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Dream on!

Hello players!
Today I'm going to play a pretty old game: Darkflamewolf's Land of Dreams, made with the glorious Rpgmaker2000 in 2005, even if it was uploaded here in more recent times. This is the second game made by this developer, and it takes about 6/7 hours to complete, I can also tell you that this is an old-styled rpg game not unlike some old classics I loved, such as Three the Hard Way, Legend of Heroen, the Sword and the Fish, and especially a game I reviewed some yeard ago, Legend of Shenja - Genesis Innocens. These are all long and complete fantasy rpgmaker games, but this last one, probably for the predominance of RTPs, reminds to me of Land of Dreams.
Not that's a bad thing, just a choice (I mean since the battle screen uses a first person view there is no need for battlers, nor there are special poses of the charsets, for this reason using edits or non-Rtp characters would have be simple, but I guess that being the second game of the developer, probably the decision was to stick to the classic characters).

And this is just the beginning! Let's go Robert, we're going on an adventure

In this game we play as Robert, a rather average guy with an average name that works as a mercenary for a group of elite bounty hunters named the Tora. As you can probably expect all starts with a classic mission, a typical mercenary job, but the events will lead Robert to fight for the destiny of the world against terrible evil creatures and people, including a classic megalomaniac leader of an evil empire. Nothing new (do the words "Final Fantasy" tell you anything?), but it's ok, these are the heroic tales we like to play, isn't it?

Now, I already said that this was going to be a really old classic rpgmaker game, so you probably know that this means one particular thing that I often said to despise: the frequent random battles. This game makes no difference, and while this makes levelling up a pleasure, this also makes navigating maps and exploring locations a real pain. Maybe it's less painful for some old-time players like myself, that are used to these old mechanics, the problem is that I've experienced them used a bit better (less intense, I mean) in other games.

There is a village, a medieval city, a desert city, a snowlands city... so why not an oriental city too?

As you can probably expect, Robert is not a loner but he will travel with a team of allies (just like in Final Fantasy, of course), even if the active party will always include just four party members. And here there is the first problem: talking to people around, you can discover some people that will join your team but this will happens automatically. This means that they immediately agree and enter the active party, sending one of the active characters to Robert's home (and that means backtracking, luckily later you get an airship for fast travelling, of course). And no, you cannot avoid this in any way (annoying, since games like Onyx and sequel has a neat system to manage the party just checking and using an item in the inventory, and Onyx is another old rpgmaker2000 game).
It's also important noting that in a couple of situations (one in the final parts of the game) you will be forced to use ALL characters, so it's pretty much obligatory to level up and upgrade each of them.

Another problem I had with the characters is that they're not as well characterize as those of other similar games (like Three the Hard Way or Total Chaos, where the party members really interact among themselves, enriching the adventures of the protagonist), since they're briefly introduced and BAM! They're stuck in our team forever, but there aren't many interesting exchanges or dialogues.

Lots of battles are included, from standard enemies, boss battles and... dragon hunting! Ouch, poor Marie!

For what concerns combat, you can expect the classic rpgmaker2000 game with standard attacks and spells and special abilities that cost MP points, nothing new. The problem is that the game begins with really difficult encounters, and mercifully later it gets better with the introductions of useful items, especially tents, that are much more convenient and effective than other consumables. Anyway if normal battles later are easy, bosses (some obligatory and others optional) are another matter, because some of them have really powerful abilities... but IF you are lucky they will not use them (this was typical of older rpgmaker games like Three the Hard way) and that's it. I mean, no matter what, if you have but luck they will destroy in few turns before you can do that to them!
Besides combat there are many optional subquests (like fetch quests, for example) and some puzzles too. I liked some, and I hated others, anyway it's ok.

Now, graphics: as mentioned before the game uses lots of RTPs, but also many rips from different games, especially Final Fantasy VI (lots of monsters are ripped directly from that game). Mapping is ok, nothing new and there is a bit of "overly large room" syndrome, but I've seen worse. Also the use of many different resources ensure the presence of a vast variety of locations, from medieval castles to oriental villages and desert towns. The "normal peasants" are usually all identical, so you will probably find immidiately the recruitable party members or the quest givers.
Unfortunately I found also some glitches especially in the forest (don't go back there after the big battle or you will be stuck and will have to reload the previous savegame!) or when entering a town on the world map (the speed will be randomly changed).

Sidequest? Oh yes, the game contains many sidequests. Different people want different things, and we've to deliver them!

Final Verdict
Land of Dreams is clearly an old game that also suffers for being both the second developer's game and an ambitious project, with its long storyline. Unfortunately, it's not really good, but it's not terrible either, I admit I enjoyed some sections (but I also found some annoying parts) but the rest of flaws and errors makes it a "meh" game that I cannot really recommend, also due to the consistent length, that sometimes it can be augmented by the lack of directions in some parts (but the developer uploaded a walkthrugh on youtube that can be EXTREMELY helpful to complete this game... still if you are lucky, as I wrote on the combat part).