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||Role Playing Only
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Rock Engelheart, the easy-going and often reckless son of Ralph Engelheart, a renowned American archaeologist and treasure hunter, went to the Valley of Mexico alongside his father and his colleagues with intention to explore some recently discovered remnants of the Aztec civilization. When the team was searching around the site, Rock unearthed a peculiar artifact that came in the form of a wooden scabbard, sticking firmly to the ground. Driven by curiosity, he made an effort to pull the artifact, and suddenly, a blinding ray of light illuminated from it. Afterwards, he found himself in a void of nothingness, guided by a mysterious voice that speaks nonsense. The next thing he knew, he had somehow warped to a different dimension he didn't recognize.
After he came up with an assumption that the artifact was some sort of a teleportation device, he decided to wander around and seek out his whereabouts, despite of being completely unaware of how distant he was sent from home. On the way, he stumbled across the local inhabitants who faithfully believed that in reference to an ancient prophecy, he was a Cherub reincarnation descended from the Heavens. They pled for his help to save the land from an impending threat, which seemingly had always been his destiny. What will he do? Ignore their ridiculous words and keep searching for a way to get back home or come out as a supposed knight in shining armor? This is where the story goes.
This scenario is only a demonstration/sneak preview. You'll only be playing for about half an hour, until you reach the point where the scenario come to an abrupt end. Most of the map is still empty, but the parts revealed to you is enough to show how it's gonna be. There are a lot of things to expect in the full campaign, I'll be making a thread in the SD&M forum some time later to explain further.
Thank you for downloading!
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'Cherub Rock - Prelude' is a so far unfinished single scenario, an introduction into Rock Engelheart's upturned life as he suddenly finds himself stranded in a strange, fictitious world, after uncovering a scabbard during an archaeological dig. While limited to perhaps 30 or more minutes, the scenario promises plenty of role-playing game play and an intriguing and adventurous story.
The scenario seems directly influenced from many of the Japanese RPGS from the past, which in some way, provides a nostalgic return to those days when playing this scenario, even if after all it is only a demo.
PLAYABILITY: As for every unfinished scenario such as this, it's always been an important rule to never award perfect ratings in any one category, but to be harsh so that the author may benefit from the criticism and take something from the review. With this in mind I approach 'Cherub Rock', an overall nice little prelude to a hopefully still upcoming project-in-the-works, with fresh, RPG-orientated game play, and an interesting story line. The game play works smoothly and despite some overly long dialogue the author still manages to maintain my attention and keep me wanting to know what happens next. The characters are likeable and the design promises plenty of exploration on a large map. However, there are just a few bugs which I encountered during my play. Firstly, when following Sadina to the village chief's house on my first go, she suddenly had the habit of becoming caught up in the bustle of village life and I could not progress the story. I had to reload all the way back just before I came into the village. I was a little impatient that night and going through all that dialogue between Rock and Sadina again, while interesting and at some points humorous, wasn't my cup of tea. Secondly, I had to laugh when the hunter gave me his clothes when departing the village. It seemed a bit unrealistic that he'd just strip off right then and there. Perhaps an alternative would be that the hunter gives the player a choice to go back to his house where he may collect an outfit? A few other minor problems I had included particular quirks with the objectives screen. When you received the dull blade I did not receive the +2AP for Rock, and Sadina should have been added to the party list once she joined Rock on the quest to the caves. In all, an intriguing demo with plenty of detail and lots of potential as one of this year's more exciting scenarios, truly, with a role-playing twist. 4.0
BALANCE: While the demo features predominant amounts of walking and talking, the fighting the player does encounter is creative and challenging. Utilising certain strategic combat bonuses in-built to the game, victory is by no means easily acquired. It's a nice step from simply waltzing into the arena and letting all hell break loose, but the player must really take a step back and think. It was a good idea to have the enemy become stronger as the player gains experience and better arms and armour. 4.0
CREATIVITY: The scenario promises some nice RPG-orientated game play, with potential party members, equipment and many quests along the way in the complete version. So far there are only a few quests, but it's a nice set-up and gets the player into it. I enjoyed the attention to detail and the fresh approach the author has chosen to display dialogue, as well as the abundance of sound effects that are fitting to the style, and story-orientated play. I will be looking forward to the complete version. 3.0+
MAP DESIGN: A lovely design with steep mountain passes overgrown with foliage and a realistic village with plenty of things happening. It is clear the author has applied lots of attention to detail here and there were always things to look at to draw the eye, with the promise of lots more in the complete version of the game. There were a few personal hiccups but really nothing profound. I just hope the author manages less linear-orientated game play as the scenario progresses, giving the player multiple paths to choose from but also more replay value. 5.0-
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: There is little here I did not like and even if as a personal preference you don't like long dialogue and some walking, RPG fans are going to appreciate the level of detail here but also the much-needed fresh outlook the author has given the game. Instructions were enough but never really needed as everything was explained well in-game and there was never a point where you sat back and thought, "Okay, what do I do now?" I did however encounter a few spelling mistakes along the way and some words that weren't quite the right choice, but nothing that impeded my understanding of the story. Really, the author's grasp of English is excellent, even though it is not his first language. A minor note, but 'Equipments' should not feature an s on the end, it acts as its own plural. Also, be sure to omit words like "gotta" and "see ya" from the conversations of the native people (e.g. the hunter); such words are certainly spelt as they sound and is more twenty-first century than anything. 4.0+
CONCLUSION: This is a refined demo and a much better experience than its predecessor submitted back in 2009. I eagerly await the full release, which will hopefully be out this year. Fingers crossed.
In a sentence - Exciting and 'fresh', Cherub Rock promises a complete role-playing experience with good story and characters.
In closing - I recommend this download.
[Edited on 09/23/12 @ 10:39 PM]