Review by Zorian

"A Great Game Most People Never Heard Of"

Most people never heard of Team Darkland or Battle of the Youstrass. I was one of them. I only saw it on a chance search I was doing looking for new games to play day I was horribly bored. And I must say, I'm glad I did find out about it.

Story

Pretty basic and cliche, but presented pretty well.

A great famine hits the lands. The nation of Wefrad, rich in natural resources and such, wasn't hit as badly by the famine as the other countries. Though Wefrad should have seen it coming and prepared, the militaristic mercenary kingdom of Kradion launches a surprise invasion that all but wipes out the five royal knight units of Wefrad. You play the role of Ryuke ''The Blue Wing,'' surviving leader of the now defunct Royal Knights, and a young country girl named Tia that he encounters by chance.

Story Score : 8/10

Gameplay

It's a turn based strategy game. Before each battle is a prologue where your characters converse, etc. After the prologue is where the fighting takes place. Your units and enemy units have an activity bar. When it fills up you (or the computer) can order that unit. (Use A Special Ability, Attack, Move, Wait, or check the unit's status.) Terrain plays a very important role in battles here while elements play a lesser role. (Because the majority of Kradion's forces are Mechanical Fighters and have no element) If you lose the scenario, you have the option of restarting the battle with any experience you gained.
After winning a battle, comes the epilogue, where your characters converse some more, then the intermission, where you can save/load, equip any items you found on characters, and assign elemental stones. Elemental stones are your most precious resource, as they are the only way to upgrade your mech and are dropped by enemy mechs. The first few missions are pretty easy, but the difficulty ramps up and if you don't have the hang of fighting yet, expect to restart battles a lot.

Gameplay Score - 9/10

Sound

The sound isn't too memorable. It's pretty much short tracks (usually 5-10 seconds) looping. There are a few map tunes, and several main characters get their own music. The rest are assigned music depending on their elemental or what type of mechanical fighter they are. Some are catchy, but the rest are forgettable.

Sound Score - 4/10

Graphics

The mechs and some of the attacks are nicely made, but the backgrounds are pretty bland. Characters have portraits next to their speech boxes and have a variety of facial expressions, some of which are pretty funny.

Graphics Score - 6.5/10

Replayability

There are five endings (One true ending) and many multiple paths which determine what items and characters you get depending on what you do in certain scenarios. (Such as preventing or allowing the destruction of Rilt in scenario one) So yes, there is replayability.

Replayability Score - 9/10

Overall

8/10

Youstrass is a great game, albeit with some flaws. There is a demo on the Team Darkland web site (www.teamdarkland.com) which you can try to see if you like it. Try it, and I bet you'll be hooked.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/02/02, Updated 04/06/02


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