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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Fate of Darius: Chapter 26
The game is named Fate of Darius but the example screenshot has the main character named Daris. The game description page does a bad job trying to explain if this is a nickname, if it was initially misspelled and has been corrected in a later update, or what...why not just replace the screenshot if you fixed his name later?

What of the first 25 chapters of your story? How are we supposed to know what's going on if you start this deep into it?

The music on the title screen sounds original. It's pretty decent.

Daris is an all-black figure with a dark gray outline, bright red eyes, and medium-dark gray teeth, possibly a gas mask or something. He begins in a gray hallway with flickering lights, where he can walk through some walls but not others. The tiles are drawn in an adequate, presentable manner; it's mostly a bunch of gray gradients but seems to have some consistent concepts of outlines and light sources.

Daris has a big white heart icon on his chest, just like my character Natalie. How adorable! Also he doesn't walk so much as wobble strangely when moving from side to side, changing from a normal standing pose to one where he stands on his toes and back again; alternating the poses for both feet separately would've been much more effective. His north/south frames are a lot more decent.

Graphics: So far one or two notches better than the "good" space ship graphics in Arfenhouse but nothing special; the fact that it's not specifically picking on others while being nothing special makes it more tolerable by several leagues.

I find a second Daris named Doc. Doc is just Daris with green eyes instead of red; same black suit, same helmet, same heart on his chest. Doc refuses to add himself to Daris's party.

In battle, Daris has two attacks: Laser and Aim. You need to select an enemy with Aim before you can hit it with Laser. While you are doing this, the enemy is attacking you. If you selected the wrong target (for example, stupidly thinking that shooting the huge torso/cockpit of the warmech was a good idea) you can't reset your targets and pick another; Daris will always shoot at the first enemy definition in the fight on his list of available targets, so you'd better be sure to pick an arm or a leg first.

I slowly wait three minutes for the invincible, unescapable random enemy to wear Daris down with 1 HP laser beams.

And with how serious the graphics looked, I was afraid I'd be on something longer.

Grease Apes
Is this game's name a play on "grease monkey", a slang term for a mechanic (particularly an automobile mechanic)? The description claims to be in early production and promises the final version will be different from other games.

Boasting such features as "enemy corpses" and "six levels you can play in any order".

Music on the title screen sounds it from some sitcom or something? I can't exactly place it but it's really, really ringing a bell. "Sargent" Nathaniel Gibbs (Codename: Sarge) is assigned to a town called Mountaintown in a land called Goodlund. He's supposed to be put in charge of the "most bizarre platoon" of his country's army, whatever country that is.

Lieutenant Josh Snyder reports for duty, and Sarge immediately renames him Stewie. Aren't lieutenants supposed to outrank sergeants? I can't tell if Josh has red hair exactly the same single shade as the all red carpet he's standing on or if he's got single-pixel horns/cat ears on top of his head...or couldn't, until he stepped onto the gray tiles and confirmed it's the latter situation, some sort of ears or horn thing going on.

A private-ranked sniper codenamed Farsight is immediately nicknamed "Squints" by the sergeant. He seems to be a red fox.

Another private, a medic, is a possum whose father served with Sarge in a past war. Whatever species Sarge himself is, he can't tell a possum from a squirrel by sight. (I could absolutely see getting a possum and a rat mixed up at a glance, but a squirrel?)

Next we get an ape and what I think is either a mole or a walrus, it's not clear which one is heavy weapons and which is small arms. They want to be called Big Ka and Huna, but Sarge just refers to them by their last names instead of nicknames.

Some sort of white-furred animal walks into the room, a communications expert. His last name is wood so Sarge nicknames him Woody. Is he a rabbit? A zebra? A cat? A donkey? I'm having a really hard time reading his sprite with so few details.

Finally, the group's one girl, a close combat expert named Sheila, is allowed to keep her existing codename of She-Devil. She's gray and has a tail. Is she a wolf? A surprisingly accurate Tasmanian Devil? A fox or jackal who happens to be dark gray?

This is a lot of characters to keep track of. A much cozier RPG party would consist of just the three who are already the three best-drawn (sniper fox, close combat girl, and medic possum...a decent mix of specialties, all very visually distinct, and important to me at least all three have tails).

Sarge faces up and he too has a tail; apparently he's a cat. So there you go, all-around leader, long range attack/mage, speedy close range attacker, healer.

I head to the "training room" and am asked if I want a battle for money or experience. I try experience, but the automatic guns quickly tear Sarge down from 144 HP to a mere 14; I find I can run from this fight by holding escape, then find a computer that can swap my party members in and out, allowing me to add Squints, Squirrel, and She-Devil to the group before trying again. To my frustration, Squirrel can't use any out of battle healing (weak out of battle healing makes a lot more sense in terms of realism than in-battle healing spells do but there's none to be found here).

She-Devil's in battle sprites are a miserable mess; she's like half boob with a tiny, tiny head and I still can't figure out what species she is. Sarge looks like a Sonic OC in terms of face, just about everyone else looks pretty normal for whatever anthro animal they are. Out of battle, Squirrel isn't shaded but everyone else is (badly) while in battle sprites' shading seems generally roughly competent.

In terms of their animations, Sarge just jitters around and flails his noodle arm holding a pistol in one hand which only does 1 damage, She-Devil has an all-lowercase "scrape" as her default attack which does as much damage as a sniper bullet while her special attack "Quick Kill" does 5x that much against smaller enemies and fails on bosses, it seems like. Squints can shoot one enemy multiple times or shoot all enemies once, and his combat poses are actually good (he's the most consistently drawn character both in and out of battle and he's a red fox) while Squirrel has pretty decent animations; he's got two HP healing spells: Blood Transfusion (costs him 20 HP to heal an ally by 25 HP; must be an O-Type possum) and another one that heals 35 HP for free.

All characters not in the party wander around and give flavor text. One of them has a conversation with Sarge that relies on him getting the name of someone wrong, but the difference would only come out in text, not in pronunciation.

There are monitors displaying six missions, but you can't actually accept or go on one. I could experiment with more of these characters in battle, but why bother? I've already found that Squints and Squirrel are the only good ones; and while he's a marsupial, not a rodent, I did miss out on being able to put Squirrel the Opossum in OHRodents.

Summary: While Arfenhouse was made by someone openly a member of the furry fandom, it wasn't really a furry game. Likewise the numerous times anthropomorphic animals have appeared in other games are not really furry games the way this one is. Is this the first OHRRPGCE furry game? Maybe. Is it a good game? No, not by any means.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Fallen Knight
The description says it's "a short demonstration of a game". Title screen is just dark cyan text, heavily antialiased, on a black background with no music.

An animated logo shows off some bare minimum scripting process and a long time drawing multiple animation frames.

Custom font is worse than the default font, but doesn't look too bad right now; capital letters and SOME lowercase letters just have their ends sharpened, while smaller letters get shaved down to be much narrower for whatever reason.

Long Ago, the Aquarians, who lived in water and the Terrians, who lived on land. Were at peace.

Could be shortened to "Long ago the Aquarians and Terrians were at peace." and convey exactly the same message with no grammatical issues.

Three textboxes saying "But now" go by in rapid succession thanks to some scripting, making it look like an ellipse is slowly ticking into it. This flourish adds nothing that wouldn't have been there from just going to a text box saying "But now..." dramatically without the three that preceded it.

"They're at war..." is its own textbox.

You could convey this entire intro in a single textbox, couldn't you? Decompressing it isn't helping the presentation.

Now we cut to a man with blue hair asking "Where am I?" and someone in an adjacent jail cell informing him that he's in a Terrian prison. He uses "your" instead of "you're".

Each prison cell has a toilet, a second toilet with no tank and water in its bowl (is that supposed to be a sink? it's literally the same tile as your toilet bowl, but with blue inside instead of dark gray), some decently-ish shaded gray brick walls and gray airbrushed floors, some details like cracks in some of the bricks, pipes on the ceilings, pipes in our character's cell dripping with a big blue puddle all over the floor, and both rooms have sewer grates.

Not as good as the mediocre tilework are the walkabout sprites. The heads would be just fine if the bodies were better; the prisoners' torsos are white boxes with dark gray outlines, each of their four limbs are slightly smaller boxes with light gray outlines, their shoes are dark blue that very very nearly blends into the dark gray of the floors. Prison guards are the same, only replacing the white, grays, and browns with three shades of blue...again, their shoes nearly disappear into the floor.

Blue hair guy has such bad amnesia that he doesn't remember his own name.

There's a huge plate of food on the floor; it can't be interacted with.

The prison isn't depicted as having vertical walls along the left edge of the screen. Making the map one tile wider or the prison cell one tile narrower could easily have fixed this.

You can't interact with the guards by trying to talk through the doors. Again the baffling "hide the grid" mantra shows up in some of the tile work; there's yellow letters painted haphazardly onto the floor outside the cell that doesn't perfectly align to the grid and the door consists of two tiles horizontally (each with half a brick tile attacked) even though it's only one tile wide. Unlike the hanging pipes or the toilets or the puddles, these don't really add anything; they don't make it more visually interesting than the same elements would if they actually did align to the grid.

Looking closer at the toilet tanks, they cutoff abruptly at their bottom edges. They don't look like they logically exist in the same space as the toilet bowls, which are already vastly out of proportion to the people (think about it, is a common public toilet 9 feet tall including the tank, 5-6 feet tall if you only count the bowl?)

The "game" included a file named "tip.txt" which just said to keep talking to the other prisoner a total of nine times.

The first four he says the exact same text, "Every day it's the same routine, if I don't get out of here soon I'll go insane." Talking to him isn't triggered by facing the wall nearest him and using the usual talk button at the crack in the wall, but just by stepping into the empty corner. So every time you want to talk to him again to see if anything's changed, you need to step off that space, walk back onto it, advance the textbox(es), repeat.

"It's best to stick with the same routine, your bound to get out some day." twice, walk to a DIFFERENT corner.

"Every day I wake up, eat my food, read the paper, do my work..."

"Man, I keep reading those damn missing in action lists in the paper" twice

"So depression, obituaries and MIA lists"

Suddenly, without warning, a newspaper magically appears next to my floor drain. So you went to so much work to animate a logo for the intro but didn't want to just depict a guard putting a paper in the cell or a hand reaching down from the sewer to drop off the paper?

Reading the MIA report in the paper, the blue-haired prisoner suddenly remembers that he is General Vernon. The guards let him out of the prison when he proves his identity with a very significant arm scar and give him a uniform matching theirs (so is he the Terrian General Vernon?)

He steps out onto the overworld and someone (undefined) says "Hey I know General Vernon and you're not him." then the demo ends.

On the overworld, mountains don't block your path but forests do. Some bits of a town act as walls but others don't. Coastlines sometimes stop you from walking into the ocean but other spots don't. No combat, not much story.

Basically, this game was just a demonstration of basic plotscripting, halfway-decentish graphics (for the tiles but not the sprites), and being tedious/cryptic purely for the sake of it.

It's no good.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ferocity of the Saiyans
This is an infamous Dragon Ball fan game; there were more than one bouncing around for a while, and in 2008 we actually got a decent one. (There were always more Sailor Moon fan games in the OHRRPGCE for some reason though, and beyond the name Negamask being used in one of the default songs I can't guess as to a reason).

Now, of the many, many anime/manga settings, Dragon Ball is probably the one of the most appropriate to the RPG genre, especially the parts of the story ending with the second Budokai Tenkaichi arc and ending with the defeat of Frieza. While the series is heavy on the actual combat moves being flashy and a lot of people would think "action game" first, and the best games related to the franchise are mostly 2D fighting games, the fundamental ways in which the power curve of Dragon Ball function ties very, very well to RPG stats and levels during this stretch of time.

In Dragon Ball:
- Really strong martial artists can smash rocks, outrun light, and throw blasts of energy around, and survive direct hits from each other (durability to match their power levels)
- Fighting a lot, especially if pushing near your limits, makes you get stronger; early on in Dragon Ball Goku took an axe straight to the skull and developed a large sore that healed up pretty quickly, not long after Goku, Krillin, and Master Roshi are shown to bleed when shot with a machinegun but not to be in any actual danger of the bullets penetrating too deep because they're just that tough
- Roshi, Krillin, Tien, and Yamcha are completely normal humans. They're just all dedicated fighters and thus through training come to outpace some of the setting's gods purely through high levels of martial arts discipline. Goku and other Saiyans just happen to be of a very near-human race with a few biological traits that more incline them to seek battle (neurologically) and give them a lot of leverage for learning martial arts moves faster and growing in power a lot more.

Think about the number of times in an RPG you've been handed a guy with 10 HP who takes 2-4 HP per bite from a wolf. Think about how after a bit of grinding, he now never takes more than 1 HP of damage and has 100 HP; ostensibly, all that happened is he's exercised his muscles by swinging his old farmer axe around, walking, and recovering from injuries with some good food intake and rest. And yet his naked flesh is now stronger than steel armor, if he sets down that old axe his fists hit even harder than it did when he started, and he can chase down cheetahs.

Goku starts his first adventure closer to the 100 HP guy point, but the same principles apply. Up until his defeat of Piccolo Junior, there were always multiple people in the world on his level or a bit stronger and once he ran out of superior opponens on Earth, he started running into aliens. Once you run out of bosses and random encounters who can give meaningful experience to grind, you find the next area of the RPG.

There's a good reason that the arc involving the introduction of the Saiyans is the one so many fans gravitate toward for making RPGs. It's when these strength mechanics were at their most obvious - the highest heights they ever climbed while still remaining comprehensible.

Now, on to the terrible fangame. It starts playing the theme song for the early seasons of the Dragon Ball anime (Magical Adventure) rather than for the parts known as Dragon Ball Z (Heya Head Chala). Compare:
(Honestly I prefer the songs from a couple of the dubs to the original Japanese themes)

We are treated to a very badly imported still from the Dragon Ball Z anime; as the classic OHRRPGCE palette intentionally went heavy on saturated colors and thus was easy to make bright, colorful, cartoony games with it tended not to be able to import washed out and dull colors (such as human skin) very well, so most imported photos or anime stills would go largely grayscale as the greys would be the "closest match" the computer could find. This picture also has a lot of dark yellow noise pixels, because little patches here and there were deemed "closer to" dark yellow than to gray for whatever reason. The title, despite this fangame being made in English, reads "Saiyajin no Moui!" in blue text and the English title in yellow, smaller text beneath it. I don't know enough Japanese to fact check if this title is actually comprensible.

Once the game actually starts, the graphics are nowhere near as bad as the past 17 years of memes and reviews lead me to believe. Prince Vegeta and his much larger and more intimidating but physically weaker lackey Nappa are on some planet with orders to wipe out all life they come across; Saiyans, vassals of the evil Emperor Frieza, run part of a business of depopulating inhabited worlds so they can be sold to species looking for worlds to inhabit at a profit. This important lore isn't explained when the game tells you to wipe out everyone on the planet, it just expects you to know this (and it'd be kinda weird to want to play this game without knowing that from the show or comic).

Nappa and Vegeta's respective spaceships (tiny one-man spheres, barely enough room for the seat you're on) are represented internally with 2x6 rectangular rooms, but look decent enough on the outside. The insides play no music, which is a welcome relief from the five second loop of bleeps, screeches, and fart trumpets on the planet's lava-covered surface.

Nappa and Vegeta are instantly recognizable as their show counterparts; their walkabouts aren't shaded, but their silhouettes look right at a glance. A little on the blocky side and flat in color. The iconic armor Vegeta wore during this arc of the original work is recognizable, and the scouters remain over the correct eye in all their frames (so left/right aren't perfectly mirrored from each other as the minimum work was put into making the eyes different and their camera-facing down sprites are more than just a pure flip job).

Maptiles on the planet's surface consist of lava (red tiles with black dots scattered throughout; not animated as would often be expected) and brown dirt/rock similarly sprinkled with pixels. There are diagonal tiles, half lava and half dirt. Wandering around a bit, I get into a random battle with four wild animals; Vegeta blasts three of them to death before they can attack, and the one that does get to attack only does one point of damage before he blows it to smithereens too. Vegeta's battle animations all look presentable enough.

Not possible to take seriously though is the use of Final Fantasy 1's battle and victory music; surely you could've stolen the music from some of the Dragon Ball games? Or something spacy? For example, this would be my first choice of battle music for a Dragon Ball fan game:

Another thing I must commend this fangame on is the power disparity between Nappa and Vegeta: The prince has 70 HP and 40 each in every stat, Nappa has 45 HP and 25 in every other stat.

At some point an item slips into my inventory allowing me to teach Vegeta the Big Bang attack. In the series this is one of his signature moves; it's basically an unspectacular basic explosion of his martial arts energy, it's just really big because he's really powerful. It's not like his Galic Gun (a left handed, or sinister, version of Goku's signature Kamehameha Wave) or like Krillin's Destructo Disk (a razor sharp disk of energy that can kill enemies far beyond his level due to it slicing right through defenses) or Tien's Solar Flare (releasing a sudden blinding light that allows you to follow up with other attacks while the enemy's eyes recover from shock). The move is so generic that the person who made the game probably doesn't realize he didn't whip this one out until the Android/Cell Saga, since he'd used similar blasts without its flashy name many times before then.

The graphics are mostly presentable, except the enemies. Most of them seem to just be various rectangles with rectangle mouths/muzzles, rectangle limbs, when a soldier alien shows up it's got a rectangle helmet. All of them are just lazy doodles that don't match the Vegeta/Nappa sprites or the map tiles in quality and don't at all resemble a Dragon Ball monster design (which are often quite ornate with plenty of reptilian or insectoid features; the Abra line and Mewtwo from Pokemon are great examples of this particular aesthetic in games where Toriyama didn't provide the art, and of course there's games like Chrono Trigger and Dragon Quest where he did, some of which will fit the bill; man also loves his robots, can't go wrong with a round, chunky Toriyama robot or a highly elaborate vehicle).

Now we get into this game's real failure: The power curve. When I first started the outside area as Vegeta everything was good: Only 1 HP lost to one enemy is perfectly in line with this era. Once I go into the cave? Suddenly there are spiders that take more than one turn from Vegeta to beat, then lizard soldiers who are a near match for Nappa in a fair fight. Leveling up is coming fairly quickly but only raises max HP and you're 100% reliant on RNG to throw you healing items; there's no inn and no store (naturally, you're here to wipe out all sentient life) but still, "enemies have about a 10% chance each to drop an item that fully recovers HP if you're at a low level" isn't all that fun a replacement. You can't even go back into your spaceship and rest there.

Unmarked danger paths within the cave wind up throwing giant bats and some sort of other monster that throw ki attacks at you, doing about 25 HP at a time; these things are as strong as Vegeta and attack in groups. After a while, they wipe out Nappa in a surprise attack, Vegeta's levels rising faster without his partner. My one and only Revive was used to bring Vegeta back when this happened the other way around earlier and enemies don't seem to drop more; if I get to revive Nappa he'll be at least three levels behind in experience and probably a lot more. There doesn't seem to be a way to refill MP unless that comes as another item later, so eventually (about six shots) Vegeta will run out of his powerful spread attack and need to resort exclusively to his basic one.

After a bit of grinding, eventually a monster does drop a revive. Level 10 and Vegeta's non-HP stats have only risen by 2; the spiders that take multiple turns to kill? They're always going to take multiple turns to kill, it looks like.

The heals deplete properly. This would be a decent resource management game if it were survival horror instead of a Dragon Ball combat fangame.

At the end of the cave, I encounter a gray trapezoid with a yellow sad face drawn on it. The characters announce that it is a cave slug and make an attempt to kill it. Nappa can only cause it 1 HP of damage while Vegeta's Big Bang does 48; it attacks for 30~ HP several times per turn, quickly killing Nappa in one turn and then Vegeta with two more. It was unwinnable without a lot more max HP.

Honestly? Start Vegeta's stats in the 200s and Nappa's in the 50s or 60s and this game might've been onto a little bit of something, but none of the monsters look like Dragon Ball monsters.

This fangame's bad design levels are over nine thousand.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantasy Realms III
This game has an actual screenshot of the game instead of just the title screen, which I think always gives a much better indication of what the game is actually like.

Before we play the game, the screenshot tells us a few things:
- The human character has no outline, but the turtles have distinct black outlines. This tells us the sprites don't have a unified style to them.
- The houses are each a single tile in height and their doors only go up to the waist of the characters. A human could, uncomfortably, squeeze his way into such a portal; I doubt these bulky turtle people could do that, especially not nimbly. This shows the designs weren't drawn out with forethought related to immediate visual sense and clarity.
- The grass and trees are decent, but nothing special. So unlike so many other games I won't feel a need to comment on the specifics of how graphics look visually.
- The armor shop and weapon shop both have signs built into their building tiles, while the potion shop has a potion depicted on a separate signboard.

Starting up the game, I am greeted with a blue-purple screen covered in white text at various angles and levels of blurriness and the song Heart of Darkness. A man named Jason crashes and asks himself why he's talking to himself. He then says "It's East of here, I think" but there's no context as to what he could be referring to.

The game gives us his full name (Jason Edwards). Personally I think a lot of games would aggressively tell you a character's full name entirely because that old List Of RPG Cliches (which consisted like 95% of "this happened in more than one game made by Square Soft and maybe Breath of Fire or a Dragon Warrior game if you're lucky") listed that one "cliche" was characters never going by their full name in-game whether or not they have one in the manual.

Honestly, I do give my characters full names too, but usually because I want to make some specific pun or other wordplay by doing so (Knate Knutsen, the knight. Claire Valiant, cleric/clairvoyant. Wolfgang McClaymore, a wolfman who wields swords. Kenneth Latrans, canis latrans the coyote...) rather than just picking some completely ordinary names that don't seem to have any thematic bearing on the character's personality, appearance, or abilities (Jason means "healer" so if he was a white mage with ice or water based offenses as a secondary measure, that'd be theme naming while also being an ordinary enough name to seem plausible). There's of course nothing wrong with giving characters a full name or referring to them entirely on a first-name basis, nor with having names that don't line up in any sort of meaningful wordplay to the character (intentional allusion, storytelling parallels like little girls who get lost frequently being named Alice, or intentional irony/juxtaposition like a white mage with a name referring to darkness or such)

We are informed that Jason is 14 years old and has lived his entire life in this specific village, that he's intelligent (no demonstration thereof so far, just scatterbrained) and aggressive. He specializes in ice magic, wields staves, and wears light armor.

The town's music is Soldier's Chorus (Faust), a nice pleasant little tune for quaint RPG villages.

Apparently the turtles are called Tumans (rather than Humans, hurr hurr turtle humans) and their gimmick is that they're bad at grammar and spelling (even in the spoken word).
Tuman: Uh... we tumans have bad speling and grammer. we need two werk on hour engelesh.

Jason: I'll say.

Honestly in some games I'd find this charming or humorous; I know I've made some heavy use of intentionally bad spelling and grammar as part of a joke (and when this was a new game, as the entirety of a joke) but this is literally the first NPC you'll find in the entire game right after Jason's correctly spelled but nonsensical sentence in the intro. And if he's lived in this tuman village all his life, wouldn't he already know the local tumans?

The second NPC just explains the basic controls, the third has a contest of saying "Duhhhhh...." with the intelligent Jason.

I check a tree with two apples drawn on it. The apples disappear and one is added to my inventory with no textbox; I check my inventory and find some leather armor in there along with a single apple. The apple could have had an associated textbox with a conditional to add another apple stating that two were received or been drawn as a single apple.

Despite being a "master" of the Ice element, Jason knows no spells at the start. He does have his spell lists named and defined though, so he's a bit above Shagler in that sense.

Jason begins his journey with 10 "Gp" - why is the P lowercase? Anyway, there's four weapons for sale: Boom Bottle (a glass jar full of explosion), whip (Jason can't equip), cudgel (+3 each to ATK and AIM for 50 Gp) and a Smack Staff (+30 ATK for 150 Gp). It's obvious which one to save for, isn't it? Of course, a weapon that strong will probably completely invalidate his spells whenever he finally learns them.

The nearby armor shop includes leather armor and studded leather armor for all four slots and kung-fu gi. Each piece of leather equipment (aside from the wristbands) raises max HP by 5 and DEF by 2 at a cost of 10 Gp, each piece of studded leather likewise gives +5 HP and while the studded leather shirt and helmet give +4 DEF and the studded leather wristband gives +2 DEF, the studded leather pants give +2 DEF exactly equal to the plain leather pants.

HEY GUYS I GET TO GEEK OUT OVER HISTORICAL ARMOR FACTS AGAIN. While Dungeons and Dragons popularized an idea that leather armor is commonplace and good for stealth and covering it in steel rivets would make it better armor without compromising stealth, basically none of this is true. The cloth -> leather -> studded leather -> scale -> mail -> plate hierarchy is a bit of D&D gameism.

The armor that illustrations of from old manuscripts came to be called "studded leather armor" and placed arbitrarily between boiled, hardened leather cuirasses and steel scale armor on the D&D scale? That's called a brigandine, it's either a padded cloth coat or leather with steel rivets holding small plates of partial coverage and overlap underneath. Just putting a bunch of studs in a leather coat will do nothing to improve its effectiveness against any weapon aside from human fists, and in fact will hinder its protectiveness against the single main thing leather clothes are already best at stopping: Lightweight blunt impact weapons such as one-handed clubs, shield bashes with bucklers, and heavily armored fists. The decorative studs would more likely ruin the leather's structural integrity if there were very many of them.

But yes, I will lay it out again: For 10 gold pieces Jason can buy some plain leather pants that give +2 DEF or for 30 gold pieces he can buy studded leather pants that also give +2 DEF. This much is roughly accurate to their relative effectiveness.

It appears every shop has limited stock on every item. The shopkeeper of the potion shop says "May I take your order?" as a light nod to the fast food industry, which Jason responds to with befuddlement. Again, Jason, aren't you a native of turtle town? The three things it has in stock are ivory potions (which is stated to awaken a character from unconsciousness; this could be either a revive or cure to the stun status, hard to tell), honey (restores MP by an unspecified amount) and healroot (an exotic herb that restores an unspecified amount of HP to the entire party).

I head to an unmarked building and an NPC gives Jason a quest to deliver a parcel. In the building's basement I find three separate piles of 5 gold pieces each behind some fake walls. A shopkeeper informs me this place is a "Beastiary" and offers me three separate books for free; these are called Burroot (probably a plant monster), Skeleto (most likely a fun spooky skeleton monster of the sort I love so much!) and a NNSnake.

Burroots turn out to be a "simple bird race" that attack anything they see at first sight and are difficult to domesticate due to their aggression. Weak to fire and "lethal when encountered alone" meaning either that they're less aggressive in groups or simply that a lone person has trouble when dealing with them; it could go either way.

Skeletons are described as being weak to healing spells (good to know, not every game allows you to put healing on the undead to kill them), be generally quite strong, and come armed with a variety of weapons (the nicer the weapon, the higher their attack power but the better their item drop on defeat).

NNSnake is "Na-Na Snake"; basically not only do they stick out their tongues to check things like air temperature, but also as a taunt and they've got vocal cords capable of vocalising such a taunt "Na-Na!" at least. That's an amusing little creature and would make a great addition to a monster collecting game; they're also primarily constrictors rather than primarily venomous (fantasy snakes are often both at once, it's easier to keep track of).

The east side of town has several humans who seem to be edits of Jason's sprite and much larger houses with vastly larger doors. Jason walks into a tuman house with its way too tiny door and annoys someone into giving him a key by saying "I need a key" over and over; there was no trigger from something else saying this key was needed yet.

The spell shop (an unmarked building) sells a water spell, an ice spell, a spell called "Numuu" with no description in the shop, and an arm accessory that raises attack power by +3. I'm going to keep saving for the good whacking staff. It is run by someone identical to Jason.

Another unmarked building with telltale human architecture is also run by a clone of Jason; it's the apple shop, which only sells apples. Why isn't it just merged with the potion shop? The apple shop has 10 free gold pieces lying on its floor; Jason doesn't mind letting Jason just take it all.

Not far from these is a large, conspicuous human building with no door link and a human NPC with a unique palette but no text. Then another human who shares a palette with two others and no text, a tuman house with no door link, and another exact clone of Jason who proclaims the mayor to have a "Napolean" complex.

A tuman house in the bottom edge of town contains a rudimentary block puzzle that gives three more separate piles of 5 gold pieces and a staircase that teleports Jason into a nearby flowerbed.

As the last building in town I haven't explored is the inn, I go in. The innkeeper proclaims that he has the safest beds for ten feet (?) and counts to four as Jason finally realizes there are no beds at all in the inn. "Highly intelligent" this Jason. Jason does however find some free "bone chips" on the floor of the inn, which the description helpfully tells me exist only to be sold (their selling price is only 2 gold pieces; might as well hang onto them unless I wind up just barely shy of affording that staff later).

Oh wait, that's not going to happen. The town guard says "You cannot leave without the mayor's pineapple" and Jason helpfully corrects him to say "consent" but there's no mayor in any of the buildings I've been in.

For all the work put into having so many shops and ways to get tiny amounts of gold, you'd think I'd at least be able to wander an overworld or forest and fight some random enemies? I ended this demo with 50 gold and some consumable/junk items I could sell to eke out a meger 4 extra if needed.

Wait a minute, that first tuman was a <strike>lawyer</strike> liar! The other tumans had perfectly serviceable spelling and grammar!

Anyway, the game is bad just like the author and reviewer said. Not much work would have been needed to make it into something.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"

Last edited by Ronin Catholic on Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eternal dark
Not in any way related to Eternal Darkness, this game stars a man named Ash who is edited from Mega Man X's original SNES sprites and has an oversized sword.

When your main hero is an edited version of a mainstream game's graphical assets, can I trust that any of your other graphics were actually made by you? For fangames it makes sense to use the existing official art and music assets (it's a hit or miss proposition) but using stolen assets for an original work is no bueno regardless of which medium they're made in.

I open the game and the title is properly capitalized and called Eternal Darkness in white text on a black background. Are you "eternal dark" or "Eternal Darkness", game?

Next I get a white on black text crawl, but it was made in an external program and imported as a backdrop instead of using the ingame font. It's hard to read because of the heavy use of antialiasing (something I've always hated in digital art and always will; MAXIMUM ALIASING TO THE MAX!!!). Legend foretells something, it's all a smudge after that.

Chapter 1: Fallen Angels
A fat guy in armor appears at the bottom edge of a coastline. The waves and shores don't animate, but otherwise the tiles work fine.

Apparently Ash's sprite from the example screenshot on the game's download page has been replaced; he is no longer just Mega Man X, now he actually is an original sprite, but he's also made to look actively more like Cloud Strife (big foreward spiky hair, single-edged sword instead of a similarly big double edged sword). I'll have to get in some battles before I can make judgements on the animation quality, but his standing pose looks alright; he's a bit on the skinny side in battle and looks seriously chubby in his walkabout.

Ash's walkabout holds his sword in his left hand pointing straight forward with his arm at his hip, his in battle standing pose has him hold it in his right hand resting on his shoulder.

I already checked the status screen to see Ash's name is Ash. I talk to an old man NPC and Ash says he has amnesia and doesn't remember his name; the old man helpfully reads the name written on his sword to him.

Ash is cheerfully oblivious what "wielding a large sword to compensate" means when the old man uses one of the most common and obvious mockeries of Cloud (that game had a lot of flaws, but the personality of Cloud himself was actually pretty well written and presented in that release and literally none of his appearances since then; it's only the worst elements of FF7 that Square refuses to let go of).

Old man and his wife keep a locked grate over their well.

What I thought was an entire overworld turns out to be a tiny island, roughly 32x20 tiles (the default size when you initialize a new game in the engine) consisting of nothing but its shoreline, a little water, a little grass, the old couple's house, and a wall of hedges surrounding a locked well. Time to explore the house if I'm allowed to.

The old couple's home is fully furnished with tables, chairs, beds, a stove, a counter, a painting on the wall, and five book cases (three of which are blocked by treasure chests). The old woman's right-facing walkabout frames are swapped with her up-facing ones, so she slides around awkwardly facing north as she moves up or to the right.

The old woman hands Ash the key to the well, as their well is apparently an underground tunnel leading to the mainland. I'm not offered any chance to rest in their bed(s) so apparently I can't use their home as a reliable base of operations if I need to grind.

I have Ash put on the bandanna and leather armor from two of the treasure chests in the old couple's house, both of which increase his Speed by 1 (always a good bonus to get, but it doesn't really make sense).

The old woman now just wishes Ash good luck and the old man declares he will make for himself a hat out of a lobster. They officially solidify themselves as NPCs you won't need to return to later.

I enter the well and I can swear I've seen these exact same cave floor and wall tiles in another OHRRPGCE game before, possibly one of the others I've even reviewed in this thread. Recycled Pet Projects isn't listed as having made any other games, so were these tiles stolen? As Ash was formerly Mega Man X, I can't be sure.

First enemies I encounter are simple brown Pac-Man style ghosts. They take half as much damage from Ash's flame spell (single target) as they do from his sword. He has a sword technique called Tri Slash that only slashes one time, but for 1.5x his sword damage. It, too, is single target but also costs 5 MP while Flame costs 6.

A little bit into the dungeon, I find a treasure chest containing leather boots (of all the leather armor, these would have been the most sensible to have boost Speed but they actually drop it by one point and give better defense than the armor) and a leather ring (LOLwut?). Not a leather bracer, shield, gloves, or anything but a leather ring.

The battle backdrop is too simple to have been stolen. It's decent enough for a cave; dark brown floor airbrushed with darker and lighter brown pixels, wavy edge where it meets the wall which is a slightly darker brown airbrushed with two slightly darker shades of brown. Weirdly none of these browns seem to overlap with the ones used for the floor and wall tiles.

There are some slimes, which are even weaker than the ghosts. Both monsters look a little cute, but the slime's outline is a slightly darker shade of green whereas the ghost's outline is a significantly darker shade of brown, almost black; the slime also has a much more complicated shape. They look like they're from completely different games.

There seems to be no music at all.

Floor tiles seem to consist of a repeating pattern of several separate, similar dirt becomes really glaring when the wrong tiles are placed next to each other, putting sharp cutoff on the heavily shaded rocks.

Next I run into some birds called "Dumb Birds", and they attack by shooting eggs at me. They look like yet another different, unrelated art style to the other two monster types. None of these monsters look well drawn enough to actually be stolen, and yet they lack any aesthetic cohesion.

Speaking of aesthetic incoherence, Ash's walkabout sprite has no legs and tiny silver shoes that sometimes blend into his sword blade. His battle sprite has long brown pants and shoes using two different shades of brown from his pants. His out of battle sprite has blue sleeves matching his body armor, his in battle sprite has white sleeves.

Whenever Ash gets attacked, a little word balloon saying "of" pops up next to his head. I think this is supposed to be "oof".

Next I find a pile of sand/mud monster, much stronger than the other three but still not much of a challenge. It looks like yet another completely different artstyle, and has proper shading on it.

I find a big blue marble with a broken yellow outline surrounding it; I figure this kinda has to be either a save point or a plot advancement thing, doesn't it? It's the former. Save points don't heal, but HP and MP restore automatically on level up and I've got a potion and an ether out of a couple of treasure chests and haven't needed to heal at all yet.

3 experience away from another level up and free heal, I decide to walk around right in front of the giant eyeball monster blocking a chokepoint in the path. Hahaha, take that boss enemy and your non-existent line of sight!

The healing spell Ash learned at level 2 can't be used outside of battle, only in battle. It's expensive and I don't trust this game to have it actually heal, honestly.

The Gazer says "I've been waiting for you. Prove your worthiness or die." A fight immediately ensues, Ash saying nothing in response to this in any way. In the fight I just use Tri-Slash until I run out of MP and then swing with my regular attack until the enemy dies, ending with my HP still at half. The Gazer also looks to be yet another artstyle; he has shading like the mud monster, but no outline unlike every other thing in the game so far.

Upon defeat, the Gazer drops a bronze sword, which is stronger than Ash's starting sword and increases his speed by +1. The Gazer NPC does not disappear when killed.

I'm prepared to fight him again, armed with the weapon he dropped and one level higher...but his dialog is different?
"You have much to do still my puppet." he begins, then cryptically talks about how he senses rebellion in Ash and might find him harder to manipulate than expected.

Ash still has the old couple's well key with him. I guess they just can't lock their well to keep the slimes, stupid birds, and brown ghosts from coming up to the surface and attacking them anymore.

I emerge in another town where the trees look suspiciously similar to the ones in Wandering Hamster, but not quite; more like an eyeballed job at copying them than an actual rip or recolor like some other games.

One old lady says "Would you like a slice of pie? Sorry, but we don't have any." Now that's just mean!

In the shop I find "Combat Boots" which not only have better defenses than the leather boots I never bothered with, but raise Speed by 2 points instead of dropping them by 1. Was the negative number a typo? I also find "Dual Swords" Ash can't equip and a bunch of armor for mages he also can't use, indicating a likely upcoming party member.

The town's library refuses to let people in anymore, sounds like a secret society is gathering in there. A wizard pushes Ash out of the way and goes in when he tries to talk to the person blocking the library door.

At the town's south edge there's a greeter NPC blocking the way out. I've talked to every NPC and it looks like I've seen everything there is to see.

Basically: The game is boring and not very good, but it functions. That fire spell needs higher damage or a spread aspect to it; preferably both. The healing spell needs to be changed to work outside of battle.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Darn Most Insane Game Ever for PC
I don't think this game will live up to its title. I'm sure I've absolutely definitely played more insane games just made in the OHRRPGCE, possibly even in this thread.

Title screen is pink and magenta with bright red text on it playing bad music. I think a broken, badly compressed rip of a Mega Man song?

Next, a different Mega Man music shows as the screen has a big blue circle with a slightly smaller green circle on it and a smaller brown circle inside of that. "This is our world." Fancy zoom in animation with plotscripting, graphics are just a blurry mess of blue/green/brown pixels and don't really depict anything. "This is SpudWorld." Smash cut to the inside of some building with checkerboard floors, then to a location with a talking tomato standing on some airbrushed sand next to some airbrushed sand next to some airbrushed animated purple fluid and a big red house made out of gradient blocks. A tomato using a horrible palette (probably originally intended to appear all black) is standing a few spaces to the left.

The horrible tomato says "I have not been implemented into the game yet and I don't even exist. GOTCHA!" The Final Fantasy 7 battle theme plays as Tomato Man slowly, slowly wears down the cardboard boxes (called "Servant Cruton" and "Lord Cruton", who is wearing a crown). Servant Cruton and Lord Cruton do not attack at all, but upon deat Servan Cruton turns into plain Cruton, an even smaller cardboard box which can attack for 1 HP of damage and dies if hit once.

Tomato Man has four spell lists, Enemy, Foods, Accident, and Special. None of these have any contents. Lord Cruton's crown shares colors with the big empty box in the background. There are seams on the surface Tomato Man is standing on, edges between two green places that have sky blue pixels.

The money is called "Toilets" and experience points are called "CheeseP". Croutons are also an item dropped by the enemies (and again spelled incorrectly as "Cruton"). The island has horrible music.

A sign next to the door of the building welcomes Tomato Man to his burrito (batteries not included), wishes him a happy Halloween, and talks of rice cakes. This game's attempts at humor aren't even appealing to my gluttony correctly.

I walk inside the building and am greeted with music I am sure must be stolen from somewhere. Banjo Kazooie maybe? It's badly compressed and not a fun listen.

The building is apparently the inside of Tomato Man's house, which is supposed to fill out with decorations as the game progresses. I check his fridge and he gets "food" out of it, appearing in his inventory as "snack". Why not be in some way specific about this? It might've been funnier if you'd just picked the right specific lolrandom food! (Not really.) I also check his air vent and it explains that useful and not so useful things can be added to his house by exploration, and to demonstrate a clock shows up on his wall. The clock tells me how many hours and minutes I've been playing the game (0:13 feels like so much longer already; that battle must've been like 8 of those).

I step onto some of the purple liquid south of Tomato Man's house and he takes HEAVY damage. I barely dodge him auto-dying via exploration. Some of the purple tiles flash yellow, these are safe to step on. A sign south of town proclaims something about being offensive to beverages and anyone who enters town will be eaten. So this is the first OHRRPGCE vore game?

HP = Squids
MP = Shoelaces
ATK = Smear
AIM = Wherat
DEF = Wiggly
DOG = Dog
MAG = Mug
WIL = William
SPD = Peanut
CTR = Ceiling
MP~ = Shoes
Hits = Seeds

I start trying to use items on Tomato Man to see if any heal him; he's at 3 HP. "Cruton" does nothing, "Cruton-P" (piece of crouton) teaches him a spell named Chippy, and Snack...restores 9 HP.

A sign at the end of another path is labeled "wrong way out" so I decide to go to Beverage Town and see if Tomato Man does in fact get eaten.

It's labeled "Squid Testing Area" and seems to have tile animation designed specifically to hurt the player's eyes. I step onto an unmarked hazard tile and instantly die. The end.

The ZIP file is 41k and includes a JPeg along with the game file. The promotional picture is the logo for Jurassic Park but with the first word blanked out and "Dino" sloppily drawn in there. Unicon is also the person who made the dismal Mr. Pog game, so I have low expectations; hopefully it will be over quickly.

We start with a poorly drawn man in a brown shirt and hat, with dead white glowing eyes and blue pants. He floats around in the air and doesn't animate, arms and legs in a position indicating he's intended to control a vehicle of some sort. There are grass and road tiles, some of which block him as walls and some of which don't.

The man has 0 in every stat and no name. If I were playing this on the version of the engine it was made in, the character would automatically die the first time the main menu was closed, due to all party members having 0 current HP.

The grass and dirt roads are just a base color and a slightly darker shade airbrushed on top of them. Trees have leaves barely a shade lighter than the grass and are nearly invisible, aside from their two pixel tall stems; even when you see the trees, they're only as high as floating demon man's waist.

I find an old man who greets this floating abomination as Dr. Alan Grant. That was the name of the guy from the movie, right? It's been like 25 years since I watched it so my memory's pretty hazy. The old man gives Grant a knee-high car and says "Of you go"; I find another employee of Dino-Park who says "hi im rex".

There are about a dozen dinosaur exhibits, of which only the Ankylosaurus and Velociraptor (which is actually way too big and should be a Utahraptor, but that's the movie's fault) actually have badly drawn doodles wandering around the exhibit.

All this time a single screechy, repetitive tune has been playing. Is it original? Based on the movie? Just some random MIDI that Unicon found somewhere?

Driving along an empty road for several minutes, I find a small brick house. Inside is a whole bunch of ivy and what might be a radio; I check it and they say "Dr Alan Grant? Get out of there!" scream, and inform me the power has failed.

I step out of the building and the small house is in a completely different wilderness, the car nowhere to be seen. I find one of the trees does not act as a wall and keep going right until Dr. Alan Grant walks straight into the abyss; there seems to be no more interactivity in this "game"

Alan Grant floats forever in a pose with his arms and legs facing forward in a black abyss, his eyes glowing white with some supernatural power of some sort.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

D?r-Ithil: The eight mage
Shouldn't that be Dor-Ithil: The Eighth Mage? The game's filename is DORITHIE, probably a reference to Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz series.

Description says some hard to parse things about an ancient war instigated by seven mages and an elf girl attending elf wizard school on what might be a flying island.

Instead of a title screen with text, I get a drawing of an open book; it has a sketch of a planet on one page, scribbles to represent the written word, and a full-color illustration of a magic sword stabbed into the ground next to a skull (I know the sword is magical because its blade is cyan) and a purple cloak draped over it dramatically. The music sounds pretty nice.

I advance the title screen and am treated to an MSPainted view of the night sky and part of the Earth. All the stars are yellow and airbrushed on, there's a little airbrushing between the high saturation browns, greens, blues, and light gray especially at the edges. It's not careful dithering, but it'll do.

Plot says something about wizards oppressing people with no magic powers until the people without magic powers revolted and overthrew the wizards. "They slayed every beings with a hint of magic. Thus began a new age... the age of anti-magie."

Dor-Ithil is apparently the name of the planet. Music suddenly changes to a much worse, more repetitive tune.

A dwarf named Dwarf greets an elf named Cara, seemingly the girl from the screenshot on the game's download page. He is then named Mern. Cara has ten minutes until her final exam and Mern the dwarf has maliciously hidden her school bag an hour away at the docks.

Cara's school bag contains a vaguely named "Materials" (described as a spell component) and her M_Dress. Her default weapon is "poing" (all lowercase) with a description in French which I cannot read. This somewhat explains the broken English; I wonder if the author is Canadian or actual French?

Cara's path is suddenly blocked by a bunch of giant wizard hats or some other form of lumpy black triangle all over the docks.

Her breasts and shoulders inflate and deflate as she walks, but her feet hardly move. Her hat's purple band changes length when she walks left and stays consistent when she walks right.

The tiles for the dock's stone walkways, wooden building walls, barrels, and shingled roofs all look serviceable; I'd even call the stone floors good looking.

Nowhere else to go and Cara steps onto a boat. Music changes from a terrible original piece to Westport.BAM, included in the engine. Cara proclaims this type of ship was discontinued due to rat problems, and that she will pull out her small hammer (the enchanted item she was going to present for her final exam); it reduces her Speed from 9 to 7, but raises her ATK and AIM considerably. I do appreciate a mage not being restricted exclusively to staves, wands, and daggers.

The ship's tile art looks a little worse than the dock's and the magic school's. There is however a conspicuous mousehole next to the door. What I assumed to be a sword hanging on the wall turns out to be a lever that turns the boat's motor on. Cara declares she has nothing to lose and pulls it on impulse, not caring that this is someone else's boat.

Cara tries to turn the helm, but it's rusted terribly and won't move at all. Two rats jump out and try to attack her; she survives with 1 HP. The rats, strangely, have lighter outlines than their main color (this was also the case with the rats in Vengence and these won't be the last games with something similar). For her troubles, she receives an inedible item called "MamMeat" - Cara's too picky to eat raw rat. Her loss!

I walk up a staircase and she and a rat have a staring contest until I advance the text; I know if this becomes a fight she is toast, rats are way faster and do about 3 damage and she has 1 HP remaining so even if it's just one, it'll kill her before she gets a turn. So far, despite the accuracy bonus on her hammer she's only batting 50/50 on her melee attacks. After a while of waiting, a second rat comes into view.

In the end, the Eight Mage got chased onto a boat, tried to steal it, and was eaten by rats for her troubles. Her in battle sprites were nice.

Crab's Quest
A crab sees a flying saucer and wants to go investigate it. He and some other sea creature wander around the ocean killing fellow sea creatures until he makes it to the shore, which his friend can't go on due to no having legs. He joins forces with a sasquatch and they both get killed in battle right away.

The game isn't fun, all its art is ugly, and it barely functions. I'm not re-downloading this when it's so fresh in my memory; it's not worth playing for any reason other than to review it and tell people how bad it is.


And with that I have (as of September 2020) completed everything on the Castle Paradox gamelist's pages 102-110. I think I'll take a break for a bit before starting on page 101.

Next episode: Wally the Wallaby.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wally the Wallaby: the lord imposter
I could probably recount this entire game from memory without downloading it and replaying it, but I last played it multiple years ago so I'd might as well give myself a quick refresher.

Example screenshot alone tells us a lot before we download, though:
    Walkabout sprites are Bob the Hamster, but with larger tails and some accessories; Wally himself appears to be dressed very similarly to the singular famous wallaby in American animation: Rocko from Rocko's Modern Life
    Grass and dirt road tiles are from Sample.RPG
    Walls of buildings are solid light gray blocks, glass windows are large solid cyan blocks; this aesthetic design could work if the dirt and grass were flat colored instead of stolen assets with a greater level of detail

The plot is basically an inferior copy/paste of the plot of Wandering Hamster, only the bad guy who imprisons the local lord also impersonates him instead of being open about conquering the place.

The title screen includes two enlarged versions of Wally's sprite. A lot of care was put into editing Bob the Hamster into a brown Rocko, but it's stretched badly in MSPaint. Some bouncy, energetic music plays; probably stolen from some arcade game in a similar emotional vein to Bubble Bobble or the like, but which I'm not specifically familiar with.

Next I'm greeted with a black backdrop on which an angry wallaby wearing a red shirt and slippers is drawn. His pose is loosely reminiscent of Broaste's from the start of Wandering Hamster, but is clearly drawn from reference rather than traced.

Drayman is a similar figure, same basic drawing but not angry, has a gray mustache, and is wearing a blue outfit including a long, elaborate cape.

The two argue about who is the rightful heir to the kingdom; are Celius Maison and Lord Drayman brothers or cousins or something? Drayman doesn't deny the validity of Maison's claim to the throne, only that he's already been running the place for a while and the common people respect him.

Wally begins in the middle of the safe town (playing Soldier's Chorus, as many upbeat OHR towns do; it's not a bad song, it's a good choice even if it's predictable). Here is one thing I think this game probably does a little better than the original Wandering Hamster (and admittedly, some games I've made): In Wandering Hamster, Bob begins on the overworld. This means there's a chance of encountering random enemies before finding the weapon shop or adding your first party member.

Wally has exactly the same starting stats as Bob and all the stats have the same names. Well, if you're going to steal graphics from James's game you'd might as well copy his combat balance too. Unlike Bob, Wally can't cast any spells.

A nearby NPC says "Spiffy day" and has basically the same conversation as one from Flanat Village did with Bob, only this NPC is specifically named Bruce. Wally says he's going to meet his friend Jake, Bruce asks if Jake is a wallaby, and Wally responds in the affirmative. This dialog is probably specifically because in Wandering Hamster, Flanat Village consists mostly of talking hamsters with a few near-human exceptions (humanoid, sparse on hair, roughly human-sized but a little weird in proportion; about as much like humans as dwarves or elves but not specifically called anything in particular) and the game's author, James Paige himself, a human. So the point of this conversation is to establish that the town's population is strictly wallabies?

A choice box appears when talking to this NPC, but both options are blank and do nothing.

I step inside a building and am surprised to find an airbrushed blue carpet that isn't stolen from Wandering Hamster; the wood panel walls aren't either, nor the livingroom table. The couch, however, is stolen. The house (Jake's) is a huge empty room of multiple screens of just blue carpet with Jake himself pacing along the top wall. Every feature it has could've been easily compressed into a 16x10 room.

Jake is the same sprite as Wally, but naked and barefoot with a backwards baseball cap. His stats are identical to Wally's, but with Speed one point lower; he too has no spells.

Trees in the town are stolen from Wandering Hamster, but with their trunks having all detail stripped away into simple brown rectangles. There's another, much larger tree consisting of about 9 tiles as a block; it's stolen from some other game and has completely differently colored grass surrounding it. Every building in the town looks identical and most have non-functioning doors with no markings or indicators that any are special; Jake's house is exactly like all the others, it was just the first I tried to enter by chance.

Stepping off the brown dirt road and onto the grass, I am hit with random battles against three-eyed slimes. These have well over 100 HP and so take multiple turns of combined attacking from both heroes to kill and give only 5 experience. These battles take place on a backdrop which is Sandsea.BMP (despite that being one where you stand on yellow sand with green grass to the side, not stand on green grass with brown dirt paths to the side) but with big rectangular buildings drawn on it with MSPaint's rectangle tool; said buildings have brown walls and yellow roofs while the map's buildings have gray walls and red roofs. Wally and Jake stand on the sides of the walls because the buildings are drawn too far down on the screen.

The town has a huge number of city blocks laid out with grass and road, but no buildings on them. Half the buildings that are there not only lack a door link, but also lack wall collision. The tile for the bridge looks decent and original, but the water looks like he took the in-town water from Wandering Hamster, change half of it to dark blue but left half of it cyan, and didn't animate it. Many buildings are built right up against the edge of the road while many others have a single tile depth of yard, but no footpath to the door itself; this means random battles are a risk even trying to get to the door. The upper left corner of the map has some grass tiles with small rocks drawn on them, but these are used nowhere else to break up the monotony any.

There's a second NPC, also named Bruce. He just says hello and that's it.

I walk along the entire right edge of the map and then the entire bottom edge to see if the ends of any of these roads actually have a door link...I completely forgot that the road immediately to the left of Wally's starting position seems to be the way to plot advancement and all other roads go nowhere. Since Jake's house is also the upper left corner, this means that the entire map could've also been compressed into a single screen and do nothing but waste less time and data. Most fields of grass don't have random battles in them, only the ones in the top blocks of the map.

Entering the overworld map, I am treated to properly all-blue water (palette swap of the grass/sand) which animates (by shaking back and forth a couple pixels; looks to actually be a three frame animation) and snow (white palette swap of the grass). There are forest tiles which are from Wandering Hamster, but flattened in color and some possibly-original forest tiles that look like thick green wavy hills or sand dunes. Wally talks to himself about visiting his friend Flanders who lives in a separate house North of town.

I enter another big, empty blue house; it has the Wandering Hamster couch, on which is standing an NPC named Ned who informs me that Flanders is in the basement. Ned and Flanders, I get this reference! I go up a staircase and emerge on the house's second floor, likewise carpeted. Flanders is a wallaby wearing a welding mask and holding a welding torch; Wally and Jake interrupt him working on a Go-Kart but he agrees to join the party and help investigate the castle. Flanders has 1 more point of Defense than either of the others and 1 more Speed than Wally, wielding a welding torch in battle as a weapon; he, likewise, is not a spellcaster and his only combat actions are to attack or consume items (and so far, there are no items in the game until Flanders sneaks a pair of Accuracy-boosting glasses into the inventory; he's already clear MVP so I put them on him rather than one of the other two).

This game should've just been about Flanders the Wallaby.

One thing I forgot to compliment this game on earlier is that while the road is three shades of dark brown and the player characters/common NPCs are also mostly three shades of dark brown, they're from different brown rows in the master palette so they don't blend into each other; dirt is regular brown, wallabies are pink brown.

I head to the castle. Its external brick walls are original drawings instead of ripped from Wandering Hamster, and pretty good. The stone floors inside are an uneven black grid on top of dark gray, also original but not very good. The castle guards are the guards from Wandering Hamster, but with all the shading removed from their swords, shields, and breastplates but left intact on their helmets and their colorful plumes erased.

Wandering Hamster never made it clear if the guards underneath the armor were humans, hamsters, or a mixed regiment; I like to assume the last of these given the rest of Flanat Area's population. Also, barbutes are the coolest looking helmets; can't get mad at a T-visor even if it's stolen art.

In battle, guards have completely redrawn sprites again aside from their helmets. Their poses are a lot duller and more basic; they stand in place with their arms slack, sword and weapon down. They put up very little fight and provide no money or experience.

The castle plays music from one of the SNES Final Fantasy games.

Wally and friends walk straight up to "Lord Drayman" on the throne and he immediately tells them he's actually Celius Maison and starts attacking them instead of making some actual use of his impostor position.

The battle screen for fighting Maison (who took off his Drayman outfit during the fade from map to battle screen) is a simple MSPaint drawing clearly based on the battle screen for fighting Lord Broaste, but quickly drawn in MSPaint rather than traced or directly copied. Carpet consisting of a simple red rectangle, all floor tiles flat in color, and a throne with legsg a mere single pixel wide.

After the fight, one wallaby refers to Celius as Selos and another refers to him as Celious. The characters proclaim they need to find the real Drayman and have the key to unlock his cell; I accidentally trigger the Drayman sprite still sitting on the throne and fight Angry Maison, who has an axe instead of a sword but isn't significantly different; after a couple minutes of holding down the spacebar I get bored and hit F7. Drayman announces that he should return to the throne.

Wally and friends accidentally walk onto the throne, then the brick wall behind it. Spider wallabies; is there anything more Australian? Maybe if they wielded boomerangs and wore slouch hats.

I ascend a tower, enter the castle's roof, and ascend another tower. It's basically a less visually interesting copy of the castle in Wandering Hamster. I unlock the prison cell intended to hold Drayman; there's nothing inside but torches, broken wall maps, and the fact that I could just walk through the walls next to the cell instead of the cell door itself.

The castle is full of spaces where there should be a door link, but isn't and places where there's no indication it will warp you, but it does. Flanders's welding staff doesn't do any more damage than Jake and Wally punching; one NPC (probably Drayman) slipped a magical staff into my inventory without telling me; I equip it, naturally, to Flanders as it improves his HP, Strength, Defence, and Dodge all by 15.

The real Drayman never appears in his throne room and soldiers loyal to Maison remain in the castle, continuing in utter futility to slay Flanders and his sidekicks.

Flanders's new magic staff sometimes steals gold from enemies, just like the shillelagh that Lord Hasim offers to Bob as one of four rewards for rescuing him.

Finished with the castle, the boys head into the forest (which plays a default OHRRPGCE song) and fight random enemies (which plays music from Mega Man; specifically, Wily's Fortress from Mega Man 2). These enemies include giant red beetles, slimes slightly larger than those from wallaby town with a mere two eyestalks, and some sort of plant with an eyeball. The red beetles are called "chag beetles", probably named after Chum Bugs from Wandering Hamster. This is where I gave up the first time I tried playing; I think I'll try to see how long this game goes on for.

On the other side of the forest is another big empty town map, about as unfinished as the first but completely lacking in variety and with much more unused space, somehow. It likewise has samey gray and red buildings, but also a huge empty green field with no roads throughout it comprising 80% of its space, no lake with a bridge in the middle, no trees or rocks for variety even in one corner of it, and only five buildings on the top row and two buildings on the second row.

Neither of the bottom two buildings have walls mapped to them, the shore line has no walls mapped to it so Wally and friends can walk on water, no NPCs to interact with and no "end of demo" message.

This game started as a broken copy of Wandering Hamster and just kept finding ways to be more broken and incomplete as it went.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zach's Evil Plan to Save Taco Bell
A game that boasts of having nothing to do with a character named Zach or a Taco Bell. Similar to The Darn Most Insane Game and/or Mr. Pog? I'm expecting something short and low-effort.

I won't waste much time describing graphics; there's a provided screenshot. If anything really weird pops up at me I'll make note of it.

Title screen music: Rozwell.BAM. An underused and underappreciated piece in the sample songs.

Font is horrible; big bulky uneven letters that touch each other, except for some reason a few lowercase letters (N, C, V) are completely unedited from the default font.

Story: There once was an egg land? Egg lamp? He traveled to a faraway land named Taco Bell (so there IS a Taco Bell, Erik, you liar!) and it's been overrun with monsters. Egg Land asks if he can help and the people tell him he is allowed to try, but has a low chance of success; he "excepted" his quest.

Lampy the Egg Lamp has four spell lists: Skills, Butt, Fart, and Poop. Magic Points are called Magic Crap and money is called Dirt; the other stats have been renamed, but mostly in sensible ways. The equipment slots have also been renamed; the horrible font makes it hard to tell if weapons are called "Whoppers" or "Whappers".

First NPC I find is a black blob with glowing red eyes; I expect a fight but instead he says "Hello and welcome to Taco Bell" and upon realizing the egg he's talking to is the main character, gives him a free item (the game doesn't specify what) and immediately vanishes.

The item, gOOp, is stated to recover HP. I don't trust it to actually be a healing item; wouldn't it be "funny" if something labeled as a healing item instead caused you to take damage? I don't trust this game not to pull that; maybe I'll try it out later if the character is hurt a little.

I enter an equipment shop, which sells "Bad Chicken" and "Plastic Butter Knife" as weapons, "Helmats", and the only item with all positive stat modifiers is the correctly spelled "Shield." This shop is run by another black blob with glowing red eyes, which I guess in this game are friendly NPCs.

I enter a house and find a slice of bread watching a stick figure on TV. His name is Tecksas Toste (sometimes accidentally spelled "Toast") and he joins the party. Tecksas has one spell list, called Chicken; I guess electric lamps can butt, fart, and poop but toast can only chicken. Toste's house consists almost entirely of exactly the one shade of brown and one shade of yellow from his sprite and all his stats are worse than Lampy's (aside from MP and MP cost reduction, but as neither know spells that's irrelevant).

An identical slice of bread runs another store in town, but refuses to buy or sell anything. Lampy calls him a butthole (watch your language, Lampy! What if children read such words?). An all black slice of toast runs around outside, chasing after the heroes. However, it is check-activated instead of touch-activated and can actually be ignored or moved around despite its high speed.

Wandering into the forest, Lampy and Tecksas find treasure chests containing a helmat and some gOOp. They also fight some small dragons called "Uglyfin" that resemble very, very bad doodles of Bub and Bob from Bubble Bobble, but in regular blue rather than cyan and green. They then find an anteater called "Pengufin" and an exact copy of Lampy's sprite called a clone. The main characters stand on the side of a tree while they fight in the forest.

At level 2, both characters learn to projectile vomit onto enemies; this is a spread attack at least three times the strength of their basic attacks even when wielding a weapon. Despite using Chicken as his spell list, Tecksas can't equip the Bad Chicken as a weapon.

Second town and I find a brown blob as a shop keeper and two NPCs in a building laid out like a church having an argument; one says "poop is yummy" and the other says "no". Personally I'd prefer not to develop an informed opinion on the subject.

Despite buying a weapon that increases attack power by 150, Lampy's physical attacks remain exactly as weak. A red version of him named Old Lamp joins the party (his one spell list is named Poop) and proclaims we must enter a mansion to collect a Tootsie Roll for plot advancement; that's a decent, above-mediocre candy, but in a game this fixated on excrement I'm not exactly going to trust any chocolate it offers me.

The first boss is an elephant variant of the penguin/anteater/dragon wandering monsters. It was not difficult in the slightest. After defeating it I am expected to walk through unmarked secret walls. The very next passage is a thoroughly marked ping pong path, so I just use the walk through walls cheat to skip it.

The "Tootsie Roll" is named "Tasty Snak" and looks more like a gray lump of meat on a bone than a wrapped cylinder of taffy, and he murders Old Lamp as soon as he joins the party.

Snak has no spell list. I skip right through a dungeon engineered to be tedious and walk right past the boss without fighting him. I wind up in a black room full of copies of various sprites, including happyfaces, multiples of my party members, and those velvet rope things they use at the DMV and movie theaters to keep lines relatively orderly.

Emerging from the cave, a signboard informs me that to the south lies Spoon City. As the road forks, I try both of its other ends but they lead nowhere. I head south.

Entering one of the shops in Spoon City teleports me back to the shop in the second town. I think I've had more than enough of this game.

It wasn't fun and it wasn't funny. At least I can rest easy knowing my thread has more than twice as many views as it has downloads, considering I've clearly put more work into this than Erik did into that.

Zero: The Secrets Past
Game's title implies a plot involving amnesia, graphics look unimpressive, and the description boasts of its plotline taking place in 2006 (the game was made somewhere in 2001-2003) and allowing you to play as numerous NPCs and 5 characters; what defines an NPC is their non-playable status, NPC and Player Character are mutually exclusive subcategories of "character".

Does this mean five playable characters total? Well, I've seen other games boast of their numbers (LARGER numbers than the relatively small five) but have the demo give no access to more than two of them.

Game purports to take place in a fictional country of Japanimerica, where mages are second class citizens with unequal rights. Too bad the only group of people in the real world United States of America to have less than equal rights since the early 1970s (at the latest) are the unborn or this could be seen as a commentary on something.

The title screen is a badly drawn blonde girl with pale skin and bright blue eyes with the game's title in pink text next to her. Random blue static fills in all the gaps. A flat, lifeless tune drones on in the background; I'm going to presume it's an original track because I can't imagine a human being having the bad taste to STEAL a song this lame.

I'm given an option to skip the intro, and while I'd rather not watch it, I feel it part of my duty as a reviewer to give it a chance. A quick flash of a screen consisting of stolen, badly squashed/stretched tiles from professional games showed up before this message triggered.

I'm greeted by an even lower quality doodle of the girl from the title screen and a complete lack of music. She says her name is Tsuka Zero, that she's 17 years old (she looks to be 8, if that), and that she lives in Princess Rita's "street kingdom" on Harmony Road.

We cut to some badly drawn doodle with pink spikes on top, sitting on a high chair in a room with nearly-same pink floor tiles. She announces herself as Princess Rita, declares that she is three years old and that this in no way invalidates her ability to question people. She looks to be the same age as Zero.

Some dork in a yellow cape responds by saying he's a noble from a nearby town. As she's only three years old, it's somewhat understandable that Princess Rita hasn't been introduced to all her vassals yet.

The noble demands Princess Rita ban all magic from her kingdom because it is "unreliable". Being a mage herself, Rita refuses to institute this ban and so the noble nakedly threatens her; why don't her guards capture him and lock him away immediately for sedition? He immediately announces that he himself uses DARK MAGIC which rather than a subcategory of magic is a separate thing? Or maybe he wanted to be the only person using magic? Either way, before she or any of her guards react in the slightest, he casts a teleportation spell and leaves. You really should ward your castle throne rooms and treasuries against teleportation spells.

The princess vanishes as well. Taken prisoner? Teleported to the sun or the harsh void of space? Teleported to some random other dimension? Not specified. One guard out of the four becomes so shocked his eyes pop out of his visor's slits and runs off to look for help; the other just continue standing there like statues.

I get a view of the evil nobleman, name still not specified, from another angle. He's wearing a hot pink shirt and has a mustache. He has Princess Rita lying down on a bed and then teleports her again (?) in front of three guards; are they his or the three who stayed in the throne room like total rubes instead of sounding the alarm?

Some man named Andrew receives the bad news about the princess from the soldier. Tsuka Zero's bedroom has a game console with no games in it; I'm told to buy games from somewhere. It might be an amusing function if it works; I always wanted to make something similar in the engine.

The little sister character, Lunia (is she Lunia Zero or Tsuka Lunia, weeb?) is happy to hear that her older sister is being sent away. The soldier from the castle, now out of his armor, declares he will stay at Zero's house and watch her little sister.

Tsuka grabs her cellphone from two spaces away (I kinda buy it since she's supposed to be a mage, thinking of it). It seems to have a scripted function where you activate it from the inventory and enter a three number code to talk to someone; the phone book is in the home's livingroom and for some reason Tsuka Zero doesn't bring it with her.

Tsuka begins play with an attack spell called "MezzoBubbl". Her physical attack stat is higher than her magic power, at least initially. I step out of her house and into a hideous pastel hell world.

I find a copy of Kruss's vanity game cartridge, Karate Kruss (I can't blame the man for liking a game that stars himself; several of my favorites star me, after all), in his house. I try bringing it back to Tsuka's house, but while the textbox about not having games no longer shows up, the console now does nothing when activated at all. The item description calls it a "Very funny Karate game!" but it looks like I'll never be able to assess its humor for myself. Given the way this game's drama is written, I doubt its humor would be any better.

I try activating the cell phone to see if I can phone home, but it does nothing. It's just an undroppable lump in my inventory.

Stepping onto some graves to inspect tombstones with such names as "Grampa" written on them, Tsuka is attacked by ghosts. Are these the vengeful spirits of her deceased neighbors? One tombstone is labeled as Tsuka's father and another is unmarked completely. The complete silence is interrupted by the game's victory music upon putting these ghosts to temporary rest; it's a decent victory jingle and sounds original, but no music has played during the cutscene, in the town, or in any of the buildings yet: Only battle victory and the title screen.

In one unmarked building I find a skeleton who proclaims himself to have been a magic store owner who only minutes ago was murdered by the nobleman in a cape (still no name?); via necromancy, he keeps his soul tied to his dead, drying bones and operates a magic shop "secretly" from the exact same location.

More foul than his dark magic keeping the lich alive, however, is one of his wares: a 75/25 cotton polyester blend shirt. Truly an eldritch and accursed artefact that melts the very flesh. He also offers to buy the cartridge of Karate Kruss for $60 but refuses to touch a blocky 2002 cellphone.

I find Tsuka's mother in the store; she looks like Tsuka, only about three years younger. She is completely oblivious to her daughter standing right in front of her and talking to her, saying off-handedly that it'd be easier to organize her shopping cart if Tsuka had accompanied her and "She'd better be at home watching her sister."

Eventually I find the location of the "lounge" that Kruss and Tsuka hang out with other teenagers at. A treasure chest in it contains a boomerang which she can't equip and a vending machine sells a "sweet" drink that purports to be manufactured from tears.

I enter an arcade in which all three cabinets are out of order and "will be fixed as soon as possible". Was this game about mage persecution supposed to have a crapton of minigames in it that just never got implemented? Isn't the plot supposed to have some urgency? An NPC here talks about how she, like the other static shopkeepers, can blink. Typical OHRRPGCE fourth wall humor.

Apparently the entire street is a big wraparound map; walking right far enough I come back to the start and am finally allowed to enter a forest. Tsuka's cellphone lights up and she answers it; her sister is on the line asking when she'll be home; Tsuka already senses what I do: She'll never go home because the game will have an end of demo message or cut off abruptly at some point. Likely soon.

Hopefully soon.

In the forest I find a house with no roof and two game cartridges: One is labeled Wandering Hamster and the other has no label.

Exiting the house, a winged unicorn named Lightning shows up. He declares he's making a premature cameo in the game because it's not far along enough for his intended appearance. He refuses to talk to Tsuka, presuming she's too busy for conversation; I try going back to the house with the newfound game cartridges to see if they work, but an invisible barrier blocks my path, Tsuka NOW deciding she can't backtrack anymore.

Outside, a girl in a pen with two sheep proclaims her sheep and horse are very beautiful, especially her horse. Said girl is exactly the same sprite as Tsuka, but with a bright green shirt matching the grass rather than a bright cyan shirt that barely doesn't.

Attempting to go further north, Tsuka is attacked by a wolf that looks like a cutesy doodle of a fox, probably drawn in five minutes. The fox/wolf waits for her to attack it once or twice, then kills her in one hit; this was a scripted failure though, and unlike some incompetent ones earlier (Time Flies, Autumn Dream) the game doesn't expect me to fight and win and then cheat in a cutscene immediately afterwards.

The wolf vanishes, then a soldier runs up to Tsuka. She has a grayscale flashback about a boy she used to date named Byron, sometimes spelled Bryon.

The wolf attack apparently existed for no reason other than to provide an excuse for said flashback, in which neither character said anything important.

I find the computer of the local farmer's house. Their password system on their computer is simple: You have two choices. "Thunder" is incorrect, "Keaton" is correct; this is probably a reference to the Legend of Zelda version of a kitsune, not to the actor Buster Keaton.

I return to the exact space where the fox wolf doodle killed me earlier and this time it teleports me to a cliffside where the grass and leaves are badly drawn and the bridge and rock walls are obviously stolen from another game. A girl named Kariata (is she going to be a karate expert?) stops Tsuka, who then asks "Are you here to cature me?"

I was honestly not expecting the answer to be "yes" - I thought for sure I was finally getting the second out of five party members.

Kariata is a giant mermaid who attacks with fire spells. She hits Tsuka twice and I am then treated to a cutscene animation in which Tsuka teleports into space, flashes a color a few times, and then explodes. The screen pans down to her tombstone, then snaps back up to outer space and the words "The End".

The only singular grinding location in the game was the person's yard with ghosts that pop up when you literally dance on your father's grave, and there was no way to backtrack to it if you saved after leaving town and found this first boss too hard, following this game's natural progression. It's literally an unwinnable, pointless plotless boss fight you need to lose for no reason followed by backtracking to that space and facing an equally unwinnable, pointless plot-relevant boss fight that you need to win in order to advance.

Honestly with how empty parts of this game already were, I think the "end of demo" message was probably not long after the boss fight with the fire mermaid.

Also, there's a game over song. It's about as bad as the title music and not as good as the battle victory music. These, again, are the only three songs and while original, it's woefully incomplete.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blob Quest
The sample screenshot has some quickly drawn, samey blob doodles on a Google Image Search photographic backdrop. I expect something that will be over quickly.

Readme says outright some enemies are too tough to beat reliably at low levels and level grinding is likely required. It apologizes for this, but didn't change the enemies' stats. It also warns me ahead of time that walking into things that look like walls will be required for advancement and not just a way to hide optional bonuses.

The username "Blind Counterfiet" - couldn't even spell your cheeky username right? Well, I guess if you're blind you have a bit of an excuse.

Title screen: A maximum brightness, maximum saturation green screen with a decently doodled parody of the Dragon Warrior NES title screen and a copyright notice of 2001. The music playing is Mortua.BAM, a decent and not often used tune; I always envisioned it as a game over song.

Crime 1: Custom font. It's tolerable but noticeably inferior.

Crime 2: Nonsense plot. "There was a town called Rock Town, which was safe wherever you went. The sacred rock was stolen and transformed into a cactus."

Crime 3: Rambling for several textboxes when your joke was entirely gotten across in one.

Blobby the Blob is the descendant of a famous, heroic blob and he must travel the stupidly long path of stupidity. He takes three blobs forward and is blobsaulted by another textbox reiterating what the last dozen already blabbered about (badly).

You know what? The game's actual map tiles are decently drawn. Music choices are not badly placed so far. If it wasn't for the lazy use of photographic backdrops the overall art assets could be described as a notch above mediocre.

Weapon shop has Grn Slm Hammer ("Gross Slime Hammer"), Goy Dgr ("Goo Covered Dagger"), and Goo Stf ("Slime Filled Staff"). So is that a green slime hammer or a gross slime hammer? A goy/gooey dagger or a goo covered dagger? A goo staff or a a slime filled staff? In any case, they're all way out of Blobby's price range and he can't wield the staff.

Walking along the roads in the town leads to random battles.

A shopkeeper has a terrible palette; rather than being light blue in the middle and getting darker, he's got two shades of blue and then two shades of white/off white. He sells such armor as the crayon glove, broiled beef mail, and the broken bone leg armor. I kinda had a feeling it'd be one of those games.

NPCs will frequently block the town's narrow chokepoint corridor roads and nothing seems to be placed in big empty fields.

I'm expected to loot random houses for treasure with no indication of which bookcases might have a life potion hidden inside.

Blobby's sprites are the same shades of green as the grass, which is a simple set of vertical stripes in two adjacent shades of green.

An NPC uses Blobby's sprites but has brown as his main color and red as his eye color; fortunately, he looks more like a russet potato than other amorphous brown things he could've resembled instead.

Monsters drop the same armor the shop sells; what a waste of money if you had it. Blobby can't even use the crayon gloves anyway.

Despite unmarked book cases containing treasure, one house has a clearly visible treasure chest that can only be gotten to with the walk through walls cheat. Instead of an anti-cheating message, it contains a magic staff that Blobby can equip.

The cave dungeon has terrible music that must be stolen from some game or other and a bunch of green circles (acid pools maybe?) that cause Blobby to take over 100 damage when he steps on them. I've been skipping every fight with the auto-win key after finding the first few so tedious, Blobby's max HP is around 300. Stepping in one more puddle will probably kill him.

And what I said about the graphics in the town being decent? It doesn't hold up in the cave.

Some monsters randomly spawn other monsters with no logical coherence as to why. I could see whacking a big green slime making small green slimes, but sometimes pink dinosaurs appear for no reason or a monster that looks nothing like the yellow slime monster will die and turn into seven of said yellow slime monsters.

I find a second cave even more pointless than the last and no signs of actual advancement. I think I've seen everything I need to about this game.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This, friends, foes, and all readers in between, is the first OHRRPGCE game I downloaded out of curiosity and actually hated. Not just disagreed with the creator on something (though you'll see soon), not found frustratingly hard (though it's that), not thought was badly made in some way but still had fun elements...for the past seventeen years and some change I've looked back on this game as an absolute travesty of design. It had a bad design, since the things it wanted in its design weren't implemented yet it made up for the inability to implement them with even worse, unrelated design changes.

Title screen: Some jungle mountain somewhere with a big brown tower, probably meant to be the eponymous Babel, with the big dark purple word "Babel" written in the foreground. The game's graphics are pretty typical upper-mediocre to acceptable early 2000s OHRRPGCE stuff, can't complain too much about the visuals from what I'm seeing now or what I remember.

I start on a character select screen with a twangy arpeggio playing in the background. I'm asked if I want to see the intro; I don't, but I'll say yes anyway. The game won't be less talky in the early game if you skip it anyway.

0000 From nothingness, God rose and time begins
0001 With a wave of his hand, he created a world

That's not how this works; God had to pre-exist nothingness in order to exist and create existence and time. Why are you going to name your fantasy game after a Judeo-Christian scriptural event if you're going to make up your own creation account like this? To get attention? Because you got my attention and you're annoying me by getting my religion wrong. You weren't the first on the gamelist and you won't be the last.

It goes on like this for a while, evoking Judeo-Christian religious imagery while describing a very different act of creation and still referring to God as singular and with a capital G. It states this Big G God to have a body and to feel the winds as he created them; this is a can of worms that would work with God the Son, second member of the Holy Trinity, in play as in the beginning was God and the Word was with God and the word was God. I don't think God the Second Person had a physical body yet unless He traveled back in time after being born a few millennia into existence (2020 years ago, roughly; He died and rose from the dead about 1987 years ago give or take)

So this god instead of creating life created water, and from water arose organic life following the evolutionary abiogenesis model. What is it with these Godless heathens and making up immortal spirits with the power to create matter but no creativity to just directly create life, that they need to rely on the big bang or primordial soup to get life? Purely naturalistic forces can't make life from non-life in reality and there's no reason to presume they can in a fantasy world without completely different physics, at which point it's simpler and easier to just say your wizard god did it.

For himself and his creations, God created Eden. A.K.A., heaven.

Eden and Heaven are not the same thing. Eden is a physical place that man was charged with tending to and included all manner of plants and animals in an uncorrupted state; Christians argue with each other from time to time whether animals that are carnivores in our modern world were physiologically different back then and ate plant matter exclusively, if fish and insects counted as animals or were valid food, or if the critters were ultimately the same then as now but without being violent towards humans.

Heaven, meanwhile, is a completely different place: A spiritual, rather than physical, realm. It is where God and the Heavenly Host reside (various angels such as cherubim and seraphim, both of whom would probably make you wet your pants if you saw them; spirits who look like rings of fire or have wings covered in eyeballs, or simpler ones like a humanoid figure with four arms and four heads that each resemble different animals). Heaven and the uncorrupted Garden of Eden were aligned, but they were as different as land and sea or night and day: God is the creator of all good things, and that's not at all the same as your preferences (it's a heresy to say Satan created darkness, rather than merely hides out in the darkness God created; God created all good things and Satan created nothing).

In the middle of Eden, there was an apple tree.

No there wasn't. While it's often depicted as an apple tree in Sunday School books for little children, the fruit is not specified and most likely would not much resemble any fruit you're familiar with; whatever fruit the Tree of Knowledge had, Adam and Eve both willingly and disobediently ate it because they were promised godhood rather than death for their troubles. (This raises an obvious question: if God were afraid Adam and Eve would become as powerful/more powerful by eating the fruit, why would He have put it there and simply told them not to eat it instead of putting it out of reach?).

To counter the usual argument the other way about why God would put the tree in the garden and tell them not to eat it if his plan wasn't for them to eat it, it's the disobedience of the direct order, not the fruit itself, that doomed them to a life of suffering, farming becoming difficult labor instead of easy and fun, and childbirth becoming painful and dangerous.

If you'd ever talked to a serious Jew or a Christian who is an adult and didn't just doze off in Sunday School as a kid and then write the whole religion off based on your vague fedora-tipping memories thereof, you'd know it wasn't an apple. Or if you'd cracked open the Bible and read it for yourself, but that might burn your hands and eyes like what happened in Raiders of the Lost Ark, eh? (Answer: No. Even the worst sinner walking Earth right now is someone God wants to repent, so you're not going to be burned by reading the Bible or praying. Holy water might sting a little if you're like me at my worst.)

At the first bite, they gave intelligence. Intelligence gave rise to evil. War, Disease, and Death were introduced into the world.

So you're admitting you're an anti-intellectual who thinks intelligence is a bad thing, then? Because this isn't what happened.

God lifted Eden to the sky. All beings on Earth must now earn their place in Eden.

Eden, again, is not Heaven

You don't get into Heaven by doing more good than evil. Guess what? "I only murder, rob, and rape with 49% of my waking hours, I'm less than half evil!" won't cut it. "I did something absolutely horrendous that deserves an eternity of hellfire one time in my million-year-long lifespan, but I'm not sorry about it" sets a pattern that makes you untenable for an eternity of living with others. An eternity of doing evil once every million years is an infinite amount of continuing to do evil, even if the pattern remained at exactly that rate without accelerating.

Frankly, Hell exists entirely because some people won't repent. We can't have someone who doesn't want to be forgiven be forced into heaven against their will, can we? And once you're cut off from the direct source of all happiness, hope, and love you're stuck in perpetual torment. Be the fires of Gehenna a metaphor for being thrown into the garbage dump or a literal lack of fire with literal burning pain you can never get used to, you won't go to hell for anything but your own willing crimes and you can't escape it except by accepting a free pass into the singular alternative.

1000 All races stopped warring and just came to own their own corners of the globe.
1100 Since wars stopped, science and arts advanced greatly.
1512 A man named Babel developed the idea of reopening heaven to all beings. He spread the idea of his mission throughout the land.
1534 All beings stopped warring again for a bit to start building a tower to the sky.

Again, why steal names from Judeo-Christian religious text if you clearly don't understand the text at all?

The story of Babel is ultimately about hubris. One man, named Nimrod (whose name is used as an insult for a fool to this day) decided he could build a tower to Heaven and invade it. He thought he, by stacking rocks on top of each other, could exceed the reach of the God who is in all places at all times and created those very rocks with but a sentence, "Let there be". God, to prove that Nimrod was nothing without the coerced cooperation of his kingdom's subjects, cursed everyone in the kingdom to speak a completely different language; this is the origin of the word babble. You babble when the curse of Babel is in effect.

And considering how much more I enjoyed things written by juvenile toilet-obsessed children or people who don't speak English as a first language, I kinda wish what you were saying was babble instead of just really, really dumb but crystal clear English.

2000 The tower is complete, God is powerless to do anything about it.

Hahaha, you wish. Go ahead, keep quoting Nietzsche's "God is Dead." God died once, roughly 1990 years ago, and rose from the dead three days later to prove His omnipotence and mercy. Nietzsche died once as a miserable man; I can only pray he found God in his final moments.

Game's plot further says that monsters invaded the tower (where do monsters come from in this?) and that God no longer exists (without God, what's the point of trying to get to Heaven?) and getting to the top of Babel is a feat "no one has ever accomplish" - but if nobody's ever been to the top floor, how did the top floor get build? Who put the floor and supports on the top? You're speaking nonsense again.

Now I can get to the game itself, with that stupid three second music loop still going. The game's problems don't just extend to its writing, they infest every aspect of it.

When I was saying earlier I didn't remember the graphics being bad? Well, it turns out they are; a lot of characters consist of simple gradient shading, some have no shading, some have random dots of different shades of color which mean nothing to their shapes, and most of them have tiny, difficult to read features. The tiles are mediocre, the walkabouts are just plain bad with no qualifying words.

I am presented with eight characters standing on pedestals. One character I originally thought had wings simply has clothes of colors matching the edges of the pillar she's standing on.

BRANDON - HUMAN - A basic fighter in red armor. His sprite is mediocre but not too ugly. His backstory is that he tried climbing the tower and died once already; he was one of the security people when the tower was initially finished two hundred years ago.

CLAIRE - HUMAN - A thief who "must steal to survive" and rescued a little girl who was a genetics experiment named E.V.E.; stop pretending you're clever. Anyway, her sprite is atrocious, a bad mix of purples and reds, she has huge rectangular feet with no shoes and her skin has no shading, making it stand out from the features of most other characters.

KAR-KES - KRAKIAN - He looks like a blue bunny until he faces to the side, then he looks like a Xenomorph. Seems to be an extra-tanky warrior. Backstory says he was a religious fanatic who tried to undermine Project Babel and failed.

LIN-DE - KRAKIAN - She looks like a pink bunny when facing down and has some little tentacle things popping out of her shoulders. She's a weak elemental mage.

CHI-BE - HALFLING - "Chibi" hahaha, get it? Carcass was a joke name too. Chibi is a brown imp with wings; he has useless earth magic and terrible stats. I made the mistake of trying to use him in my initial playthrough because I love small characters and bat wings.

CANNOPE - HAWKMAN - "Canopy" because he flies. He's got the typical design of a traditional Sunday School angel; moderately attractive male human with big white bird wings. He's a white mage who while he believed the building of the tower was sinful, never attacked anyone for this, content with simply telling people they're wrong. Hey, that's what I'm doing! Okay birdman, you're on the team.

KATHRYN - HUMAN - A rich girl whose family was killed by thieves or something. She wears skimpy, tight purple and dark blue clothes. She is one of the few characters who can recover MP (this is an absolutely abysmal design decision for reasons I'll get to in a bit; I have traumatic memories of how this game actually plays etched into my memory and have been waiting 15 years to really rip into it).

EAGLE - HUMAN - A barefooted, badly drawn "diplomat" in an orange shirt. He's forgettable and has a bad movepool and bad stats.

So I'm going to take Brandon, Carcass, Birdbrain, and Bondage Fetish for this playthrough.

Very first NPC of the game is the game's creator. You suck, just had to say it. Anyway, next he will explain his terrible game design and the even worse workaround he made for it.

Ooof, Brandon's sprites go from passable to hilariously goofy once he starts moving. He's the one we were expected to make our leader by default? His eyes shake from side to side in a silly manner when he moves down, and when moving left or right his feet lose their shading.

Each hero who joins instantly moves to the front of the party, shoving the others back instead of going to the first available slot. It took active scripting to do this.

Characters give dialog about each other joining on the first floor. I'm sure a lot of effort was wasted into making them say slightly different things depending on what order they join, given that there are eight characters and four party slots that they could have been added to in any order. Or do they always say the same thing no matter when they join? They always talk to whoever joined immediately previous and not any of the others.

On the second floor, the game's creator stands in a hallway, breaking any immersion you might've gotten from the characters you chose talking to each other. He tells you this:

- Your MP is a limited resource, be sparing with it from fight to fight (fair enough)

- HP recovers automatically after each battle (so don't worry too much about healing aside from emergencies? I can see where this would go)

- I wanted to make basic attacks cost MP too, leaving you helpless after so many turns of attacking.

Bad! MP cost to use basic attacks like that only works if they're in some way a renewable resource (healing between fights, having a "rest" action in battle that recovers them, recovering at check points or some other kind of rest area, item drops). You mean to tell me your actual plan was to limit basic attacks so players eventually run out with no way to recover and also make special attacks simply use more MP so you run out even faster?

And the cherry on top is literally one character has the ability to recover MP after making a basic attack and her special attacks involve being able to heal allies' MP. So you broke your own design by either not planning for this hero or making her basically mandatory. But it gets worse.

- The engine won't let me make regular attacks cost MP, so instead I'm just going to make all the enemies stronger than I initially intended to compensate.

No! Awful! Terrible! Your design was already bad for anything but a very strictly designed resource management puzzle (that'd need to be a game with zero miss chance, zero random drops, zero damage variance on attacks, and very careful designs of every ability for every character and every single fight). You compound this by finding your bad design mechanically impossible, so you implement a completely different, unrelated change instead of rethinking your design; you could, for example, have made it so everyone recovers a small amount of MP after attacking and the mage simply got hers back faster than any of the others; this would encourage people to vary up their physical and special attacks (it's what Final Fantasy Tactics Advance did, it's what my game Nintendo Quest did, it's what Walthros: Mercenaries did, and it's what Puckamon did).

The "have basic attacks cost MP, but also have a move that recovers MP at the cost of not attacking that turn" idea? That's how the combat worked in Karrible, not that the game was long enough for most people to notice when they ran low on MP.

The game maker's brothers are a save point and a healing point. Injecting yourself into your game and pointing out that you made the game can work for a humor-driven game, but not for anything meant to be taken seriously.

I manage to dodge the enemies (fortunately, they're visible on the map and possible to avoid) and make it to a store. This has a shield for sale which it describes as "almost useless" due to its low stat bonuses (+3 max MP though).

The characters' battle animations are pretty sloppy. Battle is long, tedious, music is bad. Dungeon music is fine for a couple rooms, then suddenly isn't. Monster designs are underwhelming and hideous; one is a pair of legs with a big eye in the middle, undermined by having a purple outline and random airbrushing going on between multiple shades of bright pink flesh.

Oh wow, this game's already terrible design was only broken worse by engine updates. You know how normal attacks are supposed to cost MP? Well, if you play this game on a version of the engine that'll actually run, the game actually does check for MP when you try to attack. The first boss, rather than a long and difficult slog, is literally impossible due to the "jacking her up" as the creator put it.

That one character who can recover her own MP and give MP to others? Those are the only things she can do; she can't attack with her staff and she doesn't have spells to do anything else at the start. The other three characters I took? Literally all they can do is a basic attack. First boss takes 1 point of damage, maybe 2 if hit by the strongest warriors. She attacks similarly weakly with her physical move...or hits the entire party for 11 each by shooting lasers out of her bow...or shoots HERSELF at a single character to cause 15. Your MP recovery mage? She has 50 HP. Everyone else? 100 HP. Healing items? Nil. Healing spells on the only character described as learning them in the character select room? No spells.

If I didn't make use of the stealth mechanics the game was giving me and actually fought every single monster? My party would have only gained one level but still been out of MP, low on HP, and have no renewable resources. That first boss would still have been unwinnable even after gaining a level and being at full health and magic.

When I played this 17 years ago on a version where the characters could still do their basic attack while out of MP? I got up to the third floor, then one of the wandering monsters fought my party when we touched it. We killed it, but it wasn't scripted to despawn and automatically touched us again, infinitely re-triggering the battle with no escape, wearing down our HP until everyone was dead. That's only on like the third or fourth floor.

This game is bad. Its best qualities are absolutely mediocre graphics, maybe one or two original songs in its score of possibly a dozen and the fact that I only found a single typo.

Why did people used to like it? Because it was "different"? Because it was "pretty"? Because it was "daring" for bashing the acceptable target of Judeo-Christian beliefs like dozens of mediocre RPGs have done since the early 90s and thousands of books going back a thousand years or more? I think it's mostly the last point.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This marks my account's 500th post on Castle Paradox forums; if you included my three sockpuppet accounts (two of which have been banned years ago) the number crossed this threshold a while ago.

As it happened, my thread is also about to cross the 700 pageview threshold; I don't know how it counts repeated reads from the same few people, but I'm sure I've got at least five of you regularly tuning in to see me rant about bad games. Well, we're on page 101 of the gamelist and looking at the second half of said page, I can safely say we have at least one unironically good OHRRPGCE game and even some of the clunky ones are kinda decent.

We're still going through all those February 2003 reposts of things from Operation: OHR which seem to have been put up in no particular order, like how Neo Krysta 2 was put on the list before Neo Krysta 1 and Neo Krysta 3 hasn't shown up yet. Some games have their "last updated" order (what I'm going on in terms of review order unless I can see an obvious reason to change it up) and their index number order not line up.

Post 500 on my Ronin Catholic account isn't going to be a review itself, but it does mark a little bit of a celebration. I am also going to provide a rundown of things from any of these games that inspired something in one of my games (even unreleased projects). I will come back and edit it as I review more games.

Radar Rat Race RPG
Provided the character Radar for OHRodents.

Magnus 9: Golem
Gave me a lot to think about for a monster collecting game, partially inspiring the use of Pokeballs in Nintendo Quest.

Use of touch-activated NPCs and overhead map tiles inspired the cutscene I had for the intro of a Christmas themed game I never finished. Young Leonard growing into adult Leonard after the tutorial inspired Nate growing into Nayte in Nintendo Quest.

I had a dialog chain and battle directly mocking things I didn't like about this game in Nintendo Quest, showing how long-lived my grudge against it is. My opinions are more mature now, but overall equally negative. Showed me that on reflection, I tend to make too needlessly complicated of characters in terms of WHAT they are rather than interesting or multi-faceted personalities of WHO they are.

Tilde and the Mask of Raspberry!
Tilde's "Rally" command inspired Nathan's Weasel War Dance in Vore Day 2020.

Autumn Dream
The sequence at the start where Master Lew gives Keero enough experience points to level up and learn a new attack, then tells him to use that attack to win his next combat is something I copied directly in one of my forever lost projects, and then carried over somewhat into Nintendo Quest by having the defeat of Pac Man give exactly enough experience for Nate to grow to level 1; I have, since then, made the first boss in most of my games have exactly enough experience points to make the party you will have at the time gain their first experience level if you somehow got to them without gaining any from anything else (30 experience to a solo hero, 60 to two, 90 to 3, or more often 120 to a party of 4).

Arfenhouse 3
An almost embarrassing amount of influence, in hindsight. Acted as the chief inspiration for both Nintendo Quest (a satire of the OHR community and a common game maker trend I thought needed to be called attention to) and A Newbie's Quest (intentionally bad game mimicking a sloppy newbie game, but done with no intention deeper than getting a laugh) in terms of aesthetics and gameplay alike. Final boss of Wolf's Quest and the original version of the Dark Lord in the remake Densetsu no Okami were stylistically mimicking Arfenhouse's proto-leetspeak and the better looking pixel art in the Arfenhouse franchise (I. E., the "intentionally bad" sprites).

And of course, I've used Pikahcu in OHRodents and an armored warrior variant of Housemaster appears in numerous games of mine, released and unreleased.

Time Flies
The time when Timothy joins the party and the battle uses a string of chained attacks with captions to have the characters talk during the fight is probably the best I've seen that done in the engine to date; too bad the rest of the game is just a bit on the sloppy and un-fun side.

Star Cops
Source game for the police mouse in OHRodents.

Golden Star Saga
Provided one of the common mook enemies in OHRodents.

Inspired me to do a better version of "basic attacks cost MP" in Karrible. Partial success.

Partially inspired me to do a better version of "mage's staff restores MP" in Nintendo Quest, which in turn inspired Fnrrf to do an even better system in Puckamon.

Adventures of Bill the Smiley
Inspired me to give Wolf's Quest a cold open where you get a taste of power with Wolf's ancestor, Akira.

Adventures of Bill
Had a surprising amount of influence!

I referenced the neon sign on the secret lab in Maces Wild. Ken's design, while a lot less smooth, was probably somewhat influenced by Mouse's.

Mouse (wearing a labcoat) and Lab Rat appear in OHRodents as a playable character and a random enemy respectively; too bad I didn't include Rat Racers as well, in hindsight.

I copied the "treasure chests done with normal tags instead of usable only once" thing in Densetsu no Okami. People complained about the lids closing themselves on their own afterward. I had a plan to make late-game treasure chests flip some of these chests' tags off, allowing a cycle of going back and forth between the early game, mid game, and late game areas and getting multiple copies of various items, but this never came to be.

The font. I mentioned it nowhere in my review, but it's a nice little AssCaps font that I've somewhat copied in style for my own go-to font on recent projects.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"

Last edited by Ronin Catholic on Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:10 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Adventures of Powerstick Man
A lot of OHRRPGCE developers are primarily gamers who decided they wanted to make their own game and actively sought out the most user-friendly software they could get for free to do so. Pepsi Ranger is primarily a writer, and it shows in all his works and forum posts for both better and for worse.

Pepsi Ranger has been the host of the Heart of the OHRRPGCE Contest every two years for about a decade now, a contest designed to encourage people to make complete (or at least playably long demos) of the very genre the engine is primarily built around.

His forum posts tend to be very long - multiple, well laid out paragraphs full of complete thoughts. He never just shoots off a one line quip unless brevity truly will be the soul of wit in that instance.

His debut game, The Adventures of Powerstick Man, shows how these qualities can somewhat hold back an RPG. RPGs have more dialog and flavor text than most video game genres, but they're still not novels: They're games. RPGs need characters you can either treat as disposable game pieces or that you can relate to as people (if cartoony and exaggerated). If reading too much text at once on a forum post or computer document can start to strain the eyes or make you wander, it's even more so in a videogame where there are several other media such as sprites, sound, and game mechanics also around to cover some parts.

A game is more than the sum of its parts, so focusing too much on one specific part (as Motherland did with its graphics to the neglect of its gameplay, as Babel did to its mechanics to the neglect of fun, and as most of my games do on difficulty to the neglect of accessibility as well as presentation failures overlaid on top of that) can hinder all others. This in part is why I've never liked "OHR Movies" or professional RPGs that linger too long on cutscenes or play them too frequently: I want to experience the world in part through the game mechanics, and when I want to go watch an anime or read a book I'll do that instead.

When you look at that example screenshot for Adventures of Powerstick Man, what do you see? A textbox filling half the screen with two characters talking in it, character walkabouts with tiny heads and a weird bowlegged posture, some mostly decent map tiles with good details to break up the visual monotony, and a very disproportionate decoration.

Real police don't outline a dead body with chalk on the pavement; that'd contaminate the crime scene. It's a funny gag for cartoons though, but this also shows something else. Look how BIG that decoration is; despite all these people fitting nicely into the 20 pixel box, the chalk outline fills up two. That man must have been a giant - I've never actually gotten that far into this game because even though as a kid I liked the writing, the gameplay deterred me from progressing consistently as I'll explain when I boot the game up as a refresher.

Now, let's also talk about the proportions of the characters; a few other games I covered so far have similarly tried for more realistic proportions in their walkabouts than the old JRPG standard of chibi proportions. The reason for emphasizing large heads is because that's the most important part of the human form for most people at a glance; you want to be able to make out facial hair, eye shape and proportion, read expressions, and so on. When a character's head is a 2x3 pixel rectangle that doesn't give enough room to depict the eyes, and only on goblins or halloween witches would you even be likely to get a 1 pixel nose when they're walking left or right. A realistically proportioned character 20 pixels wide and 40 pixels tall might be able to emote properly and look relatable to the audience, but a realistically proportioned character 20 pixels wide and 20 pixels tall is just a multi-colored stick figure, and needs to express himself with arm and leg gestures accordingly as his face literally can't be read from that distance.

And then there's another issue: The more realistic your torso/limb proportions are, the more weird postures will stand out. When a character's entire torso and legs are each only 5 pixels in height so that the entire top 10 pixels of the box could be used for an identifiable, easily read/accessorized face and hairstyle, people might not even notice there's an entire 4 pixel gap between the thighs on the character because the legs, feet, and hips aren't what's in focus. But when the character's legs are eight or ten pixels long? People will immediately notice the awkward posture of the characters caused by trying to put a visible gap between the legs (when a natural standing posture would have them close enough together to have even a single pixel gap, leading to the problem of Project Ascension's walkabouts where both men look to be wearing dresses). In this case, it's a 3 pixel gap between the inner thighs barely narrowing to a 1 pixel gap barely below the crotch and it looks really, really silly.

I'm not being prescriptive, here, only descriptive. While I personally don't care for realism as much as clear and readable stylization (as also shown in my attitudes towards things like shading and grid-based movement) I can't prescribe to everyone that they go with the style I prefer, only highlight how they failed at the presentation style they were trying and I'd merely have not cared for it if they'd succeeded.

Included in the game's zip folder is a short story elaborating on some of the other heroes in this setting. It might be worth a quick read if you're interested; I think it's a lot easier to read than the textboxes in the game itself are. My favorite hero is Plummet Man - despite it being 16 or 17 years since I first read his description and how his wife found out who she married it still gets a chuckle out of me to this day without having had to re-read it once.

So don't think I'm being harsh on Pepsi Ranger as a writer when I make fun of how the writing comes out in his first game. For a first game release it's not like it's offensive or lazily tossed together, it's just too wordy and not very fun to play. Which is also exactly what I think of the only other game of his I've tried to play, but this one is more user friendly.

The Adventures of Powerstick Man begins with someone booting up a copy of Adventures of Powerstick Man and complaining that the game uses music stolen from Chrono Trigger and that too many OHRRPGCE games do this. I can recall the market theme being used in Memoria and Lolsidothaldremobine, but I never found the soundtrack of Chrono Trigger memorable enough to single out any others (and of course, I'd heard a whopping zero soundbites from that game before hearing BAM compressed MIDI covers of its soundtrack in OHRRPGCE games). Was this ever really that common? This, I know only because other reviewers informed me, is the only piece of stolen Chrono Trigger music, used exclusively to make a meta joke about that specific game (rather than say, Final Fantasy) having its music used too often in OHRRPGCE games.

And the other songs are stolen anyway; Everybody Dance Now plays in the background as you wander the ponderously large deodorant factory that comprises the game's first area, for example. The battle theme is a low impact "Another One Bites the Dust" and the victory music sounds familiar but I can't quite place it. Smells Like Teen Spirit? Not an obvious victory song like We Are Champions or Celebrate Good Times Tonight.

I will describe what a few objects or characters look like in this review, but overall I'd say the graphics have a quality of being mediocre, but detailed in design. Meticulous variety between different instances of similar pieces of scenery, yet each piece a little sloppy in actual depiction; most characters have very wide shoulders and very long arms and very wide leg stances that look hilariously awkward as well as the problem of not being very expressive even when they animate and do some action like moving an arm or such. Pepsi got a lot better at this over the years (as have we all, I would hope).

We are treated to a depiction of a man in blue (police officer?) falling out of a high floor in a building and straight into an open, steaming manhole. The faux-philosophical text crawl says "When something you thought could never happen in a million years happens twice" to describe the inciting incident that will give our hero his powers.

Said main character is a J-list celebrity with a big ego, a professional tennis player wearing a white shirt and shorts. He is on a tour of the Faberge deodorant factory (a brand I am informed by the readme was real with a real product called the PowerStick and which went out of business or discontinued said product before this game's release). Jimmy informs us that PowerStick is his favorite deodorant and he hopes to be given a free sample.

Jimmy the tennis player stands on a platform above one of the gigantic vats of glowing green bubbling chemicals and lists off a few ingredients from the back of the real world product's package. He loses his footing as he stars into the boiling fluid, immediately afterwards that specific vat and no others is struck by lightning despite being inside a building with a roof; the lightning makes the screen flash negative in color.

Emerging from the vat, Jimmy now has blonde hair instead of being a brunette, a pair of sunglasses, his sleeves and pants legs have grown longer, and a P logo has spontaneously formed on his shirt. Since he was inside a vat of deodorant while it was struck by lightning, he now has deodorant and electricity themed superpowers; personally I think he'd have been more interesting if he'd just stuck with the deodorant theme and needed his entire moveset to revolve around that.

The scientist who was overseeing this project notes that some of the deodorant chemical blobs have started moving around (becoming standard random battles with green slime) and informs Jimmy Powerstick that he needs a weapon to protect himself, handing him a stick of deodorant to throw at the slimes (presumably it bounces off of them and returns to his hand like a boomerang). At his initial level, this stick of deodorant is +20% attack power compared to his bare fists. Scientist then waits until after handing over the deodorant to state there are also deodorant-eating rats running amok in the factory; I'm pretty sure you can get shut down for that, even in New Zealand and Australia.

It takes about four hits of deodorant to kill a single slime, by which point you'll have lost a quarter of your health. Grinding seems to be expected. Rather than an inn or a shop that sells affordable healing items, the factory has smaller vats of hot, boiling chemical that heal PowerStick Man by a tiny amount every time he steps on them, allowing you to gradually refill his HP. There seem to be no places where two are immediately adjacent, so there's a risk of running into a random battle when swapping between two. These being OHRRPGCE harmtiles, you can also heal above max HP with these.

Sometimes you fight two blobs instead of one. You will lose about 60% of your HP to one of these, rather than 25%, so if you didn't have healing items randomly drop from other fights earlier and aren't mostly healed from your stepping onto the goop on the floor, you need to run away.

After fighting a whole six slimes, Jimmy Stickpower gains a level, giving him +7 to his max HP and negligible increases to anything else; leveling up does refill his HP and MP; however, if you were trying to keep his current HP above max, this would drop current HP down to match his new max. Maybe the first enemies should've included something that attacks with electricity to help with the feeling that PowerStink Man is in fact a superhero now and not just a mediocre tennis player chucking a stick of deodorant at early-game RPG monsters in a ponderously large factory?

Speaking of which, Jimmy's gangly body of mostly white and gray tends to blend into the factory's battle background of mostly light gray. There are a few things I thought were details on his costume that, when he moved to attack, turned out to be much higher saturation decorations on the machine he's standing in front of. All his poses and animations are lively, but awkward; this is a step up from being stiff and lifeless but also awkward like other games with a similar attempt at realistic character proportions.

An NPC hands Jimmy fifty bucks and tells him to buy some protective equipment before heading into the next room; I haven't seen any shops selling protective gear in the previous room. Several NPCs shared dialog and all consist of basically two sprites: Man in labcoat and woman in labcoat.

Oh, it's no wonder I never remembered "Crazy Mickey" from this game to put in OHRodents (I completely forgot there were rats in this game at all for the past fifteen years!) - its sprite is a hastily drawn blob with an angry red eye and Mickey Mouse ears on it. I heard they'd been mutated by the deodorant but yeesh, they don't even look like they're meant to be slime mice, more like they were just drawn in a rush so the first area of the game would have a second basic enemy of slightly greater strength than the green slime. They're also gray slimes on a gray background, some of the colors on their outer edges even being the exact same tone as the floor.

My second fight against a pair of rodents is the first time I use a healing item. No indication of the "charger's" potency is indicated in its item description; it's something like 50 HP or so, which is decent when your max HP is 100 and enemies do 5-15 damage per turn.

One Mickey drops a "Toxic Stick", which is a more powerful PowerStick allegedly but rather than being equipped to the weapon slot, it's used from the inventory as a consumable item. Why the inconsistency? Shouldn't both be item menu consumables or both be weapons?

I find a brown version of Crazy Mickey. It doesn't seem any stronger, but does give more experience when killed. It definitely looks better, if only because it doesn't literally blend into the background.

Level 2 and Powerstick Man still has only two options in combat: Attack and use inventory items.

I find a break room for the factory workers; it has a snack vending machine and a Pepsi vending machine, neither of which activate or even give cheeky flavor text when investigated; can't use these to stock up on healing items despite carrying 200 dollars in cash on me and needing more portable healing to stay alive between encounters with rats. I find a can of Pepsi behind the Pepsi machine.

Apparently if you drink a Pepsi in battle, Jimmy will drink about half of it, then chuck the still-weighted can at an enemy for about as much damage as his normal attack.

The factory is huge, probably like 40% of the size of a real factory. It's bigger than most games' final dungeons and it's only the beginning.

Of all the things to have flavor text, PowerStick man is an art critic (and not knowing much about art criticism, he seems to not be very good at it; "Baroque in a post-modern kind of way" sounds like a contradiction in terms, which is probably the point.)

In a crate that looks like any other with treasure in it, I find a giant rat called a T-Rat. It's better drawn than the other mutant rats, scraggly and covered in green lines of some sort. It kills Jimmy in two turns...or rather, it drops him to 0 HP and he decides to quit the superhero business and walk home into the sunset. So HP represented not physical resilience, but emotional fortitude.

What was going to happen after that?

- Upon exiting the deodorant factory, Powerstick Man is attacked by a huge man with extremely hairy armpits. This is a pretty logical thematic nemesis for a superhero themed on deodorant, I think.

- If you did exactly the perfect combination of things in the factory, Jimmy can drive a car down the hour long highway level without facing random fights. If you don't, he needs to walk home along the side of the highway and get fought by wildlife and maybe hobos too; this is where I always gave up.

- At some point after that, he needs to go into a sewer.

My ultimate summary is that the game has a lot of words, but it isn't fun and its humor misses more than it hits. It could stand a lot of improvement, and its creator has improved a lot since making it; his new games are better, even if I still don't find them fun to play.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adventures of Mark
I have fond memories of repeatedly replaying this game. An included readme makes it clear that the sprites are ripped, that it has no music, and that it has some scripts with clunky implementation (the spells Warp and Alchemy trigger when you take a step after casting them).

Yet another game presuming evolution and gods coexisting. I find it less obnoxious and preachy about this than most examples, it's just trying to set up the ancient civilization that rose and fell in the ancient past to leave behind artefacts for our heroes to collect.

The game tells us that before modern man evolved, a race called the Yxorians had advanced technology which made them rivals to the gods (What a story, Mark!) but that they eventually went extinct, leaving behind nothing but gemstones containing their souls. Research on said gemstones began in 1789 and the first breakthrough has happened "now", whenever that is.

Mark is the Fighter from Final Fantasy 1, but with blue armor and blond hair rather than red armor and red hair (or brown hair, in the inferior remakes). Mark begins his adventure at level 7 and knowing a sword technique called Doom Slash. He has shading added to the hair and skin on his in-battle sprites but not his armor or his walkabout.

The first NPC I encounter is a woman wearing the same type of armor, but in gray and with some detailed breast molding shaped on her breastplate. This is a decorative feature that while ahistorical, was possible and would have been in line with the aesthetic choices on some body armor made for men during the Renaissance period (ever seen an armored codpiece?). Normally a breastplate sits soo loose over your torso that no woman's breasts would really be restricted by one that fit her at all, so a corselet with such great tracts of land designed into it would and could only be an intentional aesthetic choice.

The innkeeper is likewise a Final Fantasy 1 Fighter, this time wearing red armor and with pigtails; she is literally Mark's sprite with some slight hair differences (smaller eyebrows and aforesaid pigtails).

All the maptiles in the game look to actually be original, and pretty decent. The leaves on the trees are a little sparsely airbrushed and too close to the same shades of green as the grass, but the wooden exteriors of buildings, stone walking paths, grass, and building interiors look pretty good. There's a little too much gradient going on for the tree trunks, but their roots are shaped nicely. The only way these tiles could be stolen is if they were stolen from another OHR game and while many are similar, none are quite like it visually.

In one tiny house at the south end of town, Mark meets his friend Justin. In OHRRPGCE tradition, Mark's best friend Justin
    Prefers another weapon over swords (in this case, claws to my surprise; I was expecting spears!)
    Has Jump as a special attack
    Gets snarkier with NPCs
    Has higher attack power, hit points, and speed

Justin is the elfish Thief from Final Fantasy 1, but with red clothes and brown hair. Again, shading on his in-battle skin and hair, but not his outfit and not on his walkabout.

A pair of ninja mercenaries stand around in the weapon shop, offering their services. Justin adds his savings of 1,000 gold pieces to the party and Mark walked into town dead broke. Zema (Final Fantasy 1 ninja with blue clothes) charges 3,500 and Jema (FF1 ninja with red clothes and gray skin) charges 2,000. I don't think I've ever used either of them in a playthrough of this game; we'll see if I save up enough to test them out by the time I'm done playing it today.

The shop has six spells for sale, each costing well over 1,000 GP. These are Fire, Ice, and Bolt (standard Final Fantasy attack spell trio), Cure and Life, and Warp. Warp does nothing in battle, but if used out of battle inside of a dungeon it causes the next step you take to teleport you to the entrance; I wish this feature were easier to implement as it's a really common quality of life thing in many JRPGs but the only OHR game I can think of that pulled it off at all smoothly was Puckamon. There is also a consumable scroll to cast this spell for you in the potion shop; the spellbook costs 5,000 and the scroll costs 750.

Despite literally everyone in town BUT Justin being heavily armored, the potion saleswoman immediately recognizes Mark and Justin as adventurers and gives them a sidequest to recover her "secret potion" from some thief in a cave somewhere.

Justin's Jump does about three times as much damage as his claw attack and has a non-100% chance of chaining correctly; I know at least two of my readers don't play a lot of OHRRPGCE games and thus will need a little bit of an explanation for this. An attack using the Jump attacker animation moves the character off the battlefield where he cannot be targeted by enemies; it needs to chain to an attack with the Land animation in order for the character to cease being invincible and invisible. It's as cheesy and broken as it sounds, and his more advanced/powerful jump attacks learned at later levels have even lower chances of landing (I think it's like a 90% chain rate for regular Jump and 50/50 for Drain Jump).

Mark's Doom Slash causes twice as much damage as his default attack with no drawback; it doesn't even cost 1 MP to use. This is like Lew and Keero's cross cut technique in Autumn Dream and the problem I explained there: Characters have a nakedly better attack than their standard holding down spacebar action, thus basically obsoleting their need for such an action.

Each fight is giving about 200 gold even just in the plains, so it won't take long to grind all the armor and spells the heroes will need.

Leveling up restores HP and MP just as I was about to need to head to the inn (Justin still had about 90% of his HP due to spending so much time in the air, all enemies attack Mark instead due to his being available and thus left him at about 15% of his max HP. Justin also has 20% more max HP, not that it matters when he's able to reliably keep himself out of harm's reach).

Entering a mountain range, I see a small black dog; it looks to be a slightly recolored Poochyena from Pokemon? I have a hard time telling. It tries leading me to its master but I know these guys aren't ready for that quest yet and try to see if I can kill the monsters in this area yet, since it should yield better prizes than sticking to the slimes in the fields (which come in three colors/strengths) or the flowers in the forest (which are a lot more dangerous).

I wind up being proven wrong and killed very quickly, but I'm having enough fun to try again. I can't exactly put into words exactly what makes the combat here so much more satisfying than it was in games like Powerstick Man where I always gave up on my first game over; somehow, this, the classic Wandering Hamster, and the lost and overlooked gem of Vengence all know how to keep me engaged in the game even if technically the gameplay wasn't all that deep.

Definitely frustrated that the debugging keys are disabled so I can't cheat, as I hadn't saved. One advantage, though, is I realize I don't need to armor both heroes equally; Justin is innately so much better at doing damage that I just buy defensive gear for Mark. There's an accessory shop that sells rings to boost magic power (not useful without spells, which cost a minimum of 1500 and will probably be plenty potent at their default levels), speed (always super useful in ATB driven games), and evasion (the one I go for, hoping it'll help Mark's survivability more than a breastplate will). It only took five fights to be able to afford it from our starting money, since I skipped the basic armor. I'll probably get Justin a speed ring later.

One annoyance I have with the weapon shop is it only sells the weapons that the characters are already equipped with. Mark, in fact, has his sword set as his Default Weapon so he can't even remove it. These are the only two weapons for sale either of them can wield; there's also a heavy wrench neither can use and has significantly better damage and accuracy.

23 minutes into my second grinding session, Mark is fully armored with every piece of defensive gear he can wear while Justin is using only his claw, a headband that gives a small boost to attack power, and the ring of haste. I have still not bought a single spell.

At level 11, Mark learns an attack called "4x Cut" which contrary to expectations, is not him simply standing in place and attacking four times with normal swings; instead, it's him jumping into the air and four separate animations of his sprite pasted into an attack animation definition swinging a sword from various directions, hitting random enemies with each hit in the chain. This has even less drawback from his basic attack aside from maybe not being able to pick a target.

At 34 minutes, I have enough money to either grind a few more minutes and buy the Warp spell or to buy Cure and one of the elemental attacks; I go with getting Cure and Fire, teaching both to Mark due to his better magic stats.

While the first time I got near the dog, it moved on its own just from my approach when I get to it the second time I need to manually check it; Mark steps back once as it displays a textbox containing only "Woof!" and then the dog walks up some stairs. Second time, the dog is stuck in the staircase and won't move to the fourth event point (I know it USED TO WORK 15 years ago and have no idea what's going on here).

I walk backwards a bit and the dog walks somewhere offscreen, probably still misaligned from whatever the scripting originally intended. The mountain monsters (flowers, griffins, and gargoyles) are a significant difficulty spike from the slimes - doing about five or six times as much damage and hitting in spite of the dodge ring more frequently. Unlike the town and overworld, the mountain's tileset is definitely stolen.

Flowers are weak to fire, so I'm going to presume the gargoyle and griffin are weak to the other two elements, but can't think of any reasons either would be weak to one in particular. I buy the other two spells so I can test them out; the answer is neither, they both take equal damage from all three elemental spells. What's the point of having any of them aside from Fire if Fire is the only one that's actually something's weakness and it isn't even resisted anywhere?

Justin dies in battle once. I buy a copy of the Cure spell for him so he can help with keeping MP up between fights; his MP is completely going to waste otherwise anyway. On my next expedition I find a treasure chest with the Cure spellbook in it. I think our third party member also begins knowing Cure when we get her (that's who the wrench is for) but I'm going to hold onto it just in case.

One hour into the game, attempt three on Mount Ordeal. On top of the mountain, I find a new sword for Mark (+12 relative attack) and a new claw for Justin (+16 attack). This is about a 20% bonus for both of them. Jump, Doom Slash, and 4x Cut are all based on physical attack, boosting those already-free moves even further.

The dog leads me, eventually, to a blonde woman in black armor trapped inside a cage suspended over the cliff by a rope. She immediately starts yelling at Mark and calling him an idiot; stressed out and flustered by this, Mark cuts the rope without grabbing hold of it and starting to pull it up, dropping her about 20 feet. The woman symbol swears and is angry, but she seemed to be that way before falling too so I can't feel bad for her.

Kimmi, as her name turns out to be, immediately starts berating Mark as soon as he opens the cage. "Thanks for nothing you no good, lousy jerk! I outta b..." - was she going to say bitchslap? Beat the tar out of you? Bash the snot out of you? She is interrupted by Mark saying that he hears footsteps approaching, which Kimmi presumes to be the man who captured her in the first place. Kimmi's dog is named Jade, and one of her special attacks in battle is to throw (or sic?) Jade on the enemies, probably based on the boring chick from Final Fantasy 8.

I never read it this way as a kid but I interpret the villain Joryial as saying he had Kimmi caged up due to plans to rape her ("It will be over quick") though I suppose it could instead be that he wanted to torture/interrogate her for some grander plan. He doesn't look as much like a rapist as the unnamed nobleman in a pink shirt from Zero Secrets Past: Racewar of the Mages so maybe I'm just reading too much into it from my many years of exposure to the worst of humanity.

Joryial now announces an intent to kill Kimmi, whereas before when she was in the cage it sounded like his intent involved keeping her alive. Mark and Justin join forces with Kimmi to take him down. Kimmi's in-battle sprites are the Knight from FF1, giving her a smaller head and more adult limb and torso proportions than the other two; it's hard to tell if she's supposed to be older.

I narrowly defeat Joryial. Both sides of the battlefield are always strong offensively, but never defensively. There is a brief scene of Mark floating way up in the air, then the camera snaps back to normal and Joryial vanishes; Kimmi says helping her fight off the man who tried to murder her and possibly had worse intentions for her body makes Mark "even" for "dropping her on her legs" (she landed on her feet). Basically, she's a horrible ingrate but Mark asks her to join right away; her one condition is that she brings her dog along, as though that would have been in question.

I try to backtrack back to town and just as I get to the start of the dungeon, Mark says "I think we should help that woman who's trapped in that cage". I don't have the Warp spell because it's so expensive, Jade always misses her attacks because she has no weapon, and I've completed the last relevant scene. Most of my characters are out of MP and low on HP. I quit the game without trying out its most interesting features.

I remember the Warp spell functioning as described. I probably should have bought a scroll of it to save on backtracking.

There were an Alchemy system and I think a Blacksmithing system, both custom plotscripts that involve combining three oherwise-useless component items to make consumable or equipable items. None of the components shown were common item drops from enemies, which would have made sense as the basis for such a system (some sort of earthen material for the gargoyles, herbs from the flower monsters, vinegar or water or something from the slimes, some of these sold in potion shops). Enemies all had very low item drop rates and from what I can tell, never dropped anything but Potions and Ethers.

Joryial dropped the Fire Orb upon defeat and despite this being a "plot important" item, it gets no fanfare or attention; the focus is on the "humor" of Kimmi being insufferable.

I have to rate this game a 1/5 because it's so badly broken. A lot of work went into some of the right areas this time and it's beatable, but it's quite a grind to get anywhere and the scripting for the actual story segments is a big drag.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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Ronin Catholic
Deadliest of Fairies

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 530
Location: My Girlfriend

PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adventures of Hoshima
I remember this game being basically nothing. I remember its nothingness quite clearly. It purports to have multiple episodes, but the first episode was like 15 minutes long and almost all of it was reading, and whatever Geocities-like personal website its maker had, it's almost certainly defunct now.

Title screen: Some blurry clouds with "REALMSOFT" and "2002 Realm Manga Interactive" written on them while Jolly Roger Bay from Super Mario 64 plays.

Immediately said musical doom assaults my earholes with a 0.4 second loop of a bird tweet noise. The font is one of those stupid, overly thin ones but at least it's got square corners so it can show up properly on top of translucent/transparent/dithered/airbrushed graphics.

I see a man labeled man wearing a gray trench coat babbling about a scroll and a "......." which is presumably a spoilered bit of plot-relevant text for much later in the "story". Why do this? Why start with some cryptic babble? It's not catching my interest.

It pulls the same trick as Neo Krysta: Character portrait drawn onto a screenshot of the game. This time however, the text position changed slightly between the production screenshot and the game release, leading to text awkwardly layered on top of itself. For some reason, no textboxes proper are being used, the text just appears on top of the tiles and sprites.

Kounnosuke appears to be a bright red and yellow ninja with two swords, sharing cryptic babbling with what is apparently a teacher at the generic anime high school. Kounnosuke capitalizes "Katanas" in casual speech when threatening some goon who shows up to threaten his teacher (said goon is called a Seeker Officer).

A fight ensues. Kounnosuke's battle sprite is literally just a static picture of his head and scarf in profile with no body details and no weapons or animations. The "Seeker Officer" turns into five bright cyan circles with slightly darker cyan shadows, which are called "gels". The battle backdrop is a screenshot of the cutscene I was just watching, but with a bunch of blur effects layered over it to make it look like mushy garbage. Three of the five gels dropped healing items, which are then transferred to the inventory of our main character Hoshima.

Hoshima lives in an airbrushed gray house with an airbrushed red roof, every room of his house having an airbrushed cyan carpet and random furniture. Little care was put into the design of the bookshelves, but a lot of time went into making copies of the same bookshelf tile and recoloring it. All music has ceased.

Despite the game being so noisy until now, we are spared a short looping MIDI approximation of a 2002 cellphone beeping, such being relegated to a text caption instead. As soon as the scene of being woken up by the phone or possibly alarm clock ends, Hoshima is allowed to move and his mother yells at him from literally the opposite side of the house that a single letter was addressed to him.

In his mother's room, I find a book shelf explaining the game's basic controls. Basic controls were needed to win the forced battle in the intro cutscene and to walk into this room and to check the bookshelf. The game puts staircases in the typical RPG placements and depicts them rather adequately, then "realistically" forces me to get on or off of them horizontally rather than having any freedom of movement. Stairs down need to be approahced from the West, one space North of where they look like their hitbox ought to be, and then must be disembarked by continuing to walk East after you teleport. They're still visually placed in the middle of rooms rather than up against walls.

Hoshima wears a brown trench coat identical to the gray one the teacher from the intro wore. His mother wears a high-saturation blue version. Hoshima's father is literally his sprite, but with visible breasts and no such long coat. He declares himself to be a slave, probably as sarcasm/hyperbole. His mother tells Hoshima she left the letter she yelled at him about at the door instead of handing it to him.

Said letter is placed on the floor, hidden by an overhead tile. You need to step onto the empty space in front of the door which is visibly a wall to pick it up. If you try to take another step forward, Hoshima will complain that he has not read his letter yet. Trying to activate it from the inventory does nothing, so since RPG maker people hate fathers I figure the logical next step is to talk to his mother.

The letter is a letter of acceptance into Who Even Cares Academy.

You know what? I don't need to replay the rest of this. I know exactly what happens. Hoshima is made to travel to some grassy field and his disembodied, non-animating head must kill more slimes; he, like the ninja in the intro cutscene, has no spells or special abilities, literally just hold down space until you win or maybe use up a healing item once in a blue moon. Hoshima goes to school and talks to other anime high schoolers and then the demo/episode ends, imploring you to save your game and make a transfer over to the next episode.

SUMMARY: It wouldn't be good even if it had a good original score and good graphics (it has neither); it'd just be the same old boring rehash of a generic anime with high schools and ninjas and plot twists. Realmsoft clearly didn't want to make an RPG, they wanted to make an anime or a comic book.

Adventures of Bill the Smiley
This is actually a game from the four map demo version of the OHRRPGCE.

It starts with a smiley face knight named Sir Billiam fighting an ancient evil. The intro cutscene includes screenshots of the game which were then edited to show things like a town being destroyed, smilies frowning in sadness as their houses are set on fire. Sir Billiam has a heater shield with a yellow smiley drawn on it, a sword, a helmet, a mustache, and what I'd hesitate to call a breastplate but don't really have a better word for the small piece of metal clinging to his rounded underside. In game, his armor is rendered in a darker shade of gray and his weapon and shield are nowhere to be seen, making him look more like El Zorro.

The cave's tiles are pretty decently drawn; the large-pixeled mine walls are a full decade too early to be a Minecraft reference. There was only one tile animation allowed per tileset back in 1998, so this game went with having the flames of the torches be static, but the areas of light they cast onto the tile below grow and shrink slightly.

Billiam backtracks through the cave to find a key so he can open the way to the boss. There is a text prompt giving the option to use the key or not. The ancient demon seems to be a badly compressed photo of a gargoyle, but is four large enemy sprites rather than just a static background who wouldn't have a death animation upon defeat. Hold down spacebar until the demon dies, unless you're unlucky; Billiam missed once exactly and had 3,000 out of his over 9,000 HP left at the end of the fight.

1,000 years later we meet up with Bill, Sir Billiam's present day descendant who looks significantly less significant. No facial hair, no clothing or accessories, same basic yellow smiley.

As this was the four map version and we've already seen a cave, the overworld and town are a single map. From the edge of the northern continent, you can see about three rows of tiles for the town; there wasn't enough ocean between them. You step to your right onto an icon of a town and are teleported exactly 3 spaces north on the same map; this would have to be a very surreal experience to see a distant, gigantic city wall and city-sized versions of your own kind running around in it, exact gigantic replicas of your friends and family. On the town/overworld, there are animated flickering torches but the ocean is static, lifeless solid dark blue. Grass, brick walls, and so forth are all drawn decently enough for what it is, not too detailed to look out of place with our simplistic happy face characters.

Things aren't all smiles though; without losing his bright grin, a brown smiley informs me that today is The Day of Sacrifice, an annual ritual of sacrificing a smiley to the monster of the south. A black smiley with red eyes and mouth tells me it happened to his brother last year.

I head to the bar, helpfully labeled with a painting of a mug of lager above the doorway. Despite being broke, I'm allowed to buy a drunk three beers, after which he tells me the location of some buried treasure. There are several uncomfortable-looking smilies dancing around on a stage with big eyelashes, lipstick, and purple dresses as an audience of two men cheers them on; the green, similarly dressed smiley woman declares her intent to move to another town, one which will lack monsters.

One of the dancers says she loves dancing, one says she doesn't mind the job but wants to slap the guy who keeps whistling at her, and the third says she hates dancing but it's her only marketable skill so she does it to pay the bills.

Bill's friend Bob is a red smiley with a purple hat. What's this with the "friend" character always being cooler or having a more interesting design? Couldn't give Bill even one accessory of some sort? Buried treasure was some rusted out body armor; deciding it's better than nothing, Bill puts it on. Bob is convinced neither of them will be picked as the sacrifice to the monster.

A bright light shines on Bill, indicating he is the chosen one. Apparently this is an annual attempt to SLAY the monster, and it's just consistently been a one sided slaughter every time. The village elder gives Bill 100 gold pieces, then teleports him outside of town before he can spend it at the armory, but nothing stops him from walking back in or using the inn (delaying the "day of sacrifice" by one day or several).

Bob, being Bill's friend, helpfully joins him. Interestingly, Bill is simply weaker overall; same HP and defensive stats, no MP, no spell lists, and slightly weaker attacks. He is an extra pair of nonexistent helping hands and a separate HP bar though, so that's plenty useful in itself!

No random encounters appear on the town's side of the overworld until after crossing the bridge to the south, preventing players from accidentally killing themselves before their first pile of money, items, and second party member. Why is this one throwaway game about smiley faces better designed than 90% of games made in this engine over the past 20 years?

The inn costs slightly less money than is earned from my first random encounter. Thus, even if you only barely win your first random battle after spending all your initial funds, you are not stuck. An NPC sleep talks about how Bill will learn to cast a lightning spell at level 1, which will take about 3 more fights.

For some reason the heroes aren't consistently capitalized. "Bill the smiley" and "Bob the Smiley". Bill's starting weapon is a dagger, Bob's is a whip. All three heroes so far have their eyes flash red when they attack for some reason.

Music is a mix of default editor music (Chuffy Dance on the town/overworld, Greensleeves for indoors) and stolen (one of the Final Fantasies' battle themes for random enemies). No graphic assets loot to be stolen.

Unfortunately, Bill's lightning spell is only as strong as his default attack. If a monster isn't specifically weak to lightning, it's a waste of time and MP.

Until at least level 3, it's mostly a matter of fighting one (or maybe two) battles then heading back to the inn to heal. The inn is not in the most convenient place in town, but several orders of magnitude more accessible than the one in Wingedmene. Innconvenient, but not impossibly so.

At level 3, since both characters are as equipped as they can be (the last piece of armor I was going to buy was dropped by a genie right before I headed to the store to buy it) I'm just going to stock up on healing items. Bill and Bob wind up with a total of 13 in their inventory; saving, I try to make an expedition towards the monster on the southern side of the world.

Delayed about two weeks, the monster proclaims he's happy the town has made two sacrifices this year. Bob proclaims an intent to cook and eat the monster upon victory (it's a giant octopus). The octopus monster is surprisingly well drawn - probably a little better than I'd draw an octopus, and definitely not a stolen graphic either. He's also weak to lightning.

Upon defeat, the octopus grabs Bob and runs from the watery bridge into a cave he was sitting in front of. Bill follows him in and the plot is never resolved; there's a second overworld, a demonstration of sailing ships before vehicles were implemented (it's a combination of a hero with a ship for its graphic and swap hero textbox conditionals with some NPC placement for the docks and the boat itself).

Summary: While not well put together, it showed a lot of promise and set good game design practice examples in places.
"I didn't start the flame war;
I don't know what you thought here
'Twas that way when I got here"

"I didn't start the flame war;
I can't understand a word you're saying
nor the game you're playing~"
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