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Lightning Flik
12-08-2006, 02:47 PM
This is a legendary game that I had repeatedly avoided at all costs. I finally found it in a store for 10 bucks so I decided to give it a shot. I bet I get shot after this review.

Castlevania - Symphony of the Night

Story

After your relative kills Dracula, the Dark Priest Shaft
http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o206/LightingFlik/Sh.gif
decided it was a good idea to revive him. D'oh!
So, after finishing your job as the narrator for the first Tenchu game, you, Alucard, have to go to Dracula's castle and kill him. Again.

Gameplay

I hate platformers. Hate 'em. Hate Mario. Hate Sonic. Hate Crash Bandicoot. Any game that involves me spending more time trying to reach a certain platform than actually playing just isn't worth my time.

That said, this game is pretty much Mario with vampires. Yes, they did add some RPG elements like equipment and levelling - but the levelling doesn't really do much.

The gameplay/combat itself is pretty repetitive - with a jump button and hit buttons, depending on which hand you equip a sword with.

Sound

Voice acting? Laughable. Not quite House of the Dead or Resident Evil - but close.
Though it does have the narrator from Tenchu as the main character.

Music? Mediocre at best. Wimpy pad synth score, coupled with horrendously cheesy hair rock tracks.

Graphics

One area that does well. Being a 2D side scroller, everything actually holds up quite well from almost 10 years ago. Colour are bright, items are clear and discernible. Still a good looking game.

Overall

I didn't like the SNES Castlevania games when I was younger and so I avoided and never got around to playing any others. Now I know why. I just can't understand the attraction of this series - or the reverance that this title is given.

I started it *four* times and just couldn't be bothered finishing it. The gameplay was shallow and the whole experience just left me feeling meh. Just like Gears of War.

It gets a 'D' from me.

Paper exe
12-08-2006, 02:57 PM
You don't deserve that game!

Mistatee
12-08-2006, 03:02 PM
I can understand not liking the game if its not your thing, but the soundtrack is not mediocre.

And nor does the game play much at all like Mario.
But one fact that you missed in you review, most likely becuase you hate platformers, is that SoTN has the best level design in a game, period.

Lightning Flik
12-08-2006, 03:21 PM
Next review

Resident Evil DS

I was very, very curious when I bought this game about how it was going to pan out. RE - on a handheld?

Story

We all know it - Stars team are investigating the disappearance of their teammates and get attacked and chased into a giant mansion. Hilarity ensues with zombies.

Gameplay

This version of the game includes a "classic" mode and a special mode for the DS, (called Rebirth mode) in which you use the stylus to attack zombies. The problem with the newer mode is that it happens at random, so you have to keep your stylus in your hand the whole game.

You do use the stylus in the classic mode as well, a few times, to punch in numbers and use keyboards. Things that make sense.

The characters are pretty easy to control and the DS controls actually work pretty well for running, shooting etc.

A couple of nice things have been done to speed up gameplay.

1) Having the map on the second screen speeds up gameplay significantly, because you don't have to stop and open it. It's actually quite handy.

2) Being able to skip those bloody door opening scenes speeds up gameplay also.

One minor thing I didn't like is that you still have to wait for text to crawl across the screen. And it's slow. Couldn't they have sped that up along with the doors?

Overall I have two BIG beefs with the game

1) The old time/save limits still apply. After I finished the game for the first time, I was looking forward to trying the "Master of Knifing" minigame, which is supposed to unlock after you finish the game - on any ending. Yet I didn't get it. Because, apparantly, I didn't finish the game in under three hours. Putting the same kind of time restrictions on a handheld version as a console version is pretty unfair. As is penalising someone for saving.

2) NO PAUSE BUTTON!!! If you're going to penalise people for taking a long time with the game, at *least* put a pause button on the freaking game so they can pause the game if they need to.

Graphics

It looks like the PS1 game. Video is still there, which is nice, yet it looks highly compressed. Things look like they're supposed to and everything is discernible. Looks surprisingly decent for a ten year old game on a handheld.

Overall

It was an interesting experience playing this. It's kind of fun having RE on a handheld for car/train/plane rides. And it's nice having a longer title to sink your teeth into, when you actually have the time.

It didn't feel "scary", yet I'd played through this game a number of times and knew what to expect. Maybe the Silent Hill game coming for PSP will be a better gauge if you can do "scary" on a handheld.

The lack of a pause button and the time/save limits really, really hurt the game's playability, because you have to make sure you have enough time to sit down and give this some attention.

The DS functions were implemented fairly well, though they seem a little superficial.

It gets a B from me. The DS functions get a C from me.

Lightning Flik
12-08-2006, 03:32 PM
As for SOTN, I probably didn't get far enough to appreciate the level design.

As for the Mario comparison

Mario - Hammer Bros.

Castlevania - those damn skeletons in the alchemy lab.

I don't need to defend my review. I stand by it.

And the music sucks. *Especially* the rock tracks.

My opinion. My review thread.

Mistatee
12-08-2006, 05:45 PM
Ill honor those terms.

Lightning Flik
12-08-2006, 06:18 PM
Next three reviews are going to be for the single best series in existence (not surprisingly) Suikoden.

Suikoden 1 (Konami)

You are the son of one of the six great generals in The Scarlet Moon Empire. While working for the Emperor and his generals, your friend Ted (who was adoted by your father) exposes the fact that he has a True Rune, one of 27 runes in the world that make the user immortal and gives them great power.

The Court Magician to the Emperor tries to steal the rune away from Ted, but Ted is able to pass on the Rune, known as the Soul Eater, to you. You are then framed as traitors to the Empire and sent on the run.

While on the run, you meet up with a resistance army, opposed to the Empire and its corruption. From there on, you are swept up in events that lead you to elves, dragons, dwarves, kobolds, vampires and 108 companions. All the while facing the inevitability of facing down your father - still loyal to the Empire.

Gameplay

Suikoden has a fairly unique battle system, with six member parties all performing individual actions, as well as being able to team up together to perform special attacks.

As well, there are strategic battles which happen from time to time throughout the game. These are probably not nearly as hardcore enough for fans of games like FF Tactics or Disgaea, but it's a good introduction for people not familiar with those types of games.

Magic is provided by runes which are attached to each character. Some characters are able to use particular runes while others cannot, depending on abilities and weapons, which makes the system a little more unique and individualised.

Equipment is the standard as in most RPGs, replaced by better and better stuff. Weapons, however, are not. You actually have a smith that works for you who upgrades your weapons, through special hammers that are found throughout the game.

One of the most unique features is the 108 Stars of Destiny. There are 108 characters that can be found throughout the game to join your army. Some join automatically, some are easy to find, some are insanely hard and quite a few have special conditions you have to meet to get them to join. (IE Winning a gambling contest, duelling them, having another character in your party that knows them - it varies)

The characterisation in the game is quite solid, most of the characters have well developed, individual personalities, though some of the lesser characters don't fare as well.

Sound

No voice acting. It's from 1996.

Music - Outstanding overall. Really catchy themes that don't grate on you. The battle theme gets repetitive, but that's kind of a given considering how much you have to hear it during these types of rpgs. An extrememly solid soundtrack.

Graphics - By today's standards, even by the standards of its release, Suikoden looked kind of average. Colourful sprites, yet everything looks a bit grainy. Particularly the pics of people when dialogue comes up. Some nice details in the towns but the outdoor environments look a bit bland.

Overall

This game holds up amazingly well from the PS1 era - it was even released on the Saturn. It introduces alot of interesting plot and gameplay elements which have remained with the series through all five games.

The story is particularly strong, and though it has alot of fantasy/RPG cliches, it turns them on their head well enough that they remain interesting. It starts out fairly light hearted but turns serious early on and is surprisingly mature for a game from this era. Especially compared to games released around the same time.

This game is definitely worth your time, and you can probably find it on Ebay for relatively cheap. At least compared to Suikoden II.

It gets an A from me.

Seraph
12-08-2006, 06:30 PM
Your credibility has dropped to almost 0 with me. Giving SoTH a "D" rating then giving RE:DS a "B"......... I'm just at a loss for words.

Lightning Flik
12-08-2006, 06:35 PM
And you are?

Have I bitched in your review thread?

Seraph
12-08-2006, 06:47 PM
I'm Seraph, nice to meet you.

I just said I disagree with you, chill.

B.B. Gambini
12-08-2006, 06:48 PM
And you are?

Have I bitched in your review thread?

:lol: :lol: :lol:

nice castelvania review :thumb-up: , games overrated

Lightning Flik
12-08-2006, 06:50 PM
I'm Seraph, nice to meet you.

I just said I disagree with you, chill.

No - you said "Your credibility has dropped to almost zero".

If you don't like my reviews, don't read them.

Don't bitch in my thread.

By the way, Meryl survived MGS1. The bad ending isn't official. But you don't see me bitching about that in YOUR thread, do you?

Seraph
12-08-2006, 06:54 PM
Hmmmm, dosent like me: Check
Loves Sukioden: Check
Wants to tear me apart about my opinion of MGS1's ending: Check
Seems to know alot about me even though brand new: Check

You are alot like Nephlabobo so far. Keep it up.

And for the record, if you dont agree with my reviews and want to tell me I have no credibility with you, go right ahead and post it in my thread.

Lightning Flik
12-08-2006, 07:43 PM
Next up

Suikoden II aka Perfection in a box

You are a solider in the Highland army with your friend Jowy. While sleeping at night, your platoon comes under attack from an unknown enemy. While you're investigating, it turns out your commander, Luca Blight, is slaughtering your platoon, is making it look like a sneak attack. He wants to negate the peace treaty that was recently signed and bring your country back into war, at any cost.

Thus begins the magic that is Suikoden II. I've barely covered the first half hour of the game. Eventually, as with the last game, you gain your own castle, a true rune, form an army of 108 stars to fight against Luca Blight .... and fight against your homeland and friends.

This story starts off slowly and builds, making it seem credible by the time people start to choose you as a leader. There is a ton of political intrigue, which is one of the things that sets it apart from most other RPGs. Like trying to get other cities/races/factions to join you in your fight against Highland.

One nice thing about this game is that you get to find out what happened to some of the characters from Suikoden 1, which ended in a bit of a cliffhangar for some characters.

There are extremely strong themes in this game - loyalty (to your country and your friends), friendship, racism, family - all explored with maturity surprising for an RPG. It avoids pretty much every RPG cliche you can think of, and there are genuinely surprising turns and revelations during the game.

This story is the RPG equvialent of Silent Hill 2.

Gameplay - Everything from the first game has survived. One on one duels, in whcih you have to determine how your opponent will attack you from what they say beforehand.

I'll get my one big beef out of the way early.

The translation. It's not that it's a particularly poor translation, but there are numerous typos throughout the game. Considering the calibre of RPGs released by the time Suikoden II came out in '98, there's no excuse for this. It was extremely sloppy on Konami's part.

The strategy battles have survived and are a little deeper than in Suikoden 1.

The battle system remains largely the same. It's easy to pick up and learn and there are endless combinations of characters you can pair together to make special attacks. The rune system remains the same and is well implemented.

The 108 stars are also recruitable in this game. The returning characters from Suikoden 1 retain their distinct personalities while the new characters add a freshness and are also distinctive. There are new races, like the Wingers, and some races are better defined, like the Kobolds.

One very cool thing done with Suikoden II is the ability to import your saved game data into the new game. This lets you unlock a certain special event, provided you got all 108 stars in Suikoden 1. It's a cool idea, and it was the first game I can think of to do it. I've noticed a few other games have incorporated the idea since.

One thing I didn't touch on in Suikoden 1 is your headquarters. In both games you acquire a headquarters for your ever growing army. As you recruit more and more characters, your headquarters grows to immense proportions (not Final Fantasy 12 city size but big nonetheless). You can easily spend an hour or two exploring your castle once you've recruited enough characters and gained yourself a bathouse, prison/dungeon/, pier, several on site shops (which is super handy), a smithy (to improve weapons like in the last game), a stable and even a farm to grow food!

There are alot more minigames in this sequel than in Suikoden 1. Of particular note is the cooking minigame, in which you use ingredients grown by your farm to make dishes and compete against different chefs. (Including one who turns up as a character in Suikoden V!) It's fun, addictive and has great music.

Sound

Seeing as I just mentioned music, let's talk about the soundtrack.

In a word? Epic.

Enough music for four cds, the soundtrack runs the gamut of Celtic, Oriental, folk, even tracks with vocals this time - sung in Italian. The music sounds more "organic" and less like it was played on synths in this game and even has a nice guitar based piece. Absolutely worth buying the soundtracks cds for.

No voice acting to speak of. Good or bad, depending on your preference. I don't think it hurts the game at all.

Graphics

Significantly improved from Suikoden I. Magic effects look better. Towns look more detailed. Characters and sprites look much, much better.

Suikoden I

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o206/LightingFlik/suiko-37.jpg

Suikoden II

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o206/LightingFlik/suik2_screen034.jpg

Overall

This is my favourite game. Of all time. The only thing I can find wrong with the game is the typos. I cannot say enough good things about the story. It feels genuine and there's no cheesy love story, yet has enough political intrigue to feel very different from most rpgs.

The graphics are still 2D - yet look colourful and slick.

Damn near perfect soundtrack.

Better than any other RPG released during the PS1 - especially any of the Final Fantasys.

It gets an A+ from me.

Side note - this game is notable nowadays for fetching insane prices on Ebay because of its rarity. Hopefully, Sony will get off their ass and release the Suikoden I/II collection for PSP that's out in Japan. Either that or hopefully you'll be able to download this to PSP in the near future. Absolutely worth it.

Lightning Flik
12-08-2006, 07:46 PM
Hmmmm, dosent like me: Check.

Where did I say I didn't like you? I said I didn't appreciate you coming into my thread and telling me my credibility was zero. You know what? Just stay out of here.

And who?

Seraph
12-08-2006, 07:51 PM
In case you didnt read my full statement, I said "no credibility to me"

And sure I'll stay out of here. Last post in your thread.

Icarus4578
12-08-2006, 09:24 PM
I can understand not liking the game if its not your thing, but the soundtrack is not mediocre.

And nor does the game play much at all like Mario.
But one fact that you missed in you review, most likely becuase you hate platformers, is that SoTN has the best level design in a game, period.

I'll disagree with that.

coldnightmare
12-09-2006, 01:36 PM
This has got to be one of the most random reviewers I seen in a while.

Arnold
12-11-2006, 02:14 AM
Good Suikoden reviews. A rich series, and also a personal favorite. Pity a lot of RPG gamers appear to be not into it as much as the FF series.

SuperAngelo64
12-11-2006, 11:25 AM
:lol: :lol: :lol:

nice castelvania review :thumb-up: , games overrated

Flik, meet Gambini.

He will agree with you so long as you disagree with Seraph.

And who?

http://the-magicbox.com/forums/member.php?userid=3696