By Video_Game_King 32 Comments
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon( What the hell is that title supposed to mean?) I understand the Fragile Dreams part, but Farewell Ruins of the Moon? Is it saying goodbye to ruins on the moon, or is it declaring the setting of this game: the Farewell Ruins of some obscure Lunar Kingdom? Why won't the comma or the hyphen step up to the plate? Not even the original Japanese title helps. Hell, not even the game helps, as there's nothing about the moon anywhere in this game. There are ruins (OK, ruined malls and stuff), and the main character says goodbye a bunch of times, but I'm still not clear on what that title means.
Anyway, here's the story: some kid named Seto wakes up one day to find himself alone. You're not given his last name, so I'm forced to assume that it's Seto Kaiba of Yu-Gi-Oh fame, only in his androgynous teenage years. When I say that he's alone, I don't mean the other characters refuse to answer his calls or join him for a card game; I mean the entire population of Earth has been obliterated. All except one girl, whom Seto obsessively chases throughout the game. Those of you thinking that Bushwald Sexyface will add this to his List of Sexyllence, prepare to be disappointed, as there's a scene in the middle of the game where some kid kisses Seto for no reason. (The Sexyface only considers dude-kisses sexy if one of them has a mustache.) No, it's for no reason; there's no build-up or great emotional connection, he just kisses him and gets confused when Seto's all pissy about it. It was his first kiss, too. That's gotta be depressing.
Speaking of depressing, this game will make you want to kill yourself. I'm not saying that it's bad; just that the story is so incredibly bleak that you'll want to light up some Sylvia Plath Brand Incense Candles. Throughout your travels, you'll find random items, like game cartridges or condoms or bells, that contain the memories of some random person before they died. Imagine Lost Odyssey's A Thousand Years of Dreams, only with more of a point, much better, but more horribly depressing. You'll read about somebody lamenting naming their character Fagballs, somebody regretting their choice to be a major bitch, and the story of a bell that somehow functions like that holograph thing Nightcrawler uses sometimes. There's a good chance that any given item will horrify you on a deep level. None of that can be said for the actual gameplay.
A bit of backstory, first (not regarding the story, for once): I came into this game expecting a Silent Hill-esque survival horror game. It's not like this was a stretch; ghosts spam the landscape, the game's darker than its own story, and Fragile Dreams also has the same flashlight gimmick as Shattered Memories. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it's more of an action RPG than survival horror. Don't get me wrong, the game at least has the potential to be scary; you can't see enemies until you shine them up (more on that later) and it's relatively easy for enemies to corner/surround you. However, being scary isn't really Fragile Dreams' top priority. Judging by the gameplay, combat isn't up there, either. (For anybody curious, its priorities are (in order) story and cats.) There are only three types of weapons, and two of them consist of whacking enemies on the head, like they peed on your best rug. If you really want to mix things up, you can time your hits or charge them, but since it's hard to time and charging your attacks will turn you into a sitting duck, combat becomes kinda repetitive quickly. Even the bosses can't do anything about it, all three of them copied and pasted several times.
"But wait", you scream at me so loudly that your very speech forces its way into my blog, "what about projectile weapons?" OK, those add variety, but they're too much of a hassle to be useful in any situation. You can't have your flashlight out while using it (I guess Seto forgot that he has a mouth or a key-chain or anything like that), so you're quite literally shooting blind when you use it. To drive that further into your brains, keep in mind that most of the enemies require about 90 trillion lux before they become visible. And they can disappear at will. Obviously, you're not going to use it ever, which is sad, because whenever I could use it (IE when I found enemies that like fighting in the dark), it was actually a decent weapon. Just point at whatever enemy you want dead and click on them. Were it not for the added flashlight step (and the Tetris-esque inventory system despising the hell out of projectile weapons), I'd have used the projectile weapons far more than I did.
Oh, wait, that reminds me of something (I know, shit transition, but it actually does remind me of something): the navigation. Fragile Dreams is a fairly linear game, but it does have a decent amount of exploration and secrets, even if it does get a bit carried away with the exploration bit. Perfect example: there's this part of the game where you have to fetch random objects for some little girl for no reason. (No, there's quite literally no reason you need to get these items. It's not like she's blocking off a room or holding an item, she just stands there, forcing your ridiculously malleable character into some fetch quests.) The first one's a star, which you find by reading hints seen only through a magic flashlight. You're never told how it works, so the only logical option is that it's a black light and that you're reading the fears of a thousand sticky-handed victims. Obviously, they aren't of much help, since I spent two days searching for the damn star. I gave up, went to GameFAQs, and discovered that it was in a room that one of the semen-based messages specifically told me to avoid. Thanks a lot, game; now you're more useless than your own stupid non-semen-based hint system. Just shake the Wii-mote (again, non-semen-based), and your new teen sidekick bitches about how she's a ghost or whatever.
Speaking of that, the sound design in this game is perhaps the best thing. Have you ever noticed the little speaker in your Wii-mote? No? Remember No More Heroes, and how it functioned like the world's weirdest cell phone? No? Screw you, that was awesome! Almost like this game's use of it. While you can't always see the enemies, you can hear them through the Wii-mote, turning things into a rather satisfying game of Marco Polo. However, because there must be balance in the universe, I feel compelled to point out something else bad about the game: namely, that it lies about the time played. When I beat it, the load screen greeted me with a time of about 50 hours. That is outright bullshit; even cutting it in half is stretching it a bit. There's no way it could be 50 hours long, not even with the hallways that stretch into eternity or the completely unrealistic cat gimmick. I have two cats myself (one with a shaved back, because the vet thought he was a bottom), and they do not behave anything like the cats in this game. It's either "strung out on coke" or "sleeping off a hangover." (Don't ask why my cats are into drugs and beer.)
Yet in the end, I still like the game a lot, in spite of its flaws. Why? Well, I owe that to my favorite part of this game, and perhaps the most redeeming quality about it: the chicken man. He's some random hobo dude who follows you to bonfires, trying to pawn his crap on you. His crap, of course, ranges from energy drinks and iron pipes to crossbows and oxygen tanks. I have absolutely no joke for that. There is no joke that combines energy drinks and iron pipes with crossbows and oxygen tanks. Nothing about this guy is normal. Everything about him is so weird, it earns the game the Weirdest Game Character Award. Not him, mind you, but the game he's in earns that award. Wait, it gets weirder. He's so nightmarishly fucked up, that the addition of Japanese makes him less weird. Keep in mind that this is a place where censorship creates horrifying new gen-
How....how did you get in here?
Please.....I was only kidding! I don-
No! NO! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!
Queen here, again. Why does he have to do this blog, he's a King. He has more important matters to attend to...*sigh* Here's the video he planned on showing to you guys.
Majuu Ou( Oy.....Never mind, I ain't touching this thing with a ten foot...well, you know....*leaves*) Damn it. Why couldn't either of the other two bother typing this up? It's not like I have any other characters to do this. Just the King, Queen, and Bushwald Sexyface. So I can imagine many of you are wondering just who the hell is typing this blog if all three have been confirmed as not the writers of this blog. Well, the guy who writes all these blogs all the time; the guy who created this weird reality where chicken men can invade blogs and katamari are tools of war. What any of this has to do with the game I'm blogging about is that it's all irrelevant.
Majuu Ou is a Japanese term that means absolutely nothing. No, go look it up. Nowhere will you find a translation for that title, not even with the alternate title of "Majyuuou." However, the game's story makes slightly more sense: John Rambo has come to the gates of Dis, capital city of Hell, in search of his two teen daughters. However, a demon stops him at the gates and kills him. However however, he doesn't die (after all, Rambo can't die); instead, he mans up, rises from the ground through the power of dark magic. Somehow, this dark magic turns his regular bullets into tracer rounds. If you're looking for more story, wait until the end, since the story's like the bread sandwiches you ate because you were foolish and spent all your money on this nifty computer. Anyway, the point is that the rest of the story comes near the end, when you get a crap ending. No, I'm not saying that there's a good ending/bad ending thing (there is, though)(wow, that sentence really makes me wish for a buddy cop game with a good ending/bad ending thing), but that any ending you get is crap.
I could say the exact same thing of the game, but I'm a bit ambivalent on that. Wait.....yea, ambivalent works. At first, I'd have called it generic crap. You walk right and shoot anything that so much as moves at you funnily. Nothing poses a threat, which is weird, since you can't aim directly up or down. Don't worry, though, some random fairy will kill anything above you, quite literally destroying the phrase "death from above." Not even the early bosses pose much of a threat, as you can stand back and pump them with enough lead to make them die of lead poisoning before they actually feel the bullet wounds. You may be wondering where the ambivalence comes in, and for the first few levels, I was, as well. Why? Well, all that shit above you. What, do you not pay attention or something? Or do you have the memory of a JRPG goldfish? (It'd benefit you to know that I'm also quite rude.) Anyway, the ambivalence arrived at the third level, where I was presented with this brand new demon aspect.
At the end of each boss battle, a magical, flashing teardrop hangs in the air, waiting for you to shoot it into a certain color. Shoot, collect, and watch as Rambo becomes one of three demons. There's the green guy (he can teleport and shoot a wide-arcing charge), the blue guy (he's a dragon with another wide-arcing charge shot, only it goes up a bit), and the red guy (he somersaults and charges up a giant red chakra). It took me a while to realize how the system works (it's incredibly easy to shoot the damn crystal before you realize it gives you a choice), but once I got going, I found it to be a fun system with quite a bit of variety and in need of a few fixes. For example, that "damn crystal" thing right above what I just typed is only a problem because you can't switch them out whenever you want, a la Demon's Crest. You better choose the right character, because you're gonna be stuck with them for the next level.
What makes this a problem is that the charge attacks I mentioned vary in usefulness from good to kitten sneezes. Depending on your form, it can be a much better strategy to mash the fire button. Understandably, this makes the game rather easy. I'd say that I've come full circle, but I'm about to break that loop by mentioning how short the game is. It has little to do with the ease, but rather that each level has a constantly refilling five minute timer, and dying/running down the timer simply sends you back two feet, timer refilled. Compound that with the small number of levels, and you're left with a passable but forgettable shooter that lasts as long as the King in bed, so sayeth the Sexyface. Might as well end this with an award, as others before me have done. Hmmm......how about the.....Majeur Award for This is What Wikipedia Thought it was Supposed to Be. Man, I suck at this, don't I?
- The game's perfectly generic for the first few levels...
- ...but, with the demon combat additions, it becomes awesome for a few more levels after....
- ...only for the same exact feelings to surface yet again after some time spent with the demon combat.