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.
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 (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=gvPOsia-Cls) 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.
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.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes