Azure Dreams - Review

Welcome to my Dream

By: LunarOcean777

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 7
   Interface 7
   Music/Sound 4
   Originality 7
   Plot 7
   Localization 5
   Replay Value 3
   Visuals 3
   Difficulty Medium
   Time to Complete

40 - 50 hours


Title Screen

   Azure Dreams was a game I had fun with. Made by Konami and released on 7-23-98, it's not too old a game. Its not a part of any series, this game stands alone. On a general note, I found the game to be a fun, challenging game. I found it to be one of those games that doesn't have a hook, but once you start playing it, its fun.

   The battle system is original, but not that exceptional. When you are in an area in which you can encounter enemies (the tower) everything is turn based, meaning, when you move, they move. However the game offers a unique little thing. Once you start playing the game, you'll realize you're hunting for monsters. You can train monsters that you catch (no its not like pokemon) and have them fight with you. The game has a good AI for your monsters, which you can change. The way battle works is like this: All enemies aggro on you in the tower (attack on sight), whether you like it or not. There is no battle swap screen, like in all the FF games. Battle simply takes place on the same map, on a series of tiles. All you can do is attack, by pressing X. Your attack hits whatever is right in front of you. Your monsters can do other things though. Setting their AI, they can attack, cast different types of magic, or enchant your attack. After you and your monster attack, it's the enemies turn. They hit you much in the same way you hit them, or they could cast a spell on you. That is basically one turn of battle. It works, but it gets boring after awhile.

I want YOU in the army now!
I want YOU in the army now!  

   Outside the tower, there is one town. Sadly, these are the only two places in the ENTIRE game. However, the interactions were made quite nicely, as you can do something for nearly everyone in the town. After watching a nice CG at the beginning, you are placed into yourself. The gameplay is rather slow, and sometimes unmotivating. And the menu gets confusing. The buttons you'd think you press to open something up closes it, and the names for some commands are confusing. For example, when you go into the tower, you have a monster in your bag. To take it out you select COLLAR, to put it on its collar so it obeys you. Right underneath that you see RETURN, which to the new player would mean, return the monster to the bag. It doesn't do this; it sends the monster back home :(. I learned that the hard way. You are given good control of the character, but decision making is next to nothing. Nothing you do affects the end of the game at all, and whatever you say, you can go back and talk to the same person again and change what you said. I find that disappointing. The best thing about this though, is the carpenter. Throughout the game, you can make your small hometown into a bigger town by paying the carpenter to build things. Also, there are 7 girls in the game, and if you do the right things, which as I said you could go back and fix if you didn't, they all want you. Its just for fun mainly, as nothing really changes except the messages, and you see them at the pool (woohoo.....)

   The music of this game is rather annoying after awhile, but then you get used to it. Set in the desert, this game has Arabian sounding music, but there are only ehh, 7 or 8 tracks I can think of, many that sound nearly the exact same. Sounds however are better. While there is no variation in the sounds when you hit something for damage in any way, the sounds they use add a nice ring to the game. The game lacks some normal sounds though, like the opening of a door. That takes a little bit away, but not much.

Good boy, Fido!
Good boy, Fido!  

   As or originality this game has got it. The plot is not near what you would find in a normal RPG (hey you're not out to save the universe again!) and the battle system is unique, as it has combined turn based games like Breath of Fire, with The Legend of Zelda. Another thing that adds to originality is that each time you enter the tower, the floors are randomly generated. However, the fact that there is nothing else to do in the game sort of balances that out. The game has more originality then some games, but less then most games you see today.

   The plot flows along quite nicely. When you start out, you know nothing for the most part. All you know is you want to do this. The plot actually doesn't continue until late in the game when you have progressed far in the tower, but there are so many sidequests to do along the way, and they connect to the storyline, so there's never a dull moment.

   Replay Value? Well, not too much. Once you've done everything, there's nothing to go. Starting over with a new strategy doesn't make it much more exciting. And since most things are done while you progress through the game, that doesn't leave much. I play the game every now and then, as its good to play if you're bored, but otherwise, it has not a lot of replay value.

   Visuals seem to be low budget. All the NPCs are sprites, as well as you. The game does use 3D floors, but they look bad for the most part. There's not much that attracts the eye, unless you like the player art, which is done well. The game's more about thinking and using strategy.

Ah, look at all the bloodthirsty monsters getting along!
Ah, look at all the bloodthirsty monsters getting along!  

   The game isn't really that long. A true RPGamer could blaze through it in 25-30 hours, and catch everything there is to do; the average gamer might need to take about 40-50 hours though. However, despite the game time, the game is a good one to pick up and play through. I must warn some though, if you are the type that needs the newest up to date graphics, this one isn't for you, its all about the thinking. The game amounts to about average, its OK, but if some normal things were added to it, like a world map, it could have been up there for game of the year.

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