colored red rather than blue. Bill ponders this for half a textbox, then just says screw it and starts fighting.

I lose my first fight against Evil Bill. I sell all the normal McBurgers in my inventory as they only recover 100 HP while Big Macs recover 500; I spend all my quartz crystals on loading up my inventory with those, and resolve to apply a different tactic instead of brute force this time. Several enemies have dropped stat-boosting items, so I'm going to spend a few turns consuming all those and healing instead of just starting off by unloading all Bill's strongest attacks.

Via making use of a change in tactics, I rapidly defeat Evil Bill. Bad Linen tries to flee again, but as Bill is no longer alone in his quest, Mouse and Bassist Dave come into the room from the other side just in time to perform a pincer maneuver. Dave admits he doesn't know how they found the alternate route (my headcanon: The bouncers at the door only hated Bill specifically and had no particular problems with Bassist Dave and Mouse).

Jill, Bill, Dave, and Mouse team up together to beat the tar out of the scrawny, elderly Nazi geneticist. Jill is a white mage, and as she lacks arms she can never equip a weapon.

Upon his death, Bad Linen's mansion begins a self destruct sequence. The heroes all wonder why this is, but need to hurry their way out of there; a maximum of 60 seconds can be spent, I make it out in 20 by just going in the most straightforward route and not checking any side paths.

The four heroes return to Billsville, where they go to the pub and discuss the game's poor quality over a few beers. This is the point I encourage everyone to think of as the true ending: They make a joke about how in most RPGs there's a point early in the game that seems/feels like it could/should be the ending (the credits roll when you cross the Corneria Bridge in Final Fantasy 1, for example).

Mark had plans to make more game after this, but never finished it. There's a few amusing diversions that follow:
    The heroes decide that since the game must not be over yet, they need to go talk to Mark to find out what's supposed to happen next.

    Jill's father won the key to a pirate's house in a card game years ago. The pirate is still inside; once his house is opened, he lets the heroes use his ship.

    On the ship, Bill comments that Mark must have stolen the boat assets from some extremely mediocre Japanese RPG because they don't look very good. Far as I can tell, they're original tile assets to this game, just not as carefully detailed as most: They basically consist of "wood you can stand on" and "wood you can't stand on" arranged into the vague shape of a boat.

    On the other available continents, there's a town called Deformed Reindeer Village. It serves no function aside from selling a more powerful version of Bill's early game hammer that is somehow stronger than the Jam Gun.

    There's a gigantic town full of rectangular concrete buildings that's easy to get lost in; the characters remark it must've taken Mark months to put it together (this is before mark/clone and box tools on the tile placement menu were implemented, so even just a big repeating pattern of buildings took a long time to make back then).

    The heroes go to confront Mark, and Mark is hauled away by some stolen guard sprites from Final Fantasy 1, presumably for his digs at/ripoffs of Final Fantasy stuff throughout the game.

    There's a bar in this city with the six playable classes from Final Fantasy hanging around in it. None of them interact with the player; opening up the game I found out they had battle sprites too, but no stats, meaning there was going to be a scene of Bill and friends fighting the heroes of Final Fantasy 1.

    Random enemies on the new overworld area include the One-Armed Bandit.

Basically, Mark finished Bill's game, then ran out of steam trying to expand it beyond this point. It's just a bunch of incomplete assets after that fight with Bad Linen and the cutscenes to follow.

In short, this game is A LOT more crass than I remember, but nowadays I kinda have respect for a game that isn't bending the knee to the rainbow jihad on that front, and it's still pretty fun. I don't really have any shame in rating this game a 4 out of 5, and would have given it a full 5 if it just quit while it was ahead, similar to the way all the NPCs at the very start told us to quit playing before getting to the good parts.
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'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 514
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awegra-The Secret of the Portal
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=6
I've never tried this game before that I'm aware of. Its solid rating of D from one reviewer, its badly-mangled FF1 walkabout sprite on an unimpressive looking town in its screenshot, and its name sounding like an allergy medication all deterred me.

EDIT: I have been informed by a reliable source that these badly mangled stolen sprites aren't Final Fantasy NPCs, but from Techmo Secret of the Stars. My opinion on them still stands.

Title screen is a gray, orange, yellow, and purple swirl with the game's title in big black letters on it. No music plays (which is better than bad music) and the letters are spaced well, centered close enough for a casual glance, and clearly readable as they're black on top of bright colors.

The main character is named Tku. He's a walkabout sprite from Final Fantasy, but with two shades of flesh tone, green pants, blue shirt, and airbrushed yellow hair. His in-battle sprite is a single vertical line of purple pixels and all his stats, aside from speed, are 10; speed is 35. Tku is unpronounceable and his singular empty spell list is named Ice.

Purple fly things are fluttering around, but don't interact when checked. The first NPC I talk to says "I'm a test to join your party" so clearly this game is extremely incomplete. This second character, named Sarah, also has a purple vertical line for her battle sprites, is a badly recolored Final Fantasy NPC sprite, and all her stats are 11 instead of 10 (still with a speed of 35) - this is a common trend, heroes designed later being just plain more powerful than the main character. Her empty spell list is named Fire.

I add two more party members in exactly the same way. Janna has the same slightly better stats as Sarah while Bob has the same poor stats as Tku; so it's not who's designed later, it's just old fashioned sexism. The girls all have +1 to every stat compared to the guys; better HP, ATK, and DEF, better magic using stats, faster and more agile...

Everyone is a single line of purple pixels.

Grass and stone walkways look like they were stolen from somewhere. Buildings and flowers look decent and original, but might just be stolen from a less detailed source game.

If I stop moving, some of the characters start blinking. A lot of work was put into this rather than, say, making a game. I step into some tall grass and trigger some fights with snakes; the snakes are pushovers. Characters spontaneously grow extra lines jutting out from their main lines in place of proper animations.

I find only two shopkeepers, one sells "Hvials" which heal HP an unspecified amount and the other is an innkeeper. Potion salesman runs out of stock, only having 25 total for sale.

After about six times of fighting exactly two snakes at once...I encounter a fight with a singular snake and a singular slime. After leveling up, Sarah learns a spell (nobody else learns a spell at level 1) and it doesn't do any more damage than her regular attack.

I use the cheat key to give them a million experience points, boosting them to level 36. Nobody learns any spells but Sarah with her singular FireClaw spell. With their levels in the 30s, characters only have max HP and attack power in the 30s.

There's literally nothing else in this game. It's just one empty house, one mostly empty store, one mostly empty inn, and some grass to walk around in to fight snakes and an occasional slime. All the game's effort went into writing a timer script to make characters swap between slight variants of their ugly walkabout sprites in different states of blinking.

Who in their right mind gave this thing a D? Glances at review "I give it a D only to encourage improving it." This game is a solid 0 out of 5 F-grade piece of trash and I am not impressed by your script.

Art of War
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=5
The game's screenshots mostly show things that can't be accessed in the actual game.

Title screen is a green, blobby demon overlooking two dudes having a beam struggle. Starting the game, every lowercase O has a little cross drawn in it; are they supposed to look like crosshairs?

The green demon has as his minions:
- A red Freeza with pubes and phallus visible.
- A red demon wearing purple pants.
- Something that looks like a cross between Elmo and Cookie Monster.
- Something that looks like a cross between a blue genie and Mickey Mouse
- The orange-haired goatee man from the game screenshots and title screen.

The green demon destroys Neptune to send a warning message to Earth that he's about to send his minion Trajan, that orange haired guy.

A man wearing a black outfit, hair in a ponytail, and face like Olive Oyl wakes up in his bedroom. He's level ten and knows eight combat techniques; I have no idea what "Braulac" is but the other six look to be "do direct damage with my arms/legs" and Mug presumably steals items from enemies.

I try walking Anix into his kitchen and he instead teleports to a big empty field of grass; I step back onto the space he teleported to and he warps to the bottom right corner of the green demon's ship; every time I step him back onto this corner, he teleports back to it.

Even if I didn't get stuck here by trying to explore his empty house, all that exists outside is a long, empty stretch of road and his car. The demo had either no combat or very little of it; I'm not replaying that intro cutscene to test it out.

A Magical Adventure for Mr. Mushroom
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=2
Mr. Mushroom is a mushroom cap with two legs and no other bodily features. He wants to be a knight, so he takes a walk through the forest, projectile excrementing onto his foes to defeat them, grinding levels for about 20 minutes total as he goes through a long winding cave, meets the king, and is immediately knighted. The end.

It's an iconic "terrible OHRRPGCE game with no redeeming qualities" kind of experience.

1st Year
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=1
Dan de la Rosa, also known as Dexmaster and Dan the Man Entertainment, made about a dozen games from 2001 through 2004. He abandoned the OHRRPGCE community forever because he once saw someone say nigger in the chatroom; I don't know if the person who said this was banned or reprimanded in any way, just that Dan was offended enough to delete 3/4 of his games (I'm seemingly the ONLY person to remember Beefzok the mouse) and cut all ties with us, leaving the forum and abandoning the game engine.

Speaking as an internet troll, I will make it clear that I think it ridiculous for one specific racial slur to be treated as worse than all other bad words everywhere, I also don't like boring one-note racist "jokes" that rely entirely on the using of a taboo word to get easy anger via shock; far better is to say something scathing based in some way on fact, such as "Democrats were the party of slavery and the party of Jim Crow laws; nowadays they're the party of Affirmative Action and Black Lives Matter. Nothing has changed here in any way, it's still Democrats that are the party of racism and Republicans that are the party of treating people not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character." I added this paragraph entirely because I know some of you would've read the first and brushed me aside for being willing to type out "the N word". I'm cool enough to say that saying nigger is cheap comedy and racism is for suckers; also, no matter how stupid an insult is it can't hurt you, grow up. Smokin'

That story about him flooding us with low quality games then throwing a tantrum and leaving while only mostly picking up his garbage over chatroom drama is the closest thing to interesting in any of his works. The second-closest is the second hero of a game of his I'll review later.

Title screen is a very badly imported Sandsea.BMP with black text written onto it saying "The Golden Age: Year 1"; "Year 1" is not centered properly but the other words are centered just fine.

Dan in this game is roughly an Atari 2600 rectangular gingerbread man thing with holes in his head meant to approximate eyes and a mouth. He looks to have been drawn entirely with the rectangle tool. While there was no music on the title screen, his house plays town music from Pokemon.

One NPC in Dan's house (him but with lighter skin) says "I think you need this" and hands Dan a loaf of bread, presumably a consumable healing item. There is no limit to how much bread he will give. The second NPC says "I think you should rest" and presumably acts as a free full heal.

Taking a step outside his house, Dan immediately gets into a fight with a fellow gingerbread man rectangle thing called "Badman", or rather two of them. Dan has a speed stat of 7 and needs to take about seven or eight turns killing them; once the first goes down I start hitting the F7 key, no way that Dan played this game legitimately so why should I?

Grass maptile is pretty decent; bright green from the top 16 master palette colors with some darker green clumps arranged slightly asymmetrically in it with the dark green from the top of the palette. First game's grass is better than some of the "good graphics" games I've seen over the years. Nothing else is drawn this well.

For some reason, outside of battle Dan has blue eyes and a red mouth rather than empty holes where his sockets belong. Battle backdrop is several alternating rows of static and black; was this an artful choice? Is the Atari 2600 aesthetic intentional, lazy, or both?

I enter a neighbor's house; he sells bread for 10 dollars a loaf (the gingerbread man in Dan's own house gives infinite for free) and claims to sell a sword for 1,000 dollars but the shop menu betrays that he's actually selling a loaf of bread at a different, fraudulent price, that it can't be equipped and doesn't give stat bonuses.

A third building exists in the "town" that only takes up half of one screen. It cannot be entered. A single NPC is outdoors - a yellow-skinned version of the same sprite as everyone else. He says "Help. Give me something to eat" and I can either say yes or no; since bread is free and not only did I get eight from someone in my house, I also got one for every enemy I fought, I go with yes.

Dan says "I hate my uncle's cooking anyway" - so did the shopkeeper and random enemies also get all their bread from Dan's uncle? The homeless person who asked for the bread then says "The demo is over, but the full version should be out in a year or so."

Neo Krysta III: The Guardian War
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=129
Huh, remember when I reviewed the first two games in this series a while back? For some reason despite consisting of two woefully unfinished demos, a sequel was in the works. This was a common trend back in the day - make a brief demo of "part of a game", then start working on a sequel right away. Everyone wanted to be a franchise, and if the SNES had two Final Fantasies released in America and a few spinoffs there and on the Game Boy, why not make an entire trilogy or quadrilogy of games for your own personal passion project?

Oh boy, full title internally is Neo Krysta III: Disc 1. Wait, isn't Realmsoft also the developer of Adventure of Hoshima?

Game starts with some melancholy piano music. A black background shows up and some white text is displayed in it; the font looks decent, but is one of those thin ones. Every letter is at least readable on a solid backdrop; you'd better not use transparent textboxes (or none, like Hoshima) with a font like this, though.

Someone named Garusuke is rambling to himself. Every textbox is contained within three sets of parentheses (((like this, only for huge amounts of text))).

After about a dozen of these textboxes, we're "treated" to a view of Garusuke. He's a man in a long blue robe standing in front of a blurry tree in a blurry field of grass with some blurry dirt edges next to what's either the night sky or a calm lake reflecting the night sky. Everything's dimly lit, so this is probably night time. And of course, his thin text is now being displayed directly on top of the blurry tile graphics; so long as it only appears on top of the two text line high strip of dark brown dirt, it will be readable.

Another man in a blue robe named Hitoku shows up (I can't tell if these are real Japanese names or just weeb sound effect names the way Dogunzaki from my works is, either way Realmsoft crew were definitely weeaboo). Hitoku gets a textbox and to no surprise at all, it's a transparent one.

Garusuke's inventory has an item called "GProfile" which lets you see a fullscreen profile of him. It shows a picture of him (probably the only way you'd be able to tell he has armored pauldrons and not just a robe), then its text helpfully informs us that his name is Garusuke, his sex is male, his eyes are blue, and his hair is teal (in this lighting at least, the last of these is actually untrue; his hair sure looks blue to me). How about telling us things about him that aren't obvious just from looking at him? Oh wait, there isn't anything else to him; he's just a name picked out of a Japanese phone book, an arbitrary young adult age, and arbitrary appearance traits.

The area is apparently an ugly, blurry campsite consisting of 12 exactly identical tents laid out in a perfect symmetrical way with exactly one black-haired Garusuke that has no textbox standing rock stiff in front of his tent's opening. There is a three tile wide road of blurry brown dirt tiles leading up to a thirteenth tent where the boss presumably is, waiting to give Garusuke his orders or a reprimand or something. This intro is trying to be moody and contemplative.

It's a lot better lit inside the tent. The tiles look a lot better (they're literally all single color flat bright orange LOL) and the music also improves (inside of the tent is dead silent instead of continuing the same sad piano piece that's been going since I passed the title screen). Some old man is laying down under a blanket, so I guess this means the boss is sick and dying?

Garu calls the man his master, old man calls Garu his son. They have the generic speech about the apprentice being like a son to the master, basically adopted, all that. Old man dying, young man having to step up in responsibility.

Old man goes on to say that a bajillion years ago there was a good spirit named Eclipse and an evil spirit named Solaris and they fought, Solaris was sealed away but didn't die, the usual. Only even slightly abnormal thing here is the 2000s edgeboy trend of reversing the light/dark good/evil dynamic, which at this point has probably been played straight less than it's been "subverted" especially in indie RPGs.

Dark Wave, Crimson Moon, planet got cut in half once, 6000 years of peace and technological advancement, master says "Go south and talk to some wizards, stop hanging out with fellow samurai. The wizards will tell you the next part of the plot."

Garusuke steps out of his tent just in time to hear that his fellow samurai have been sent on a mission to slaughter an entire village wholesale to put down a rebellion, securing their place as the evil empire to oppose for the rest of the game's plot and ensuring that the good guy Garu will have no qualms about leaving now.

Sudden cut to an extremely blurry castle. A purple haired woman named Ami is babbling about an upcoming combat tournament. Her dress isn't much different from anyone else's so far. Some white haired man with a girly-sounding name and all black clothes (first pants wearer of the game) steps out onto the balcony with her and they babble about nothing important for a long while. Princess Ami wants to go out and be in an actual forest or meadow rather than in the castle looking at pictures of nature from a book; Kaitsu laughs and says she reminds him of his daughter when she talks about things like this.

Ami finally says what the tournament's about. It's because she's a princess and she's the prize for the winner; she doesn't want a loveless, arranged marriage (hey, like most Disney princesses!). Interestingly, her father supports this style of tournament in part because that's how he became royal himself: Win a tournament, marry the princess, become king. A lot of stories forget that things like this can happen in the past and not just the present, and I'm sure that warrior turned prince's story is better than anything in any of these Neo Krysta and Hoshima games. In fact, this game bears more similarities to Hoshima than it does to either earlier Neo Krysta at this point.

Ami implies she doesn't think her dad is "a real human" just because he won an arranged marriage by winning a combat tournament. Screw you, Ami!

Kaitsu's little brother lives in the town that the samurai have just been sent to exterminate. He plans on taking a trip to go visit his family immediately.

Ami is exactly the same age as Garu. Her entire character is summed up as "Ami. Female. 19 years old. Blue eyes, purple hair." Kaitsu is a little different; 30 years old (ancient by JRPG standards, no wonder his hair is gray) but again, the game tells us nothing about these people in the text of their profiles aside from what's plainly obvious from their drawings.

Kaitsu has a sword and a special attack named "Chainsaw" - I knew I remembered there being a chainsaw somewhere in Neo Krysta! His wedding ring provides him with most of his stat bonuses; without his relationship founded in true love, he becomes demotivated (losing his Speed, Accuracy, and Evasion stats), his health deteriorates (reduced HP).

NPCs inside the big, ugly, blurry castle made out of several separate sets of nine tiles arranged in blocks all say either "Good day to you" (they have different palettes so they're separate NPC instances) or stand completely in place and say nothing.

I stumble through the huge, blurry, mostly empty town and find an item shop. I just dump all Kaitsu's money into healing herbs. His walking animation is to lift one foot by one pixel and have the loin cloth draped over his armor shift slightly.

In combat, I fight blurry green-blue blobs on a blurry green forest background. Kaitsu's "Chainsaw" technique costs him 10 HP to use and does 2/3 as much damage as his basic sword slash.

In the forest I follow a clearly marked side path; it leads to a big empty room where some of the floors are mapped to block movement for no clear reason.

At the very end of a bridge, a "Water Imp" takes issue with Kaitsu crossing through. They banter briefly, in a witless way. It looks like a blue-green Geodude with crab claws instead of fists; it attacks for as much HP as herbs heal, so using them in this fight would only delay how long it takes to die rather than give more chances to attack. The only way to win would be to spend hours grinding against the generic slimes and scorpion-caterpillars of the forest until you gained enough levels to brute force the imp, since again his one special attack harms him and does less damage than his normal attack.

In summary: It sucks and a lot of work was put into making it UGLIER than it needed to be. Every visual arts decision was to make it look worse than it would by default (inferior font, big blurry tiles, characters with pseudo-realistic proportions, very samey sprites, monsters that blend into the background).
_________________
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 514
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I Made Dis Anthology
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=121
Three games with the webspace of one! I remember hearing these hyped up as great joke games for a long time, trying one of them once about a decade ago, and not being particularly impressed by their humor. To my recollection they can give you a great fake power trip whereas most joke games to involve combat make part of the "joke" that they're needlessly punishing and hard.

How do they hold up individually?

I Made Dis 1: Director's Cut
The game starts with an animated series of pencil sketches of Elvis Presley displaying signs saying "A Game made by Gilbert."

Part 1: Batman. Has the good taste of playing the classic 1960s Batman theme. Commissioner Gordon's office consists of a single repeated tile of red carpet (airbrushed between three shades of red, but competently so) and some light gray walls, likewise a single repeated tile (not so well-drawn). The walkabout sprites for the commissioner and Bruce Wayne look alright; nothing spectacular, but I'd say definitely passable for a joke game. I mean, I can recognize who they are at least and while hair and clothes look like they're colored with airbrushing their hands at least shade correctly with darker pixels on the outer edges (how strange that this is something to compliment instead of taking as the assumed method?)

Gordon's dialog refers to Bruce "here with his costume", so I guess the joke is that he knows Batman's identity in this because it shouldn't be too hard to figure out? Then just as I think that flat joke is where it's going, Batman barges in and shoves Bruce Wayne to the side to talk with the commissioner. The timing amused me a bit, but does this mean the joke is more like meta humor on bad fanfics/fangames, that the author of this game is making fun of the very idea of treating Bruce Wayne and Batman as not literally the same person but actually two separate entities, or is it just trying to be surreal?

Batman is upset because news of Joker escaping is really recent and the commissioner didn't tell him a few minutes sooner. Batman then says "Joker and I are two sides of the SAME COIN" which isn't actually true, but stupid things like this have been said in the comics and movies for decades now and I can't tell if this dialog is supposed to indicate the unhinged nature of this particular Batman or what. I'm really not feeling the humor of this game so far.

Commissioner Gordon called in Superman to help. Batman refreshingly didn't fly into a rambling angry complaint about this, but it is convenient that Superman isn't working on something else right now.

Batman gets in an argument with Officer Bullock who calls him Bruce while a separate Bruce Wayne is standing right there to the side. Some random person was murdered with a blunt object and then had a smile painted on his face. All the text is displayed with no visible box, making Batman's dark blue text hard to read. When Batman continues being irrational, Superman asks him to go home and let him handle this case; Bruce rants to himself about how he thinks Clark is Marxist (this isn't the Red Son continuity and it wasn't 2014 yet Bruce; Clark still stood for Truth, Justice, and the American Way).

This Batman sketch was really not very funny and went on for a long time. The game proclaims itself to be getting bored of the joke and afraid it's going for too long and abruptly declares it's going to switch to being about Elvis instead.

Part 2: Elvis and zombies

Elvis introduces himself by talking about "undead sumbitches" and brandishing a pistol. We are then treated to standard OHRRPGCE combat featuring Elvis with a pistol fighting against some zombies; he has three combat options, shooting a zombie with his pistol (killing it in one hit), summoning Buddy Holly (which heals the zombie and leaves an immobile Buddy on the battlefield; there can be as many instances of him as you want but they won't do anything) and summoning Costello (which kills the zombie but doesn't display a Costello graphic at all, to my disappointment). Elvis has several thousand hit points and the zombies have very low attack power and accuracy; I think it might be possible to die, but you'd need to dedicate hours to leaving the game running for that.

This, to my understanding, is where the non "director's cut" version of the game originally started. It's at best mildly amusing. The same ugly wall tiles and mediocre floor tiles are greeted with a new entrant: Dark gray ceiling tiles.

Walking around a long, mostly barren hallway Elvis mostly fights random battles with the same exact zombies. Elvis's sprites are okay; I can recognize him as a fat Elvis Presley, so this must be after he developed a drug problem and before he died. I don't remember hearing about Elvis owning a glock, but hey the second amendment was real in the mid 20th century too just like it is today.

Elvis's north-facing walkabout has a problem that is only more glaring on an otherwise well-drawn sprite: the entire top row of pixels on his cape flashes between light blue and dark blue for no clear reason, it doesn't look like the cape is moving in any way, just some of its pixels arbitrarily changing color.

At the end of the long, winding, pointless red carpeted hallway Elvis fights a big zombie, which he calls a smart zombie. His speech patterns sound like Elvis alright, but unless you find it innately hilarious to imagine Elvis saying the word "zombie" I don't see what's funny here.

Every individual part of the giant zombie's body needs to be shot once separately to be killed. It's still no threat in any way in spite of its imposing size, but at least the fight is mercifully quick.

Part 3: Crocodile Dundee

Crocodile Dundee abruptly takes over after a brief animation of pencil sketches of Elvis shooting his gun at things offscreen. He tosses a bunch of swears at us and complains about assorted crime in an unspecified city. Music changes from the generic classic rock sounding stuff in the Elvis chapter (I literally didn't recognize any of it) to Paint it Black on Crocodile Dundee's second textbox.

Crocodile Dundee is better drawn than any of the graphics so far had been; to my understanding this scene was also added for the "Director's Cut". Dundee himself looks like Powerstick Man would've if his dopey, self-satisfied grin and confident stance full of unearned bravado was better conveyed in his sprite art. He's wearing a black hat, green shoes and jacket, and blue jeans. What had been ugly gray ceiling tiles in the Elvis scene are now an asphalt street for the city.

I find a brown blob that is allegedly an alligator. Dundee asks the alligator if he has a gun and when the gator refuses to answer that question (speaking rather fluent English), Dundee resorts to violence and needless profanity. In battle the singular gator turns into two gators, which both look more like brown and red Barney the Dinosaurs, and Crocodile Dundee kills each one with a single stab. A big splatter of blood is left where the defeated crocs once stood.

I enter a dull gray building and walk down a dull gray hall where two more red Barneys are waiting for me. The exact same none-fight happens. One door inside the building can't be entered but can be stepped onto and another right next to it can be entered and leads to a GREEN gator called the "mean gator" but from what I can tell, it's Dundee who is the one being mean here.

I tell Dundee to attack once, he stabs about seven or eight times in one turn and the green gator dies. Narration informs me that this somehow cost the man his life and I don't at all mind. This chapter wasn't fun or funny.

Credits roll. I don't care and I didn't even laugh once.

I Made Dis 2: Sigmar the Downtrodden
Game starts by spewing error messages at me, indicating compatibility issues between itself and modern (actually usable) versions of the engine. The title screen plays default OHR music while a picture of a pink moose wearing boxing gloves and a black shirt with some sort of flag on it (confederate, I think?) stands around angrily with another of said flag at a different aspect ratio is in the background behind him.

The game begins with said moose, now brown instead of pink for some reason, standing in the void in the upper left corner of the screen. A second copy of him walks into the front door of a store and asks if they have Soviet nuclear missiles for sale. Dan Hibiki from Street Fighter, the store clerk, tells him no. Sigmar punches him out and walks out of the store. The game gives a message "Winners don't do drugs."

Well, this one was ALMOST funny once and a lot shorter.

I Made Dis Xmas
Bleh, Christmas themed OHRRPGCE games. What a lot of humbug! The game gives me a text disclaimer that lists reasons not to play it including high blood pressure (I've got the opposite problem, if anything), bloodlust (okay, I might have that actually), epilepsy, cancer, HIV, dellusions (which has a period instead of a comma after it), an elderly grandfather or some miscellaneous relatives with various names that rhyme. How about not playing it because you have a good sense of humor and enjoy playing RPGs? Would that be a reason not to play it?

A bunch of the zombies from the Elvis chapter of the first game wearing santa hats and scruffy gray beards dance around a Christmas tree and Elvis rides by on a sleigh as the moon snores.

"Winners don't do drugs

Losers, show the game over screen to crack dealers for a free hit"

Over already. So three joke "games", each one less of a game and less funny than the last.
_________________
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 514
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monolith of Spirit
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=134
This game was made for the "Human Day Contest". For the uninitiated, Human Day was something people were promoting on the forums back in 2002-2004 because their liberal arts teachers wanted them to celebrate only the dead, hollow, commercial side of Christmas and divorce it from Christian symbolism. Turning it into basically "be nice day" or a day of worshiping humanity.

In other words, Human Day contest games are just Christmas contest games without any Christmas to them. They are but a bitter husk, as are all Western institutions once you remove the Christian God from them. Trial by jury turns into a kangaroo court, election of representatives turns into a superficial popularity contest, hospitals become willing to murder patients out of convenience and abandon the Hippocratic Oath because it specifically tells them to value their patients, and justified wars of self-defense become brutish, thuggish conquest of foreign lands for their natural resources.

Humanism will never lead to human progress because it requires the abandonment of all things that have made the last two centuries and some change of civilization worth living in.

Now, as for this particular game, it begins with a black and gray background with some generic swirl in it and bright text saying the game's title.

Intro text includes such gems as "Is it real or is it an illusion? It is too beautiful to be real and yet too precious to be an illusion." What is this dribble? Being beautiful and being precious aren't diametrically opposed to each other like truth and illusion, they're two positive qualifiers with frequent overlap.

After the white text on blank black background is done showing off his high school liberal arts, we're treated to actual in-game graphics. All I'll say about the maptiles is that they look really good and I can't find any obvious critiques of them while the one character sprite I see is terrible.

Said sprite is of a boy named Rave, who has gray hair, a yellow jacket, blue short shorts, and bright red shoes. His clothes and all elements of his clothing have random highlights of much brighter, maximum-saturation versions of the same color on them; his skin and shoes seem to roughly follow shading, if you presume the light source is straight to his left around crotch level, but his pants, hair, and jacket are just being randomly highlighted.

His walkabout's shading stays consistently lighter on his left side in all eight of his walkabout frames, but the basic shapes to his body just don't work so well on his north and south facing sprites. His legs are find when walking left and right, but up and down his feet alternate between being a single pixel and a pyramid with four pixels on the bottom layer and two pixels on the layer right above it; his legs will likewise change considerably in their thickness and length.

Rave talks about how he's lost and everything he knew disappeared. He's massively underdressed for the snowy weather of the first area of the game. There seems to be a glowing red portal nearby and a pathway off to the right edge of the screen; what I thought was a portal turns out to be a save point rather than progress, and I'm not interested in saving this game so I skip it.

The very first random encounter I fight is with a Final Fantasy black mage (called an "imp") and a sheep with gigantic horns (called a "capri"). As they cause 2 HP per turn and Rave only has 10 max HP, no items, and no healing or attack spells (or any spells of any sort) it's a hopeless fight despite save points offering free full heals.

Does the game expect me to run away from literally every encounter with 2 monsters in the tutorial area and grind several levels? Probably. I was barely able to defeat the sheep and still have 4 HP; I have no idea how many more times I'd have had to punch the imp, but he'd already taken three hits too many to defeat by the time Rave went down.

The snowy battlefield backdrop was alright, at least.

Basically, its only redeeming qualities were its environmental graphics; the sprites were no good and neither its story nor its gameplay were interesting.

Me
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=68
A game about a little witch whose magic was stolen by a bat. The witch's name is Mimi. We also used to have a user who went by the name of Me on the forums and I always incorrectly associated this game with him, rather than djfenix (who also made the above game and several others).

Title screen has a pretentious, generically spooky/artsy looking title screen, like an even more menacing version of Monolith of Spirit's...but the title of the game is just the word "Me" written in purple and some upbeat Kirby music plays in the background.

Next is I wanna say Adventure Island, but this might be Bust a Move music instead. The magic teacher is explaining magic to the class. It all comes from crystals and these crystals are called "mags" and are attuned to the four Greek elements and "mana" instead of ether as the fifth element (it's the same thing, basically).

The game cuts to a side scrolling perspective. Tile work is pretty nice, and Mimi's out of battle graphics are good. The "bat" who steals her "mag" though? He's a ball of gray gradient with a sloppily drawn wing which overlaps those gradients; no eyes, no mouth, no ears, no legs, just a wing on a ball.

Mimi has purple hair and blue robes. Mags are apparently spell-learning out of battle items and Mimi was just planning on waiting until she got home to use the first one she was ever given and that's why it was still in her inventory for the bat to mug from her.

Mimi tries grabbing the bat as he flies away and winds up getting dropped into a town. The local townsfolk ask her for help defeating an evil wizard in the area.

One townsperson declares that Mimi, the magic school student, doesn't look tough (most mages don't look tough) and offers to sell her some fairy slaves aligned to four of the five elements. Earth fairy is strangely absent and Water fairy has 2 fewer max HP for no clear reason.

Another NPC proclaims that he'll give a 1% discount on all his wares, but after said "discount" they all still have perfectly round selling prices. This would've been a nice opportunity to follow up on that joke by making Holy Touch cost 297 gold and Mage Fist cost 99; shop prices within the editor are customizable and it literally wouldn't make a gameplay difference, it'd just show you cared a little.

Randomly on the floor of the town (unmissable because the game is a side scroller without a jump button) I find a bag that just says "Found an item!" (this isn't the last game I'll review that does this; I had to open the inventory manually to find out what's in it). The item in question is a mag for teaching Water1; the shopkeeper NPC doesn't think mags are worth money so I just teach the spell to Mimi and...the spell teaching item is still in my inventory afterward.

Why are spell teaching crystals called mags and nor magicrystals or spellstones or something? I don't know, the term is just confusing me.

Despite its sidescroller perspective, the game is really still just a tile-based RPG at its core. Mimi runs around at a speed of 10, triggering NPC monsters to combat by touching them. Since there's no methods of going around enemies you're stuck just doing every single encounter in a stage until you have your HP worn down.

First encounter is with three non-spiky cacti with arms; they look more like the hills from Super Mario World with their basic dome shape and line eyes. They bring Mimi down to half of her HP and she levels up immediately from this fight, which restores her HP. Just about everything useful in the town cost about 100 gold and you only get 6 from that first fight...it's no wonder I've never seen the end of this game.

A piece of treasure is blocked by a blue cactus, which kills Mimi in two turns. The only monsters in the area being plants and slimes, I doubt that water spell would have been of any use in any of the fights.
_________________
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 514
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Redemption
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=140
A game made for a 48 hour contest. Main character's name is one letter away from Lucifer and looks like an edgy edgeboy, ripped music includes such titles Guilty Gear and Parasite Eve (not games I'm familiar with, but their names give me a bad feeling combined with the above), screenshot shows a really dark, dismal gray on gray battle backdrop and a badly drawn imp demon doodle. Basically, every factor of the game's name and appearance so far has given me low expectations.

Title screen is a black backdrop with the word "Redemption" written in white in the center and several wavy/distorted versions of the word in the background, slightly darker grays. It's a neat little piece of graphic design; I'd say its simplicity makes it possibly the best title screen in any djfenix game so far.

We start the adventure with Lucifus (a man with a brown scarf/cloak and high saturation blue pants) in a brown dirt place. I can see a single clump of grass blowing in the breeze, stone pathways, and a gray brick wall; some old kung fu master looking dude is telling Lucifus that "there is no sleeping for the dead", which apparently Lucifus wasn't aware of and was sleeping anyway until he was told this.

Lucifus is a bit slow on the uptake. The old man tells him that the gray and brown place is where he will be judged to determine where he will go. Lucifus questions this "Where I will...go?" - yeah, Lucifus, how many times and how many ways do you need to be told you're dead?

Good gravy...old man is saying "Obviously, you're going to Hell because of all the bad deeds you've done" and Lucifus has amnesia of all things. So either he's going to be "punished" for crimes he isn't guilty of (as if you forgetting it erases it from happening) or the story is going to use his amnesia as part of him "earning" forgiveness (yeah right). Either way, this story is already all over my nerves and I hate it.

The old man says that the amnesia might BE Lucifus being given a chance to redeem himself and he repeats immediately "Redeem...myself?"; Lucifus should've just been a stupid parrot for all the dully repeating of lines he does. PRETTY BIRD, POLLY WANNA BAD ALLEGORY, SQUAK!

I finally get control of Lucifus and he has a "bone sickle" (actually a scythe but I'll allow it) and a spell named Possess. Possess takes up half his MP to use once so if I can't figure out what it does in the first random battle I find, I'll give up on it.

Every rock that's big enough to serve as a one-tile obstacle looks like a butt. The roof, brick wall, dirt, and grass are all decently drawn; nothing special but they're competent pixel art. Lucifus both in and out of battle is an all right OHR sprite, nothing really stands out as bad per se but he doesn't really convey the personality of a naive amnesiac so much as a brooding and miserable loner. Basically it'd be a decent design if his dialog had matched his appearance and weapon choice in any way, like if he responded to the old man with not just confusion but also hostility or growled and grumbled instead of repeating what was just said to him with a question mark on the end.

I enter the cave of the redemption trial and it's got cheery, upbeat music for some reason. The floor and walls are badly airbrushed static, mostly very light gray. Someone starts saying "nyak nyak nyak" and taunting Lucifus from the shadows.

The very first battle I get into, Lucifus comes face to face with a brown stickman, a black and red edgeboy rat named "Bloodshed", and a black and red edgeboy bat. The three monsters drain his health completely before he can take so much as two turns. Everything went by too fast for me to get a good grasp of what "Possess" does, I think it drains HP (what a stupid name for a life drain attack) and in any case, it was definitely not worth having be my singular combat action ever.

Summary: Don't.

Avalanche
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=141
Its ZIP file is only 38 KB so it's gotta be a short one. Apparently it's a minigame from that Endless Saga game I couldn't get very far in. Rock on the example screenshot looks even more like a butt than the butt rocks in the last game.

The villains' theme from Bomberman 64 plays on the title screen. I start up and a textbox informs me that I am on LEVEL 1: CHILL OUT; I appreciate the wordplay in what should be an easy snowboarding minigame level. All the pixel art looks pretty presentable; I'd definitely say all right (as in, the mildly positive version of mediocre). All right footprints in the snow, all right tiling rock walls, all right evergreen trees. Character art is a little worse than maptile art again, but nothing stands out immediately as bad about it.

I am told to "finnish" a course rather than "finish" it. Controls are EXTREMELY stiff and awkward. I died easily my first try on level 1; left and right movement go by full tiles, but the game will only register that I've hit the button about 25% of the time, and 10% of the time it'll read a single left/right input as two. This leads to lots of tripping over butt rocks (fortunately, that only slows you down instead of killing you) and a lot of slamming into trees and the cliffsides (not so good) and also makes it almost impossible to actually collect coins.

The victory music, whatever mediocre game it's pilfered from, includes long droning hums/buzzes and sounds wretched to my ears; my very bones shudder on the victory screen after beating level 1 so I could write these past two paragraphs. Also, what I said about the art being decent doesn't hold up with the coins you're supposed to collect; they all use too much gradient and don't look flat enough, they're more like magic orbs surrounded by bubbles than they are like coins.

The second level is named "Coin Trailing" and is slightly easier than the first. Third level has no name, is full of sharp icicles jutting up from the ground, would be insanely difficult to navigate even if the controls were working properly...death/damage collision seems to have broken, and when I get to the bottom the game just gives me free movement instead of continuing to a fourth level.

Summary: Not cool unless you only like tech demos that demonstrate tech which isn't even good.

The Quest
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=142
The game looks almost adorably amateur. Readme only asks me politely to play the game, declares it's an insane game but that the author himself likes it anyway. Hopefully this means the game can give me a little bit of enjoyment; Joe's Great Adventure was a pretty shoddily made game but it had a sort of charm to it, after all.

Title screen is some brown-skinned, gray-haired anime girl with a revealing outfit and a pair of bat wings with the words "THE QUEST" written out beneath her in a font reminiscent of fancy medieval chapter title illuminations. Some sort of badly ripped music blares in the background.

Intro of the game starts with slightly less competently stolen anime art with a default OHRRPGCE song playing in the background. This is followed by some weird furry's DeviantArt OC - a noseless, gray-furred catgirl with two heads, a double-sided torso (boobs on both front and back), and at minimum four arms and legs. She's got distinct short, red hair like a human's; honestly I don't really care for that style of head on anthro animals unless a species where it makes sense is being used (horse, lion, whatever) but that's just a matter of personal taste.

Next the music changes to Baby Elephant Dance as a dragon whose art is definitely stolen (whereas double kitty seems to be originally drawn) says "Give us your kingdom or die." This is the music to use for a comedy sting, not a dramatic threat; it'd have been cheesy, but you really should have used Toccata and Fugue instead for that line.

So far the game has shown me four screenshots and all four of them have had completely different art styles and the music is actively running counter to the mood.

Baby Elephant Dance still playing, and I wake up in one of the ugliest newbie graphics bedrooms I've ever seen. A strange amount of effort is put into the TV/computer monitor but the floor is some uneven-width horizontal brown lines, south wall are solid brown squares with dark gray outlines, north wall is light brown with some black dots sprinkled so lightly into the corners/edges that it almost looks like intentionally drawn emoticons. The main character's bed is definitely intentionally drawn to have a smiley face on it.

And speaking of our hero Arden, he stands stone stiff when facing towards the camera, his left foot becoming one pixel narrower and expanding again as his soloe south-facing animation. When walking to the north he strangely wobbles back and forth by two pixels, possibly being a flip trick walkabout that was aligned incorrectly with the center of the box. Left and right, he lifts the foot further from the camera by two pixels but still doesn't animate in any way. His sprite itself is a pretty sloppy flat-colored thing but I can tell where his arms, legs, and head are at least. His eyes each have a white pixel and a black pixel, but his mouth is a pair of black pixels and his head is so small that they touch, making it look like he has a huge grin and tiny all-white eyes on his south facing sprite. Every article of his clothing has black decorations of some sort; white pants with black zig-zag where his legs meet, red shirt with black sleeves, a big black X on the back, and two black dots on the chest.

Arden's mother Freida prepared for him a breakfast consisting of nothing but toast and jam. It was placed on the one intangible piece of the huge slab of rock they use as a table; the space where the breakfast (kept in a treasure chest) was can be stepped onto, the five rock tiles adjacent to it cannot.

Stepping out of the house...Arden's town uses the town tileset from Wandering Hamster with the tiles badly arranged and plays Soldier's Chorus just like Flanat Village. What a ripoff.

The town is populated with recolored versions of Arden and not-even-recolored clones of his mother. Their sloppy art contrasts even worse with Flanat Village's tileset than it does with the original tiles. Stepping onto what I thought was a blue gemstone/save point, Arden helpfully informs me that it's a skateboard; he seems to move slightly faster while holding it up next to his head as he does when walking. Why wasn't the skateboard drawn on the bottom half of the walkabout box instead of the top half?

I also get to test out an extremely poorly drawn sailing ship in a small rectangular pool next to the inn and item shop (item shop sells knuckle dusters, soda pop as a healing item, and nothing else). Overwhelming majority of NPCs in town seem to just say "Hello, Arden" regardless of their placement or gender.

I step south into Ixnekolan, only now it's called Syrian Forest (I can't tell if Arden didn't know Syrian is a real word) and The Prince of All Cosmos, named Kevin, joins the party. Arden asks him if he's a mage, to which Kevin says yes. Neither Arden the boy with knuckle dusters nor Kevin the prince of cosmos know spells in their "Spells" or "Glirts" spell lists respectively. Kevin starts at level 1 instead of level 0, with significantly higher levels in every stat other than attack power, where the two are equals.

Both heroes' in-battle graphics are significantly uglier and less consistent even than their walkabouts, Kevin being a massive, towering creature hunched over and crouching in battle while Arden is stiff as a board, body facing his enemies and face facing the camera. The battle backdrops look like Wandering Hamster battle backdrops, but with the skybox/trees/whatever drawn over in MSPaint, in one case with mostly black and a few bright red angry eyes. Monsters include a slime with antennae and a snake with a flower for a head, both drawn as assorted and noisy blobs of the engine's top 16 palette colors (mostly green/yellow/red/brown).

I was hoping that once he leveled up once, Arden would have at least a couple stats better than Kevin, like maybe more HP and attack. It looks like only his attack is higher than Kevin's at the same level, and not even by much, and would be lower if he didn't have the game's only weapon so far. What is Arden here for if the very second party member has 77x as good of MP, 1.2x as good HP, +1 attack, +6 speed, and 2x-3x as much of everything else? It's not even like he's a thief or makes a good tank, he's just an extra pair of hands to punch things BARELY stronger and only because he's wearing knuckle dusters.

At level 2, Kevin learns a spell called Evil Glirt. No context for what "Glirt" is, and it costs 2 MP...out of his 105 max MP. HP and MP also recover automatically on level up. Is this spell going to be worse than his physical attack? It might be, his and Arden's magic and magic defense are both 0.

On the map I find a gray circle with a slightly smaller pink circle drawn inside of it. It's called "Creature" and I'm presuming it's a boss fight. It turns out to be a giant, ugly disembodied head which spits scribbles at the heroes; it takes 3 hits to kill Arden (doing about 45% of his max HP per attack) and 4 hits to kill Kevin (doing about 26% of his max HP per attack). Glirt does 1 HP of damage because it's a magic attack being used by a mage with no magic power stat; of course this boss only takes 2 damage from the boys' physical stats because I didn't spend the past hour grinding against flower-snakes and slime-aliens.

Summary: The best thing about it is the bizarre furry catgirl thing in the intro, second best is the dragon guy with a sword and clown music, third best are the two tilesets stolen straight out of Wandering Hamster.
_________________
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 514
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Magnus Games
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=143
A lightning round that will include games I've already reviewed and allow me to skip some in the future. It's a ZIP folder containing separate ZIP folders of the other games with no accompanying documentation on its description page or within the file itself as to what order they're to be played in.

Magnus 10
Described as "a graphic novel without the graphics" and refuses to let its game file be unzipped from its subfolder into my games directory.

Magnus 4
Wouldn't you know it? Same exact thing, the game's .RPG file refuses to leave the subfolder and games can't be played while compressed.

Magnus 7
Just called MAGNUS.RPG - so you didn't even want to name it MAGNUS7.RPG, you wanted anyone who actually tried this to override their existing copy of the original Magnus with your fangame?

Subtitle: The Quest for Manga. Title screen has no music and consists of blue text on a dark gray background.

Intro talks about a world called Igna and some magic crystals and something happening a hundred years ago. It frequently fails to capitalize the name of its hero, Bran regularly referring to him as "bran". Bran is a sloppily drawn but brightly and flatly colored man with long fleshy flipper arms in battle and tiny T-Rex arms out of battle, a pair of short, squat legs with purple pants, and a blue jacket. He starts in a forest of airbrushed grass and trees with a slime not far away.

The slime, it turns out, isn't a combat encounter but a shopkeeper. He sells all-lowercase potions, Life, MPpotion, Gloves, Boots, Helmet, and a tunic once again incorrectly spelled "Tonic", like another game I reviewed not long ago. Looking over my options, I decide it best to buy a pair of gloves to raise Bran's attack power (and other stats), then save up a little money and buy the boots after a fight or two to raise his Speed (and Dodge).

Heading south Bran hears someone calling for help in the forest maze; after fighting a couple random enemies I decide he's had enough and walk in the other direction. I curiously explore a side path and find it leads to the overworld. I find an abandoned house on the shoreline, giving $50, 2 free healing potions, a free life potion, a free MP potion, and a free bandanna. Paying money for those potions would have been a trap and buying that helmet looks dubious with this free bandanna within easy reach. The house has five beds in it, but only the one all the way in the furthest corner can be slept in.

Despite Bran's weapon being described as "throwing daggers", he instead rushes up to enemies and while flailing his arms next to them, two daggers appear out of thin air and slash at them.

The house and the overworld have no music, the forest uses Soldier's Chorus yet again...and the battle music is Snow Flurries? Really, out of all the OHRRPGCE's free songs you pick Snow Flurries as a battle music? Not only does that song mostly consist of repetitive whistling, it evokes imagery of crystals and winds, not of a lush forest.

Fully armored, Bran changes from taking about 9 damage per hit to only taking 1 and being hit significantly less frequently. Monsters are badly drawn doodles - one is a purple swirl filled in with high staturation blue, one is some vague goblin or kobold thing drawn only using the bright greens on the top of the old default palette, and so on.

Despite gaining a level and being fully equipped, Bran is quickly zapped to death by two lightning bugs (gray tubes with white wigs) that shot him for 5 HP per turn and were still faster than him. I don't feel like retrying or keeping a save file of this.

Magnus 9
I've already reviewed this travesty.
http://www.castleparadox.com/viewjournaltopic.php?p=6852#6852

Magnus 3
Definitely a shitpost of a game, its readme file includes a list of subtitles like "The Phantom Menace" and "A Steaming Pile".

The game starts with text of a news broadcast about a celebrity named John Magnus being missing and the journalist interviewing the chief of police. "Union rules state we don't need to start a search until it's been long enough nobody will remember the person when we find him." Government workers have no business unionizing; unions damage private industry but can hypothetically serve a function to be a check and balance in favor of workers' rights, public servants have no valid reasons to strike or unionize literally ever.

Our main character Gordon decides he's going to barge into the villain Hercil's mansion by going through the sewer. So saying, he flushes himself down a toilet and enters a sewer that looks only moderately less pleasant than his house.

...and the sewers are an auto-runner minigame, exactly like the unresponsive Avalanche game, but heading north instead of south and with no mercy/hits system. Barely graze one sewage whirlpool and it's game over with no retry and no way to skip the intro cutscene.

Magnus 5: Quest for the 38 Crystals
"In the beginning there were a knight and a wizard and little else. The knight and the wizard saved the world but from whom? This question, like many others, will never be answered."

Intro shows a photograph of some rocks with sloppily drawn colorful orbs overlaid, these being the eponymous crystals. Originally there were seven of them, but it was decided after a few times of villains collecting all seven in an attempt to take over the world that this made things too easy, and smashed them into a total of thirty eight. As seven crystals they were stored one in each city of the world, but at thirty eight that's more crystals than there are cities on the world.

I kinda get what kind of vibe the game's story is going for but it's just not...very funny. No other way to put it, it's just saying people made some stupid decision then saying "It made sense to them when they did it" and then jumping to another joke, saying that over and over for almost every fantasy RPG trope it can think of.

All 38 crystals are entrusted to a man named Gevarre. Gevarre is a moderately well-drawn man with pointy elbow talons for some reason, armed with a quarterstaff and wearing a plain green T-shirt and blue pants. He accidentally burns his house down, scattering the crystals across the world and blanketing the planet in a huge cloud of thick darkness. He fumbles his way around the overworld, in which clouds are sometimes a solid obstruction and sometimes so is grass, whacking giant brown ants mis-labeled as wolf spiders and equally as giant brown yellow jackets while Onette's town theme from EarthBound plays in the background.

After one random encounter, a robot named Orbot joins his party. Gevarre comments that he's confused about the robot joining as he doesn't recall that happening, but the game's already written the main character off as possibly insane so him applying any common sense is basically impossible.

After another fight, Gevarre winds up dead. Right before I give up (as you can't rest in Gevarre's burned down house, the healing item the mosnters drop can't revive, Orbot has no healing spells, etc) I find a town. The town plays more EarthBound music and the inn is custom scripted not to fade in or out when it heals you, confusingly; at least this is a game where inns revive.

I explore the town for a bit, find there are two inns and a whole lot of talking, then just give up. This game's misuse of the EarthBound soundtrack irritates me rather than amusing me and its "comedy" is just not very funny in the slightest; at least it's trying, unlike most Magnus games, but it's not very good at all.

Magnus 8: The Fuck
Hurr hurr, aren't you a big tough eight year old? Readme file informs me that it's not an RPG, but one of those action games like Zelda or My Life as a Psychopath where you walk around and hit an attack button to attack things. I remember this being glitchy and bad to play even in 2004 when I first tried it.

The game's author proclaims that he's using music stolen from Mega Man X because "it fits" and he "only has 10 days to make it" - guess what? Public domain music is even more accessible than VGMusic, some is already included in the editor so a time crunch isn't really an excuse to use stolen music. It fitting is arguable but I disagree with the intro, at least.

Our main character for this game has a huge head, tiny spiky yellow hair, a barrel chest with broad shoulders, and a blue shirt. His knife attack is a projectile, shooting a gray crescent out of his arm; his knife itself never appears after he first grabs it.

The first enemy is a man in a red shirt who punches the main guy in the face. All the graphics are ugly and this is a clunky, badly made Zelda-like. Second and last enemy I can find is a tree stump with arms; apparently part of what's wrong with this game is that after getting hit, you can't attack again until you've moved, and movement is still tile based so if an enemy gets close to you, you need to run away, turn around to shoot towards him (max range 2 tiles) and you move in the direction you've turned.

Summary: I think this is the main game I remember from the Magnus contest bundle and the main reason I remembered it being universally awful with no redeeming qualities.

Magnus 17: On the Edge of Dis Pair (Of Edges)
A play on "On the Edge of Despair", which would be a pretty good subtitle for a serious RPG, which this is not. Before I play it to refresh my memory, what I remember of it is that it was about some village idiot who thought he could fly, jumped off a cliff, and was saved by his wizard friend casting a spell called Float on him; this only further enabled the idiot, and all the regular townspeople started mocking the wizard for not further placating his idiocy. The two get roped into an adventure, which involves walking through a forest path exactly three tiles wide and straight north towards a boss fight; the grass and trees to the sides of the dirt path being walled off. I died when fighting the first boss because I didn't grind enough, and the armor shop NPCs gave an in-universe reason why equipping different armor doesn't change a character's sprites.

So replaying now to see if any other particular details are here which I didn't notice or have forgotten.

"In the beginning, there was only darkness." And you've lost me already.

"Darkness was penetrated by light, but one day light shall wear away, leaving only darkness to rule again." Bull. Utter bull, what nihilist garbage.

At least ten more textboxes stuffed to bursting with pseudo-philosophical ramblings, talking of Chronicles and Magnus over and over and yet imparting no actual information.

Main characters are Michael (the smart wizard) and William (intellectually seven years old...so technically that makes him a retard but not quite a moron, mentally 3, or an idiot, mentally 1; yes, these are all real technical terms). William has the "smarter/nerdier" look to him with huge dorky glasses while Michael, like most geniuses, looks normal.

Further according to the intro, poor retard William would have been lynched for one of the stupid things he did years ago without Michael and Michael's girlfriend Beth there to guide him. That's a good cousin, Mike.

Argh, we're like 30 textboxes in, game. You don't need to show me your villains and tell me their names and backstories now, that can come later.

Turns out William wasn't quite so stupid as to jump off a mountain; he was just wandering the desert unsupervised and one of the main bad guys picked him up with a tornado. It was Michael saving him with his magic that prompted him to believe he can fly. Michael is immediately trying to explain to him what happened, but Willy will have none of it and won't stop and listen to someone else talk for even a minute, just like a lot of stupid people I know.

Man, this is a bad piano riff. The cutscene started with some stolen Chrono Trigger music I actually recognize, then changed to original music that sucks.

...And after throwing himself off a building in town several times and being saved by Mike's spell a second time, Willy is still being pushy and refusing to listen and proclaims he'll throw himself off a nearby mountain. So I got the order of events a little messed up in my mind, but basically remembered all the important beats.

When Willy asks "What do you think I am, stupid?" Mike says "I'm not going to answer that." You should have just said yes, Mike. Just tell him he's an idiot, maybe even tell him you're tired of saving his life and having him still be ungrateful and push you around, tell him you won't be there to save him this time like you have been all the other times. Maybe he's too stupid for subtlety and you need to offer him a harsh wake-up call.

The bartender hears Willy talk about his ability to fly and disparriage his beleaguered caretaker, probably known widely to be able to cast a spell of levitation by the entire town, and enables him, saying Michael "Doesn't have the faith." Given your butchering of the Genesis creation story I doubt very much you understand the faith, Magnus 17. Or is the point of this scene that you think all faith is as stupid as Willy himself?

The bartender once again tries being subtle in an attempt to dissuade the poor retard from climbing the world's tallest mountain so he can jump off to his death instead of just doing the right thing and telling him he's stupid and needs to listen to his smart cousin who's been looking after him for his entire life. This story is so...frustrating.

All the graphics are mediocre. They're not terrible and work was clearly put into them, most of them tile correctly instead of having weird corners/edges. Sprites all have large heads and big eyes, but don't really express much even when they animate to depict someone opening his mouth to laugh or the like.

For no clear reason, the starting town consists of multiple maps. The first area is eight buildings surrounding a statue, all the buildings look identical (one with a sign saying "Beware the Fool" outside it, one with a number 8 beside it, one with a potion icon, and one with a sign bearing the word PUB). Map to the north of this contains one more building exactly like the others (couldn't you have replaced one of the generic houses with the smith's shop?) and a couple signs indicating the type of business it is, and a larger, uglier version of the standard house. Was it necessary to even have a mayor's house? It apparently doesn't have a door link.

The smiths named Smith and Wright give Willy a club and an armored shirt disguised as a common T-shirt, likewise giving Michael a pickaxe and an armored polo. All this is given for free of the smiths' good will as they're friends of Michael's and don't want Willy hurting himself.

I walk to the left and wind up in a forest, facing north. The main villain wants Willy dead for some reason, and doesn't want to just attack the party so he's instead going around trying to make it easier to get to the mountain so Willy can kill himself. He goes to a forest that consists of a single straight line two tiles wide (I always remembered it as three, but apparently it's two) and cleared away a bunch of trees to both sides of it. Apparently you CAN step on the grass, not that it makes a difference; there's just two tiles wide of straight dirt road which was going to be there anyway and two tiles wide of grass all the way up and down the map as well.

We wind up having the two fight snakes and beetles. The beetles have extremely human looking faces - more human than the human characters, I'd even say.

The characters' in-battle animations are all really stiff. They don't seem to move their legs at all, just stand stiff as a board as they flail their arms around to attack and cast spells.

Generic bad guy girl who is competing with generic bad guy man sics two gigantic bugs on the party. Unlike my first time trying to play this, I actually won; I don't feel like continuing to play in any capacity though.

Summary: Stupid is as stupid does.

Magnus 6
We start with a man in blue clothes with some silver accents and green hair walking down a dirt road with moderately well-drawn grass to the side. The shading on the sprite seems to completely rearrange itself as he walks; it looks ugly and doesn't convey a sense of movement, just inconsistency.

The man, named Ryan like the hero of the original Magnus game, is stopped by a pair of soldiers. The soldiers, named Jax and Vivianne, are trying to steal Ryan's weapon called the Sunblade.

Ryan uses his walkabout sprite in combat, but his enemies still use full sized 50x50 pixel monster sprites, so they look like veritable giants next to him. Why make this stylistic choice if you're not going to use it for consistent in-battle character scaling?

After fending off Jax and Vivianne, Ryan shoots a laser at them, missing and destroying the cart of some innocent old man and his white mage daughter. The old man gets healed by his daughter; Ryan offers to guard them on their walk to town and the white mage girl threatens Ryan under her breath because she knows it was his laser. Ryan remarks to himself that he is attracted to a girl who "shows her fangs".

Inside the house of some nobleman, I find a shield with Erdrick's insignia on it; checking it, it plays the Dragon Warrior 1 overworld music.

Ryan resembles nothing so much as a lemming from the Lemmings game series. Last game was about a stupid person throwing himself off a cliff, this game stars a lemming...at least these didn't combine those traits together.

Zelda 2 dungeon music plays while Ryan and some girl I've never seen before sit on the balcony of the noble's house and look at the lake at night. Ryan thinks himself a charmer, but really she just wants to tell him about some evil overlord or sealed evil in a can or whatever. Music changes from the "romantic" spooky dungeon music to a tinny, badly compressed version of the Ghost House from Super Mario World, consisting of a few long violin screeches and an occasional fart trumpet sound.

Dragon Warrior 3 battle music plays as Ryan ineffectually slashes his tiny knife at the ankles of the 50 pixel tall woman who attacks him. There was no chance to heal between battles, but the enemy is so weak Ryan turns out triumphant despite having lost half of his health in the previous fight. It is only now, after two forced fights for story reasons, that Ryan learns his first sword technique.

And despite the player winning, the bad guy just uses a spell called CLOUD OF DARKNESS in the following cutscene to make Ryan pass out and wake up without his magic sword in some other location. He finds a rusty sword on the ground and declares it "better than nothing" but it literally isn't - his stats are exactly the same with or without a rusty sword in his hand.

And with that, my Magnus fan game review marathon comes to a close. I have no desire to keep trying this game; I've got a pretty solid idea that it's no fun and its art isn't very good and its story is worse than simply basic.

Magnus Finale
Already reviewed this.
http://www.castleparadox.com/viewjournaltopic.php?p=6889#6889
_________________
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Final Fantasy R
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=130
Final Fantasy 1 game for NES remade in the OHRRPGCE by Fenrir-Lunaris. Sound familiar? It should; basically when Fenrir was new to the engine he wanted to do a remake of FF1, then later he decided to scrap the project because it was terrible and do it all over again only less terrible. It's an old, embarrassing newbie game even by 2003 standards; my opinion of it is likely a bit less harsh than what's stated in the game's description page.

Rather than the tradition of a white screen with some black and blue text for a title screen as seen in most Final Fantasy fangame's and Square's own remakes of the original, we have a cropped, squished scan of the original game's NES box art: Black background, red text for the game's name, and a crossed sword and axe behind a magical orb showing a vision of a floating continent.

After the standard one-screen intro text, we start in some weird walled off grass and rock area made with the town tileset. For character select, we're first given the option to have our initial party member be a fighter and select yes/no to go with the next option. To trigger the next option, I need to manually move the fighter off of the intro NPC and step back onto it, triggering the intro again (good thing FF1's intro is only a single textbox, eh?)
Knight > Monk > Thief > Priest > Wizard > game crash when you say no to the wizard.

Next I try again, being pretty sure that the game is supposed to fake me out and pretend to be offering a knight again but actually offer me a Red Mage, then more exotic class options like the Ranger...Red Mage being my favorite class I want that if I can have it. I accidentally say yes to the Monk and restart to try again and the game soft locks for about two minutes then crashes after the wizard.

The game then offers me a chance to add up to 3 more party members from the 5 classes: Fighter, Monk, Thief, Priest, and Wizard. No Red Mage. I do the sensible thing for a Final Fantasy game: Take a second Fighter, then a White Mage, then the first non-Black Mage I can reach (in this case the Monk) to have a fairly well-rounded team that can stomp through the early game with little difficulty and make excellent use of the late game weapons if I get that far.

The game tells me to step into the black hole after taking the Monk as my fourth party member but doesn't seem to actually turn on the black hole, so I have to see if I can add someone else to my inaccessible reserve party.

After adding a second monk and second priest who cannot be pulled out of reserves, I finally trigger being able to leave the character select screen. It took forever to chase a "fourth" party member down because for slot 4, every NPC other than the monk is set to "avoid you" on a wraparound map and has a move speed of 4, perfectly matching yours. Them occasionally bumping into each other is the only way to finally catch one.

The "And so the journey begins" text displays after character select rather than after beating Garland and crossing the bridge north of Corneria. I don't see any reason why aside from maybe an attempt to hide the transition from character select screen to overworld with the textbox's backdrop? More Western promotional art for the game.

The maptile art in this game is an extremely mixed bag. Some of it, like the grass, trees, and fountains in the towns look alright or even good, some of it like the brick walls/floors and the town icon on the overworld look passable, and a lot of it just isn't very good (the big rocks that are supposed to be a stone walkway look like obstruction type walls, they're so huge and round).

Character walkabout sprites are pretty bad. They're really sloppy doodles; Black Mages and White Mages all look extremely fat. All the characters' in-battle sprites are stolen from the NES games (mostly FF3's Famicom version) which makes me wonder why the walkabouts weren't stolen from the same source instead of drawn originally.

For some reason the Knight can't equip hammers - I know, in the original the rapier costs exactly the same and is just outright mechanically superior but it still used to be an option. Hammer has been nerfed severely and nunchucks have been buffed to a ridiculous degree; in the original game it was a dubious choice for a Black Belt to use nunchucks for +12 attack power but worse accuracy math (meaning much less frequent extra hits) or just save a little money and be content with punching being a LITTLE weaker while quickly becoming the best multi-attack machine in the game. On the whole across the entire game, a Black Belt with no weapons is going to roughly keep pace or slightly outpace a Fighter for damage per turn, but be vastly less sturdy and not really any faster; here, the punch will likely not hit multiple times so the nunchucks are just a flat upgrade, taking the monk from 5 ATK (vs. a knight's unarmed 30) to just BEING 30, so monks have worse damage than fighters? Unless he gains a lot from leveling up; we'll see. This kinda reverses the black belt's whole thing though, going from being all about the high damage without a weapon to being entirely reliant upon having a weapon.

The magic shop has been replaced with a "Guild", allowing me to swap party members and hire new ones; if I find the Monk doesn't get good damage as he levels, I'll just drop him for my second Priest. Apparently characters learn magic from leveling up now.

NPCs in the town include a mage who says "She's not the kind of dancer you're thinking of" in reference to Arylon the Dancer. Considering she doesn't dance at all in this game and is literally the same sprite as all the other girls, I'm not sure what he means. Is he implying he thinks we assume she's a stripper for some reason and denying that, or defying our innocence and proclaiming that she's a stripper? Another NPC is a completely naked fox who makes reference to someone called "Pepper"; this fox is supposed to be Fox McCloud? The joke is that there's a town named Corneria in Final Fantasy and a planet named Corneria in Star Fox, but Fox isn't known for being a nudist...outside of furry porn. Oh, I get it, Fenrir!

Wait...the fox's silhouette is also very clearly female. Also, probably the best-drawn walkabout sprite in the game hands down, clearly all the care went into that, about a quarter as much care went into the Knight walkabout (which doesn't have the white accents of the actual knight battle graphic) and almost none into the other walkabout sprites. I mean, it's not an amazing fox, but it's a decent fox that would make a decent main character in a non-Final Fantasy game.

Stepping onto the overworld, I can very clearly see the patch of water that's going to become the Corneria Bridge because it's a different shade of blue from the ocean. Would it have been so hard to change the color of your solidly blue ocean tile or your solidly blue walkabout box's palette by a single shade so they matched?

The very first random battle (one I could have run into before even setting foot into town and buying weapons and armor) is with an imp, a creep (which aren't supposed to show up until the dungeon) and a green creep (which is supposed to show up in a later dungeon) which shred through my party really quick. It's a good thing I actually saved.

Second fight is with a singular Creep, again in the wrong place, which attacks the cleric and kills him in one hit (because squishy mages in OHR parties, as I discussed in Wingedmene, tend to be EXTREMELY squishy compared to the warriors). I decide it's cheaper to just swap my backup priest from the guild in and give him my first priest's hammer and robes, blood spattered from the dead guy whose bloody puddle (not even a corpse) I just dump into the guild hall's main floor.

Second fight is with another Creep. It bites my lead knight, leaving him at low health; while I tell the cleric to heal him, it attacks him a second time and kills him. The survivors of the first two fights both level up, but the secondary priest doesn't. Also, creeps cast a healing spell on themselves somehow.

Next fight, a single creep, a red imp who dies automatically from having zero HP, and a green imp instantly kill all three of my surviving heroes despite them having gained a level. Gee, maybe if this area contained only imps, wolves, and a rare encounter with mad ponies it wouldn't be constantly killing full equipped parties of first and second level from full health?

A fight with an auto-dying red imp, a green, imp, and a gray imp pops up when I load from my next save. Instead of taking my chances I hit F7 and kill them all with the cheat key; apparently these specific monsters are worth a lot more experience than the Creep, as the whole party skyrockets by 4 levels at once, teaching the cleric two new spells and boosting everyone's max HP to an average just above 100.

Next is a formation of 5 green imps. My white mage tries out his Harm spell, which despite imps not being undead causes them all to die (this is a theme you'll see in a later review). The creep resists Harm or just has high enough magic defense that it only takes 1 damage from the spell, but is now manageable for heroes at level 4...who gain two more levels after beating it in this fight.

At level 6, the monk's attack power is only barely equal to the knight's. Why ever take two knights and a monk instead of just three knights?

At level 10, the Light Warriors enter the Temple of the Fiends. Despite the Temple's monsters being all over the nearby overworld, there are no random encounters in the dungeon itself it seems. I can enter some treasure rooms and walk right on top of the empty treasure chests.

The heroes brutally, easily defeat Garland with considerably less effort and danger than a random encounter. This, at least, is true to the original FF1 if you had a party of level 2 or higher instead of rushing straight into fighting him at level 1. Despite Garland casting ice spells here, he's just no match for two knights, a priest, and a martial artist. Garland drops a silver falchion, which I equip to my second knight.

Skeletons in the area are so weak...even if the anti-undead spell functioned exactly as intended, it would be unnecessary. There are some very badly imported ghosts/ghouls, their sprites a huge jumble of pixels with a barely recognizable hand sticking out of it. It's like looking at glitch Pokemon with messed up sprites, almost, and I can't tell if it was just a .BMP saved at the wrong size and imported wrong without being corrected for out of laziness or if it was an intentional design choice, considering there seem to be few intentional design choices going around here.

Walking over to Pravoka, the town's inn and revive potion shop are blocked off by Black Mage walkabouts from the original game, but with all their black pixels turned invisible and their robes turned purple. The armor shop gives away all its wares for free. Finding that nobody is willing to buy anything but their iron shields for money, I sell a crapton of their wares on one side of town and buy more on the other; the weapon shop fails to play the shop music while I'm shopping there. For some reason the potion shop is completely blocked off.

Buying a 28,000 gold ice sword for my front fighter and still having over 14,000 gold in reserve (had about 12,000 when I walked into town) I stock up on an additional 999 shields to sell at a later date and then confront the pirate captain who's been terrorizing the town as I conduct my trade business for profit. My cleric's Harm spell takes most of them out immediately and a single physical attack takes out the weakened captain; it wouldn't have been a hard fight even if I'd played legitimately.

The water fountain tiles have two round stones right under their base. Is it my dirty mind that immediately interprets this graphic as a huge blue penis with a pair of gray nuts, or was it Fenrir's dirty mind to draw it that way? My money is on "both".

Taking the pirate ship, I sail south to Elf Land. The ship uses textbox conditionals to play different music while you sail at the cost of extra textbox advancement and no random encounters on the ocean.

Elf town's map is convoluted and difficult to navigate and the building labeled with an armor shop sign is actually the inn; the inn is also the inn, with the same exact text and contents.

The Marsh Cave has NPCs wandering around and talking about a "Dungeon Keeper" and rooms labeled with various store signs but NPCs adjacent not actually running shops. First random encounter is with four Bile Demons, who are vastly stronger than most other enemies up to this point of the game, resist both the ice sword and the Harm spell, and just in general outmatch my level 13-ish heroes just slightly more than the Creep outmatched them at level 2. I get a quick game over here; I don't feel like playing it more for review purposes.

One last thing I'm going to comment on is that much later in the game, the dragon king Bahamut is in a relationship with Fenrir's character Vulpes (who can be perfectly summed up with two words: "slutty vixen", which is actually a personality much better fitted to almost any female mammal other than a wild canine from cats to rabbits to domestic dogs to minks to humans; foxes, wolves, jackals, and coyotes are about as close to dedicated and monogamous mates as you'll find among mammals, and red foxes in the Northern hemisphere only mate once a year around Christmas or New Year roughly) and they talk about how tiny the gigantic dragon's member is.

Vulpes will also give the party her shaved pubic hair (useful for literally nothing but selling at shops...it sells for the maximum price something can without every shop being manually edited to account for purchasing it) and Bahamut will give your party a crown of thorns in reference to Jesus's crucifixion.
_________________
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 514
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Secret Tales of the Time Beyond the Dark Fantasy of the Quest for the Sword of the Destiny Dragon
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=144
I used to rather like this game. It's a pretty basic RPG with humorous writing that ends rather quickly. Being made for a 48 hour contest (a detail I didn't notice in the past) explains that; I did always wish this game would've been expanded a little or simply have been written a little differently to only have one dungeon instead of setting up a larger game that couldn't be delivered on in the 48 hour contest's time scale.

The game starts with Merlin talking about how the world is in danger and sending his sidekick, the Magic Owl, to abduct a young man, give him amnesia, and dump him in the middle of the wilderness because this is just how saving the world is done.

The Magic Owl finds such a lad in the year 2020...looks like I picked exactly the right time to review this game. The particular piece of wilderness the owl selects is a place called Midel Peak, but he wants to rename it Mystic Mountain for the occasion.

Our protagonist is a boy from Boston named Jeff. He has a red baseball cap, blue jeans, and a purple jacket. The owl forgot to give him amnesia, refreshingly (what's the point of an isekai if you're going to combine it with amnesia? It's redundant since both primarily serve as a way to make a character be a credible target of exposition, so just pick one or the other and don't do both).

Merlin informs Jeff that 100 years ago, the Destiny Dragon gave a sword to a king so he could slay a great evil. After succeeding, the king went mad with power and so the dragon killed him and took the sword back. The ancient evil is coming back, so Jeff is tasked with getting the sword.

When Jeff (who claims to be in the 4th grade but looks visually to be in his late teens) is ruled to be stupid by Merlin and the owl because he calls the whole plot setup a "fairy tale" and spells his country's name as "USA", Merlin declares an intent to kill him. Your method of selecting "destined" warriors is pretty terrible, Merlin, as is your impulse control.

When Merlin starts talking about collecting the plot coupons of the elements (fire, water, etc.) Jeff interrupts him and says the four elements of his life are fast food, rock music, sports, and videogames. This, it turns out, is actually correct and there's a magic tower themed around rock and roll music nearby.

Jeff finds some carrots on Midel Peak, thinking they'll be a healing item (specifically referencing Wandering Hamster). The carrots instead pop out of the ground of their own accord with angry eyeballs on them and huge steel forks levitating near them, and declare an intent to eat humans. Jeff defends himself from the taproot monsters with the help of a knight named Sir Hanh Guhr.

Overworld map is pretty decently designed, but most of it is empty, dummied out content. There's a big desert with an inaccessible dungeon, a big forest with an inaccessible dungeon, a river that bisects the continent, a town two spaces to the south of the mountain, and the game's sole functioning dungeon three spaces to the west of that.

The music in the town is super familiar, must be from some mainstream JRPG I've never played; I'm just used to hearing it in mediocre OHR games. Map tile art is mostly good with some very, very sloppy exceptions like the big gradient tree and the fact that the doors on houses/shops are about 4 pixels wide when our heroes are about 16-18 pixels wide; grass, dirt, indoor floors and walls, etc. are mostly just decently tiled airbrush jobs, nothing spectacular but nothing terrible.

The town includes a bar that refuses to serve minors, some weapon/armor/potion shops that function properly, and a bunch of pointless NPCs including one who must be talked to in order to advance the plot. Jeff points out that this character is clearly a coward who refused to investigate the haunted tower so that Jeff could seem brave by proxy; Hanh suggests going to the tower and Jeff makes a quip about how they don't really have a choice anyway.

On the overworld, the heroes fight some brown tadpoles called "squirrels" and a brown troll or bugbear with a tail of some sort called a "squirrel captain". Jeff has two spells: Soft Drink (heals HP) and Baseball (single-target attack spell) while Hanh has one: Temper (single target damage about 1.15x as powerful as his base attack unless it hits an elemental weakness, it seems).

Since Hanh has 1.5x as much HP and twice as much Defense before even buying any armor, it's very easy for Jeff to be killed by enemies and Hanh to keep on fighting. For some reason, it takes two turns of hitting a bee to kill it even though it's drawn super tiny and should logically have very small HP.

At level 2, Jeff learns a spell called Bad Chord (rock and roll elemental attack) and Hanh learns Rage (like Temper, but it hits twice).

Hanh has a natural elemental weakness to Rock Music as it's a very foreign and loud sound to him, but resists Sports elemental attacks because he's a big tough athletic guy.

After a little bit of grinding, I buy Hanh an iron sword to replace his wooden one and buy Jeff one each of a helmet, mail, and shield...altogether this puts his base defenses at equal to Hanh's naked flesh.

Entering the tower, some sort of rock music starts playing in the background and Hanh complains about the noise. I'm not enough of a music nerd to recognize the tune. The tower is full of really strong enemies - a genie who throws vinyl records at the party and a ghost with boxing gloves. After one fight I determine it will be necessary to grind a bit more before going in; might as well fully equip both heroes.

...frustratingly, the ghost and the genie didn't drop any money so the heroes are low on HP, out of MP, and have no cash to use the inn or buy potions. The party gets easily wiped out by another fight with those "squirrel" tadpoles, which are the easiest monsters in the game.

I load my save and seriously evaluate if it's worth continuing. Basically I'd just be doing a lot of grinding against squirrels, carrots, and bees who take too long to kill and have really strong offenses, then going into a tower where the random enemies drop no money.

Okay, eidetic memory to the rescue! What I remember happening:
- One floor has a trapped ceiling that starts to come down, Hanh sends Jeff ahead and it looks like there's going to be a heroic sacrifice moment. Hanh happened to find a stone statue that looked exactly like himself and push it into place to hold the ceiling up, and thus was able to show up shortly after Jeff begins talking dramatically about his friend's sacrifice.
- A small lizard named Lizardo uses shadow puppetry and a megaphone to imitate the Destiny Dragon. Jeff and Hanh fight him, but he runs away to be a "recurring boss".
- End of demo message.
- I opened up the game in the editor and there were two more heroes named, but they had no stats or spells. Presumably they'd have been loosely affiliated with rock and roll and fast food the way Hanh is with sports.

Summary: I remember this game being a lot funnier a few years ago. It's a pretty decent comedic RPG brought down with sub-par visuals and absolutely abysmal power curves for its monster difficulty. Monsters drop a lot of money on the overworld and none inside the dungeon; it'd probably only take about fifteen minutes to buy weapon and armor upgrades all around and after that each fight is enough to buy a couple potions and stay at the inn as well.
_________________
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"


Last edited by Ronin Catholic on Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 514
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flute
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=23
The game's ZIP file contains only NONE.TXT, which has contents consisting only of the word NONE.

Seems to be yet another time someone put out a low-quality game but in an unusual twist didn't just completely forget about it, but went back and uploaded a new file to prevent anyone from being able to play it. As much as I dislike the loss of game history even for complete garbage, at the same time I'm relieved not to have to play it.

Dogworld
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=151
The game's example screenshot includes a rather large cast of animal characters such as "Pengwin" and "Squiriy". I love animals with non-anthropomorphic bodies (the furry fandom uses the term "feral" to refer to these, which I always thought was weird because to me "feral" is more an indicator of behavior than of body shape).

The game starts with a script to have the camera pan slowly across a small town. The dirt road tiles are pretty decent; the houses' tiles also look alright but give me the impression that they were stolen from another game and had their size modified somewhat. The story starts with some undefined animal named Cosmo declaring himself to be a new dictator.

Despite the drawings on the title screen, every character's walkabout stands fully upright on his hind legs. They all look like basically the same bear, rather than a mix of dogs, cattle, and other animals. A character named Wolfy on the title screen is named Wolfie in-game and all the dialog is badly spelled, badly laid out, and all the usual mess.

After declaring intent to rebel against Cosmo, Wolfie is put under control of the player. None of the NPCs interact and there's a spot where you can walk through a wall, getting teleported to a "SECRATE AREA" that allows you to teleport to several other unfinished maps with nothing to interact with.

Wolfie's stats were all left at 0, including his HP. This means that if the person who made this played it and opened the menu even once, the character would've instantly died and ended his game; heroes with 0 HP in games made before 2011 or so are proof that a game was literally not playtested.

The graphics are all as inconsistent and lazy as they are ugly and there's no music.

Nordomin: Call of the Elements
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=124
According to its description and its one review, this has a lot of text and not a lot of gameplay. Even so, it might wind up being the only actual game I play today.

Title screen is a decent flat-colored childish MSPaint drawing of a bright, high saturation green field of grass with bright, high saturation brown mountains and bright, high saturation cyan sky on the horizon. There is no text, but there's a drawing of a sword floating in the foreground; it's a decently drawn sword, better than most of the swords I drew up until 2014 or so.

The game starts in an all black room with several walkabouts standing still and me in control of an arrow. I check out the small, orange one on the far right first and it turns out to be an anthropomorphic fox called a Koti. I get a little bit of lore (they're often bullied and treated badly by society due to their size and hunted for their pelts). I think I know which character I'm going to play, but I'm going to look over the others first.

The elf has not just a description, but a full backdrop of a moonlit forest. Humans are described as greedy and warlike, at fault for the world's problems. Human, Dwarf, "Northern Elf", Lizzardman (whose description is full of trailing hissing SSSes at every opportunity, which the author describes as a gay text quirk), and Koti all have black backdrops while the elf on the far left has a scene to show him in his natural environment. "Northern Elf" is specifically described as "Not one of Santa's elves" but its size is clearly based on being the Santa's Workshop type of elf rather than the taller Tolkien style elf (who would be better described as a "Northern Elf" anyway, based on the Norse Ljosalfar and thus on the god Frey).

So far: Writing. Lots of it. None of it good. The best race description of the best race, the Koti, says "Even so they travel never travel alone." as its conclusion.

No music so far, probably none in the whole thing.

The Koti character is so tiny...he's got to be like the size of a fennec despite being drawn like a red fox. His walkabout and battle sprites have him draped in a long brown cloak, covering most of his features; a single white pixel and three orange pixels for a face (muzzle doesn't even protrude in profile view), two orange pixels for a foot, and four orange pixels tipped with a single white pixel for a tail; the rest is just a blob of brown.

The game starts you off inside a burning "church" - the flames are fairly decently drawn fireballs but the walls are solid blocks of middling gray and the floor is a grid pattern of two barely-darker shades of gray. No decoration or anything, just a long rectangular hallway full of random battles with Lizzardmen who seemingly have no trouble wandering around a burning church building and trying to kill a young fox. For some reason my starting weapon, "claw" is in all lowercase as is its description; I always see all-lowercase spell and item names as a sign of laziness and they kinda annoy me unless the game makes a big point of actively doing it for humor (for example, Megaman Sprite Game).

The Lizzardmen in battle are clearly recolored humans - their featureless green faces are topped with slightly different green hair despite allegedly being reptiles.

Koti's walkabout sprite looks longer and shorter than his battle sprite, as though he runs on all fours but stands on his hind legs to fight.

At the end of a long, featureless corridor that'd have taken one or two minutes to walk down WITHOUT being interrupted by random battles, I find a Lizzardman with a walkabout. Quaffing an elixir to top off my HP, he says "Are you trying to escape form me? That can get sssome one killed."

This guy is the same sprite I've been fighting for 15 minutes, but with twice as much attack power, five times as much HP, and a spear in his hand. No difference in pose, palette, outfit, etc. and Lizzardmen are still literally just humans with green hair and green skin.

I step out of the gray church that's only burning on the inside and am teleported to a gray-brown and dark gray town. I'd praise its pixel art a little if it wasn't so muddy and dull in color that it becomes difficult to read even with it having well-shaped tiles.

A man in navy blue clothes and gunmetal gray cloak greets me; his name is "Lawrance" and he says "At least your alive". Basically every written sentence in this very wordy game has something wrong with it, somehow.

Due to the exact nature of adding my chosen hero to the party, he's in slot 2 while the newly added Lawrance is in slot 1 so he's the leader, not my original hero. I wouldn't mind much as an 8 inch fox hiding behind a 6 foot man makes a lot of sense, but caterpillar party was disabled for seemingly no reason. Lawrance gives me a sword I can't equip and two spell books. Lawrance himself is armed with a dagger and level 25; the game helpfully tells me he's only joining temporarily.

New forest area has the same Lizzardman from the burning church and a minor variant of the exact same sprite holding a staff, referred to as a Lizzard Wizzard. I wish I could tell myself these Zs are doubled on for the same reason the Ses are in their dialog, but if that was the case they'd probably be tripled instead; more likely the author was just too lazy to spell check anything.

Forest is drawn passably well. Nothing I can really say bad about it; the green is a nice relief from all the grey and grey-brown. One of the random enemies turns out to be an "evil tree" drawn with a pair of cute eyes and an expression more of sadness than of malice. I find a book of Heal on the ground; it isn't consumed after I use it to teach Koti how to heal, so if I get any other party members who can learn this, I have infinite uses.

Lawrance has over 300 HP and 3-5x every defensive stat compared to Koti, whose max HP is likely 50-80 around the time you first enter the forest. No tanking ability, no heals, no defensive buffs...he really doesn't offer much protection to the little fox in any meaningful way aside from enemies randomly attacking him instead half of the time. This game really REALLY needed more thought put into its balance.

Deeper in the forest I encounter three Lizzard Wizzards (who resist elemental attacks) and one of that spear lizzard who served as the first boss, now demoted to random encounter. Hitting F1, I see that I've spent about 20 minutes walking and am only 25 % done with this forest; I've seen enough.

Conclusion: Not good. Its few elements with effort put in at all only make how much lazier it is in others all the clearer.
_________________
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 514
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neo Krysta Soundtrack
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=164

Neo Krysta 2 Soundtrack
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=167

Neo Krysta 3 Soundtrack
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=168

While I feel myself qualified to critique storytelling, visual arts, animation, and game mechanics decisions I don't really feel all that qualified to weigh in on music. I don't understand music theory in abstract or mechanically; some music I really like, some I don't, some instruments I prefer to others (love 80s synths, PC speaker music, 8 and 16 bit chiptunes, and distorted bass guitar for example) and once a piece is made, I'm good at placing it in a game to set an emotional mood but I'm not a music critic and not a composer.

I don't remember the Neo Krysta games having original songs actually IN them...if they had any music at all it definitely didn't stick with me. I'm going to just give every MIDI a brief listen.

"z-lboss" in Neo Krysta 1's soundtrack seems to be a corrupted file that can't play and "z-batt" is an anemic battle music that definitely doesn't raise tension or get the blood pumping. Actually, it's only the soft, sad piano music that actually seems tonally fitting at all in Neo Krysta 1's soundtrack; that and the world map music.

Why compose something like 20-30 original songs for a game that consists of a single dungeon, intro cutscene with only ambient noise, and nothing else? Why, then, make a sequel to an unfinished game demo and also compose a completely new soundtrack for it instead of re-using the same songs? Shared soundtrack could've hypothetically given this disjointed trilogy some semblance of actually fitting together. Well, the battle music is all better in Neo Krysta 2's original soundtrack, at least. Still has multiple tracks that are just the sound of random bird chirping for ambience.

Just like the rest of it, Neo Krysta 3 seems to have a lot of effort put into not having any real quality to speak of. First five MIDIs are so slow, soft, quiet, and lifeless; a couple of later ones sound decent, but are nothing special. The Neo Krysta sequels had nothing to do with the first game in their setting, tone, graphics, or anything aside from having the same staff work on them, or at least not in the parts that are accessible without using cheat keys/unreasonable grinding. Boss musics are actually decent in the Neo Krysta 3 sound track but I can't recommend anything else, not even the standard battle theme. Worst sounding song is, to no surprise, the forest theme (that first dungeon which was unbeatable without insane amounts of grinding). While the other Neo Krysta 3 boss fight themes are good, the one labeled as "lbos" is no good, and while one of the previous soundtracks had a good overworld music this one doesn't. "twn3" is a presentable RPG town music, the other town musics needed a few more drafts before they were ready for prime time.

Most songs in all three soundtracks seem to go unused and there's no consistency to their quality. Aside from standard random battle music often starting with the same one-second guitar wail, there's not much tonal consistency within the series, either.

Again, I'm not a music critic. The best I can say to my own composer is "That sounds good so far" whenever he has anything to offer. I understand what scales and an arpeggio are but I can't give educated comments about whether something uses an up-tempo syncopation or if its dissonant harmony makes it an aria of sorrow or whatever; I can say when I feel a victory jingle or battle theme doesn't sound lively enough or if one of the instruments is too loud/high pitched/shrill to be a pleasant listen. It's kinda like cooking: Anyone with working taste buds can tell you instantly if something is too sweet, salty, or bitter but not everyone could comment on your use of specific spices or subtle aromas.

Oni Neko Crisis Soundtrack
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=166
A soundtrack to a game that was never even made into a demo and uploaded for people to play.

There are a lot fewer pieces to this (5 rather than 20-30) but they seem to be a stronger showing. One dud out of five is much better odds than two or three successes out of twenty pieces. "bat" "bos" "cty" and "int" are all pretty good, but whatever "cr1" was supposed to be it falls flat and limp.

Interestingly, the readme has this line: "I think these would be a help to you if you are making a sci-fi or horror game." Does this mean Setu Firestorm was okay with other people using these pieces? Well, since it's been over a decade since he's posted on the forum (2009) it's too late to ask him to further clarify now. And while he says scifi/horror, nothing in the songs really sounds out of place with a typical fantasy RPG.

So my final ratings:
Neo Krysta 1 soundtrack: 0/5
Neo Krysta 2 and 3 soundtracks: 1/5
Oni Neko Crisis soundtrack: 3/5
_________________
"I didn't start the flame war;
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'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
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Joined: 23 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Logan's Adventures
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=173
Judging by the fact that I have a rating of 0 already on its sequel, no rating on this game, and no memories of its sequel, I have very low expectations for Logan's Adventures.

The game starts with a choppy animation of a badly drawn spaceship flying past a flat blue sky. Next we get some bright red text on a maximum saturation blue background telling us it's the year 9,234 (I had to spend like ten seconds straining my eyes to read that, and gave up to not read what's actually going on in that year).

Logan is a badly drawn man who begins the adventure in his underpants until I manually walk him over to his dresser and have him put on his ugly, badly drawn clothes. His apartment has a bright red carpet with light gray pixels very lightly airbrushed on it, no walls, and lots of furniture; the bed and doors are as badly drawn as would be expected but his recliner chair is very detailed and well-drawn. The table is stolen straight out of Wandering Hamster and even has incorrectly colored carpet on its bottom edge. On the table are title screens to other games the authors were working on at the time (one of them called First Case and the other called Killer in Kidworld, neither of which I think came out). Despite the lack of walls, there are doors attached to nothing sitting in the upper left and lower right corners of the room.

Walking into the door on the bottom right, I find myself in a hall. Walking into another not at all hidden door, I'm teleported to an all gray room labeled as SECRET ROOM - at least "secret" is spelled correctly. At the end of this gray void is a small gem of a slightly different shade of gray; picking it up, it's an item to teach Logan a spell called "Ion Blast"

Logan has four spell lists: Ion (empty), Ion blasts (contains only the Ion Blast spell I just taught him), Ion spurts (empty), and Super ion (also empty). Why none of these two-word spell lists have their second word capitalized or why Logan thought it was necessary to have 98 spell slots in a game as small as this is going to be are mysteries for the ages.

I return to the apartment and head for the door in the upper left. Despite being seemingly a balding, middle aged man with a thick mustache Logan lives with his parents, both of whom are twice as tall as he is. Are Logan and his sister dwarfs or are their parents giants? His sister asks him if he wants a weapon which he needs and he says yes, but while the textbox declares it's been given to him, he doesn't receive it.

The main floor has the same white and gray carpet as his bedroom as well as all-white walls; if that combined with high saturation sprites sounds like it'd hurt to look at for extended periods my description has done a good job. Only the north side of the room has walls, though, and Logan is capable of walking right through them.

There seem to be a lot of NPCs in the game that exist entirely to trigger scripts that change Logan's badly drawn sprite into a slightly different badly drawn one; Logan wearing green swim trunks, Logan in an all red shirt, Logan in a green shirt with red sleeves, Logan with mud splattered all over himself. Lots of effort put into a visual flourish that adds zero fun, this kind of feature only exists to impress OHRRPGCE reviewers.

The game has exclusively used OHRRPGCE default music and predictably uses Soldier's Chorus as the town tune. The outdoors have bright green tiles very lightly airbrushed in a slightly darker shade of green dots, the mudd puddle is a single all-brown tile, there's a lake or pond with broken collision that Logan can walk on half of, walk under a third of, and the remainder have wall mapping to block his path.

I talk to Logan's sister next to the pond, the two talk about the diving board being broken, and then she declares she's selling his Nintendo and sending him to juvenile hall. The two both then walk into walls and disappear, my camera teleporting to a screen completely full of Logan's awful white carpet.

What a very trashy game.
_________________
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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