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Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Monolith
Developer: Valkyrie Studios
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Unfortunately, the weakest area in Septerra Core is the graphics. The character sprites are well done 3D renders, but they donít have enough frames of animation. And the close-up character pictures repeat awfully often for NPCs -- often two or three of the same face in one town. Some of the spell effects are absolutely gorgeous -- the Earth summon rings in my mind as a good one -- but some are just drab. The pre-rendered backgrounds are fantastic, however, as are the maps. Itís just the sprites that need some work...

That aside, however, the sound is excellent. The battle music is still ringing in my ears, and I absolutely love how when you win the battle, thereís a change of music that absolutely -perfectly- fits. Youíll know what I mean when you hear it. Itís just a really nice effect. Along with that, the voice acting is top notch in this game, and the weapon and such sound effects are great, even if they de-sync every once and a while with the action on-screen. Forgivable, all that, if the gameplay is good, right?


And my, oh my, the gameplay is superb. Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator plays very much like your typical Japanese console RPG, only itís for the computer -- and it shows. If you like console RPGs (and I do, I do, I very much do!), this game is just the absolute best youíll have ever played for the computer. Itís got all the elements -- anime babes, evil empires, pretty linear storyline that you donít get lost without knowing what to do. Of course, if youíre solely a computer RPG person, you may find it terribly annoying. I donít think you will, though, because the storyline is engrossing enough to keep you going.

The world of Septerra Core is pretty unique -- itís seven Shells, all rotating asynchronously around a Core at the center of the ďplanetĒ (hence the name of the game). The people of the top Shell, the Chosen, have decided that itís time to unlock the secrets of the Core, and youíve got to keep them from destroying the world. Pretty standard console RPG fare, right? Perhaps, but boy, does it draw you in time and time again. I played this game for 14 hours straight today, and as I write this review, I hear it calling to me to play it some more.

The combat engine is superb in this game, as it must be, being an RPG. Itís much like the Final Fantasyís active time battle system, but you can charge up more time to do more damage with different attacks. Along with this, you have Fate Cards which you acquire through the game and you can use to cast spells. Different Fate Cards combine to make different spell effects. This all combines to a tight whole, with battle done on the map instead of on a separate screen. Itís pretty obvious that the makers of this game were heavily influenced by Squareís Chrono Trigger and such -- and thatís a Good Thing. The gameís mix of technology and magic work well for it, and the use of alien creatures (since it isnít Earth, unless Earth has another six layers weíre totally unaware of) mixed with Earth stuff (look for the neon ďBurgersĒ sign) makes for a truly interesting game experience.

There are a multitude of characters to play with, as your party grows from just Maya (a female lead, woo!) to a point where you have quite a few more people out of your party of three than in it, each with unique abilities and weapons and such. They all also say different things to the townspeople, which actually make it fun to wander around the cities with different teams just to see what happens. Add in interesting NPCs, intriguing (if sometimes fetch-quest) puzzles, and gorgeous landscapes, and youíve got yourself a winner. Oh, did I mention fulfilling full motion videos?


-wince- Iím used to being a level-up god, spending hours just running around and gaining levels so the actual plot battles are a joke. Not so in this game. You -have- to level up or you die, and die quickly without mercy. Meep! Good thing the battle engine is refreshing enough that you donít mind kicking enemy butt for 30 minutes or so between major levels so you can actually survive.

Game Mechanics:

This game is eminently playable. The mouse controls are intuitive once you understand them, the menus (what few there are) are quickly discernible, and the combat is easy enough once you know how. The occasional unexplainable flipping of ďyesĒ and ďnoĒ in the Inns and the rather goofy typos (ďCansyĒ instead of ďCandyĒ in one place) aside, this game makes a solid package. Since the areas arenít tile-mapped like in most RPGs, youíll occasionally have clipping issues where you have a problem going up or down a ramp or something. But generally, itís not a problem.

Overall, Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator is a superb game. The character graphics could definitely use some work, and because of that, itís not perfect, but itís as close as itíll probably ever get on the computer. Get this game.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:

Win95/98, P200 MMX, 32MB RAM

Test System:

AMD K6-III 450, Windows 98, 256MB RAM, Creative Blaster TNT2 Ultra w/32MB RAM, 6X/24X DVD-ROM, Sound Blaster Live!

Windows Redline Windows Slave Zero

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated