Review by jeffx

"A Diamond in the Rough... with good reason!"

Well this game has been out for around 6 months at the time of this review and there still hasn't been a single review about it. Not to mention the boards are completely dead, not that they have ever seen much life. What a shame, if you ask me. The Nightmare of Druaga, by Namco (one of my favorite companies along with Konami) is an Action/RPG hybrid that could be classified as a Japanese Rogue-like. Now as far as I'm concerned, this is the first time such a game has been released on the American PS2. Sure, it can sort of be compared to Baldur's Gate and Champions Of Norrath, but NOD has much, much more strategy involved in the gameplay. Also it's more of a dungeon crawl than a overworld romp, and in this sense it can be compared to Grandia Xtreme.

You might have heard this game is hard. Not completely true, but not completely false either. When playing this game, you have to disconnect yourself from the habits created from playing other games. When you die in this game, YOU DIE. I swear sometimes I've hit myself so hard in the face after dying that I might as well have died myself. The penalty for dying is HARSH. You lose everything you had, except for stuff in storage as well as inscribed items (you get very few of these). You get to keep your current experience and levels, but that doesn't mean much in this game, you have to rely on building (and keeping!!) strong equipment.

Speaking of which, the game goes great length in letting players customize their gear. The system is deep but ultimately not perfect. Actually in the end when you're experienced, it's easy to manage but when you first start out they make it confusing on you. You can combine equipment to make it better but you wanna make sure you select the source item first, then the one you want to transfer. There could have been more bonuses when combining equipment. You can also combine certain items like roots and petals, but I find this to be useless (prove me wrong...)

The graphics and audio in this game are fit for the gameplay, but if you're not looking for a good game to play you will be disappointed by those two factors, or put off at least. Myself I thought the game looked and sounded VERY good but I'm a fan of all things old school. I LOVE the loading screens, with the original Druaga sprites chasing each other. The music is depressing in the caves, I wish I could turn it off and leave the sound effects on so I could pump my own music, but there is no such option.

Here is a short list of things that would definitely make this game better, or should make their way into a sequel if one ever comes out.

- No more long and pointless quests with little to no rewards.
- More than one village! A bit of overworld combat too.
- Chance of transferring abilities with each weapon combine.
- Teleport points EVERY 10 floors.
- Grouping of ??? items in Items Menu.
- Transfer abilities after 10 combines instead of 15
- Remember Map Coverage after first time playing through.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 05/07/05

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