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Blaze & Blade: Eternal Quest

Score: 40%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: THQ
Developer: T&E Soft
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Remember Battle Arena Toshinden? The first one? Well, thatís roughly the level of graphics youíre going to get in Blaze & Blade: Eternal Quest. Theyíre decidedly first-generation 3D. And boy, are they damned ugly. The menus are all fuzzy (and make references to PSX buttons... hrm, could that be a coincidence?).

The music... er, there was music? Yeah, I suppose so, but it wasnít good enough to make me remember it. And the sound effects are pur-D terrible. You walk up to a fire and hear... popcorn popping. Er? Maybe itís a cellophane wrapper being crinkled, or maybe not, but whatever the hell it is, it sure ainít a fire. Ugh. This gameís presentation... well, sucks.


Gameplay:

The gameplay doesnít redeem it either. After a character creation system that actually had me pretty excited -- lots of classes and lots of stat customization reminds me nostalgically of the old Wizardry games -- I was plopped smack down into an ugly-ass game with little to no gameplay. Sigh. Your troupe of four people, consisting of a leader and three others that follow dumbly directly behind, traverse the world on pointless quests, starting at the Roadside Inn. Blaze & Blade has the potential to be a good RPG -- most quests are pointless anyways, right? Well, um, no. The first problem you may have is configuring the controls. They were obviously for a console game, so I whipped out my control pad and set up the buttons the way I wanted them. I played a bit, and tried to go back to adjust the controls. I pressed the wrong button on the controller, though, and poof -- the controller turned off. Problem was, the keyboard was off too. The game accepted no input from my computer whatsoever. I had to Ctrl-Alt-Delete the bugger. Whee.

When you finally get going, Blaze & Blade basically consists of running up to enemies that magically teleport in from la-la land and smacking them with your weapons. Since only the lead character uses spells, and using spells is an ordeal in itself, you probably want to go the total brute force method. Your other characters are entirely useless, only attacking enemies that are standing right next to them (with the exception of the Ranger), and as such tend to die. Of course, since theyíre brought back to life on a regular basis, you learn not to care. And then thereís the time that one of my characters just decided not to move any more. I couldnít switch to them; I couldnít go off the screen with them on it, or anything. Bugs suck, especially when the game behind them doesnít do anything to make it worth playing past the bugs. Itís sad that such a nice setup is marred by absolute crappy gameplay, but thatís just the way it is.


Difficulty:

Enemies are either trivial or wildly difficult, no matter how strong you are at the people. Your pick. Itís very easy to throw this game away, though, so that may be your best choice.

Game Mechanics:

Making the game unplayable is easy and accomplished by accidentally doing a number of things. This is generally considered to be a better solution than actually playing the game. As for the mechanics themselves, the battles are terrible, the magic system sucks, and the menuing system that you use to switch characters and use items is roughly reminiscent of the Secret of Mana wheel -- only with tiny, unreadable icons and a basically unusable interface. Whee!

If you like RPGs in any way, shape or form, stay away from this game unless you absolutely MUST have a console-style RPG on the computer. Septerra Core or Odium would both be much, much better choices. And if youíre not a fan of the genre, definitely donít pick up Blaze & Blade -- your opinion of it will only lower. Stay away from this one, folks. Itís a stinker.


-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:



P200MHz, 32MB RAM, 8xCD-ROM, 50MB HD Space
 

Test System:



Windows 98 running on a K6-III 450 w/256MB RAM, 6x24 DVD-ROM drive, SoundBlaster Live!, Creative Labs Riva TNT2 Ultra w/32MB RAM

Windows Animaniacs: A Gigantic Adventure Windows Call to Power II

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated