NigSek: A Monster's Tail

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Real Men Make Fan Games
Project of the Month winner for May 2009
Title: “NigSek: A Monster’s Tail”
Author: Jon Davies
Reviewer: madriel222

To be honest, I knew about this game long before I sat down and played it. At first glance, the project seemed too pedestrian, not serious enough for the avid gamer that I suppose I am. Do not make the same mistake I did, Jon Davies’s “NigSek” is definitely worth your time.

There are some fan games that simply mow through all the characteristics of the game or series that they are trying to emulate, never really adding anything original. Then, there are a handful of fan games that take its parent and twists it in new, innovative directions. Taking concepts from the fabled “Legend of Zelda” series, I am proud to say that “NigSek: A Monster’s Tail” is a game of the latter class.

Plot (5/5)
Imagine your classic “Legend of Zelda” game. Link, the Hero of Time, has once again foiled that mad man from the desert, Gannondorf, preventing him from using the Triforce to spread destruction and chaos throughout the realm. Now, imagine that Link had some help doing it, and pretend that this help was in the form of a schizophrenic beast. If you can grasp that, then you more or less understand the backdrop to this tale.

What I particularly enjoyed about “NigSek” was the author’s determination to take the old “Legend of Zelda” themes and contorting them to his own, original plot line. Instead of throwing the protagonist forward in time, we send him backwards in this story. Instead of the uniform evil source that we are used to seeing, this game sports a multifaceted, perpetually shifting malevolence. Instead of the peace loving alternate races, we find a more dynamic group of individuals. All of the elements that made “Legend of Zelda” a pure classic are clearly portrayed, but with a refreshing image. The player will also notice a delightful use of cameos throughout the game, not only from the “Legend of Zelda” series, and these are used tastefully. Never will the player find a character isolated to his role from a previous gaming life. Each cameo is given a new life and a new purpose while still maintaining the characteristics that make that individual special.

Extremely inventive, yet classic, the plot of “NigSek” is an unparagoned example of a well conceived fan game.

Graphics (5/5)
The graphics in “The Way” series were gorgeous. The graphics in “Sunset Over Imdahl” were breathtaking. The graphics found in “NigSek” are not spectacular in the sense that they exude artistic brilliance, but rather that they are original, fitting to the author’s purpose, and enhance the mood of the game.

Cutting right to the chase, the “IT” factor that comes along with this project arrives in the form of custom made .AVI movies. Despite only lasting between ten and twenty seconds each, these movies are absolutely flawless in design and, more importantly, seamlessly integrated into game play. Each boss gets its own movie sequence, and these are just fun to watch in their own right, outside of the game. It did not strike me until I finally wrote this review, but I also smile at the fact that the movies were done in a style similar to that of “Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.” The textures, expressions, and terrain seemed to fit right along with that style. Check out a screen shot or two if you have any doubts.

Regarding chipsets, charsets, and the like, Davies does an excellent job of blending everything together, making the graphics fit nicely. His mapping style, while not particularly stunning, does feature overlays, characters with expression, and plenty of custom made goodness. I refuse to say that his style is not as “good” as the other hand drawn pieces by the likes of Teo, but it is quite different, and it may take some players time to get used to.

Sound (3/5)
Honestly, the sound was a little boring for me. The music needs to match the pace of the game a bit better, needs to get the player excited about moving from one section to the next. By starting the game out slowly, Jon Davies creates an atmosphere that may be boring for less than avid gamers. Picking up the pace with regards to music, or perhaps even a more exotic choice of instruments, could assist in that regard. Furthermore, some of the breaks between tracks were certainly broken, not transitioning well at all. A simple “fade out, fade in” could have made all the difference. As far as the actual sound effects, I had no complaints, other than they probably should have been more apparent, used more often.

Mechanics (3/5)
With a “Legend of Zelda” fan game, one would typically expect a “Legend of Zelda” sort of action battle system, right? Well unfortunately for fans of the game, this was not to be. While this reviewer has no problem with the absence of the hacking and slashing that I have become oh so familiar with, I was left disappointed that no major edits were done to the default battle system that comes with RPG Maker 2000. Sure, the battles themselves were fairly enjoyable, not too hard yet not too easy either, but I felt as if there was a bit too much space bar mashing and not enough strategy, and I am afraid that this is the price you pay for leaving the system the way it is. What redeems the system, however, are the custom made monster graphics, three dimensional beasts as well constructed as the .AVI movies mentioned earlier.

A slalom of mini games, though, I’m sure will keep you entertained while the days and nights pass. Being built more upon the passage of time than traveling, “NigSek” can engage the player without necessarily introducing new areas. Given the usual shortage of locations in the “Legend of Zelda” series, this was indeed an intelligent maneuver.

As far as other systems in this game, they are left at the default, so no complaints, or praise, in that department.

Conclusion:
A worthy download if you have some time to kill. While I would certainly not put it in the class of greatness that “A Blurred Line” and “Sunset Over Imdahl” belong to, “NigSek: A Monster’s Tail” is a fabulous and unique play in its own right. Fans of the “Legend of Zelda” series will be appeased, and others will appreciate the innovative twists and turns. Go ahead and play this one if you need a break from the humdrum hero.

Final Score:
4/5

Game Download:  http://www.rpgmaker.net/games/100/downloads/
« Last Edit: July 24, 2008, 03:42:52 PM by madriel222 »