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

A Marathon of VENGEANCE! Probably.

  • Marrend
  • 07/08/2012 10:16 PM
Game Title: Shinwa Special - Revenge
Engine: RPG Maker VX Ace
Status at review: In progress/Demo

My motivation to make this review lies more in getting an achievement and bonus markerscore via the NaGaDeMo Review Drive than anything else. However, I did manage to perform a small amount of research on the game itself before just plunging into it. So, this review is not completely blind. Just mostly blind.

The gamepage did not specify that the RTP for Ace was needed, but the download size suggested otherwise. Extracting the file more or less confirmed my suspicions. Thankfully, I have the Ace RTP, as I'm sure we all know.

I think "atmospheric" is the proper term to use for what I saw with this game. It definietly plays with lighting effects (The character selection map is pretty neat with this.) and some maps just elicit the notion that, yes, this is the underworld. Unlive with it.

Spites looked like some kind of mesh between RTP edits and stuff made from Ace's character editor. There might be some that would argue that Ace's character editor makes RTP edits, but I swear I saw a guy with a scarred-out eye that wasn't the RTP guy with the scarred out eye.

Among the first things I do with an RPG Maker game is to check out the Audio/BGM directory. The directory had four pieces in it, and there were indications of their original source in the file names (YESSS! Somebody else who does this!). They weren't from any source I was familiar with, however. Still, I figured that the game would be mostly RTP music. Wrong. The game uses those four pieces fairly exclusively. However, I think they lends to the game's atmosphere.

Players start the game as a wandering soul. That's right, you're already dead. I was already starting to question if the game was from a different event.

Anyway, the player goes up the the NPC (There's very little else to do), who introduces himself as HKOz. The self-reference was probably intended as a joke, but I could be wrong. Anyway, he says that you're dead, but your soul cannot rest unless you partake in his minigames "fulfill your vengeance on someone". I'm not sure how that works. In my mind, the pursuit of who killed the player would be half the game, while the other half would be exacting said vengeance. Maybe not in the literal sense of the phase "half the game", but story-wise, that seems about right. But that's not how this game works, go let's just run with what it gives us. Next thing I know, I'm being told to choose my avatar of fury, and the avatar of woe the individual I wish to inflict harm on. So, it begins...

After the opening sequence, I was going around, inspecting the various characters, hoping there would be some kind of clue as to who might have had the most incentive to kill off... whoever it was that died. I found no such clues, so I guessed that I would need to choose an avatar/victim combination blindly at the offset, then, as the game progressed, I would garner more information about who was the real culprit behind the dead character's death. I chose Dina Cute as my avatar of slaughter vengeance, then Dahila as my victim. I was asked to confirm my choices. This got kinda annoying, as the default answer is "No, these aren't actually my choices. Let's reset them!", when previously, the default answers to questions have been "Yes! Let's do this!" When I did confirm my choices, I got whisked off.

This first challenge map seemed small enough, and there didn't look like there were many monsters abound, but I didn't like my character's movement speed. Maybe I'm just flustered that dash was disabled entirely. One thing about the monsters that I learned very quickly though, is that the player is meant to avoid them. How quickly did I learn this? How about a message box declaring "You got caught! Try again?" I thought saying "No" to the prompt would merely sent me back to the character selection screen. What actually happened? A Game Over screen. I wish I was joking.

Now staring down at the title screen, that I wondered where my save option was. I know I haven't done much, story-wise, or game-wise, but I wondered why the menu (and with it, the ability to save anywhere) was disabled. I wondered if clearing a level would cause the save menu to be called? I pressed "New Game" and went to the business of researching this theory. Except that I somehow forgot this was a puzzle game. I had a heck of a time clearing the level, not necessarily because it was "hard" per-say, but more out of my own impatience. Perhaps "expectation" is the right word. The character moved at a normal-enough speed during the character selection map, so I expected the player movement speed to be that way for the rest of the game. Though, maybe I shouldn't say that....

At any rate, this was definitely a game of patience. I was able to clear the room with that in mind. The next room was reminiscent of Pac-Man. It even had power pellets! I think it would be really cool if the character speed was increased during the time the power pellet was active, but oh well. At least I was able to remove a mess of dudes. The room after that, I noticed I could dash. For full disclosure, I did try dashing on the Pac-Man map before, but it was disabled there too. Anyway, being able to dash is awesome, because I felt like I could finally move at an appropriate speed. That there was nothing to run from in this room didn't matter.

Anyway, there was a door that asked me to input a number. I supposed that the clues to the combination were scattered across the room. I didn't see anything, save a switch. I thought to myself, "There's got to be more to this room than this switch." Well the switch did something, just not what I thought it did. The room's tone went very dark, as it was supposed to be a light-off scenario. I was thinking that the lights off would cause shiny bits to appear on the map, and those would be my clues/hints to the door. I saw nothing of the sort. I turned on the lights again, somewhat confused with what I was supposed to do. I looked at the room again. I noticed a door that looked like I could go through it, but wasn't that the way I came into the room in the first place? Shrugging my shoulders, I entered it anyway. It actually sent me in into another room with a guy who's looking for his jewels. Great. Anyway, I figured they were in the same room as the guy, but the visibility of that room was exceptionally poor. I made a sweep of the room and saw nothing that would point out the location of the jewels. I did find one randomly by searching the book a the very top of the room, though. I then searched a book on the table in the center part of the room that gave brief descriptions of where the jewels are, so things aren't as bad as they seem.

When I returned to the guy with his jewels, he gave me the ability to "see invisible signs". As if that wasn't obvious enough as to what I had to do, he gave me the invaluable advice of "Don't forget to turn off the lights!" Yeah, I already figured that the lights on/lights off mechanic would be how this puzzle would be solved. But, hey, not everything is obvious to everyone. Having something like this is fine.

The next room was a rather spacious one with a solitary person smack-dab in the center, staring down at me. If this was an RPG, I would be bound to say "Hey everybody! It's a Bosche!" However, it was a memory game. They say the average person's short-term memory allows for around seven, plus or minus two, items in a sequence to be memorized. My short-term memory is pretty bad, so I'm on the "minus" side of that equation. Anyway, this sequence is waaay beyond nine items. So, while I had to get the sequence at least twice (Once just to confirm my suspicions about the nature of the test, the other writing the sequence down in order to pass the test), I highly suggest anyone who plays this to write the sequence down!

The next sequence was our friendly neighborhood HKOz asking me how I want this guy to be tortured. I responded with a few choice items, like Ice (It was nice, and sufficed.) and Drop into the Hole (Don't ask.), then Axe. I should have seen it coming, but I moved my character to one of the sides of HKOz, and chose Hammer. Obviously, I have to use a bludgeon of inspiration on this guy. It was such a derp-fail on my part, because I should have realized earlier that there was move-routes with the melee combat options. Move routes that would not be blocked if my character was standing in front of our host rather than in front of a table. So, the game froze. Then I recalled that there was no opportunity for me to have saved the game. Not as far as I saw. Rather than frustrate myself with doing everything I just did all over again, I just decided to stop right there.

Overall entertainment:
A lot of what I saw in this game made me wonder what kinds of awesomeness khoz would have done if he was a part of The Here and Now of Yesterday compilation. I seriously think this developer could do some interesting things.

I do have an issue with this speed inconsistency between maps. I figure the only reason this game gets away with it, if at all, is that the speed-change happens once, at the near-beginning of the game, and the character's speed goes from "normal" to "double-time". For this game, I'd like one, consistent speed.

After the first two rooms, I thought I was getting into the groove with this game. Which is unfortunate, because of the stupid, stupid, mistake I made in the fourth room.

Seriously, this game needs a save option. Preferably "everywhere", but "anywhere" (Like, after completing a room, perhaps?) would be an improvement over it's current design.

It's a pretty game, in it's own way, and it has it's high points. However, in it's current incarnation, as far as I'm concerned, it can only be completed by marathoning it. Even if my guess is wrong, it's best to wait for a version of the game that allows free-er saving.