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Sacred Reviews: Caldesian Dreams (Early Alpha Demo)


In some ways I imagine it will be impossible for me to be more critical of "Caldesian Dreams" than Billwilliams, it's developer. This is because this RPG with random encounters is considered by it's own creator to be an epic failure. In fact, the only reason the demo is still available is so it can serve as an example of things first time developers shouldn't do which is something I can respect, but it doesn't make the demo itself any better.


You play as a ragtag group of Drow and Half-Drow slaves that are trying to escape their cruel master to varying degrees of success. Some of these escapees decide to team up with a local resistance group while others are hoping to find one of the few remaining free towns willing to accept them. A prospect that will require them to travel both far and wide. Of course, to make things even harder your cruel master has a lot of power and influence and has an army of guards out there looking for anyone that escapes as well as to find and enslave more Drow and Half-Drow for his benefit.

And while all of that is going on even more forces are waiting in the wings to act in the future. Albeit the demo cuts well before any of these other factions can be brought up.

Greatest Strength/Weaknesses

On the plus side the game does try to aid in some humor to add a bit of levity to the situation the player's characters are in. Though the quality of this humor is rather dubious in my opinion with some of the jokes relying on certain characters being absolutely obsessed with mushrooms or drugs. So even this aspect of the game might be seen as a weakness by some.

Though I'd say the most obvious problem with this game's narrative is the epic scale the developer wanted to initially work with. The early alpha demo takes around 45 to 60 minutes to complete in my experience and is meant to represent about 1/20th of the game according to the developer. In other words this project was intended to be around 15 to 20 hours long. And this is an issue since this was Billwilliams first project and in my experience such lengthy first time projects tend to fail due to the developer eventually losing interest because they underestimated how long it would take to develop such a game.

Another issue in my opinion is that the game tries to be edgy by having the characters use rather coarse language.

This can work at times, but in excess it becomes annoying. Sort of like when a kid's cartoon falls back on potty humor to save itself. Eventually it gets old so it's best to use this sort of stuff sparingly if your going to use it at all in my experience.


The game relies entirely on the default combat system that comes with RPG Maker 2003 as far as I can tell. As such, I don't have that much to say about that probably hasn't been said before at this point. To make matters worse it's pretty obvious that Billwilliams wasn't aware of just how slow the ATB system in RPG Maker 2003 is by default. So combat in this game is rather slow with the player spending large amounts of time just waiting for their bar to fill on their various characters in combat.


The game use a combination of the RTP for RPG Maker 2003, edits to said RTP, and a few assets that were most likely found online. And this has led to a game that feels a bit disjointed in it's visual presentation.

Admittedly some of those issues are a byproduct of the demo using placeholder assets in certain locations, but some of them are unavoidable in my opinion even the developer had finished all of the graphical assets up to this point in the game.

Though I imagine most would argue the game's biggest graphical issues are a byproduct of the game's questionable mapping.

As you can see the above map includes seemingly poisonous swamp water, a graveyard, and a bunch of random objects strewn about the ground to help fill in any potential empty spaces. On the plus side this is somewhat better in my opinion than "The Novelist" where there are groups of 35 or more tiles of the same type next to each other. At the same time this random assortment of dead trees, living trees, and corpses makes for a world that feels like it was slapped together with little concern for the area your traversing since a lot of these objects were seemingly chosen at random. To make matters worse this large map also contains sections of clean blue water as well. So it's not clear if were traveling through a healthy forest or a deadly swamp.


As far as I remember the game relies entirely on the RTP for this aspect, but I'll admit I'm writing this review a few days after beating the demo. So it might contain a few songs lifted from other video games as well. After all, that's pretty common when it comes to games made with this engine in my experience. At this point I couldn't tell you how many games I've seen made with RPG Maker 2000 or 2003 that utilize assets from the Final Fantasy or Breath of Fire games for the NES or SNES consoles.


"Caldesian Dreams" is a project that was cancelled a long time ago that suffers from a multitude of issues. Though almost all of those problems fall underneath the heading of beginner's mistakes in my opinion. Which is something the developer agrees with which is why this project is still available for first time creators to learn from. Though the likelihood a first time game maker will play this game before diving into a project that is just as likely doomed to fail is pretty small in my opinion. Especially as this projects gets pushed ever further back into obscurity by the emergence of new games. After all, how many oddballs like myself are willing to dig through the archives to look for old projects to review or play?