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Old 12-08-2006, 02:47 PM   #1
Lightning Flik
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Lightning Flik's Scorching Reviews

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

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.

Last edited by Lightning Flik; 12-08-2006 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 12-08-2006, 02:57 PM   #2
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You don't deserve that game!
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Old 12-08-2006, 03:02 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 12-08-2006, 09:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistatee
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.
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Old 12-08-2006, 03:21 PM   #5
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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.

Last edited by Lightning Flik; 12-08-2006 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 12-08-2006, 03:32 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 12-08-2006, 05:45 PM   #7
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Ill honor those terms.
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Old 12-08-2006, 06:18 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 12-08-2006, 06:30 PM   #9
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Your credibility has dropped to almost 0 with me. Giving SoTH a "D" rating then giving RES a "B"......... I'm just at a loss for words.
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Old 12-09-2006, 01:36 PM   #10
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This has got to be one of the most random reviewers I seen in a while.
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Old 12-11-2006, 02:14 AM   #11
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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.
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