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It's time for Jay to go on a journey...

Hello adventurers!
Welcome back for another review of a classic old game: Jay's Journey, a 2002 rpgmaker2000 classic adventure by HeroicJay that is also a parody of the rpgmaker jrpg genre. Yes. You've been warned, if you hate fourth wall breaking stay away from this game since every dialogue is filled with humor about videogame tropes: from how dialogues and thoughs work to unloocking bosses as party members, anyway is it fun? Well let's start with the story:

Atolla is a powerful warrior that tries to warn the king about a monster invasion, but in these games the monarchs are never really smart, and in fact the king totally ignores his warnings. And that's how a villain like Antignarot, that's not really the smartest guy in the worls (you will see!), start his plan to conquer the reign, but hey, there's still one person that can stop him: Jay!
Jay is a totally normal boy, but also the son of a hero, so he's a good boy. He lives in town and often speds his time with his friend Carol, a fire magician that loves him, until they meet a talking lion. But wait there's more, the lion's name is Atolla! Wait, we've already heard this name before, isn't it?

The game poses some excellent questions about the videogames in general!

Anyway this is the beginning of... Jay's Journey, of course, because our young hero will have to travel all around the world, fighting monsters, feral creatures and also battle those who are supporting Antignarot's evil plan, from evil dragons to pirates. A classic rpgmaker adventure rpg, isn't it? Oh so classic that you need the RTP 1.0 to work, because this is an all-RTP game, so be sure to have them (I did!).

Now, I liked and hated this game because it possess some classic features that I consider bad and old, and other additions that instead makes the game stand out, but let's start from the bad things:
The game uses save points that also heal your party, and you can also save on the main map, but otherwise there is no possibility to save, and in some situations the save/healing point is positioned AFTER the enemy boss. So you have to heal first and if you fail... well you probably will have to repeat the entire dungeon (this for example happens with the minotaur inside the tower revisited)! Dungeons are never too long, but that's annoying! Also bosses DO NOT award experience points. ZERO! You will just earn some permanents upgrades (one or two, no more) that you can spend to make your favourite character stronger. That's it, to level up you're forced to repeat random encounters, preferably near a healing point, and to make things worse (random battles are bad but wait...) running away is really a rare occasion, it happened to me a 25-30% of the time. Sigh.

Oh, come on Jay! That's harsh! Max is a useful member of our team and the only specialized healer!

Ehm... no ok, my mistake, you were totally right Jay! This guy is nuts!

There are also some things I'm ok with, for example the classic rpgmaker2000 combat, anyway this game makes things slightly more interesting adding a party-change crystal that lets you select the party members whenever you want, so that when you enter the Lava Caves filled with fire elementals and red scorpions you will be able to drop Carol the Fire Mage and let Frost the Ice Wizard have his chance to shine! The party members are all interesting: we've Jay that's a capable warrior (no elemental specialization, but he can read books to learn new skills and also use elemental swords), a ninja, a spear-wielding sorceress in bikini, a blue dragon, the previously mentioned Atolla the Lion that's a powerhouse, and Max. Max is a totally dumb character with a great strength and lousy accuracy, but he's also a healer (technically all wizards can also heal but he's the specialized and the only one that will soon learn how to resurrect! Call him stupid!), so it soon became my favourite, and I'm pretty sure you'll find your favourites too.

What's more? Oh yes the minigames, and the puzzles: every town has a t least one place where you can play... something, and the reward is money: there are place with lever puzzles where you have to find the right combination to solve a labyrinth and reach a chest, and these can be played only once for a nice reward. Then there are repeatable minigames like the race and archery, where you've to outrun the other contestants or hit moving targets, but there are also some minigames integrated with the adventure, like chase sections and puzzles such as the classic pushing boulders/barrel enigma found inside the dungeons. Nothing complex, but the more, the better, even if some aren't really fun, for example I think that the archery minigame wasn't a really cool one (even if I earned some gold) but that's also because Rpgmaker is not ideal for frenetic/action parts. Puzzles were far better, in my opinion.

My advice? Don't fight fire with fire! Fight ice with fire, and vice versa!

Oh and there are also some voiced parts, not many, and sometimes repeated but it was fun to see most important characters (not just Jay and Carol) being voiced. I also liked that the party members, at least in the "peaceful areas" (not in the dungeons) are displayed as we walk around, standing in a queue behind Jay.
On the other hand there are some events during the story that make little sense, like Jay never asking about Frost's mysterious commission in town, and other events and details that are waved off without any explanation. Ok, maybe that's part of the lighthearted mood of the adventure, still as a curious player I'd have liked to see them addressed, but it's ok, this is a game where (save for few exceptions) the party members join Jay without reasons to do that (especially Gaia and Max, but ok, Max is an idiot!). But uh that's not really the first game that does that and it won't be the last!

Visually the game is... uhm ok! Jay's Journey was voted best use of RTP in the Misao award, and for the most part this is correct, I mean most maps have hidden loot and optional subquests (like finding trading items for some apparently uninteresting characters) and some of them also look good. Well, some! I mean it's true that the first maps you will see are pretty ugly and simple, but later things will improve a lot (even if never as good as the later maps of that masterpiece that is Three the Hard Way, sorry!), and I absolutely love as some of these also change during the story, like for example the ruined tower that gets renovated: start infested by critters and undeads, then become patrolled by guards and finally becomes a sort of museum for tourists! Cool except that the map itself is really bare bones with some rubble lying around... and later it won't even have rubble! The cool aspect is that this location has some of the better made puzzles (not just one!) I've seen in an old rpgmaker game! Another issue I found is the lack of music in some areas, but that's a really mino complaint.
I liked the use of appearing and disappearing rocks to !raiload" the player into going the right way, even if I admit there's some backtracking in this game and I'm not really a fan of that, especially since in some parts this was totally avoided. What else? That's enough I guess, let's end our journey here!

Solving optional puzzles for fun and profit. Given that you've no time limit is cool!

Final Verdict
Jay's Journey was a good game at the time, and in my opinion it's still pretty good today with its gimmicks and additions that enhance the classic fantasy RTP game, because this is not just a parody but also a true epic journey like others I played before, such as The Sword and the Fish or Three the Hard Way. Difficulty is for the most part well balanced (except the battle against Azareth, that's too easy since the opponent will just try to drain MP and won't make efforts to destroy the team like other enemies), at least if you remember to restock health potions and be prepared before each bossfight. I also liked how, despite the title being JAY's Journey, there are some instances in which we play as other characters, like Cindy the Elf or Tezla the Adventurer, ok these are short parts like the prologue with Atolla, still they give an idea that there IS someone elese besides Jay doing something against evil.

In the end Jay's Journey is a fun game, but MORE fun if you are the player that absolutely love rm2k and rm2k3 games.


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Yay! Great game reviewed by a great guy
Yay! Great game reviewed by a great guy

Thanksssssssssss a lot!
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