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The Stars Align And I Am Finally Able To Submit This Review...Long Live The Kentonacracy

This game was taken down from the site for unknown reasons by unknown parties after I downloaded it (early this month) but before I was able to submit a review of it. So if it sounds cool to you, you may have to go to some extraordinary measures to play it. But then Creation and Kentona combined their powers and now IT IS BACK.


My understanding is that Sill Valt, the creator of Omega Cerberus, moved on to become a professional comic book artist type guy in Francia. He deserves it. Read on and see why.

Gorgeous Foreign Fruit Slightly Under-ripe

Omega Cerberus is a French RPG Maker 2003 game made by one Sill Valt (sp) and translated (for the most part, very well) into English by our very own "that jerk" Creation. Since I can't play VX games and I don't want to play something that's already thoroughly reviewed and well-recognized, I decided to download and play a couple of 2k3 games with no reviews. I picked a scifi game (this) and a horror game (Until You Get There) because I like scifi and horror. This was....better. Much better, as you'll see when my pending review of (Until You Get There) is approved.

This section tends to run long in my reviews, and it's not actually because I care about Story any more than anything else. It's just that I do this section first...and then run out of steam.

This game's story departs from standard jRPG tropes in some ways, which is in my book a good thing. However, this departure is not supported by the game's gameplay at all. No score can exist in a vacuum, and this one benefited somewhat from the game's visuals and suffered from its gameplay (read on).

This game takes place in the far future, after the fall of man and a mass exodus to the far-flung corners of the galaxy. The main character of this game is Actea, the "captain" of the colony vessel/sleeper ship Hopegate-III, the last and best hope for humanity's continued survival (presumably following the destruction of Hopegates I and and II, though this is conjecture). Actea's job as captain seems to consist mainly of shirking her responsibilities to leave the ship and go on adventures and/or sulk in her quarters while leaving the actual day to day running of the ship to her father, Maximillian, and the ship's mate, William-M. The first time she takes a jaunt off the ship, there are serious consequences, and she is seriously chewed out and relieved of her (nominal anyway, as far as I can tell) rank. She then proceeds to make the exact same mistake again, completely not have learned her lesson.

Actea has an (arbitrarily) mysterious past, and has sworn to avenge her lover Ashley who was slain by Nero, the leader of an (arbitrarily) evil theocracy known as the Templars, who do horrible shit seemingly just for teh evulz, but in the name of God. Actually, considering what I know about the history of most organized monotheistic religions, I can't even call that out for being unrealistic. Anyway, the Templars for a reason no one discusses wear full medieval style plate armor and use swords and halberds, and the guys with spaceships and laser guns are completely terrified of them and spend the entire game running around like pansies. So I guess the pen may be mightier than the sword, but the sword is mightier than the turbolaser.

Anyway, the Hopegate-III's quest for a new home suitable for humanity (and their constant flight from the Templars, who in some again unexplained way aren't human) and Actea's quest for revenge aren't without conflict, but together they lead the crew to the planet YY-87. There, Actea finds the mysterious and powerful android Auhsey who is, the evil Nero conveniently fills us in, the key to finding...something...very important called Omega Cerberus.

Omega Cerberus is told in an episodic format, with the same basic plot structure per episode as your standard (serious) mecha anime. Only the first two episodes were available when I played the game, but both seemed VERY polished.

The story in Omega Cerberus is pretty good for the most part, and the translation by Creation does a respectable job of getting it into English, although the opening and closing text crawls for each episode are written in a much more flowery style than the very pragmatically written in-game dialogues. That could, of course, be an artifact of the original text. The story is also great looking and told largely in beautifully animated cutscenes--much like when I first got into anime as a kid, I didn't really understand what was happening and I thought the translation was stilted or awkward in places, but man there was a LOT of really cool stuff to look at! All of the main characters are reasonably well drawn and I cared about them, and the world is interesting, although again, hold this to the writing standards of Gundam Wing, not those of William Shakespeare.

C'est qu'elle a dit.

The story, however, does suffer from presentation and from the fact that the gameplay has NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, as discussed in gameplay, below. It suffers from presentation because the cutscenes (comprising close to 75%) of the game feature slow autoscrolling text agonizingly limited to one-line at a time, presumably to be more cinematic, and the pacing of the dialogue is needlessly slowed further by overly obvious and entirely too cutesy pop-up emoticon bubbles that tell us absolutely nothing. I hate these fucking things. Why is it necessary to pop up an animated bubble telling us '...' before a character says something? If you want to write a pause, just have the characters pause! Nonetheless, every line of dialogue or two, there is one of these bubbles. Also, in places, the soundtrack gets syrupy and overwrought, and one repeated track in particular tends to drown/smother any real, genuine emotion in the scenes that it's played over.

The game's crowning moment of awesome/flying karate kick leap over the shark comes when
Nero, infused with the power of the mysterious and unexplained Anima Deus, cuts a capital-scale spaceship in half, WITH A SWORD.
If that sounds like something relevant to your interests, you should take a look at Omega Cerberus for the story alone.

SCORE: 60/100

Here are the problem's with Omega Cerberus's gameplay.

* The game is 75% non-interactive.
* The 25% of interactivity that is available is dull and uninteresting. Every battle (and there kind of a lot of them, if you don't constantly run from enemies, which you don't want to do because yes there is a boss fight coming at the end of episode 2 and yes you want to gain some levels before it) can be won just by mashing the space bar and occasionally healing...which is good, because regular attacks and healing are your ONLY tactical options. Seriously, the main character Actea, is a white mage type with reasonably powerful physical attacks and minor healing/status curing spells and...the first party member who joins, a powerful cyborg, is a white mage type with reasonably powerful physical attacks and minor healing/status curing spells, just to round out the party. These are the only characters you get, by the way. The only difference between Actea's first available skill, Heal1, and Auhsey's first available skill, First Aid, is the name. Because you DON'T HAVE ENOUGH HEALING, Actea will go on to learn the skill Life1. Note that ALL of these skills do the same thing: heal you fully. At least the battles weren't poorly balanced or too hard. In fact, the only difficulty that you encounter at all is the last battle of Episode 2, which is more a tedious spam fest than anything else. Attack,heal,attack,heal,attack,heal. Rinse and repeat. The game has no real interactive content outside of random default battles and walking around opening chests.
* The game does not let me do any of the things I want to do in a science fiction game. This honestly was a big one. The game has awesome space battles that are COMPLETELY unplayable. All the cyborg gets to do is be a white mage. You never get any skills with even the slightest bit of science-fiction flavor, they all seem like they're recycled from a final fantasy fan-game. The same goes for the items ('Phoenix Tail'). In what as far as I can tell is a straight space opera, EVERY PLAYABLE CHARACTER INEXPLICABLY HAS MAGIC AND IT IS NEVER DISCUSSED OR EXPLAINED. It is seriously not even part of the story. It is just there, like a banana or something. If magic exists in this universe, why does technology matter?

So basically, here is my advice to the creator:

* Decide if you are making a game or a machinima, if you're making a game, add some damn gameplay.
* If you want to make a game, rebalance the battles so the players have something to actually do other than attack every turn and heal as necessary.
* While you're rebalancing the battles, either remove Magic and replace it with appropriately flavored skills or justify the presence of magic and give it a place within the space opera story you're telling.
* For God's sake, let me PLAY the space battles. They're the coolest part of your story. Why make them non-interactive?

Finally, this game's English translation loses a few points because Creation did not go so far as to translate any of the menu help text. However, for the most part, I could figure it out okay. Every spell is heal, anyway. : P

SCORE: 50/100

So, finally the good part which means I'll have less to say because that's how reviews work. I'll try to gush for a bit, though. At a glance, some of the european RM communities tend to focus on visuals to the exclusion of all else. That really shows here.

It only gets prettier than this.

This game is truly beautiful. Not just because the tilesets are well composed and the maps and panorama maps beautifully drawn and the overlays masterfully and tastefully done, although they are. Literally nothing in this game is left to the imagination. Every single thrilling epic space battle, orbital docking sequence, ship atmosphere landing, dustoff, cloaking and uncloaking, planetary bombardment, and narrow escape is rendered and rendered beautifully with lovingly hand-crafted animated cutscenes. They are a real thrill to behold. The creator seems to use a mix of hand-drawn and ripped graphics, but it's not the images themselves that are breathtaking, it's the way they are manipulated for some of the coolest, most cinematic cutscenes I have ever seen in an RPG Maker game.

I can only think of one thing I'd take points off for in this category, which was the fact that all enemy graphics were overused FF6 rips. This did not exactly help immerse me in the world that Sill Valt was building.

SCORE: 95/100

Except for the places where it's syrupy and overwrought as mentioned above, the soundtrack is very high quality, and appropriate to the game's mood and setting. In fact, for the most part the soundtrack is more appropriate to the game's chosen genre of space opera than the gameplay. However, overused FF7 sound effects did not add to my immersion.

SCORE: 70/100

FINAL SCORE: 68.75/100
Note that with Game Informer style score-inflation going on, that would be more like an 88.75 to 90, and hence more like 4 to 4.5 stars.

Definitely worth playing, if only to steal the compiled chapsets and reverse engineer how he did some of the graphical tricks admire and be wowed by the visuals.


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An avid lover of Heartache 101
Interesting review. As far as translating the menu, I'm guilty as charged. This would take minutes to fix however, (no more than 10).

As for the rest, I somewhat agree. The visuals are the strong point of the game which makes sense considering Sill Valt's job at the moment. I think the game is a good representation of what the author's creative strenght is (the same could be said about the Ark of Gladoria whose coding is legendary compared to the rest of the game).

As for the translation, I think it's hard to judge about the quality without knowing what the source material looked like (although it certainly isn't a perfect translation). Also, this was the reason why the game was taken down in the first place so meh :).
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