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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monterey Penguin
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=64
Possibly the most hyped OHR game I've ever seen; for the longest time I've heard so much about how this was a "great" and "well designed" game; my main reason for not trying it sooner is going to sound a little petty, but it's just that I don't like birds. I buckled down and decided to give this critically acclaimed game, supposedly one of the all-time greats of the OHRRPGCE a try about a month and some change ago, and that's one of the things that spurred me to actually start my project of reviewing every single game on Castle Paradox.

I have few things to say because there's just so little to this game. I constantly read on the forums how it was a complete experience that can be played all the way to the end of its (unspectacular) story. I got stonewalled in the starting town with no way to advance.

The game begins with an intro cutscene explaining how the penguin Monterey was captured from his home in the antarctic with plans to put him in a zoo. He was accidentally put in a delivery crate and dropped off in the yard of a floating eyeball monster with tentacles all over the place (seemingly such rather than a human or a relatable-looking talking animal 100% because the artist wanted to draw such a monster and had nowhere better in the game to put it).

The friendly eyeball monster hands Monterey some cash to help mail himself back to Antarctica. Monterey waddles over to the post office, which he is informed can't ship him from this location due to some basic problem too unimportant for me to recall off the top of my head. Monterey was told to "spend his money wisely" so I put the cash into getting him a weapon and some armor, leaving zero change afterward and avoid the consumable healing items because if OHR games have taught me anything, it's that the game will toss these to you for free whether they're useful or not.

I explore the entire town, finding some scant flavor NPCs and no hidden treasures or anything. Multiple pathways inform me that I can't go there yet because the plot says so. I find a save point and use it so I won't have to redo the cutscene later, which may actually have put me in a permanent failstate.

The path east of town has an NPC blocking a bridge. He's a stereotypical Appalachian/Deep South farmer and refuses to move unless presented with some "Moonshine".

I've scoured every available map high and low, unable to locate this key item; would he accept root beer from the shop? Root beer is nothing like cheap home-distilled liquor aside from being a liquid that humans can technically drink and will destroy your liver. Is this mountain man's goal to destroy his liver specifically? It doesn't matter, because I couldn't even buy any to try it if I wanted to, and there's no random encounters in the available maps to grind for money or items.

The game gave no indication that I could, with my starting purchasing power, buy myself into an unwinnable state. It gave no indication that a root beer could potentially be a key item and not just a worthless consumable healing item. It gave no warnings about saving before finalizing your purchases, only a vague quote of the common knowledge that you should spend your money wisely; I made the wisest possible cash investment for the start of an RPG with the money I was given, then saved my game to avoid re-watching the tedious intro cutscene. If you really wanted to force the player to buy a root beer of all things, you could have had the shop offer only that and nothing else until after this first "puzzle" was complete, but you didn't even consider what a new player might do with your starting shop and save points did you?

I can't even tell if the root beer is the (disposable, consumable) key item the old man wants. Maybe there's a jug of bathtub whisky buried invisibly in one of the houses or yards in the town and I just never happened to hit the spacebar while facing the correct unmarked tile in my long, futile search for advancement.

There's a dog and a chicken on the title screen, presumably party members deeper into the game. I don't remember anyone ever actually talking about specifics of this game, just that they liked how it looked and called it great. For all I know, right on the other side of the bridge Pokey Monterey Penguin finds whatever plot coupon he needs to mail himself back to Antarctica and the game ends there, the weapon for sale a trap purchase as there's no combat. Is this guess off base, even way off base? I'll never know, nobody who praised this game in my presence ever went into any specifics of its plot or its gameplay.

Now, I can praise this game for exactly one thing: Its graphics. They're bright, cheerful, moderately detailed and cartoony. I can't find fault with a single sprite or tile I've seen, not even by nitpicking. The game has the same level of artistic quality as Wandering Hamster and only slightly less than Motherland. An interesting touch is that to show how much taller human NPCs are than the player character penguin, they consist of two walkabout graphics stacked on top of each other; this has the downside of locking each one in a static placement with perhaps a single animated action they do repeatedly.

So basically while pretty, this game is either a cryptic puzzle you can't solve by normal exploration means or a poorly planned game where you can accidentally save yourself into an unwinnable state. I give it a 1/5 exclusively for the graphics.
_________________
"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 Sun Sep 20, 2020 5:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkey Quest
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=63
The game's title screen is terribly drawn and the description indicates the author got bored of it and uploaded it in an incomplete state. Usual state of affairs for OHR games, but at least it's honest.

A somewhat jazzy piano tune plays on the title screen. I'm going to assume it's ripped from something.

We start with three monkeys sitting around a livingroom consisting of tiles stolen from Wandering Hamster. One is a boy, one is a girl, one has a cape. A snail called Evil Mr. Snail bursts through their front door and proclaims that he will steal the magical crystal banana from their livingroom table (if it's an important magical artifact, why is it just sitting out in the open like that? At least the Crystal Coconut in the Donkey Kong Country cartoon had some basic security measures on it.)

The monkey named Bob asks the snail why he wants the magical crystal banana. In my lost draft of Neo Krysta 1, I went over how I admired the game not wasting time telling me why the Time Crystals are important because fact that they're magic crystals basically explains it. Here? There's a joke about the villain not having an ambition (even something as simple as him wanting to conquer the land and the crystal banana being a convenient power source) or plan in mind, and the main characters laughing at him being at a loss for words when asked the simple one-word question "Why?"

Evil Mr. Snail's minions come in and kidnap the girl monkey and monkey with a cape, leaving only the plain monkey (for some reason). Walking him left and right, he's a badly edited version of Bob the Hamster. His name is Bob the Monkey and instead of using MagicSmite techniques, he uses something called "PP Attacks". If I'd played this as a kid I'd giggle because my first thought would be urine even though I've played (and made) plenty of games where the equivalent of MP is called PP (Power Points, Psionics Points, Psynergy Points, Psychic Points). I learned to my utter confusion about a decade ago that "monkey" is slang for both male and female genitalia, which I doubt was at all involved in the thought process of making this game.

Most other kids like monkeys, but I didn't and still don't; the only primates I even sorta tolerate looking at are lemurs. Gee, first birds and now monkeys, what other popular animals will I reveal I have disdain for? Elephants? (Yes)

While the inside of the house uses the Wandering Hamster indoor tileset, the outdoor set uses original tiles...the trees being recolors of Wandering Hamster trees, similar cobblestone paths but originally drawn, and surprisingly decent grass tiles. The monkeys' horrible treehouse tiles are not so good. The music playing is Soldier's Chorus (Faust), just like Flanat Village in Wandering Hamster.

The indoor music begins with the riff from the chorus of Witch Doctor and then segues into another piece entirely. There's an island in the middle of town much like James/Misa's house in Wandering Hamster, but with only a sign on it informing the player that the only direction to go is south (Town gate: South. Forest: Further south. City: Even further south.)

Every house in the village seems to have at least one and possibly two broken TVs with exactly the same cracks on their screens.

Bob the Monkey's in-battle sprites are clearly drawn over the top of Bob the Hamster's, hence his using three different brown palettes for his belly fur, chest, tail, feet, etc. His entire sprite could've been drawn with black, white, and three shades of brown and still preserve most of the lazy gradient pillow shading but instead it's drawn with more like nine shades of brown.

The currency of the game is bananas. The shop in town sells a weapon that gives no stat boosts (only allegedly type-killer damage against slugs), a completely free book to learn a spell, Heart(Heart)s which are a heal item and Heart(Potion)s which are a revive item (why not Heart Heart and Life Potion? Heal Heart and Life Potion? Heal Heart and Heart Potion?), bottled thunder (to refill PP) and water balloons (seemingly a consumable item to damage rocks). I ignore all of these other than the free book for now; if I find enemy rocks or slugs to give me trouble I might spend a little.

An NPC old man in a house informs me that rock monsters will be difficult to defeat with fists alone so I just take the plunge and buy the store's entire stock of ten water balloons before fighting any. A "hint NPC" tells me that the place I need to go to advance the plot is in fact the very same only direction the signboard on the island informed me was available to travel at all.

I fight some slugs. They're easily killed in one hit with the basic fists, no need to buy the claws to use on them. They're depicted holding forks of the same dark gray as the rocky dirt floor of the battle backdrop. The battle music is anemic.

On the overworld, there's a treasure chest larger than the entire monkey village. An animated sequence of backdrop screens plays to show it opening; it's a rough MSPaint doodle, but I commend the effort. Heart potions are apparently filled with a dark blue liquid rather than blood red or soft pink as would be expected.

I step into the forest required for plot advancement. Bob is immediately assailed by some sort of airbrush-drawn ghost and two "mini tigers", dark brown lion cubs whose noses are partly transparent pixel and partly the same colors of brown as the tree backdrops behind them (I realize this since one lion is positioned in front of a tree and the other in front of the dark gray dirt instead). Despite having gained a level, being at full health, and only going exactly where the plot tells me to, Bob the Monkey is rapidly wiped out by the random enemies. The Game Over script is to fade to red and play Clorinda False, Adieu! but with a twist: The game never fades back in, does not quit back to the title screen, does not close the program, does not pass Go, does not collect 200 dollars, does not restore Bob to some safe place with missing money, etc.

The game is hard locked and so the only way stop is to close the program. This would've been an absolute nightmare back before games were windowed by default and would've left junk data lying around the next time you wanted to play an OHR game back in the day when this was new.

Verdict: It's exactly something a monkey would fling.
_________________
"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: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MLAAP: The Kevin Chronicles
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=62
This game's description is confusing, not clear if it's saying this game is the first entry in a trilogy of games called "MLAAP" or if it's a spinoff of another series called MLAAP, and either way it doesn't explain at all what "MLAAP" stands for.

Opening the readme, it says "My Life As a Psychopath". I don't trust a teenager from 2002 to know what a psychopath is beyond the Hollywood stereotype of "A person who murders" (which isn't even necessarily true; loads of people are clinical psychopaths or sociopaths and don't commit any murders at all; David Wood, one of my all time favorite YouTubers, is such an example).

The game proclaims itself to have a "Zelda-like system" of attacking on the maps...using the ~ key? Well, at least it's not the Delete key but you couldn't pick one that'd leave the player's hands in a more natural resting position? And CTRL to dash?? What even is this nonsense, CTRL is already hardcoded as one of the interact buttons alongside Space and Enter. Why not ZX or AS or QW? I haven't even loaded the game up and already the control scheme has gotten on my nerves.

Readme makes it explicit that The Kevin Chronicles is a spinoff of the "main" My Life As a Psychopath.

"Bobert and Kevin Burkeen present" a game starring the "psychopath" Kevin Burkeen. The game starts with a disclaimer saying basically no seriously, this self-insert story we made about going on a homicidal rampage has nothing to do with real life events or people, we absolutely have no intent of going on a killing spree. Since I'm not aware of any school shooting incident in the early 2000s featuring a Kevin Burkeen, I'll take this as genuine but the denial is pretty funny in its own way. Also that one of the characters has a pet penguin named Oswald Cobblepot but this isn't an attempt to infringe on DC's intellectual property. Fair enough.

"Every person in this RPG, whether they exist or not, is false. This is all fiction." Maybe you shouldn't have made your serial murderer game star a character named after you and his victims named after real people you know then, Kevin? Picking arbitrary common names instead might've helped you and your hypothetical audience swallow this easier.

The game proclaims the music is original. It sounds terrible and unfamiliar, so I believe it. The intro song takes a little inspiration from the sting of Psycho and then veers straight into cacophony.

Disclaimers done, I get a brief animation of inserting a VHS tape into a VCR and then Kevin shows a slightly blurry photo of his IRL driver's license. So now I know this game takes place in Missouri and the song sure is making me missouryble.

Kevin begins by describing watching a football game as soothing. I already find him unrelatable as a human being before a single punch is thrown; sports in general tend to be pretty boring, but I kinda understand why someone would find them exciting if they were invested in the outcome or knew the rules. Someone who likes football finding it soothing or relaxing to watch though? That's just mind-boggling.

Bobert, the other man behind this game, proclaims that while he doesn't care for football he just decided he'd rather be watching that than working on one of his RPGs tonight. I can see that. He likewise doesn't understand how Kevin finds it soothing.

As soon as the designated singular girl of their friend circle shows up, Bobert slides away without any animation frames in haste. Shelly was described in the intro as having "an affect on all that happens" which is a baffling phrase and I have a hard time being sure if that's the right word (rather than "effect").

Sprites are all mediocre, maptiles are all slightly above average except the white/light gray dirt (which looks terrible).

Kevin and Shelly leave the football game to talk to each other at the playground, walk back and are asked to pay for tickets a second time (don't you usually keep ticket stubs if you have to pay to watch a game for exactly this reason? What kind of Mickey Mouse operation is this public high school running?) but they're told they can return for free during half-time (???).

Shelly asks Kevin to race her, and when he refuses she starts screaming RAPE RAPE RAPE. This is absolutely evil - possibly the only thing more evil you can do in the modern day first world than raping someone is to accuse them falsely of rape; both are easily a little more evil than murder. What, you want an explanation of this? Okay.

If you murder someone, their life is over. Maybe they'll suffer eternally in Hell, maybe they won't, but that part is out of your hands and your control. What you've done is wicked and definitely warrants your execution at the hands of lawful duly appointed officials.

If you rape someone, you possibly cause permanent physical damage and probably cause permanent, unfixable psychological damage. This is a horrendous invasion of personal space and autonomy; if the rapist is specifically a man (more than half of rapists are men but women can do it too) and your victim is a woman (the usual expectation; I know no statistics on forced sexual conduct and male to female victimhood ratios from sources I would deem reliable when so many sources deem forced conduct from a woman or onto a man a different thing from "rape" being specifically man on woman) then there's also the potential of forcibly making a child whose father should definitely not be allowed to interact with his life, and may stick the mother with permanent trauma or resentment towards her child (if she doesn't take the culturally prescribed option of murdering the baby for the sin of his father, that is). Rape is almost the worst thing possible for one mortal to do to another, and specifically because it is so heinous our culture founded on Christian values finds it absolutely abhorrent and harshly penalizes anyone it deems guilty of it.

And why is a false rape accusation worse than an actual rape? I will tell you. Our culture abhors rape, particularly rape of women or girls (it often turns a blind eye to gay rape, especially in prison, deeming that "part of the punishment") and will somewhat suspend the notion of "innocent until proven guilty" for men accused of it. Maybe a man will be acquitted, but still put on a sex offender registry, denied chances to work or take out loans or rent a place to live. Who cares? He's just a man, men are disposable and he probably did it even if he was "let off" so let's make sure to punish him whether or not the law actually has. After all, why would a woman boldly make a false accusation of rape when real rape victims often don't come forward, right?

This absolute travesty, actively destroying an innocent person's life for any reason whatever, is wicked beyond the pale. It is scummy and cowardly. It also undermines the ability to take these accusations seriously even if they do turn out to be true. Remember Mattress Girl? Remember the Duke LaCrosse team? Absolutely false accusations, praised in the media even after being proven false for "starting a conversation" about alleged invisible cases that don't get reported; this does nothing but trivialize the real severity of the issue.

And what motives could a woman possibly have for making a false accusation? More or less the same range of motives any privileged group could possibly have for asserting dominance over a subjugated class of people; money, fame, to put an uppity person in their place (the reason used in this story). Plus one more: A woman could easily consent to sex with a man who asked for it, not find the experience she consented to enjoyable, and "retroactively retract" consent, accusing the man of raping her. There's physical proof he left his DNA Evidence inside of her, after all! And she's saying she didn't consent, even with multiple witnesses who watched her consent they can pass it off as maybe she was coerced or uncomfortable about saying no or something.

Just because you're slightly ashamed of slutting it up after the fact doesn't mean anyone but you made you do it. Stop making it harder to take real rape victims seriously. Start taking responsibility for your own agency and actions. Stop sowing distrust between the sexes; most men aren't rapists and most women won't falsely accuse a man of rape, but we shouldn't be practically pushing the death penalty on anyone so much as accused of the former while denying the latter even exists at all in spite of ever growing mountains of evidence of it.

I did not think this game would give me anything interesting to talk about.

Now I'm finally on the game and...the game still uses tile-based movement despite its dash and attack scripts, and the main menu has replaced the names of the spells/status/equipment menus with some pixel art of a man holding his erect penis, squeezing it in a death grip right below the glans. Man has three balls.

The main enemies are "Skinheads" and "Hicks". The "skinheads" look just as bald as Shelly - her orange hair is near the same shades of brown as her skin so her short haircut looks like a big cue ball.

I wander the huge, near-featureless map of the football bleachers looking for the singular tile that will bring me to a new map. I eventually find it. There are gigantic dog pawprints the size of Kevin's face painted onto some of the sidewalk tiles, possibly the most visually interesting thing in the game.

Combat is clunky and awful. Kevin sometimes gets locked into the windup frame of his punch for several seconds before jabbing and the hit detection isn't very accurate. Nothing is smooth or fun here.

I'm done. What douchenoodle rated this an A- instead of (being generous here) an F+? Onlyoneinall? Okay, that explains it. Your opinions are bad, Onlyoneinall.
_________________
"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: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Miyan Island: Legend of Hya
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=61
Let's hope this transparently-bad newbie game will be worth a quick laugh after the absolute disastrophe of playing "serious" fare like Project Ascension, Motherland, and My Life As A Psychopath.

A bad two-instrument arpeggio plays on the title screen. I'll presume this is an original track.

Story: A villain named Yoko creates rocks and trees. He wishes to destroy Miyan Island and its inhabitants for unknown reasons. The game's words, not mine.

Yoko is called Yako in the next textbox and was killed offscreen. Miyan Island formerly had "great defenses" such as giant Miyans, half-dragon Miyans, and Miyans who could destroy meteors of an undefined size and toughness in a single punch; all these are gone now, leaving the only defenses being a singular gigantic non-venomous snake wrapped around the island's perimeter and said snake is constantly surrounded by snake hunters.

Our main character Hya is an angry green triangle. His carpet looks suspiciously like the Wandering Hamster carpets in different shades of blue, but his wood panel walls at least look different. He wakes up to find his house has no furniture (real reason: the game author didn't want to draw any or steal sprites for them. In-universe reason: They were all stolen by that Yako villain who has woken up from his 1,000 years of being dead).

For no reason beyond petty revenge over his furniture being robbed, Hya sets off on his life of adventure. The island of Miyan uses yen for its currency.

While listening to a song that might be an homage to The Final Countdown, Hya fights a giant green boulder with a face on it called a "Tektu Stone". It does not hit back, but after about ten turns of wailing on it, it explodes into two "Tektus", little blobs of the same shade of green as the battle backdrop with the same face doodled onto them. They each do 2 HP of damage to Hya and then die in one hit. Random encounters include the "Killer Tektu", which does 3-4 damage per attack and takes about eight hits to go down instead of just one. The grass for this fight is a completely different backdrop than the one for the battle with the Tektu Stone.

There are rabbit holes in the ground around town that teleport to each other in arbitrary ways, with no clear learnable logic to them. Blue Miyans who all share the same dialog tell me nothing important.

A blue Miyan with a red outline joins my party. Her name is Yitsune and she knows more spells than Hya and has lower HP defense and magic stats, but higher evasion and MP.

An NPC blocks the one way out of town, simply saying "It isn't safe." It's not exactly safe inside the town either, you stupid guard, not with all the Tektus and Power Orbs running around.

Verdict: Simply no good, but inoffensive.

Miyan Island 2
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=60
The sample screenshot includes hourglass-shaped trees.

Title screen is a badly imported mountain range with just the word "Miyan" written on it. A default OHR song (B) plays on the title screen, which is an improvement from the original score of the first one.

Humoresque No. 1 begins playing once the title screen advances. Some plotscripting is put into some animations for the title; if you were going to put this much effort into animating and scripting, why not put a little work into having your characters not all be 100% identical triangles with the same exact face drawn on every single one of them?

A custom font. A skinny custom font. A skinny, curly custom font. A skinny, curly custom font where different letters have different diagonal leanings and elevations. Is that word "HATCH" or "KATCH"? I can't tell, the former is more likely but your font is bad. And your lowercase R also looks like another letter K/H? Give me a break...

This game also stars Hya, who has lost his all 2 levels of experience from his previous adventure and reverted to level 0. His stats are all lower this time around; 10% less health, half as much strength, 40% as much physical defense...he's forgotten his Crazy Beam but learned a spell called ThunderATK. He has abandoned his old weapon as well, and the new town he's moved to has been set on fire.

The sign NPCs are pushable, so they're not so much stuck into the ground as they are balanced carefully to stand up and slide along it. Extra effort had to be put into making the signs pushable objects.

A huge circle of concentric red gradients blocks the way out of town. It heals itself slightly faster than Hya can damage it with his attacks. Thus, this fight is unwinnable and there are no random battles to build up experience before taking on this fight; the enemy will never attack, only heal itself. Hya can never kill it.

Impossible game.

Verdict: Just like Neo Krysta, the sequel takes what little positive the first game had going for it and flushes it all away for no reason and no benefit, with no clear improvements in sight.
_________________
"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: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Midnight Rescue
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=59
This has got to be a short one. The download is a mere 44 KB, whereas even the tiny Miyan Islands games were on average a little over 200 KP apiece.

A man named Felix wakes up in the middle of the night, fully dressed. He turns on the TV to have the news channel inform him that his girlfriend has gone missing, presumably kidnapped. He declares that he's going to grab his "BB Pistol" to go rescue her, but there are no items in his tiny one room shack. His one spell list is named Air Gun, but has no spells at his initial level.

Felix walks into a park where he finds a staircase down in the middle of a sidewalk. There are random encounters with thugs who wear black hoods (this was over a decade and a half too early to be modern antifa fascists so they're just masked muggers). They have actual bullet-shooting pistols, but these do a mere 18 HP of damage compared to Felix's 500 maximum. The thugs likewise go down in only two punches; Felix is right, why would anybody kidnap the girlfriend of a superhero?

The sidewalk staircase doesn't work yet, so it must need a plot trigger of some sort. After punching three crooks, Felix remembers he too has a gun on him and can whip this out as an attack; when he does so, it causes three times as much damage as his fists (which mind you were only about 40% less powerful than the criminals' pistols). What kind of modification has he made to this BB gun?

Leveling up a bit more, Felix realizes his unlimited store of ammunition includes "pellets", which are actually small metal darts he can shoot out of his BB gun. They do the same damage.

Felix finds a small shack on the far end of the map. It's literally no bigger than himself; he finds the door locked and wonders if there's a key somewhere. None of the points of interest on the map (house, staircase, fountain, sidewalks) do anything and I'm not going to comb every single space of grass hoping to find a key.

Sorry, Felix's girlfriend Nikki, it looks like you're never getting rescued. If the creator of this game even bothered to finish it, that is; for all I know there might not even be a key.

EDIT: After finishing this game, I decided to open it up in Custom. Apparently an NPC was put on the fountain in the park, but this wasn't interacting when I was playing; maps for the bad guy's hideout and Nikki's home for an ending cutscene where Felix drops her off safely were included but I don't know if anything was implemented beyond the locked shack and random battles. My feeling that the bullets were hitting harder than the punches was just lucky/unlucky rolling; BBs have only a 3% bonus damage and pellets have a 4%.
_________________
"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 Sun Sep 20, 2020 5:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mario Potty
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=58
Kind of a shame that this game isn't the one that got to be #64, but oh well. From the title I'm expecting a juvenile and not very funny parody of the Mario Party game franchise.

That description sure is an edgy early 2000s fanfic alright!

The title begins with some Mario music (for one of the spooky levels; I'm having a hard time placing it specifically, but fan games often use it for Boo houses), the words "MARIO POTTY" in red on a black background, and a badly cropped, badly imported photo of Danny Wells in his Luigi costume from the live action segments of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show.

The grass tiles are decentish. Big green blocks with some vertical green lines of other shades of green gets the idea across pretty well, there are varying thicknesses of grass. What doesn't work so well is the map seemingly being over 100 tiles tall and wide with only the upper left corner screen or two actually used at all; I check the minimap and there's a HUGE amount of unused green field.

The sidewalk tiles would be alright if the gray went all the way to the edges, but there's a thick black margin around them. So it's a 16x16 light gray airbrushed with five or so other shades of gray with a 1 pixel dark gray outline that itself has a 1 pixel black outline.

There are some big patches of what's either sand or old, dead, dried up grass in one part of the map which, on the minimap view, look like crude pixel art lady breasts. I am going to assume this wasn't an accident.

Luigi's sprites are pretty terrible. He doesn't have a big bulbous nose, just huge round bug eyes and his cap has no bill. The maptiles inside the house are way worse than the ones outside. The floors are a brown gradient going from dark on the left to light on the right; rather than being flat brown or airbrushed brown or some actual attempt at immitating the shape of floor boards or wood grain, it's just a gradient. The walls are barely better than this; they too are literally just a brown gradient, but go from light brown in the middle to expanding concentric lines or squares of several darker shades. There are like eight or ten shades of brown on each tile. The bathroom floor is mostly white with some light gray lines on the top and right sides of them to imply a little bit of shaping; this contrasts harshly with the brown and its slightly better sense of shaping only makes the wooden walls and floors look worse in comparison.

The mysterious "Mr. Radburn" has left notes scattered around the house and floor outside it. Whenever you're reading a note the music changes in an attempt to build tension. These notes are difficult to read and from what I can guess/gather just say the usual pretentious malarkey about Nazi super scientists or whatever.

Luigi takes a gun from a table but has no bullets. I try walking into a doorway and the game's creator says "I know you want to kill Mario, but games take a while to make. Please be patient while I work on the next update." An update that, gratefully, never materialized. I don't think this game got any attention when it was new, either.

I find a nightclub next to the pixel art boobs called "The Blue Flame", it has dithering in its wall tiles but its floor tiles are just black with some dark gray lazily airbrushed into the middle of them. It's full of a bunch of identical generic OHRRPGCE humans with brown hair, blue shirts, and brown pants; these guys could be from any old OHR game and were probably a sprite leftover from a non-Mario murder game this same person was making before this mess.

The barman at the night club offers to sell Luigi bullets and lighter fluid because he's got a gun but no ammo. He also sells poison, which the game cheerfully tells you is a way to kill your character.

On the second floor of Blueflame, Luigi finds some people playing Russian Roulette and declares that he should join in. They aren't playing it by the proper rules; instead of a revolver, the host sets out a bunch of wine glasses each the size of a person and informs us that only one isn't poisoned. I pick the one closest to the host and Luigi dies.

Summary: Miserable and has no reason to be a Mario fanfic...the person making this clearly hated the Mario Bros. and had this "totally original" scientist Radburn guy he really wanted to focus on. Early 2000s edgelord crap at its most early 2000s.
_________________
"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 Sun Sep 20, 2020 5:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies




Joined: 23 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Magnus Prologue
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=57
The description calls this an OHR Movie. For any of my blog readers who aren't all that familiar with the engine, this just means it's a big cutscene without any gameplay (or maybe a few brief scenes of controlling a character on a map, but no item management, combat, puzzle solving, etc.).

Title screen is Darude Sandstorm. First music once I advance past that is unfamiliar to me. A flock of birds is depicted as flying over a field of grass.

When we zoom in to an actual town, the grass tiles are drawn nicely but the various buildings and NPCs very much aren't. A drunken old man named Alex is collapsed on his couch; a younger man in heavy armor named Fargas bursts into his house, the two exchange meaningless banter.

WORDS WORDS WORDS, textboxes advance on their own; I can't pause to read any of it even if they were saying anything interesting.

Fargas talks about a cult in the far south. I can't tell if the skeletons in the cult's hideout died stabbing each other or humping each other, they're always slumped over with one with a very specific kind of hat on top and one with a different specific hat on bottom.

Eesh, every pose of every sprite looks stiff and awkward.

And here we have a field with what must be the SIXTH different type of grass tile used in this game; it's only the third that was any good to look at. It's airbrushed with some yellow for no clear reason.

Lots of work went into making characters gradually animate between like a dozen different walkabouts. I commend the effort, but it adds nothing for me.

VERDICT: Magnus already didn't have a plot worthy of expansion but it doesn't seem that anyone involved in making games for the Magnus Sequel contest even wanted to. Magnus Golem was an unrelated monster game starring a wizard hastily renamed after the Magnus protagonist, this is just some generic story with no gameplay and is a prequel despite the word sequel being right there in the title.

Pepsi Ranger tends to be really wordy, but he's always been a lot better than this. It definitely wasn't one of his better works.

EDIT: Reading around a little more, Magnus Prologue is apparently a prequel to the other Magnus Contest games but a sequel to the original Magnus, which retcons the hero Ryan's death into being some sort of bizarre time travel plot. This ties very loosely into the storyline of Magnus: Golem but not really into any of the others from what I can tell.

Magnus Finale
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=56
When there are several games in a contest labeled as sequels to a given entry, it might come across a little snide and haughty to proclaim yours to be the true finale of the series in its title.

The game starts with a kid saying of the intro music "Tat's too serious!" and I can't tell if that was spelled wrong incorrectly. Whatever generic fantasy music was playing is instantly replaced with Baby Elephant Dance.

Somewehre in Canada
"im forgetting something"
"my magnus game is due today and I've only done the title screen"


As bad as Magnus was, I'd think it took more than one day to make. Also again I can't tell if the dialog is being written badly as a joke or just because the person making this game is using the Magnus brand as an excuse to be lazy.

The boy (named NEWB!!!) is wearing a bright red shirt that has either a cents symbol or a sideways capital A on the front. He has purple hair of exactly the same color as his carpet. There are four dolls sitting on his floor and you have the option to take either the Moogle Doll or Patamon Doll with you; possibly a reference to Magnus: Golem? Whatever the case, only half can be interacted with so I'll take the Moogle.

A completely arbitrary, unmarked tile of his bedroom teleports to the rest of his house, which is similarly purple. For some reason the kitchen seems to be a lone room on the second floor while the livingroom (with a TV and game console), bedroom full of toys, and some other room with a computer and a pool table are all on the main floor. Some of the doors don't work, and I pick up all sorts of items (socks the character describes as "tasty" from his bedroom floor, a cape from next to the game console, a feather off of the kitchen table, a throwing knife, a pair of goggles on the bathroom floor) and most of these are never added to the inventory.

Newb is informed by Fag Frog that his Magnus sequel has been deleted and he'll never get a chance to release it. This is because Fag Frog wants to have control of all Magnuses and somehow their combined bad-gameness qualities will give him control of the forums.

Newb puts on the goggles, sock, cape, etc. and transforms into Newb Man. He enters cyberspace to take on Fag Frog. Trust me kid, little boys are never safe around fags - go home and leave pounding fags to adults, okay?

Cyberspace is a black void with a bunch of arrows painted on it in white. It's an invisible wall maze and the arrows don't actually mean anything.

First part of Fag Frog's castle: Communism Bridge. Maybe I should give this game's writing a little bit of credit. Communism Bridge is a 3-tile wide tunnel with decorative tiles on the inaccessible areas to the sides of the paths...like Magnus On De Edge of Dis Pair Of Edges. Maybe this really is the successor to all other Magnus games.

Fag Frog kills Newb Man in one turn. I don't know or care if there's more to this. Star Wars music plays during the game over screen.

Judgement: It's bad and the closest things I get to enjoyment out of it are what seem to be mean-spirited digs at other games that I don't like.
_________________
"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 Sun Sep 20, 2020 5:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ronin Catholic
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Joined: 23 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Legend of the White Dragon
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=55
What do you know? I'm the "lucky" 300th downloader! I was probably somewhere in the first 299 too back in the day; I know for 100% certain I've played at least one other Cloudburst 64 game. Game's filename is 528hour, meaning it was probably made for a time crunch contest.

Title screen is a closeup of a white and light gray face's single amber eye; it's so close up we can see its MSPainted tear ducts and individual bloodshot veins. Is this a scared dragon? An angry one? One that's sleep deprived?

Game wisely uses a bold font. Letters have rounded edges. In fact, the font may be a little TOO bold, as the rightmost line of the capital W touches the entirety of the spine of lowercase H.

Chapter 1 begins with an ominous text crall proclaiming that after a million years it's time for a dragon to wake up. A young man walks outside his house to find where a big spotted egg has skidded to a stop, upturning a bunch of the turf in his yard. He doesn't know an egg when he sees one, so he wants to take it to his neighbor Mr. Smith.

The tiles are functional and mostly readable. Trees are airbrushed but have actual shading and not just a random gradient and the animated pool of water in the dude's front yard has a moving reflection of a tree in it, a very nice little touch.

Not so readable are the rocks that block paths. They look like footpath stones, but the character refuses to walk into those spaces. Think about it, in a 3 foot by 3 foot square area of grass, would your walking be disrupted by two separate 1 foot by 1 foot rocks placed in opposite corners diagonal from each other? I think not.

Harry's neighbor Mr. Smith is a goose farmer. Harry now identifies the object as an egg. He asks the goose farmer if this spotted egg the size of a grown man's torso is a chicken egg, to which the farmer responds with "I think it's an alligator's egg." The egg then proves them both wrong and stupid by immediately hatching into a white dragon and honking like a kazoo.

Harry proclaims it's impossible for this to be a dragon because dragons don't exist. (That's a silly notion and quite a modern one; it only barely started to catch on in the modern "enlightened" era of the Western world...very shortly before we discovered fossilized dragon skeletons and, having just declared dragons in general to be fictional, had to make up a new term for them: dinosaurs).

Mr. Smith tells Harry to keep the dragon a secret for some reason. As soon as Harry heads home, there's already a Piranha Plant waiting to try to eat him, demanding he surrender the newly hatched dragon.

In battle, the grass and trees are dithered to all heck. The whole thing has the treeline start about 10-20 pixels too low; Harry stands right on top of a tree trunk with his head covering background trees. There should have been less sky and more grass, basically. The dragon's breath weapon is apparently light elemental.

The white dragon is kidnapped during the night while it and Harry are asleep in his house. Mr. Smith tells Harry to go to the nearby town and ask a specific NPC for help.

Mr. Smith's friend is named William, and by coincidence he's got a long sleeved shirt, red with blue stripes like Chris from South High School RPG...

The town is full of weapons with such names as "Knife" "Sword" "Sword2" "Sword3" "Head" "Head2" "Legs" and "Legs2". Couldn't even go with a hierarchy like cloth/leather/steel armor and short sword/broad sword/long sword? Most of it's way too expensive to afford for now. Legs gives a +2 to speed while Legs2 costs the same price and boosts Speed by only +1. Body3 costs significantly more than Body2, but has worse stats (identical to Body1). Arms1 likewise gives better stats at a lower price than Arms2. Was any testing, or thought, put into this armor system? Also weirdly for once, the armor in the game is a lot cheaper than the weapons.

The majority of NPCs only say "Hello" and that's it. Even the shopkeepers, they just happen to open a shop menu afterward.

In combat, Harry literally only has the basic attack as an option and William punches about half again as hard while also having a Jump attack which takes a little longer but hits even harder. There doesn't seem to be a reason for Jump to have been an MP-Based spell menu instead of a Random Effects spell menu, as Jump doesn't cost MP. Oversight, or will he have more Jumps later?

There are snails labeled as "Slug" and have blood-smeared faces. The desert also has giant scorpions just called "Scorp".

Once I grind both heroes to around level 4 and have them each wearing the best armor (Head3, Body2, Arms1, Legs1) I skip the weapons (it'd take hours to grind anything that gave better than a +1 to ATK...a +2. Some weapons also give +1 to Speed but we don't need that with how high it is from being boosted by all four armor slots.)

In the cave, we find a breakable wall. William says "I am going to break it", Harry says "Okay" and steps one space to the side and William rams at it, stopping with a whole two tile gap between him and the wall. It breaks anyway and they walk through. There are even tinier brown pebbles on the brown dirt floor that stop Harry dead in his tracks compared to the clearly visible gray stones on green grass near his house.

Deep in the dungeon, suddenly I run into awesome-looking skeletons with heads of a goat or deer or some sort of horned animal.

We emerge from the cave, William declares we should head to a nearby village. I head there; its weapon and armor shops are identical, but now there's a potion store. Potion1 restores HP and Potion2 restores MP (why not call them Potion and Ether or Healing and Energy?). As neither party member is capable of casting spells, the MP Potion is literally only a money trap.

I haven't needed any healing yet, but I buy three HP potions to be safe because they're cheap. There's a single weapon I'm considering for William if I ever save up for it so I'm not going to buy too many healing items.

While wandering around the village, I trigger William saying "Let's go to [name] Village." I can't tell the places apart by name and they're both tiny, cramped hallways with tiny buildings on them. I find a THIRD village with the same music and tileset, this one barely taking up more than a single screen, and neither of its two buildings labeled with shop signs. I am informed one used to be an inn (at all three villages, you just check the big shiny pool in the middle of town to heal and save). I barely set foot in it without a chance to explore the rest of the town and I'm woken up to be told there's monsters attacking the village. I'm teleported to the village on the opposite side of the island at night without facing any random encounters.

Talking to some of the NPCs right after this scripted fight gives generic "Thank you" "You're the best" dialog and one of the NPCs instead of talking, triggers a cutscene and marks the start of Chapter 2.

The cutscene girl, named Sarah or sometimes Sareh or Serah, joins the party. She has the airplane and the key, both needed to enter the monster temple. I walk back into town to buy her armor to match the guys because it'd be silly NOT to. Checking her weapon allowances, they're exactly the same as William's. Like Harry, she has no special combat action at all. William is definitely MVP (he has more HP and attack power than the other two, all three wear the same armor, and he has a skill to let him cause double damage with no drawback other than a slightly longer attack animation; Sarah in particular is basically just an extra pair of hands and extra set of HP and that's about it).

Inside the Temple of Dragons is basically the same design as the final dungeons in lots of OHRgames: Big black rooms with floors that look to be made of big glass square panels. The monsters inside of it are weaker and give less cash/experience than those on the overworld.

We encounter the four dragons, Firence, Golem, Hydra, and Whirl. They babble some plot in our general direction. Apparently the White Dragon chose Harry because of his "Pure Hearth". Oh, and there's an evil wizard named Gregory; that (or plain Greg) is just not a name you can really take seriously on an evil overlord or wicked wizard, now is it? Drop the Y and just call him Gregor, and now THAT is an intimidating name. Funny how that works?

Firence and Hydra both force their way into my party, which was already struggling with its redundant characters.

About an hour and three dungeons in and I encounter my first treasure chest: A single Potion1. What was I saying in an earlier entry about how OHR games will just pass out healing items whether they're useful or not? This is literally the first piece of equipment I got without paying for it and it costs less than the money drop from a typical random battle.

The cool skeleton monster loses some of its impact when see three palette swaps of it within 20 minutes.

Firence looks like a typical fiery Western dragon, Hydra looks like a Plesiosaur. Both are much weaker than our human protagonists and lack the ability to put on Body2 for their torsoes to get a level of the Hits stat, and both have breath attacks (Fire1, Fire2, Water1, Water2) that are flat out weaker than their regular hit against enemies lacking a specific elemental weakness and restricted to a single target. You'd think at least a DRAGON'S BREATH WEAPON of all things would be a spread attack, but apparently not. I decide to swap Hydra out for Sarah; at least she can hit twice weakly instead of just hitting once weakly, and all these new characters started at a pitiful level 2. I understand for Sarah, but why are the ancient elemental dragons not like level 10 or something?

I emerge in a new overworld map with oceans of lava instead of water. I find a pointless village where no NPCs have anything to offer other than flavor text. GREGORY IS EVIL, WE USED TO HAVE WATER HERE, THE WORLD IS IN BAD SHAPE.

Second treasure chest...Body1. Why bother putting treasure chests in at all if they're going to be this weaksauce in the lair of the evil wizard deep in the underworld? From another treasure chest...Knife. Not even Sword or Blade, but the weapon I could actually afford early on and keep passing up because it's literally just +1 each to ATK and CTR. I put it on Sally since her offenses are the weakest and it's better than nothing.

At level 4, Firence learns Fire3. It's a spell that hits about as hard as the Jump attack that William has had from level 0, but as it's fire elemental some enemies will be able to resist it and it costs 8 MP instead of zero. Hahaha, why are Dragons legendary in this world and not men with striped shirts?

A green haired man named Cid sics a big white snake on us and we easily kill it. END OF DEMO

END OF DEMO

E
N
D
O
F
D
E
M
O

Just when the game finally caught up to how an RPG should start (potion shops exist, treasure chests have items in them, character differentiation) it comes to a screeching halt.

William should have been the main character, Harry and Sarah should've been dropped entirely, and the dragons should've been more powerful to compensate for their inability to use equipment.
_________________
"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 Fri Sep 25, 2020 5:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ronin Catholic
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Legend of the Magic Sword
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=54
I vaguely remember this game. I think it was super short and its lone gimmick was that monsters are visible on the map and triggered by NPCs instead of being random encounters.

We start with a man named James lost in the woods. He is armed with hierba, which recupera HP. The English in CloudBurst64's other game I just played was consistently good (if minimal) so I'm a little surprised to see such untranslated text.

James is the same sprite as Harry, but with a black jacket instead of a white one. The tilesets look to be the same more or less. Battle backdrops are made by stretching out maptiles, and look fine enough; a bit better than most of the battle backdrops in White Dragon.

James starts with a max HP of 20, no spells, and no healing items. He does 2 damage per turn to slimes, which always appear in formations of 2. Slimes do him 1 HP of damage at a time on their turns and take 2-3 hits to go down. After two such fights, James has already lost 11 HP. The slimes don't drop healing herbs and the map is too small and cramped to avoid combat (the main point of having monster fight NPCs move at all; just put them stationary on 1-tile chokepoints if you want to make them guaranteed fights!).

Stumbing around at 4 HP, James walks inside a house with a completely arbitrary wallmap; some big huge pieces of empty floor can't be stepped on, others can. After testing out the various furniture, I talk to the NPC standing alone inside the house. I initially thought this was a woman (James's mother or something) but it turns out to be a man named Joe who proclaims there's nothing else to do in this demo.

So despite being called the Legend of the Magic Sword, you don't get so much as a pocket knife or even your bare fists, just swat at enemies with a medicinal herb. It's literally just a tech demo of a not very impressive or interesting alternative to random encounters, which also takes a lot more work to set up.

It's literally just four rooms each barely bigger than a single screen consisting of three instances of exactly the same fight; it's not even an escalation of one slime then two slimes and then three (which would also have been a very bad game demo).
_________________
"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: Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Futurama RPG Life as a Delivery Boy
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=53
I was a big fan of Futurama but unlike Dragonball Z or Sailor Moon, I never saw a reason to try out a fan game of it made in the OHRRPGCE.

Booting up the game I was expecting to be bombarded with a badly compressed BAM of a poorly sequenced MIDI of the Futurama theme song. Instead I'm greeted with a decent MSPaint rendition of the Planet Express ship and dead silence.

Fry's sprite at least resembles the character. He's got wonky, blocky proportions, his arms flailing about at weird angles while his legs barely move when he walks. Very second textbox of the game is him arguing with the narrator.

MYSTICAL DISEMBODIED VOICE: And so the game began!
Fry: What game?
MYSTICAL DISEMBODIED VOICE: None of your business. To all you game players though. This is Robot Arms, the place where Fry and Bender stay.
Fry: Bender? I knew that guy once.

Fry is supposed to be a bit on the dim side, but he's basically an everyman in a fish out of water situation, bringing the best and worst aspects of late 1900s culture with him into a satirical exaggeration of 2000s through mid 2010s culture to put the two into contrast. There's as much humor from his simple mind cutting through the crap of the future society as there is humor of the enlightened future put off by his barbarism (or them thinking that when they're actually being obviously worse). This game seems to think Fry is mid-series Patrick Star or post 1998 Homer Simpson.

Another nice touch: All the apartments in the Robot Arms building are single-tile floors surrounded on all sides by walls, while Fry's closet inside Bender's apartment is a large, spacious place.

I try to explore Fry's room and every time he walks within a space of his bed, he spontaneously takes a nap. I am given no control other than to remain at least two spaces away from his bed at all times.

Bender flails his arms around in a silly manner. Fry looks stiff and robotic, almost like a Lego figure while Bender looks like he's made of pipe cleaners and grayish clay.

The tiles all seem alright enough. The floors are mostly solid-color tiles and the walls simply have outlines on them to show where the corners are using a Zelda-like perspective. Ironically I'd say the walkabouts have too much detail; an attempt, almost a passive-aggressive attempt, at shading seems to have beel sloppily applied; instead of a single shade of red for Fry's hair, it's a mat of different shades of orange. Likewise multiple blues for his pants and multiple reds for his jacket; it's not really applied in an actual shading or shaping way, it's just extra colors he doesn't need. His facial expression strangely changes from Happy to Neutral when he faces left or right instead of down.

What Fry REALLY needed was to have his sprites be SHAPED better; a lack of or underplayed shading could make for a really good cartoony aesthetic, especially if he was given a clear black outline.

The buildings of the future don't look very futuristic; there's the zoom tubes but that's about it, everything else looks contemporary. There's an NPC called 9guy (whose 9 is a capital P in some of his poses) who informs Fry that there are random battles if you step on the grass instead of the sidewalk. No other NPCs seem to be in sight.

Are you really telling me Fry has 20 HP and 15 DEF and Bender has only 25 HP and 30 DEF? Don't make me laugh, Bender is way more durable than some squishy meat bag! I know it wouldn't be balanced, but basically everyone at Planet Express other than the Professor could kick Fry's butt in a fair fight (and most of them would fight dirty, too). Bender's mighty bending arms are a mere 50% stronger than Fry's completely normal man arms? Is this some kind of joke? Well, he is Bender rather than his identical cousin Buster so I guess if he's not using BENDING as his main mode of offense against random enemies...

First random encounter I find: Poses no threat, does no damage to Fry or Bender.

Second random encounter: Instantly kills Fry before he can get a turn, knocks Bender down to 5 HP. I quickly hit F7 just so I can see a tiny bit more of this game before putting it away forever.

Okay, I could see Bender being only a tiny bit stronger than Fry, almost, but you're telling me Leela has 5 more natural Attack power and 1 more DEF and the same HP total as Bender? What the hey?

Characters like Zoidberg and Hermes talk in jumbled quotes from across the series.

Every character has a big fullscreen portrait for when you talk to them, basically MSPaint traces/recreations of stills of them from the show. These are all decently drawn.

The professor complains that he needs a package which was stolen by a yellow circle. I start scouring the town; there doesn't seem to be any way to revive Fry so he'll just stand there with his head detached until some automatic arbitrary healing point in the game I guess.

The parts of buildings that should be overhead tiles are solid and every door can be walked into but won't lead anywhere. I walk into a random tree and enter a big empty room with glowing blue swords hanging from the walls and the creator's initials in neon lights all along them. Fry gets into an argument with a talking door. The door eats Bender and Leela, the end. Ave Maria starts playing during the start of the fight, seemingly the only music in the game.

In summary: Other reviewers complained about the graphics, but those are the best part of the game, it's every other aspect that needed more work.
_________________
"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 Sun Sep 20, 2020 5:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ronin Catholic
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Joined: 23 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Legends of Power
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=52
Contains not a .RPG file, not even a .exe file without the game...it contains a copy of the game maker's SAVE FILE.

This is an implosive level of incompetence. I was actually kinda looking forward to a basic RPG.

The description even describes a tiny disappointment of a game: A single combat encounter with three boys (who would presumably have no skills) and one enemy.


Legend of Flurby the Kirby
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=51
I'll admit, seeing things like this, The Kirby Lands, Patamon's Adventure, and a few others all on the gamelist around the same time made me want to ignore all of them. I've been scrolling past this game for over a decade without trying it out, so let's see where it goes.

The game starts with Donkey Kong Country music (what? Not Kirby music?) and a black background with some white text. The custom font is a thin one, but clear and readable with fairly consistently sized letters so as long as it's never placed on transparent textboxes it should be golden.

The game talks about a need to deliver a package (oh no, 'Nam Flashbacks.MP4) and then goes on a long, meandering tangent explaining both the basic OHRRPGCE controls and the stats.

Flurby the Kirby is a "White Kirby who wields a fan." As Kirby's species is never actually named or identified in-universe I'll let this slide; he has a title of Star Warrior in the anime but what he and Meta Knight are collectively is never actually stated. Flurby's walkabout is actually drawn holding the fan and keeps track of his left/right sides correctly, a nice little attention to detail.

What did I say earlier about NOT using transparent boxes? HAHAHA, of course the boxes all use transparency to keep the text from being clear and readable! What was I thinking?!

The town uses Kirby music. Apparently there's a town surrounding the Fountain of Dreams now, rather than King Dedede's Rainbow Resort. There's one black Kirby who is extremely rude and another who serves as the town guard, refusing to let anyone leave town "for their own safety"...unless they bribe him with a cherry pie.

Upon taking the cherry pie, the guard instantaneously dematerializes. Was he deathly allergic? Was the pie full of illudium Pu-34 explosive space modulators? Did the game author simply not want to put a second NPC instance of the guard standing aside somewhere or script him walking away?

Outside of town, I fight Goombas rather than some common Kirby enemy like Waddle Dee or Bronto Burt. Flurby's attack does about ten damage, but he has a special attack with no cost that does about 130 damage. Balanced? No. Fun? No. I'm at 29 HP from my initial 100 because I kept trying to use my moves that cost something and see how many regular attacks it takes to kill a standard enemy instead of going straight for the bottom option in the menu first. (For the record, the 130 attack can kill one at full health, the attack that costs MP does 5, and the default attack can be used at least 5-6 times without killing the Goomba so they've got probably about 100 HP)

For some reason boss music is used as the victory music. The ice town uses the Ocarina of Time store music. The inn plays its "sleeping" music for way too long before giving control back to the player. I wish I could give kudos for using an inn script at all, but I always found them an unnecessary flourish that usually do nothing but make sleeping at the inn more tedious, not more immersive.

A yellow Kirby named Mecca forces himself into my party. So long as he doesn't force me to kiss an ugly black rock covered in bird poop we should be fine.

Apparently Flurby's weapon is the legendary Time Fan, which many people don't even believe exists. It is purported to be stronger than the Dream Rod which in turn is stronger than the Star Rod.

Trying out the stupid special move in battle again, it did 10 damage once and 24 damage another time, so apparently the random effects list has more than one effect in it. There's also a chance of targeting yourself and doing no damage, but as none of these attacks automatically select the target, it's hilariously easy to reroll; just hit Alt anytime the cursor floats over Flurby instead of one of the enemies.

I am given an airship (Warp Star) but as the overworld doesn't seem to have any landmarks and I don't have a real clue on where to go, I guess I'll call it here.

The graphics are kinda ugly. Gradient-heavy Kirby balls as the player characters, only a few water tiles animate on the overworld and most are static. I did find a second enemy type (one that's actually from a Kirby game). Flurby's new friend Mecca also has a Random Effects spell list...set to regular spell list mode, so you can just manually select the good options.

Last Legacy
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=50
The name has a good, solid alliterative and allusory punch to it, very evocative like Final Fantasy or Dragon's Dogma. Bad news on the description page:
Quote:
I upgaded my computer, and Last Legacy was lost. It was a good game too. I dout I will start again unless somebody emails me some walkabouts, maptiles and battle pictures. Do it or you won't see a great game.

Trying to get other people to make free game assets for you and saying they won't get a great game unless they fork over such free work? How about instead they make their own walkabouts, then make a game better than you were going to make? With blackjack and hookers!

So my initially positive reaction to a nicely drawn forest with some generic fantasy heroes fighting generic green slimes is soured somewhat. Strangely, a shortcut is included in the folder along with...some files associated with Wandering Hamster?

I start out in a house with a young man named Lance. Lance has spiky brown hair and a black jacket. He begins with three spell lists: Techs (which has seven skills ranging from the Hadouken to the DeathLaser), Magic (which has a full 24 spells), many of them somewhat redundant and none of them arranged in a sensible way:
Code:

Meteor 1   Ice 1     Fire 1
Bolt 1     Doom      Curse
Ultima     Fire 2    Earth 1
Ice 2      Bolt 2    Earth 2
Cure 1     Cure 2    Pearl 1
Fire 3     Ice 3     Bolt 3
Meteor 2   Earth 3   Blitzkrieg
Pearl 2    Osmose    Rasp


To analyze this: There are two healing spells (Cure 1 and Cure 2) and neither of them are in the upper leftmost corner of the spell list as they ought to be, nor are they in the far corner where they'd be put for minimum convenience if that was being considered as a gameplay mechanic of reaching for them during the heat of battle. Meteor 1 is a first level spell while Meteor 2 is a 7th level spell. Ultima, Fire 2, and Earth 1 are all on the same level. Why wasn't Blitzkrieg in the Techs instead of the Magic spell list (or the third spell list I'll be getting to shortly)? These various spells are generally superfluous in Final Fantasy and similar games; once you have a spread fire attack, spread fire attack but with slightly different graphics and higher damage isn't that much of a game changer. Basically: A high damage single-target attack has a reason to exist, a spread attack has a reason to exist, and a normally high-damage attack with an optional spread has a reason to exist and could theoretically replace both aforesaid for all practical purposes. You don't need 3 instances of Meteor, Fire, Earth, Ice, Bolt, and Pearl (whatever Pearl is). Loose familiarity with Final Fantasy tells me "Osmose" is "Drain MP" and "Rasp" is "Damage MP" - you don't really need both of these.

Cure 1 can be used outside of battle, Cure 2 can't. This was probably an oversight.

There are two much better ways this spell list could have been arranged:
1 - pick a three-width row for a specific family of spells. Make row one Cure 1, Cure 2, Cure 3 and row two Fire 1, Fire 2, Fire 3, etc.
2 - Have one row with three DIFFERENT first-level spells (Cure, Earth, Pearl) and another row with three DIFFERENT first-level spells (Fire, Ice, Bolt) then on a third row, do second-level versions of the first level's spells (Cure 2, Earth 2, Pearl 2) and yet another level be tier 2 versions of the other row of spells (Fire 2, Ice 2, Bolt 2) making sure each spell family sticks to either a shared row or a shared column. Ultima should absolutely be the very last spell in the list; eighth row, third column.

This game did neither approach, it just tossed all the spells into a single list haphazardly with no thought, rhyme, reason, or structure.

Lance's third spell list? It's called Rage and contains a single skill called Powerslice. How is Powerslice or Blitzkrieg not a Tech? Not clear.

Oh my, the graphics. Lance's house consists of wooden floorboards of irregular size - consistently repeating irregular size, he alternates between rows of very narrow and very broad boards. His red brick walls also don't tile correctly; horizontally adjacent they look fine, but the top and bottom of the tile have same-sized bricks so the north/south repeating pattern is thrown way off kilter. He can draw a decent staircase down tile, table, stools, and pillow for the bed. The table doesn't have a wall map though.

Stairs up are...nowhere near as nice looking as stairs down. Wooden floor boards on the main floor of the house are a different tile entirely: His brick wall tile, just with the colors changed from red to brown. It looks a lot worse. In OHRRPGCE tradition, the tileset includes a sink, a cooking range, and a refrigerator (all that's missing right now are the toilet, the oddly detailed food on the table, and TV or PC).

Hahaha, there's a well with half of its graphic drawn on one tile and the other half drawn on another tile for no reason other than to "hide the grid" but both sides have collision. STOP HIDING THE GRID UNLESS YOU'RE GOING ALL THE WAY WITH PIXEL MOVEMENT, clear, readable tiles are way more important than looking "realistic".

Grass tile is a mediocre airbrush job. It almost looks like a Big grin face with a big nose from one angle if you let your eyes drift.

Lance's grandfather, Gramps, sends him north to a castle to get a tonic that treats the common cold.

In battle, Lance looks seriously like Yamcha from Dragon Ball. As Yamcha is my favorite Dragon Ball character, I approve. It's not a ripped or traced sprite, he has a much broader body type and is clearly an original sprite (a rather decent one) but looks to be referenced from Yamcha with maybe a little Raditz. Very first fight to pop up are two slimes who drain Lance to 1 HP as quick as I can reach for the F7 key; speed stats are probably way too high.

Another battle with four of those things shows up; I'm a quarter second too late on the draw and one of the slimes kills Lance Ritchie during their death animations, ending the game. This was a really good excuse to give a lecture on the structure of a spell system or a spell list though, wasn't it?
_________________
"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: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Journey Through Time
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=48
The game's ZIP file contains a folder named WINDOWS which contains a folder named DESKTOP which contains and RPG file and a text file named VERYIMPORTANT!!

VERYIMPORTANT!!.TXT wrote:
Journey Through Time: Version 1.0

Info:
This game was made by Brad Charles. Don't steal my characters or I'll
kick your @$$.I've got a password on it so don't try to edit it. Go
ahead-check it!!Anyway, if you do want to use one of my characters,
email me at coolpengu_3@yahoo.com .

There will be hidden characters by the final release but there are
not any now. If you see any spelling mistakes or bugs, please contact
me.
Thanks,
Brad Charles

Immediately defensive over your terrible designs and threatening violence, eh? Not too surprising. Maybe I'll steal a character from this game just to spite you; I doubt there are any worth taking though even if I wanted them.

And yeah, lots of mediocre and bad (and every so often, good) OHR games have passwords. You're not special for using one of the engine's basic features, Coolpengu.

We begin with what I think is a robot named Exos getting a message on his phone from a Professor Johnson, who demands he "come to de lab eemeedieattlee" - is Johnson with his English name supposed to have an extremely thick Non-English accent of some sort? Is the phone message a text or voicemail?

The grass and road tiles are pleasantly simple, the water tiles are ugly and non-animated. The house next to Exos's starting position has no wall map and there's huge highways to both the left and right of the starting position; the game tells Exos to come to "De Lab" but never says which way that is. Like in Memoria a few pages back, the author just expects you to know where to find locations without any signboarding.

I find an island of nothing but grass, another island with a white house (again, no collision) and a blue house (ditto), a broken bridge with an inaccessible house beyond it, two more islands of nothing but grass, and finally a huge island with a rather large white brick building where, you guessed it, Exos can once again simply pass through the walls with no collision detection.

This one door, unlike those on the other three buildings, teleports to the inside of a building. Here we have a bright white floor with no details, bright white brick walls with bright blue mortar, three tables with no equipment or papers on them, and some sort of glassy-colored capsule with a wide open door. The professor's labcoat is white just like the floor, but has a dark gray outline. The brick pattern loops correctly horizontally, but not vertically due to having an odd number of vertical rows.

Professor Johnson insists the answering machine on Exos's phone distorts his voice (speaking normally now) while Exos insists the professor was drunk. The professor, hiccuping to demonstrate Exos is correct, denies this but then proclaims that a robot he was working on "Became too powerful" and then "turned itself on" and escaped from the lab.

The professor says the robot's only desire is for freedom and that while powerful, it's actually not a danger. He still wants Exos to track it down and under no circumstances bring it back to the lab, but to decide for himself "what to do with it". This is a true headache of roboticism ethics.

The professor tells Exos he should level up a few times before confronting the robot and take a prototypical TECHDRAGON with him. Techdragon looks similar to Yoshi or Bub and Bob from Bubble Bobble; a little blue dragon thing with green limbs, a green nose, and some pointy brown spikes along his back. On the map, his green parts are the exact same shades of green as the grass tile.

The professor tells the two to come see him to buy supplies and save their game, then teleports them to the other side of that broken bridge I saw earlier, cutting them off from the lab anyway.

The house on this side of the broken bridge is the first building to serve as an obstruction. It has an open door on the front that can't be entered, just like all the other houses.

All this time there's been a single, simple song playing. It sounds pretty bouncy and fun; if it's ripped, it's obscure and wasn't ruined in the conversion to BAM process. If it's original, then music composition is the singular thing Brad Charles was good at 19 years ago.

Exos and TechDragon enter a tiny hut represented by simply stacking a roof tile on top of a door tile rather than the six tile affairs all the buildings aside from the lab have been. It's as small on the inside as the lab, but more pleasant to look like because while it has the same white brick walls, it has orange floor with brown diagonal lines all over it.

There were no random fights with which to level up. Exos and TechDragon immediately engage "SEPTO" the robot in combat, Exos saying he's going to drag the robot who desires only freedom back to the lab where the professor said he doesn't want the robot.

SEPTO reveals his minions: Two "Demon Gargoyles" and one "Small Dragon", gray and green versions of the same sprite, all four of them vastly stronger than Exos or TechDragon. SEPTO wins his freedom forever by killing Exos, the end.

In summary: It's a sloppy, lazy game where the best things are the main map music and the bootleg Yoshi/Bubble Bobble. It tells you to grind but then provides no random enemies.

Joe's Great Adventure
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=47
Title screen is a simple MSPainted affair of a sunny, cloudy sky and grassy shore.

Quote:
Welcome Joe! You are about to embark
on a wonderful quest filled with many
different, weapons, items, spells, and
ferocious creatures.

This comma here? Get rid of it, the first comma here should be the one after "weapons". It's also generally a little redundant to tell the player that the game will contain a variety of things that are standard elements of the game's genre. "Many" is also subjective, and as I've said other times quality of choices is more important than quantity of them.

"Joe" is apparently a fat man who makes awkward squats, and wears a sleeveless blue shirt of all a single color, while his red pants and bare arms are airbrushed. Airbrushed leather gloves, brown hair and shoes, flat-colored lightbulb-shaped head. His starting HP is 100, MP is 200, Speed is 10, and most other stats are 5.

Many, many walls in Joe's house are missing their wall map, allowing him to walk out into the void. The tiles are a little worse than mediocre, but not painful to look at or anything. The grass outside is ripped from NPCtag/Sample.RGP, trees have four-color gradient trunks and single-color splotches of leaves.

A man in the upper part of Sunnyville, near Joe's house in the corner, says "Welcome to Sunnyville!" in bright red text. Why isn't the town greeter next to one of the town gates? A bowlegged man wanders around a sandy patch and says "Good luck on your quest!" - apparently everyone in the world knows Joe is going on a directionless quest.

Stepping into the sand, as I expected, causes random battles that take place on Sandsea.BMP. The first fight pits Joe against one of the blobs from Sample.RPG and a purple gradient ball with single pixel width antennae and legs called "Alien". The blob and the alien attack Joe by making swords appear behind him and slash at him, Joe attacks by walking up to them and making boxing gloves appear in the air. Due to Joe's causing only 4 HP per hit, the alien takes more than five turns to beat but doesn't pose a threat (I start using F7 to win battles instantly).

Music from Final Fantasy plays in the town, something unfamiliar plays during the fight, and then FF1's victory music plays when the enemies are defeated.

One NPC tells me to go see the king at the castle, but not where the castle is. I find a weapon shop which doesn't sell any items and a flavor NPC who informs me about the sandy patch full of slimes and aliens.

Heading over to a well expecting some flavor text, I instead wind up finding a cave with a man wandering around in it. He informs me his name is Steve and says "I need more adventure in my life anyway" and instantly joins Joe's quest. However, Roku was lying about his name being Steve; he has slightly worse Intelligence and Willpower than the well balanced Joe, one more point in Speed, and only 50 MP. While Joe practices pure fisticuffs, Roku is an archer. The two get swarmed by bats that swoop in and bite them; each bat has either 1 or 2 max HP while the enemies in the sand must've had dozens.

The castle guards all wear baklavas rather than helmets and wear purple tank tops similar to Joe's. They are drawn holding spears, though, which I commend; guard characters on active duty absolutely should be depicted with weapons at the ready. They do nothing but stare at Joe and display an ellipse when he tries to strike up a conversation, and the same is true of the queen.

The King wrote:
this is very importan
t, so listen up...

These are only the second and third typos I've found in the game, which is pretty commendable all considered. A sentence beginning with a lowercase T is pretty small.

If you really needed to break "Important" into two lines (you don't, this whole textbox only uses four rows of text and wouldn't need a fifth if the whole word "important" was moved down) it should be broken up as "im-portant", "impor-tant", or "import-ant" (ideally, don't do that at all; a single word broken up across multiple lines of text on a computer screen just plain doesn't look nice).

And now we finally have a plot: A villain named Thouron (Sauron?) has stolen an artefact called the "Goblet of Life" (Holy Grail?) which if you drink from it, will make you immortal. Thouron's land is named Hauren, which I'm sure I'll forget.

The king's plan? Since Thouron is definitely not so stupid as to have not used the goblet yet, you need to use stealth to steal the goblet from him and then destroy it; immortals sustained by its spell will die if the goblet itself is destroyed.

So it's a little derivative of Lord of the Rings, but it flows logically pretty well. Good job, Joe's Great Adventure, you've gone from explaining nothing to explaining something adequately!

An NPC in the nearby forest stands way off in the grass and tells me that the pathways are relatively safe, with more monster attacks in the grass.

Random enemies in the forest include spiders that look like houseflies without the wings and surprisingly well-drawn orcs. Spiders take two hits to kill while orcs take more like eight turns of combined fire from both heroes (the enemies are still only doing 1-2 damage per turn so the 100+ HP heroes are in zero danger; they also both know a spell called Light Heal that can't be used outside of battle). Forest battle theme sounds like it's a boss music from a PS1-era or later Final Fantasy, fitting the other ripped music.

Spiders drop no money or experience; unlike bats, slimes, orcs, and aliens there's no reason to fight them. The game throws a maze in which my characters are obscured by foreground tiles which are identical to the walls at me, so I just walk through walls to skip past it.

Joe and Roku find a house in the woods and decide to take a nap in the bed. A mysterious voice says "A good choice" and then during the night a mysterious voice starts waking Joe up. He's drawn with a sword next to his bed despite there being zero chance to get a sword before now.

Joe demands the mystery being identify itself. When it says its identity doesn't matter, Joe retorts "Of course it matters! If you were woken up by a mysterious being at 1:00 AM wouldn't you want to know who was addressing you before listening to what they had to say?"

"Good point. I'm a mage, sent by the king to give you a task. Listen carefully..."

There was no mage in the castle and Joe already knows his main quest. I smell shenanigans. Joe agrees, stating he doesn't trust the mage.

The mage tells Joe he has to take some magic pebbles to collapse a canyon the enemy army will be passing through, and says both "there path" and then "thier path"...both wrong and not even consistently wrong. Later he says "enemies hands" instead of "enemy's hands" or "enemies' hands" and "i sent you" instead of "I sent you" within the same textbox.

This game was doing so good when it came to typos...

I finally find the way out of the forest and am immediately accosted by a giant version of the compound-eyed spider named Spindra.

Upon defeating Spindra, Joe learns his very first offensive spell (fireball) and I have no opportunity to test it out as the demo ends.
_________________
"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: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Help Wanted
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=46
A game made for a 48 Hour contest. Expectations reasonably tempered.

And...the game immediately spits out a string of error messages and then crashes from having an incorrect font, somehow. Other people gave it ratings from A+ through C+ but I can't develop an informed opinion of it.

Gundam Sigma RPG
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=45
A 2001 fangame abandoned partway into the process of changing it to an original IP called "RanziorSigma".

The game uses a skinny font. These can work fine so long as they're not mixed with textbox transparency.

The maptiles look simplistic, but basically competent; they remind me of some NES games, even.

The character Palmus, however, does not fare so well. His battle animations are to flail only one arm around like he's a slot machine. His out of battle sprites are a little worse than his battle sprites; they're roughly 3/10 simple sprites, but it's at least easy to tell what parts of him are flesh, hair, pants, shirt, and shoes as it's not muddy, airbrushed, or gradient-shaded.

Out of battle his head is about four pixels tall and eight pixels wide and bobbles from side to side in a silly manner when walking north or south. His chest puffs out ridiculously when he walks left or right, and his jacket randomly grows a sharp triangle pointing backwards out of his neck on half of the frames. It wouldn't have been that hard to just change his arm and leg positions a little from frame to frame, but it looks like instead all eight frames were drawn from rough memory of his proportions. I can commend the hair on his walkabout sprites not flipping back and forth between frames, but staying consistent with that at least.

Floor tiles seem to have completely arbitrary passability mapping. I can walk right over some of the big green diamond shaped things but others block my path.

I could find three pathways, all of them obstructed by non-interactive steel block NPCs. I only had a single battle to fight when the game first booted up, and it was terribly balanced; the lone samurai hero fights against eight robots. He can slash one twice with his sword to kill it, pull out a special technique where he throws a hadouken at it twice and kills it in one turn, throw a fire spell at one of them to kill it...or spread that fire spell among all of them at once, killing them simultaneously. Optional spread attack without divided spread damage.

After wandering around for fifteen minutes, I closed it and deleted it. This was not a good game in any way aside from four of its six maptiles; I found some ugly gray and white bricks on what's seemingly supposed to be a space station.
_________________
"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: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2020 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Golden Star Saga
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=44
This is a game I never deleted off my computer after previous playthroughs, so I must've liked it well enough. I'm going to start a new file to refresh my memory.

One thing that stands out about this game is its lack of music; opening the file there are a bunch of songs defined/named and placed (overworld music, battle music, victory music) but no actual .BAM files were ever loaded into those places, so the names are just placeholders. A novice game maker could download this and experiment with importing their own song preferences into relevant slots (I did this with the FF1 soundtrack once; standard OHRRPGCE pack in music would also work, or nowadays MP3s such as Never Gonna Give You Up, You Are a Pirate, or Sandstorm).

The plot starts by describing a creature named Ultimega that would kill anyone that stood up to him. There's a misplaced comma in this first textbox, but no words are terribly spelled and all sentences seem to start with capital letters this time.

Very next textbox consists of a weirdly formatted run-on sentence with even more unnecessary commas and the proper noun "Golden Star" has the word golden capitalized, but not star. Anyway, the Golden Star was made by a wizard for the purposes of defeating Ultimega.

Alugos is used as a possessive in the next text box but contains no apostrophe; is it Alugo's or Alugos'? I'm trying not to be too harsh on lazily written text in games made by children twenty years ago; you might be able to read this into the tone of how I treated this, Mr. Smiley, and Joe's Great Adventure which had just as bad of grammar as the "good" parts of say Arfenhouse while digging into similar bad grammar in some other games. This is in part because the totality of communication failure isn't as important as frequency or tone of it; a few typos here and there are acceptable when you're writing a lot of text (indeed, on Sunday I went back and corrected about a dozen of them spread across this very blog) but if you've got almost nothing going on and what little you do is sloppy, that tends to show a total lack of care.

Basically, someone who tried and failed can be mocked lightly and someone who failed because he didn't try should be mocked heavily, especially in something like Arfenhouse where failures of grammar, spelling, art, and storytelling come across as hypocritical rather than some good natured ribbing.

The game's backdrop screens include drawings of a planet and a book, seemingly drawn in MSPaint using flat, basic colors. It looks passable, if a bit on the simplistic side.

Fire is capitalized but heat and thunder aren't. "The Summon guardians" is capitalized exactly like that rather than "The Summoning Guardians"; why are multi-word proper nouns only having their qualifying word capitalized? Next textbox, neither "summoning" nor "guardians" is capitalized when referring to the same organization...I wouldn't mind the incorrect capitalization if it was at least consistently incorrect. "Dissapeared" instead of "Disappeared" is one I get; just about any word where more than one letter could, phonetically, be doubled it's hard to figure out the exact correct configuration of double letters (I'd probably never spell parallel correctly without spellcheck). Peacfully is one that doesn't make so much sense, it's literally the words peace and fully with the space between them removed (as many compound words are).

I'm still in the intro crawl with a drawing of a book, I just keep finding more weird, incorrect, or inconsistent writing. Another thorough reading or three (or having a friend read it) could have gone a long way.

Smash cut to a boy named Joseph, wearing modern clothes including a large backpack. He says "i'm ready" on the subject of training to become a soldier. He's 15 years old, has a slightly cooler best friend, and a dead father. This is all the makings of an RPG hero you need, really.

The writing (in terms of things like grammar) is definitely this game's weakest point. A lot of characters are saying "i" instead of "I". Joseph's mom tells him not to do anything she wouldn't (this was always a nonsensical thing for a parent to say, and it's even more so if you're a non-combatant and are just now letting your fighting aged son go and join the military) and then says that while he's wondering around, he can do an errand of getting her wild "berrys". She tells Joseph the box in the house is his allowance, but her textbox automatically triggers the door link; I need to manually walk him back into the house to collect the money.

The game's graphics are mostly flat, but colorful and readable. It's basic amateur hour RPG art; flat gray roofs and floors to houses, gray bricks with slightly different gray mortar, grass is green with airbrushed second green, one-tile trees with one color trunks and two airbrushed tones of leaves. It all looks kinda alright, aside from some of the characters having two nearby skin colors from the master palette on their heads, not arranged with any mind to shading but just kinda...two colors for the sake of being two colors, I guess?

Joseph's clothing is designed with a good color scheme; shirt consisting of two shades of blue, brown hair, gray pants, white sneakers, bright red backpack. Weirdly though, while he has a fairly normal, blocky boyish body build in his left and right facing walkabouts his up and down sprites have a distinct hourglass figure.

Soldiers in the town have a red strap slung over their shoulder from the belt, but it switches which shoulder it's over as he steps. His clothes are the exact same shade of gray as the hair and beard. Or is he wearing a baklava? Maybe if this light gray were easier to read as "soldier uniform" instead of "old man beard" and didn't perfectly match the hair of the nearby old woman, I wouldn't have trouble reading it.

Big red Valentine hearts are the save points. As a save point is generally a non-diegetic game mechanic, the important part is for them to be clearly visible; as not many tiles of the game should be bright red, this big red heart works really well for that.

Joseph's base speed is 8 so I put on a pair of boots. Speeds in the 8-12 range are just fine if you've got a full party, but can be really annoying with only one or two heroes. Wandering around the town I find about a dozen of the weird looking soldier ninjas, one young woman, two old women, two shopkeepers, and a man in town who greets Joseph and says nothing about him picking up a box of money off his floor; is this a present?

I eventually stumble into Blake's house and am greeted by his father Blakes Dad. In long-standing RPG tradition, Blake has a slightly stronger visual design than Joseph because he's the second hero instead of the first: He has a gray sweatshirt, blue pants, and a long gray cloak. They have similar haircuts, but Blake has blond hair and green eyes instead of brown hair and blue eyes.

Blake also doesn't have a single stat that's lower than one of Joseph's; he has a Speed of 10 without needing a pair of boots, Accuracy 4 points higher without wearing an accuracy-boosting pair of gloves, 11 ATK compared to Joseph's 8, Evasion 4 points higher, magic power 2 points higher., 20% more HP and MP...honestly the game would probably be a little better if it was about Blake going on a journey alone and Joseph was at best one of the forgettable first town NPCs you left behind at the start.

Rather than any sort of actual specific training or instruction, basic training for soldiers is to walk (unsupervised) to a cave full of jewels, collect some despite the random battles, and then wander back.

One immediate downside of the save points: They aren't the "automatic free heal" type of save points (which, to be fair, make paying for an inn an obsolete game mechanic) and you also can't heal for free in your own bed (again, something that makes the presence of an actual inn pointless; I generally never used the inn even once in Dragon Warrior 1 or Dragon Warrior 3 on any but the first playthrough, for example). If they were crystals, rather than bright red hearts, I could understand it going either way but if they're going to be visually coded to look like a standard videogame health powerup, I do kinda feel like they should be the healing type of save point.

Joseph uses a sword and Blake uses a spear. Standard main man and lancer setup. Random enemies in the beginner forest include a tree (which takes off about 20% of a character's max HP per attack and takes about a dozen combined attacks for the heroes to beat at their initial levels and equipment) a snake (which goes down in about two hits and only does about 5 damage) and what looks like some sort of fly (which I run away from because it shows up in formations with that tree). The tree has a red trunk with brown edges; basically an attempt at pillow shading but with a darker color on the inside for some reason; this also seems to be what was attempted with giving the humans two skin tones, again getting the inside and outside colors switched. Things would look better with flatter colors in this case.

In a library, an old man explains the properties of various weapons.
  • Swords are all-arounder weapons, bad against enemies that fly but good against enemies with heavy armor.
  • Spears do extra well against all land-dwelling creatures, flying creatures, and undead but are not good against armored enemies.
  • Bows are extra effective against flyers with no stated downside.
  • Magic rods are extra effective against land walkers with no stated downside.

Swords being good against armor, even compared to spears, is a little backwards. I guess since you didn't put axes, maces, hammers, picks, or flails in here you had to put a bonus against armored foes somewhere. And of course, this also makes Blake's weapon of choice even more obviously useful than Joseph's, as if we didn't already have enough reasons to see him as the clearly superior warrior. I don't know why three of the four weapons are listed as effective against anything that walks on land (which is most things) and I think by the end of the demo we only barely get three characters. Next the old man rambles straight into "explaining" the elements.
Quote:
Fire, Ice, Water, Thunder, Earth, and Whind. Fire is best against Ice, Thunder is best against Water, Earth is best against whind and Vice versa.

This isn't entirely intuitive or clear at first blush, but I think it's saying that there's simply three elemental dualities.
* Fire is weak to Ice and Ice is weak to Fire. Neither is weak or resistant to Water?
* Water is weak to Thunder and Thunder is weak to Water. Neither has any interaction with Fire, Earth, or Wind then?
* Earth is weak to Wind, Wind is weak to Earth and also spelled incorrectly.

Honestly, there's a lot of needless redundancy there. I personally don't think Ice and Water should ever be separate elements unless you're making a joke game where part of the humor is that there are too many redundant elements (Ice, Water, Steam, Rock, Ground, Steel, Light, Lightning, Holy, Dark, Shadow, Wood, Paper, Plastic, Fire, Wind, Vacuum, Time, Space, Gravity); Ice and Water are literally the same substance, icicles and snowflake shuriken being two of the more obvious ways to inflict bodily damage with water (high pressure streams of water acting as a blade, huge crashing waves, and drowning being others; or inflicting frostburn with cold itself rather than strictly "ice").

The thing about direct elemental opposition (Fire vs Water, Earth vs Wind, and Light vs Darkness) is that while it can be intuitive, it's not interesting. It's always obvious what is the best or worst option at a given time, and a battle of two characters of opposing element isn't climactic or suspenseful: It's an anticlimax because victory basically goes to whoever hits first. When two opponents are mutually highly damaging to each other, this means nothing but quick victory or quick failure while mutual resistance means nothing but a long slog of weak traded blows.

Elemental triangles and quadrangles can get a little bit more interesting. Paper, Scissors, Rock or Sword, Spear, Axe or Fire, Water/Ice, Grass/Electricity are easy enough to explain. This also has a strong known quantity aspect to it, but can lead to a lot more interesting setups than dualistic oppositions. With four elements, you can vary up what all their resistances and weaknesses are and even make them intentionally not balanced or follow a strict pattern; maybe Fire or Ice is literally either the weakness of or resisted by absolutely everything while Earth is mostly neutral with one resistance and one weakness for example, showing the difference between volatile flames and reliable rocks. Or Earth has more resistances than it does weaknesses, but not many attacks based on it/most of its attack spells have poor accuracy or a high MP cost and not many things are explicitly weak to it. Maybe spears are good against swords in part because they both have moderate attack power but spears give a defensive boost, and axes are good against spears in part because they give an even bigger attack boost that overcomes this.

You could make a full eight elements as a simple ring of weaknesses (submarines are weak to skulls, skulls are weak to vacuum cleaners, vacuums are weak to rings, rings are weak to Ancient Egypt, Egypt is weak to light bulbs, light bulbs are weak to toads, toads are weak to drills, drills are weak to submarines) or you could do this for five or a hundred; it's usually nowhere near as logical a cycle when considered as a whole as a trio is. Sometimes a trio also makes no sense (Ice is weak to Fire can make sense, Fire is weak to Ice also makes sense when you remember Ice doubles as Water; Water shorts out Electric devices makes sense but so does the logic Water/Ice conducts electricity; fire beats electric only barely makes sense, electricity beats fire really doesn't make any sense at all but is still done simply because a three element triangle was decided upon first, then which three elements they'd be, and then they stopped at "fire melts ice" and had to fill in the gaps from there).

Whatever the case with elements, however, dualities are generally the least interesting in terms of gameplay, and the more elements you have in your game (any more than four or five) the more people will wonder why there aren't more interactions between various elements. The more pieces you have, the more you really need to consider how all these pieces interact.

Also in the library, NPCs tell me some treasure chests have monsters in them. One such treasure chest in the library contains two snakes and the battle backdrop from the forest outdoors. The library is full of narrow one-tile wide passages and has three NPCs set to "wander" but no pushability, which can lead to getting stuck easily.

In the cave, there are a bunch of decorative crystals strewn about. Black and Joseph won't even interact with these to comment that they're the wrong kind of crystal, impure, or that they don't look impressive so they want to go deeper to look for REALLY BIG crystals to impress their prospective new employer because they're reckless showoffs (that'd make sense, but nothing like this happens; they just have huge crystals which the characters ignore despite crystals being why they're here seemingly?).

Random battles inside the cave have two of the same monsters as outdoors (the small flying bugs immune to Joseph's sword and some snakes) but add a new enemy to replace the difficult trees: Rock monsters called "Earth Warriors" who are a set of red circles filled in with brown and an angry pair of eyes; they are immune to Blake's spear and only take 3 damage from Joseph's sword. After about a dozen turns, I give up on fighting one and just flee instead. Against things both characters can hit, Blake often does 2-3 times as much damage so this one enemy type being arbitrarily immune to his spear doesn't feel so good.

I find a single room almost completely covered in the decorative crystal tile and then Blake and Joseph have a conversation about how many there are, Joseph saying they should look for an extra large one to impress the bosses instead of just taking any old crystal. Grabbing such a crystal, a vaguely defined quadrupedal critter called a Death Hound shows up; despite looking to be made of the same material as an Earth Warrior, it is killable by Blake's spear (Blake does 7-10 damage per turn to it and Joseph only does 3-4).

On their way back from the cave, Joseph finds a broken sword laying in their path and picks it up. The two immediately feel ill and wind up inside a dimensional rift.

On the other side of the rift, the two are in a completely different forest featuring slightly worse-drawn trees (nice effort in making the two worlds different in some way rather than using the exact same deciduous trees in every forest of the game). This area has a monster called a Blob, which is like a gray snowman with a single burning red eye; it takes more than five or six attacks to kill, appears in groups of two, and shoots out fireballs for 25 HP each (the BOSS of the last area did 19 on a good hit).

The two find their way to an elf village where the first four NPCs you come across don't have any textboxes at all. The two aren't in any way surprised about or comment on seeing elves. Tunics are called "tonics" in the store. I buy spell crystals to teach the spells "Water" to deal with those fiery slimes and "Cure" to be able to heal without potions (yes I realized as I typed this that I went for water instead of ice to deal with the slimes...but it'd still have been neutral at least?), but neither character can use them; I buy a "small dagger" for Joseph which for some reason is an all around upgrade from his "small sword".

One elf woman complains that there's not enough clothing variety in Elf Town, basically wishing she could import exotic fashion from elsewhere. The mayor of the village sees the two boys wander in and sends them on a mission to rescue his daughter; she's a lumberjack who likes going out to harvest wood alone and refuses to take bodyguards even though she's the daughter of an important politician. Her name is Mya, and she'll be our third party member. The mayor also recognizes the broken sword as the Star Blade, likely part of the Golden Star that was talked about during the game's intro.

The mayor offers to fix the sword.

Since I'm not actually allowed to fight the Blobs, I decide to start just hitting F7 on the random battles. Every area has at least one random enemy too strong to be fun.

I find a cave full of lava that keeps flashing between dark orange with red airbrushed into it and hot pink with different pixels of red airbrushed into it. It's blocked off with invisible plot boulders that don't even activate on touch, but need to be checked. Emerging from the cave I find it was itself blocked out with OTHER invisible plot boulders that were touch-activated, but I accidentally walked around them because I was slightly off center from the drawn road pathway.

I eventually find my way to the forest Mya is lost in and start encountering Mousers, the blue mice on the game's example screenshot. They have somewhere around 60-70 HP, not bad for a simple mouse.

Joseph and Blake pick up a woodcutting axe off the ground after solving a maze, use it to chop down the one tree that has a red trunk instead of a brown one, and then the axe instantly breaks. Both heroes are level 13 but neither learns a single "Ability" or "Soldier" skill, apparently all of it is set to learned from items; you can't get enough money and "Level 1 scrolls" as the required item trade in the first area to get them the Beam spell reliably, then you go through a one way portal, and then you've got a town where there's a bunch of spells for sale but no indication of who can learn what.

Mya is an elf who looks to have a red shirt and blue overalls. She's arguing with a single talking tree to gather lumber instead of chopping down any of the hundreds of trees near her village that comprised the tree maze the other heroes just navigated over the past 25 minutes.

Mya wields an axe in battle. Why were axes not discussed in the weapon effectiveness lecture earlier? Was Mya an archer in an earlier draft of the game simply because she was an elf, then changed to an axewoman when she was written to also be a lumberjack? She also begins knowing the Fire spell, which I'm pretty sure the other two aren't allowed to learn even if I bought it; that would've been a real slap in the face to pay for that spell only to not be able to use it. The evil tree, seemingly, turns into a giant green ghost blob when fought.

I teach Mya the spells Water and Cure...and she can't use Cure outside of battle. This is something I'll never understand: Battle-only healing magic (both in terms of game design and what it means in-universe). Turns out the slime monsters I wanted an attack spell specifically to deal with are immune to both Fire and Water. Not only can Cure not be used outside of battle...it inflicts very small amounts of damage (about 6) while healing potions recover about 200.

Shops give no money back if I buy the wrong spell gem or buy two copies of it hoping more than one character can learn. In the end, Joseph learns to steal and an attack called "Focus" that is supposed to heal HP, but I don't trust it. Blake learns SpearThrow and Mya learns Cure, Fire, Water, Ice, and Rock - there's another spell I would want to teach her, but there's no availability for "level three spell scroll" as a required trade in yet.

Defeat of the forest boss is about as far as I've ever gotten. I don't remember the volcano at all, but it's apparently our next destination. Hopefully having a mage means we can actually deal with fiery monsters now. Joseph and Blake have grown to about 300 max HP so 25 HP attacks aren't doing much to them anymore, but their offenses still mean they only do at most 30 damage against a monster specially vulnerable to their weapon type (read: Blake stabbing something that flies, like an insect).

And then as it happens, every end I can make it to is a dead end. No end of demo message; there's a tree south of elf town blocking the road, but it doesn't even interact with Mya in the party. There's an invisible barrier in the volcano with no way to remove it and an NPC who tells me that there's a flame somewhere OUTSIDE the volcano that needs to be extinguished.

I guess rating this a 1/5 wasn't too harsh of past me after all, whenever it was I did that.
_________________
"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 Sep 22, 2020 7:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ronin Catholic
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Joined: 23 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Geo Crystal
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=43
Another one that I'm going into blind. Description says that the game has been canceled and the credits are basically all that's in it, so I guess I'll give it a try.

The game starts with a title screen, then the username of the person who made the game. Both are readable.

We then get an animation of a man in a green jacket with a sword slung across his back looking at the camera and shaking his head violently. He animates between various walkabout sprites to pull out his sword and attack a slime, look into the background and watch a castle be destroyed by a fireball from the sky, and so on.

The first credit we get is a music credit, but there is no music on the title screen or during this intro animation. After about a minute of being paused on the music credit, the character starts moving again. The maptiles for this intro/credits cutscene are pretty good; a bright blue sky with big puffy white clouds. The sky is only a single shade of blue and the clouds are only white with no silver lining, but they're shaped pleasantly enough. We see some distant mountains, forests, a castle, etc.

Having completed the credits, the character asks "Wow, don't you just love those Credics?" Honestly, I don't really. Jump cut to the hero not having his sword, walking down a hundred foot long hallway inside his house, stopping in the livingroom, and then he stops and the camera follows a woman walk down a separate sixty foot long hallway as he says "Finally, this is the day to get my father's sword".

Despite Phil looking to be in his late 20s, he is described as 13. His mom says he's too young for his (dead) father's sword and hands him a pot of throwing rocks to fight monsters with instead; so she doesn't mind him going around and getting into fights so long as he uses an ineffective weapon? When he whines, she capitulates and immediately gives him the sword, thus proving he is too immature for the blade and that she isn't strict enough.

Phil has been having nightmares about himself being his father's murderer, guilty over his death. His mother sends him to talk to the "Geo-Docter".

Outside of the house, the town finally starts up some music...basic free music from the engine. Why is there a music man in the credits again? Nothing at all played during your credits sequence or the "tense" "dramatic" "serious" scene of a family grief-stricken over their dead patriarch and the passing down of the family weapon.

There is a huge section of grass walled off so that we can watch NPCs run a scripted race.

Grass is a few shades of green airbrushed together, bricks are bright red rectangles with white mortar and no shading or tone variance, roofs are a three shade brown gradient with dark on the bottom and light on the top. Trees have tiny stems regardless of their overall height, varying from 2 through 5 tiles tall. The trees are shaded, the rightmost 2 pixels of the leaves all the way down are a shade or two darker than the rest of the leaves.

I find a bald man who is wearing a shirt reminiscent of Charlie Brown's.

I find a shop where all weapons, armor, and consumable attack items are given away for free. One NPC asks "Do you want to know what I.P. means?" but no choice box appears, he just asks this question over and over; Phil won't answer him. All shields drop Attack by 5 (is the logic that you'll use the weapon two-handed if you don't have a shield?); Phil's default weapon the Red Gem is labeled as giving +2 attack while the Green Gem is labeled as giving +5 attack; however, both have the same actual attack power.

While the shops give me an infinite supply of everything for free, they still pay me the default price for anything I want to sell them. I get myself about 8x my starting money, 69 each of all four types of grenade, and enough full sets of the strongest armor for a full party of additional heroes. Another shop gives me one each of two "summons" and as many potions as I want. I buy a considerable stock of both the small and large healing potions. One of my "summon" items is labeled "Vincet" and claims to summon a "Theife"; if equipped, it will give -20 to ATK and +1 to the Hits stat (excellent for a thief or someone who relies on items to attack, not so good on anyone using physical strength).

I find another Charlie Brown standing next to the town gate. He asks me if the town is great, I say it is and he tells me he's the mayor and gives "+5 IP in Plain Luck" whatever that's supposed to mean.

The overworld map plays another default OHRRPGCE song ("I'll Wander the World"). Again, the credit with top billing here was "Music" but so far no indoor places or cutscenes have used music, the town and overworld use free music packed with the editor. The tiles for the overworld look alright enough; the sandy yellow coasts are gradient shaded, but they blink their outermost edges on and off to simulate waves covering the sand. I walk into a lone, empty house on the overworld and when I step out, it teleports me to the door of Phil's house.

Phil's shirt is the same green as the majority of the overworld grass tile.

That lone, empty house? It was apparently the Geo Doctor (so he's spelled correctly now?) but he isn't there.

That took a little longer than I'd expect from the description. Another case of a game with misplaced effort; there's a bunch of weapons and armor, but the shops are broken. There's random battles to fight, at least, but they're not interesting because you can easily afford infinite regular grenades, fire grenades, ice grenades, and lightning grenades. These apparently aren't even consumed when activated; had I stuck with just 1 of each I'd still have had infinite use of them.

All the work went into animating the intro cutscene/credits, and even that wasn't done especially well. The example screenshot shows a party of three heroes, but you can't get the other two in the final version.

Force of Evil
http://www.castleparadox.com/gamelist-display.php?game=42
Filename: SHIT.RPG; this could either be really fun or really awful with a name like that.

Our title screen has a badly drawn blobby figure holding a cropped photo of a real pistol badly pointed at the disembodied photograph of a boy's head while having the cropped photo of a different boy's head on his own shoulders. Heart of Darkness.BAM plays in the background.

Music changes to Humoresque No. 1 and the boy with the gun proclaims the head to be a creature from the forces of evil, calls him shit, and shoots him in the forehead. As the head starts oozing purple blood, he turns around and walks away; the head, as it sits there slowly dying, has time to say this story has no moral, so says don't do drugs. Credits roll, and every credit goes to Super Nerd. Return to title screen.

Why was this brought over from Operation:OHR while Smashing Adventure and a couple other games with actual substance were left behind? It's not even funny.
_________________
"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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