Final Fantasy Blackmoon Prophecy Completed

Blackmoon Prophecy is a fangame (or tribute game as I like to call this) that I began in 2004 which is based on the Final Fantasy franchise. I had abandoned it several times between 2004 and 2008 (the last time I think I worked on it before now) for various reasons. Sometimes I would mess something up that affected the entire game, or I’d simply lose motivation for one reason or another and give up. I released several demos between 2004 and 2007. Initially, not a lot of people took to Blackmoon Prophecy. There were lots of bad maps, dialogue was overly juvenile, and the overall presentation (such as battle animations) was a little disheartening. With each demo, I refined the game more and more to carry a more authentic Final Fantasy feel until it seemed that almost everybody who played the later demos at least partially enjoyed the game. Negative feedback dropped quite a lot over the three years of demo releases. It has now been a few years since my lastdemo and I can safely say that, now that the game is finished, the refinements I’ve made since then are very thorough. Many dialogue sequences and maps have been completely remade and, in some cases, areas of the game have been completely removed because I deemed them to be too amateurish. There are still a few bugs lurking in the game and a few dialogue sequences are still pretty outdated, but general reception on my hosting site (RMN) has been exceptionally positive so far. They’re also helping me out immensely by locating bugs and eventing issues, so I’m very quick to iron out any issues and upload fixed updates.

As for the story, it is meant to emulate classic Final Fantasy titles of the early 1990s. Because of that, the following description is brief.

Blackmoon Prophecy is the story of Vahn, a dragoon from the Branch Kingdom. A year has passed since the Crystal War which saw the King of Branch wage war on the worlds via crystal power. The King was defeated and the crystals returned to their rightful shrines across the world. Now, something mysterious is clearly going on. Strange happenings have been occurring at the Water Shrine, and a local dragoon named Darius has been acting peculiar and defiant in many cases. Can Vahn get to the bottom of it all?

What was it made with?
RPG Maker 2003.

Do I need to RPG Maker 2003 RTP to play?
No sir!

Can I edit the game if I find any bugs or errors that halt my progress or result in my character getting permanently stuck?
Yes, but the David patch is required due to the monsters in this game requiring more than 999 for stats and 99,999 for HP. If you are going to open this game in RPG Maker 2003, be sure that you have the David patch! It is available on Blackmoon Prophecy’s blog on RMN.

How long is the game?
This is a very good question. After two full days, I’ve had some people on RMN playing for about 10-15 hours and they’re only halfway through the game. By RPG Maker standards, it’s a decently long game. I expect that it should take most people about 20 hours, maybe more.

How big is it?
130 megabytes decompressed. Not bad for over 1200 maps and a wealth of compressed mp3s! As well, I frequently post updates which are only 1 to 2 megabytes in size.

What makes this game a tribute more than just a fangame?
I make constant references to the fourth, fifth, and sixth Final Fantasy games throughout Blackmoon Prophecy. For example, there is one location called Branford Hollow, which is home to a mysterious girl who wants magicite shards. The girl was sprited to look like Terra in the form of a miniature Final Fantasy 4 sprite. I also bring Ultros in. Many item names reference particular games in the series. As well, Mystic Mysidia is ripped straight out of Final Fantasy 4. There are other little details, but I think it’s best for the player to find them rather than having me blab about every single thing.

How does it play?
Blackmoon Prophecy is meant to emulate the older Final Fantasy games in many ways. Walk speed, locations, battle system, items, character roles, and so forth are all emulated to an extent. Basically if you don’t like how Final Fantasy 4 plays, since it is the game I emulate the most, then this may not be a game for you. However, if you enjoyed that particular game in the series, then you may like Blackmoon Prophecy.

Will powerleveling be required like in the original NES titles, or the original Japanese version of Final Fantasy 4?
Yes and no. If you skip most fights and only get by on bosses at first, you won’t have many issues due to the game starting off quite easy. However, the game will eventually punish you if you don’t make an effort to level up at least once in each new area that you visit. There are two distinct difficulty spikes in the game which make themselves known as soon as they are reached.

Minigames? Side quests?
There are hidden side quests all over the place and, in most cases, the player must really look for them. NPCs in towns who look completely unimportant may hold the key to obtaining some nice loot. There are a few minigames of sorts as well such as an arena where the player can fight and unlock treasure chests, a sheep chasing game that awards items based on how many sheep are caught, a Black Jack clone, and an auction house that functions exactly like the one in Final Fantasy 6. There are also LOTS of optional locations to visit.

Blackmoon Prophecy can be downloaded at RMN by clicking here.

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Final Fantasy VI – The After Years

A new little pet project of mine is a continuation of Final Fantasy VI. It is simply being called Final Fantasy VI: The After Years. I am aiming to set my take on FF6’s post game apart from the various fangames and such out there by straying away from making it about things I personally would like to see and more about what I think would make an interesting story.

So, how did Final Fantasy VI end? Well magic disappeared from the world as the heroes fled from Kefka’s Tower. After making it back to their airship and taking flight, we were able to observe the world slowly turning back into a somewhat green world. The transition from Ruin back to Balance appeared to be remarkably quick!

My take on everything will still have magic gone, and the world will still have the World of Ruin layout but will be green and lush again ala World of Balance. With seven years having gone by since the end of Final Fantasy VI, I’d expect the world to be in good shape again since the mere act of defeating Kefka immediately threw the world back on track.

So, who will be featured and why?

The central protagonist is Relm. Yes, Relm. She is now older, more mature, and certain circumstances in her life have hardened her such as Strago passing away and being left to fend for herself in Zozo (which is now free of crime). It’s not all bad though! Relm has her loyal friend Interceptor to keep her company. Since seven years have passed, Interceptor is a bit of an old pooch now. However, despite a few problems like not being able to jump up on Relm’s bed on his own, Interceptor is still an energetic and lively dog.

As for other characters…

Celes and Locke are now married and living in Jidoor where Locke manages the local auction house.

Cyan returned to Doma with the sole sentry who survived Kefka’s poison attack and has become Regent Lord of the kingdom which has since rebounded from the disasters it had suffered at the hands of the Empire and Kefka. He is married to Lola, a girl from Maranda. The single sentry that survived Kefka’s poison attack, named Lyon, has donned Cyan’s old armor and is the new Retainer of Doma.

Edgar’s reign as King of Figaro has continued uninterrupted, and he has also taken on a wife who has given birth to a young son. Sabin has given up his life of solitude to assist with the runnings of Figaro which has become the world’s strongest kingdom and has become known as “The Empire” after the original Empire and Vector fell. Sabin serves as Chancellor of Figaro, assisting with the day to day runnings of the kingdom while also leading Figaro’s blossoming military.

The Returners have settled into new roles as well. Arvis has taken up the mantle of Elder in the town of Narshe which has been repopulated (though the mines are still dangerous and are patrolled by militia who regularly hunt an enraged Umaro). Meanwhile Banon has settled in Nikeah as a doctor.

Interceptor being by Relm’s side clearly means that Shadow perished when Kefka’s Tower was destroyed. However, the other member of the “Shadow Bandits” has resurfaced in the new world having somehow escaped death years ago. Baram, leader of the New Shadow Bandits, is a ruthless crime lord of the underworld. His whereabouts, however, are unknown.

Duane and Katarin, though still young, are the community leaders of Mobliz. Duane is content leading the small town, but Katarin’s heart yearns for something more.

Setzer serves as an Imperial Airship Engineer based out of a facility within Figaro’s borders. Thanks to him, Figaro has a vast fleet of airships that are mostly used for rescue and transport purposes. The Blackjack II serves has his personal airship.

Terra has settled in the town of Albrook in the home of her boyfriend, and Imperial Captain named Zwei. She has adjusted to life without magic and it is now something she hardly even thinks about.

Gau has become civilized and lives with his elderly father who has become senile and very dependent on Gau’s care.

Gogo and Mog have both vanished without a trace and seemingly exist as nothing more than memories.

World famous swordsman Siegfried has become a highly sought after sword for hire as he travels the world searching for purpose.

Cid, Daryl, Gestahl, Kefka, and Leo are still all as dead as doorknobs.

I’ll post more when I have additional info, but for now here is a picture from the intro sequence.

Crystal Defenders (Review)

“A surprisingly pleasantly tower defense game that can roll with the best of them.”

It’s difficult for any tower defense game aspiring to be the “next big thing” to really make it on the scene anymore thanks to PopCap’s Plants vs Zombies. Crystal Defenders, by Square-Enix, is one of those rare tower defense games that is not only very enjoyable, but is good enough to challenge the behemoth that is Plants vs Zombies.

Crystal Defenders is a Final Fantasy themed tower defense game that takes place on fairly large maps which require the player to place various different units down to deter the oncoming waves of monsters. The objective is to prevent the monsters from reaching your crystals at the end of the path. Each map is essentially just a long road that the monsters walk. They never attack you directly, but the threat of them snatching your crystals is always very real. If you lose all twenty crystals, it’s game over.

The selection of units appears limited when you first play, but you quickly get used to it. There are six classes to choose from most of the time and the most common are soldier, black mage, archer, white monk, thief, and time mage. Soldiers are the brute force of your army and essentially just hit hard – really hard! Black mages thrust fire spells at oncoming monsters and, along with the long range archers, are able to hit airborne monsters. White monks are average fighters who do not hit as hard as soldiers, but they have the ability to hit several monsters at once. Thieves cannot attack, but if a monster dies within their line of sight, you will get a huge cash bonus. Time mages, of course, possess weak attacks and the ability to slow monsters down.

There are various summons as well, each consuming five crystals when called, making them very risky to use. One summon, Phoenix, pumps up the attack and abilities of your army for the duration of the attack wave, while the Ramuh summon unleashes a devastating lightning attack across the entire map that will deliver lethal damage to all living monsters. Both sound very useful but, as I said, they consume five crystals when summoned. The whole point of the game is to protect the crystals, so really the only time to use one of these summons is when you believe that five or more monsters will reach the end, since most monsters steal one crystal each.

With each kill, you are awarded gold which goes towards leveling up your units. Once you are several waves in, it becomes apparent that the key to success isn’t placing many units but leveling up the ones you have already deployed instead.

The gameplay is simple and never gets too complicated, but it is extremely strategic and, when you clear a wave of monsters that seems particularly difficult or frustrating, you get a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Winning in Crystal Defenders really does feel extremely rewarding due to it’s ruthless nature, which is much more than I can say for the casual-friendly Plants vs Zombies.

The graphics are pretty basic and look like late PS1 or early PS2 graphics. The entire map and all units are 2D sprites, but since this is Square-Enix you just know that the graphics have to be at the very least decent looking. They’re not overglorified, but they do the job and are in some ways mildly cute.

Crystal Defenders’ music is very impressive, though. It sounds a lot like the music from Final Fantasy Tactics, which is no bad thing at all. The music may seem like a bit too much for a tower defense game at times, but that does not hurt the game or the music at all. Crystal Defenders is a real joy to listen to, believe me.

Overall, Crystal Defenders is a fantastic tower defense game and I feel that it is impossible for me to choose between this and Plants vs Zombies as the better tower defense game. If you’re a fan of old school tower defense games, or like Plants vs Zombies but want something a little rougher, then this is the game for you.

Crystal Defenders is available on the 360, PSP, Playstation 3, Wii, and most mobile phones. Since pretty much everyone owns at least one of those platforms, there really is no excuse to miss this game if tower defense is your thing. Check it out.

Final Score

8.6/10

Mario Paint Composer

Chances are good that if you grew up in the 16 bit era, you were able to play around with Mario Paint and it’s awesome music composer. It was pretty darn popular, which is fairly evident with the creation of Mario Paint Composer. I can’t quite recall when the program came out, but it is basically a Windows version of composer in Mario Paint. I’ve collected some awesome tunes that people have made in the composer. Check them out!

Breath of Fire – Second Battle Theme (By Lumunaire271)

Castlevania – Vampire Killer (By adolfobaez)

Duck Tales – Moon Level (By Levus28)

Final Fantasy IV – The Dreadful Battle (By HCBailly)

Final Fantasy V – The Land Unknown (By HCBailly)

Final Fantasy VI – Celes’ Theme (By NorseFTX)

Final Fantasy VII – Still More Fighting (By HCBailly)

Final Fantasy VIII – Man With The Machine Gun (By HCBailly)

Final Fantasy IX – Boss Theme (By HCBailly)

Mega Man 2 – Wily Stage 1 (By TomBobBlender)

Mega Man X – Spark Mandrill (theEvilGrimace)

Sonic the Hedgehog – Green Hill Zone (By TomBobBlender)

Super Mario Bros. 2 – Main Theme (By The Lymphocyte)

Super Mario World – Athletic Level (By Fredfischer)

Tetris – Theme Music (By TomBobBlender)

The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind – Theme Music (By MickeRamone)

The Legend of Zelda – Main Theme (By adolfobaez)

And here are some non-Video game ones. Mostly real songs and TV themes. Very cool as well!

Angry Video Game Nerd Theme (By TomBobBlender)

Collective Soul – Run (By dfarkins)

Dexter – Opening Theme (By Afrodude50)

Dragonforce – Through the Fire and Flames (by Levus28)

Europe – The Final Countdown (By Bangario)

Flintstones – Main Theme (By Friedfischer)

King of the Hill – Opening Music (By Aceticacidplease)

Metallica – Battery (By EverlastingLuigi)

Pirates of the Caribbean – He’s A Pirate (By Uhiwi)

Rocky – Gonna Fly Now (By lapras509)

Star Trek – Movie/Next Generation Theme (By EcLipsE1982Fat)

Star Wars – Main Theme (By MisterAlphabet)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cartoon Theme (By longsocksilver)

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Learning To Fly (By JealousGuy)

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YummyDrumsticks (aka YDS) Plays Blackmoon Prophecy

No doubt a few visitors have noticed that I have a section for my game called Blackmoon Prophecy on The Review Depot. Whether it’s even enjoyable to the masses in 2010 is something I’m not too sure of, which is why YDS is covering it in one of her “Let’s Try” video series.

“Let’s Try” is a series that YDS started to give verbal and visual feedback to amateur game developers who primarily use Enterbrain’s RPG Makers. Blackmoon Prophecy is made in one, which gave me the opportunity to request a play of Blackmoon Prophecy. She accepted, and here are the videos. Hopefully these may encourage people to try it out!

As a note, she curses a lot and is very critical on purpose. It’s a recurring thing she seems to do in all of her videos. Also the audio is slightly out of sync in the recordings by about 3-5 seconds most of the time.

I’ll put the videos here as they are uploaded.

Stay tuned for more (hopefully).

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