• Add Review
  • Subscribe
  • Nominate
  • Submit Media
  • RSS

The Longing Review

Here we are with another review of an old classic rpgmaker game of the past! Oh yes, after reviewed some (more or less) recent titles, today I am checking a notorious RPG maker 2000 game made by Gibmaker: The Longing Ribbon!

This is a 2008 RPG Maker horror game that won an award for atmosphere, and starts as the tale of three friends, Jeannine, Matthew, and Sara, plus the dog Sandy, that are travelling through the woods. During the trip the get lost (unsurprisingly I'd say!) and later they even find a wrecked car with nobody inside. When it starts raining they notice a stone path that leat to a house... no, wait, it's a huge mansion, and they decide to take shelter there. And, unsurprisingly (again!) the place looks abandoned but suddenly after they enter something happens, and Jeannine find herself alone. She later meets the mistress of the house that tells that she alredy met her friends and is going to let them stay, so Jeannine goes to the room where her friends seems to be arguing. Anyway they go to sleep and soon Jeannine realizes that this mansion isn't a safe place at all!

Well that would have been a good idea in the beginning. Now? TOO LATE!

Ok, so as you can see the plot is nothing new or particularly exciting, and writing is pretty much ok. It's true that we have different choice of dialogues when we have to select Jeannine's speech, but on the other hand I didn't notice any serious impact on the story made selecting a choice instead of another. In any case it's not bad, characters are different enough (even if just a couple really stood out for me, the bad guy and the protagonist, that's really a badass girl!) and the story is pretty much interesting. The cutscenes are also well made and well contribuites to the narrative of the story.

The visuals are VERY good, I mean despite the presence of Rtps (while there are some other assets, sprites and edits most of the resources ARE Rtps) the author did very good with the resources used, the sepia tones, the dreamy scenes, and mapping that's pretty good. I think that the atmosphere award was well earned, sounds and lights create a spooky atmosphere inside this terryfing manor.
And if sounds are well selected what about the music? I'm no expert, so I cannot retrace the source but music is perfect and appropriate, maybe a bit repetitive since it's used often, but ok, this game is hours long, so it's normal I guess.

Pity there is not a line such as "Cool pajamas, looks like you are wearing a prison uniform!"

Now, the gameplay. Ehm. It's sad to say that's here where the game fell apart: combat is pretty much awful, the system is unpolished and clucky and Jeannine does not even get experience from combat, but examining the art and literature she can find (so exploration is a MUST! Otherwise you will find yourself too weak to survive! And this would be a huge problem), so fighting isn't useful at all, but this is probably not really a problem because it's an horror game and not an rpg. On the other hand, while there are some moments where you do not have to fight anyone, there are some parts that instead are non-stop fighting. Another problem is that even if you are automatically healed after each battle, the companions, whose stats you cannot influence, aren't always useful since they can often miss, moreover the Game Over is guaranteed if just ONE of the party members dies (not the whole party or the protagonist)! This is so bad the the developer wisely introduced a cheat to avoid battles (you can skip combat entirely, if you choose End Game > No three times without having Jeannine move), after all these battles are a waste of time that do not add much to the adventure!

This is combat, and how you can probably see Jeannine is dying. Game Over, my friend!

But there is also another problem: the save points. While I'm perfectly fine with the use of save points in an horror game, here save points not only are scarce, but they expire too! Use one and BAM, it's gone forever, just like in Lisa the Painful on Pain Mode! And that's especially awful if you have to load a save, listen to some minutes of dialogues before dying and restarting, again and again until you are able to survive and reach the next save! Sigh.

The game includes also some puzzles that are... ok! Well I admit I found them pretty difficult, maybe because I'm one of these players not familiar with the piano keys at all, but this is probably my problem. In any case it's no a game where hints are particularly helpful, but I guess that some players may like this added difficulty, anyway for me it's better when the game has some sort of hints available or less difficult enigmas that otherwise can become annoying roadblocks. And that's not fun at all.

Sorry, I'd rather NOT! And I've still to write the...

Final Verdict
The Longing Ribbon is a decent horror game, probably one of the first really memorable horror adventures for what concerns the plot. The first parts, especially the first half are especially good, the second half begins to feel a bit rushed, and as the developer confirmed he was a bit in a hurry to conclude the story. But it's not to say this is a bad game, anyway it would be probably FAR better without the battles and the advancement system that is not very player-friendly and may lead to the impossibility to proceed. Unfortunately these flaws mar an otherwise memorable game with its visuals, story and music that contribute to build a powerful atmosphere an setting. Pity.

My advice is to try it if you are curious and you love the genre, but take advanced of the cheat and avoid battles since these are extremely annoying and can be classified as time-wasters (why not using some sort of quick-time event like in other horror rpgmakers? It would have been simpler and less time consuming, but also more appropriate to the genre). Really.