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Glory(?) of Theseus

Alrighty. This is probably the worst review score I've given yet, as I am usually pretty lenient on my scoring (I regret giving One Night At The Steeze as "low" a score as I did, to be honest...). That said, I don't wanna rip into a game that won't take more than like 5 or 6 minutes to play very hard.

As it were, I was a huge fan of Greek myth back in the day. It's the only mythology I really have learned much of (though I am trying to learn Egyptian myth these days, due to my reverence for their deities). Seeing a game, even one made for a Greek Myth class in school, seemed pretty dang neat. I dig RPGs that aren't the generic medieval fantasy setting; whether Phantasy Star's science-fantasy, Fallout's somewhat gonzo post-apocalyptic world with vibes of a retro-future before the Great War, and in this case Glory of Heracles' revisionist Greece in the Bronze Age.

Without further ado, this is mostly just gonna be my suggestions to the dev for future projects in case they wanna make more RPG Maker MV (or whichever version) games. In the hopes they didn't pirate their copy, it'd be a shame to waste even a discounted version on just one short game, especially one that could use polish. Then again, this was ALSO made in 24 hours, so uh...

...I'mma just get to the review. Savvy?

In true NES-style fashion, there is pretty much no backstory to this one outside the existing myth of Theseus. As it so happens, Theseus is my favorite Greek hero; he reminded me of an old childhood friend of mine, and I dug how he was both smart and strong.

Pretty much, the game dumps you right where Theseus is about to meet his father, the king of Athens. When you arrive at his palace, there is trouble among the wandering youths, and before long Theseus must go to Crete to slay the Minotaur among the other unfortunate youths of Athens.

The Pros
For one, the graphics are legit. They fit the ancient Greek theme pretty well, and hey, the dev also used 8-bit assets for RPG Maker MV! That's a plus in my book; could've just used the default assets, even though I don't know how accurately they could depict Greek architecture for the palace nor classical Greek tunics and helmet. Also, they seem to be based off sprites from Earthbound Beginnings (also known as Earthbound Zero or MOTHER 1 before the official English release). :D

In addition to this, the background music fits the 8-bit style, and are a decent loop for each. Also, for the game's only battle against the Minotaur, there is a pretty good sprite for the bull-man that fits the 8-bit style and palette limitations well.

It's a hit-or-miss for some, I'm sure, but even the forward-facing sprites seem decent too. Tells me I could create something akin to an old CRPG (such as Ultima, or even many roguelikes with graphics beyond ASCII symbols) with the same style of sprites and have it work even in the modern day. Even the menus seem legit, despite it being unfortunate that MV's menus are coded to be translucent graphics, maybe even hard-coded. I haven't fiddled enough with MV yet to see if there's a way to make them non-translucent, whether with a plugin or messing with the default coding otherwise.

The Cons
Some are nitpicks, while others are likely shortcomings given the 24-hour span of the game's creation. I'll cover my personal gripes first.

I feel a lot more could've been done to lead up to a more climactic battle against the monstrous villain through game mechanics. I'm not sure if they'd be viable given the myth of Theseus, but meh. Theseus' sword has no description, for one; I wish it had flavor text that mentioned he got 'em out from under the rock, alongside his sandals, which he could only attain when he grew old and strong enough to move the big ol' rock covering them at the start of his mythical quest.

Also, granted that the only item in-game other than his sword is Ariadne's Thread, there is really no other use for a lot of the menus. I know in RMMV that you can choose which menus you want to have accessible, and most of them are useless (especially Formation) for this sort of project. Also, TP was listed despite it going unused -- another thing that can be disabled in-editor.

What really ground my gears was the anticlimax of the Minotaur battle. Theseus has no Skills (despite being listed to know "Magic" as a skill slot), and the battle is nothing but RNG; literally just holding down the "confirm" key of your choice and seeing if our hero survives. It's not too tricky, however. I messed up and picked Guard the first time and died from not hitting the Minotaur enough (the beast dodging one of Theseus' strikes nonwithstanding). The second time, however, I lucked out and one of the Minotaur's swings missed; I was able to kill him with some HP to spare.

For whatever reason, the Minotaur gave out XP, and Theseus leveled up after. As mentioned in the description for this game, if you beat the Minotaur, it's evented to just spit out "The End" and return you to the title screen.

...uh. Also the sound effects are MV default assets, as is the "you died" fanfare and Game Over screen. A bit jarring. :x

Overall Thoughts
I'm not just doing this review for the Makerscore, believe me. I said I would play it, and I did. As this is the dev's first game here, I figure I may as well commend them for their efforts for a 24-hour development process. So, congratulations for your work.

I'd actually love to see more of what the creator can do. Maybe other games that cover the whole of a Greek myth, if they felt so inclined? A game based off the Twelve Labors of Heracles could be awesome, especially if done in a similar fashion. And hey, they got retro assets to work well in MV, and I definitely feel more confident to experiment with similar ideas myself because of this project.

Overall though? Needs polish, but I don't think the creator was trying to make anything more amazing than a game-based representation for a class project on Greek mythology. It is what it is, and it gets the job done even if lackluster compared to other games. But hey, it's short, and there are no game-crashing bugs or typos, et cetera.

Anyway. I'm good. Hope to see more from the developer someday. I'd definitely play and review their work, and try to offer any advice I could if they needed it.


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Thanks so much! Honestly I didn't expect this tiny game to ever get a review, so thanks for putting in the time to write it. And I'm glad you caught the Earthbound Beginnings influence!

Also, if you ever want to experiment with 8-bit style assets in MV, all you need to do is upscale them to 3x their original size and they work perfectly. For the menus you only need to upscale them 2x, for some reason. For the font I would recommend the Victor Engine Sfonts plugin; otherwise the font will be fuzzy, even if it is a pixelated font. And with that plugin you get to make your own font, which is always fun. Come to think of it, I don't think I credited Victor for his plugins; I'd better do that right now. And I'm sure there's some plugin that makes the windows non-transparent, but I haven't found it yet.
In all fairness, bird shrapnel isn't as deadly as wood shrapnel
Not a problem, Thighbone. I'm sorry the score sucks; I don't like giving out bad reviews, as I'd mentioned in this one. But yeah, I'm glad you appreciate this nevertheless.

For 8-bit graphics, I'd actually fiddled with upscaling such graphics on my Photoshop clone of choice. Thank you greatly for the font plugin suggestion too; was a huge frustration to try and get custom fonts to work on RPG Maker. ^^;
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