RPG Maker Review: Vampiros

Drink Up

Vampiros is calunio‘s first RPG Maker 2000 game that was made several years ago and re-released as an English translated version for the Valedictory Game Drive.

It’s a traditional RPG game that follows the story of a vampire named Alef who sets out to find why vampires exist and ultimately his own purpose.

You start off in the International University of Vampires just after a short dream sequence. After several minutes of searching around for a background to the history of the game, you’ll quickly find yourself in the first dungeon.

The game uses the default battle system in RPG Maker 2000 (turn-based) coupled together with random encounters although key battles has enemies sprites appear on-screen. The encounter rate as well as the battles themselves are very balanced, you could spam the attack command and get away with some of the common enemies but the boss battles require more thinking.

Talking of boss battles, the first one proved to be somewhat challenging. There is a huge difference in difficulty between that and the common battles that preceded it (this is due to the “shock” ability the boss uses that causes you to miss a turn). This resulted in me dying once and having to grind a couple of levels which didn’t take long at all and I managed to beat it quite comfortably. However, after doing so, I was faced with a multiple-choice question and I answered the one that I thought was most diplomatic and got a game over screen so I had to repeat the boss battle and make sure I chose the “correct” answer next time. Thankfully, this was the only time this happened but I found that any decisions in this game did not alter the storyline at all which was a shame.

One of two training tasks you can do to make battles easier

Abilities or “Sanguinus” were a mixed bag, some are very useful like ‘Lullaby’ which was very effective against bosses whereas some were just useless. For example, ‘Slash’ which never landed a successful hit and ‘Heal’  healed less than half that of ‘bloody bags’ (the HP healing item in this game) so I stuck to the healing items instead.

As magic points tend to dry up fast in the game, monsters drop a lot of healing items. Back at the university, you can also play a couple of mini-games to get healing items and gain some experience. These involve chasing after a target(s) and some pretty easy battles. I used this opportunity to gain some levels as there were easy-to-access healing spots in the university although I later found this to be unnecessary as the first dungeon had a better one anyway.

The first dungeon was a breeze thanks mainly to the healing spot

If you haven’t already noticed, Vampiros mainly uses the default (RTP) graphics with some edited however this doesn’t really make the game less playable unless you can’t actually stand RTP. Mapping is done well, you won’t get lost travelling and there aren’t any mapping glitches that I’ve come across.

The game also uses RTP audio files and these are used well enough. I did have an issue with some Chrono Trigger music in there though as I’ve played that game countless times and it kinda broke any sort of immersion I was meant to be having while playing. The all-too-familar Chrono Trigger battle tune was used in pretty much in all battles including boss battles themselves which eventually became white noise to my ears.

Without giving anything away, the game had some key amount including a situation where a party member leaves permanently. That character had most of the good gear equipped and left with all of them which was annoying once I realised they weren’t in my inventory. I’m not sure if this is a limitation of RPG Maker 2000 where held items on leaving party members are automatically deposited in the inventory though.

It took me about eighty minutes to complete Vampiros which included checking to see if the various choices you could make would actually effected the end-game. I felt the ending was a bit rushed and lacked any sense of accomplishment although it did have a touching non-game related dedication at the end. This game won’t blow your mind away or cause you to proclaim it’s the second coming of Don but for what it’s worth, it does a lot of things right and you’ll reach the end before you know it.

Overall verdict: good

You can download Vampiros at RPGMaker.net

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