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Mazes of Fate

Platform(s): Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS
Genre: Role-Playing
Publisher: Graffiti Entertainment
Developer: Sabarasa Entertainment


GBA Review - 'Mazes of Fate'

by Steven Mills on May 17, 2007 @ 2:36 a.m. PDT

Mazes of Fate DS is a blend of 2D global maps with 3D environments featuring 360 degree "free look" and movement controls. All dungeons, monsters, elements, and items are animated in 3D pushing the capability of the NDS, providing a perk for those gamers looking for something special.

Genre: Role-Playing
Publisher: Graffiti Entertainment
Developer: Sabarasa Entertainment
Release Date: December 4, 2006

Mazes of Fate is a first-person role-playing game that takes place in a doomed fantasy world, shrouded in punishment by the divine gods and rulers. The gods of the planet are tired of the pride of humans, and they plan to drive the humans to the brink of extinction in order to replace them with an all-new race, the Goatmen. You and your party are the final hope in bringing peace and safety to the world, and it is up to you to fulfill that task ... or cause havoc. The choices are yours, the path toward fighting the gods or ending mankind is up to you. What will you do?

Mazes of Fate sends the player through dangerous dungeons and on intense missions, fighting monsters, solving intricate puzzles and gaining friends or foes. Fortunately, you don't travel alone in this world and can have up to two others in your party. At the outset, you choose exactly what you want to be: warrior, mage, or rogue. You also have the option of creating your own character by choosing one of the three classes as a base and distributing your initial stat and skills points however you please. I often found that creating your own character just wasn't worth it because the other three classes provide all the necessities of being a good adventurer.

If you select the warrior class, the character at your disposal is Dumar, third son of the baron of Laramen. He knows only of a noble life, dealing mainly with weapon mastery and military science, and he prefers the use of melee weapons and brute strength. When Dumar's father, baron of Laramen dies, the kingdom is handed over to his brother Kreitos, who realizes the distinct possibility of Dumar grabbing the power from him, thus casing personal turmoil between the two. In the end, Dumar leaves his homeland and enlists in the king's army, where he receives a near-fatal wound in a battle against the Goatmen.

If you select the mage class, the playable character is Naveral, a man in the Zasterul family. Shortly after birth, he was abandoned by his father and his mother succumbed to a terminal sickness. He grew up alone and on the streets, doing what he had to do in order to get by. Eventually, Naveral was presented with an opportunity from the magician Kargus — working as his servant for three years while studying magic. After an argument with Kargu, he leaves and travels to Sumur, surviving with the dedication of basic magic and the desire to find out what happened to his father.

The third and final premade character in Mazes of Fate is the rogue, Katja. She is daughter of the great knight Kelethius, who was killed during an attack from the Resistance movement. Her goal is to train in her father's footsteps, venturing forth in the world and fighting evil wherever it may lie in order to honor her father's name.

The battle system and gameplay of Mazes of Fate are both pretty straightforward. You maneuver yourself around a dungeon using the d-pad to move forward, backward, and turn to the left or right. When an enemy appears on your screen you press the A key, and a menu pops up. From there, you can choose to attack, use a skill, or use an item, and then you select your target. Depending on your skill point allocations, it could be better to either use spells or physical attacks.

Although it is a Game Boy Advance title, the graphics for Mazes of Fate could have been better. I often miss important clues or items in a dungeon, not because they were difficult or I wasn't paying attention, but because they blended in with the wall due to horrible shading. If you get too close to an object, it gets horribly pixelated, beyond what should be viewable to the gamer's eye. The overall development of the world and map is creative and rather nice, but the actual graphics throughout the game just weren't up to par.

The soundtrack is rather generic and bland, and I turned down the music several times simply because it wasn't worth listening to. The music and sound effects did not alter the experience in any way; simple "thuds" during attacks and enemies' petty cries made me feel as if I were weak and kicking a harmless monster. A better soundtrack and more realistic and immersive sound effects would have been definite plusses.

Despite the sub-par graphics and sound, Mazes of Fate did have rather decent gameplay. Old school gamers or fans of dungeon crawlers will fall in love with it and its style. Moving through vast dungeons while slaying evil monsters and reaping the loot from their bodies does provide hours of fun. Because the entire game is played from th e first-person perspective, battles seem more realistic and intense, especially because if you are scared or do not feel strong enough, you can simply turn around and run for your life!

If the distinct gameplay and realistic battles do not appeal to you, then maybe this will: Mazes of Fate is a very long game. The storyline is long, it has many branches and sub-quests, and even each dungeon level is long. I once spent multiple hours in a dungeon trying to figure out what to do and how to complete it. It's not really a bad thing, though, because you are using your brain to solve puzzles the entire time, while duking it out with hordes of evil monsters. They payoff isn't quite as monumental as the experience itself; you're often congratulated with a message, some gold, and then sent off to the next dungeon.

Mazes of Fate isn't for everybody. Old school dungeon crawlers or fans of puzzles and long dungeons will enjoy this title. Those looking for a quick game to pick up and play here and there, or looking for great visuals or audio with a detailed storyline, should look elsewhere. While Mazes of Fate succeeds in bringing an exciting battle system and pleasant feel to dungeon crawling, it simply lacks the polish to be considered a decent game. Mazes of Fate was developed with a niche market in mind, rather than trying to appeal to the entire gaming community.

Score: 6.1/10

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