Review by The Great Magus

"Ah, for the days of the golden age of RPGs..."

Again the masters of Square have produced another game that is just plain fun. A merely decent story and some control issues are the only things keeping me from giving this game a 10, and the typical lack of RPG replayablility.

Gameplay 9/10

Nearly flawless. You won't have much trouble moving around, talking to people, etc. Fighting is pretty easy, both in difficulty and the actual method of combat. You swing your weapon at an enemy, either connect or don't, and wait for the percentage meter next to your HP bar to charge up to 100%. You can also charge the meter even farther if you've killed enough enemies with that type of weapon(i.e. sword, axe, etc.) to deliver devastating attacks. This can take some time to do and you're slowed down movement-wise whilst doing so, but you learn to compensate for that.

The ''menu ring'' system is neat, easy to use, and for some reason not very commonly used anymore. It can be a touch confusing at first, but you get used to it quickly enough.

The game controls smoothly enough, but there are a couple of weird bugs(mostly involving the whip, when you're using it to cross gaps) that could get you stuck and force you to reset. Save points are common enough and the first rule of any RPG is to save often, but it can still be bothersome.

Story 8/10

The story is excellent, but there are a couple of times where you have to kind of guess where to go next. As with most RPGs the story is pretty linear, though there are points where you can do things in whatever order you feel like(though rarely).

Pretty much you(a brown-haired young kid with a great destiny-of course) get kicked out of your village, wander around, and pick up a couple of other characters, an iron-willed princess who is looking for her boyfriend(who has a just plain strange name) and a sprite who's lost it's memory. Mostly you follow the girl around(the guy, like Crono from Chrono Trigger and the heroes from Breath of Fire, and Snakeyes from G.I. Joe for that matter) never says a word.

Again, it seems hard for RPGs to escape the ''save the X'' concept, and you end up doing that in the end, but still enjoyable as a whole.

Audio/Video 9/10

As always, Square delivers with music. I don't know where they find these people, but I don't know that I've ever played a Square game(whether or not it was any good) without a great soundtrack. There aren't that many tracks but you're usually not in a dungeon long enough for the music to get TOO repetetive, and besides, you're probably focusing on beating on your cutsie little enemies to get too distracted by the music.

The graphics are good, rather colorful, and my only real complaint is that the enemies are none to menacing(to society or you) in the appearance department. NO! Flowers and bunnies! Even the bosses lack much in the way of scary-factor, but that's fine, really. It's fun smackin' them around in any case. There are a few exceptions(you'll know them when you see them) but all in all, it's hard to take a rampaging Rabite to seriously.

Replayability 8/10

Well, it's an RPG. I've played through several times, but usually only every six months or so. Still, I find myself playing this one again when I've only beaten Vagrant Story once. Maybe it's the ol' nostalgia gene pumping out some chemical that makes me hook up the SNES and give this one another go(and yes, I realize there is no such thing as a nostalgia gene).

To buy or to rent?

Have fun trying to rent this game. I don't know how rare it is but you're either going to get this(or any other SNES or cartridge game) for REALLY cheap or REALLY expensive. That's the problem. If you didn't grow up with this game or know someone who did, it's hard to find. There's always the ROM... But you didn't hear that from me, 'cause I'm not one to gossip!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/15/01, Updated 06/15/01


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