Review by belovedgenius
"Yow, a game whose rating can't unbiasedly go over an 8/10"
Orphen's intro begins innocently enough with a nice anime cutscene involving Orphen and his cohorts traversing through a town while being tailed by two young boys who are each other's only family. Orphen himself is an interesting character, a sharp-tongued sorcerer who seems forced to travel with two younger accomplices: Magnus, his magic trainee; and Cleo, a whiny rich girl.The adventure begins when the trio are tricked into boarding a ship,which is then attacked by a storm.
The graphics are pretty good for a game released this early. The character representation is a bit better than Grand Theft Auto 3's but slightly less than Vice City's.The spell-effects (especially for maxed-out magic) look nice, but are sometimes misrepresented by the untamed camera. Boss battles are the medium for this game's best showcasing of graphics. The brilliantly elaborate boss fight with the huge sea monster outside of the ship is one of the best examples for this, along with the ultimate boss battle.
The sound-effects get the job done, but aren't even close to possibly rival that of Xenogears. The voice-acting is well-done and deserves props, but the dubbing is ridiculous (just mouth flaps flapping unsynchedly). The voice-acting is nicely executed from Orphen's spell effects (''The hand of Pyro!!''), to Jennifer Hale's biting representation of Cleo (''Ha, 'Mr. Morphen'!'').
No matter what the box says, this is not a role-playing game, this game is an action/adventure. Sadly, for RPG guys like me, this game has no towns and mainly takes place on an island whose TRUE story is revealed at the end of the game. This game unfolds in three chapters ( four, if you include the last chapter exclusively for the final boss battle). Each chapter consists of Orphen being forced to help out one of three characters from the ship. One character is a woman, on whom Magnus has a crush and is taunted by Orphen for it,who is looking for her husband; another is a little boy who plays the flute and is looking for his mother; and lastly, a strong-man looking for his missing daughter. Within these chapters are reoccurring characters and memorable dungeons and boss battles aided by the characters. Battles are unorthodox; hit points are represented by five capsules (each capsule is one-fifth of your HP);and battle is done in real time, only being able to control Orphen or other certain characters (the lady, the kid, or the strong-man). Attacks range from projectiles, to melee (close-quarters physical attacks), to magic, and all are able to be charged for more damage. Some battles occur while traveling, but are simplified by eliminating charging and magic. Though one must restart after beating a chapter, one still retains the new magic and projectiles earned in the preceding chapter(s). The gameplay is solid enough but is a notch too easy. Also, Orphen is too heroic, saying ''I'll go ahead, you two wait here.'' in every darn chapter. Another crazy thing is that Orphen can jump too high, easily leaping over the strong-man in a single bound. Overall the game takes about 15 hours to complete.
All in all, the game is solid but has enough little quirks to keep it from overstepping the 8/10 boundary. To quote legendary air force ace pilot Lt. Commander J.A. Pidlaoan, ''Yow.''
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/17/02, Updated 11/17/02
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