I’m sure everyone has heard the mock Marine slogan, “Travel to distant lands, meet exotic people, and kill them”, or something pretty close to that. The slogan for Quest 64 should be: Travel to not-so-distant lands, meet boring people, and then if you’re still paying attention, kill some monsters. Quest 64 isn’t a terrible game, but it certainly isn’t a good game. This is an RPG aimed at children, whether THQ knows it or not. It’s not for serious gamers, or even gamers older than about 13 or 14. For a child this game is a perfect RPG, but for anyone who has played RPGs before, especially many of the great ones on Nintendo’s past systems, you’ll get no satisfaction out of this title. THQ hasn’t made a very good game, and Nintendo still gets an F for RPGs.
The first and most important place Quest 64 fails gamers is in its story and dialogue. This is a story straight out of a children’s book. You embark on a quest to recover the Magic Eltale book, and in addition, four magic orbs. It’s not a terrible story persay, just the way it is presented to the player. The dialogue is so simplistic that talking to NPCs is pretty much a waste of time; forget getting important information. There is almost no background info in the game, except that the main character’s (Brian) father has disappeared on a search for the same book you are looking for. You are a magic user, and you have been training at a monastery up until the time you embark on your quest. Whoops! I just gave away the whole beginning of the story. Sorry, it was unavoidable because that is all the game tells the player, and, because of that, I give story a 45/100.
The game’s graphics are a mixed bag. On one hand you have the nice game environments: the towns look excellent, and you’ve got a huge field of vision. For instance, when you first walk out of the monastary at the beginning of the game, you come to the edge of a cliff and you can see the first town far below and some of the surrounding countryside. It’s an excellent view, and a sight seen in very few games. Though the towns look very nice, the countryside can be a tad monotonous, but not too bad in most spots.
Unfortunately, on the other hand you have the game’s pathetic spell effects. The game features a battle system mainly based on casting spells, so spells and magic use are very important to the game. It’s very surprising to see such pathetic spell effects featured in this game. I don’t know why Imagineer even bothered. Next to FF7 and just about any other RPG, the spell effects in Quest 64 seem laughable. They are very small, and over in a split second. One would almost think Imagineer forgot about them and in a hurry put them in right at the end. Overall the game’s graphics are decent, but I can’t overlook the terrible spell effects the game’s battle system forces gamers to watch over and over again, so I give graphics a 60/100.
Music & Sound Effects are forgettable in Quest 64. The music seemed to have a little bit of an Irish hint to it, but again, it’s nothing to get excited about. I found battle music to be downright boring after hearing it a few times. Sound Effects really drag the game down – they just plain stink. There are no realistic sound effects in battle. When you hit an enemy with your staff, it sounds like you’ve just wacked a bag of sand. Sound Effects for spells are equally pathetic, sounding nothing like throwing a fireball or casting a rock spell. I give Music and Sound a 50/100.
Gameplay in Quest 64 is boring and frustrating. Sometimes battles become too frequent, and sometimes you can travel large distances without encountering them. The game does present players with a 3D world, but there is much less exploration allowed than in a game like Mario 64. When travelling between towns there are almost never any areas to explore away from the path players follow to the next area or town. There are also invisible barriors preventing players from walking up or down small hills, and other hinderances holding back exploration, which I wanted to do.
The battle system is easy to master, with a button for attack, and then each one of the yellow C buttons being used for each element in the game, Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire. Players are presented with an octogonal area for each battle, with freedom of movement within this area depending on the player’s level; the higher the level the further you can walk when it’s your turn. The battle system is turn-based. I didn’t enjoy battles at all, and I ended up resorting to attacks with my staff each time, because it seemed to do more damage than any of the spells I could use. I give Gamplay a 50/100.
Overall, Quest 64 is a bad game. It’s a decent RPG for children, needing an easy force-fed Quest, but for gamers seeking any kind of a decent story, and resulting gameplay, Quest 64 isn’t going to satisfy you. Quest 64 has its uses though… I’m thinking book-end or doorstop?