Review by Psycho Penguin

"And I thought the original Final Fantasy required lots of patience.."

Please note I am under the influence of a severe flu, stomach virus, and lots of medicine while typing this review.

When reading over my issues of Playstation Magazine (PSM), one of the things I like to do is read the previews section to find hot, new exciting games that I am interested in. One of the games I was most interested in when I first read about it was a game called RPG Maker. How could I not be excited about the game? After all, I am a role playing game fan, so i was very excited at the prospect of making my own role playing game. It seemed like a great idea on paper, but I realized that sometimes, great ideas on paper don't necessarily translate into great games.

And that was pretty much exactly the case with RPG Maker. I had my doubts and concerns about the game when I first started playing it, because of some of the things that were said about it. ''It requires a lot of time and patience.'' Well, I knew right then and there that this game would probably not be for me. Because I lacked the two things needed to play this game. I really did not have much time, and patience is a virtue that I never really got the hang of.

So, I knew right then and there that I probably was not going to like the game. And that turned out to be exactly the case. I did not like RPG Maker. At all. I spent 15 hours playing this game and what did I get to show for it in return? I got to the dungeon of the basic game thrown into it, and in terms of actually making my role-playing game, I made 6 magic spells and the title screen. 15 hours of my life wasted trying to make a role playing game, instead I made some wimpy magic spells. Yipee.

The bottom line is, only play this game if you have no life. Well I shouldn't say that, because I have no life and I was not able to enjoy this game. The fact of the matter is, I just did not enjoy this game that much, at all. It is terribly confusing to play, and just not very fun. If you consider placing random text boxes in other text boxes fun, then this is your kind of game. If you can do without taking twelve hours to make sixty magic spells, then chances are you will not like this game if you play it.

There is really two main parts to the story line of this game. Now, you may think I am crazy for saying this. After all, this is a make your own role playing game-type game. How can there be a main story line to this game? Well that is the beauty of the game. I like how you can make your own story lines in the game, now you can do stuff like ''See how much pie you can get!'' instead of the same old ''save the world from the evil person'' type thing, which, admit it, gets really old after a while.

Now there is a basic game that ASCII threw in just to be nice, and that has a story line as well. Basically you are this little goblin dude that goes around and has to fight warriors and die in order for the warriors to gain more experience. This is not his career goal, though, so one day he decides that enough is enough and he sets out in the world in order to fulfill his dreams of becoming a warrior or whatever. I liked the story line, as it was definitely different from the average role playing game story line.

The graphics in the game are solid enough, although they are certainly not going to win any awards for awesome special effects or whatever. The bottom line is, this game looks a lot like an average Super Nintendo role playing game. And is there really anything wrong with that? I mean, the game does look pretty nice, despite the fact that it obviously lacks the special graphics seen in such games like Final Fantasy 9 and Legend of Dragoon. The game does feature nice graphics, however.

I especially liked the character designs in the game. They were not anything majorly special but they looked nice enough. They were not huge mammoths like the ones in games like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy 8, instead they were smaller, like the ones featured in Final Fantasy 6. The result is some smooth character designs, as I really liked the character designs in the game. There was a nice variety to the character designs, a variety that I definitely appreciated and enjoyed.

I must point out something that I did not really like about the graphics. The battle scenes could have been done a lot better, in my opinion. Sure, they looked nice, but I could have done without the down-up perspective and view. The enemy designs were solid, but maybe they would have looked better had the view been done in a left-right perspective, like the Final Fantasy games. But I digress, because the animation is really solid, think of it as Final Fantasy Mystic Quest in terms of animation during battles.

The music in the game was not that good, it had a lot of problems. The variety is definitely there, but there is a small problem with the variety. See, it is not a good kind of variety. Instead, the variety is of horrible tunes that do not sound like they belong in any role playing game, much less one that you are trying to make. There becomes a certain point where you just get fed up with all the different music choices. All of the battle and boss themes suck, and the other themes suck too. Even the music that plays when you are trying to make the game is seriously annoying.

Sound effects in the game are a mixed bag. I liked certain elements of the sound effects in the game, but most of them were just horribly repetitive and downright boring. I liked the cheering sound that you could use when you leveled up, that was pretty neat. Otherwise, the sound effects were pretty bland, basic, and boring. (The three B's, oh it's true, it's true!) I did not particularly like any sound effects in the game, and I did not feel that any of them stood out from the crowd, but overall they are solid enough in terms of an overall package.

The control in the game could have been done a lot better, but considering that the game was complex and had a lot of menus, the control was about as good as it could have possibly been. But that is not to say that I am completely satisfied. The thing I disliked most was the fact of how complex the game was. There were so many different menus, that control was practically an issue every time I went to do something in the game. I would often find myself trapped, lost, and confused almost every time I saw all of the menus in the game. It was easy enough to move the cursor and stuff, but the complexity ruins the control, for the most part.

There is a lot to do in RPG Maker, in no way, shape, or form am I disputing that. What I am questioning is the logic that ASCII used when creating this game. A majority of players will buy this game expecting to be able to create their own role playing game. However, a majority of players will not be able to create their own game, because they, quite frankly, will be way too confused to even attempt to do it. Why do I say this? Because I was way too confused to make my own role playing game. Quite frankly, there are way too many options in this game.

I am not going to waste my time pointing out every thing you could do in this game, because they would all be followed by: I didn’t understand it. There is scenario data, system data, options, option data, monster data, the whole nine yards. It takes forever to do simple, basic things. If you have a lot of patience, you should be able to easily complete this game. After all, patience is a virtue. However, it’s a virtue I never really got the hang of, so my enjoyment of the game was basically nixed right off the bat automatically.

However, if you do find yourself willing to overcome the extreme complexity of tediousness of the game, you may be able to find yourself creating your very own role -playing game. Just remember that it is not going to happen overnight, literally. I know this because my cousin stayed up all night and he did not even come close to completing the role playing game he was working on, trying to create. I spent a while playing it and all I got for my troubles were a few dinky magic spells and a title screen. Oh well, this is proof that this game if not for everyone.

Quite frankly, this game has replay value in one category or the other: you will either want to keep on playing it until you finally create your masterpiece role playing game, or you will just want to give up trying to make your role playing game right away. I took the second route, because I have the patience level of an animal that has a low patience level. So, it is my personal belief that the replay value in this game pretty much comes down to your patience level. I have no patience, but if you do, then you will probably see this game through and make your own role playing game.

This is so challenging that the term video game does not even apply to it, and for good reason. The biggest thing that this game has when it comes to challenge is its complexity. This is a very complex game, and therefore is very challenging. As I have mentioned about three million times already, you are not going to want to play this game very much if you have little or no patience. Therefore, if you have little or no patience, this game will be an extreme challenge to you, just like it was an extreme challenge to me.

Overall, I found myself extremely disappointed with the experience known as RPG Maker. ASCII really disappointed me in this effort. They had the right idea, but executed it in a horrible fashion. Everything about this game is just too complex and time consuming for me, and quite frankly I am going to wait until a new and improved Maker type game with the same idea comes around. As long as that one takes out a lot of the complex and time -consuming elements that plagued this one. It was a decent effort but I just find it completely unplayable now.

Good Points
-This is one of the greatest ideas for a video game ever.
-It is a lot better than the crap known as Fighter Maker.
-It can be fun, if you have the patience.

Not So Good Points
-The idea was just executed horribly in my opinion.
-The graphics and music do not belong on Play Station.
-If you have no patience, this game is unplayable.
-The complexity is unbearable at most times.

I Run Down the Ratings... Da Ladies Man Style!
Story Line – Not Available
Story Line (Sub Quest) - 7.1/10
Graphics - 6.2/10
Music - 6.1/10
Sound Effects – 5.7/10
Control - 6.2/10
Game Play – 4.6/10
Replay Value - Below Average
Challenge - Way Above Average
Is this game worth a purchase? - Only if you have 60-70 hours of free time and can survive doing this tedious stuff.
Overall - 4.9/10

The Last Line
It is a good idea, and a good concept, but it makes a poor title this time out. ASCII tried their best but this game is too time consuming and patience thinning for me. Rent before buying.

And that’s a Ladies Man guarantee!

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 12/05/00, Updated 07/16/01

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