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Dafalos : The Three Kings vs. Aethereal
Dafalos : The Three Kings Hey, that looks like the container I drink my daily coffee from...
Download: 787 KB
Play Time: 1 hours and 30 minutes
Review # 12 for Aethereal Hey, that looks like the container I drink my daily coffee from...
Them's Fightin' Words
    This is one of those games that can be summed up with a simple sentence: "Well, at least the title had something to do with the game...". Dafalos: The Three Kings is an offering from RPGSpot, a group that claims that they will bring a new scene to the OHR world. If they're going to make an impact on the community and the way we look at and think about games, however, they're going to have to do a better job than this, as Dafalos is a game that really shouldn't have been released. At least it does have an interesting style. The game kind of reminds me of old first person RPGs or point and click adventures like King's Quest. However, even this interesting style cannot save the game. It's full of bugs that shouldn't be there, it has rather boring gameplay, and overall, it needs a lot of work if it wants to be a good game.
    Dafalos' graphics are...interesting. They're not great, but they certainly aren't bad, except for maybe the sprites. The style is interesting and unique, but I don't think it works for the sprites. They have odd shading...they're shaded like one would shade a stone wall or something. Also, they don't really contrast well with the maptiles sometimes. If it weren't for Aron's bright hair, I might have lost him once or twice in the game. The sprites could use some tweaking and reworking. The maptiles, however, are a different story. Some need some work, especially the indoor maptiles (except for Apompis' house, which is quite cool), but for the most part the maptiles are very good. They're well-shaded and they blend very well. There is also a pretty good variety of them. This game definitely goes on the list of "games you should study if you want to learn how to draw good maptiles". The sprites are bad, and the maptiles are naturally the battle graphics fit into the "middle" category, right? Right. The battle graphics are indeed a mixed bag. The characters have weird proportions -- even for RPG sideview battles -- and they have shading problems akin to those of the other sprites. The backgrounds are pretty good, although some of them (the cave) are a little too gradienty. The monsters range from good to very good, especially those little red puffball things and the flowers. Another nice touch is you get to see a full-size picture of almost every item you obtain (I think it's 40x40 pixels). So, the graphics are pretty good in some areas, great in others, and need work in the last handful of areas. Study this game if you need maptile help.  
    Well, the game does have a story. Aron has to go to the castle to warn everyone of this creature he saw in a dream that plans to invade the castle, but he has to go on about 50 fetch quests (ok, I'm exaggerating...) to do it. Along the way he learns about a sealed creature of darkness known as Dafalos which is threatening to be unsealed. Not totally original, but it a degree. The problem with the story is that it just sits there and nothing is done to expand on it. It feels very lifeless, probably because the characters ARE lifeless. They have no distinction and are very boring. Aron himself is even worse than Squall from Final Fantasy VIII. The story also has some issues in general...for example, when Aron wakes up at the beginning, he says that he has to get to the castle to deliver his information about this creature. However, when he leaves his house, he says that he should warm up first! What the hell? Training to fight is more important than warning your kingdom? Hmm, maybe that's why everyone in the castle got killed. The dialogue, spelling, and grammar all need help as well. There are a lot of spelling errors that shouldn't be there and plenty of run-on sentences and the like. The NPCs have problems as well. A handful of them simply don't talk, while the rest are extremely banal. "Hello", "How are you today", and "It's a nice day outside" are basically what they say. Arrrrgh. I find it hard to believe that the people are going about doing their normal thing every day when a deadly monster is invading their castle. Maybe they're robots? Yeah...that's it, they're robots.  
    What? Gameplay? This game has that? Well, every game has gameplay. That doesn't mean the gameplay is good. The battles are boring, there's nothing interesting to do in the towns, and there are LOTS of bugs. I mean, LOTS. A small sample of the bugs in this game include: Apompis' heal spell hurts you, the bartender doesn't work, and half of the step-on NPCs that trigger cutscenes are set to be solid NPCs, meaning you can't walk over them and have to activate them to get the cutscene. The first time this happened to me, I was almost ready to give up as I couldn't get past an "invisible wall". Of course, that invisible wall turned out to be those NPCs. Anyway, the gameplay needs some work, because this is one boring game.  
    The battles are typical OHR. You can hold down the spacebar and never look back. After about 8 battles I chose the other option: run away from them all. Once in a while I had to level up, but the game was easy, so I didn't have to level up much. The encounter rate is also way too high. Remember Breath of Fire II's horrid encounter rate? This game's rate is similar to that (in other words, a battle every four or five steps). The battles, overall, are extremely boring and need a lot of work.  
  Map Design
    The map design is quite good, except for one part: the cave that leads to the castle. The cave has some serious design problems, admittedly attributed partially to the maptiles themselves. I was having a lot of trouble figuring out where I was and where I could and could not walk because of the poor placement. Many times a floor tile looked like a cliff, but I didn't know the difference. Sure, walking around trying things worked eventually, but it was still unnecessarily frustrating. It was like walking through a maze blind. Other than this horrible cave, the maptile design was quite good. I was especially impressed with Apompis' house.  
    The battles were pretty easy, but they would have been even easier if Apompis' spell weren't so buggy. Holding down the spacebar did the trick of destroying all the enemies. Maybe it was the fact that potions were pretty easy to get a hold of...or the fact that those undead things in the castle were horribly easy to kill with those crystal shards in Apompis' house. Either way, this game is balanced, but toward the easy side.  
    There was none. What? That's right. There was none. Yes, I used VDMS. Oops.  
    This game didn't do it for me. I was bored with the battles and the general blah-ness of the story, which needs work. I didn't enjoy it, but I suppose you will enjoy it...if you like boring battles, repetitive NPCs, and lots and lots of bugs.  
Final Blows
    To put it simply, this wasn't ready to be released. It's very buggy and it has a lot of problems, a handful of which could easily be fixed over the course of a couple of days or so. Fixing the story and the gameplay will take much longer than that, of course, but if those two things can be repaired and made into something good, then this game might be worth a second look.
I hope it means that this game will end soon!

I hope it means that this game will end soon!
Final Scores
Graphics: 6/10.0
A mixed bag. The out-of-battle sprites need work, the battle graphics are pretty good, and the maptiles are awesome. This is a good game to look at if you want to study some maptiles.
Storyline: 2/10.0
The plot doesn't flow smoothly and the characters are extremely boring. The NPCs also need serious work. Spelling and grammar aren't very good either.
Gameplay: 2/10.0
This thing is very boring. The battles can be won by helding the spacebar, or you can just run and never look back.
Music: 1/10.0
There wasn't any. :(
Enjoyment: 2/10.0
It's hard to enjoy something that has a poor story and very boring gameplay.
Overall Grade: F+
Final Thoughts
    If RPGSpot is going to be anything memorable in the OHR community, they need to not release games like this one.  

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