Review by Mega

Reviewed: 05/02/02 | Updated: 05/02/02

The Lazy Man's RPG

Have you ever heard of three little games called Everquest, Phantasy Star, and Final Fantasy? Odds are, you have. And you’ve probably played all three of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if you loved them. You probably have Final Fantasy posters on your wall that show off Tidus’s sexy and manly side, don’t you?

All right, forget about the posters and let us focus on the aforementioned games, shall we? Phantasy Star, Everquest, and Final Fantasy are probably the most popular RPGs of all time. And rightfully so, if I might add! All three are addicting, graphically superb, and boast wonderful gameplay and well-written stories. Whenever anything vies for legend status such as the three games mentioned, you’ll have people mocking it and creating satires of it for a long, long time. This, my friends, is what Progress Quest is.

When you first get it, you have a myriad of options to choose from to customize your character. No, these aren’t your ordinary monk, thief, and warrior classes, mind you. Instead, you have classes such as the Bastard Lunatic and the Robot Monk. After you pick a class, pick a race. Want to be an elf or a human? TOO DAMN BAD! But, you could be a Dung Elf, Panda Man, Enchanted Motorcycle, or a Half Halfling among many other things.

Don’t you need stats, you ask? But of course! Before entering the game, you have a chance to roll the dice to randomly pick your stats as many times as you want, which is a big improvement over the classic “only have three rolls to pick stats” way of doing things.

Finally, you pick whether or not to play online. If you do choose to play online, all that will happen is that your progress will be put on a list of the top ranked PQ players. Choosing not to play online does not affect the central gameplay or story of PQ at all, which I like much more than then other “not playing online means you won’t have fun” idea the plagues most RPGs. Once you’re done, you click the button “SOLD!” and smile; thinking an exciting adventure is on the way.

But then your smile deftly turns to a frown when you see the text filled screen. You’ll vainly attempt to click at the screen to see something else other then the words, but you’ll fail. You’ll scratch your head and watch the screen for a while, and then finally chuckle and succumb to PQ’s charm.

The main thing that turns so many people off of PQ is the fact that you can not do anything. I’m not kidding. Everything is automatic and done without you. Whenever you have enough items, you’ll go to the store to sell them and buy new equipment. When you are done selling and buying equipment, you’ll automatically head back to the “killing fields” to kill more monsters and earn more experience.

You’ll be able to see which monsters you are killing and when you are going to sell items due to the small text bar at the bottom that narrates the game for you. Whenever you gain a level, you might learn a new spell and you’ll stats will go up. How will you know when you gained a level, you ask?

At the bottom of the text boxes that make up the PQ screens, you’ll spy a small bar that moves slowly across the screen. This bar tells you how close you are to moving up a level, finishing a quest, filling your item sack, or moving up a chapter. Of course, there is a larger bar at the bottom of the narration text bar that tells you how close you are to finishing the current deed you are doing, such as selling items or killing a monster.

The text filled screen is separated into seven different boxes. We have a character box that tells you your current level, race, and name, next to a box that tells you your current equipment equipped and weapon and armor level. Next to that we have the Plot Development box which tells you which chapter you are on, or “Act” as PQ calls it.

Under your character box you are able to see your current stats, and under that you see the spells you’ve learned and the current level they are at. To the left of the spell box is the item box which houses… well, what the hell do you think? Finally, to the left of the spell box is the quest screen that records your quests.

PQ is a neat, funny satire of the RPG genre of games. The funny classes and races are just the tip of the iceberg. It pokes fun at the often useless and abbreviated stats you gain in RPGs by having strange stats like CHA and DEX, which pretty much no one in hell knows what they mean. The spells you learn are often humorous, such as Holy Batpole and Lockjaw. Hell, even the enemy names are funny! Randomly generated enemies that you’ll slay on the killing field range from the Leather Golem to the Porn Elemental. The quests also have you doing inane and ridiculous things such as collecting an I.O.U or fetching a hoe.

As you’ve read this review, you’ve probably asked yourself “Why the hell would Mega, the best reviewer in the world, give an above-average score to a totally text based game that doesn’t allow you to do anything? Sure, the game is funny, but is that the only good point? And why do most people hate it?”

You want to know the answer?

I enjoy it because it has a strange charming quality to it. I like it because it pretty mindless to play. I enjoy watching sometimes as I write reviews to sometimes work out my writer’s block. And hell, watching the screen itself for a few minutes is amusing. But you want to know the main reason people do not like it? I’ll sum it up in one word.

Imagination

Did you hear me? Oh, you didn’t? Well, let me tell you again.

IMAGIN-FREAKING-NATION!!!

Are you a mindless TV watching drone? Are you the kid that paid other kids to do the mandatory “draw a picture of a monster” exercises in kindergarten because you couldn’t think one up? Are you Al Gore?

If you answered yes to any of the above, I pity you. Those with highly active imaginations such as myself will enjoy PQ much more than the average Al Gore simply because it leaves you thinking. I know it sounds cheesy and silly, but have you ever imagined what a Porn Elemental monster would look like? Have you ever opened up Paint and tried to draw and imagine what purple worm dung looks like? Honestly, I have. It is cheesy, yes, but it makes the game all the more entertaining if you stop and think, “Hey, what would this look like?”

PQ is an interesting, often funny satire of the world of RPGs, and since it is an insanely small file to download and virtually mindless to open, why not give it a go? You never know… you might fall in love with the charming world of PQ.


Rating:   3.5 - Good

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