Review by Exdeath

"Revolutionary game that never came here..."

Another RPG that never crossed the Pacific Ocean, often overlooked and not even well known about in North America. Star Ocean, developed by Tri-Ace and published by Enix, is definitely one of the best Super Famicom RPGs, if not one of the best games ever. Brought out when Super Famicom was basically dead in Japan in 1996, Star Ocean is a 40 meg cart which is the biggest Super Famicom had seen along with Tales of Phantasia.

Star Ocean was definately the most advanced RPG out to date. In the game, a huge Item Creation system is implemented allowing you to forge accessories out of metals, copy items using art, or crafting your own weapons from other weapons and ore. The Item Creation system allows you to become very powerful if you put time and effort into it and some of the best items in the game are created in this fashion.

The skills system in Star Ocean is also very advanced. During your journey you buy several skill sets in town. You gain a special amount of skill points each time you level in battle. These skill points can be spent on sets of skills that you've bought. There are skills that help you become stronger in combat, increase your creativity/knowledge in certain skills which help you in item creation, or even help you learn new techniques in battle. In this way Star Ocean is very customizable and fun for the player.

Star Ocean features insanely lush, incredible graphics. The best the Super Famicom had ever seen, the game obviously looks like a lot of detail was put in. Sprites are very detailed and well done. The scenery looks very nice and detailed also. The intro is probably the most graphic spectacular mode 3 the Super Famicom has ever had as well.

The sound and music in Star Ocean is also very well done. There are several very catchy tunes throughout the game, and a few very special ones at the end. The entire introduction to the game is spoken in English. In battles, characters yell out taunts before and after battle in real speech and the voices are very clear. Characters also yell out when doing their Hissatsuwaza/Ougi techniques. The music in this game is the most advanced ever in a video game so far because the game included special technology which allowed triple layering sound.

The story itself is actually pretty interesting as well. You play as Ratix Ferrence, a Fellpool from a small village. The village is falling prey to being turned to stone from a disease and it's your job to find out what is causing this and how to stop it. Ratix and his friend Milly encounter beings from the future who help them find out the cause of the disease. In several ways, Ronixis ship rips off a lot of Star Trek. The game itself is also very unique in the fact that in front of every towns, you can do private actions. Doing this causes your character to split up in the town and talk to the citizens. This also can set up special events in the game that allow you to get special items or increase/decrease character's thought level for other characters.

This game definitely has a lot of replay value compared to most RPGs. There are a large number of characters you can get in your journey, but you can't get them all in one game and you'll have to decide who you want. There are a huge amount of special customizable items and weapons to work hard on attaining that make you powerful, as well as secret Hissatsuwaza techniques. On top of that, there is a 13 level bonus dungeon added for your pleasure after beating the game. The enemies here are very tough even for the most experienced gamers and you'll have to work hard to beat it. Character levels in Star Ocean can reach up to level 255.

A shame to have never come to North America, Star Ocean has seemingly become a cult RPG classic among frantic players. One of the most innovative and fun RPGs ever, I think Star Ocean goes as far as possible to being the funnest RPG possible, and paves the way for advanced RPGs of a similar type in the future. It's sequel, Star Ocean: The Second Story has also become a huge favorite with fans and has shown enthusiasm for the series in the future.

Graphics: 10
Music/Sound: 9
Gameplay: 10
Challenge: 8
Replay Value: 10

Overall: 9.5

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/31/02, Updated 01/31/02

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