Review by Judas Traveller

"A good game with some serious flaws"

Kartia, a tactical-based RPG which has been much maligned by many, and unknown by the other crowd. Despite art by Akira Toriyama (Old-school FF artist), this game was never to reach even cult classic status. I picked up this game with no prior knowledge, aside from a few comments from a friend (who liked it), and here's what I got...

Graphics- A little bland, but the character art and effects are kind of neat. However, the coloring looks seriously washed out. The landscapes also tend to be bland, but you get some decent FMV to go along with the story, at least. 6/10

Music- A feast for the ears. The music is well-composed and always fits the mood; sometimes subtle, creepy, or dramatic, whenever the mood calls for it. It added a lot to the game, enhancing the battles and stories quite a bit, as was intended. 10/10

Sound Effects- Pretty good, but somewhat odd at some parts. I especially like the sound of the spell effects. 8/10

Gameplay- Perhaps Kartia's weakest point...which is a shame, considering this is a tactical RPG. The gameplay very much consists of Rock-Paper-Scissors tactics, deciding which phantom to send to defeat your opponents. However, there is a ton of depth to find in using Kartia (The card-like material you use for creating objects), mixing and matching tons of types to create weapons, armor, spells, and combining more for added effects. Perhaps the best part of the gameplay. There's also a two player versus mode, but considering every character from one side get's their turn first, it puts the second player at a major disadvantage. You can also use your memory card to swap items, which is neat. 5/10

Characters- An amazing cast....all are well-developed and given some time in the spotlight, and two quests assures that nearly everyone gets a major role. Two quests are present, one focusing on a woman named Lacryma who is seeking the truth behind her past; another on a man named Toxa, who is basically a hot-headed knight with a romantic streak. And the secondary cast/villains are all well-done, with each major character having a different party and foe to contend with by the end. 10/10

Story- Well done, just like the cast. The two main characters each have their own storyline; Lacryma's is more complex and filled with mystery, while Toxa's is more focused on romance and adventure. The two stories overlap, and once you've beaten both, all the mysteries between the two intertwining quests are solved. 10/10

Challenge- Absurdly little...while the death of a human means the end of your quest, careful planning and good equipment makes this highly unlikely. 2/10

Replay- Unfortunately, aside from seeing both quests are trying to complete your Kartia collection, there's almost no reason to go through it again. 2/10

Overall- A good rental, but probably not worth your cash unless you either a completist or can find it for 15$ or less. Unfortunately, I can't recommend it, even though I really enjoy it. Hopefully one day there will be a sequel that improves on the game's flaws.

Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 08/09/01, Updated 08/09/01

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