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A nearly perfect action RPG?

Introduction
Every time I decided I should put an hour or two into Dragon Age Origins, I decided I wanted to play this more. Every time I decided I should play Alter Aila Genesis a second try, I decided I wanted to play this more. That’s the kind of thing that you’ll find yourself doing on a constant basis until you beat this game.

This 6+ year old game is a true gem that was recently uploaded to the site. While it will surely not attract the attention it deserves, due to the much more acclaimed sequels, it is an experience that any rm developer should not miss out on. This game has its faults, but despite these problems, the good far outweighs the bad.

Plot and Dialogue 3.5/5
It’s easy to forget the problems with the dialogue in this game for two reasons: one of which being that the game is old and the developer was pretty young when he made it, and secondly, the overarching story helps you to get over the horrible lack of grammar and punctuation. While it can be an eye sore reading through some of it, you’re never left with the question, “what the hell is this person trying to say?”.

As for the content of the dialogue, there is some really cheesy stuff going on. There is a love story at the center of the conflict, and as a player, you really want to be drawn into it. Unfortunately, this arc is hindered by the awkward spouts between the characters of Ron and Julie, and we’re ultimately left to wonder just how much they really care for one another. The same issue occurs with Ron’s confrontation with the baddies. The awkwardness of the dialogue is too clear to really feel what we know we’re supposed to.

Where this category is saved is in its story. Moam is not afraid to throw everything at us at any given time. This is NOT a happy story, and with all the terrible things happening to the protagonist throughout the game, it becomes even easier to forgive the awkward dialogue (the guy is probably in shock for like 90% of the game or more, for crying out loud!). Anyone faced with these situations would probably be very emotional, and end up saying really stupid things left and right without any real thought. It kind of even makes the whole romance part make sense. Who would want to be lonely when everyone around you is dead or dying? Anyways, despite my quarrels, I bought it, for the sake of the overall story progression.

The story is full of twists and turns, and each chapter of the game (there are 18 in all) progresses the story at a perfect pace. Each one takes between 5-15 minutes to complete, and while there are a good amount of cutscenes in each, the game is never filled with too many of them to be overbearing on gameplay.

Graphics 4/10
While the graphic design of the areas of this game are not beautiful, they are definitely fitting for the style of gameplay. It’s all very straight forward from start to finish, and you are never really left wondering where to go or what to do next (which in this case is a GOOD thing).

The layouts of each area varies ever so slightly, but even a pitiful little log can drastically change the difficulty of defeating your enemies on the map. It really feels perfect, and we’re not distracted by pretty chipsets or beautifully constructed objects along the way )which would surely get us killed at the fast rate we’re meant to kill things at).

There are also a few extra graphical goodies along the way that really give the game some punch. In the top corner of your screen you have your character’s display menu, showing your equipped weapon and item (which each have a button to switch things around). Near the end of the game, there is a giant (lizard) thing that is stepping around you, forcing you to be careful where you walk for fear of being stepped on. It looks like it was made in paint, but it was a nice addition nonetheless. In the end, it feels like Moam outdid himself making sure that everything fit with the gameplay, no matter how ugly some of the smaller maps needed to be to cater to your battling.

Sound 5/5
Some of it I recognized, some of it I didn’t. It’s all very standard RM fare, but it is all used to the best effect.

The music changes every time there is a change in mood, at the perfect time, no less. I can actually remember thinking, “here comes the music change”, and it happened. You know how invested a creator is when he or she pays attention to such minute details, and Moam does this constantly throughout.

The real success in sound comes from the use of sound effects. Never once did I strike at a enemy without hearing my slash, and with the number of times I hit the attack button, I was definitely expecting to hear some glitching silences. Nope, none here. Again, these are really little things that actually make a huge difference in how you’re playing the game. I used the sounds as a signal for how long each weapon takes before you can slash again (once I came to trust that they worked perfectly), and that in itself is a huge accomplishment.

Gameplay 4.5/5
There is no way around it, this is the best action battle system of any RM game I’ve ever played. Ron seems to understand that by standing in one spot to fight enemies, you’re bound to get unlucky at some point. No, for Ron, he sees the necessity to move around and slash THROUGH his enemies, giving himself some space before turning back and beginning the next assault! To describe it a little more succinctly, you press the action button and a direction, and Ron speeds up and slashes forward, never getting stuck on his enemies or completely cornered.

The level up system is amazing as well. Each chapter ends with a visit to the upgrade map, where you can choose new abilities or additions for Ron. There are HP bonuses, attack ups, magic spells, special abilities, alchemy skills, and more along the way. You would have to look really hard to find a better system.

A word of warning, the game is really hard and unforgiving. Luckily, moam has placed save points at all of the most crucial areas in the game. We’re also never forced to watch 10 minute cutscenes, only to lose at a big battle and have to watch it over again. There are some really crazy gameplay areas and traps towards the end of the game as well, with a few sprinkled throughout the rest as well. Overall, the level of difficulty rises very steadily and allows you to get used to each new game mechanic that is introduced.

There are two issues I had with the gameplay that have commonly broken gameplay (again, not a terrible thing because the save points are so frequent, but it definitely holds the game back from perfection). The first problem comes when you have multiple party members following you around in the end chapters of the game. You get stuck, a lot, and are forced to quit and restart from the last checkpoint. It’s not a huge lost given how frequently you get to save, but it is quite annoying after winning a big battle. The second bug happens on the third map of chapter 16. There are two enemies that run from you really quickly, and your life seems to drain in 4-5 seconds, giving you pretty much no time to kill them. This is the one instance in the game where I had to cheat. And while it is still possible to get past this part without cheating, I’m 100% sure that no one will ever want to. For that reason, I recommend playing this in the actual engine, so you can make quick changes if need be.

Might I also add, the final battle was simply fantastic!

Replay Value 5/5
I’ve never included this category in my reviews before, but I feel it is necessary for this game. Perfectionists will want to play this through at least twice, as you can level up your character to be a beefed up powerhouse, or an incredibly awesome mage. Also, in place of a long ending that we probably wouldn’t care about anyway, you have options of how to restart your next playthrough (such as keep all weapons and items, 100 bonus experience, etc).

Overall 22/25
This is a great game, and I can’t believe it has taken moam so long to upload it to the internet. The sequels must be incredible, given that he was somewhat hesitant to show this one off. I recommend this to anyone, whether you like action RPGs or not, as it serves as a fine lesson for what can be accomplished on this old, decrepit, 2k3 engine. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go try out these apparently superior sequels.

Posts

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chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
Congratulations for cheating only once! Now that you mention the "replay value", I think i'll try it again and maybe manage better.
Great review.

Thanks, I pretty much suped up strengthwise on the right side of the level up area before moving anywhere else. It also helps to try and kill every enemy you can. I also died a lot, but it's just one of those games that I never got too frustrated with no matter how often it happened.
i am wondering if we played the same game, it's almost in the same league as demon destiny in terms of ABS drunkenness.
chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
Maybe be a little more explicit....?
(By the way, thanks, downloading Demon destiny this minute!)
In facr, that last game which i played and liked is very different from Land of the dead!
@sbester :so moam still hasn't seen that review..........its really quite something, in particular what you say about music! I suppose i had to cheat too much (and that's where cheating ruins a game) to notice. It would seem an extra-ordinarily well nitted (with the tremendoud work it must imply) sort of action rpg.
I'm not a maker (or nothing to mention), so even if i played it though not all the way through, i don't pick up that quickly that kind of thind, even though i found it great! I definitely have to replay it!
I've yet to play demon destiny, although I joined this community right around the time of its creator's mental breakdown (multiple personality syndrome?). I do have to say though, with this game, I felt in complete control of my character during battles at all times. I kept expecting to have issues with speed ups and downs, or random other problems that just never seemed to materialize.
@chana: If you can make it through without cheating, I recommend it. After a few HP upgrades it gets much easier. I've played a lot of action battle systems on RM before this one, and I loved that this one is simple yet so very different and functional.
So happy to read this and I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! This was unexpected! Thanks a TON for writing the review. I look forward to hearing what you think on sequels 2 and 3! 4 will be coming out soon. And that will be unlike any of the other games.
Link_2112
Do you wanna be the lover of another, undercover you could even be the man on the moon.
5890
I saw this review and decided to play the game. While it is playable and does a few things rights, the bad outweighs the good. This is not a 4.5 star game, sorry, it's more of a 2 or 2.5, which is average. Like this game. There is no polish here. Everything is the basic form of a good idea. It's not visually pleasing at all. The way things are presented to the player seems sloppy. This whole game feels awkward to play.

It doesn't matter that the person made it when they were young. It's a good game for a young kid, but it doesn't deserve a 4.5/5. I didn't get too far in this game. Nothing about it is cohesive or makes me want to play at all. I would have played more of this game 10 years ago. In fact this review feels like it was written 10 years ago, when standards were lower. If someone wants to send me a savefile further into the game with more interesting levels, interesting monsters, and skills that attack in a different way I would be happy to play. But based on the first part of this game, I would NOT recommend it to anyone. This is clearly a starter game and my main point is that this does not deserve the inflated rating. I'm not asking you to change it, I'm not going to write my own review, I'm just letting people know the truth about this game.

Warning: This review does not reflect the true nature of the game. Reader beware.

Plot and Dialogue 3.5/5
This is pretty important to the overall appeal of a game. This game doesn't do well in this area. Terrible pacing, cut scenes with no text that are of no importance, old dwarf men talking like teenagers...
Graphics 4/10
This is more forgivable in a game but again, it's not done well. The graphics are all over the place and some are downright awful.
Sound 5/5
Really? There is Chrono Trigger and FF(9?) in the first 10 minutes of the game. There is nothing inspiring about the sound/music of this game. It's seems to be mostly RTP and common rips.
Gameplay 4.5/5
I was hoping there would be something cool here to make sense of this statement
author=sbester
There is no way around it, this is the best action battle system of any RM game I’ve ever played.

but all I can say is that you need to play more ABS games made in 2k3. http://rpgmaker.net/games/2858/ (NOTE: only 4 stars)
The way you dash around does somewhat solve the issue with the hit detection issues in 2k3 but it's not enjoyable. It makes battles more tedious because you need room to attack so you spend most of your time walking in circles to get a good shot at the enemy. It creates a new problem that is worse that what was trying to be solved.
Replay Value 5/5
No comment.
Overall 22/25
I just don't see how this adds up, figuratively and literally (I get 22/30)
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3240
Did someone say deceptive reviews?
Link_2112:
And that is why I didn't post this game until 5 years later. Because I know its honestly not all that great. But I am glad that some people can enjoy it, I s'pose.

The way I see it...at least I'm trying things beyond the basic, bland, boring battle system. I encourage everyone who finds these types of games fun to try Under World 3. It is my greatest work yet. And there is a 4th one on the way as well...about as polished as an action-rpg will come on RPG Maker XP. Stay tuned.
chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
author=Link_2112
Warning: This review does not reflect the true nature of the game. Reader beware.

wtf..................................???
WARNING : This is not a mine field, only a rpgmaker game.
Link_2112
Do you wanna be the lover of another, undercover you could even be the man on the moon.
5890
I'm simply disagreeing with this review having so many stars. The game is being presented as a masterpiece when it's a just a mediocre game made a long time ago. It's nothing against the game or the developer but 4.5 is extreme for a game like this if the rating system is taken seriously. If you compare games with a similar score there is a certain level of quality expected in the game. This doesn't stand up to serious 4star games. It's not meant to be a top notch game. It's an early attempt at game making or even a prototype. It seemed to be glitch free, there were some human errors, but the system works so good job with that.

I was browsing the Games section for new games and came across this title. I opened the gamepage, looked at the stats, and read the review; it sounded spectacular! So I download it and start playing...it's a dud. I was deceived by this review so I am sharing my experience. You don't have to agree with me but others might.

I came across the game in passing and I've left my comments. There is no reason to stick around to argue ^.^ I will be interested to see how your newer projects turn out now.

Sailerius
did someone say angels
3240
In that case, I think I'll give it a try.
Link_2112:
No biggie dude. I understand where you're coming from. I honestly didn't expect many people to enjoy this one which is why I chose not to upload it at first. I appreciate your honesty though.
@Link:
I had more fun with it than any rm game I've played in a long, long time. It's simply my opinion. Trying to prove that my opinion is completely invalid or that I'm lying (when I beat the game and you played all of ten minutes of it) is just silly, as is the idea that your opinion is truth and mine is utter fabrication. I backed up my opinions as best I could in the review, and would advise others to do the same, whether they agree with me or not.
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