of Fate - Review
World Domination Baby!
By: Howard Kleinman
| Battle System
| Replay Value
| Time to Complete
Threads of Fate was possibly the least anticipated of Square's vaunted
Summer of Adventure titles given the fact that it was not the follow up
to a popular SNES game, nor was it a groundbreaker like Vagrant Story.
Threads of Fate is something else entirely, it is a game made to be simple
fun, with an entertaining cast of characters, vivid visuals, and smooth,
addictive gameplay. In short, Threads of Fate is a truly unexpected
winner from the masters of the RPG at Square.
The battle system in ToF is extremely simple to use, and as a result
is a great deal of fun. Since this is an action RPG, the battles take place
in real time with timed button presses causes your character, either Rue
or Mint, to jump, attack or use a special ability with ease. The player
has the option to play either character from the beginning. Which
character you choose has some interesting variations in gameplay.
Rue uses an axe and collects monster coins which allow him to transform
into various monsters. Mint uses to golden rings and has the ability
to cast a variety of magical spells. Threads of Fate plays
more like a platformer like Crash Bandicoot than a Legend of Zelda Game.
Combat is more of a focus than finding items, though they play a minor
part in the game as well.
There is a good variety of locations that feature subtle differences
in gameplay. Sometimes you are forced to race against time to avoid
being crushed by a boulder or eaten by a dragon, all the while dodging
obstacles in the path in front of you. Other times, you must play
in a 2D platform style reminscent of Mega Man. Most of the game is
played out on 3D maps with ample time to explore and solve puzzles. Most
of the puzzles are rather easy to solve, usually it requires using the
right type of spell on the right type of location if you are playing as
Mint, or transforming into the monster with the appropriate powers if you
are playing as Rue, but the ease of the puzzles doesn't detract from the
fact that the game is just fun to play. Boss battles usually require a
bit of careful strategizing rather than just running up to them and smacking
them to death. This can be frustring since some bosses are difficult,
but continue coins are very easy to come by, so there's no real threat
of getting a game over and losing your progress.
Menus are handled in the familiar ring style used in Secret of Mana.
The interface is very easy to use, but has some minor problems. On
occasion, when changing a spell or monster type, the game will ignore the
command. This can be slightly annoying, but rarely, if ever will
it be deadly. Shops sell minor upgrades to you abilities which you
acquire through selling some truly odd items and monster coins. Mostly
the game plays very smoothly and requires little use of menus, focusing
instead on platform style challenges.
|You will respect her authority.
The sound and music in Threads of Fate is solid support but rarely spectacular.
Still, it is generally bright in tone and appropriate to the action.
Sometimes it is used for great comedic effect. In general while the
music is not a strength, it is far from a weakness.
Threads of Fate features the ability to play as two different characters,
and therefore has two slightly disperate plots. While both plots
center around the quest for a lost [Relic] (which is alway bracketed in
the text for no apparent reason). Rue's storyline is more traditional
RPG fare with Rue looking for the [Relic] to resurrect his beloved "friend"
Clair. Mint's storyline, the more original and humerous of the two
centers on her desire to get revenge against he sister Maya, who took her
place in the succession to the throne of East Heaven Kingdom, and to eventually
use the [Relic] to rule the world. This scenario is played to extreme
comic effect, and it is a refreshing change of place to play as a character
who is far from noble .
What's most surprising about Threads of Fate is its localization
which is quite simply the best I've ever seen from Square. It feels
more like a game from Working Designs than anything Square has produced
in the past. Every character has their own speech patterns that are
not only distinctive, but quite humerous. Threads of Fate frequently
mocks its E-rating by having Mint call people "You [Expletive]!"
The characters frequently insult each other and the effect is often laugh
out loud funny. This effect is more prominent in Mint's less serious
scenario than it is in Rue's, but every character is as lively as any ever
seen in an RPG. If FFIX has a translation of this quality it will
surpass Ted Woolsey's much vaunted translation of Final Fantasy VI.
This is a translation that had me shouting "World Domination Baby!" for
|Rue: More than meets
Threads of Fate's multiple character paths provides for good replay
value. The average player will play through both scenarios at least
once to see the plotline. As an added bonus for those who finish
both scenarios there is a third ending, linking the two endings together
and setting the stage for a possible sequel. Even then you can playthrough
the game again with you charged up characters, and giving you the opportunity
to collect even more spells than you could the first game. In general,
depending on your ability with platform games, a playthrough should take
between 5 and 15 hours. A second game should really take little more
than 5 hours, since once you acquire the right type of platforming skills,
the game's difficult should drop greatly and the game should progress more
The visual style of Threads of Fate is bright and brilliant. While the
polygon count is generally lower than those seen in games like Final Fantasy
VIII and Chrono Cross, the overall effect of the low count adds to the
game's charm. The characters look like cartoons. They all have
incredibly good and distinctive animation. The way Mint stomps on
the ground in frustration is absolutely priceless. The enemies are
just as detailed as the characters, all with nice details and phenomenal
animation. Some of the effects, like the enormous hand of one villain
are just plain creepy. Others, like Fancy Mel's house are just so
psychedelic that they must be seen to be believed. Despite its total
lack of FMV, Threads of Fate is a visual treat.
|Mint is not one to admire
Being a platformer in style, Threads of Fate's difficulty level is pretty
high. There is usually little room for error in jumps and battles
and very often you'll find yourself thwarted by some very difficult bosses.
Fortunately, continue coins are VERY easy to acquire. You simply
pray in the church and pay a small amount of money. So while the
game is challenging, it is rarely frustratingly so. Because of the
leniency of the continue system I'd say this game has a moderate level
I've heard comparisons of Threads of Fate to Brave Fencer Musashi, a
game I've never played. That fact out in the open, I found Threads
of Fate to be wonderfully original. The variety in platform styles,
the ability to play in two disperate scenarios and the phenomenal and funny
localization make Threads of Fate a worthy addition to your game library
if you have some small change to spare.