Corpse Party Game vs OVA *May Contain Spoilers*

Typically I do not play horror games, I am typically the one either watching a Lets Play off YouTube or I watch someone in person play it. I am not afraid to admit I get scared playing horror games, I get very jumpy and my sense of hearing heightens making me jump at random noises in my own apartment. One day thinking I really would like to play the horror game myself I decided to pick up Corpse Party and actually try it out. I thought that the gore aspect of it was very cool and hey it can’t be too scary since it seemed more like a walk around and talk game. Boy was I a little bit off! I completely did not think I was going to get chased by crazed people or ghosts and then have them yelling after me. It was lets say a very unique experience for me playing my first horror game.

What really drew me to the game was the fact that it was more of a visual novel with action in it. I have been growing onto the games with a lot of dialogue lately so that did not bother me much. What did bother me though was the ear shattering screams all the time, but again to be expected if you’re in a broken down school with dead things all around you. I also loved the fact of all the gore, I am a huge gore person so to see that in a game was refreshing for me. It really helped with giving the game its atmosphere. The music was great as well in helping with that, there was a few times I did not want to do anything because of the creepy music or I was too busy running and yelling at my character to run that the music did not help the situation at all!

 

The story was really well done in my opinion and the fact that there are multiple endings was a nice aspect to have as well! You could either have everyone die, some people die, or the important
people live. The reason I say important people is because not everyone is making it out of that death school. Another thing I liked about the game was you got to play multiple characters in the chapters to see what they find out about the school and how their experience in the horror-fest is playing out. I have to say the scariest part of the game for me was when I was Yuka and I was running away from this guy who wanted to kill me and all you hear when you’re running is the man calling after you and it made me cringe and whimper a littl
e when I was running away. It was very scary, I would take a ghost over that any day. Although the man coming a live in the science room was not as fabulous either, that scared me a little bit too.

It’s a great game to play if you have not done so already. You actually can feel the horror the characters are experiencing and you get drawn into the mystery surrounding the school. You start wondering who did all this, why did they do this, and then you realize it was not who they are saying it was the whole time. I was literally shocked when I found out who was actually doing the murders and then I thought well this story just got more interesting!

 

After playing the first game there was a second game that came out onto the PSP which I was not as scared in truth be told. It was more of a first person walk around dungeon game, but it was interesting to learn more about the school and the people who died. Not going too much detail into it since it has been awhile since I last played it, but it was fun in its own ways but I do not think it was as scary as the first game was. I was not too thrilled with how they changed the way it was played, I feel it took away from it. Yeah you had an occasional run scene but it was not as scary as someone actually chasing your little sprite around. There was a few quick time events where you needed to make a choice within a time limit and then a certain result would happen. I think that was maybe the only part you were thinking WHAT DO I PICK?! since you have only a few seconds to respond to it. The other thing that was different was when you ran into someone or talking to someone they stood in front of you and you see a head and torso image of them. Which I though was a nice touch since of the bigger head off to the side of the text box (I’m referring to what Harvest Moon Back to Nature text boxes are like). Both games though give the nice screenshots of the important scenes happening ie: new character, death, someone randomly tied up, someone about to die, etc.

 

After playing both of these games I found out there is a Manga and an Anime for them! I was super excited because I thought awesome now I can watch it unfold in front of me and then leisurely read about it. I have not yet started the Manga for it but I did happen to catch the anime or OVA for it. It was a 4 episode long OVA which was about what I was expecting it to be, they were each about 30 minute episodes and I will say it was pretty awesome watching it animated. It starts off just like the first Corpse Party game did, everyone does the charm chant and they get teleported to the school of horror. That is when I started to think I really hope they don’t make it too much like that game because that what seemed like was happening. Surprisingly it did contain a few different things from the game, one being a lot more gore splatter! So I was thrilled to see that if you could not tell; there was also a few parts of the story that seemed to not match up with how
the game went, so I like that it kept to the route it did. I was also happy to see it did not give the good ending of the game and pretty much just more death than you would normally see in the game. If you get a wrong ending in a chapter the game will stop and say Wrong Ending and you need to restart to continue. Well the anime was more of we don’t care who has died the story will continue! Which made it awesome to see practically every wrong ending happen out all the way to the end. The OVA only contained scenes from the first Corpse Party game, there has been nothing about an anime release for the second game.

Both the anime and the game was really fun to watch and play. I highly recommend watching the OVA after you play the game because it will spoil a few things for you. Any horror game/anime enthusiast should pick up the game and take a gander at the OVA when there is a chance. It’s fun to play and great to watch!

Game Review: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

The Super Nintendo was and is still one of my favorite systems I own. It has a wide variety of great games that people just cannot get over because they were just that amazing. One of these games for me is Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. If you have never played this game and you love the SNES and RPGs and/or Mario even then, yes, you must play this game. I was so shocked when I found out my fiancé never played this game and he loves the SNES and loves RPGs.

What makes this game so unique for me is that it is the first Mario game that I truly fell in love with. The story is simple and similar to most other Mario games: Rescue the Princess…but then eventually turns into a bigger mission of saving the Dreams of people and fixing the Star Road. It was also the first 3D SNES game that looked good!

For me a role playing game is nothing without a good cast of characters and this game certainly delivered. You not only get to have Mario, Bowser, and Peach but you also get accompanied by a fluffy marshmallow looking guy names Mallow and the possessed doll Geno. As you progress through the game and gather them, you get to experience each of their stories and how this tragedy is affecting them all.

                      

The enemy side as well had some pretty funny characters that you run into. The first for me would be Booster; he was an odd ball but his personality was great. I really like the Valentina and Dodo duo, followed by the Axem Rangers (yes they are the evil power rangers).

                                 

Another great component to the game is the music for it. I could listen to this games soundtrack over and over if I wanted to; it had such great variety and each song fit perfectly for each level or situation. There is not one soundtrack I liked better than another, it was just equally great. Along the lines of the music I will say the graphics for the game during the SNES era are amazing. I loved the 3D effect; it really brought the game to life. It made a lot of things come through better than a 2D game would such as scenes when Mario was explaining situations and was changing into multiple characters to explain. It also made the world map different from other games, dungeons/towns have a different feel as well.

Some of the aspects of the game that I really loved were the battles, level up system, the world map, and side quests. There of course are a multitude of things about the game I loved but these were some of the more unique/fun aspects of the game (besides other things). Battles were more interactive where you could push the button with the right timing to add extra defense or extra attack power. It was more than just pushing a button and selecting attack, defense, item, or spell.  Also sometimes you could get the item you used back to with the right timing. I sometimes feel like that just may have been me thinking that when I got the freebie.  The one thing I sometimes did not like was that you share the flower points (points to use for spells). It was not too bad considering my party mainly had Peach using the points and sometimes Mario would too but Bowser would only attack so my points didn’t go down too fast. But I feel if you use magic heavily then I can see it being problematic.  Another aspect of it I liked was the fact different buttons were used for each different and it was not a boring menu. The only down fall was if you’re pushing the buttons too fast you may accidentally hit a button you don’t want and have to click the right one again.

When a character got to leveling up I liked the selection system where you picked what to upgrade for your characters. The game though helped a little bit to show what you should pick to better make use of the character.  For example Bowser for his special attack and defense would get +1, which HP he could get +3, and normal attack and defense he could get +1. The another level it could be different his normal attack and defense could be +2 while the others are +1.

The world map was one of the greatest parts of the game I feel. I really liked how each story line was secluded to a world map and you traveled through them completing a little story and getting a star piece. Right in the beginning after you get Mallow and Geno in your group and you travel through to Moleville (one of the best towns) you get your first star piece but then after that I really liked the build up to when you head to Boosters’ area and get to go through a little fun side diversion before the next big star battle. Each map either had one or two towns on it and a few dungeons on it. I feel each map had some sort of side quest tide to it as well such as Yoshi’s Island race, getting a special weapon, a casino, help compose music, etc.

 

Some of the fun parts of the game would be everything! Yet I’ll list a few that were some of my personal favorites. In Moleville there is a cart ride at the end of the dungeon. The music was peppy and fun and getting to ride around in a mine cart to beat your time over and over was pretty fun. Another fun place was Booster’s Tower! I really loved how you could fight the Snifits that were Boosters pals and that there were a few secrets to this place. One secret was an easter egg for the 8-Bit Mario when you went behind a curtain. There’s a couple other easter eggs that are found such as Link and the boss Clux from Final Fantasy. I loved the mini game of hiding behind the curtain to not let Booster find you. It had a lot twists with it, I especially liked how when you progress a certain amount up the tower Booster would come himself and do a little skit. After Booster’s Tower you get to go to a town called Marrymore, which is by far my favorite town. There is a hotel you can stay at there and there’s a suite room which is a bit pricey on the coins. What is great about it is you can keep sleeping there over and over again! Just make sure you don’t go down to the desk area or it will ruin it. But if you stayed multiple nights and you do go down to the desk, they will yell at you and you get to work as a bell boy for the extra amount of nights you stayed there. It’s actually pretty fun, sometimes the customers will give you tips, other times they won’t.

           

                            

Nimbus Land was my other favorite map because I really loved the Valentina and Dodo duo. You also get to see Birdo in the Nimbus Castle! It also has a fun little mini game of not letting Dodo hit you when you are in statue form, it had catchy music and it was fun to see Dodo get flustered and try to tell Valentina about it but she didn’t really care. I also liked the scene here with King Nimbus and asking for your entire parties autographs too, it was worth a few giggles. After Nimbus Land you go into a Volcano which has my all-time favorite boss: The Axem Ranger. As I said before they are the evil power rangers and they are great. Each one has a unique personality and says fun stuff when you are chasing after them and while fighting them.  Finally there is Bowser’s Castle; I truly enjoyed the part of the castle with the 8 doors. There was two of every type of type of door and each had a prize at the end. They were either the last weapons for some of the characters or random items to use as weapons such as rock candies.

To wrap it up Super Mario RPG is a really fun game with a lot of replay value. After you complete it once, yes the game does seem a lot shorter, but it’s still always a good run through of a classic.

What has been going on?

Hello fellow readers!

I have been on a bit of a hiatus mainly because of life in general. Work has seamlessly taken over all of my free time and by the time I am done with work all I feel like doing is sitting down and watching a good anime, play a good game, or read a good book/manga. The last thing I feel like doing is writing, which is why I have not published anything in a few months. I am hoping due to me looking for a new job and getting back to a somewhat normal life where I am not living my life to work that I will start posting more regularly. I have a huge list of drafts waiting to get completed/started for games that I have completed and animes I have been watching, along with some of the new manga/books I have been reading. So hopefully they will be making their way done the pipeline soon. But I am still here, it has been on my mind to blog more and hopefully that will start happening as things get progressively better.

Phoenix Wright:Duel Destinies

The Phoenix Wright series is one of my favorite of all time. It really drew me in with the cast of characters, the story for each game, and game play. The series has had three games on the DS based around Phoenix Wright being a defence attorney and defending an interesting cast of characters. He was always accompanied by Maya Fey and her cousin Pearl Fey to help in his investigations. Dick Gumshoe was the key detective in the first three games, each one held a different prosecutor. Following the Phoenix Wright trials they created a game following Miles Edgeworth and Dick Gumshoe. Followed by this was Apollo Justice and this finally leads to Phoenix Wright Duel Destinies!

Duel Destinies involves characters from both Apollo Justice and the Phoenix Wright games. It introduces a new band of characters as well including a new detective: Detective Bobby Fulbright, a new side kick for Phoenix and Apollo named Athena, and new prosecution: Simon Blackquill. I like how this game brings in the old and blends it really well with the new, that is a feature of the game that has always been done very well.

The game takes place roughly a year after the events of Apollo Justice, the legal system has entered a dark era, filled with false charges and fabricated evidence. The Wright Anything Agency has been busy with Phoenix Wright getting back in the swing of being a Defense Attorney, he takes aboard Athena Cykes, who specializes in analytical psychology, and of course they are joined by Apollo. When going through the story you are basically trying to find the truth in all the cases and stop this dark era of the law from taking over the court system.

The flow of the game pretty much follows the flow of the previous games. You’ll see an intro to the case  and then you will go into Phoenix and company enjoying a peaceful time out then suddenly getting thrown into the case.

You get to do investigation and then afterwards head to court and present your case to defend your client. I really liked how they kept Phoenix Wright’s ability with the Psych Locks and Apollo’s Bracelet ability. A new ability in the game is Athena’s emotion lock system. You analyze the account of the witness at certain times when something deeper is hidden. You have to pick out which emotion either does not belong, seems to be the more dominate one, or an emotion that should be there that is not there presently.

I enjoyed the cast of characters in the game, though I was a bit sad to not see Detective Gumshoe. I felt that he really made the series have it’s funny moments. Fulbright was okay but not able to replace Gumshoe and live up to his funny moments. Blackquill was an okay character, I found him to be annoying at times. It was pretty fun though when you knew you had him outwitted with something and he just looked so angry. Loved those moments! You got to see a lot of old faces as well such as Edgeworth and Gavin. I enjoyed how they brought the old faces in to keep showing you how everyone’s relationship has been growing over the missed time.

The DLC that came with the game I feel was a great addition to the story. It covers the time of Phoenix after he got his badge back with his first big case. His client for this case was defending an Orca Whale. I will say that whale was adorable. I loved the whole pirate theme as well, probably one of the best cases the series has had.

If you are a fan of this series I highly recommend playing this. It was a great installment and has kept true to the Phoenix Wright gameplay.

10/10

RPG Maker Game Reviews

Some brief reviews about some interesting and not so interesting RPG Maker games.

Eternal Eden:

I ran across this game while searching around on the web for a decent RPG Maker game that was not as quick as some of the ones I have played, but still quick enough to getthrough at a decent pace. The story takes off the theme of Adam and Eve of not eating the fruit. These three children live in paradise, everything is given to them. They live a life with no worries and stay forever young. The one rule that they must follow is…don’t eat the forbidden fruit. Sadly like Adam and Eve, these kids gave in and got thrown into a parallel world filled with darkness and poverty. Your mission is to put the world back to the way things were.

The music and graphics were very RPG Maker style, I believe everything was used from the RPG

Maker system and nothing personally created besides the story and programming. Not to say that it’s bad or anything, but when you play a  lot of RPG Maker games you tend to notice the same music used over and over. Gets a little tiring after a while, but you get use to it since trying to make your own graphics and music requires a lot of time.

I felt the story was very well-played out, it did keep me interested in it. I liked the ability to travel back and forth between the dark world and the new Eden world. The only thing I found to be a tad disappointing was the battles. I felt they were way to easy, and wish they had more of a challenge to them. The only challenging battles were the ones when doing the side quest of going around finding the different monsters for the monster hunter. Hopefully they up the monsters in the second game, but we’ll see when that comes out. Other than that it is an enjoyable game that Blossomsoft has put together.

7/10

Secroma:

This was a very quick game, not one of my favorites since I felt it could have gone on or had more to it.  From what I gathered of the game from playing is you are a ninja…or a person in training. You go through a training simulation and have to hide and outwit the mafia looking guys when going through. It was a little tricky in a few places but it didn’t take long to figure out the trick behind it. It was very short but could have turned into an interesting game if the creator wanted it to. The music I did like and the graphics were well RPG Maker Graphics.

6/10

The Mirror Lied:

This game I am not entirely sure the point of it but it was interesting non the less. It’s an abstract sort of game where you play as a faceless girl in a world of a quiet mansion. The synopsis the site provides is as follows…

A birdie flew across the roof yesterday.
He said he’ll fly over again today.

But he landed on water.

Hi birdie.

Are you here yet?

Tick, tock,

Tick, tock.

Bam.

Gotcha.

I will say the music was amazing for this game. It’s done from the creators who did To The Moon. So if you’re looking for something to just fiddle around with you can try this out.

7/10

When the Bell Tolls:

This is a game done during the Halloween Event on rpgmaker.net; and it was an okay game. I did enjoy it minus a few bugs here and there, but for the time they had to make it and get it out for the event, I feel the creator did pretty well. Story is about a woman traveling home and suddenly her carriage stops. She finds herself lost in a cursed forest haunted by ghosts. As she looks around the place she runs into a man and together they go to destroy the curse of the forest by going to ring the Bell.

The game does have a few puzzles in it which I think were okay. There were a few puzzles that were either too simple or you were just lost on what you had to actually accomplish. Music again nothing special since it’s a quick game creation, and story was not amazing but enjoyable where I was not bored to tears.  It took me about 20 minutes to run through it. The creator has fixed a few things since when I downloaded it to try. So it might not be so buggy anymore as it was for me.

7/10

The Final Sin:

This was a really short game…I think one of the shortest games ever. I feel that the creator can do more with it but again it was an entry for the Halloween Event on rpgmaker.net so they only had so much time to work on it. Story is about a burnt out detective who has gone down the potty like most burnt out detectives seem to do in stories. He has a dream of a gorgeous purple land of peace and serenity but some evil presence keeps messing it up. He receives a call after an earthquake hits to go and visit a strange person.

I liked the concept of the story and I loved how they used the newer RPG Maker textiles. Music was pretty decent too since it was also a newer version from RPG Maker as well.  The game takes about 10 minutes to play and then it’s over. I wish the creator was able to have more time to work on it for the event. Hopefully they remake it or just decide to add to the existing game to make it into more. I would really love to see what else can happen in it.

8/10

Blank Slate:

I did not get very far into this game but from what I did play it was an interesting concept for a story. You basically wake up and you need to travel through a land called the White Zone. You complete various puzzles, need to run away from monster like things, and I have no idea why you must do this. You don’t really know what you’re looking for till the end I suppose. Some of the puzzles were frustrating and took awhile to get past. Not that I don’t mind hard puzzles but some were just annoyingly hard.

There are a couple of bugs still in the game but that it to be expected when the creator worked on this for a contest and completed it in 36 hours and it was only him working on it. Only so much one person can do. That is the reason why I stopped playing though. I was in the middle of a puzzle and then all of a sudden I jumped into a white space and I could not jump back out. I didn’t feel like restarting from the save point again so I just turned it off. It is a cool concept for a game, but it just was not my cup of tea.

5/10

Rust and Blood: 

Another RPG Maker game (obviously) done for the Halloween Event on rpgmaker.net and this one was really fun to play. You are a person who was searching for the tree of Eden but ended up in some other world when you went to look for it. You are a shadow figure in this world and you need to survive and keep on searching for the tree. I found it neat that you had to find food to sustain yourself in order to run faster and keep on moving in order to get away from the monsters. You also needed to be back into your shack by a certain time before the really scary monsters came out.

It was not very hard were to figure out where to go next but there were times I was a bit lost in where I needed to proceed to. I did not complete this game yet, still working my way through it. Love what I have played so far though. Just remember poor management of time and food will hurt you in this game, so you need to think about how to get through things before proceeding too far. Make sure you are stocked up inventory wise if you want to venture far. Otherwise you will die really fast.

9/10

Dark Mirror: 

Another horror based game for the Halloween Event, was based on Bloody Mary. It was pretty predictable as to what was going to be happening in the game. Yet the game was still a decent play through. It was about a group of girls who were having a slumber party and they decide to play Bloody Mary. Well Mary appears and just starts killing, your job is to run around and find your friends before they die and survive.

The really liked how the game was a narrative based game but it still had the aspects of running around hiding and run away from the enemies. A downfall from this game was that the running was very slow, even the enemies ran slow.

6/10

Dark Orphanage:

Well…I have no idea what to say about this game, other than it’s terrible. The grammar/narration for the game was terrible and made no sense. I actually don’t think this game was finished at all because after I got to a part of the game I couldn’t do anything but move around. So just avoid this one.

1/10

Ellipsus: 

This game was interesting in concept, but sadly the developer did not take it to where it could have gone. Again this was another entry in the Halloween Contest, so they didn’t have much time. There is a timer at the corner and you need to beat the timer to get
out of the house. You are allowed to run through the people so that’s not a bug in the game. Although I did get stuck and could not proceed when I got to a certain spot as my character was glued.

I don’t quite understand what the game was ment to be about, but the developer stated that it is a moody psychological thriller. It focuses on  game techniques rather than cinematic ones. So what I gather is you are playing out a scene throughout the game.  It’s about a 5 minute game so you can play it if you want. I found it to fall quite short.

3/10

Ghost House: 

An average game that is an okay play through. This game is about two girls who go to an old house that is haunted. They figure hey lets figure out what is wrong and how we can fix this. It did have a unique concept to it by being able to see the flash backs to how the character ghosts they were saving were like in their previous life and why they are cursed.  I also give kudos to the creator  for doing his own artwork for the character portraits in the game.

The story was not fabulous but it was an okay story. There are a few bugs but I felt this was well done for the Halloween event contest.  It was a short play through but I felt keeping it short better than long was a good choice for this game. I felt if they dragged it out then it would be something I would have eventually lost interest in.

5/10

Girls Graveyard:

I did not play much of this game because I kept getting caught by the ghosts. You are a girl you runs around and collects candy, but you need to watch out since the undead are chasing after you while you go after candy. It felt like a Pac-Man game there you are collecting and avoiding be caught. The only thing I wish the creator did was enable faster moving in the game. I felt like it was very easy for the monsters to catch me at times.

5/10

Halloween Bash: 

A game about a little girl who gets into an accident and comes back as a ghost in a Halloween land. She meets up with a Vampire and some magic guy. A Vampire chick invites you to her house for a party and turns out it was taken over by monsters. Your party of three must then fight every monster in every room in order to move onto the next area of rooms.

It was very easy to grasp the concept of how to play the game and I found it to be quite enjoyable. I really liked the whole old school 8-bit theme going on. I appreciate when someone who makes an RPG Maker game used different graphics than what RPG Maker offers the user to use. I say give this game a whirl if you’re looking for something quirky and fun.

7/10

Town of Illustive:

The game creator put into the description that there will be more episodes created for this game, so I am only able to go over the first episode as the others are none existent at the moment. It is about a group of kids going to explore a town and each group splits up. Your group goes into the mansion and you must find the secret of the mysterious ghost haunting it.

I found the story to be very predictable as you play you figure pretty much everything out. Your party members can die off and I don’t think you can save them at all. This is something I was different where your actions affect who lives and who dies. There were a few sentence issues with how they were typed out but it was not something that got annoying as it wasn’t often you saw it. I am hoping the second episode comes out soon as I would like to see where the rest of the story will be going.

7/10

The Victim:

Another Halloween event game, this one was about a girl who you can decide her stats in the beginning of the game. The stats do help her out in different parts throughout the story and make her react differently at certain points. I was in a way a bit confused with the whole point of the story. All I really gathered from it was you come home, clean up, go to sleep, something happens, you’re in a different world (seems like the underworld).

It was an okay play through, not very memorable though. I was expecting a bit more out of it but I did enjoy getting to change how that character can act and be good at different situations.

5/10

Teenage Costume Squad:

I loved this game, it was I believe the most RPG style out of all the Halloween event games I played. The game is about a group of teenagers who are going to collect their Halloween costumes but end up in a different world. They have to go through dungeons and other stages to collect their costume pieces instead.

The last boss I will say was a pain in the butt and I was unable to defeat him. I kept dying and I felt after the 20th death I was kinda done. I really did like having to collect all the costume parts and having to defeat enemies to get to certain chests. I found the concept awesome and I couldn’t really find anything to change. Well except maybe how much of a pain the last boss is.

9/10

The God of Crawling Eyes:

A very well made game that I have played in a long time from RPG Maker. Which I have not played many so I don’t have much to compare it on. The story was very well done and I really enjoyed that there were four endings to the game. The game was about a boy who could not see color. Which the game is all black and white, so I appreciatethey made it literally through the eyes of the protagonist. The only color in the game you will see if red for the blood.

One thing I thought was a nice incentive to get all the endings was the different items/abilities you get after playing through each time. I also really enjoyed that

10/10

Subject:

I really liked this game, it was a visual novel based game that had an interesting story. You are a subject in a testing facility and you must go through different rooms and decide what you want to do. In each room you decided on what you wanted to do based off of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. It was very suspenseful where I wanted to know what was going to happen.

There are eight endings for the game and I thought each one was interesting. There was some that you either went crazy, you died, or broke free. I really liked the graphics too for the game too, it had your generic graphics that you see in many visual novel based RPG Maker games, but there was the artists own work in a few spots which I thought was a nice touch. I really recommend this if you are looking for something suspenseful to play.

8/10

Lost in the Woods:

A very quickly developed game that due to the fact it was rushed made it an eh game. The story was…okay but it was very typical monsters attack a village people need to run away sort of story. Giant spiders are in the woods while you’re camping and your camping party is all “Get to the car!!!” So it was okay but not fabulous, not something a highly recommend.

3/10

Game Series: Suikoden

Alrighty! It has been awhile, sorry for the long leave of absence again. I recently moved and with the holidays and work things just went kind of crazy and I had no time for much of anything. On another note if my reviews look different each time, I am still trying to find my style of writing them as I have not quite found a way I like to write them.

Last week however I decided to pick up a classic game, Suikoden. I beat it in a record time of 17 hours and some minutes this time around instead of the 20+ hours before. Almost made it to the same level, I was just about 500 exp short of being 60 again. Anyways some brief history on the game before we dive into my thoughts and what the game is about.

History: This series was created by Yoshitaka Murayama, he was looking to create a game that was going to be able to rival with Final Fantasy. I feel he did very well, though the first game was originally going to be the Suikoden 2 story,  he felt he didn’t have enough experience as a writer yet and so he made Suikoden 1. The game series is loosely based off the classic Chinese novel Shui Hu Zhuan, which in Japanese phonetically is read as Suikoden (hence the name). Each game in the series centers around themes of politics, corruption, revolution, mystic crystals known as True Runes, and the 108 Stars of Destiny. The series mainly all flows in the same world with continuing overlapping histories. In some of the games you even see characters from others.  There are only two games that do not flow in the same world as the others: Tierkreis and Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki.

If you want to chronologically play the games correctly you would start with Suikoden IV which is 143 years before Suikoden V and 150 years before Suikoden. Next would be Suikoden V and this takes place 6 years before Suikoden. Next we have Suikoden which is 3 years before Suikoden 2. Then obviously next is Suikoden 2 taking place 15 years before Suikoden 3, which is also the final game then. There is also a side line for Suikoden IV as Suikoden Tactics takes place during that game. Suikogaiden Vols 1&2 take place during Suikoden 2, sadly these were never released into the US.

Geography: Some useful information to sort of  understand where all the games are taking place since they are within the same world, it’s best to understand because it helps you grasp what happened over the political history of the games and there honestly is a lot of political changes that happen throughout the games so I’ll just go over it quickly. Suikoden, Suikoden 2, and Suikoden 3 take place on the Northern Continent which is composed of several regions.

Suikoden takes place in the Scarlet Moon Empire (southeastern coast and includes mostly the Toran region) The Scarlet Moon Empire later gets replaced with the Toran Republic.

Suikoden 2 is set in the Dunan region north of the Toran Republic and includes the Highland Kingdom in the east and the Jowston City-States in the west.  Later are the Dunan Unification War, the City-States and the Highland becomes the Dunan Republic and in the Tinto region to the west decided to remain independent from the Republic.

Suikoden 3 takes place north of Tinto are the Grasslands with go from the center of the Northern Continent to a small portion of the west coast. There are 6 class in the grasslands: the Lizard, Duck, Karaya, Chisha, Safir, and the Alma Kinan. West of the grasslands is the Zexen Confederacy. North of these lands is the Knightdom of Camaro and the Nameless Lands.

Other major areas in the Northern continent are Kooluk and Kanakan. Kooluk was originally the Kooluk empire in Suikoden IV and is dissolved in Suikoden Tactics to become independent settlements instead. So this would be taking up the southern edge of the continent. Kanakan is off the eastern coast of Toran. To the south of the Northern Continent is the ocean and several islands. These are known as the Island Nations which is during Suikoden IV

South of the Island Nations is the Southern Continent which is a landmass composed of three countries: the Queendom of Falena, and its neighbours, the theocracy of Nagarea in the southwest and the New Armes Kingdom in the southeast; this is the setting area for Suikoden V.

West of the northern and southern continents and the island nations is the western continent. Here there is not much about the land since it’s never mentioned in any of the games.

Finally you have the Sindar race who are the true owners of the Rune scattered all over the world. The Sindar race and the Runes are a reoccurring theme throughout the entirety of the series.

Suikoden 1 Map

Plot: The Hero (name him whatever you want) is the son of the Great General, Teo McDohl. Teo gets called away to fight in the northern lands thus leaving his son under the watch of family friends Gremio, Cleo, Pahn, and Ted. The hero of the story and his guardians start doing jobs for the Imperial army since the hero wants to eventually join. As you complete these missions he comes to realize that there is corruption within the empire and the people of the land are unhappy.

During a mission something happens where Ted is called out due to the mysterious power he used. Due to certain events Ted hands over the power to the hero, the Rune of Life and Death or the Soul Eater, one of the 27 True Runes that govern the world. The Rune is ruthlessly hunted for by corrupt officials, thus making the hero and companions leave the city of Gregminster.

After fleeing the hero gets sheltered by a rebel organization, which later the Imperial forces found and attacked, leaves the hero and group to seek out a man who was a former strategist of the Imperial army. The hero then slowly builds an army known as the Liberation army working to unite the rebel factions throughout the Scarlet Moon Empire and become large and powerful enough to bring down the Empire.

Gameplay: Suikoden is a traditional role-playing game with little added bonuses thrown into the mix. During the game the player may recruit a total of 108 new characters to join his army. Not all the characters are playable characters, but they do bring their own flare into your army.

I love the battle system they have for the game, I know it is similar to others out there but for some reason I like it a lot more so than others. You have a  six man team where your placement matters. Characters are either short, medium, or long-range. Short range you prefer to have in the front row and they tend to be able to handle hits pretty well due to the amount of HP they typically have. Medium range either front or back row, although I am not sure if it honestly affects their fighting ability. They always seemed to do the same amount of damage either time so either line is fine, some have higher hit points than others. Long range are always best suited for the back since they have the weakest defence and not so hot on the HP side. There was also something that certain characters can do together too was Unite. This allowed the character pair or however many in the unite to do a full attack on one or more enemies. It deals more damage but it could also leave characters unbalanced which I explain a little further down.

The weapon system was also something different that was highly enjoyable, you don’t need to buy new weapons you just upgrade them at a blacksmith. Yes this actually does it very pricey BUT the trick to it is to not spend so much money on it right away with every new character you get. What I typically do is see who I use the most in battle and then upgrade them a little bit, then by the end of the game I have my main team picked out (which I have down by heart since I always use the same team), go money farming and then just upgrade them to max if you please. Max level for a weapon I believe is level 15 or 16, but money cost is about 70k. Another interesting feature is that you can attach rune fragments to weapons to give them special abilities. I typically always attach a lightning rune to the hero to give him a boost in attack. The Water rune heals you by 5 hit points, and then you can also attach earth or wind. I  am not very clear on what they do since they have an effect on enemies that you can’t see. Also depending on how many rune fragments you have attached grows in the effect it does. So two Water Runes will heal you 10hp instead. 

Suikoden is best known for the Runes aspect of the game, this basically takes place of your Magic. Runes can be attached and detach to characters, but not all of them. Some characters come with specific runes for them that cannot be removed or if found cannot be placed on others at times, for example Soul Eatter is something only the hero can have or Junpos Trickster rune. Each rune does a different ability, you have your elemental magic runes or you have more of a physical attack rune or a rune that adds a bonus to you/party. Some runes though also have a backfire effect on the user rendering then unusable for a turn. If this happens the user drops in Defense by 50% so always watch out for them. If you have an elemental rune then you have the ability to use 4 different spells each with an allotted number of usage. So again you have a Water Rune attached and you have a level 1 spell called Kindness Drops and you see a number next to it saying 4. This means you can use it 4 times before you can no longer use it. So you really have to be careful in battles when using them because once you’re out of a spell, it’s done. In order to return the spell allocations you have to rest at an inn as there is no item to bring them back.

There are two other battle systems in the game: War battles and Duels. Duels and War battles are like a rock, paper, scissor sort of strategy. The War battles have four groups: Charge, Bow, Magic, and Other. Charge beats Bow, Bow beats Magic, Magic beats Charge. Other has free special commands for you to use such as thieves/ninjas to gather intel on the enemy so you know what attack they are doing next, or boost attacks.  Duels are one on one battles with a major person in the game typically after a War battle; and they have to be won otherwise you lose and game over. Always save before a battle! Duels have three commands: Attack, Defend, Special Attack. Attack beats defend, Defend beats Special, and Special beats Attack. You have to decide what the enemy is going to do by the text they say to you during the battle. Sometimes it can be very hard to tell what will come next.

Feelings on the game: In my Breath of Fire review I know I had a few more sections than in here but I figured to try something a little different since this game and BoF differ big time.

This game seriously packs a bunch of emotions into a great story. You experience everything from betrayal, friendship, war, loss and sadness, happiness, anger, etc. It was something I did not expect when I first played through the game. What I mean is that this game at times I found to be very depressing due to all the loss that the main hero goes through, “where is the happiness?!” is always what ran through my mind. The second game to ever make me shed tears of someone passing was this game. Granted it wasn’t as cinematic  as Final Fantasy VII death scene was but you could imagine what was happening to the man dying and the hero unable to help. But what a great story this game brings to gamers. It was wonderful experience to play through and I just can not get enough of this game.

The graphics were amazing for a PS game at the time and they appeared to be really smooth. It was a style I really enjoyed and I am glad they carried it over into the second game as well. I had one issue with the graphics, though was not in the graphics itself, but with the artwork of the character portraits. Some of them looked awesome but others seemed….blah. I wish they had more of a consistency with it but I am just glad it was improved upon later in the series.

The music was phenomenal; it really brought a lot to the game in ways of helping bring out the emotions that were happening in each moment. When sad events happened the a beautiful melody started off really slow and calm and got more instrumental and intense along the way and then it brings it back down.  The sad theme is my favorite which is why I brought up that particular one.

The game play was something unique to experience and easy to grasp onto. I had an issue sometimes walking through a dungeon or town you can easily get caught on corners or walls that were weirdly shaped and when you tried to wiggle out it was more of your character spazing out to get out of the spot. It did not happen often though, only when there was a space between weird shaped walls. This sometimes happened on the world map also when going around trees. You could hold up but your character with kind of do his own thing if there’s a spot he can squeeze in and just go forward and back.

Plot wise that I did at times have an issue with was that the game tried to have two plots going on at once. It was hard to tell what they wanted to make the main one and which one the secondary one at times. I feel though that they wanted to make the Liberation War the main point of the story and you gathering the forces and charging into the Empire and keep the fact that you had people after your Rune in the background. They kept it too much in the background I feel because there was random moments when someone would be all “I want your rune!” and you kinda go oh yeah they are after me for that too. It was too hidden at times and wish they brought it more forward to let others see this is also a part of the game as well.  Also some of the character recruits were a bit random, but then again some of them are going to be like that in all the games. Yet some of the really random ones come very weak and low-level. This is why I tend to not deal with them and tend to deal with people who have helped me through the main story and use them more in my party. I suppose I wish they made them seem more relevant even if they weren’t.

Something else to do in the game is gambling. I tend to not do much of this unless I had to recruit someone because I found the game tended to not let me win a lot. Bad luck for me.

If you are a lover of RPGs this is a game to play.

Score: 9/10

Crafting: Flip Flop Wreath

My mom and I were in Michaels Craft Store one day since I needed some art supplies. We noticed this wreath hanging up above the register and it was a flip-flop wreath. With my mom being obsessed with anything shoe related because she collects them we were contemplating buying it. This contemplation was not very long as we saw the price and was thinking how could that thing be $60?!

I decided to make my own for her because I could make it not only cheaper, but to the specific way she wants it. I made my wreath for about $27, it really all depends on what type of supplies you buy for it.

Materials:

Flip-Flops – Any number depending on how big or small you want the wreath. The size of the flip-flop should also depend on how big you want it. I got side 12/13 kids size from Old Navy since they have the nice price for their flip-flops of get 2 for $10. Again any flip flop with do.

Hot Glue + Hot Glue Gun (works the best)

Flowers – Any type and any number

Hook/Wire – you can either make your own hook or buy a hook for it.

Wreath Back – These are typically circular and you can find them near the flower items in Wal-Mart/Michaels

Other Materials:

Ribbon, lettering, whatever else you would want to put on it.

Steps to make the wreath:

1. Glue the Flip Flops where you want on the wreath, I would personally place them first without glue to see how you would like them to go.

2. After all the flip flops are glued you can then cut parts of the fake flower stems but leave a little bit at the end. Just enough for you to stick it into the wreath back, this way you don’t have to glue them in, only if they are falling out I would then put a little glue on the flower end and re-stick it back in.

3. If you are using Hot Glue, you can proceed right to this step. If not I recommend that you wait for the glue to dry a bit before doing this next step. Depending on what type of hook you are using, if it’s a door hook you don;t need to do this. If you are making a wire hook, I would first stick it in the top of the wreath. After that pull it out and put a lot of hot glue in the hole, then replace the wire back in the hole. After placing it back in use to the hot glue gun to place glue around the wire hook to help keep it in place. Let this dry before placing it on the nail or another hook. I would wait about 15 minutes just to be on the safe side and make sure everything is all safe and secure.

4. Hang it up on your door and you’re done!