Welcome to Issue 1, October
MYSTERIOUS SONG - Darkness Ethereal
Only released this year, Mysterious Song is already being recogonised as the greatest game ever to grace QuickBasic. If any game deserves the title of "Classic", this one does.
Graphics : *** (Good)
Using the standard 320x200 256 color screen mode that QuickBasic has become famous for, and powered by the GSLib, Mysterious Song does everything expected from it. It's flickerless, fast, and friendly to the eye. It boasts several pre-rendered backdrops for the battles, and while there are only four location types in the whole game (Cave, Town, World and Tower), they are all beautifully drawn. It sure whould have been nice to have a more diverse number of locations (Forests, Castles, anything really). It would have also been nice if the NPC's had moved now and then; the towns all have a kinda dead feeling about them. There's really nothing severe to count against Mysterious Song - The Enemies are drawn wonderfully, the Backdrops are lovely, infact, almost everything looks "Lovely" in this game. It's such a shame that there's nothing particularly special about them.
Music: ***** (Excellent)
It would be an offence to music in general if this game were to get anything less that an "Excellent Mark" in music. There are some really nice pieces in this game - pieces that make you stop and listen rather than play. As a matter of fact - The Music in this game of the highest quility in any Qbasic game, and even rivals some Final Fantasy Classics. One of the first things that hit you in this game is the title screen music - One of the nicest pieces in the game, it immediatly gives you a good first impresion of the game. During the game you'll be treated the excellent songs for the town of Nemar and the Boss Theme.
GamePlay : *** (Good)
Oddly enough, Gameplay is the weakest aspect of the game. Being a Dragon Warrior style RPG, you have to be prepared to do lots of leveling up. In fact, If you're not prepared for this, you probably won't even like the game. There are only three playable characters throughout the whole game, which, even though this is opinion, is a downfall of the game. A diverse number of characters would have been excellent, like in Distant Promises. However, the gameplay isn't bad either. Although it can get annoying that you have to level up manually, once you start getting in to the game you won't mind it. It would have been nice if there was more to do - for example, sub games.
Replay Value: **** (Very Good)
Because the game is so difficult, you won't have any problems playing the game over again, in fact, the likelyhood is that you will want to. It's fun, and there are a number of things you are unlikely to have done the first time around (Like kill the Dragons, for example). But the game is also very short, which may put you off replaying the game. The game consists of only 4 towns, 2 caves and one big tower, so it's not likely to take you anymore than 5 hours at the very worst.
Challenge: ***** (Excellent)
It's just so difficult! If this is the first RPG you ever play, you havn't got a chance. It's clear that this RPG is aimed at practised RPG gamers - clear as mud, because even at the very start of the game the battles are hard. If you don't spend your time volenteerinly leveling up, you won't get anywhere.
Story: **** (Very Good)
At the start of the game, I was close to tears. "Not another goddamn 'Save Toren from all the Evil monsters plot'! Please!". Well, maybe that's an exageration, but you get the idea. The plot contains some real good ideas, damn original too, but the rest of the game is so clichéd! Another negitive factor is character interaction. Once the other two characters join you, you never hear from them again, despite fighting side by side with them. However, the main story is the realtionship between Spear and Grimm. And when you do find out what's going on here, you'll do like me and take back anything bad you've said about the game.
Overall : **** (Very Good)
Overall, This game just misses the Excellent mark. It's one fantastic game that deserves recoginition as the best QBRPG out there - this is something that Darkness Ethereal should be proud of.
Download this game at : Darkness Ethereal
Reviewer - Terry Cavanagh (firstname.lastname@example.org)