Monday, November 18, 2002

Playstation - Chrono Cross review

Chrono Cross


Strange, but real sequel of Chrono Trigger. While Chrono Trigger was also one of the best RPGs for Super Nintendo, I don't really know, that's what I been told. Chrono Cross didn't live up to the hipe so it became the 3rd best RPG for Playstation. Final Fantasy 9 stole all the popularity from it. This game was released on budget and on schedule in 2000.

Graphics - 11.0 - Really, Really good graphics. This is the best looking Playstation RPG. While Final Fantasy 9 would come in a close second, the pre-rendered backgrounds are very good if not exceptional.

Control - 9.0 - Control is alright. Some people thought the control was extremely good. I'm just ok on it. Most part of the d-pad is only for selecting menus onscreen to attempt your next attack.

Sound - 9.0 - very good soundtrack.

Fun Factor - 9.3 - Chrono Cross surpasses Density's Tale and Secret of Mana. But it's protental can only go so far. It can't beat classics like Final Fantasy 7 or 9 in my opinion. The game is very long. That's always a good thing. I played half way through Chrono Cross and felt that the game was really frustrating. First you can't heal in the middle of the game then the enemy stuns you and then you die. Pretty sure it's not 100% fair. I don't even know if the game mechanics are 50% fair. I think the battle system is good but the lack of damage takes away from this game. It could have been perfect and one of the finest games ever created. ( posted February 28, 2003)

Monday, November 11, 2002

Playstation - Final FAntasy VIII review

Final Fantasy VIII


Graphics - 9.5 - In short, Final Fantasy 8 is noticably better looking then the presquel, Final Fantasy 7. This allowed Final Fantasy 8 to take "Best RPG of 1999" by Playstation Magazine and Gamespot. This game, in town, looks high definition because of his pre-rendered backgrounds. I like the still camera angle for prospective. Although the traveling aspect outside looks in low resolution, they can't much improve on Playstation. It's about as good as it got for PSX fans. The cut scenes, although not DVD quality, are in high resolution. As you can tell, Final Fantasy III, VIII, and X are the only Final Fantasy games that exsist in a high tech civilization. There are many enemies in this game and they all have different characteristics. Athough I can't explain why I like some of the characters, I can tell you that these characters are orginal,. Squaresoft has people hired to draw new designs 24/7, and these are some of their creations. Some of them dinosaurs, some of them plant creatures, some of them rapid animals, some of them high tech machines made to look like bosses. In total, there are 4 discs. The first disc is the longest of the four. You start out as an average fighter until Qualist asks you to become a SeeD member. This is where you work as missionaries and do jobs for various people. The first mission was a test. You must fight against a giant robot. The game continues when Squall hooks up with the Princess of Timber, Rinoa. She asks Squall and his team to get the President who turns out to be a boss in decise.

Control - 8.0 Excellent control. Move anywhere in the game and your character goes there too. Squaresoft has used their latest version of the dpad when traveling first used in Final Fantasy 7 and improved it in games like FF8, Chrono Cross, Xegogears and Legend of Mana, to name a few. The battle system, doesn't allow you to run away or retreat, which I don't like in Final Fantasy 8. You can't defend yourself in this game unless a party member knows magic sheilding, which is essential in beating this game.

Sound - 8.0 - above average soundtracks. The game repeats battle scene music over and over a lot. I really don't mind it at all. I think I also happened Chrono Cross too. Athough I particular like the music in the academy. The voice overs in the Full Motion Video are very good. Japanese port I heard was much better. Err, Japanese actors sounded much better in their language then we did in ours.

Fun Factor - 8.5 - Good game. I knew it was a good game, that's why. The games not easy.

Closing Comments - Final Fantasy 8 splits off of the Final Fantasy franchise even more then Final Fantasy 3 did. I hear that you either really not liked Final Fantasy 8 or liked it a lot. One reason that many people did not like Final Fantasy 8 was that it had a simpified battle system. Another could be that it was in a high tech world, not what most Squaresoft fans are use too. While it was great for novice RPG games, like me, it is very boring to the stradegist. This game did not disappoint, it was clear that it sold over a million copies in United States, and over 3 million in Japan. It is true that in some ways Squaresoft out did themselves again and have been doing that for over a decade. We don't notice anymore. One plus Squaresoft did was releasing this game for the PC. Although in many ways, you get what you pay for in the Playstation game, the PC version does allow the game to run in high resolution, which I think is kinda cool. I don't think that the PC version has as much precision like the Playstation version. (posed April 04, 2003)

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Playstation - Gran Turismo 2

Gran Turismo 2


Graphics - 10.0 - good graphics. Although dated now, they were good in 1999. The level design is also good. Tracks are pretty long. Sun shines of cars. Good car selection.

Control - 8.0 - Great solid, tight control for driving. But, I believe the game is more for the hardcore gamer. It'll take me a while to drive like the pros. Not much likeDreamcast's F355 Challege. I have to say that that game rocks more then this one.

Sound - 9.0 - above average soundtracks.

Fun Factor - 8.5 - Good game. I knew it was a good game, that's why I bought it used. ( posted February 28, 2003)

Monday, November 04, 2002

CastleVania : Symphony of the Night


Graphics - 10.0 The graphics in this game features the best 2D graphics ever on Playstation in my opinion. Better then Street Fighter III Alpha. These graphics are more detailed then most 16-bit side scrolling games. These graphics are really 32-bit. Special affects range from a varity of magic. Backgrounds are that of an mid-evil castle in the 17th century. You play a vampire slayer.

Control - 8.0 In times like these I think of Golden Axe or Castlevania Bloodlines on the Sega Genesis . The control is percise. But only the game player can time himself correctly because timing is everything. If this game had a difficulty from 1 through 10, I would rate this game a 6. Five is average and 6 is a little more difficult then the average videogame. All enemies have counter attack mechanisms. I hate that. But to the true Castlevania fan, it makes things that much more challeging. With that, dispite my level of ability, I like the control in this game. It's solid.

Sound - 9.0 - excellent music. Sound effects are good. Music sounds gothic, but reminds me of Mozart when playing this game.

Fun Factor - 8.0 - Gee, I don't really know. All I know is that it is the best 2D action side-scroller for Playstation. I'm not crazy about this game. Partly because the graphics are out-dated. I get a kick out of slicing and dicing enemies mercifully. Some of the ememies have a cheesy look to them. This game has a varity of magic to use. But it takes more time to find the spell recipes then I would of liked. I hope I'm not finding recipes all the time. I enjoy going through the game and beating the bosses. Komani did something right when they put out save portals everywhere. That was needed.

Closing Comments - If I had favorite Playstation game, this would be one of them. I have been a big dungeon and dragons, hack 'n slash rpg fan for 5 years now, ever since Diablo. This game almost makes me want to buy Castlevania Chronicles, almost. I have better ways to spend my money, but I say that this game was a good investment at 30 dollars. (article posted April 20, 2003)

Playstation - Legend of Dragoon review

Legend of Dragoon (revised three times)


Legend of Dragoon is anamazingly long RPG spanning four CDs from Sony Interactive on the PSOne.. A dragoon is another word for "Dragon Rider" The game is really close to Final Fantasy except that it has a lock on system that allows you to hit at the precise moment when you need too. Some people just love this game. I see enough fan sites that say that this game is really amazing or is suppose to be. What do I believe. One part of me tells me that those sites are over exaggerating. The other part of me tells me that this is the few other RPGS that really are this epic. This is not the same story as Panzer Dragoon Saga for the Sega Saturn, which was much different much because Panzer Dragoon is a rail shooter. The game has 55 hours of game play from what I heard from the Internet. he English translation in this game is still quite good. The game spans 4 discs so it's describe every milk and cranny conversation between characters. So I won't try too.

Enough with the prelude, actually I have nothing against this title. The graphics are good. Some of the detail in this game comes from talented artists. SCEA took a lot of time to make this title write. They really didn't have any experience prior in making a 4 cd game. But after all it turned out okay.

As the story goes the earth was overthrown by darkness until Creator Sol dropped a seed into the ground. This seed grew into a strong tree called the Divine Tree. The divine tree grew fruits which feed animals of the forest and the world only became partially darkness. Their were 107 fruits that grew on that tree each representing a species. The last and final fruit had the most power and controlled the other fruits (species) until it had complete power over all of them. The Wiggles created dragons they enslaved to keep order of the other fruit. Humans went to war with the wiggles and they fought until they won. After the humans gained control of the dragon spirits, they could control 7 dragons, the largest and strongest species that the earth knows. Humans are both good and evil 10,000 years after the war, and have been using the dragoons as a weapon of mass destruction to weaver war and peace, depending on the time. This game takes play of a world war between two very powerful kingdoms. Basil at the moment is the loosing side.

Dart's town is destroyed by the Divine Dragon which he later controls. The divine dragoon is let loose to destroy villages. He is 50 feet tall. One of this close friends, Shana, taken from the village to be held prisoner with the Sandona Empire. The intro video shows the black knights destroying the village. Dart's town is just the end result in a cold war between the Sandona Empire and the Basil. Sandona isn't' really an empire, it's just somewhat bigger then Basil. Basil is ruled by King Albert, a playable character in the game. Sandona is controlled by Frugal, an evil emperor controller of the black knights.

Dart, so far in disc one, joins forces with Lavitz, a escaped prisoner who is on the side of good. He is a knight of a fallen fellowship of knights. Much like a crusade. He is the only survivor and returns to Basil. Dart and Lavitz team up in the Prison to find Shana. The three heroes return to Basil to meet the King. The King joins forces with the three heroes. But he isn't playable until the end of disc one. King Albert is just is a contributing part of the story at this moment. By the end of the disc Lavitz is killed by the Dragon Buster by Lloyd by attempting to save king Albert.

The game is about collecting items so you have a strong enough armor rating to survive the massive hits enemies through at you. Sometimes bosses like Lloyd are impossible to beat even as a dragoon (a highly armored transformation of characters in battle) so the best way is to defend rather then attack. Other parts are questions that need to be asked to move the story. These questions are accidental before one can see the next scene. While some questions you can be asked and get them wrong. But you can return to that one person ask answer them again. Some once you are wrong on your answers the game ends and you start at the last save point in the game. Dialog is a key element in this game.

I got to the 2nd disc about 14 hours into the game. Lavitz was killed at the end of disc one What's odd about this rpg, and I don't mind it at all is that the game gains extra characters every town you go into. LIke Meru, she's a brat. The youngest in the party, acts like she's 15 or 16. She reflexes on most of Japan's pop culture, I never been to Japan so I won't know. Meru is both immature and comical at the same time! What is a game without a comical character. She very well could have the most personality in the game. She comes from the town. There is a bounty hunter called Mappie, he's an evil character, yet another character working for Lloyd. In the game he should of used the Dart's dragoon spirit when he stole it from him. There was only one big boss fight in The Valley of Zero Gravity. The first Vangine from 10,000 years ago awaken for the fact that he's smelled dragoon spirit. I barely was able to survive such a monster. His left arm kill much of my characters. So I uses Albert, Rose as my other choice instead of Shana. Hansel doesn't have any magic dragoon stuff so I can't get a huge hit without magic. Alert would be the most powerful of the three. I survived by using a lot of heath potion since keeping hit points high is a key factor in beating any boss. I keep having a feeling that there be more powerful ones. In the game there was a little sequence in the beginning of disc 2 in Flatz. It said that the Black Monster (the monster that destroyed Dart's village) could have been the most lethal of all the Vangine. But I'm more afraid of Lloyd since he has the lethal sword. Maybe I can beat him without turning into a dragoon which will be hard since I'm beating a million bucks that our arch enemy, Lloyd is a dragoon himself. Just a thought. The city of Flaninz compares well with the Final Fantasy VIII. The graphics are creative. This game is known most for it's creativeness, not for it's battle system. Since it's battle system is only average compared to other RPGS. Just as Lloyd gained access to the Basil, we know know there is a fake princess in the Kingdom of Fletz. Maybe Lloyd, the main villian, turned himself into a princess? Do you think that could be the case? He failed in taking over Basil, so then he moves onto another 3 kingdoms spanning 3 discs. So that means I have to save 3 more kingdoms? Fourteen hours may not seem a lot per disc, but I spend 4 to 5 hours a day on the game, that that is not every day.

Graphics - 9.5 - Sony's latest 3D engine went into Legend of Dragoon. For as long as I known Playstation, Sony was a publsiher for a lot of it's rpgs. But never before have I seen them attempt to make one ... Mixed with Prerendered and 3D models, the game is a little more then above average when it was released. The game has a lot of dungeons and mid-evil time villages. This game could be bigger then Diablo 2 or Final Fantasy VIII. By the end of the first disc, you get a cd jammed packed with detail as you go through the Garden Shrine in Disk one. That was full of great pre rendered particle effects. They almost looked high resolution on the PSone if it wasn't for the blocky pixel shades on the pillars, ground, trees. The castle by far was the best on disk one of the game. While it really gave the castle a dark feel, with it's green ooze like water flowing and appearing to flow continuously, and golden interior. The Castle wasn't all that big. This game looks a lot better on a projection TV then on a normal 25" The graphics are cleaner and the cinematic look dvd quality.

Control - 7.5 - The menu's a bit hard to navigate and the joystick at times is unresponsive. Or maybe that's because this Dart gets trapped in the prerendered backgrounds. The lock on system is sort of tricky. The easiest of Darts combos is the double slash. That just takes 2 quick hits of the A button on the duel shock controller. The game is straight forward at first. At the beginning of Legend of Dragoon their isn't any overly powerful enemies to fight. You can go back and continue fighting areas you once fought and level up. There is a dotted line on the world map. Follow the dotted line until the heroes get to a new area.

Sound - 7.0 - All the cut scenes are all spoken English. Soundtracks tried to be as good as Final Fantasy and came up short. I don't think the developing team had time to find much breath-taking music for this game. The end of disc one as comical in a way. You save the kingdom on the first disc so the war is technically over with both kings at piece. But then the other 3 discs or 30 hours are finding and defeating Lloyd. Get it you saved the world on disk one practically

Fun Factor - 9.0 - I had a lot of fun playing the scenes. Random battles are frustrating. But if that's the case then don't get into Role Playing. They are about fighting in random battles. But I wish the battle sequences didn't come at random, rather have the enemy present like the castle guards. That would make the game a little better. But traditionally RPGs haven't soon the location of random battles and kept them appearing at certain locations (90% of the time around key locations whether it be a boss or key) or by time (in many locations on the world map and questing places where you spend a lot of time doing anyway) Some people hate it, some people love it. I don't know myself. This is just another RPG of many that I'm played. As for enemy AI, there are both easy and hard battles spread out at random. I mean you have random creatures to fight on maps and questing, some are easy then others. Keep your Hit Points high through out the game and you should have no major issues. I have to experience all four discs to make a final conclusion to whether this game was truly the time it took me to get though the first disc.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Playstation - Final Fantasy VI review

Final Fantasy VI ( Final Fantasy Anthology )


I thought I try out Final Fantasy 6 on the PSone. It's one of the rarest and a very expensive Playstation game. In fact for the price of Final Fantasy Anthology, you can get a brand new Playstation 2 game. I never owned a SNES Game before. I played some Final Fantasy VI through emulation. The way I heard this is Final Fantasy VI (FF III in North America) is timed after the events of FFI mainly because it is the same time as the Esper Mages. The Espers are Magic race that are short and no faces with yellow eyes and witch's hats. Final Fantasy IX was the next game in the series of events in Final Fantasy VI because one of the characters in the game was a Esper. I believe Final Fantasy IX came before Final Fantasy III because the Magik empire still Existed. This game is near the end of the Esper Race when the Magitek Empire have wiped out the lands of Earth (War of Magi) consuming resources at an astonishing rate 1000 years after. Humans wanted to capture Espers and harness their magic to power the Magitek Armor, the apex of human civilization in that time period. But there is one human who carried Esper magic whos name is Terra and she forgotten everything except for magic. There are too songs in this game that I've heard on many gaming sites near the beginning of Final Fantasy VI when Terra, Biggs and Wedge are coming towards the Castle. The songs called "Death on the Snowfield" on the game credits, but I don't know what the other ones called. But "Death on the Snow field" was some of the finest Final Fantasy music ever created. I'm personally much more an action First Person Shooter fan myself. So Unreal Tournament music sounds better. In the game, after your first encounter with the first Esper in the cave, your Esper can join you in your battle, but only once. Then after it's up to you (or me) to figure out what the best way to use Esper Magic. Final Fantasy used a live action level up system, meaning that the enemy can attack any time during the battle. Enemies can transform into a more powerful enemy if you don't attack when you have the chance. The more you use different combos up magic the more often it'll level up and the more powerful the spell and the more powerful combos you can learn, which isn't learned early in the game.

Graphics - 5.5 -The game is definally a 2D game. It was one of the best looking Super Nintendo game available partly because it had some 3D short clips. The game runs in low resolution. The game great looking 2D animation. They look very clean and crisp. Well if you take it that all these sprite characters have "3 still animations at once" I still suppose most of you are addicts of the PS2 game, Final Fantasy X, the first playstation game to go high resolution. I suppose Final Fantasy VII on the PC was a high resolution game too. But this game had a unusual graphics engine to make animation so crystal clear which was also used in the creation of another great game, Chrono Trigger.

Control - 9.0 The control in Final Fantasy VI is able to be used with the D-pad. Usually in these old titles, you do a lot of menu jumping, especially when you quickly decide the type of Esper Magic to use in the random battle sequences. The menu is clean, and not over compensated with pretty icons and colors. All of Squaresoft games in this time used the active battle system. We seen this in Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana and Seiken Densui 3.

Sound - 9.0 - I come across the music as interesting. I'm a guy who likes to download re-creations of game music based on MP3s which people made music off the Final Fantasy series. Back in 1994, all games were midi. Well the Playstation came out later that year and became the biggest hit since Atari, even more so then NES. It's good, it's super dupper freaken mega great people. You can compare it to Chrono Trigger, or you can compair it to Final Fantasy X and it'll be one of the best. Then there is recreations of the popular "Death on the Snowfield" in the cinematic video scenes. There are only four in the entire game. The intro in the cd, the castle scene, the ending and one other scene.

Fun Factor - 8.5 - This game should of made it with a specacular 32 bit upgrade. But it didn't. Any how the Gameboy Advance of Final Fantasy III does looks better then the Playstation game. The game is fun because it has a good story line through out the game. The game is rememberable because it has Espers in it and the has a good random battle bases. It's not too easy but not overly difficult.

Closing Comments - If you don't have to get Final Fantasy VI for the Playstaion to enjoy a more epic RPG released a decade ago. Just search Google for the SNES ROM of Final Fantasy VI. There are enough gaming sites that'll carry the rom in a zip file. If you need a emulator, get SNES9x, it's the best. Needs the minimal requirements and still as the best sound of any emulator. The Final Fantasy VI marked a end of a generation who played games when they were just game and people played these games over 3 or 4 times before they finally got sick of them. Now games are only completed once before the next best thing comes out. It's complete insanity now-a-days. Kids and adults a like throw 100s of dollars in videogames. It'll never stop as long as theirs a new Final Fantasy game in development, there will always be a young egger gamer wanting to buy it. (article posted July 14, 2003 1:20 PM)