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Review of Legend of the Philosopher's Stone by XxNemesis29xX
Link: http://nemesis.game-server.cc/~urcleman/

Reviewed by Ii Shenron

Plot: ( 20 points )

Marjan Islam and 14 of his buddies from class are free for the summer and head over to the good ol' town fair where some scientists are showing off their latest invention, but something goes haywire and they all wind up scattered in a stereotypical RPG World ... yeah.

Thumbs up for:

I suppose if one wants to make a doujin game about his buddies from class, and doesn't want to go to the sophomoric extreme DCC went to, this would be the way to go.

Thumbs down for:

I think I'll join the chorus of folks who think the intro should be reworked so it's not so reminiscent of Chrono Trigger. Also, the people in this world so far seem to be unusually friendly ( so long as the kids from IB behave ... ) to a group of folks who are going around asking all kinds of nutty questions about a different world.

Total points: 12.

Characterization/Dialogue: ( 20 points )

You're dealing with 15 brainiacs from Alabama, some of whom evidently think they're down ... right. Expect a lot of really bad slang, but sadly, that might actually be in character for this group.

Thumbs up for:

The dialog's been improved a lot from the previous demo. It's the biggest improvement in dialog I've ever seen in this community. That being said ...

Thumbs down for:

... the characters overall still need work. Each of them have nice lengthy bios, but aside from a couple, I can't tell the difference between one and the next. It might be because they're all IB students or whatever, and maybe the creator of this game is stuck with the cast, but it's still something of a letdown, since we're expected to know all 15 major characters from the get-go. ( And no, a long intro to "properly introduce" all 15 wouldn't exactly be the answer here, either. )

Total points: 13.

Graphics: ( 10 points )

Legend of the Philosopher's Stone uses all the latest rips for chipsets and charsets. And for the most part, the rips are used quite well. Of particular interest are the towns which are laid out extremely well. And, although stock lighting effects were present, they weren't overused and didn't choke out the maps they were used for.

Thumbs up for:

Character poses. "Yawn"? Well, in this game, they really do add to the presentation. Seeing a character open up a treasure box, kneel down, and get what's in it, and interact with the environment in other ways, is always a nice touch. ( As opposed to just seeing the poses in a cutscene ).

Thumbs down for:

Three reasons why this game isn't quite in the elite graphically.
The first is the strange use of tiles on various maps ( the CT ripped ones in particular ).
The second is the strange mixture of charsets found in the game. While this is usually par for the course as far as Rm* games go, occasionally in this game, your RTP-sized IB heroes will run into tall sprites such as the soldiers in the Northern City, which brings me to the third issue.
The Northern City itself. Now, usually anachronism in RPGs doesn't concern me, as in a fantasy setting, what should be there or shouldn't be there is up to the writer. However, in this game, in which the premise is clearly established as "Oh no! Genius high schoolers from Alabama are stuck in sterotypical RPG Land and have to find a way to get home!" seeing cars, computers, and guns kind of ruins the effect.

Total points: 7.

Music: ( 10 points )

Your usual fare as far as Rm* games go. RPG midis, most of them from Square, almost all of them recognizable, litter the soundtrack.

Thumbs down for:

Again, the square music. It would be a good move to replace a lot of the Chrono music with non-game music, or at the very least, music from lesser known games. Also, I do have to agree with Novalia Spirit ( which makes me feel dirty inside :) ); some of the sound effects are rather bizarre from time to time.

Total points: 2.

Gameplay: ( 10 points )

Aha. The most hyped part of the game. The CBS and CMS. These comprise the major focus of the game, as there aren't any minigames or major puzzles to be found. Both systems run smoothly ( although I'm armed with a P4 2.4 Ghz, so I'm not sure how it'll run on lower systems. )

Thumbs up for:

This CBS is one of the few in existence that to my knowledge actually DOES do something the DBS can't do. Namely, the Command Resolvement system. I hope that in future installments of this game, we'll see the potential of CR really exploited. ( Such as items that increase or decrease CR, items that use up variable CR, random CR, all kinds of skills that do tricky stuff, etc. ) I also have to give credit for this CBS incorporating little things like status effects that most CBS creators tend to forget about.

Thumbs down for:

When I first started the game, I almost quit playing right from the start. No, it wasn't the intro that was the culprit. It was the fact that I didn't know what I was doing! There is something of a tutorial for the AP Draw system later on, but perhaps that tutorial along with one for the CBS should be earlier in the game. The only other major complaint I had gameplay-wise was the insane random encounter rate, which should definitely be lowered. BUG REPORT: When Farris is forced into my party, he gets Christy's spells ( and even her battle animation when he used the Int up spell whose name I forget ). Not that I'm complaining, because I didn't have the AP to draw the spells I needed to survive in that dungeon, so having Christy's skills already there for me made the difference. Also, it would be nice to get item and spell descriptions in battle so I know what effect my items will have.

Total points: 7.

Fun Factor:( 25 points )

Well, I finished it. Considering I'm in the middle of playing Shadow Hearts 2 and in the middle of an anime binge ( not to mention that hog known as QC lurks in the background ), holding my interest right now is quite a feat. But did I enjoy it? On some level. A good ol' whack 'em up RPG like this has its merits.

Total points: 14.

Intangibles: ( 5 points )

CBS, CMS, and a lot of hype. Well, no one can deny that Nemesis has put a lot of effort into this game. He's enjoying making this game, and with some of the improvements we've already seen, I think we can expect to see more good things coming from this title.

Total points: 3.

Overall: 58/100

This, along with Naufragar: Elegy, Nightside Wallflower, and Fates of Alerha, is one of , if not the most hyped game at GW. ( Although not as well known outside of those forums ). There's absolutely no way it could possibly live up to its hype. However, once you get past all the glitz of the CBS and CMS, what you have is a bread and butter, whack 'em up RPG that's worth a look provided you can take the self-insert, doujin-ish style of the game.

Reviewed Games:
Ara Fell
Iron Gaia
Legend of the Philosopher's Stone
Love and War
Naufragar
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