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ShadowFlare: Episode 2 Review
Reviewed by Falcon
P2 450+ CPU
200MB Disk space
Following the release of ShadowFlare: Episode 1 in early October, 2
months later Emurasoft has made Episode 2 available for purchase by gamers.
The world of ShadowFlare was introduced in Episode 1 – as a mercenary
in the employment of a remote town, your skills are desperately needed
fight against masses of enemies bent on the destruction on mankind.
Episode 2 takes the hero into a mountain range, in order to rescue
struggling army groups. However, a dragon resides on the mountains and
it will take cooperation with the local citizens in order to defeat the
The gameplay of Episode 2 follows directly on after the end of Episode
1. This means, not only does a prior installation of E1 need to exist,
but you will also have to play though and finish it before continuing onto
the next part.
Although the game does follow though a storyline, it is not designed
with a strong sense of plot development. Rather it is action oriented,
as the player enters new lands to engage the enemy forces and take on missions
such as retrieving lost items, or killing “boss” characters.
One of the benefits of a 4-episode system is the ability to break up
the gameplay as well as payment of each part. At $14.99, the game comes
at a reasonable price as a trial, as well as for the length of gameplay
featured. If you find that it is not for you, or get bored before you finish,
then at least a whole $50 will not be wasted as with other games.
E2 features the same gameplay and features as E1. The character choices
and methods of advancement, the interface, as well as the “buddy system”,
along with the weapons and armory remain unchanged – for information on
these aspects of the game please read our Episode 1 review.
The Tower of Ordeal is also available at the end of each Episode, which
provides an opportunity to level up and gain magical items without the
need to venture out into enemy territory.
Enemies will respawn in levels that you have already played – this
can be useful to gain additional experience, and is not too inconvenient
since a portal system can be used to jump between major waypoints.
Graphics wise, E2 is identical to its predecessor. Running on the same
rather dated 2D engine with 640x480 resolution, the only visible changes
on the screen are that of a variety of new monsters. With the introduction
of E2 comes a range of unique creatures, with a Japanese/Anime touch in
the design - from giant insects/creatures, to humanoid units, as well as
come creative monsters that look unlike anything that has been presented
in the past by developers who have kept to traditional, well known fantasy
Music is relatively unchanged, with the same sounding midi type tracks.
Sounds are also restricted to effects from environment interaction such
as footsteps, or weapons slashing. There are no character interaction speeches,
mostly likely due to the fact that it was ported over from a Japanese version,
and additionally to keep the file size minimal for web downloads.
Multiplayer capability is again available for up to 4 players in one
game. A program can be downloaded and used to find other online games.
However, the same version installation is required to play in the same
game as others – meaning that if you are playing E2, it will not be backward
compatible with those who only have E1 installed, even just to play in
the E1 lands.
The conclusion for ShadowFlare: Episode 2 is that it is essentially
extended gameplay of Episode 1. Much like an expansion pack for a title,
it adds new levels, monsters, and opportunities for the player to reenter
a realm of monsters and magic.
E2 is equally priced as E1 at 14.99 and available as a 200 odd MB download.
The gameplay is a reasonable length for the price, although to play through
all 4 titles would cost $60 – higher than a single title for other even
more complicated and lengthy RPGs available on the market. Since an installation
and completion of E1 is necessary before E2 anyway, the best course of
action would be to try the demo, or purchase E1, and if you like the game
and are wanting more at the end of it then to go ahead with E2.
Final rating: 60%
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