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A well designed old school adventure

  • Silviera
  • 10/04/2010 11:11 PM
  • 8281 views
Battle System 4/5
Expertly balanced old school design; try not to die

The battles are where Fable of Heroes shines the most, which is a good thing since you'll be spending most of your time staring at the battle screen. At its the core game mechanics use the default rm2k DBS and are designed around the principles of Dragon Quest. Probably one of the reasons this works out so well is because the maker was designed for this sort of combat in the first place. Your party consists of the standard Hero, Fighter, Priest, and Wizard set, although the Fighter has been expanded a bit so they're able to do more than just attack each round. Since mp is difficult to recover outside of towns and you have a limited healing supply a good deal of the game's difficulty comes from managing resources. If you don't end fights quickly and decisively they'll end up draining your resources rapidly, forcing you to return to town to recover. The game requires some grinding but not an excessive amount, and there are plenty optional dungeons and side paths in which to grind while picking up useful items so you're not stuck wandering around the world map for hours just trying to level up. For me most of the grinding took place in the very beginning of the game when I had little mp for healing and couldn't afford to stock a decent supply of healing items.

The bosses of this game are especially noteworthy. The first few aren't much more complicated than endurance matches, slightly stronger enemies with a lot of hp. Things ramp up in difficulty and complexity a few hours into the game once you have your full party and your list of abilities has grown. By the end of the game you're having one epic encounter after another with monstrously difficult bosses, many of which use strange gimmicks to keep you on your toes throughout the entire fight.

Sadly these are not this game's version of metal slimes, these only give normal exp



Storyline/Characters 3/5
Minimalist writing that slowly expands as the game progresses

Fable of Heroes begins with a short scene showing the destruction of an ancient kingdom that is attacked by demons. Following this it doesn't waste any time when it comes to throwing you into the game. You play as a young hero, Alec, who has just come of age and wishes to venture out into the world. You aren't given some grand save the world quest or even a simple mission of rescuing a princess, your character wants adventure and he goes out to seek it. The story slowly unfolds as you meet other party members until you find yourself on a typical save the world quest. The plot sticks to genre conventions, sending you out to collect ultimate weapons and armor while throwing you a new vehicle every few hours to unlock more parts of the world map.

Each character is introduced with nothing more than a few sentences and a simple pretext to join you on the adventure. Most of their development is shown through interactions with each other at various plot points as it is eventually revealed there is a lot more to each character than simply joining up so they could fill a party role. The minimalist dialogue of the first few hours slowly turns into longer and more complex scenes as the game progresses. By the end it's easy to get invested in the fate of the characters even though they're dealing with a standard save the world plot.

Level Design 3.5/5
Solid dungeon design, though you'll do a bit too much walking when it comes to towns
the pile of healing items

In general Fable of Heroes follows the simple town/dungeon/town/dungeon format. The earliest dungeons are nothing more than a few screens and can be completed in about five minutes, which is good because your characters have so few abilities and such a limited mp pool that you couldn't handle much more at that point. A bit into the game it starts throwing traps and simple puzzles in, and by the end dungeons become vicious and lengthy. The world map is fairly large with plenty of completely optional areas, but it rarely takes more than 30 seconds to run to any given location due to the large availability of warp points and how close each location is to each other. One thing I liked here is that there are tons of treasures hidden all over the place, and nearly all of them are extremely useful. Some are easy to find with just a little looking and others will require you to search every area thoroughly. A good deal of these hidden chests contain stat increasing seeds or items that you cannot find anywhere else in the game, making even early exploration pay off long term. As another Dragon Quest convention the game hides Hero Tokens in nearly every area except the first few, which you can turn in to a specific NPC for extremely powerful items.

My only real concern with the level design is that most of the towns are far too large, in particular when it comes to the interior of each building. It can take as much time to walk from the entrance of a shop to the counter as it does to walk halfway across town. Castles in particular were one of the biggest offenders, especially since they tended to have long winding hallways with nothing to do but walk through them. This problem is exacerbated by the protagonist's slow walking speed and I probably wouldn't have noticed it at all if the speed was one notch higher.

Yes, you can fall down that pit if you're not paying attention



Graphics 2.5/5
Simple RTP with a few extras thrown in.

For the most part the game sticks to the RTP and RTP style edits, especially in the early sections of the game. Early maps are very simplistic in design but things become more impressive the further you get in the game. When it comes to monster graphics the game mixes in rips from several other games. My only real issue is with the inconsistency between graphical styles in some parts of the game, especially when it comes to battlers of different styles being on the screen at the same time. Although they were noticeable they weren't particularly distracting. Also notable is that it felt like there was more work being put into graphics near the end of the game as it started using unique animations and poses for specific scenes. One nice touch here is that as you obtain the ultimate equipment for the hero his sprite will change with each piece acquired.

Storming the demon lord's castle



Sound/Music 3/5
A little RTP and a lot of rips

Most of the music consists of various rips from NES and SNES games, with quite a few taken from Dragon Quest 3 in particular. The music is well placed but doesn't particularly stand out, so I have no specific complaints in this category. There are a few nice touches when it comes to sound effects in a few specific scenes towards the end of the game, but sadly nothing I can expound upon without ruining those key moments.

Random stuff I liked-
The Master Infernus boss fight. For me this was the point where the difficulty jumped and I just barely squeaked through with a victory using everything I had.

Early on in the game you cross paths with a group of 4 other adventurers. They don't do much other than spout off a few one liners but for me it was a nice touch that made it feel like I wasn't the only one in the world trying to do something about the impending doom.

Random stuff I hated-
The slow walk speed was annoying throughout pretty much the entire game. It was most noticeable when it came to towns, especially when trying to rest up and save. Part of this problem is alleviated by how easy it is to warp out of dungeons and to warp to specific places on the world map, but anytime I got stuck walking a long distance I was always annoyed.

Final thoughts- An extremely well put together old school adventure. Feels like an early NES era game at the start but builds up depth and complexity to become far more than that by the end. If you can deal with a slow start and a high difficulty curve you'll have a ton of fun with this one, but if the thought of old school difficulty makes you run in fear you should give this one a pass.



Posts

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if you're allowed to give this four stars, i'm allowed to give ghost in a bottle 4.5. you hear me, karsuman? sucks that v&v wasn't as popular as you'd hoped, but them's some double standards you're waving around on this site.

but on topic: it isn't even aggressively bad or anything, just completely uninspired and generic and boring and something anyone who has existed for more than three days has seen a million times before. that doesnt justify giving it a review at all, let alone four stars out of five stars (4/5) (80%).

(i don't even want to insult dustsoft or whoever, because i've made shitty default games before too. unfortunately if he wants ~constructive~ criticism this probably isn't the place for it.)

star ratings are dumb anyway and would be meaningless except now a lot of people will search for game's and sort by #stars and see this somewhere up there near the top and end up bypassing something much better that only got 3 stars.

also because it was 'featured' when something legitimately original (A Home Far Away????) never was.
Magi
Resident Terrapin
1028
I think this just might mark the beginning of a new RMN era.
Decky
I'm a dog pirate
19517
Review drama, activate!
Ciel
an aristocrat of rpgmaker culture
243
post=207513
it's a conspiracy

yeah kind of is

i am glad the rpg maker dbs warrants 4 stars.........and the level design, maybe in like, the year 2001
Thanks for playing and reviewing my game Silviera.
post=207547
Thanks for playing and reviewing my game Silviera.


No problem, I had a lot of fun with it. Probably one of the most polished games I've seen on this site, even if I did have a few problems with it sticking too hard to a few old school conventions.
post=207548
post=207547
Thanks for playing and reviewing my game Silviera.
No problem, I had a lot of fun with it. Probably one of the most polished games I've seen on this site, even if I did have a few problems with it sticking too hard to a few old school conventions.


Thanks, I tried to get it as polished as I can, note that 1.9 versions of the game.
I'm starting to discriminate against slow walk speed now, just as many before me have. There really is no excuse for it except to make a game seem lengthier than it actually is.
Yeah, saying it's "old school" just doesn't cut it for me. Although I would just open it in the editor and fix it myself if I really wanted to play :)
post=207505
if you're allowed to give this four stars, i'm allowed to give ghost in a bottle 4.5. you hear me, karsuman? sucks that v&v wasn't as popular as you'd hoped, but them's some double standards you're waving around on this site.
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7380
If this is a 4 star game, my games are shoo-ins for 5 stars easy. Thank you for giving me hope for the future.


Then again, regardless of my personal feelings about this game, your review does make it sound more interesting and worth a second, er... third shot (fourth?), and I'd be lying if I said that it didn't give me something to think about.
Ciel
an aristocrat of rpgmaker culture
243
i like how karsuman threatened to 'purge' strangeluv's 4star review for balmung but this is entirely acceptable
LouisCyphre
can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
4523
One must note that Silv is vastly more forgiving than Solitayre.
kentona
I am tired of Earth. These people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.
20832
what's with the hate? It sounds like a pretty solid game to me. Originality is important, but its not the be all and end all.
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18257
As I mentioned in Marrend's review, this is probably a "love it or hate it" sort of game, so I'd rather expect to see reviews from both ends of the spectrum for it.

I also find it hilarious that people complained Marrend's score was too low, and now they are complaining that this one is too high!
kentona
I am tired of Earth. These people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.
20832
*checks Mary's 3 star review*

heh! No complaints there! Strange....
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7380
Apparently one star makes all the difference in the world. Or perhaps that's a score most would agree with.
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