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Posted by DarkDread 
Status Finished 
Prog. language QuickBasic 
Last update 05-06-2003 
Links Download;
Contributors:

me, myself... and also me.

Description:

This is the finished version of the original compo entry. If you would like a copy of the compo preview build, you can still get it here

...in the Nocturne (final) won 1st place in the Spring 2003 MiniRPG compo.
Reviews
Review by Warspawn on 29-04-2003
I like really like this one, I guess it's not too surprising with the author's previous hit list. The graphics are done quite well I think, especially having done them all within the time span of the contest. Also, of the entries which I have tried, this one has the most complete and easy to use interface and combat system. Overall, the graphics, controls, and gameplay flow nicely together, nothing seems out of place.

I did however find the lack of sound or music a little disappointing. A nice dark melody to slay the constant onslaught of zombies and ghouls to would have been nice. I was also bothered a little by having to press the arrow key for each movement, rather than being able to hold it down in a direction, but that could've just been my preference, it certainly doesn't detract from the gameplay.

The story is short, I'm starting to think that is the key to completing a RPG in a short amount of time. Basic plot, then onslaught of baddies. I'm still playing it, I haven't been able to figure out how to get into the boss door. I've been all over the dungeon, and haven't figured that out. Maybe there's another secret to extending gameplay?

In conclusion, I give this game an 8. You lose a point for sound, and a point for the story leaving me with no direction. Otherwise, AWESOME job!
8 
 
Review by Bjørn on 30-04-2003
A nice, smooth scrolling, traditional RPG. A cool element is the individual improvement of attributes related to actions taken by the player, instead of growing XP points and then letting the player choose which attributes improve. Further more, the graphics are neat, as the screenshots will have already told you. Pity it currently lacks the boss fight though, but I have saved my game to be able to face the toughy later! Drawbacks to the game are its shortness, its unoriginal story and the lack of sound and music.
7 
 
Review by The Anarchist on 01-05-2003
It looks like another winner from DarkDread. The graphics are up to his usual high standard, using what looks like an impressive tileset, which I estimate has over 100 tiles in it! It's got smoothe scrolling and nice looking menus, as opposed to the usual 'blue box' approach. The scenry really fits in with the atmosphere, with chairs and other furniture drawn in what looks like 17th century style.

The gameplay is impressive, with an intuitive leveling up system that focuses on you're actions during battle to decide how to allocate points. The battles are well spaced, neither annoyingly close or too spacious to properly level up, with both magic and items implemented. The battle background and enemys are well drawn, the enemys in a larger than usual style.

The games story is nice, and gives an explination for why you are there, but no more than that. It is also obvious that the castle has room for expansion, even though it is already a fair size (if you explore every corner of draculas spacious castle). I would have knocked a mark off this, but the games focus is on battle and exploration, so it doesn't detract from the game, even though I would if the game had taken longer than three days to complete. Its still impressive, considering the time restraints.

I don't like to end on a bad note, but the game has no music, so I docked 2 marks. A gothic score would definitely liven up this game no end. Nevertheless, it is a nice looking and technically well made game. Well worth the download.
8 
 
Review by BadMrBox on 02-05-2003
Hail to the King.
Yet another great game from DarkDread.
I have not played it through so much but it seems quite large. The tileset isn't that impressive...the graphics are but not the amount of tiles. There are a bit to many empty bookshells every here and there. But the gfx in general is very good. Likin' the table. The 64*64 pixel enemys are perfect. Very good. Bravo. One other thing I like is the menus. To bad that there is no music, some gothic theme would been suitable. Hmm... I hope you are going to implent some keyhandler for the finished version because I sadly rushed through half the castle when I forgot to release the button. Yeah, I know you warned about that there was no keyhandler but I have weak reactions.
Anyhow, cudos to the king of qbrpgs.
8 
 
Review by Ninkazu on 04-05-2003
The graphics and gameplay in this RPG are outstanding, especially for a 48 hour compo. However, failing to clear the keyboard buffer dropped you a point. Music would have been a nice touch, but it really wasn't necessary; the gameplay is already addictive ;)
9 
 
Review by Jihgfed Pumpkinhead on 07-05-2003
This is an excellent game, mostly because of the well-integrated use-based skill progression. It added just the right amount of extra depth to a game of this size.

The graphics were very good, though unexceptional and a little repetetive. Storyline is a non-issue, which is fine by me.

I really didn't find the keyboard eccentricities a problem. On the contrary, getting the timing down on holding keys it is like an interesting game-within-a-game.

Most important, the game is fun, with strong gameplay. Unfortunately it was much too short: it seems to end just as you're bringing your character to a point where you're really happy with his progress, and it's just then that the game ends. A boss would have been nice.
8 
 
Review by Chofritz on 10-05-2003
I am very impressed by the fact that this game was done in 48 hours. It has a wonderful tileset, with well over 100 tiles, that makes the game a pleasure to watch. I've never bothered playing through any of those early final fantasy games (they were all about leveling up your characters) so this experience system was new to me, but I found it very fun to play with. The battle engine in this game is simple but it's still fun to kill those monsters.
There could have been some sound too but it wasn't really needed.
The reason why I didn't play through the whole game was because I could not stand the keyboard buffering thing. Maybe I could have forced myself to finish it but I wasn't in the right mood to time every keypress. I don't know if you (darkdread) experience the same problem with your game, but if I remember it right this keyboard problem can be easily solved by adding this line in the main loop.
DEF SEG=0: POKE &H41A, PEEK (&H41C) : DEF SEG

I hope that you can solve the keyboard problem and then upload another version for download. Thanks anyway for another great game darkdread.
7 
 
Review by Nephilim on 11-05-2003
I am quite impressed with this game, given the time constraints of the Compo. The tileset gives it an appropriately brooding atmosphere, and the clever character advancement system is at once interesting (for such a short game) and effective. Bonus points for zombies.

(I played this game under Virtual PC on a Mac, and you might be interested to know that I *could* hold down an arrow key to move about. Made the game quite nicer than stepping through a tile at a time. Other than that, I experienced no bugs or quirks.)

My only real frustration with the game was that there wasn't more to see and explore, which I suppose is a good thing for a demo. I would definitely play a longer game. Although I agree that a soundtrack would have been nice, I'm not going to ding you for not having one. Your tileset and intro screens do enough to carry the mood that you could spend your time focusing on gameplay, so I think that was probably a good call.

All in all, a strong offering for the Compo.
9 
 
Review by DeveloperX on 18-05-2003
three words A_MAZE_ING ;)
9 of 10 cause no sound.
It would've been way more fun with sound (cause I played it around 4AM, I kept falling asleep, heh midis, and mods or wavs would've kept me awake.
btw, I LOVE THE ARTWORK!
Also, DD, PM me about how you did the battle system.. I need some guidelines from a great programmer. (I don't want to steal your battlesystem, I just want a little help in getting mine done up right. (you'l get credit!)
Well, anyway, excellent game demo.
9 
 
Review by Hair Machine on 16-07-2003
This is really good!!!!
When I first played it I wasn't in much of an RPG mood so I basically couldn't be bothered. But when I played it again I loved it! It's got amazing graphics!
But no music... That's a bit sad, being a musician myself.
8 
 
Review by kbomb987 on 16-07-2003
Very nice as usual, the look and feel was very fitting. I especially liked how when you travel all the way through to the top of the castle and you get outside the rooms, you see the windows with the moon glow shining in.. makes you feel like you really did walk to the top of the castle after fighting all those ghouls and can finally take a breath and stare out the window.

There was no music, but on my work computer i cant get sound anyway so that wasnt a big deal (yes i do this at work heh). One thing that bothered me was moving 4 blocks and getting attacked all the time. It was a bit too frequent. Also the final boss was incredibly hard. I had 110 hp and he hit me once for 100hp, but I probably could have leveled up more. It was difficult to read the storyline text because of the font - maybe its just me though.

Otherwise, the feel was excellent, graphics amazing, hard to believe it was done in 48 hours. All of your games get top marks.
8 
 
Review by tcaudilllg on 21-10-2003
...This game was enjoyable. I was frustrated though, by the proximity of the "quit" command to that of the menu "exit" command. By force of habit I activated the quit command after a half hour's play. I had not saved, and so lost everything. I recognize that not all personalities fall into this interface "trap" of sorts, but I tend not to second guess myself before making decisions and "exiting" the menu and "quitting" the menu seem to my mind functionally equivalent. My cousin had to restart the game three times before finishing it, courtesy of the quit command. An authentication dialog would have been helpful.

This game is a must play. That it does not have sound just adds to the creepy atmosphere.
8 
 
Review by darkpagan on 14-12-2003
Enjoyable little game, probably the best he's made since Mysterious Song. The graphics are all very well done and the spell effects in battle were particularly impressive. The levelling up system is the games highlight. It's based on the old ff2 system but actually pulls it off better than square did. The lack of music or a plot is unfortunate but it's still a brilliant game that proves Darkdread is still the master of qbrpgs.
9