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Threads of Fate

Publisher: Square Developer: Square
Reviewer: Dancin' Homer Released: 07/18/00
Gameplay: 84% Control: 75%
Graphics: 80% Sound/Music: 85%
Story: 90% Overall: 83%


If you have eaten a hotdog at some point in your life, raise your hand. If you have ever heard what is in a hotdog before, and you answered yes to the last question, please shudder and raise your hand. What is a hotdog exactly? Why, it's everything, of course, processed and crushed into a little hotdog shape. They are really small, so you can eat one in under ten seconds if you try, making them fun too. It may not be made of the best things, but it tastes good anyway, so maybe you should just forget the ingredients. Squaresoft once made a hotdog, and they named it Threads of Fate (Well, the US version, at least).

The village of Carona was a quiet trading post of a town. The small population lived peacefully within the happy little city. There was little to do here, but one citizen was very busy. Dr. Klaus (No, he's not a bad guy) was the local archeologist who explored the many ruins surrounding the town for Relics, magical items capable of incredible feats, but he had very little to show for all of his work. Life in Carona was peaceful, revolving around the boats that would come and go, until fate itself seemed to bring a pair of Relic-seeking adventurers from the opposite ends of life together…

Rue was content. He led a simple life of hunting and farming in the wilderness, living with Claire, the girl he was devoted to. After finding him alone in the woods, she rescued and cared for him, and Rue was finally able to rest, no longer haunted by the phantoms of his past. And then, on a cold night after a snowstorm, Rue's life changed. A bizarre man with an enormous hand suddenly attacked their farm, and Rue battled bravely to stop him. The stranger was far stronger, though, and Rue would have died if Claire hadn't come to his aid. Her axe barely stunned the fiend, however, and she paid for her assault with her life. The rest of Rue's story is clouded in mystery. Rue had heard of an object called the Relic, which was capable of reviving Claire, and had been searching for it for three years before he reached the town of Carona. His quest ended in that town...

In the far-off kingdom of East Heaven, there was a princess named Mint. Unlike most of the royalty of the kingdom, Mint was greedy, spoiled, rude, disobedient, manipulative, and bent on world domination. Her younger sister Maya, on the other hand, was sweet, charming, polite, and basically met the requirements for being a snooty princess. Due to her age, Mint was destined to be a queen, until that fateful day came when Maya announced that Mint was out due to a unanimous vote from the Royal council and agreement from the king. Faced with a choice between exile and a fate worse than toilet scrubbing, Mint ran away from home with her magic rings and the determination that someday, she would return for vengeance. After two years of searching for a powerful Relic, Mint wound up in the small town of Carona...

Threads of Fate is basically a condensed version of Brave Fencer Musashi. Fighting is almost exactly the same, except for the choice of two characters, each with special moves of their own. The game consists of various quests through different areas, but there was very little challenge involved. The one town you go to is small, but manages to fit a weapon shop, two inns, an item shop, a dock, a bar, an archeological shop, a church, and a coliseum.

Weapons and armor can be bought at the weapon shop to improve offense and defense, but there is very little selection. Items are found and given to various townspeople or sold for a nice bundle of cash, but there are no curative items or status effects to be bothered with. The bosses are easy for the most part, involving nothing more than memorization of their attacks and finding their weak point. Even if you have trouble with one, extra lives are spread liberally throughout the game in the form of life coins, allowing a fresh start against whatever killed you.

The levels are made up of several paths that are pretty self explanatory, unlike the more 3D levels in Musashi. The special moves aren't very useful in battle, but are needed to solve the various puzzles (Rue might have to change into a porcupine to fit in a hole, or Mint might have to use a spell to hit a distant enemy).

There is no experience, but HP and MP increase by taking damage and using magic, and you can buy better offense and defense. Money is gained by selling the enemies you've beaten. A good player can beat the game in less than ten hours and finish the other character's game in less, but after you do this, you can play through the game again with your already trained characters. Threads of Fate is a simplified version of Brave Fencer Musashi and was made for children, but it was fun. Gameplay gets an 84%.

Unlike most Square games, Threads of Fate was not a graphical masterpiece. The characters look almost exactly like Musashi's, but they now have a few more facial expressions and can move a little bit better. The enemies have been improved upon from its predecessor, having more detail, color, and movement. The levels are also quite good, but there are few of them. Some areas become very repetitive, and I thought this really took a lot out of the fun of the game.

There are no FMVs at all, but cut scenes pop up from time to time. I think this game could have been done much better on the N64, (Wow, you don't hear that often) but I can't really complain about the visuals in it too much. Graphics get a 77%.

Fortunately, the music wasn't disappointing. Although it wasn't anything incredible, the music worked quite well. A few of the songs were similar, but there were some that are still stuck in my head. I thought that Brave Fencer Musashi was much better in this category, but I have to admit that ToF wasn't that bad.

The sound effects were decent. Everything sounded like what it was supposed to, and I don't know what else I can say about that. As for voice acting, Threads of Fate did away with this completely, and I have mixed emotions about this. Although the text was translated well, there was some emotion missing that was in Musashi. Oh well. Sound/Music gets an 85%.

The plot of Threads of Fate was interesting, to say the least. For your main character, you can choose a world-domination-driven princess or a guy who acts like Cloud mixed with Cecil who can change into anything he kills. About half of the game is spent looking for clothes to put on a doll that can destroy the world, and some of the language makes you question the "E" rating. The cast is highly condensed and fills in every needed role without any waste at all. There is not a single Villager #23 to be seen, probably due to the small length of the game.

Square has done a good job of not just making another game where you save the world, but I'm confused who the target audience was supposed to be. All I can say is that it was a strange, strange game made from all of the rejected odds and ends of other games, and somehow, it worked. Storyline gets a 90% for originality, but lost points because of length.

Much of your exploration of Carona's ruins involves jumping from platform to platform, and I have to say that I was surprised at how much easier it was in this game compared to Brave Fencer Musashi. However, this was only because the game was much easier, and not because the controls were better. I don't know how many times I've fallen into a pit due to unresponsive buttons, but I'd guess it's happened a lot. There isn't much else to mention, but I did find that although the auto-targeting mode in battle helped in most cases, it also ruined a good attack or two for me. Controls get a 75%.

Square has always been able to surprise the public with their creations, and I think that this game was definitely a breath of fresh air from all the serious games out at the time. With the exception of the Storyline, nothing stood out very well, but that was enough to make the game different. Threads of Fate was not a must-have game, but if you have a wad of cash and need to use up a few days, I'd suggest it. ToF gets an 83% Overall, so I'd suggest renting it at least.

Gameplay - It's a sequel. Need I say more? 84%
Graphics - No comment. 77%
Sound/Music - I can't complain. 85%
Storyline - Why is Prima wearing a dress, earrings, a tiara, and purple shoes? 90%
Control - BOOOO! 75%
Overall - After they made this, they broke the mold… 83%

Dancin'
Homer

Rue is a serious, strong-willed individual determined to save Claire.

Mint, on the other hand, is stubborn, selfish, extremely bossy, and strives for world domination







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