Lots and lots of reviews this time around. New format: I've given up the grading system, going back to the original idea of no grades and reviewer-determined format idiosyncratic to that reviewer. The reviewers in this issue are Haggard, Rinku Hero, Specplosive, and Harlock Hero.

 
 
~ G a m e   o f   t h e   I s s u e ~
"Fantasy Under a Blue Moon X v4: Lunar Shockwave"

~ 4 8   H o u r   C o n t e s t   G a m e s ~
"The Dexmaster Game!!!!!!!!!!! (Scenario 001)"
"Tightfloss Maiden"
"The Last Job"
"Seizure Inducer"
"Harlock's And Rinku's Game Which Includes The Game Bill's Never Go West"
"I Made Dis"
"Me"
"Ninjahs"
"Prism"
"Scars Of Glory"
"A Troll's Coup De Tat"
"Werebirds Arena"
"Grief"
"Seekers"
"Help Wanted"
"Imperium"
"Star Cops"
"The King's Basement"
"Xutt"

~ 1 6 8   H o u r   C o n t e s t   G a m e s ~
"Neke: Woman of Mystery"
"Knight of the Ages"
"The Hounds of Geussen"
"White Bricks Under a Red Fence"
"Wally's Castle"

~ C h r i s t m a s   C o n t e s t   &   H u m a n   D a y   C o n t e s t   G a m e s ~
"Aquarius"
"The Parson's Apprentice's Tale"
"Santa Goes Extreme"
"OHR Noel"

~ H a l l o w e e n   G a m e s ~
"Scary Game 2"

~ O t h e r   O h r r p g c e   G a m e s ~
"Orbituaries"
"Xerian"
 

__ ___ _ _ __ _ _ __ __ ____ _ _ _ _ __ __ ____

Game of the Month

The game of the issue is the new version 4 release of Fantasy Under a Blue Moon X: Lunar Shockwave. White Owl has created perhaps the most entertaining Ohrrpgce game to be released in a good while. Here is the review by Harlock Hero:

"Fantasy Under a Blue Moon X v4: Lunar Shockwave"

There’s a fantasy. It does indeed take place under a blue (more purple) moon. I’m willing to believe that somewhere there is in fact an X. I know this to be the 4th version, and while the Lunar Shockwave baffles me, it seems fitting (sort of like the title of my own first game). The title of 2001’s most talked-out release for the OHRRPGCE says a lot about the game, actually, in the way that it takes seemingly random elements and manages, through some form of ancient magic, I presume, to make them fit together rather well.

Years ago, I had played the original FUABMX only to die after running into a drunkard. After this experience, I never quite got fully into that game, despite its decent graphics and overall presentation. While I somehow managed to repeat that same error of drunkard-heckling in v4, I’m happy to say that it was done well enough to prevent me from losing interest after such a strange and perhaps unfair encounter. In order to determine why FUABMXv4 is such a successful into the OHR canon, let us take a look at its individual components. 

The graphical quality has significantly improved since the first installment, and while it wasn’t bad back then, it’s great now. The maptiles are one of the best features, and while they often don’t mesh well together in a natural-looking way, the texturing and shading here rivals that found in commercial sprite-based RPGs. The character graphics don’t really stand out as anything spectacular, but they’re competent, so I won’t harp too much on them. The enemy design is done well, and the game features some of the best boss graphics you’ve yet seen. The best part of the graphics, however, is the battle backdrops. They are without a doubt the best backdrops in OHR history. The ice cavern’s usage of “translucent” ice crystals is a prime example of the amount of work and detail put into these.

In terms of gameplay, FUABMX utilizes an interesting system wherein leveling up gains you no statistic bonuses other than increased HP and MP. In order to raise other stats, you’re going to need to rely on relatively expensive equipment and various equippable fury items. Just equipping these items, however, is not always the best course of action, for if they’re used on a character, often he will gain special abilities from it. This goes for all weapons in the game and the majority of accessories. Each character is able to cast from the same large set of spells called “Fury” techniques in the game. This includes your standard elemental spells and curative magics. In addition, everyone has a set of abilities unique to them, gained from using weapons on the appropriate characters. For example, using the Iron Katana on Podo will teach him the “Ragin’ Pain” ability, which proves to be extremely useful in combat. The only complaint I have about these kind of attacks is that they feel lackluster. The animations are no more spectacular than your typical attacks and so I don’t gain the impression that I am in fact inflicting major damage to the enemy. Kain’s cigarette attack, however, is a good example of a well-done special technique. It is one of the only ones. The battles are balanced fairly well, if they do become a bit ridiculous in certain areas, namely one boss in particular (who, in terms of story, shouldn’t exist at all).

Story is where FUABMX begins to fall short of the hype. To be fair, the author White Owl has never claimed that the story was all that great, but still, it bears mentioning. The dialogue is presented in a reasonably competent manner, with most characters having a distinct voice that reflects their personality. Unfortunately, this is as much depth as any of the characters ever get. The motivations for many character’s actions is never explained. For example, why do Podo and Kain suddenly begin speaking of Augus as if he has been plaguing them since the dawn of time when in fact their first “meeting” with him was just five minutes prior in the transport tower? Why does Kain dislike Dr. Masa? Why is it important that Podo be the one sent to investigate Emperor Czar’s activities? There are many other unanswered questions, but I will refrain from speaking of them to avoid spoilers. The plot in general is fairly hackneyed and is so full of holes, it makes swiss cheese look sturdy. (The most glaring of these is the fact that Emperors are not appointed by elections….) The plot never really seems to exist for its own sake, and seems rather as if its been tacked on for the sole purpose of having another cave or tower to explore.

The music I won’t comment on much, except to say that while it’s ripped, it generally fits well. I would advise the author to utilize more in the way of music changes at key points in the various scenes. It would work much better than what is currently there.

Overall, FUABMXv4 is rather deserving of the praise it has  garnered within the community. It is not the best OHR game I have ever played, but its definitely not the worst. With time and effort, the story could be revamped into something worthy of the graphics and gameplay presented here. Admittedly, I am slightly biased towards story, being an author primarily, so I’ll refrain from further commentary in that regard. Suffice it to say, if you are willing to overlook the multitudinous minor flaws, FUABMXv4 is definitely worth your time.

-Harlock Hero


 
 
 

"The same dream every night, I see a young girl being attacked by an ancient demon. ALIS!!! - Aw, christ, wrong game!"

"Edge makes a cameo!!... or does he?"

"Podo, come down, we can talk this over!" "No, I have to demolish the transport tower! WHY DIDN'T YOU LISTEN, MOTHER?!?"

"I AM AUGUS! Behold my magical coat, it blows in the wind that is not there, for my hair is not blowing! Taste my fury!!"

"The OHR's translucency effects in all their glory."

"Damn that foul sorceror Augus! He has made water that doesn't freeze! The horror!"

 

__ ___ _ _ __ _ _ __ __ ____ _ _ _ _ __ __ ____

48 Hour Contest

In early summer there was a 48-hour contest sponsored by ZzFenix. For those not familiar with the idea, contestants had 48 hours to create a game from scratch. Two days to make a game from beginning to end. A rigourous test of endurance and ingenuity. 19 entries were recieved, but there was only one winner (Scars of Glory). These 48 hour contest games were reviewed by Haggard.

*

"The Dexmaster Game!!!!!!!!!!! (Scenario 001)"

If there's one thing to be said about the Dexmaster, it's that he's damned persistent. Sure, his games aren't so great, but if you stop and think about it, you'll see that he's got quite a few of them under his belt. However, for most OHR gamers it's quality over quantity, not the reverse. Therefore, the fact that he's made 17 billion games doesn't do much in the way of helping his credibility.

As might be expected, The Dexmaster Game!!!!!!!!!!! (Scenario 001) is an unimpressive, sub-standard RPG. The graphics are poorly done, the story is incomprehensible, the music is ripped (I'm sorry, but that equals a big fat zero in my book) and even the characters are ripped straight out of other video games & various anime. I honestly can't think of one redeeming aspect of this game. I would suggest the following to the Dexmaster: First, throwing a bunch of well-known characters together doesn't make a game. Second, work on your graphic designing skills. I'd like to think that the OHRRPGCE is capable of supporting post-atari quality visuals. Third, do some reading. No, do a lot of reading. If these are the best story-lines that you can come up with, then you're watching too much Toonami.

In closing, I wouldn't recommend this game to anyone, except maybe to the Dexmaster himself. In fact, I would like to urge all developers to take some time out of their busy schedules to play their own game and question its value as an RPG. After all, if you can't enjoy your own game, then what do you expect us to play it for?

- Haggard



"Yes. I am playing the wrong game, dumb ass."

"Me steal from Arfenhouse? That's unpossible!"

*

"Tightfloss Maiden"

Every game has its good parts and its bad parts. Unfortunately, there just wasn't much to this version of Tightfloss Maiden, good or bad. I'll admit that the presence of a 'to be continued' screen at the end of a game is a pretty good excuse for its lack of play time, especially if it's an entry for the 48-hour contest. Pepsi Ranger plans to release a finished version sometime in the future. However, it's my job to review this version, and that's what I intend to do.

Pepsi is known for his excellent writing. Despite this, I would have to say that the dialogue in Tightfloss Maiden falls somewhat short of the expected Powerstick Man quality. The graphics aren't very well balanced. The battle graphics (excluding the hero graphics) have a unique style to them (almost like the SNES sleeper hit Out of this World), and are quite impressive. On the other hand, the maptiles are bland and the walkabout graphics are the same overly masculine, gorilla-armed people featured in Powerstick Man. Not pretty. The music is nice, but not very noticeable. The story, well, hasn't quite been put into effect as of yet.

While I would be interested in playing the full version, the demo doesn't do much to satisfy my gaming needs.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 


"The enemy graphics and battle backdrops are good."

"She look'a like'a man."

 

*

"The Last Job"

It's not often that OHR games are presented in the form of a short story. The author of this game managed to make The Last Job an interesting game, despite its low level of interactivity.

As might be expected, the main drive in this game is the story. Unfortunately, the story didn't seem quite as fleshed-out as it could have been. Despite that, it was an interesting read and was suprisingly well-written for an OHR game. The graphics were good, especially the walk-abouts. However, such detrimental factors as the absence of any real gameplay and a poorly selected soundtrack (not to mention the game's short length) left me feeling unsatisfied when all was said and done. Don't get me wrong: this game deserves a chance, by all means. Just don't expect the sort of engrossing experience you would get from longer RPGs.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"It feels like I'm stuck in somebody's geometry homework."

"Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of a sandwich..."

 

*

"Seizure Inducer"

This game hurts my eyes, and points seem to be scored abitrarily. Play it if you have something against your vision.

- Haggard



 
 


"This is what you'll be able to see after playing."

 

*

"Harlock's And Rinku's Game Which Includes The Game Bill's Never Go West"

Harlock & Rinku have to be two most unconventional game designers in the history of the OHR community. such is evident after playing this strange, yet oddly interesting game. The story-line may seem unapproachable for many (myself included), and the themes unclear. However, the sharp dialogue helps players to get through with minimal confusion.

There are supposedly five different endings, but I haven't taken the liberty of finding all of them. The game just doesn't warrant multiple play-throughs. The gameplay is a good base to build upon, but isn't presented in full effect, so to speak. Such innovative ideas as using bombs to clear obstacles and the ability to choose your own path (which is far too often disregarded by other OHR game designers) are excellent elements, but I had the feeling that these features could have been put to better use. The music is good, but is not the original work of either of the authors. However, it was not ripped from another video game, which is worthy of at least some praise. In the way of graphics, the maptiles and walkabouts are very acceptable. Although, the battle graphics were obviously left unfinished. Overall, this is a worthy addition to anyone's OHR library, unfinished as it may feel.

- Haggard



 
 
 


"Never draw enemy graphics is more like it."

"What's this? four-player NBA Jam? You're so lame!"

 

*

"I Made Dis"

To be honest, I would have expected a better effort from someone as intelligent as Gilbert seems to be. Don't get me wrong, the game is good for what it is: a Batman joke and Elvis shooting zombies. Okay. Not a common pairing, but executed with skill, to be sure. A winding hall with random zombie encounters is all the gameplay you'll get here, I'm afraid. That's not exactly my idea of a memorable RPG experience (reminder: send hate mail to <chocobert@aol.com> or <chocobert_009@hotmail.com>).

The graphics are above the OHR average, especially the zombie enemy graphics. The problem is that there weren't that many graphics throughout the game. The music was a little dissapointing (Not an Elvis fan, sorry), and there was no real story to speak of. Yet, I can't say that this game is terrible... because it's not. Just don't expect a lot from I Made Dis and you'll do fine. It's worth a few good laughs (And I mean that in a positive way).

There is some obvious skill underneath this game's wacky exterior, and I hope that Gilbert takes it upon himself to finish Bandit Revolver sometime in the near future.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"Note to self: Zombies hate country music."

"Insert fat Elvis joke here."

 

*

"Me"

The graphics are quite impressive, with only a few minor flaws here and there. The unusual side-view that the game was presented in was a nice change of pace. However, the very annoying music and simple battles helped this game find an early grave. To top it off, the game only lasts for about 10 minutes before it ends abruptly (despite great effort on my part in regards to finding a way to progress the game).

This could have been a promising game, were it finished. There aren't any platform-RPG hybrids for the OHRRPGCE, as far as I know, so I'm sure that there are others besides myself who would like to see this game finished.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"The side-view perspective is refreshing."

"Cactuar try-outs? Next!"

 

*

"Ninjahs"

48-hour contest entries can usually be summed up in one word: unfinished. That is, most of these games are short, untested, and thrown-together. However, a few of them manage to have at least one redeeming quality. In the case of Ninjahs, that redeeming quality happens to be the excellent hero and enemy graphics. The rest of the game... well, there is no "rest of the game". Basically, you fight ninjas (albeit masterfully-drawn ninjas) and that's it. The music is ripped, and although this is common for OHR games, I do not intend to go easy on anyone who believes in this practice.

In conclusion, perhaps a little less time spent on graphics and a little more time spent on gameplay would have made this a worthy title.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"The masterful battle graphics."

"Ummm... perhaps Shizuma's one of those 'idiot savants'...?"

 

*

"Prism"

Bugs: They're something every game player has to deal with now and then (yes, even super players like me). Unfortunately, "now and then" came far too often in Prism. If not for the debug keys, I would have just given up on this game altogether. The creator of this game should really double check his door links.

Aside from getting stuck in doorways all day long, there wasn't much to do in this game. Of course, it's a demo version so I can't rightly complain about such things. Yet I can't deny that this game is short, ugly, and repetitive. The story could be summed up in a sentence, the graphics seem to be mostly  made using the air-brush (though are admittedly not what I would call "god-awful"), every NPC in the game (as well as the hero) looks exactly the same, the music is annoying, the dialogue is poor and you have to buy a 'save' item in order to record your progress... Bob Dole doesn't need this. Overall, this game needs a lot more work.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"Me?"

"The not-so-bad world map."

 

*

"Scars Of Glory"

Before I talk about the above-average graphics, the incredibly annoying music, the decent story or the original, scripted battle-system/status growth system, there's something I have to get off my chest: Do not play this game unless you would enjoy sitting around for an hour and a half doing nothing but gaining levels and earning money (in case you share Block Man's IQ, this is said with the assumption that most people would not find this enjoyable).

This is a good game, it's just uneccesarily difficult and frustrating. Here's an example of why i'll never play this game again (unless, of course, the things I'm complaining about are remedied in the next release): Before fighting the boss, I maxed out all of my stats (that's level 5 out of 5 for attack, magic points, speed & defense) except for my hit point level, which I raised to level 9 out of 30 (that's a total of 360 HP). I bought 20 Waters (each restores 200 HP) and 20 Pixies (each restores 25 MP). At $150 a piece, you just know I didn't enjoy earning enough money to buy that many pixies. Now, since you cannot harm the boss in any way other than using your 10 MP-consuming special attack, I had to use every single pixie I had in order to defeat him. What's that? You only bought 19 pixies? I guess you'll just have to let the boss kill you and try again! What's that? You thought you'd just go back and save after defeating the boss? That's too bad, considering the fact that he reappears every time you step on that tile!

What I'm trying to convey here is that THIS SHOULD NOT BE NECESSARY. I'm all for a challenge, but fighting weak-as-bugs enemies who only give a small amount of money and experience each for extended periods of time feels less like a challenge and more like community service in hell. My final game time was about two hours, but there had to be at least an extra half-hour spent fighting and dying against the annoying boss. That's the kind of thing that can really bring a game down.

The graphics were decent, but the main character looked like a chocobo knight (this is not a bad thing. no, really). The music was insanely annoying... what were you thinking with that field music, man? Argh! The story was pretty good, but it only lasted for about 5 minutes before the game began (like most 48-hour contest entries, this seems to be a demo game). The battle-system is scripted, and resembles the style seen in the Dragon Quest games. You don't gain levels like most other RPGS, but instead raise your stats one at a time through the use of accessories. Annoying, but fresh and original all the same. All in all, this would be a decent game if not for the unacceptable difficulty of the boss battle. Balance is key.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"Get used to this screen."

"Chocobo knights: The boy scouts of the Final Fantasy universe."

 

*

"A Troll's Coup De Tat"

It's your task to help a troll named clawed (HA HA HA! ... U R A FUNNEY MAN, GAME AUTHER!1.) overthrow the oppresive monarch, Kane (somewhere a dragon knight is rolling over in his grave). With the help of a notebook given to you by a gnome who oddly resembles the dwarves from Chrono Cross, you choose from five different methods of terrorism the one scheme that would be perfect for the domination of Kane's kingdom... in theory. In actuality, you can only use the third method in this game, as the creator neglected to incorporate the other options in this version of his game.

After it's all said and done, this game just doesn't do much for me. The graphics are better than average and the concept is original, but there are no battles and the entire game can be completed in under ten minutes. Try to concentrate on keeping the gamer interested.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"I thought there was only one of you?"

"Somehow I don't fear a knight with stubby legs."

 

*

"Werebirds Arena"

Who would come up with this idea? Somewhere between Pokemon and a good Thanksgiving dinner lies Werebirds Arena. Bah. The graphics are somewhat below average (though not altogether terrible), the music is ripped, the story is ridiculous and the gameplay is basically a race to choose your strongest attack and push the space bar enough times to kill your opponent before he kills you. Bah. The idea of a tournament-themed game is great, but the idea of pitting a turkey against an owl isn't so great. Good try, though. Perhaps with some actual story this game might go places.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"I'll be fighting a what now?"

"Hit 'em with your drumstick -- er, kick 'em!"

 

*

"Grief"

The old saying "rules were meant to be broken" definitely sums up this game's creation. That's right, this is the game that broke the contest rules with a development team exceeding two individual people. There is a disclaimer which warns gamers of this, but strangely it is shown at the very end of the game and not the beginning.

The actual game is a cut above the average 48-hour contest entry. It sports unique graphics which blend prerendered 3D backgrounds with ugly 2D walk-abouts. There is  at least one original musical composition, and the story is original (though somewhat lacking). The best part is most likely the large variety of unique monsters to battle.

There are, however, some very noticeable faults that quickly drag the experience down. these include repetitive, straight-foward dungeons, scant NPC interaction and unbalanced gameplay. Adding to the excessively lengthy game (lengthy in proportion to the actual game content) is the disappointing finale. This is a good game, but is in need of some serious fleshing-out.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"OHR Resident Evil?"

"Two beautifully unique enemies. Now bash them with your stick!"

 

*

"Seekers"

Decidedly the worst entry of the bunch, "Seekers" looks to be the product of about an hour of work and about a minute of planning. The complete lack of any kind of story, bland graphics, annoying music and about 3 minutes of game time make this game unplayable.

Unfortunately, the author had enough sense not to include his name on the title screen. Just imagine all the hate mail gone to waste, eh? If the author had spent a lot more time on this project he might have had something to be proud of.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"Hmmm... Impale my foe or sit back and enjoy a good book?"

"I know that's what I'd do."

 

*

"Help Wanted"

Every now and then, a game comes along which really shines with playability. Help Wanted doesn't sport an incredible amount of depth, and the visuals are nowhere near what they could have been. But all true gamers know that these things don't matter when you're dealing with a game that's just fun to play.

With witty dialogue and an original concept, this RPG actually kept me interested throughout the entire quest (although it was a rather short quest). There are no random battles in this game. Instead, the creator opted for a more dynamic approach, littering the game's one dungeon with moving NPC-monsters (more people should try this. random battles are the lazy way out, people).

This is one of the very few OHR games that have made me wish that there was more. I would love to see a new version of this game with a longer quest, a deeper story, and more of the same humorous dialogue. This game is my personal pick for "Best 48-Hour Contest Entry".

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"I want that desk."

"That'll be $8... OR YOUR SOUL!!!"

 

*

"Imperium"

This isn't a terrible game. In fact, it's pretty average straight through. However, this game left me with the impression that it was all just, well, pointless. The graphics were decent, but that's about it. What happened to the story? I spent the entire game wondering what I was doing walking around, fighting decidedly phallic-looking enemies. Most of the time, though, I didn't really care.

Some games can just capture your attention, while others (like this one) leave you wondering when it'll all end. The music was ripped and annoying, like most Ohr games. As I've said, this isn't the worst Ohr game out there, but I'll avoid it just the same. With some more work and perhaps some actual dialogue, this game might have been interesting.

To the author of this game, I would suggest that you never settle for anything that you're not satisfied with. If there's something in the game that isn't quite as good as it can be, don't assume that it will be so easily overlooked by us gamers.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"Mind in the gutter or not, those things disturb me."

"Burning the evidence is always best."

 

*

"Star Cops"

This is one frustrating RPG. Yet, it's not without its high points, such as the ability to select your character at the beginning of the game or the nicely done puzzle area towards the end of the game. However, the battle system is seriously lacking, and there is no story-line worth noticing. This game itself feels doomed, but its creator could improve through practice and study.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"Just... no."

"...Or shoot yourself to end the game."

 

*

"The King's Basement"

The concept of a text-based RPG is intriguing, but unfortunately I just couldn't get this game to work! I tried pretty much everything, but nothing I did seemed to produce a positive result. However, I'll happily review this game again if the author can contact Rinku (eressoft@cs.com) and either (a) send in a working copy or (b) instruct us on how this game functions. sorry. >:`o

- Haggard

*

"Xutt"

Dragon Ball Z fan games are, as a rule, horrible (This is either due to the fact that DBZ itself is terrible or its fans are). Xutt is no exception. The graphics are beyond poor, the music is ripped and the story can be summed up thusly: "let's make everybody fight each other for no good reason... like in DBZ!!!".

The gameplay is, well, how shall I put this? Either press the space bar over and over or press Ctrl+F4 over and over (or just smash your monitor with a hammer; hey, it worked in Powerstick Man!). I don't like to talk trash about games (lie!), but this game belongs somewhere between the fourth & third circles of hell. Avoid it, and avoid the author.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 
 


"On the bright side, I've gotten to pummel just about everybody I hate."

"Now stand still while I... take your picture... yeah..."

 

__ ___ _ _ __ _ _ __ __ ____ _ _ _ _ __ __ ____

168 Hour Contest

This summer, fresh out of the 48 hour contest, I had the idea for a 168-hour contest, which I felt would give authors more time to work, while still maintaining the intensive game-design experience. Harlock helped me set up a contest page, and off we went. There were less entries this time (5), probably due to everyone being tired out from the last contest. The winner of the contest (by a very close margin) was Neke: Woman of Mystery. Knight of the Ages came in second.

*

"Neke"

Neke has been described as an "Ohr Movie", and I agree with that cognomen. It is not devoid of battles, but it is devoid of gameplay. On the other hand, it's full of story and graphics and plotscripting, and there is no rule that everything made on the Ohrrpgce has to be a game.

Neke is nude, with those black boxes you see on TV, throughout the game. This sounds like an interesting premise, but strangely has little to nothing to do with the rest of the story, and is only mentioned in passing, leaving the player wondering "what's the point?" It's not an attack on prudishness, although it could have been such. It seems to have been done 'just because it's funny'.

Another point is that there are a lot of Parasite Eve references, for no real reason that I could find. When I asked one of the creators why, they said something in the line of it being parodic of Parasite Eve. I still don't really understand the rationale behind that choice. But... this game is by some of the creators of the game The Fall of Insight Games, so some strangeness is to be expected.

The plot is unorganized and arbitrary in order, but each individual scene is well made. The introduction was a bit long, especially since during it each textbox goes at an insanely slow rate (perhaps to give people time to sound out every letter a few times). But there are no consistent grammatical or spelling errors that you see in most Ohr games, and the dialogue is readable, although nothing exceptional.

The graphics are well done, overall. The plotscripting for events is really well done (the first fight scene in particular was well designed). It's not perfect graphically (the attack for the hero's battle graphic just moves the first frame's arm) but it's leagues better than average for the Ohr. Considering the game was made in one week, this is surprising.

One thing which I feel was definately a mistake however: the game does have some tedious parts which pretend to be gameplay -- walking up the twin towers for example. A short story Ohr file doesn't need such things, and once they decided to give it an emphasis on story, they should never have attempted to put in gameplay; it just feels artificially tacked-on. This is the same problem I have with The Last Job. That trash can pushing 'puzzle' in it had nothing to do with the rest of the game, and was just a distraction (it also prevented many people from finishing the game). The point is: if you are going to have poor gameplay, have no gameplay instead, don't have half-hearted gameplay which bores the player just because 'it's a game, and needs some type of gameplay'.

- Rinku Hero



 
 
 
 


"An all-star line up."

"Chalkboard style title screens are becoming fashionable in the Ohr."

"One of the few battles in the game."

"Manhattan never looked so deserted."

 

*

"Knight of the Ages"

As before stated, second place when to a game created by Moogle1 and myself: Knight of the Ages. This game, unlike Neke, focused on gameplay, but on the other hand, it eschewed story nearly completely. It had a traditional fantasy setting, with a traditional story involving four elements... four dungeons... each has a mini-boss and a boss... then there is the final dungeon... you've seen it all before twice or thrice.

Gameplay difficulty and complexity was where the game really stood out, or rather, where the game was envisioned to stand out. As it turned out, there were many imbalances in the final product, which were caught by even the least viligent players. For example, the 'berserk trick' was way too powerful to have been included as is, and there was a bug causing potions not to actually be used up upon use (and I believe there was a potion that harmed the user). On the good side, there were no disconnected doors, and the game was completely workable up to the ending, unlike Moogle1's Christmas contest game.

The game's flow was an intro, then four dungeons, the order of which was to be decided by the player. Each had a key, a locked door, and a boss behind that locked door. The twist was that the keys did not open the door to the dungeon in which they were found, but to a door in another dungeon. This annoyed a lot of players who felt that it made them have to walk around too much, but had the advantage of forcing the player to progress through more than one dungeon before gaining the first element change, and so they will be lest apt to just 'choose the first class they find'. Class selection decision interest was further enhanced from the knowledge gained by loking at the first four characters, each of which is a different element and had different abilities.

The working summon spell system was perhaps the most noted part. It probably has the most workable summon system in the Ohrrpgce to date. If only for that reason, I recommend downloading and examining the game, especially if you wish to create a summon spell system in your own Ohrrpgce game.

Another gameplay point was a dream-system where every night at the inn initiated an exploration of a small dream world (after finishing that dream world, the player changed classes for the second time). An idea, which may be explored in the game's possible sequel, would be to make the dream world much larger and more explorable (a completely new world, as large as the 'real' one), and have the summon spells work differently in the dream world than they do in the actual world (possible due to the nature of the summon system).

The game is around two or three hours long, less if you use the berserk trick. It is recommended for download if you want to see how the summon spell system works, or just have to have every Moogle1 game and/or every Rinku Hero game, no matter how bad they may be. I would consider the game both inferior to And&, which I made in 48 hours over a year ago, and to Scary Game, which Moogle1 made in around a week over a year ago.

So, why did this game fail? One main reason: it relied on Moogle1 for story/theme/dialogue (not his strong point) and it relied on me for gameplay/level design (which I can do, but not as quickly as Moogle1). Also, I didn't know anything about how Moogle1 wanted me to end the game (he just gave me the uncompleted game and I had to get the story predominantly from the textboxes), and so the ending was... see for yourself, if you have the patience. The graphics, too, are a rush job, as seen from the pictures (all the heroes suffer from the 'they all look the same' syndrome warned against in Charbile's contribution to this month's design article).

- Rinku Hero



 
 
 
 


"The summon spells double as palette swapped enemies!!"

"One of my best contributions to this game is the font."

*

"The Hounds of Geussen"

Hounds of Geussen is a side scrolling engine, without any real game in it. I didn't find it fun to play, because there really wasn't anything to do. Siv, another sidescrolling Ohr game made at the same time, was slightly more fun to play (in that  bugs weren't as prevalent), but both are just engines without any game, much like Ohr Tactics. I can't recommend playing it unless you are thinking about making a sidescrolling Ohr game and want to see your competition.

- Rinku Hero



 
 
 
 


"The 0 in the corner has an unknown function."


"At least it doesn't say -Press Start-."

*

"White Bricks Under a Red Fence"

Wow, this game was really unpleasant to play. Its writing was alien (interior and outerior, etc.); its graphics were... each tile seemed to have work put into it, but the basic knowledge of connecting tiles was totally absent; its stroy didn't make sense; the presentation was inadequete... in general it felt like a first generation Ohr game somehow pulled through time and put in a jacket of terror.

One good point beyond all the insanity is that it is the first released ohr game to use a submenu system other than the Ohrrpgce provided one. It's useless gameplay wise, and it's not actually possible to do anything with it besides look at two textboxes about the main character, but it's a start. This is notable to me because I made a similar submenu system (see the design article for a picture of it).

In summary: I advise that you avoid this game unless you want to see a submenu system (accessble by pressing the ~ keyboard button in-game).

- Rinku Hero



 
 
 


"Photoshop filteresque title screen."


"Omegaly? And is that a wound on his neck?"


"Griddish map."

"The submenu."

*

"Wally's Castle"

This game is surprisingly better than Star Cops (also by this author). The mini games (the game is almost a collection of mini games) are overall well done, and there are no bugs or incompletenesses. The game is around 40 minutes long, and comes complete with a FMV ending. The only mini-game which was questionable was the 'avoid the ghost' mini-game, in which success was more due to luck and persistence than skill. The game is still obviously amateur, with primitive graphics, but at least  it -was- a game, unlike Neke, White Bricks Under a Red Fence, and The Hounds of Geussen. If you don't expect an interesting story (although the characterization actually isn't that bad), and like mini-games (and quiz games), it's a recommendable download.

- Rinku Hero



 
 
 


"Looks like Ohr Tactics."

"Why name a Middle English character with a modern name?"

__ ___ _ _ __ _ _ __ __ ____ _ _ _ _ __ __ ____

Christmas Contest & Human Day Contest Games

These contests were nearly identical in rules, except that the Human Day Contest (hosted by Harlock Hero) required answering a specific thematic challenge, and the Christmas Contest (hosted by Moogle1) required just a Christmas game in general. Both had very few entries, and some games entered in both, so I list them all together here. Tilde and the mask of :P was originally intended to enter the Christmas Contest, but it took a bit longer than expected to complete.
 

*

"Aquarius"

One of the two games released specifically for the Human Day contest, Aquarius would be the "gameplay Human Day game". The sprite graphics, as we can expect from Dr. Shizuma, are very well-done and detailed. The maptiles and background are more simple, but still graphics are one of the two strong point of this game, the other being the battles. And it's a good thing, because you're gonna be fighting A LOT in this demo; the dungeons' battle frequency is way too high (it is probably around 15-20, I guess). Hopefully, battles in this game are more than holding Enter. The special attacks in this game are varied, powerful and useful, and since most of them cost a big 0 MP, it would be ridiculous to even think of using your normal attack. Captain Garand's Pillage, certainly the best of the special attacks, almost slays a whole enemy squad in the first dungeon. This game is very short though, so there's not much to say on the story, except that this game really has to be continued for this story to be judged fairly. As for the music, it's ripped and I'm quite sure of having already heard these tracks in a few other OHR games. In conclusion, since there's not that many OHR games that offer us interesting/fun battles, Aquarius is worth a try. However, the story-focused player should wait until a longer version of this game is released (if Dr.Shizuma decides to continue it). 

- Specplosive



 
 
 
 


"A better save point, the world has never seen."

"Pirates fight with honor!"

 

*

"The Parson's Apprentice's Tale"

Uncommon's short story is, obviously, the "story Human Day game". With the exception of one battle at the very end, decided mostly by fate, this game would best be compared to an "OHR Movie", with the particularity that all the text of the story is written in verses. There are some awkward rhymes, but nonetheless this aspect is probably what makes this game's story look unique and original. So, all I can say is that I found this story to be both well-written and a good illustration of the human day theme it was representing. On the artistic view, this game's cutscenes are really well-done. The other graphics are not anything extraordinary but do the work, as well as the music does (even though it is ripped). Anyway, in this kind of games the artwork and music often go unnoticed, with the player/viewer being focused on the story. As long as they do help getting in the mood of this story, we can say their goal is reached. In conclusion, judging the short story as a whole, Uncommon's Parson's Apprentice's Tale is interesting enough, and certainly worthing the download+view time.

- Specplosive



 
 
 
 


"Inside of the care of the future."

"Outside of the car of the future."

 

*

"Santa Goes Extreme"

This mini-game was made for the Christmas contest. The graphics are average and the music is ripped, as in most mini-games which are 100% gameplay. The bad news is that this one's playtime is basically equal to the download time. The good news is, neither of them is really long and like it has been said on the Message Boards, it's an acceptable way to waste one minute of your time. What I don't understand though, is why the makers didn't add more levels to this game, as they already had all the plotscripting for one level done anyway. By the way, if anyone wants to reach a high score on this game, it's just steering while holding either "P" or "B" on your keyboard. After one or two runs, you should be able to judge which path gives access to the max number of houses. 

- Specplosive



 
 
 
 


"Do negative scores count toward the prize?"

"'You'll pay with your Elf life for this!' Wait, no."

 

*

"OHR Noel"

Let's see, these one-month-contest games just look like the 48-hour ones, right? OHR Noel, despite offering a decent amount of gameplay, was so buggy on its first release than more than half of this gameplay could not be accessed. The irony is that, even if Moogle1 managed to implement something as innovative as Twin attacks, OHR Noel's bugs are nothing more than mislinked doors and mistagged NPCs. I think this gives a lesson for us all to remember: always play the release version of your game at least one time, especially if you change a little thing just before release. Anyway, with plenty of special attacks (including, but not limited to Twin), the battles of OHR Noel are, IMHO, the most fun to play of all of the contest games of 2001. Again, this is a good thing, because I had to play the game about 5 times when Moogle1 released a partially debugged version. The cartoony graphics are good, though not amazing by themselves, and add to the overall fun factor. The story is limited, but the dialogue is comical, especially at the very end. Unfortunately, I only was able to see the final boss thanks to a bug in the 3rd release, and while this bug was corrected in the 4th and current one, I can't reach the end. Also, this game includes traditional Christmas music to set the mood. Overall, gameplay is the main strength of this game (what else to expect from Moogle1?) and when a final, debugged version will be released (for which you should really wait for, except if you like to play this game multiple times), OHR Noel will become a classic OHR Christmas game, with Demonheat's Santa RPG and Ben-Ohki and ZzFenix's The Night Santa Went Crazy (3 games every OHRer should have in his/her collection, even if they all share the same filename...hehe)

- Specplosive



"It is actually an armory point."

"The twin attack system, used by four twins at once."

 

__ ___ _ _ __ _ _ __ __ ____ _ _ _ _ __ __ ____

Halloween Games
 

"Scary Game 2"

Halloween movies are known for always having sequels. Well, this could be the same for video games; after the popularity of Scary Game 1, Moogle1 decided to strike again with the 2001 version. However, if there is a difference between SG2 and movie sequels, it's that the former is innovative and different from the game which preceded it. Now, Kyle can get multiple costumes and switch between them; instead of letting you play a unique game like in SG1, the costumes now have specific abilities (that are most of the time useful). For example, the doctor costume makes you heal faster out of battle. Which brings us to another addition is this game: the battles. Moogle1 created a box-type battle system in which Kyle and the enemy are represented by two hands and an head. You must punch the head enough times before the opposite hands put you knock-out. Sounds simple? Actually, it is. Even too simple, I would say, for even the little strategic choices don't make the battles anything fun, gameplay-wise. The other major difference with SG1 is that most houses only give you candy (no mini-games) and that each house can be visited only one time. In theory, the latter would raise the difficulty of the game and force you to visit the whole town. In practice, you can still play the race game an infinite number of times (and it's the most lucrative game); not to mention a certain character in the OHR party gives you a ton of candy each time you talk to him. Another source of annoyance is the fact, due to the large amount of scripts running I guess, the game was VERY slow on my computer (A Pentium 300mHz with 64MB of RAM). In conclusion, the better graphics, the bigger town and the longer playtime (you'll probably miss some things on your first playthrough) makes this game worth a try if you liked the first; the fun factor of the two is about equal, even if the second game is more complex.

- Specplosive



 
 
 


"Punch your way to candy goodness."

"Orange trees for growing pumpkins."

 

__ ___ _ _ __ _ _ __ __ ____ _ _ _ _ __ __ ____

Other Games

*

"Orbituaries"

Yet another lackluster RPG is released into the OHR community and it's my job to play it through to tell you just how lackluster it is. Strangely enough, it would not be acceptable were I to merely say "very lackluster" and be on my way. Instead, I'm expected to explain to you why the game is lackluster, detail by detail. Absurd!

Well, for starters, the game stars my least favorite OHR characters: Josh and Greg. Now, it is not to be assumed that I have anything against Josh and Greg the actual people (Being Uncommon & one of his friends, I believe), I just hate their video game counterparts to death. First of all, their manner of speech is greatly annoying. This is because I'm about 90% sure that Josh and Greg do not talk like this in real life (e.g. "Why do you not talk to her, friend?" -- "Alas! For I am a mere coward," ... yes, this is an exaggeration, but it's not too far from the truth). My point is this: If you're going to include yourself as the main character in your RPG, what the hell is the point if you're not even going to make the character behave as you would in real life? Granted, I may be going out on a limb here with my assumptions, but this had to be said.

Now, to talk more about the other aspects of this game: The graphics are bad. "OK, I'll call my RPG "Dot Attack". That way, I'll only have to draw dots for enemy graphics". Good plan, little skipper! Now, eat some hot death! *destroys little skipper*

What I mean to say is that fighting circles is not what I'd call impressive or interesting in any way. Come on, Uncommon. You've got a better imagination than that. The music was ripped. End of story. Speaking of stories, this game had a very bad one. "THE BOSS" decided to enslave the continent "just because he had absolutely nothing better to do". Yes, children; it's as bad as it sounds.

Despite these horrors, the true problem was the lack of gameplay balance. Josh gained four levels on the first enemy.... Is there a reason for this? The characters are basically identical except for a few special attacks. This only subtracts from what's already not there, which leaves us with a negative sum after everything is said and done. The one mini-game (even one mini-game is better than nothing) was well-executed, but poorly planned. It's something like the game "whack-a-mole", but not as fun. The object is to earn five points by whacking orbs and refraining from whacking something called "apathy". The problem is that you can simply gain your five points early on and just sit there until the time runs out.

Over all, this game needs some serious fine-tuning. I can't say that I had fun with it, and I doubt that anybody else will. It's not the worst, but it's definitely not the best.

- Haggard



 
 
 
 


"Finally! Now to burn all of their Britney Spears CDs..."

"If you hate repetitive battles you'll be seeing this screen often."

"The mini-game."

"...For what folly it is to be reprimanded by the head master..."

 

*

"Xerian"

Wow. I must say that this is a great improvement over the last version of Xerian That I played. Xerian started this game again from scratch after an encounter with the "sharp-tongued" Chaos Nyte. I'd have to say that this was a good thing. Now, while I don't really care for Xerian the person, Xerian the RPG is admittedly one of the better OHR games I've played in a while. It has its flaws (namely, poor walk-about graphics), but most of this game is above average. (Note: two bugs are noticeable. 1st, talking to the donation jar will add $10 to your total donations even if you have no money. 2nd, at one point in the game the bed at the inn decided to stop working.)

The dialogue is acceptable, & the story is quite interesting. The three main characters have adequate depth of character (for a demo), which is more than can be said for most OHR games (especially newbie games). The idea of an alien planet that needs saving from the Earth is just the kind of twist that most stories lack.

The graphical quality varies from area to area. The walk-abouts are very poor (as is mentioned above). The map tiles could use some more shading (namely the vacuous, plain looking rooms in the village). The battle graphics are quite good, as well. However, the battles - good-looking or not - tend to get a bit tiresome after playing though the first half of the demo. Some enemies are well-designed, such as a security camera that targets the player and raises the accuracy of the other enemies. The dungeons are better presented than in most OHR games, being larger and more varied overall.

The music is good, though I can't say whether or not it is original. My guess would be that it is ripped, given the quality of the actual work. However, good or not, it is ripped. I have no tolerance for such things, so this takes away from Xerian's overall fun factor.

I would have to commend Xerian on his fine work with this game. However, I get the sense of lagging towards the end of the demo. Don't let the game be ruined by lack of effort towards the end. Try to keep the quality consistent. Don't create a game that interests the player at first yet soon gets boring with play. But for now, good job.

NOTE: Download at http://www.angelfire.com/co4/xerian/Xerian.zip to get this version.

- Haggard



 
 


"Hey, man. Everybody's generous on hallucinogenic substances."

"Make sure your tv isn't purely ornamental before buying the ps2"

"Chococonfetti? now Square's  scraping the bottom of the barrel..."

"It seems this inn bed is only for decoration..."
 
 
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