REVIEW: Chronicles of a Dark Lord: Episode 1 Tides of Fate

Friday, February 8th, 2013

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Chronicles of a Dark Lord: Episode 1 Title: Chronicles of a Dark Lord: Episode 1 Tides of Fate
Publisher: Kisareth Studios
Developer: Kisareth Studios
Release Date: May 8th, 2011
Genre: RPG
Official Site


The 16-bit age is back in its full glory; enter Chronicles of a Dark Lord: Episode 1 Tides of Fate. This game is a definite throwback to the RPGs of old, and that is a good thing. It has been a long while since I have played a good old-school game like this one. The folks over at Kisareth Studios have done a fantastic job in making this game.

The story follow a young man named Magus Lee who is held back by his father, a brutal overlord. Despite being ready for the throne, Magus ends up following his father into battle where he is engulfed by a great dark power. He then uses this power to defeat the opposing army. Magus then defeats his father, but soon after this he loses a bunch of battles, and this makes him upset. As a result, his powers are stripped from him. Magus then starts a small kingdom and raises a family. Finding out his kingdom will soon be attacked, Magus sets out on an adventure to find allies and save his kingdom from ruin.

The 16-bit visuals look wonderful in HD. Everything from the animations to the drawn sprites looks great. You can tell the team put a lot of time and care into making them. The overworld looks great as well, with several different types of environments being represented. From sunny fields to fiery volcanoes, these maps are well-detailed and look great. The towns and dungeons look good as well.

Chronicles of a Dark Lord: Episode 1

The sound effects, although kind of plain, do their job well. Nothing really exceptional here; typical 16 bit sound effects, of swords and magic being flung about. The music, however, is very pleasing; it fits the game’s mood rather well. From the guitar riffs of the battle theme to the more noble themes of the castles, it was always a joy to listen to. I was really impressed with many of the different tracks featured in the OST. They should really consider releasing it as a download; it is that good. Here is an example of one of the fine tracks found within the OST.

This game plays like many of the RPGs of old. Battles are turn-based with ATB present, pretty much like Final Fantasy VI. Each of the playable characters has a set of skills he or she can acquire. You get these by reaching a certain experience level. Some of these will be supportive spells, others will be skill buffs and attack skills. Just like any great RPG of the past, some weapons and skills have elemental properties. So hit the enemy with its weakness, and watch its HP fall quickly. The battle system may seem rather old, but I am here to tell you it still works great and is true to this game in every way. The ability to save at any time outside of battle is a great feature because we are all very busy and can’t always walk a half hour to the next save point.  The only minor complaint I have is the encounter rate in certain areas is unreasonable, even by old-school standards. A few of the maps are a little confusing as well, but nothing really major there.

Chronicles of a Dark Lord: Episode 1

The story is a joyride all of its own. At times it is very humorous and also quite serious at times. The game will present you with choices sometimes, such as letting an unruly NPC live or die because of their poor choice of words. These choices will affect the game later on in different ways. I really liked this feature in the story as it adds some replay value to the game and also makes you feel more involved in the story itself. The banter between the game’s characters is great. It is funny at times with them making jabs at each other, while at other times is serious to push the story forward. It is these little details in the game that make you feel like you get to know these characters better. One of the best examples I can think of is when you have two certain female characters in your party and stay at an inn, Magus decides to have a night of fun, if you get what I mean. It’s these little story quirks that make it stand out from some of the other games I have which are similar to this. In the end, the story was a true joy to read. I look forward to see where they go with it from here.

In the end if you love older style RPGs you cannot go wrong with this title. Its solid story, great graphics, and wonderful music make it a must play for anyone that loves this style. I had a blast playing this title; it made me remember all the old RPGs from yesteryear and how much fun I had with those as well. Its quirky style and wonderful presentation make this one of the best RPGs I have played in a while. I very much look forward to seeing where this series will go down the line; they are off to a great start.

Review Score

Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes

About Steve Baltimore

Steve started with oprainfall not long after the campaign moved from the IGN forums to Facebook. Ever since, he has been fighting to give all non-mainstream RPGs a fair voice. As the site admin, he will continue to do this and even show there is value in what some would deem "pure ecchi." He loves niche games and anime more than anything... well, except maybe Neptune.

  • Looks like another RPG Maker made game. (Not saying this is a bad thing, there are some really good ones.)

    • Crystal Lynn

      My god, I’m definitely going to buy this! I was just saying the other day how I wished there was a game or a series of games that was like the classic Final Fantasies but better. Looks like my wish was granted! Can’t wait to play this!

  • Nefertiri Allana

    I just bought this game a few days ago off of the developer’s website, and it’s one of the best RPGs I’ve played in a really long time. I have to say that the soundtrack really is amazing, the story is great, and the HD visuals are spot on. I think Square-Enix might have something to worry about in the near future once Kisareth Studios really takes off.

  • Zeon Force

    I read this review a few weeks ago, so I thought I’d give the game a shot. Talk about a game being worth every penny. The story is just insanely fun and addictive. The characters’ personalities are great, and I love the melded retro and realistic HD visuals. I think what really sold it for me though, was the soundtrack. The battle and boss themes are AMAZING! For once, I can play a RPG and love the normal battle theme every time I hear it. Kudos to the developer on this game. Definitely a hidden gem that should be far more popular.

  • Ellisandra

    I just bought this game off of Amazon a few days ago and I have to agree with the other commenters about it. The game’s storyline is crazy addictive, the characters are awesome (Xiria Lee is my favorite), the hi-res graphics are amazing and the soundtrack! The soundtrack is one of my favorite parts of the whole game. I really loved the pacing of the battles too, and the HD enemy sprites are gorgeous. It’s only 5 bucks! Everyone needs to pick up this game right now.

  • Xanedis

    If anyone here itches to play rpgmaker games, he owes it to himself to play Love&War. That, or Blurred Line, although I loved Love&War more(both of them are FREE too, and quality to the boot).

    • ElrohirLand

      Having played both of those games in the past and this one just recently, I can honestly say they’re low quality and sub-par compared to this game. They don’t have HD quality sprites and graphics, this one does (I still want to know how the developer of CoaDL raised the quality of their sprites to that level). Their storylines are decent, but not nearly as in-depth and amazing as this one. Their soundtracks are ripped from other games, this one’s is completely original and boasts one of the best soundtracks heard in an RPG in a long time (especially the boss themes). I also want to point out, that the gameplay (especially in Blurred Line) in battle is not nearly as smooth as this one’s. I don’t know what the developer did for this game’s battle system, but it’s definitely been modified from what I’ve seen in similar battle systems in other RPG Maker games and in a really good way.

      If anyone wants to play a great free RPG Maker game, then I’d suggest Lunar Wish: Orbs of Fate. It does rip music from other games, but otherwise than that, it’s very original and one of the better free RPG Maker games out there.

      And that’s the bottom line, because after a decade in the RPG Maker community, I know what’s an amazing indie game and what isn’t. This is one of the best indie RPGs out there, bar none. Can’t wait for the sequel.

    • Xanedis

      That’s the thing: both of those games have received considerable updates lately, with Love&War receiving an update only a month ago(Blurred Line’s update was quite a while ago though).But regardless, I accept your point on commercial games being better than free ones, but what I disagree on is your opinion on Lunar Wish being the absolute best. The reason?

      There is a thing called ‘personal opinion’, and last I heard it was quite the thing in pretty much everything that has to do with humans. Experience and knowledge can only do so much, but what one likes, he likes. That, if anything, is the true bottom line.

      … For some reason I get the feeling that I am just trying to pettily one-up you. Ah well. Happens to the best of us :D.

    • ElrohirLand

      Because I enjoy a good debate? 😀 I was hoping you would respond back, because I live for a great argument. I wasn’t trolling you or anything (I’m not like that). Still though, Lunar Wish is (currently) the best free RPG Maker game out there in my opinion and I’ll tell you why in a few moments. I also want to point out that I’m looking at a few other free RM games still in development, because their demos are amazing thus far.

      Now, as for why Lunar Wish: Orbs of Fate is so amazing, that one, the story and the dialogue actually feels like an Atlus-developed game. There’s actual real dialogue there, an amazingly in-depth storyline, and some really great lines that literally had me laughing out loud. It wasn’t convoluted, full of grammar mistakes, and made no sense after an hour unlike many RM games I’ve played. Second, the enemy sprites used are not ripped from other games, but were done by a sprite artist that’s got his own website (I know where they’re from), and I believe this is the first game I’ve seen them used in correctly and done right. Third, the music is gorgeous. Yes, some of it is from commercial games, but even those tracks are remixed tracks/edited tracks that sound different from the originals enough, that you’d think they were made for the game. Each track fits perfectly in-game, something few RM games seem to do especially lately. Fourth, there’s the smooth animation of the character sprites and the battle animations during combat. Each animation you can tell was carefully made and selected, the battle poses were tremendous, and I really enjoy how they displayed the use of magick and abilities in battle.

      Finally, there’s the gorgeous mapping and overall difficulty curve/balance of the game. Bosses are actually difficult enough and require strategic thinking, the balance of the game’s enemies compared to stat growth is nigh on perfect, and the game’s got some of the coolest features I’ve seen in an RM game, like with finding items using a particular gadget that lets you see them, and lots more.

      Put it this way, if the developer of Lunar Wish: Orbs of Fate used completely original or royalty-free music, they could sell it and probably make some damn good money. I can’t say that for Love & War, Blurred Line, Visions and Voices, Legionwood, etc.