Secret of Evermore -- Maybe Next Time I'll Play It before Reviewing It

Secret of Evermore -- Maybe Next Time I'll Play It before Reviewing It

By: MrSPUFON (That's "Spoof"-on instead of Chupon... get it? Bah. Nevermind.)

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 11
   Interface 7
   Music/Sound 9
   Originality 15
   Plot 2
   Localization 16
   Replay Value 32
   Visuals 3
   Difficulty Like taking candy from a dead guy
   Time to Complete

2 hrs - 2.5 hrs

Forty Seven

Beautiful Screenshot!

   What can I say? I'm impressed with Secret of Evermore. Supposedly the bane of all Square existence, the butt of RPGs, the sole testament that Square USA really couldn't do a good job on their own American brewed RPG, Secret of Evermore really turned those impressions around for me. It was a sunny, rainy day when I decided to trudge out in the snow and go borrow my friend's copy of SoE, which had apparently made him nauseous from playing it to the point where he was ready to throw it away. "Forget about all the rumors," I told myself. "I'll give it a whirl." And for the 4 minutes I played before I blacked out, I must say -- Secret of Evermore is really something.

   First and foremost is the most original battle system I've ever seen. This never ever ever ever before seen type of battle system only first appeared in the Gameboy's "Final Fantasy Adventure" and then in "Secret of Mana" for the SNES. Amazingly original, you have the main character -- whose name I forget -- literally swing a dog bone at oncoming, scaly, sharp fanged foes. True to real life, the bone makes a large dent in the monsters' hit points and kills them. What genius! But instead of being a Zelda like *hack hack hack* game, this original battle system directly rips off of SoM by placing a small power meter at the bottom determining your strength and success of attack. Let it fill up, then attack at full strength. Very nice indeedy. The only problems with battles were that they were slow paced, uninspired, and more or less just not fun. But when you look past all that, what you have is a solid, quick, innovative and truly fun battle system.

   Then there's the interface. Well. There's not much I can say about the interface, frankly, because I didn't play long enough to fiddle with it. I give it a 7 for being simple to use, fun, and pretty -- barring the fact that I don't really know anything at all about the menus and such, I think a 7 rating is fair due to my obvious in-depth knowledge of SoE's intricacies.

Showcasing EXCELLENT graphics... wait I gave them a 3...
"...and this is what you point at whatever you want to die..."  

   The music? Exquisite. I can't get enough of the music, again, barring the fact that I heard maybe 4 minutes of it. It's a beautiful symphony, almost reaching the instrumental quality of Sega's Golden Axe ported for PC using the venerable PC Speaker. Brilliant. As if looping the same ten-second long theme/pattern over and over and over again weren't enough, the composer decided to include notes that actually changed. Did I mention that the soundtrack is almost good enough to make me unmute the game? Pure genius.

   Now, the originality of this game is where it shines. As stated above, the battle system must have been the most ingenious creation since sporks (too shallow to have soup, prongs too short to effectively use). And the "alchemy"system is pure fun. I haven't tested it out yet, as in 4 minutes of playing time it never surfaced, but I can assure you with much credibility that is it as good as everyone says it is... given that anyone at all says it's good. The level design, too, is magnificent and original. Remember Tomb Raider's ugly "you go find switch, you open door, you walk back 144002 feet back to door, you pass level" boards? Guess where that game got it from. Bingo, SoE.

   Now the plot I wasn't too fond of. It's the same boring, "you've been shifted from your own world into ours and you must help us." No points. However, I do like the fact that your character has a punk hairdo and does a little Michael Jackson dance. And I also like how you start out fighting with a two foot long doggy bone. So there's two points for that. All in all, the story isn't that bad except for the fact that it's horrid. Could make a good book, perhaps.

   Localization up next -- well, this is a US made game, so if there were any localization problems, then... well, you know. But I found the dull characters to be full of life. The boring writing staff really gave them such generic lines to make the whole game's atmosphere vivid and lush. There are no spoony bards here -- only blase blase. You can't find a better or more exciting localization job like this anywhere outside of SoE.

This particular screen shot is cool.
He fights with a bone. Um. Something tells me Square has gone the corrupted Disney route...  

   The game also benefits from a humongous replay value. Each time I started playing it, I couldn't stand it past that four minute mark, so every time I just stopped and turned off the SNES. When I went back to it, the same thing happened. But what really matters here? What matters is that I tried to play it for more than four minutes for perhaps two weeks in a row. If a game can hook you for 14 days straight, then it's settled -- the replay value must be through the roof.

  It's a shame, however, that the visuals were crap. Given, I only saw 4 minutes of them, but perhaps I could only stand 4 minutes of it. The colors are drab and pasty. The main character is, well, just ugly. So is your dog, as are the NPCs, menu icons, portraits, and level graphics. Being the only section of the review besides plot that actually isn't fake, the visuals just plain stunk. They got brownie points for being in color, but that's about it.

The game itself is easy. Heck, I played it in four minutes. (Disclaimer: notice the words "beat," "completed," or any other synonyms never appeared in that last statement.) All you do is guide your bone weilder around and whack things with it -- and then, you'll have fulfilled your experience and you can turn off your SNES. But don't let the easiness of the game fool you -- it's still fun, addictive, and boring.

You know what?
Wait a minute, can you even see these screenshots???  

That's a good thing, because all the easiness gives it a slow completion time. If you take care with the game and find every little piece there is to find, the game will give you an anemic but healthy 2 to 2.5 hours of solidly horrible gameplay. If you're looking for a challenge, look no further than SoE (the goal is to beat my four minute mark).

In conclusion? Go out and buy this game. It's totally worth your money given that you spend none on it. SoE is a masterpiece to behold, and play. I applaud Square USA for bringing out such a magnificent title to our shores without the delays of translation and such that come with a Japanese game. Kudos, Square, you've created a classic (piece of crap).

P.S. - Apologies to those who can't see the screens... I think it's because I didn't bother including them.
P.P.S. - I know, I know, this game's so good that my review deserves more attention to details (like screenshot inclusion) than it does... so sue me...

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