Legend of the Philosopher's Stone

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Real Men Make Fan Games
Project of the Month winner for May 2009
Title: Legend of the Philosopher’s Stone
Author: Nemesis
Reviewer: madriel222

Plot (3/5)
This is the one and only aspect of Legend of the Philosopher’s Stone that falls short of stupendous. Not to say that Nemesis does a poor job executing his ideas, but rather that the plot line itself is rather cliched. In fact, the first ten or so minutes of the game will remind players of that SNES classic, Chrono Trigger, as seemingly average students, who for some reason wear armor, get sucked through a portal and sent into a brand new world. The game, from here, revolves around trying to find that ancient artifact, the philosopher’s stone, that will send these children home. Along the way, of course, they will solve problems buried within this new world and explore plenty ancient ruins along the way.

Nemesis does a fair job of executing his plot, and players who are not familiar with the classic RPG’s of old will probably enjoy it for the most part. The dialogue, however, may detract even the hardiest of gamers from sitting through this game. Nemesis is an obvious master of the English language, but sometimes he lets that expertise interfere with the sense of versmilitude that he is trying to create. Conversations get drawn out too long and the reactions of characters are sometimes too artificial. Do not let the weakness of the plot fool you, though, Legend of the Philosopher’s Stone has plenty more to offer.

Visuals (5/5)
I sat down and played this game for initially one reason: it was one of the most visually stunning amateur games I have ever seen. Using diverse, lush chipsets, Nemesis crafts a world as beautiful as our own, and with just as much depth. Nothing is overlooked, from the fog to the water to the odds and ends that make a house a home. Admittedly, I myself learned everything I know about mapping from examining the detailed areas found within Legend of the Philosopher’s Stone. I recommend that all beginning and intermediate game designers out there do the same. Outside of Sunset Over Imdahl, Legend the Philosopher’s Stone could quite possibly have the best map design of any RPG maker game to date.

The visual brilliance does not stop at the mapping, however, as other fantastic graphics prevail as well. The sprites are given numerous poses; the face sets have demonstrate emotions. All the small details that turn a game from mediocre to amazing are clearly obvious through the entire gaming session. The details extended to the battle system as well.

Audio (5/5)
I am not one to pay much attention to the audio aspects of games, but this one certainly did not disappoint. While sporting a fine soundtrack, what impressed me the most was the use of sound effects in places that enhanced the realism of the game. Bridges will creak and the occasional bird will chirp. Nemesis does an absolutely unparagoned job of bringing his world to life, and the sounds add to this effect just as much as the mapping itself.

Mechanics (5/5)
Completely custom systems bring Legend of the Philosopher’s Stone to the upper echelon of all amateur games. A gorgeous, functional custom menu, including options, items, and equipment, is proof enough to show that Nemesis is an expert event artist. The battle system, however, is where his talents truly shined. Emulating the side view battle systems of the classic SNES RPG’s, the battle sequences of this project seemed to hand code the default battle system, but with noticeable changes that would not be possible with that interface. Functional and visually stunning, the features that Nemesis brings to the forefront are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Conclusion
This is a game that I would recommend on two fronts. If you are a developer, play this game to learn something. Dissect the code and learn first hand from one of the premier event artists of our time. If you are a player, allow yourself to be immersed in a fantastic new world with plenty of locales to explore. See what can be found on the other side of that shimmering portal.

I give Legend of the Philosopher’s Stone
4.5/5

Game Download:  http://www.zshare.net/download/1224025441b7be2f/
« Last Edit: July 24, 2008, 03:38:39 PM by madriel222 »