Excellent Newgrounds-related game but not perfect.
I have to say that quite honestly, I've wasted far too much time playing this game. And why wouldn't I? It's exactly what any Newgrounder wants: a violent brawl through well known users equipped with not only Newgrounds icons, but interesting weapons spawned by their talents/position.
First aspect of the game I'd like to cover is the gameplay. There are virtually no visible bugs that hindered gameplay; everything ran smoothly when I was playing. The fights were pretty basic. Using a basic melee combo or a bomb or two, annihilate the oncoming waves, then the boss of the group. The minigames were also a pleasant way to gain bonuses outside of just fighting. The unlockable characters were also fun to find as well, though I could only unlock two of them. It was also a good thing that you incorporated humor into the game over scene newspapers (Wadolf shuts down portal to sell flashlights instead...? Lol.), because it made the impact of losing the game a tad less frustrating.
Next, the music choices were quite superb. They were a bit different from the typical fighting music, but they fit the Newgrounds vibe just as well as the Endless Handbag Loop. One particular choice of music that was really well picked was -The show- which fit the bouncy upbeat minigames extremely well.
The Portal was well portrayed in this game. I liked how you've covered all types of users, from the infamous, spamming Kitty Krew, to the notorious forum moderators, equipped with the formidable level icon weapons (as well as special abilities that portrayed the user's abilities awesomely). Still, I think that you could have incorporated the audio artists or BBS regulars, but that's just me.
The graphics were well made and animated. The fluent attack animation blended well with excellent battle coding, and the interfaces were attractive without being overly decorative (still keeping that good 'ol Newgrounds style). The character design and blood effects were a tad basic in my opinion, but it didn't really hinder the flash all that much.
Also, congratulations on implementing the first flash game medals. That really increased the enjoyment of gameplay for me. (Any masochists out there get all of them...?)
At the risk of being tormented by angry fans of the flash, I have to say that this flash isn't quite perfect. Several things can be improved with the flash...
1) The gameplay would be much more enjoyable if more complex. I felt that the addition of more complex combos, rather than the one we keep using over and over again in this game would keep the game much more interesting. The special attack we have is really uninteresting, just a mere bomb. Perhaps the controlled characters could have different special attacks (and different amount of damage dealt, if I'm not mistaken) to make better use of the special stat.
2) The game is incredibly difficult and also takes a while to complete. A checkpoint at the middle of the game, or a save function would be fun. Also, it would be good to lighten the difficulty for April and Dan with a tad bit more HP. While Tom can take a beating, April gets wiped out after finishing off the programmers to the point where not even her demonic speed can save her.
3) The second minigame always gives the same result. If it was changed up every time you played, it would be more interesting. Then again, it also prevents the game from being way too hard.
4) This just may be my rusty gaming skills, but Wadolf's laser is an absolute annoyance when trying to attack him from the edge. I've gotten trapped before, tried to escape, then got shot again immediately after the first blast. If you could increase the time between shots, that would be good, but like I said, it may just very well be my frustration at completing the game.
5) Audio Artists (seriously, these guys get no attention at all) and BBS regulars could be added for more fun opponents.
Overall, this is a great Newgrounds game (the first with medals) that any Newgrounds user will enjoy. The only setback is a bit of repetitive gameplay and frustrating difficulty.
Functional, but vapid gamplay and poor graphics
Let me start with the beginning.
The main menu is decent. The buttons you made look not too bad; however, this could really do with some sprucing up. Add your character's picture to it, "building" the so-called enhancements to the town! Anything is possible. The main menu is the opening impression you give others when you play the games and it should make people feel interested!
As for the story line, it was... disappointing. What motive would the mayor want to do this? Is the town in shambles? Are the workers displeased with their environment? Add some backbone to it. A voice acted cutscene would probably work better here.
As for the actual gameplay, I found it excessively boring. All you really are doing is getting money by playing three games, improving building skill so that you can use the shop more effectively.
I commend you for a functional game, there seems to be no immediate glitches in the three money-earning games. However, they're really boring as well.
1st game - Dodging these... angry squares. A background would be nice... as well as an explanation. How does dodging squares yield money? Why are they attacking you? Maybe add a variety of enemies, or add more detail to them. Perhaps even a weapon to fend off some of them temporarily for surviving 25 seconds? The possibilities are endless.
2nd game - It's a working game, but that's about it. The character moves really slowly unless you hold down the arrow key for about two seconds. A consistent move rate would help here. On top of that, he flies right off the side, which gets irritating.
3rd game - Something rather atypical here. Instead of catching the guy with the platform, we move HIM to the platform. It was interesting. Again, I must stress that a constant move speed is necessary here, just like in the second game.
I might want to include that it would be better to make a building called "Arcade" and placing instructions on a clickable button rather than reading them in the game itself. Adding a level of complexity to the games here would be better.
As for fido, I can't even tell what you're doing here. You click somewhere to get him to move to a yellow ball, which yields cash. Again, it makes absolutely no sense. I assumed that the red thing was dog food, and I went after it, so I went after it, and I got negative points, which confused me. I thought of the points as how well I took care of the dog, not how much money I got from my interactions with him.
I liked buying the accessories, but it was ridiculous. I wasted my money on three of them, but only one of them (the last one I bought) was worn on my character. Even worse is that the other two couldn't be accessed anymore.
Lastly, the drag and drop thing is kind of nice. I liked how you coded it so that the game recognized that you were busy dragging things, so you don't accidentally go of playing a game after you crossed the game room. Not bad.
Here are some major things to improve:
1. Graphics. This is a big one. Every drawn object in this game is either hideously inaccurate, or well, overly basic. For the grass in the main menu, add some flair and detailing. Make the sidewalks rough, textured and unique. Add some detail to the buildings. (The Paint-Inside tool is really handy here, use it!) It will make the experience much more inviting.
2. The gameplay is overly ambiguous. Clarify things like all interactions with the dog and what the controls are. (when I started, I tried to move the guy with the arrow keys... nothing)
3. Make the game more exciting. For example, Fido gets sick. Make a vet's office. Then when he gets better, buy dog food for him. Simulate health and happiness levels for him. The game right now is overly simple.
4. Some things just don't make sense. As a mayor, you aren't the one building things. You oversee the carpenters and designers making it. Mayors should be working with investments and propaganda, not field work.
Overall, this game is not well designed and quite boring. With some major polishing, you could have a pretty good game.
This is what an rpg SHOULD be.
Mardek RPG: Chapter 2 was definitely a great game to play (heck, you provided me a full weekend of entertainment). Quite honestly, this game is near flawless.
The graphics were incredible. I loved the blending of drawn characters in the speech boxes and sprite characters on the field. That was an interesting merge. Even more impressive is HOW WELL everything was drawn. I was particularly impressed by the random monsters. Such incredible detailing, and such variety! Some tiles seemed to be a bit repetitive, like the grass tiles, which were all identical, and a bit of inconsistencies with that would have been interesting, (rocks, flowers, mounds of dirt), but this is just a minor problem that didn't detract from gameplay.
Even more impressive is how you took the professionally drawn characters and animated them very fluently. The attack animations in this game are some of the smoothest I've ever seen in Flash RPGs.
The story was absolutely thrilling. There were no boring aspects of the plot, and the dialogue between the characters is, without a doubt, full of personality and thought. What really stands out in the story is Emela's inner battle when it comes to killing Steele. That was really a wonderfully written part of the plot.
The game isn't overly linear adventure-wise. You provided some type of "Trilobite Cave" if I recall. That was a nice touch, as it gave your viewers more to chew on while we eagerly wait for Chapter 3.
Now, the one thing that most RPGs don't have, and that you've perfected is... the HUMOR. Everything I interacted with had something really funny to say. Unlike the generic drab that a NPC or sign would spew, you had them say things that were satirical of the RPG genre, mocking of the plot predictability, as well as some pretty funny jokes. Even Emela's explanation of her past was humorous. In fact, I recall spending nearly half the play time just walking around and talking to random NPCs to read what they had to say. From Aalia's IM chat style of talking, to the bandit who's "actually four bandits", I haven't laughed this hard in a long time.
Now, the thing that annoys me the most about RPGs is the generic bosses that are merely powerful, but nothing more. Your game has a grand compilation of many interesting bosses. One that really stands out would be Zombified Locksmith. The battle, though frustrating, was definitely an interesting brawl due to his unique ability to destroy me using status problems. Another interesting fight was Moric, the necromancer. Though his "second form" (don't want to spoil it) was rather predictable, it was an interesting fight. (Though easy, lucky I still had a phoenix down)
The music was well composed, and I was impressed how, you alone, could not only program a game, but do the music as well! Incredible! One of my favorite compositions was the battle with the Bandit Chief, Muriance. Definitely a great fast piece with a suitable background to accompany the melody.
There is only one thing I can find wrong with the game:
There should definitely be more variety in attacks. Throughout the whole game, the most I could ever get for each of my party members was Heal and Remove Taint for Mardek, Lightning Bolt and Earth Explosion for Emela, Barrier Break and Power attack for Deugan, and Smite Evil and Dispel Undead for Vehrn. Not to mention, one of those attacks were provided for each of them when I first got them. A bit more variety would have been really nice. I especially wanted to see Rohoph's more advanced techniques, being one the powerful Healer that he is. Every time I leveled up, I looked to see if I learned any new techniques, and sadly, no, the moves are based off of the items equipped.
Overall, this was one of the most epic flash RPGs that I have ever seen on the Internet. Though in need of a few more battle techniques, the gameplay was nice, the music was well composed, and the humor and plot kept me entertained. With the dramatic ending which I will not reveal, I am eagerly anticipating the next installment of Mardek RPG. Well done.
Thank you muchly for a lengthy and appreciative review!
There are going to be eight chapters, which is why the characters get so few skills in chapter 2; if I let them get a lot of them so early on, there'd be nothing left for later chapters... or I'd end up adding loads of skills which are essentially all the same.
Chapter 3 has far more variety in everything though! And I'm hopefully going to be finished with that in a month or two, so yay.
Pure Excellence and Effort, a tad easy and basic.
This game is just incredible. Not only did you acquire a fluent grasp for defense game mechanics, but you also managed to learn all the actionscript required within half a year. That in itself is an incredible feat.
Now, on to the game.
First off is the artwork. The red/black style of drawing everything was not only tone-setting, but attractive as well. The menu was incredibly well made, it didn't seem too cluttered or too messy, despite the fact that there was about thirty things to do at any given time.
As for the gameplay itself, it was an interesting take on the world domination concept. Stealing money, spreading propaganda, stealing scientific knowledge that will soon be utilized to destroy the world, if anything, the missions are pretty thorough. Even more so is the fact that you could hire patsies to lead missions. The vast variety of characters (and some cameos) that could be unlocked kept the game exciting.
The field soldiers were animated perfectly. The guns, flamethrowers, turrets, were all drawn carefully, as well. Not only that, but you could hire a #2 henchmen to oversee the battlefield. The commands were somewhat basic, changing weapon types and directing soldiers to either fall back, or attack a certain target.
Now, one of my favorite aspects of this game is the cutscenes that were put in here. Not only were they, like the rest of the game, very well animated, but they were also pretty funny too. It must have been very time consuming to animate a different scene for each individual mission. I remember that every time I got a new type of mission, I would watch the cutscene to watch the Mastermind's wrath unfold upon whatever target that I have chosen, whether it be the patsies or a bank (and the soldiers' wisecracks as well). About the soldier's input on stealing science, cash, or whatever, I noticed that they say DIFFERENT things on occasion. This was a good bit of variation to keep it interesting.
Humor was not lacking in this game. One of the biggest aspects of your humor emerged in the ending cutscene, where that a******, Mastermind, escapes from the scene. Even funnier was how he didn't "think it all the way through" and stood there in the escape pod, laughing at the destroyed Earth.
There are two minor issues I had with the game.
The first, is that the battle is far too easy, and far too simplistic. There were six weapon choices, which is sufficient, but there is only one type of unit, and that was the soldiers. Maybe we could use some of the science we stole to create armored tanks, and flying units as well. Just sending in regular infantry with upgraded weapons gets boring over time. The enemy is also way too weak. They send in about 10 units during a minor battle, two of which are tanks or planes, to no avail, as the tank could be taken out within seconds. I would have liked to see a bit more strategy applied in battle.
The second, is that destroying the world is a bit too easy as well. All I really had to do was complete missions that has 80-99 percent success rate by having patsies over see them, maximize my companies to rake in massive amounts of cash in place of the steal cash missions, and then, finally, take down the pitifully weak enemies that dared to oppose my 30 minions. I found virtually no need to kidnap or kill, unless I wanted to do it just for fun. Then, when my science hits level 6 I could finally blow the Earth to smithereens. Heck, my level was so low, I didn't get to unlock some of the final patsies that were available.
Overall, I had a blast playing this game. It was virtually flawless. The artwork was AMAZING, the gameplay was enjoyable, and the variety of missions, patsies, and #2 henchmen kept me interested. The only thing to do now is make it a bit harder.
Vast Improvements, but needs a bit of cleanup
This game, is definitely an improvement from its prequel.
For instance, the music selection was a good battle theme, and it looped well. The animations for attacks are much cleaner and eye-catching than the overused gradients from the last game. Also, the interface is much more smoother. Instead of messy buttons of random colors and shapes, you created a strict battle interface that is easier on the eyes, and more fun to use.
You also added a tactical side to it, like the weaknesses. I paid special attention to that, because without this tactical side, an RPG is just a hit-me-hit-you process in which the first striker wins automatically. Another example, (and I REALLY liked this one), was Crash Man vs. Leaf Shield. After attacking, I could evade Crash Man's sneaky 2-turn attack (which would leave me most likely dead) with the handy leaf shield that I got. Great work on that aspect!
There are, of course, a few things that can be improved.
1. The battle arena components (HP, name of you and your opponent), should have a more strict set up. I've noticed that in every battle, those components are in different places each time. Also, the HP bar is ocassionally kind of messy, with lines sticking out, and what not. It's a very little problem, but fixing it will add a more professional look to a game.
2. Some aspects of artwork can be improved. For example, absorbing an opponent's ability. You had a circle with a gray gradient on it, that turned blue, then faded out. It was a bit sloppy, and I felt maybe a blur filter could improve something like that.
Overall, you have come a long way from your previous game, as this game shows evidence of hard work and a dedication to improve.
The interface was actually quite inviting, until I realized the main gameplay was short and not entertaining at all.
First off, the notes moved too fast across the board. You hardly had any time to react to it! These notes were also extremely small, making it even more difficult. What's worse, is that you tried to 'change' it up a little bit from arrow keys, to a small wooden block colliding with the notes. The notes were sometimes not even synced to the music.
The song for the concerts was always the same, and you didn't even bother to put a stop on the background music during the concert. The sounds then clashed together, forcing me to turn down the volume to avoid irritation.
The game room was a neat idea; however, you didn't provide instructions for the pool table, and the stick animation wasn't all that great, really not worth $1000. The casino was pretty much pointless, just one slot machine that really stole your money rather than gave it out.
It was exciting to find a 'simulation' type game, but this one was quite poorly made. The main suggestions I have are these:
1) Don't let the background music clash with the concert song.
2) Do not let your game fall to monotony by using the same song.
3) Place instructions in the game room to avoid confusion.
4) Allow us to buy things that are actually worth buying, like items to customize the home.
Overall, this game did not live up to my expectations, but it was a pretty good try, the interface was pretty neat, artwork was good, but the gameplay in this game was rather disappointing.
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