Review by Fidika
"This is DEFINITELY one of the top-10 best games of all time!"
You know, it just down right depresses me to see the utter stupidity of the consumers in the ''game industry''. Games based up movies or TV shows, even though they are usually very horrible, sell incredibly well. Games who's cover art offer more ''titillation'' sell better than they should, even if they suck (cough cough, Tomb Raider cough). Franchise games, such as the Final Fantasies, receive an almost-yearly sequel, and will almost automatically sell millions and receive rave reviews simply because of their title, even though they are usually just un-innovative, rehashed, sequels, which don't even fix the failures of their predecessors. Meanwhile, little genius games come along, like Princess Maker 2, and no one buys them, or even takes note of them. Truly a sad commentary, as everyone who HASN'T played this game is really missing out on something wonderful.
Princess Maker may sound like a VERY weird game, and, well, it is. You are basically given a child by a god or goddess, and you are assigned to raise that child to maturity. The game can be beaten in about 4 or 5 hours usually, but there are over 50 endings in the game for you to achieve! You'll be busy for quite some time trying to see all those endings, believe me.
At the beginning of the month, you decide what your daughter is going to do for the month. You can send her to work, to earn money, to school, to learn (which costs money) or to give her a little free-time. You raise and lower her various stats throughout the game, make a name for yourself, and develop relationships with the characters in the game (some-times even marrying them!).
The game also has its own RPG system in it. You can go out and adventure in various areas, and encounter enemies which you must fight. Unfortunately, you only get your one daughter for a party member, and the battle system is very simple, with hit%, evade%, psychical attack, magic attack, physical defense, magic defense, and HP. You can only tell your character to either attack (physically), use magic, or use an item. You can assign armors, items, and weapons for your character, but the battle system is still extremely simple (one of the game's major down-falls).
The music isn't all that great, but then again, you have to remember this is an 8MB large game made in 1993 originally, so they're just looping midi files. The graphics are actually very excellent for an 8-9 year old game. The graphics use mostly just detailed sprites (anime-style) to show what's going on.
You may not like this game when you first play, or not get it at all, but give it a little time, and I think just about anyone will love this game. It's not a game like, say, Street Fighter which you can just play for a few minutes and basically understand the whole game. In Princess Maker 2, there are tons of hidden stuff to find, and events to trigger. Furthermore, when you are out ''adventuring'', one of the most innovative features(which no one has copied yet, probably because they don't know about it) is how you encounter people and enemies. When you first encounter enemies, you don't have to always fight them, you can talk to them (and some of them are friendly) run from them, or hide from them. Also, when you meet people, such as merchants or guards, you can attack and kill them if you want (and still all of their stuff). Very nice.
There are tons of hidden items and people to find as well. There are various competitions at the yearly festival, and you'll even gain rivals after a while. For example, you can take an art class, and have your child paint various pictures, you can enter into an art contest, or you can enter into a martial arts tournament, dance contest, or a cooking contest. Heck, you can force your child to work hard strenuous jobs while forcing here to wear heavy clothes in summer, to make her get sick and, if you push her had enough, eventually even die!
As your child grows, she will develop a personality, and may even become disobedient. She might even get moody and run off for a whole month some-times! Bummer!
I must say, this is one of the most innovative and original games I've ever played, and it is very impressive for its time. To bad no one will ever really get the chance to see this game, play it, and realize how great it truly is. In fact, I bet only a hand-full of people will ever even read this review ::sigh::. With that said, I must say that this is DEFINITELY on my top 10-best-games-of-all-time list, and believe me, I've played A LOT of games, and it really takes something genius to make it up there.
Now, do you suppose if we re-released this game and re-named it ''Final Fantasy, the Princess Maker Saga'' it would sell millions of copies and be on the cover of every video game magazine? Why, it sure would.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/29/02, Updated 07/19/02
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