We don't always like being nonplussed

Sunday, July 17, 2011

RPG Maker Showcase: lorca!

Here we go with RPG Maker Showcase!

Our first game is called "Lorca." I'm capitalizing that where the creator did not because a lot of fonts make the distinction between upper-case I and lower-case l tricky; I had to look at the Katakana (Roruka) to realize the game wasn't Iorca.

The title screen's a little sparse, but it works. As with nearly every RPG Maker game, the options are New Game, Continue, End. We start with some plain text screens talking about the plot, and something called "Kohaku no Bara," which my best stab at translating is "Rose of Amber." I'm sure Kanye's ex has nothing to do with this. Or I assume not.

Our hero's name is Keith Ombler. Or something like that. Keese Onbura? Whatever you like, unless the creator of the game contradicts me which he or she is totally welcome to do. The music is pretty nice- it's conveying a spooky mood fairly effectively.

The menu system is pretty simple stuff in the vein of Final Fantasy IV-IX: Item, Skill, Equip, Status, Save, Quit. Oddly, Keese starts with better gear than what he's wearing as default. No idea why, but I'm putting it on.

The battle system is pure Dragon Quest. First you decide if you want to fight, run or change equipment, and once you're past that you can attack, use skills, defend or use items. The rippling background strikes me as very Earthbound/Mother 2. Monster art's decent too- not sure if it's RPG Maker stock or custom work.

This first dungeon is a series of switches. There's an altar with three elemental monsters you have to kill, and I tear through them without much issue. Then Keith lights a fire on the altar and mentions a place called or thing Cafe Royale. ...man, this fantasy world really takes its coffee seriously. Just buy a french press, guy. My reward is a small key which leads to another switch which opens a path to the north...

...which gets me jumped by a demon. Mister Ombler doesn't seem happy about that, but who ever is?

Its official name is Keeper, but it looks to me like a baby Balrog. (Flamey-Gandalf-Fighting-Balrog, not Punchy-Street-Fighter-Balrog.) It's not on fire yet itself, and its flame whip is much less impressive. But it hits damn hard, for about a quarter of Keese's HP per hit- and it has multiple attacks. Low hit rate makes it not completely frustrating, but I have to use some kind of expendable swordy item to kill it, which does the job in one hit. Trying to walk out of the dungeon rates me the Balroglet's slightly older brother, who may possibly have hit puberty since his whip has turned red.

After that, trying to get through gets me...

...a conversation with a maid. Of COURSE there's a maid wandering around the dungeon in the middle of this fantasy world! Dammit Japan. Obligatory Maid-chan's real name is Aru, or Alu, or Aloux, or Aroo... you get the idea. After talking to Aloo about maybe skills and medicine, I don't know, we level up in something and are asked to choose between "Attack (String of kana)" and "(Totally indecipherable string of kana.)" First answer it is! Something happens, and then Obligatory Maid Aruu-Chan runs away and we're talking to a dude in a bandana. Who then promptly disappears as well. After all that, Keeth can't go through the door himself. Welp, let's double back and flip some more damn switches.

After we do, we encounter a chatty old guy I'd seen wandering around here and pick up a random sparkly thing off of the ground. But no sparkles go into our inventory, sadly. Oh, did I mention the white sparklies blend into the white tile floor? Because they do. On the upside? I got a new command from doing whatever I did, and that new command was "Steal."

After marching back and forth around a treasure chest that won't open enough times and collecting sparklies and whatnot, I open it and get...

...this guy. After a lot of missing on both sides I use all my expendable killing items and crit him a couple times, and then he emits a line-by-line reading of Remembrance of Things Past in Japanese, and KILLS ME IN ONE HIT. Bwuh?

Next time I try it I unload every expendable item I have on the beast, and keep myself healed, and I survive the Proust Attack. It dies on my next hit and leaves me... a book labeled Volume 2? Maybe it really WAS reading to me, jeez! I talk to the old guy again, and he gives me some kind of mystery water and sends me on my merry way. Whatever way that is. After copious wandering, punctuated by an inability to get to the last sparkly which is blocked off by an empty chest, I try walking back out the way Keeth came into this dungeon...

...and I get some narration and credits.

I know that probably isn't the whole thing- there's some stuff I was unable to get, and I may try again later. But by god, it's AN ending, and I shall Romance no more Sagas. The Google Translate page implies it's a pretty short game anyway. So in its way, this was both the best and worst game to start with- best because it's SHORT, and worst because it's nothing but puzzles. Puzzle upon puzzle upon puzzle. So be warned, there's a lot of find-the-plot-trigger in this one, but it's largely playable and pretty attractive. If you figure out the solution to the chest thing, let me know!

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