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Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage - Review

The Worst Game Ever Made

By: Jade Falcon


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 1
   Interface 3
   Music/Sound 2
   Originality 1
   Plot 2
   Localization 5
   Replay Value 1
   Visuals 1
   Difficulty Extremely Hard
   Time to Complete

35-45 hours

 
Overall
1
Criteria

Title Screen
 

   The Nintendo 64 was never seen as a system capable of great RPGs. As a final breath in an already dying system, THQ's epic journey, Aidyn Chronicles was supposed to give RPGamers with N64s another reason to dust off the system. Aidyn was in development for three years and survived many delays before its much-anticipated release in 2001. Was the game worth the wait?

   There is no one good place to start, but the part of the game that screams "TERRIBLE!!!" the most is the battle system. Start out with a Chrono Trigger-introduced "run into enemies on screen" method of entering battles. When displayed, some groups end up with up to ten enemies. What is worse, for those of you who played Quest 64, you know what kind of system this is, except more badly implemented, if that is even possible. (Of course, THQ made Quest 64, so the inclusion of that system was not a shock.) Each character gets one turn and is able to run around in a certain circle. If an enemy is in range, great, it can be selected to be hit. Otherwise, play continues to the next player. Unfortunately, most attacks by the good guys seem to miss and the enemy attacks hit much more often. This results in frequent character deaths. Also, I noticed that some enemies get two turns before my team even went. For the time spent on the game, battles should have been at least bearable.

   The menus roll out on scrolls. There are equip screens and status screens. Nothing new here. However, on another area of interface, the game is horribly designed because the characters are not balanced. Only half of the characters are useful, and one of the characters could fight by himself and win. There is no way to revive characters, making the game even less user-friendly. The translation of the game is merely average. This is the one place where THQ did not totally screw up because the dialogue is actually somewhat bearable.


Quest 64 anyone?
Awful battles...  

   Music? Where is the music? I sure didn't hear anything. What little music that is present in the game is comparable to nothing but atmospheric noise during battle and a children's television show in the towns. The sound effects are very distorted and some are out of place. For instance, when a character misses with a sword swing, a sound plays that seems more like a hit than a miss. The only sounds the characters themselves make are when they die. They sound almost like wild animals being shot rather than people dying.

   I think the only original thing THQ did in Aidyn Chronicles was programmed in crashes. Every 45 minutes, like clockwork, the game crashed. There was no single event that happened which triggered the freeze, but one night I timed the game, and in exactly 45 minutes after I loaded the game, it froze. Thank you THQ for making a horrible game even worse by forcing me to play it through twice while beating it only once.

   The game begins with Alaron meeting some goblins and beating them up, then getting injured, cured, and returning to the castle. The only problem is that the people at the castle think Alaron slept with the person who healed him! (Not really, but the plot could have used that little shake-up.) The plot is so boring that it seems it was lifted straight from the trashy dime store romance novels, except without the romance.


What the hell is that?
Awful graphics...  

   To play this game again would be more painful than a lobotomy. My only time through the game I basically played it when I had been lying on the couch for two straight hours staring at a blank television screen, realizing that I still had to get through the game to write it for this review. I will most likely never touch the game again except for putting it back into its box and selling it.

Everything in Aidyn Chronicles looks like it was created for one of the first N64 games, not one of the last. The textures are very blurry, the characters are very blocky, and there are odd jagged polygons all over the place. It is amazing that this game even requires the expansion pack due to the low quality of the graphics. Everything seems to be colored in the same dark brownish colors with an occasional splash of some sickening bright color. The designer must have been colorblind.

Think of the battle with Zeromus at level 1. That is the difficulty of most bosses in Aidyn Chronicles. They don't even give you a chance. Even the first battles in the game are difficult because of the ridiculously high miss rate. Many RPGamers claim that the encounter rate in Breath of Fire 2 is way too high. At least in BoF2 the characters actually hit the enemies with the sword. I think I broke a controller after throwing it down in frustration because this game is simply so difficult.


Please gag me.
Just plain awful.  

For all the sake of humanity, do not play Aidyn Chronicles. You would think that THQ would have told H2O about Quest 64 or THQ would have learned its lesson after the huge failure of Quest 64, but I think that Aidyn outdid Quest in being terrible. I wish I could turn back time and ask for the 40 hours of my life back while I toiled around in Alaron's world.





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