Name: Persiom ~The Place of Promise~ (93.00% in 10 votes)
Release date: 2000
Reviewed by: Lamuness
One of the things that amazed me about Alicesoft is their creativity in gameplay/engine...they always come up with something fresh...Persiom is a mix of RPG and puzzle game.
There was an ancient battle between the good and Hades. Thanks to the 3 holy swords, the good was able to defeat Hades and seal him in the underground. However, Hades' spirits/energy were still present and with the desire/wish/dream to return, these energy created an underground dungeon and monsters were evolved from this energy. However, with the help of magicians' powers, the monsters were kept in the dungeon and not coming out of the ground. This dungeon was later used for adventurers to explore and train themselves. Shops evolve near the dungeon as more treasures were found by these adventurers in the dungeon. Commerce evolved and eventually this dungeon turned into a real kingdom.
The game lets you choose from 3 different characters at the start - Coroa, a slave who is currently being trained as an assassin, but with the desire to become a knight. Michiela is one of the princess of the kingdom who goes to the dungeon to retrieve back the royal sword for her loved brother. Joker King is a visitor to the town and was asked by a witch to find a rare item in the dungeon. With 3 different characters to start off with and with Coroa and JK having multiple endings, this may imply a higher replay value due to different background story and different characters involved. However, there is *very little* plot development in most cases. I almost fell asleep in Michiela's story. Adding to that is when you finish the game and restart the game from scratch, you can choose to play the game in simplified mode meaning that you can skip all battles and dungeon exploration, making the game a bit too easy and defeats the purpose of replayability.
You start off in the town where you can buy items and levle up etc. Where you want to go is the dungeon. The dungeon is made of a "infinite" series of floors, randomly generated like Pastel Chime. A normal game ends at a certain floor between 100 to 200 (not telling!) and after you clear the game you can choose to continue to mindlessly go deeper and deeper for the hell of it. The goal of each floor is simple: go get to the other side. However, this is easier said than done, because each floor you are given a very limited number of steps to walk from one end to another. You can walk on tiles, and most of them you can uncover like a puzzle to find things. Sometimes they are good things, for example giving you extra steps to walk on, and sometimes they are bad things with a monster standing on top. If there is a monster standing in your way you have to fight it in order to clear the road. Obviously there are many obstacles on each floor and you have to overcome them. Once you get to the goal line, if you are able to, you can choose to go to the optional bonus rooms where you can play a series of mini games and get goodies.
The inventory system is also worth mentioning. It's basically like the Diablo-item style with the items in their actual size and you have to try to fit them all in a grid field. Weapons and armors are like that as well, but each equipment has its own durability value. When you use a weapon once, its durability will go down by one. If it gets to 0, you permanently lose that weapon. For armors, when you get hit, there is a chance of your armor getting damaged. Like weapons, you will lose the armor once its durability gets to 0. Fortunately there are a couple of ways of repairing them, plus you can stock extra equipment in your Magic Box, but this box has a capacity limit.
Battles are executed similiar to a slot-machine, with a pin going up and down. The speed of the pin is proportional to the enemy's agility. There is a area where if you stop the pin there the enemy will dodge the attack. There are areas with 80% attack power, 100% attack power, and the ever-so narrow Critial Hit area. The setup of these "ranges" varies from weapon to weapon, and I think Alicesoft made a pretty reasonable setup for each weapon. As seen in Kaerunyo Panyon and Toushin Toshi series, the female monster system is back. This time the pokemon concept is added to it. Once you get these female monsters down to a very low HP in battles, you can capture them and send them to "storage" in the town. Once you are at a high enough level, you can store these captured girls into spherical capsules (pokemon?) and in dungeons, you can throw these capsules at enemies and the girls can fight for you.
That's pretty much for game engine. Overall the engine is rather creative and the dungeon setup is pretty fun and rather addictive. However, the battles can get very mediocre as you go deeper into the game since it's the same and you just either attack, retreat use item, that's it. Graphics are gorgeous, and there are quite a lot of Hpics to discover for those sukebe players. The sprites in dungeos are awfully cute and I love them. Many things in the dungeon are parodies to other things, and if you understand them they can be funny. Music, we have Shade again!!! Shade has been responsible for music composition for 99% of Alicesoft games and this guy does a good job everytime. The music, either in MIDI or CD-DA, is great even on a SB32 card. If you have a real MIDI card like the ones by Yamaha, I can't imagine how good it (the MIDI) can get.
Bad things...although the game is quite fun, probably the worst thing about the game is the lack of plot development....I must say that they are a bit boring~~. The simplified mode should not be existent in the game at all since it defeats the purpose of replaying the game. Finally, battles can get mediocre as you go deeper into the game. It may be fresh when you just start the game, but by the end of the game, it start to be a slight nuisance.
Overall, although there are some problems to the game, Persiom is quite fun and quite addictive (at least to me). It got me playing day and night despite the fact that I have a pile of final school stuff due at the same time. For those who want something fresh and fun in gameplay and wants a huge number of Hpics, yes get this game, although you may be disappointed in the plot development, if you care or understand at all.
PROS: Overall pretty fun and creative engine and quite well thought-out. Tons of Hpics. Really cute sprites. Good music and sound f/x.
CONS: Lack of plot development, battles can get boring by the end, and the simplfied mode greatly decreases enjoyment of replayability in the game.
RECOMMEND TO: People who want something new, fun and fresh in Hgame engines.
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