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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Secret of Evermore


By on 10:51 AM


Secret of Evermore is an action RPG developed and published by Square Soft (now known as Square Enix) for the Super Nintendo. It was released in North America on the first of October in 1995, and to PAL regions in February the following year. It stars a teenaged boy and his pet dog (both named by the player) who end up stuck in the world of Evermore and must work together if they wish to ever get home.

We open up to a black and white flashback of Podunk, USA, 1965. A malfunction in a lab on top of a mansion causes the area to be flooded in a white flash of light. Then we jump thirty years to the present where our main character and his dog is leaving a theater. I wonder what's playing? The dog chases down his longtime mortal enemy, the cat, and they find the mansion we just saw, ran down and abandoned. They come across the lab hidden at the top (I guess an underground lab was just too mainstream) with a large machine inside and end up transported to Evermore after the dog chews on some nearby wires. I knew I should have gotten a goldfish.


After arriving at Evermore your dog turns into a wolf that you only know is your dog by playing fetch with it. You can switch between the human or his dog at any time in the game with the AI taking control of who you're not using. With the human AI you can set him to be defensive in battle or go all out; with the dog, you can have him attack any nearby enemies or search for alchemy ingredients. I'll touch more on alchemy a little later.

Since Secret of Evermore is an action RPG, that means there are no random battles. Fighting happens in real time with enemies coming at you as they would in an action or adventure game. The only difference is you gain experience points through fighting them and level up as time goes on.

Evermore is split up into four parts: Prehistoria, Antiqua, Gothica, and Omnitopia. Each area represents a moment in time. Prehistoria speaks for itself, filled with cavemen and dinosaurs, and you find your primary weapon being a bone; Antiqua has a Colosseum and pyramid theme going for it; Gothica is all medieval castles with a strong dragon population; and Omnitopia is a futuristic space station that you get to see a little bit of before escaping to Prehistoria. Your pet also changes form in each of the four areas going hand in hand with the location's theme.


Alchemy replaces the usual magic systems that you'll find in other RPGs. Instead of magic points you need to find ingredients for your Alchemic Formula. Alchemic Formulas are given to you from other alchemists that you meet throughout the course of the game. It's recommended that you set your dog to search for ingredients and only have him ready to attack anything that moves for bosses and stronger enemies you meet out on the field. If all goes well your dog will lead you to a spot where an alchemy ingredient is being held. Otherwise, he'll just be sniffing at the ground all day. When all is said and done you'll be able to cast magic on enemies.

There are four kinds of weapons in the game: sword, spear, axe, and a bazooka. I'm not even kidding, you actually get to fire a bazooka! The first three weapons listed have four versions of them and their skill will increase the more they're used. The maximum skill level for each weapon is three, and with each level increase you get a new charge attack you can use in battle. Some weapons are also needed in order to remove obstacles such as plants and rocks.

Another thing that changes across regions is currency. In Prehistoria they exchange talons for goods and services; In Antiqua it's gemstones; Gothica, gold coins; and in Omnitopia we have credits. Because if it's in the future it has to be digital, we don't take kindly to paper money anymore. Not since the great paper shortage of 2125. If you find yourself in one region with only the currency in the previous region, don't worry. There are people who will convert your currency over to that region's so you'll be good to go.

Cons: Overall, this game just bores me. I like the world and how it's setup, but there's nothing that really pulls you in. The main character's personality is just bland and his biggest traits from what I can see is looking like Archie from the Archie comics and sprouting off about B movies when he finds himself in a new situation. I know this is back in the 16-bit era, but come on, we got Final Fantasy VI one year before this came out. I know Square Soft has a more interesting protagonist in them.

Searching for ingredients is a tedious experience. It makes me long for the simpler magic systems in other RPGs than saying, “Oh, wow, this is so cool and original!” or whatever they were going for. It felt like they were trying to go for something different and in the end it just wasn't executed that well.

Another thing that annoys me about this game is the save feature. You can only save your game at a certain point and you have to perform an action before you can do it. In the first town you find in Prehistoria you have to pay a man to sleep in his inn and then the game gives you the option to save. Further on in the game you have to shop for items (you don't have to buy anything so that's one silver lining) and only then can you save. Would it have been so hard just to have a save icon or something? This is just ridiculous. It feels like they're trying to be different and standout when all they're doing is making things unnecessarily complicated.

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