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Name: D-Vine [LUV] (88.71% in 62 votes)
Type: RPG
Platform: WINDOWS
Company: Abogado Powers
Release date: 2000
Reviewed by: Lamuness

In this world there are many ruins of ancient civilization and technology. There are rumors there is a powerful "treasure" that lies in the ruins which attracted a lot of adventurers. In particular, reliable sources indicate that there is a very high chance of that "treasure" being located in an underground dungeon near the town of Avil...

The hero of the story is called Hide, an adventurer who has been very interested in this ancient civilization stuff. He and his childhood friend Sakura arrived at the town of Avil, and Hide started exploring the underground dungeon. Whether it is fate or not, Hide came across a mysterious door which was opened by a strange amulet he picked up from a dying adventurer near the entrance of the cave. Beyond this door he sees...

DV is an 2D action RPG game similar to the Seiken Densetsu engine and similar to Diablo in other ways. You run up to the enemy and attack with your weapon or cast magic or dodge enemies' attacks and pick up treasure they drop etc etc. There are many types of weapons for you to use such as swords, daggers, spears, clubs, axes, knuckles, bows, darts, etc etc. There are a a total of 15 floors to this dungeon and given the fact that you have a map to look at when you are lost, one can finish this game relatively quickly. However, there is more to the game than digging deeper and deeper, and this is where half of the fun is.

When you get enough EXP and levelup all it does is recover your HP and MP to full. Your attributes will stay intact. However, each levelup you are rewarded with 3 gems. With these gems you can go back to town and use these gems to raise your individual stats: strength, Intelligence, Vitality, Mentality, Agility and Dexterity. This way you can choose to emphasis on either physical attack or magic attack, or both. These stats do not raise your battle abilites a lot, but they play a vital role in that all equipments in this game require you to have a certain level of certain stats in order to equip these items. Therefore, even though by chance you pick up a really good weapon, if your stats aren't high enough, you'd better start fighting monsters to get more gems. Another use of these gems is to upgrade your equipment. All equipments in this game can be upgraded (up to 3 levels) at the expense of cash and one gem, so use your gems wisely.

I hope you do not get choked by this, but DV has a total of close to 800 (yes eight hundred) items ranging from weapons to armors and items. Given that Japanese people are generally collectible maniacs (just look at all those trading cards they have and err..pokemon), this will make this game last much much longer for those people who wish to archieve that goal of finding all 800 items. These items can be freaky, ranging from fruits to sushi to eclairs to maid suits to brooms to pantyhoses etc. Most of the time these items are dropped by enemies in the dungeon and what you get is pretty much luck and random. However, Abogado Powers has done quite a bit of icing on the cake to encourage people to spend time finding as much items as they can:

1. The obvious one. There are around 20 girls you can "attack" and most of them require you to bring them a specific item in order to "proceed".

2. Most magic spells are bestowed by finding magic books dropped in the dungeon.

3. If by chance you collect a complete set of "equipment series" (eg if you have a maid suit and head piece and broom, or if you have a set of student uniform and school bag, or a whole set of samurai suits and katana blade) and equip them together, you can have extra special abilites as long as they are equiped.

So have fun collecting these items (I got around 500 when finishing the game for the first time).

Generally DV is a pretty solid action rpg game compared with other rpg games in the Hgame market. It's quite fun and animation is pretty smooth and there are plenty to do in this game. The game starts to get REALLY fun when you get close to the end of the game where you will be outnumbered by 20-30 enemies running at you attacking and throwing fireballs at you, at the same time. However, with only 15 floors in the entire game and each floor being relatively simple, I must say that 15 floors is not enough and I was hoping to see a higher variety of monster types. In addition, the game is written in 256 mode (which I understand to ensure smooth animation but...) which is rather low-color and out-dated. Controls are relatively easy: you can choose to use your keyboard or drag your guy with a mouse. However, I do wish that the game supports gamepad control which will definitely make the game more enjoyable. CGs are done pretty nicely but as I mentioned before, it's only 256 colors...Music are done pretty well, but sound effects are rather dull. In addition, as I said before, there are 20 girls in this game, but 90% of them are just there for "service". After that, they are useless and just stand there and do nothing (as if they are used as a tool or something), which is rather disappointing.

Frankly, I haven't seen too many seiken-densetsu-type 2D action RPGs in the Hgame market, but I must say D-Vine is prolly one of the best in this genre. It has a very solid engine and gameplay, and there plenty for you to do (or collect) in one round. 2D action RPG fans, especially those who love to collect every single item in the game like many Japanese people do, must play this game.

PROS: Fun. Solid action RPG engine. Not hard to understand the engine for non-Japanese literates. Smooth animation. Over 20 girls. Some nice designs here and there....and how the hell can they make up a list of 800 items in this game???

CONS: Only in 256 colors. Game rather too short in terms of not enough floors and variety of monsters....and I must say the background story is not too interesting (to me). Most girls are only there for "service."

HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO: RPG fans who like Hgames (especially the action RPG genre), collectible maniacs.
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