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Mage Duel EXTREME is an AWESOME gladiatorial combat game where you are a MAGE who DUELS other mages in a tournament of one-on-one battles to the death.

Mage Duel Extreme combines the structure of a fighting game with the mechanics of an RPG in a setting that blends the "magepunk" fantasy of Magic: The Gathering with the in-your-face, over-the-top attitude of professional wrestling.

Play as an unstoppable Abjurer, a fiery Elementalist, an ingenous Enchanter or a steely Spellsword to kill your way up a ladder of over 20 powerful mages with just as devious and deadly as you are! In this tournament, the last mage standing wins, and the prize for victory is FREEDOM!

I've always found it hard to be taken seriously listing the features of an RPG Maker game (of all things) trying to attract players, so I stopped trying.

Features And Stuff! (This isn't a complete list, just the confirmed.)
* Eight playable characters/classes, four initial, with four more unlockable on NewGame+!
* Deeply customizable character advancement!
* Animated sideview magical dueling in intensely strategic battles!
* RTP graphics you've seen 10,000 times before!
* Like my 40th game or whatever!
* Completely preposterous soundtrack by the likes of The Black Mages and DRAGONFORCE!
* No dungeons, no towns, no cutscenes--just intense turn-based RPG action!
* A wealth of tactical options, combos, and counters to learn, face, and exploit!
* Some of the best (pseudo?)-AI in any RPG Maker turn-based RPG!
* The original premise of Mage Duel plus the benefits of three additional years of game design experience!

Improvements On The Original
* Massive overhaul to a new sideview battle system powered by the awesomeness of YEM.
* Six new playable characters! (The original two are now unlockables.)
* Six new playable classes, with the Illusionist and Evoker returning!
* Devious new classes like the Necromancer and the Artificer!
* Dozens of new skills and equipment options!
* Characters fully recover between battles; no more tedious repeat trips to the beds.
* Shorter and more varied announcer segments!
* Smoother integration of features and codebase, again thanks to YEM.
* COMPLETION! (hopefully)

Latest Blog

Sonar Ping

So as this is still a project, just putting a ping out to the community, seeing what kind of echoes I get back.

Is anyone playing this, is anyone enjoying it, is anyone looking forward to more of it? Has anyone been meaning to download or play it but hasn't gotten around to it?

I like the idea of finishing this game because it seems like such a manageable job to do so; just a few more battles to stat and add and test and balance, really. But I'm not sure if even that little bit of effort is worth it when practically no one noticed I released this.

Maybe I shouldn't blog when I'm depressed, lol.
  • Cancelled
  • Max McGee
  • Archeia_Nessiah
  • RPG Maker VX
  • RPG
  • 12/02/2011 06:24 AM
  • 08/22/2018 01:11 AM
  • N/A
  • 105669
  • 24
  • 864


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I played the original Mage Duel and I really liked it. Great to see an EXTREME version! Starting the game now.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence

May it be known: I've appended the first blog post to outline several features omitted from this release, as a warning. This is a very very rough alpha build.


(yeah i haven't had my caffiene yet what of it)
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
Has anyone downloaded this? There is in fact a download but I'm not sure anyone can see it.
I downloaded it and put it in my RSToPlay folder
Downloaded and testing. Will update with feedback as I play.

Initial impressions leading up to first fight:

-"ladies and gentlemen, I ask you the age old sacred question" little bit of over-wording there. Either 'age old' or 'sacred', both together feel clunky. This is from the first announcer's speech.

-area under the arena is well mapped, but feels a little sparse on plot. Didn't really feel like I was talking to anyone who was a person, and that's kind of a shame, 'cause you could get a good Hunger Games/Battle Royale vibe going.

That's it so far. Off to get stomped in the first fight. I'll let you know my impressions of combat in a bit.
First couple of battles as an enchanter, fairly easy. It could be that I just have a handle on the genre, but there was none of the brutal unforgivingness of the earlier sections of some of your other games. My first fight whittled me down to kill range, and then wasted two turns on poisoning me. The others I beat more fairly, due to reasons other than AI tactical derp.

Possible bug: I bought a spidersilk armor from the intro, thinking I could equip it as an enchanter, and was sadly mistaken. However, I then sold it back to the hat merchant at half value. Is this deliberately allowable during the space of time before the first battle, or should it have been only saleable to sketchy wizard surplus retail guy, who appeared after the first battle was over?

Possible exploit: multiple wheels of time. I'm going to try and cheese the hell out of this. It's already borderline unfair, giving the player extra actions.
I take back everything I said. Wheel of time is absolutely total cheese.

Went into a fight against a slightly faster opponent with a wheel of time. She killed me before I could act. And I had two of those damn things equipped.

Yes, there is the potential for backup to save and learn from the future tomfoolery, but the only way to survive that encounter would be with a borderline prescient evasion build.

So far, the difficulty with enchanter has ratcheted back and forth between terribly easy and absolutely crushingly impossible. Will begin again with spellsword to test that class out.
Got to the first actual event, which was nice and injected a little extra story into the game. Otherwise, the underground felt kind of shallow. Just the same people talking about the same thing, with slight fluctuations in the sales of the weapons venders.

Spellsword has been a lot easier than enchanter, although I'm finding that Delusions of Grandeur also ranks high on the cheese quotient. That plus a wheel of time means I'm getting three actions in my first round, and two in every subsequent one, and I've been one-shotting everything that doesn't get lucky with an evade. With the right headgear, necromancer instadeath spells (which are pretty much the only thing that can kill me) are negated, and the poor robe-y dudes don't have the durability to be decent dps.

I haven't had to lead from state yet, but I also haven't fought the one-round murderspree grenade-throwing nightmare bastard again, either.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
This game page can use some fleshing out, and will get some, hopefully soonish.

I would rank the "difficulty" of the first four playable classes as follows.


That said it's perfectly possible to win with all of them. It definitely helps to think of MDX less in terms of "easy/difficult" and more in terms of the rock>paper>scissors relationships of different builds, strategies, and gear sets.

You're correct in identifying Wheel of Time as the most important piece of early game cheese, but it's still possible to win without it. Did you say you equipped two of them? Damn, I don't know if I ever even thought of that. Creative!

Possible bug: I bought a spidersilk armor from the intro, thinking I could equip it as an enchanter, and was sadly mistaken. However, I then sold it back to the hat merchant at half value. Is this deliberately allowable during the space of time before the first battle, or should it have been only saleable to sketchy wizard surplus retail guy, who appeared after the first battle was over?

That's probably a bug. I HATE the shop scene I'm currently using but I think one way in which it is NOT epic fail is that things you can't use are grayed out, or rather, your NAME is grayed out when hovering the cursor over something you can't use.

Yes, there is the potential for backup to save and learn from the future tomfoolery, but the only way to survive that encounter would be with a borderline prescient evasion build.

Worth mentioning: there will eventually be a guy who sells hints about the next battle. So prescience is in fact a valid long term strategy in this, if you've got the coin for it. : )
Flame rod costs 250 less than ice or lightening. Is it a weaker element?

Abjurer is a class focused on not getting killed, in a game centered around trying to kill the other guy before he kills you. Furthermore, they are slow. Abjurer is hard mode: activate.

Despite starting with the spell 'forcedarts' abjurers can't purchase the forcedart wand.

Avana the artificer. That is the name of death itself. She rides into battle double-attacking with grenades and wipes you out before you can even establish a defensive line. The only thing that walks over her is an evasion build and stupid amounts of luck or a speedmaster spellsword with delusions of grandeur.

After testing each of the classes with various equipment and skill combinations, I've found the run of easiest to hardest to play goes Spellsword>elementalist/enchanter>abjurer. This is another of those games that would benefit from a manual, since the difference between a satisfyingly difficult game and a frustratingly difficult game is largely a matter of how much the player thinks their personal level of skill and commitment factors into the outcome. And, while there's certainly enough crunch here to make skill a definite factor, there isn't enough explanation behind the crunch readily available to the player, so the majority of trial-and-error is focused on what works, rather than what works well together.

The major strength of the game is fittingly the combat, which felt complex and fluid. On the other hand, the story and setting are a little spare. Since you've already got a great system, those are what I'd recommend fleshing out to turn your great system into a great game.

Also, Delusions of Grandeur really needs to be nerf'd down to three turns, max, to prevent it from cheesing early combat.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
Trust me on this one (not to be overly pedantic): Abjurers are fucking diesel with the right strategy.

Anyway, thanks for all the feedback. I'll definitely look at it as I move forward.

(The story is really not meant to be any more involved than the story of the average 2D fighting game.)


Edit: Bugfixed version download up.
Hint-guy is a good addition, although possibly a redundant one if players decide to muck about with save/load shenanigans.

The two wheels of time didn't actually help me, since I went up against the artificer next. I didn't even get to see if they were stackable.

It's kind of both a relief and a shame to see delusions of grandeur moved from spellsword to enchanter. On the one hand, it was entirely broken in its current form on the spellsword. On the other hand, a one or two-turn delusions of grandeur would've been the cornerstone of a lot of builds. Oh, well. It'll be interesting on the enchanter, at least.

The average 2D fighting game tends to have quite an involved bit of backstory, if you go looking for it. There's lizardpeople from mortal realms and cyborg adjustment bureau agents from the future and rockstars who've traded their left hands to pirate gods for devil claws and dueling ninja clans from the elemental demiplane of shrimp. It's all very skippable, and you can go straight to raiden vs. wolverine if you want, but it's still there if you go looking for it, and I think this is what's important. One of the reasons Karsuman and Craze's Visions and Voices was such a strong game was because it let you get as deep into the backstory as you wanted to go. The majority of the game was clever, well-balanced fights, but there was plenty of plot available to the determined player, which arguably made it all the more compelling.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
Good point; I'll consider adding more story--in terms of BACKstory, there is plenty, as this is set in the same universe as several of my other games (ones not on this site)--but it's definitely not one of the major design objectives for Mage Duel (Extreme).
Honestly, the backstory in Extreme feels a lot more cemented than it was in the original (which I'm giving a playthrough now, for the sake of comparison.) That said, the characters in Extreme don't feel as fully realized (although the demo-end cutscene gives me hope,) and I'll admit I kind of like the monster fights (even if they could encourage a grind-over-strategy approach to gameplay if they don't keep getting harder as you win.) I'm glad Extreme cut down on the excessive scrolling around the map that a lot of the cutscenes in the original featured, although they did give a good sense of the scope and grandeur of the arena.

I had to think on this for a bit, but what Extreme reminds me most of is The Way, but without the dungeoning and mini-games and world-travel. Instead, it's essentially complex rock-paper-scissors dueling, with the interesting caveat that sometimes rock has to overcome its inner weaknesses and find a way to overthrow the tyranny of paper.
Okay, finished the original. Couple of notes.

I liked the dialogue choices a lot, even if they were just for show. Having that little bit of extra input, even if it's just telling the pit-master to fuck off, does a lot to further immersion.

The conjurer is an unholy machine of slaughter, and anything that costs three skill points to take is worth taking. I like the whole magical blood-sacrifice pokemon angle, but yeah. It does unbalance the game, and it would mean a lot of extra spriting work for a side-view battle system. It's probably better staying on the bleachers for Extreme.

The two exhibition matches (with Dast and Alex) gave the game a nice emotional punch, which is key in this kind of Colosseum game. The fact that people are fighting is never as interesting as the why. Television pro wrestling knows this, and taps into it. Every wrestler has a backstory, and a driving purpose, and there are seasonal villains and the like. Sometimes an innocent guy loses to make you AAAAANGRY, and then it's all the more spiritually fulfilling when the villain gets punched out with the championship belt by the brawler hero who faked his own coma to hide in the audience undetected, or whatever. Without that drama to drive the combat, it's more of an academic challenge. Can you make the bag of numbers that is king over all other bags of numbers? Etc.

Obviously, I like story-driven stuff and my feedback is heavily influenced by that. There are plenty of reasons to not go whole hog on investing a complex plot in the game. But, if you can spare the time, I think it would make Mage Duel jump the gap from being a solid game to a spectacular one.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
FWIW, the plot of Extreme will ultimately be identical to that of the original (including the character of Rast), only paced differently.


Er, on a much lighter note, I am really excited for this game. So excited that I might actually start wearing 'pants' instead of just my underwear! Hopefully this is as good as the first. I'll try the demo sometime during the weekend, okay? :)
darn, just downloaded it and hit 2 problems right from the start though both seem to have been missing files, RGSS202E.dll was 1 of the missing files (copied it from a different game so that was no problem), the other seems to be this error: RPGVX RTP is not found.
*click to edit*
So far I beat the game with the Spellsword and the Abjurer without dying once. Will play the other classes now.
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