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Yay, I beat it! (spoilerific)
Posted by: Anonymoose
04:49:43 10-19-2007

Now that I've beaten the game, I can say what I thought of it.

I'll admit that I haven't played too many RPG Toolkit games; mostly because they're either all demos or if they are complete, they are... not so attractive. I have to say Dark Age EX was the best looking and playable of all the RPG Toolkit games I've played.

I'll start off with the bad, though. Sometimes the game is unresponsive to key presses. And the character always has to pause whenever he turns around. May be more the fault of Toolkit, though.

I think you made things too hard. There are too many overpowering enemies and bosses... Ogres should NOT be that powerful so early in the game (especially with their Club attack). And the Mad Ogres shouldn't be doing 4000-9000 damage (Club/Smash) at the point of the game they appear, either. Even the final boss's attacks wasn't quite as damaging as they were. And they certainly aren't the only annoyingly strong enemies.

I also think you made some enemies way too fast. They get like 3-5 shots in before I do. And there's practically no way to increase Speed except with a few armor; and some armor or accessories DECREASE speed. No fair. The spell Fast is good, but for some reason after it wears off I can no longer speed up those characters. (It still works if they died before it wore off, though.) Really made some boss battles a pain.

The healing items and spells should probably had heal a bit better because they get outdated pretty fast as HP grows quickly in this game (the G-Potions and G-Ethers were good, though). Even the expensive Healing Gust only healed less than 2000 (though were helpful nonetheless). I don't like it when RPGs have weak healing and high HP, so it kinda stunk.

Dr. Science should've had more than three skills (the three includes Scout).

There were very few equipment upgrades, especially for poor Vance. When he finally got a chance to ditch that lowly weapon for the Cutlass... it was only a +1 Atk difference. Boooo. Glad I found the Aura Blade.

There were no shadow or light spells (the only light attack isn't gotten until the final battles...), so it was kind of pointless for enemies to be weak or strong against either of them...

The ending was decent but felt too short to me. Still better than some other freeware RPGs I ran into though; I like how you did the credits.

Okay, now for the positive. I admit I dropped the game and lost interest for a while due to the difficulty. But somehow I went back and played the game again, and got addicted! I don't know how... something about this game...

The music is pretty good. I like how even though some music is from commercial games, they were rearranged nicely, sometimes kinda sounding like original themes of their own (vs. Mortis, Dark Castle, etc. could both be original themes, IMO, if I didn't recognize the bit of Zelda dungeon in it). I liked pretty much every battle theme, though Celena Pass, Major Boss, Mortis, and Final Battle were my favorites. As for other themes, I liked Varda/Celena Pass, Mortis's themes, Dr. Science's theme (mostly because I loved the NES Mega Men), and Dark Castle.

Battles went by FAST. This is unlike the majority of RPG Maker 2003 games (which has an ATB for battles) where the creators didn't balance out the speed stats of players and enemies well, making the battle speed go agonizingly slow. It was great to see ATB go speedy here.

The graphics/battles aren't the same ol' Toolkit default I've seen in 95% of Toolkit RPG games I've seen. Yes, yes, I know I'm playing the "EX" version and all. Still doesn't mean I'm glad graphics and battles at least look different now.

It was kind of different to see the Hero of the game be a Red Mage (leaning toward the White side) instead of a Fighter or Knight of some sort. Vance could have done with at least one more attack spell (besides Sacred Fire) after Blast, though.

Almost zero loading time, even when changing screens, except for the brief pauses pre-battle and before certain musics start (fault of Toolkit, as this happens in some other game-making programs).

Who doesn't love being able to save almost anywhere? :)

Okay, I know I complained about the difficulty, but hey, it IS challenging and challenge can be fun sometimes. Even though the Final Boss was hard as heck, I managed to defeat him on my first try. My guys were Level 40-43, too. I think it was because of Ultimate Phoenix though (used one before the final battle, then another after the battle started heating up).

Hm, I think I'm done now. Whew. That tired me out. Next, Dark Age 2.

P.S. I noticed this days ago; the game is practically devoid of female characters! o.o