Record Of Lodoss War: Advent Of Cardice - Review

So Hard To Coordinate It Has 7 Developers


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 5
   Interface 4
   Music/Sound 3
   Originality 3
   Plot 6
   Localization 7
   Replay Value 3
   Visuals 5
   Difficulty Very Hard
   Time to Complete

50-75 hours


Title Screen

   Every platform has had at least one game based on an anime. The Saturn had Rayearth. The SNES had Sailor Moon. The PSX had Arc The Lad... The Dreamcast got one that should rightly have been awesome as an RPG; Record Of Lodoss War. If you've never seen the anime, it's about a group of chosen heroes that must stop the resurrection of the Goddess of Destruction; Cardice (spelled differently when directly translated). Along the way they undergo what is commonly seen as the greatest on-screen Dungeons & Dragons adventure story of all time in the animated world. But... When all that simple glory gets translated into a game... There is some loss of integrity.

   The battle process of ROLW is exactly like that of Diablo. Almost so much so that it's scary. In fact, the only real difference is the equipment system and magic. Basically you run around 3D mazes and overworld maps hacking and slashing you way through the skeletons, sand worms, spectres, dark elves, and daemons just as you would in any action oriented RPG. There is little or no skill involved except the one that tells you when to retreat or heal (which can be done fabulously at any time). Simply remember to upgrade your equipment by visiting Anvar's Smithy and you're ready to go. Always be sure to have full potion bottles and you'll be stomping the baddies left and right... Except the golems maybe... But they're a special case.

   Although not terrible, the subscreens of ROLW are set up in such a way as to be difficult to navigate. The analog really doesn't help the game any, either. In fact... Of all the DC games I've played and own ROLW has the least interation with any of the peripheral controller devices (VMU, Jump Pack, etc.)... But I'm straying off topic. The system menu lets you equip, trade backpack and belt-pouch items, look at the overhead map of the whole area, view status, change color settings, and generally do everything else on one single screen. No menu hopping for us boys and girls.

Does This Sound Like Parn To Anyone Else?
Does This Sound Like Parn To Anyone Else? 

   The music and sound effects repertoire of ROLW could definitely have used some extra work. The voice samples are sorta grainy and they're very rarely interspersed, to boot. After Shenmue I doubt that voice acting in an RPG will ever be the same but they could've used the powers of the Dreamcast and at least tried harder. For the most part, the sound effects are passable... But then there are the sounds that Parn omits whenever he attacks... It got so bad sometimes that I just muted the TV and put on some good old Nobuo Uematsu FFVI Symphonic music and let it stay that way. The music is mostly just ambient noise or gothic 'dungeon adventure' fare. Also, nothing I miss.

   As I mentioned in opening, every game system has a game based (often very loosely) on some anime. So... You can pretty much chuck the originality factor out the window.

   You are the raised spirit of a long dead warrior whose quest to stop the ressurection of the evil Goddess Cardice will take you all across the dark island of Marmo. Along the way you'll recruit the help of such notable heroes and heroines as: Parn, the freedom knight - Deedlit, the high elf princess - Slayn, a sorcerer in training (but no sorcerer is a push over...) - and Leylia, a priestess of Marfa, Goddess of Creation... Oh... And let us not forget Narse, the Dark Dragon... Although that relationship is sorta tenuous as you might guess...

More Daemons Than An Urotsukidoji Convention
More Daemons Than An Urotsukidoji Convention 

   Insofar as you don't take everything too literally, the translation is just fine. When you think back on the anime and its' setting you might see some contrast of interest. By no means is it the intergalacticsupremeness of localization on the Dreamcast. That award is still up for grabs, methinks.

   Play time in the game is pretty ridiculous, really. You level up like a mad man and if you always carry a lot of 'pick' items around to help gather Mythril (the metal you use to upgrade weapons), you should be able to make the most badass weapons in the game before the final struggle. But... Good luck all the same as you'll need about five hundred gallons of healing fluid for said battle.

   The Dreamcast usually impresses me graphically... And you would think that with all the developers working on the game, that this would be no exception... On the contrary... They are possibly the worst I've seen on the system. That doesn't make them terrible by PSX standards but I've seen graphics on the PlayStation with a lot more detail than the FMV cutscenes in ROLW. All around I wasn't especially impressed with the graphics... They certainly don't follow the style of the anime itself and not any really consistent style of their own, either.

   The game is hard starting before you even reach the goblin fortress (which just so happens to be the first quest!). There is really no easy way to play through the game. It is uniquely fraught with dangers so horrible that if you accidentally trigger the wrong button or open the wrong chest you'll be swarmed upon by a dozen iron golems and twice that many chill demons... Bosses are horrendously difficult because they can often slay you in two or three attacks... My suggestion would be that you stay away from enemies as far as you possibly can and pick off the small ones during the beginning so that you can hope to face the ogres, sand worms, serpents, demons, and giant zombies later, when you'll actually stand a chance.

"Get Me Now, You Dark Elf Bas- AUGH!"
"Get Me Now, You Dark Elf Bas- AUGH!" 

   Because of all the negative factors facing you when you actually play the game, ROLW gets a really low score in Replay to help deter you from playing it again. If it's not that enjoyable the first time... Why play it a second time at all?

   I had been hoping for big things from Record Of Lodoss War as an RPG... Instead I got a slightly cheesy Diablo-clone... And if you've read my review of Diablo, you'll kindly note that I said many of the same things about it that I said here. If you're really dying to waste thirty-five or forty bucks and you want to add to you Dreamcast collection, go buy Sonic Adventure 2... At least you'll get the satisfaction of knowing what's going on in that game.

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