Thursday, 20 October 2011

Threads of Fate (PSX) - Guest Post

The Super AiG project's senior jrpg expert, Ocean, has prepared an report on Threads of Fate, known in Japan as... DewPrism.
I've been meaning to play this game for 11 years. I didn't own a PlayStation back then though so I wasn't able to play it until now. Time to dive in and see if I enjoy it as much as I thought I would!

Introducing, the spoiled Princess Mint! She eats the feast food early, sits in the kings chair, and is a brat in general! I thought she'd be fun to play as so I picked her over Rue. You can play Rue's game after or before, doesn't matter.

In arrives Mint's YOUNGER sister, who looks older and definitely acts it. She's followed around by this guy who is the Doll Master. She also has other servants, and a relic of her own called the Book of Cosmos.

Pretty harsh! I know Mint is a spoiled brat, but they kick her out of being the next Queen and is cast out. Look how menacing he looks, he's sure to be a villain. She decides to go get a relic.

... yeah! That and this guy is a thief who is not to be trusted. You'll be seeing more of him later.

Now that I'm at a new town (Carona) I'll check out the menu. This is probably one of the simplest menus ever. Status menu (HP, MP, Attack, Defense stats only, nothing else), Monsters you fought (you trade them in for money), items (mostly coins and some rare items, no healing items), and controls.

I got a request to bring back a girl missing from the town! So here they introduce the battle system. Basically, press X to attack. Attacking lets you regain some MP, as well as some monster drops. You can enter a spell menu by pressing another button, and you can cycle around the colors (elemental magic types) you have. Then you choose the effect type it has. There are 8 elementals and I think 7 power types, and you won't even have access to most of them until later in the game. So you won't have to manage a huge list. In this screen I have 2 elementals and 2 effect types. Then press another button to release your current spell. You can jump around as well.

For example, I combined Blue magic with Normal type (I think) to get bubbles! This is a surprisingly useful spell actually.

Here's the one we have to rescue. Mint isn't really in it for the rescuing but she'll gladly beat up those thieves who stepped on her before.

Got here, and reunited her with her family. QUEST COMPLETE! Gained 300 EXP... oh wait, there are no quests or EXP or levels. Anyway, she's not really important to the plot, but her father is. He's an explorer and is looking for the relic, so you'll team up (he won't be fighting or in your party, just at home) to help get the relic.

Rue's looking for the relic too!

She doesn't like to share, so she wants that relic first! Rue is actually not concerned with selling it or using the relic to take over the world... not like Mint here.

And so we reach a boss!

He flings me away! Now that I look at this screen, I realized I need to mention how the HP/MP works in this game. Basically, the more you get hit, the more your HP starts going up. If you're a pro player, you can get away with having low HP. If you're really bad, feel free to get hit and sort of "grind" for more HP while making sure not to get yourself killed. You start the game at 60 HP or so and end up with about 150ish. Magic is sort of the same deal. Use magic, gain more MP. So it's actually a good idea to use your spells and encourages you to do so. Plus some enemies are more easily killed that way.

Died here to show you how this works. You have bronze coins, Silver coins, Gold coins, Platinum coins. Basically, when you lose, you select a coin and you'll revive with some MP, the amount depending on what coin you use. They're real easy to get too. Look around and you'll find some, or just buy some from the Church. 1000G for a pack of 10 Bronze coins.

So we get to the workshop up here. And uh... of course we're not planning to use this relic to take over the world!

Back to town, off to shop. You can buy a weapon/armor upgrade or sell your monster coins. So if you fought 99 bats, you sell 99 bat monster coins. It's really simple here as well, no big choices, just upgrade when you can. I should mention that Carona is the only town in the game, it's the HUB. It's nice and small too so you start to get to know the NPCs more.

I figured the 2nd one would be more in character. Even though he's hard not to miss.

It's dangerous to go alone, take me

Has a bit of platforming segments. It's not the best to control but it doesn't usually brutally punish you. Usually just takes you back to the previous platform and removes 5 HP or so.

Using fire to burn down the ice! We need that floor panel for later.

Like right now. You need to collect all the floors, then jump on them in the correct sequence and you can move on. Actually not too hard to do though.

No game is complete without being chased by a boulder! I admit I got crushed a bit before I pulled it off. She, being the brat she is, just leaves Rue behind as he's crushed. I find her highly amusing though. She's so childish.

Now this part annoyed me. You keep falling through and missing jumps and having to redo it over again. You have to jump on a specific flashing platform in order to proceed, and repeat until you get all of them.

I tend to fall down by mistake. But yeah, just beat this boss then you can move on.

Acquired a strange object! This should be useful!

But then these 2 show up! They have a sort of history, and they want the relic just as much as you do. To pay off their debts! They are more the silly villain types rather than the threatening types. You'll be seeing them a lot too.

That monster is still alive, and you have to move up the stairs and avoid the spike balls and make sure it doesn't catch up to you! This is harder than it needs to be because it's hard to judge where the ball will hit. Any mistake and you lose.

Next area, we need to find out what that cube does, so off to visit Fancy Mel! My that's a weird background.

Her little minions wanted me to play, so I had to comply. This is a series of 3 side scrolling stages with minigames at the end of each. You have to restart the whole level if you fall off too. Which, with the enemies hitting you back off a platform, or simply missing a jump, is easy to do. Thankfully, the levels aren't long, and the music is this: youtube link
Really, I couldn't hate it. In fact I went back for more later! The music was nice and charming in general, Nakano did a good job here!

So that's the witch! Frankly, with the graphical style and all, I sort of expected her to look like that. She's the young kid who is really 1000+ years old type of character. She knows Mint has a huge ego but she doesn't try to stop her from getting the relic. She helps her out and assumes the monsters will smash her and keep her ego in check. It... doesn't.

Of course she gets happy hearing what she has to say.

Duke is in that star suit, because he wants that info from you. He's the guy that was with Belle before. He's a master of disguise and acts!

Now that I've beaten the game on Mint's side, what do I think of it? I think it's charming. It's far from perfect, but it's nice and simple fun. It's never really the battle system which will annoy you, it's more the faulty platforming. The battle system is like a simplified Secret of Mana, you don't have much stats to worry about at all, there are a bunch of side things you can do (find coins, find new spells, find rare items and use them to get discounts at stores, fight Rod and keep challenging him as he gets tougher each time), nice music, and most of the characters are nice and likeable. Rue seems pretty boring honestly but other than that, I actually cared about the characters. You get attached to the little town of Carona and the residents. It's not even long, I beat it in 9 hours, and that's partially leaving the game paused while I go off and do something.


Semi-Random Game Box