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Old 07-29-2003, 10:00 AM   #211
Icarus4578
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Magnificent!

Dragon Warrior VII - PlayStation - Rating 8
Sometimes you buy a game that just grabs hold of you and won't let go until you've done everything there is to be done. Often these are considered antiquities, relics of the past which surpassed the full measure of time. And indeed such things often are descriptive of a gainly productivity that fulfills more than its duty by giving you back in pleasure what you've invested in time. Such is true with Dragon Warrior VII by Enix (known in Japan as Dragon Quest). What gives DW most of its pleasing qualities is the fluid pace of the quest which almost never lapses into boredom. You're so into whatever you're doing, and you just don't want to put it down.
This quest stars Hero, a young fisherman's son in the fishing village of Fishbel where he has lived since he was born. He has longed for the day when he can become a fisherman like his father, Borkano. Of course, Hero isn't content just sitting around waiting for that day to come. So him and his best friend Kiefer, the young prince of Estard Castle, are always seeking adventure, particularly exploring the places on Estard Island which are deemed forbidden (their favorite place being the Ruins). Maribel, who is also best friends with Hero and Kiefer, always wants to join them on their little adventures but sometimes they do things in secret. This really angers Maribel, so she gets her way by use of threats and other such ignoble means. Anyway, Kiefer is restless with the thought that there are other continents besides Estard, and will stop at no end to discover the world. He discovers that there is a secret to getting inside the Ruins, and he is going to do it no matter what, even at the expense of obedience to his father King Burns who is always trying (in vain) to keep a short leash on his son. Eventually, his ego leads him to believe he's in fact the Legendary Hero spoken of in legend, and that Hero is just his useful sidekick! The character interaction in this game is truly something worth seeing. Maribel's stingy, self-absorbed personality is great to watch while the story progresses, and, rest assured, this is one long quest ~ at least 100 hours! I'll testify to that. This game is super long and addicting throughout. Of course, Hero will meet more people who will join him on his quest.
This is old-school RPGing, which is good. All the characters are 2D on 3D backgrounds, and if you smoothen the polygons on PS2 it looks a lot better than just playing it in standard mode, or PSone. You can rotate the camera in all directions (save for some locations like certain dungeons) and you can do an assortment of Zelda-like things such as push objects, lift and throw things, solve puzzles, etc. but it doesn't ever touch Zelda in this area (or Lufia II on SNES). The game world is divided between the past and present. This is where the Ruins come in--the focal point of the game. You collect different types of Shards (Aqua, Fire, Wind, and Land) and you use these to fill in maps of different continents. Once you complete a map you can then go to the continent which is set in the past, in which you must complete certain tasks before it appears in the present--often in a different state than the past version--and the great thing is you can always go back and forth between time. Battling is fun and there is a tremendous variety of enemies and bosses. The enemies are very cool and are all animated in 2D with great animation on virtually everything they do, and almost every enemy has at least 2/3 completely different things they can do. The character/enemy designs are all by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball Z fame. Like the Dragon Warrior titles on GameBoy, there is a class change system in which you assign each character to a class such as warrior, mage, bard, etc. and as they move up in their respective classes they gain skills and spells otherwise unobtainable. There are three levels to classes: basic, intermediate, and advanced. In order to gain access to certain classes you must first master two or three certain others, for example. Do like I did and get as much of it over with as you can early on. This will not only give you a greater arsenal of skills/spells but inevitably more level as well. Be careful though. After you hit a certain level, fights with weaker enemies will no longer count towards building a class. I should also mention that there are monster classes as well, which are also divided into three ranks. With these, your characters can learn skills and spells otherwise unobtainable, as well as stat-changes unique to each monster.
Each continent has its own locations like towns, castles, dungeons, towers, etc. and each has its own subplot. Some of these are very interesting such as a certain abnormality with time in the town of Litorud, which I won't ruin. It's truly interesting. Of course, there is the larger picture which ties everything together. The last time an RPG plot was as interesting was in Lunar 2, or perhaps Persona 2.
The soundtrack is by famed Dragon Warrior composer Koichi Sugiyama (arguably as popular as Nobuo Uematsu) and is definitely a great RPG soundtrack. He is clearly a great composer/arranger, creating great symphonic pieces with nice subtle touches here and there. Some of the best pieces include Heavenly Village and Days of Sadness, both of which you will hear quite often. The only negative is that there are only 40 or so pieces of music. For a game this long, there should've been about 15-20 more pieces. I bought the soundtrack and it's about as good as his previous soundtrack for Dragon Quest VI for SNES which never came here, unfortunately. The soundtrack comes with another CD with the music performed by an orchestra, and so does the DQVI soundtrack. You can buy these soundtracks and more at http://www.gamemusic.com/
If you're longing for some of RPG pleasure and don't care that there isn't millions of polygons flying around your TV screen then you're in the right place. Dragon Warrior VII offers a long, solid quest that will challenge you and hold your attention-span for its duration of 100+ hours. You certainly won't be bored waiting for all those new releases, and perhaps you'll even find that this game is a superior effort. Way to go Enix!
For your information, there is a fifth type of Shard, the ? Shard, which is often hidden extraordinarily well. If you can find them all, congratulations! Prepare for an arduous challenge that you will not believe!

Oh, ok... Here's every Shard location ~ http://www.woodus.com/den/games/dw7psx/shards.php
Perhaps the best DWVII site ~ http://www.dqshrine.com/dq/dq7/
Having a hard time getting immigrants to join your town? ~ http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/psx/f...immigrants.txt
Here's a huge walkthrough (also contains more stuff on the shards and other stuff) ~ http://www.dqshrine.com/dq/dq7/dragon_quest_vii.txt

Last edited by Icarus4578; 08-03-2004 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 07-29-2003, 10:28 PM   #212
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hell yeah

go icarus!!!:cool guy:
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Old 07-30-2003, 02:37 PM   #213
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Very nice! :cool guy:

Btw, how does DQ7 stack up compared to Grandia1? I find that to be the best psx RPG in my opinion.
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Old 07-30-2003, 03:34 PM   #214
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You know what's funny about that Alucard? DWVII reminded me of Grandia in a strange way, perhaps because of the soundtrack (which is actually better than Grandia's, BTW). Or it could've been the way Enix treated the 3D in how you can move the camera around. I think if you don't mind 100+ hours of old-school RPGing that doesn't really stray from its play mechanics overall, has a lot of extras to it, and you don't mind the almost 16-bit looking sprites superimposed over semi-32-bit looking polygons, then DWVII will fit the bill (semi meaning not up to par with most other 32-bit RPGs with 3D such as Breath of Fire IV). Grandia is an excellent RPG but the problem (for me) is the soundtrack (or lack thereof). The composer for the Lunar series, Noriyuki Iwadare, made a good opening song, great battle songs, and a couple of other pieces which were ok, but for the most part it's atmospheric stuff or it simply isn't that good. The characters are pretty cool but don't quite match DWVII in my opinion, nor does the story. But Lunar series matches it pretty well. For a shorter quest with a fun and unique battle system, and better 3D graphics, Grandia is the pick. Overall, I'd pick DWVII, but Grandia is still a great RPG.

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Old 08-04-2003, 11:12 AM   #215
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Oh! Ho! Ho! It's MAGIC!

The Legend of Zelda ~ Link's Awakening - GameBoy - Rating 10
Yup. You all know it. Here is probably THE single greatest video game ever made specifically for a handheld system. It just doesn't get better. Back when I first went to pick up my copy in 1993 I thought "Hey, this may be pretty fun." After all, Super Mario Bros on GameBoy was good fun but wasn't as good as the original NES Marios. When I actually slipped the teeny-weeny Zelda cart into my trusty GameBoy I NEVER anticipated that I would be the recipient of one of gaming's finest offerings. No way. That just couldn't happen despite the fact that it won Game of the Month in EGM at that time. When I started playing it knew immediately that my GameBoy had just become as important, nay, as relevant as any of the 16-bit home consoles. Well, almost. The library of titles on Genesis and SNES each surpasses the GameBoy despite the gargantuan quantity of titles available for it. That's a given. But from the moment my quest began on Koholint Island till the very end the little GB had become my best friend and companion.
Link's Awakening begins with a small cinema of Link sailing the oceans only to be caught in a squall which decimates his ship wayward towards Hyrule. Shipwrecked and unconscious, Link is washed ashore the beach of a foreign island. He hears Zelda's voice comforting him, "You're going to be all right! What a relief!", but when he awakens Zelda isn't there; in her stead is Marin, a beautiful young girl from Mabe, the village just north of the beach. Link soon finds out about the Wind Fish which supposedly slumbers inside of a giant egg resting on top of the central mountain of Koholint Island. He soon discovers that if he awakens the Wind Fish that all of his problems will be solved. And this is the beginning of his quest...
There is lots to love about Link's Awakening--so much to love--that I cannot accurately convey the deep affection I harbor for this game without the risk of sounding like a dork makes me feel useless and pathetic. The fact that something this small can give me such a large abundance of overwhelming joy is a form of skill and beauty in and of itself. Indelible is the word. This is the third time I've played through this Zelda, and, just like the previous times, was no less amazing. Actually, I should apologize. What should be a review scrutinizing this game's many factors must sound like makeshift praising with a cherry on top.
Let's start with the game structure. If you've played Link to the Past and loved it (as you should) then you'll adore Link's Awakening. If LTTP is the older brother, then LA is his young and gorgeous sister that you want to take out on a date.... or something like that.... Everything looks familiar and plays familiar. The conventional Zelda controls are at the ready. Link can perform practically anything he could do in LTTP, only there's more different things he can do as well such as jump at will (once you obtain Roc's Feather). That's right. Plus, this is the first Zelda to allow Link the opportunity to go fishing. Though obviously not as impressive as in Ocarina of Time, it's still a welcome inclusion. And there are more new items to collect and find uses for, such as the Secret Shells which you'll find a use for later in the game. As for locations, there's Mabe Village which acts as the main resting area for the game, houses scattered about the land where you'll meet different people, hidden caves and obscure areas, eight excellently crafted dungeons, etc. etc. Everything you'd want out of a Zelda game is present. There are absolutely no recognizable faults -- none. Speaking of dungeons, these are among the best ever designed not just in a Zelda game but taking into consideration the entire spectrum of adventure titles as well. How Nintendo comes up with these devious devices of action/puzzle excitement is a mystery. As usual, every dungeon contains a special item/weapon for Link's usage. Included in dungeons are mid-bosses along with the main boss fights (called Nightmares). Every dungeon has its own song, and they're mostly good too! Very impressive! There's even spots in dungeons where Link is put on a 2D plain as in Zelda 2 for NES, but these parts are sparse. As for length, LA lasts as long as any other Zelda. The game length varies depending on how much time you spend exploring. You could easily lose an hour just searching for a specific item and it never becomes an insipid chore, though indeed it can be a chore at times. I should mention that there's a wise owl that appears at random spots to steer you in the right direction as there is in OoT. This game is packed.
Ah, and there is of course the Color Dungeon which can only be found in Zelda ~ Link's Awakening DX which was created specifically for (suprises) GameBoy Color. This dungeon is nothing to get worked up about though. ;)
What a soundtrack! My favorite Zelda soundtrack just might be this one. Some of the best dungeon songs ever to be found are right here. It's so nice to hear such a wonderful soundtrack after suffering through the lackluster Wind Waker. The music gets more attention in LA due to the fact that Link must collect Siren's musical insturments in order to solve the riddle of the Wind Fish. The music is composed by Koji Kondo (of course), Kazumi Totaka, Akito Nakamura, and Minako Hamano. The sound effects all get the job done very well despite such underwhelming sound architecture.
Everything about Link's Awakening rocks and if you own a GameBoy then either you must own this game or you need to take up a new hobby. This is the pinnacle of handheld gaming joy, brought to you by Nintendo. What a suprise. After having played through this again, it only reinforces the fact that Wind Waker was a great game but only an average Zelda game. LA is what I consider a great Zelda game, and a great Zelda game is nothing less than a classic.

Here's a great site with all the dungeon maps and other stuff ~ http://www.tmsword.com/z4/maps.shtml
Here's a useful site which lists a tremendous amount of games/composers ~ http://www.vgmidi.com/html/composers.htm
Here's Zelda Planet website ~ http://www.z64planet.com/zelda4/inde...aracters&sid=0
And here's Zelda Universe website ~ http://www.zeldauniverse.net/z4.php?page=z4characters


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Old 08-04-2003, 06:08 PM   #216
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I got to agree with you on that one. I was hooked on Link's Awakening for a good 2-3 weeks, before Wind Waker was released.
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Old 08-07-2003, 11:18 AM   #217
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Quote:
Originally posted by bad1 81
I got to agree with you on that one. I was hooked on Link's Awakening for a good 2-3 weeks, before Wind Waker was released.
I wonder you tried Capcom's Oracles Zelda, because those bored me to death.
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Old 08-07-2003, 11:19 AM   #218
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Ok. So I've updated the reviews for Xenosaga and Kingdom Hearts (more criticism and lower ratings which I feel you'll appreciate). Also, I've corrected a lot of spelling mistakes (though not all), and lowered Slalom's rating from a 6 to a 5 instead. I'm still working on Ultimate Muscle and will put up the review by Saturday, along with another game.

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Old 08-07-2003, 11:21 AM   #219
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I played them a little, but never got into them. While I like the concepts employed, the games aren't up to the high standard that Link's Awakening set.
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Old 08-07-2003, 06:13 PM   #220
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ikaruga
I wonder you tried Capcom's Oracles Zelda, because those bored me to death.
Nah, I haven't. I didn't hear too many good things about them.

I'll be waiting on that reveiw of Ultimate Muscle. I just bought it, been playing the hell out of it for 4 days.
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Old 08-08-2003, 12:05 AM   #221
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Originally posted by bad1 81
Nah, I haven't. I didn't hear too many good things about them.

I'll be waiting on that reveiw of Ultimate Muscle. I just bought it, been playing the hell out of it for 4 days.
I just sold my GBA, along with it and F-Zero a few weeks back, but I kept my copy of LA . I was going to get the SP, but hadn't gotten around to do so. Great thing is they just opened up a new Best Buy where I live, so I'll stopped by there this weekend.
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Old 08-08-2003, 07:04 PM   #222
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Good decision on your part, to keep your copy of LA. Do you got the original version or the DX? I got the original. I heard there was some sort of picture taking side-quest in the DX version. I was wondering if it made the game any better.
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Old 08-09-2003, 12:16 AM   #223
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I got the original as well. It has a thump print stain on it. lol
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Old 08-09-2003, 01:57 AM   #224
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WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Ultimate Muscle ~ Legends vs New Generation - GC - Rating 3
Anybody remember this? ~ http://www.vgmuseum.com/images/nes/01/muscle.html Yeah, me too. Though that game is rather painful to play now, back at that time it was actually pretty cool. Whenever I'd go to *insert any choice game/toy store (Child's World, Toys R' Us, KiddieTown, etc.)* I'd usually buy one of the big containers filled with MUSCLE toys for like, what, $5? They were each about an inch or so in size and it was awesome to collect as many as possible... and I was always losing them (or having them stolen from me ). Those, Garbage Pale Kids, He-Man, etc. were what kids like me enjoyed collecting. That said, I cannot say I'm familiar with the newer Ultimate Muscle cartoon, but that doesn't matter in the least because this wrestling game is made by Aki, crafters of such games as WCW vs NWO World Tour, WCW vs NWO Revenge, WWF Wrestlemania 2000, and WWF No Mercy, all for N64.
Now for some disappointing news ~ Ultimate Muscle isn't as well done as any of the former titles mentioned. However, it does have some interesting features present. The game is rendered in the cel-shaded look to try and make it look as close to the cartoon as possible and does a respectable job, though I'm personally getting sick of this whole 'cel-shaded' thing. Anyway, this game is packed with much of what made Aki's former wrestling games so great: options galore, the ability to create a wrestler (though a bit limited in scope and depth here), secrets, and of course an enjoyable--to an extent--wrestling system. Speaking of the wrestling, if you've played the N64 titles then you'll notice many similarities and changes. The most noticable control change is the addition of a jump button which allows for jump-attacks and other things such as Kid Muscle's head-scissors takedown (performed by pressing the grapple button in mid-air). Also changed is the grappling itself; you don't get locked into a grapple with your opponent and fight for leverage to perform a move. Instead, you'll execute moves as soon as you've locked up with the opponent, and which move you use depends usually on which direction you're pressing in conjunction with the grappling button. There are counters, chained attacks by rapidly pressing the attack button, a strong attack by holding the attack button, dashing attacks, and more. Notice I said 'more' and not 'much more'. Though there are plenty of moves and maneuvers possible, there's a distinct repetitiveness to how it all works. Characters' moves (of which there are over 20) are all distinct to each wrestler, much like how in a fighting game each fighter performs only their set move list. Problem is (like Aki's other wrestlers), they all play almost exactly alike. You can pull up a moves list by pausing the game at any time. The special meter also returns, but this time it is divided into three sections, like Street Fighter Alphas. There are three types of special moves for you to perform: one bar will allow for a powered-up attack, two a powered-up special move, and at max power, by pressing in both the L and R buttons, you can perform a super special move. These super specials are over-the-top, usually high-flying stuff (and by high-flying I'm talking about moves 50 feet up in the air which will come crashing down to the mat). And if you're in a tag match, there's even super special combinations, some of which can only be performed by certain character combinations. Nice! If you don't want to sit through one of these cinematics you can simply skip past them. Yet another thing added is the items which randomly get thrown into the ring, such as ramen noodles which will restore some health, bombs which will obviously take health, etc. There's a bit more, but you get the general idea. This is fast-paced, arcade-ish gameplay which always keeps you on your toes.
The graphics are nice if a bit lacking in color (most of it is brown, grey, black, etc.) and the animation is usually great except for some framiness during special moves. Huh? GC should be able to easily rectify this situation but Aki probably rushed things a bit. No matter. The move list is small so get used to seeing many of the same moves over and over again... another negative. In Story Mode, the characters converse before each match (voice acting intact) and during these short scenes you are given options of which character you'd like to face next, along with a partner who'll stand in your corner. My complaint is that you only go through about five matches per character before it ends, and that's it. If you're one of the default characters then the last match will be against a hidden wrestler who you can open up after you've defeated him. For a complete listing of hidden characters and how to access them, go here ~ http://www.gamespot.com/gamecube/spo...t_6063812.html Also, as you gain victories, you'll gain KIN medals to be spent in the Toy Shop where you can purchase MUSCLE toys, many of which came out a long time ago (some of which, I'll presume, only came out in Japan). This isn't just for asthetics; each toy comes included with info, and there are certain characters that only open up after you've collected a certain amount of toys.
So overall, Ultimate Muscle is a somewhat fun wrestling game with lots of extras to hold your interest for a good while. Problem is, once you've exhausted its features there really isn't much left to it. The gameplay is enjoyable up to a point, and then it becomes monotonous at best. But I'll bet that ten years from now you won't be as offended to pull this one out of your closet as you would the M.U.S.C.L.E. game for the NES. (BARF )

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Old 08-09-2003, 04:42 PM   #225
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Wow, you described 3 of my favorite childhood activeties! Your reveiw seemed right on. I probably would have given it 6.5 or 7. I really wish the create-a-player was more in-depth. But, hey the M.U.S.C.L.E. Leauge is already freaky enough.;)
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