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Halloween Quest vs. Shadowiii
Halloween Quest A game with mexicans! Not just any mexican, THE mexican! Man, this game has everybody in it!
RedMaverickZero
Download: 523 KB
V.S.
Shadowiii
Play Time: 3 hours and -- minutes
Review # 16 for Shadowiii A game with mexicans! Not just any mexican, THE mexican! Man, this game has everybody in it!
Them's Fightin' Words
    Ah, Halloween. A great holiday where kids dress up as their favorite TV characters and go out to procure their well-deserved treats by walking miles and miles down crowded sidewalks. Where a few of us cheat the system and nab other's candy treats for ourselves (uh...I plead the fifth). Ah yes, Halloween is certainly a memoriable time, and Halloween Quest is a memoriable game. Of course, most of us forget about Halloween after the candy runs out, and you'll probably forget this game even exists by Christmas. But, like the holiday itself, Halloween Quest will undoubtably return to haunt you year after year, and for a good reason. One is that RMZ plans on making a sequal next year, but the real reason is that it is, simply put, a good game.

Halloween Quest successfully captures the Halloweeny spirit. Although that spirit begins to burn out near the end (which seems a bit forced), the game still is enjoyable to play. If you downloaded the first version it is important to note that many improvements (including the random battle issues as well as a various number of sidequests) have been added, so if you played the game through before you might want to give it another shot this time. This is, without a doubt, RMZ's best game yet, and by OHR standards it is a great game as well.
Graphics
    Graphically this game looks fantastic. Even though the graphics aren't mind-numbingly gorgious, they still look good overall. There is no gap between each graphical type; that is, NPC's are done at the same quality as Maptiles and Battle Graphics. This game is graphically RMZ's best, and for those who have played a few other of RMZ's games (the Mr. Triangle series for example) will know that he excells at a light, cartoony feel, which is what this game achieves. In truth it reminds me vaugely of Wandering Hamster, with subtle jokes thrown here and there, and the cartoony graphics supporting this. You could also say that the level of graphical achievement is the same as Wandering Hamsters...certainly above average.

NPC's are generally decent overall. Though some are a bit lower quality (the ghost in the masion isn't beautiful), all the NPC's look good and fit the theme. They are smoothly animated, and the cameo's "show" you what you need to see. What I mean is if you see a cameo, you'll know who it is. The only part I found weird is that quite a few people wear glasses. Maybe RMZ can't draw eyes well or something, but I thought that was a funny touch. The town eye-doctor is certainly rolling in the dough I can tell you that...

Battle Graphics are very well done. Hero graphics, complete with weapons, are executed with skill. There is no "flying weapon" syndrome that tends to plague games that dont' have the weapons drawn into the hero graphics. Enemies are cartoony and yet the ones that are intended to have a "darker" feel still manage to accompish this without ruining the theme. The cameo's (which consist of many of the boss battles) are easily recognizeable and are drawn in familiar poses. The backdrops also are a great improvement since MTSA5...though somewhat simple they are not boring at all. I liked them greatly.

Maptiles are excellently done also. Though some are a bit dull (the swamp) and the forest maptiles are severely overused, the overall feel is good. The only down side is that some of the trees and such look a bit flat, but it isn't noticeable enough to cause a difference.

Overall, the graphics accomplish what they should do: be there and not be ugly. Too many OHR games focus mainly on graphics rather then overall gameplay. Luckily, this game focuses on being "fun" rather than being beautiful.
 
Storyline
    A Halloween game with a story?! Well, sort of. Halloween Quest's story is there, but it really doesn't stand out overall. It is just...there. But in truth, the story isn't the main point of this game. The main point is to...have fun on Halloween and meet cameos, basically. Sure, it's nothing fulfulling, but it's really fun.

The game starts off simple: Josh has to take his little brother, Max, trick-or-treating instead of going out with his girlfriend, Rachael. so he straps on a skull costume complete with mask (except he puts it on his forehead instead of his face) and takes his brother (who is dressed a bit like a black mage from the Final Fantasy series) out to grab some treats. Of course, a candy snatcher tries to rob them, and thus the first battle. You then can go trick or treating, but only a few houses give you candy. At the end of the lane he sees that Rachael had to go out with her little brother too, and also that Josh's best friend went into an abandoned house. So off he goes to rescue him.

From there is kinda breaks down. There is some stuff about their father, a vampire, Death, Feneir makes a cameo (as well as about 100 other characters in pop-culture), and some other stuff, but there isn't anything exciting about it. Honestly, I didn't really care. I wondered why they kept going after discovering what was up with the Haunted House (I am inclined to agree with Max, they should have gone home :P), but heck, its a Halloween game. There isn't supossed to be a serious plot...is there?

One good point to the story is the fact that characters do have a lot of depth. Their various conversations are interesting and actually have flavor to them. The storytelling is well done, even if the story isn't anything thrilling. You'll know the characters by the end, which is something few OHR games manage to achieve.

One thing I DIDN'T like is that you never see Rachael again. It would have been interesting to have inserted her somewhere (the overall feel of this story is a cliche and parody of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy), but since she never re-appears it makes her being there seem...pointless. The game ends without resolution (though RMZ promises us a sequel) and so the story itself seems...irrelevent. But in truth it really is...you are really playing the game for a laugh, and that is what you get.

 
Gameplay
    There is nothing unique about the gameplay in Halloween Quest. It IS a contest game, so I honestly wouldn't expect a glamerous battle system or something, but still there is nothing special. It is your standard OHR Battle game: Wait for the ATB bar to fill, smack the enemy. Use spells if necessary, then heal with items. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But who says this is bad?

In truth, I actually enjoyed the battles. First, it was all intuitive, I didn't have to learn any new battle system or figure out how to fight. Max's special abilites are taught by various "candies" that are like the tomes in Wandering Hamster, so that was easy too. But what makes this game really good is the BALANCE in the battles. Battles are not too hard, but they aren't a walk in the park either. It plays fun, and the battle music is pretty good too. Overall, its fun to play. The exception being the final boss, who is amazingly hard, but still possible. Hey, he IS the final boss after all.

The game has Save Points, which was a good idea. Though in some areas I'd like to save anywhere (save points got few and far between towards the end) the save points were well placed (that is, just a screen or two before bosses). There was a store that "appeared" (friendly neighbor) that you could buy stuff from). There was a lack of Inns, but you healed on Lv. Up so it was all-right.
 
  Battle
    Battles are standard, run-of-the-mill battles. You have your offensive character, your mage, and your offensive-mage. Kinda reminded me of my Dragon Warrior II party, but lets just get back to the review shall we? The battles are your bare-bones RPG content: Hit for a decent attack, use various magics for special attacks when needed. Steal if necessary.

Basically, if you liked Wandering Hamster's battle's, you'll like these, because they are almost identical in terms of style. They are RPG battles, no more, no less. Thought I would like to see a few more spells earlier on, it still works out decently.
 
  Map Design
    Eh. Maps are dull. There is nothing special about ANY of the maps. Basically they are all the same: Walk through them. There are no interesting puzzles or tricks in any of the maps I found. A good improvement might be to add some puzzles or something interesting. Instead, you just walk around and fight. What's the fun in that? Sure, they look pretty, but they are just there to be there. There are a few secrets to find, but nothing to get excited over.  
  Balance
    Balance is, as stated before, excellent. So much so that the game is actually fun to play, which is a good thing. Unlike most OHR games, the balance actually seems polished. Spells do more damage then normal attacks (good thing), and each character is uniquely different. They don't all have "Magic" and garbage...they all have unique spells and such. Though the final boss is a bit difficult, he is nothing compared to the final boss of MTSA5...at least this one is beatable!

Overall, excellent work on balance. Like the majority of his previous games, RMZ proves that he can make a game with balanced battles, which is a skill that shouldn't be taken lightly.
 
Music
    All ripped, every last song. But they fit the theme excellently. The battle theme is upbeat and exciting enough to keep you playing. Although the main halloween song (the one that seems to be a variation of "Hall of the Mountain King") gets irritating because it plays a LOT, it still fits. The Haunted House song is excellent. The cameo songs are well placed as well ("Tank" playing when Ed and Ein cameo was a nice touch). My only major complaint is that it burns out near the end. One Winged Angel is a good song, but not in BAM, not at least until you get past the amazingly long introduction. Putting it in a final dungeon isn't a great idea. Also, Qu's Marsh song in the swamp has to go...it sounds awful as a bam. Other then a few misplaces here and there, though, the music works well.  
Enjoyment
    I've played almost every release to date, starting with the initial and working up to the expansion version. I have enjoyed every version (though some more than others...there was a bug in the first version that made you fight the first boss over again if you talked to the key again...it murdered me :P) and have gotten a good laugh out of it each time. The game also has a certain "halloweeny" feel to it, so make sure you play it when you feel...like halloween. I don't know. If you didn't play it yet, I highly recommend it. I had a great time playing it, and it probably won't take too long (3 hours is nothing), and plus you'll have a fun time doing it.  
Final Blows
    To conclude, I'll make a note: This was made for Gizmog's Halloween Contest 2003. It got 2nd place (it was a close second). The judging was based on three catagories: Creativity, Fun, and Scary. I'll convey my votes to you, along with comments.

Creativity: 7 - Indeed creative, but making a game that relies only on cameos isn't anything new or amazingly exciting. Luckily RMZ added a twist to make most of the cameos either be trick-or-treating or undead, thus making them a bit more difficult to spot. That touch boosted up the points a bit (I probably would have given it a 5 if he had just thrown them into the mix). Creative, yes. Amazingly original, no.
Fun: 9 - He lost a point in the first place because of the aweful random battles in the first version, but I keep the score because of the boring maps. However, I do think this was probably the funnest game of the four entered for the contest, in terms of enjoyment. The new version (expansion version) also has a bunch of hilarious sidequests and more cameos, so if you haven't beaten it yet get this version and use the same save file. Very fun game.
Scary: 2 - It wasn't scary. There were a few creepy scenes, so I gave him a 2, though it probably only merited a 1 for scaryness. The haunted mansion was downright creepy though, I'll have to admit.

Overall, to quote Setu Firestorm's review of RMZ's "Mr. Triangle's S****y Adventure 5"....."If you don't download this game, you are missing out on a lot!" You'll probably get some form of fulfillment from this game, even if it isn't exactly a feeling of accomplishment. It is just fun for funness' sake...you'll enjoy playing it, I can tell you that much. Give it a shot, you won't regret it.

Finally, to quote Mr. B, "The only cameo I recognized was the kid in the Pikachu costume...;)"
Double-mint gum has met its match in the competition for minty freshness.

Double-mint gum has met its match in the competition for minty freshness.
Final Scores
Graphics: 8.5/10.0
RMZ's best thus far, and well done by OHR standards. I like the fact that they all look so...similar. That is, the graphical portion of the game blends well and is all the same style. Excellent work.
Storyline: 5.5/10.0
Eh...it is decent. 5.0 for the good storytelling, only 0.5 because the story itself offeres no fulfillment. Hopefully the sequel will focus less on tons of cameos and instead develop the story more. Or keep the cameos and develop it more anyway!
Gameplay: 9/10.0
You lose 1.5 because of the dull maps. But you get an extra 0.5 because of all the side-quests. Games should always have sidequests, even silly halloween contest games. It was a nice touch (and a chance for MORE CAMEOS!)
Music: 6/10.0
Ripped, so you lose some points. The music gets kinda lame towards the end. But as a majority it is well picked and well placed, good work.
Enjoyment: 9.5/10.0
I had loads of fun playing this game. You'd think it wouldn't offer much replay value, considering most of the jokes only work once, but the sidequests were a good touch to make me play it again. Plus, I had to review the latest version...:P Good game, keep up the good work.

Oh, and as for the overall...if you compare it to Setu's review of MTSA5 you'll see mine is lower (B+ vs A-), but in truth I think this is by far RMZ's best game yet, and an excellent OHR game in general. Now to write a MTSA5 review to even it out...:P
Overall Grade: B+
Final Thoughts
    Trick or Treat! Smell my feet! Give me something good to eat!
 


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