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Beyond the Gates Lies a Story to be Told

  • ZPE
  • 09/01/2011 07:34 PM
Beyond the Gate is a RPG Maker 2003 game made by Sam for the 2011 RMN Summer Games contest.

It follows the life of Claire, a young woman who struggles with living with terminal cancer. As you play through the game, you play as Claire facing her fears which physically manifest themselves as ghostly entities. The game doesn’t really focus on the illness at hand and chooses to follow a much more general theme much to it’s benefit.

In order to overcome Claire’s fears, you have to defeat them in turn-based battles which are carried out using the default RPG Maker 2003 engine. Enemies are encountered on-screen and they re-appear after defeating them if you leave the current map. You can choose not to fight the monsters although it makes compulsory fights much more difficult – probably impossible. However, thanks to save points fully healing you, you shouldn’t have a problem with normal battles.

There is a fair bit of grinding that needs to be done as the boss fights can very difficult without doing so and the numerous enemies scattered across rooms suggests this. Most of the skills (or techniques) in this game aren’t very effective or have a reason to be used at all. For example, there’s a skill called “Assertion” which is meant to lower enemy defence but it always fails. The only skill that had any use was ‘Self Esteem’ which increased my defence and made fights much easier.


Rest ‘assured’ victory will be yours


After gaining a couple of levels, I did not learn any new skills which I found disappointing. All battles consisted of either attacking flat-out or using Self Esteem then constantly hitting the attack button. Having only one or two different common enemies to fight didn’t make this any better.

Although this game is a short game, there is still room for customisation. You can buy stat-specific items which permanently raise your stats. I spent all my money on attack and defence-enhancing items which made the remainder of the game trouble-free. There is only one weapon you can buy which is the best weapon in the game although the icon used to show if a weapon improves the character’s stats is vague.

As I walked around as Claire, I couldn’t help but notice the jerky action in her movement as though there’s a missing frame in there somewhere. However, in battles, the animations were smooth and much easier on the eyes than RTP battlers. I didn’t feel like you were walking through larger areas of empty space and there were plenty of objects spread across to enhance each setting. There were a few issues with movement passability along with the game commenting on a bed when facing the wall. These weren’t major shortcomings which hindered the game in anyway.


The ceiling fan animation in the hospital was a nice touch


The slow-paced, relaxing music in this game fits in really nicely with the theme the game is trying to convey.

Beyond the Gate sets a compelling story and it paces itself nicely until the end. Battles can do with a bit of spicing up as well as making more skills useful but overall it was a good forty minutes of game-play.

Posts

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Thank you for the honest review. I agree several improvements could be made to the battle system, whether it be adjusting it and adding more varied skills, or replacing it entirely.

You have pointed out some shortcomings I had not considered, for example, talking about the bed when facing a wall could have been fixed numerous ways. Note to self: More testers than myself and my other half are required in future.

I'm glad you enjoyed it overall though.
It was a pleasure to review such a game. One thing I left out was the puzzles in your game or lack of. I think there was one although it was quite straight forward. Not sure if more puzzles would've improved the game though. Anyway, a good game I wouldn't mind playing again if an update's released in the future. ;)
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