Mazes of Fate GBA Review
What makes a good RPG? Is it the storyline? The game play? Or even to some people, the graphics. Mazes of Fate has all three! Sabarasa Entertainment has done extremely well with the making of one of the better RPG’s of today.
Sabarasa Entertainment has looked at some of yesteryear’s RPGs such as Ishar, Eye of The Beholder and Bloodwych for the style of game play. When most people think of a dungeon crawler, they thing countless floors with progressively harder enemies. This is nothing like that, apart from the harder enemies! This game looks at giving you a hard time on purpose unless you know how to ‘Stat Build’ this will be explained later.
When you first turn on the game, you are introduced to some nice artwork depicting what the story is. It is your basic people going against the laws of magic and Armageddon coming about the world and you have to stop it. I mentioned that it does have storyline, but without your basic good vs. evil it wouldn’t be an RPG. After the intro you have the normal menu you would expect. New game, Load Game and Options. If you enjoyed the intro it gives you the options to watch it again! In the Options you have volume levels, brightness level what language the game is in and to watch the credits. The languages it comes in are English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
When it comes to starting a new game, you choose between three characters. A warrior, rogue and a mage. These three character types have names and portraits so you can choose which one you want and get straight into the game. Before you finalize your choice on character, you are presented with a back story of the character, his/her stats and skills. If you don’t like the idea of an automated character you can create your own! You choose one of three portraits for your character, and then you have to ‘Stat Build’ your character the way you see fit. Stat building is where you have so many points to increase your characters strengths. You have 20 points to distribute between these 4 attributes: Strength, Endurance, Dexterity and Wisdom. When you highlight each one you have a small explanation of what each one is. As you progress through the game you earn level ups from battling enemies and doing quests, in which you earn stat points to apply to your character. After applying the points, you name your character. Then you have skill points, another form of ‘Stat Building’. There are Combat Skills, Physical Skills, Magic Skills and Rogue Skills. You only have four points to distribute and you gain more through level ups. After creating your character you are ready to embark on your adventure.
You start in Big Tuna’s Tavern with Tuna speaking to you. There are some typical RPG-ish style questions in all conversations through the game. Sometimes you may have to say things in a certain order to progress with the conversation or even the game itself. After speaking and having a few basic lessons on how to play the game you get your first quest! The exploration to get to the areas are basic and look a bit rushed so you won’t be admiring the scenery any time soon. You get told where to go and then it shows you where the location is. After some more speaking you get into your first dungeon!
The control system is the same used in Eye of The Beholder. Forward, back and turn left or right. When it comes to combat, you press the action button in front of the enemy and three choices appear; attack, magic and items. With this style of game your chance of getting a hit first time are slim. It seems to use a luck system in which you aren’t lucky! That adds to the challenge which is a nice refreshing change due to most RPGs being way too easy today. While playing you have a pause menu in which you can choose between camp, character status, automap, questlog, save game and settings. Camp is basically rest during a dungeon or even a world map when you are low on healing items or even magic points. Character Status is by far the most important option here as it has the options to equip items, use them and even manage your spells. It is also the area in which you level up your characters stats. The automap is just an overview of what you have covered in the dungeon due to some dungeons being quite large and it is easy to lose track of where you were going in them. Your quest log keeps a track of what quests you have running and need doing. One good feature is that you can stock up on quests like Oblivion and there is the main story quest to continue the game or there are your side quests which you can do if you want. During your adventures you meet various people some of which want to join your quest! You can have a maximum of three in your party.
The length of this game is your average length for a game today which is about 15-20 hours. Depends on how good you are at RPGs, sometimes you may have to start again if you completely messed up and cannot progress with a really hard fight.
The graphics in this game are very nice. The character graphics are very similar to Guardian Heroes from the Sega Saturn. Very bold and bright colours with high detail. The dungeon graphics are surprisingly very nicely detailed for a GBA game. The only thing that lets this game down graphically is the town and world maps look very rushed and half-assed. The menus are nicely presented with a good clear font and large enough text so it is easy to read.
The sound in this game is extremely old school in the way that while you are playing you can’t help thinking that you have heard the music before in other games. It is just very similar as to what music they produced back in the day. It is catchy and very memorable. The sound effects are next to none. There is a noise for your weapon and magic. Very basic but you forgive that for the catchy music!
Overall this is one of the last great GameBoy Advance games. If this was the last GBA game, it goes out with a bang with Mazes of Fate. This game is brilliant for anyone who is a fan of a good old RPG with a new style twist. I will say that people looking for a challenge should go for this because it provides a very hard challenge. For people new to this be prepared not being able to rush the game through and finish it fast. This will take time and effort but every second of time dedicated to this game is very worth it!
This is the one game that all hardcore RPG gamers need to play!
8.5 out of 10