RPG Maker Review: Beyond the Gate

Beyond the Gates Lies a Story to be Told

Beyond the Gate is a RPG Maker 2003 game made by Sam for the 2011 RMN Summer Games contest.

It follows the life of Claire, a young woman who struggles with living with terminal cancer. As you play through the game, you play as Claire facing her fears which physically manifest themselves as ghostly entities. The game doesn’t really focus on the illness at hand and chooses to follow a much more general theme much to it’s benefit. Continue reading

RPG Maker Review: Inside

Inside Is Torture!

title_screen

Game Title: Inside
Author: Relyt
Platform: RPG Maker 2003
Status: Complete
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I’m typing up this review as I thought Inside needed more attention. I waited for it to be completed before diving in and I’m quite pleased I played this game.

The game starts off with a few choices you can make to the game.¬† These are difficulty, change default name and skip the cut scenes. I went for the Normal difficulty as I thought that’s the standard for games to be reviewed by. As for cut scenes, I recommend you keep them unless you’ve played the game once already but they’re not that long anyway.

insideThe cutscenes in this game are thankfully short and to-the-point

The story follows a games developer named Jack (that’s you) that has somehow got sucked inside (cue the “Inside” title) a virtual reality game. The virtual realm doesn’t offer much in terms of safety so every step almost always a hazard. As the game progress through the levels you get to see the story unfold. However, there are only four levels in which Relyt tried to give a compelling story. This resulted in the pace of the story moving along faster than I would have wanted so characters were not fleshed out enough. The general idea behind the story was quite interesting and it would certainly be a hot topic up for discussion in debating groups.

Graphics aren’t the greatest you’ll see on RM2k3 but they do what they suppose to do so I have no complaints really (apart from the rainbow coloured HP display!).

Now onto the core of the game, gameplay. It certainly excels here as it carries the game forward to the levels of addiction. Spikes often need to be shut off via a switch somewhere else on the level or avoided by timed movements. Doors always need a key (that’s not a gun, I made that mistake) and monsters are unbeatable so you must cleverly outmanoeuvre them.

level_oneThat creature might OHKO you if you’re not careful

The structure of each level is divided into three parts and the last part features a boss battle which can take several tries to understand what needs to be done. There are also welcomed diversions such as a maze and a chase sequence.

The sounds you hear in this game are passable. The monster groans are not the greatest things you will hear but the game’s music theme is entirely original and fits well with the game.

As with any technical RM2k3 game there are some bugs in the game. The glitches happen when you get stuck to a moving object, be it a monster or some spikes. The result: you’ll receive damage until you die. Thankfully, the game is saved after each level within an area.

mazeIt’s a-maze-ing how easily you get lost in this level

A couple of other glitches I found arose during a chase scene where my chaser got somehow stuck in the walls allowing me to breeze through the level. In one scene a log book is shown with white text on a white background, this occurred after the first area was finished. None of these bugs really deter you from playing the game to the end though.

As a treat for “cheaters” (as Relyt puts it), there is a hidden map within the RM2k3 editor where you can make your own levels and submit them to Relyt who’ll decide if they’re worthy of being included in the game. I couldn’t make any that matched the standard Relyt set which goes to shows how good the level designs in this game are.

To conclude, Inside is a short but brutal game that requires the player to learn their mistakes and push forward to the next challenge. Kind of like what the NES games were like except this game reduces that difficulty with an abundance of save points. If you’re thinking of downloading this game, do it. It’s not going to take up a lot of your time and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.

Overall verdict: good

Hero’s Realm Released!

And it’s about time too!

Hero's Realm

If you like to play games like Dragon Quest or all those 8-bit RPGs from way back then give Hero’s Realm a try. Kentona (that’s the author of this game) has worked extremely hard to make finish this game and having¬† played an early demo myself, I’d say it’s a game worth playing.

So here’s the link, you’ll find screenshots and a download there plus you can discuss the game and give some feedback to Kentona.

RMN Forums

I hope to put up a full review once I finish the entire game but that’ll take ages so here’s my outdated review after playing to Chapter 2 from 2007!

Continue reading

RPG Maker Review: Ruptured Souls

Liberate Locks and Shoot Strangers

Ruptured Souls Title Screen

Game Title: Ruptured Souls
Author: Max McGee
Platform: RPG Maker 2003
Status: Production (All Hallows Demo)
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As you can see the title screen is quite disturbing but it’s something I got used to as I played this game more.

The story is well presented with accompanying images and it’s quite compelling. The gist of it is that a detective called Mason (the character you play as) is investigating the disappearance of a girl which also happens to involve other girls going missing. Obviously something fishy is going on so it’s up to you to get to the bottom of this case.

I noticed the music playing in the background was done by KRG who posted a handful of original music on the rpgmaker.net forums. The single track that was used went well with the game.

The gameplay involves a lot of exploration for example, finding items to opening locks; there are a lot of keys to find by the way.

This room was locked.This room was locked.

You get to make decisions which could result in an instant game over. I’ll try not to spoil anything but one particular example is when someone’s chasing you and you have the option of hiding, confronting them or running away. This is where the game really shows a strength in depth as the choices branch out in abundance. Max (author of this game) claims there’s over 10 different ways of finishing the demo so thankfully you can save anywhere.

Ruptured Souls Screenshot #2This is a life-or-death situation!

There’s no HUD system. Instead you get to call up your HP meter, save and quit your game via keyboard strokes. It would’ve been nice to see a constant health display on-screen but from what I’ve played Mason’s HP never was called into account.

The graphics aren’t a talking point of the game as it looks like a regular rm2k3 game. Having said that, the lighting effects (achieved by using overlays) helped a great deal giving the environment that desired horror setting.

There was one occasion where I did actually “jump” and I was completely caught off-guard, it was a sudden sprite movement so if you decide to play this game just be prepared for that.

Playing the demo the “right” way is quite short but it’s a good start of what’s to follow later on in the Medical Centre which I look forward to playing.

Overall rating: good