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Wingedmene: Part One (v25%) vs. Aethereal
Wingedmene: Part One (v25%) That looks like it came soooo close to importing horribly. Good thing it didn't.
Komera and Rinku
Download: 1003 KB
Play Time: 13+ hours and 0 minutes
Review # 8 for Aethereal That looks like it came soooo close to importing horribly. Good thing it didn't.
Them's Fightin' Words
    Okay, here I come to review the game based on Komera's R'itni Islands RPG and its world. Wingedmene has been in development for quite some time, and while it is not complete, it manages to deliver more than most OHR games, and I don't mean only in the sense of playing time. Wingedmene offers beautiful graphics, an excellent soundtrack, a traditional RPG gaming experience, and, best of all, challenge. It is currently one of my favorite OHR games, and I expect it to hold the position, and perhaps even usurp the throne from Walthros when it is complete. Read on to see why I think this.
    From the very first version of Wingedmene to the current one that you see today, the graphics have always been absolutely wonderful. Everything is so well detailed and the use of color is very impressive. Apparently, Komera draws graphics on a tablet which works with the OHR, and the result is beautiful - I don't think these could have been done with anything less (particularly the sprites). The maptiles are extremely good and blend very well - they look as if an hour or more was spent on just drawing one single tile. That's how good they are. The walkabout sprites are pretty good. While the OHR has seen better, it has also seen much, much worse. The bosses, however, are probably my favorite part of the whole graphics (they are simply amazing). One look at ERTHE can tell you this. Battle graphics for the heroes and enemies are well-shaded and they look excellent. The heroes animate well, and the weapons are very well done (and there is a fair selection of them). Backgrounds look like they were made in another program then filtered a bit before being imported, and most of them look very, very good (my favorite being the Banta Cave one). The game has lots of eye-candy for an OHR game, so make sure your vision is good so that you can enjoy the graphics.
    Going over the story piece by piece would make this review so long that it would crash the review program (I'm not kidding), so I won't do that, nor will I spoil it, as it is well-done. The world is very original (although the monsters aren't), as are the characters. My biggest gripe with the story so far is that Lo'kl'iar isn't exactly well developed yet, and while he is mentioned many times throughout the game, he only makes one appearance, and the things said about him plus one appearance is not enough for me to judge his character yet. He seems like he would make a very good villain, but we will have to see. The dialogue in the game ranges from very good to great. There are a few spelling mistakes here and there which do not go unnoticed (not by me, anyway), but that is probably the only real flaw in the dialogue. The text box formatting is a bit irritating though; while it has line breaks in between what characters say, it uses more than one character in the same text box. The engine can do 32,767 text boxes, which is much more than enough (even for a game this big, and if you run out, you can split the game across .rpg files), so I really don't like it when game authors do that. The NPCs in the game aren't as generic as most games, and many of them are even characters who you will meet again later in the game, such as Dacken and Gniyalpi (love that name!).
    Wingedmene's gameplay is quite engaging, unless you prefer the easiness of modern RPGs. It plays and feels like an old Final Fantasy game, back when commercial games were actually challenging! Scary, I know. Anyway, Wingedmene combines strategic battles with wonderful (and very difficult) dungeons, not to mention the fact that there are even small sidequests, like finding the Doujinshis. If I had one complaint, it is that at times the encounter rate can get a little annoying. I suggest that you turn it down a bit, Komera - the encounter rate makes the dungeons take so long that they make Air's Rock (from Golden Sun II) look like the first cave in Dragon Warrior.
    Ah, the joys of difficult (but not frustrating) games. The battles in this game are HARD. All the enemies are faster and stronger than you and often come in very well set-up groups. Making use of your special abilities is almost a necessity. Fortunately, there are more than enough of these to go around - they range from the generic (such as Rell's healing magic) to the creative (such as Wingedmene's multiple-hit magic and Laubea's transformations) to the just plain interesting (Laubea's Twinflute). Additionally, once Rell leaves your party for a short time, strategy becomes even more important as you no longer have a strong healer - Laubea comes the closest with his Twinflute Healing Song, but that takes a very long time to set up and causes you to lose Laubea as a fighter. You could buy healing items, but they can't be spread out and you have a limited supply of money (which can be difficult to come by at times). You have Meset's no-cost Refresh ability, but the amount it heals is insignificant when you're facing a boss that attacks every 2-3 seconds and inflicts quite a bit of damage. It may not seem like it at first, but once you dig deeper into Wingedmene, you'll realize that strategy becomes an important part of the battles, and that is why they are wonderful.
  Map Design
    Well, there is no "overworld map" per se, rather the game is made up of various planes that form the whole world - so far, I know of five. During this version of the game, you will go to two: the Air Plane and the Earth Plane. Both are quite large (almost as big as a standard world map in an OHRRPGCE game) and are extremely well designed - the Air Plane with its maze-like walkways, and the Earth Plane with its beautiful and rough terrain. The dungeons are generally long and take a great deal of effort to defeat - Banta Tower is an example of this, because of the puzzle that continues throughout the whole tower. All of them use maptiles to the fullest and because of it they are put together in ingenious ways. A word to the wise: Banta Cave is really, really long (we're talking hours here), so do get something that can restrain you from bashing your monitor.
    The game is balanced to be difficult, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. I feel that the balance of the game fits it perfectly - the dungeons are hard, but not frustrating (well, Banta Cave can be at times...), ditto with the battles. There is enough money given to you so that you can buy enough healing items, but you'll have to save up if you want equipment. Fortunately, equipment is often provided to you in the form of chests or stealing (using Laubea's Rinku Sunne ability).
    The music is partially to mostly ripped, but it fits extremely well. There are a couple of music-related bugs, however - for example, when you play the Twinflute in Banta Cave, after playing it, the music changes back to the music Komera originally set for Banta Cave. I don't think this is intentional, so Komera, you may want to take a look at your script there. Other than that, the music is placed well. I especially like the music you hear during the battle with ERTHE.
    Honestly, I think this depends on who plays it. If you're a huge fan of Final Fantasy VII-X, Chrono Cross, or almost any modern RPG, the difficulty of this game will probably turn you off. However, if you find that you enjoy the older Final Fantasies, Lufia, and Dragon Warrior more, then this game is just what you need. It has the feel of those games, and the story and gameplay will keep you enthralled.
Final Blows
    Wingedmene is a trip back to the days of the NES and SNES greats, emulating their traditions, difficulty, and overall excellence. I highly recommend grabbing this game and giving it a shot - just make sure you set some time aside to play it, as it is quite long. An excellent job.
What a great strategy! While I distract the giant beast from hell with my sword, I'll stomp on his hands which are much bigger than my frail little body!

What a great strategy! While I distract the giant beast from hell with my sword, I'll stomp on his hands which are much bigger than my frail little body!
Final Scores
Graphics: 8.5/10.0
Simply beautiful. The detail is impressive, and the artwork is very good. The bosses and backgrounds are probably the best part of the graphics.
Storyline: 8/10.0
A bad story can be veiled by excellent gameplay; fortunately, Wingedmene's story isn't bad by any means. One look at the game's opening can tell you this.
Gameplay: 8.5/10.0
While the dungeons can sometimes get on your nerves, you have to admit that they are cleverly designed and very cool. The battles don't fail to impress, either.
Music: 7.5/10.0
It is ripped, but as long as the game has good music and it is placed well, it doesn't bother me. Wingedmene fits all three of those points. Just look out for that music bug I mentioned earlier.
Enjoyment: 7.5/10.0
This one's hard to rate because I believe this is one of those games where the enjoyment is going to vary from person to person. If you're like me and you count Final Fantasy IV and VI among the greatest of the great, you'll love this game. Otherwise, you may not.
Overall Grade: A-
Final Thoughts
    An excellent game that plays and feels like the SNES and NES greats. Anyone who says that is a bad thing obviously needs to play those games to appreciate Wingedmene. Well done.  

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