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    Hundred Swords
    Author: Drew Lanclos
    Date Posted: March 22nd, 2002
    SLRating: SLRating: 7.5/10
    Bottom Line: A very fun experience for only $20, but it leaves you wanting more story, more improvements, more jewel cases, and more hard disk space.

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    Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6
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    Graphics/Sound

    I have to be fair here. The game is a console port, and a value port at that. With that in mind, the environments and images in the game are colorful and pretty, but the 3D engine seems to have gotten little-to-no work since the Dreamcast version. As a matter of fact, I'm rather surprised by the amount of unit and terrain pop-up I saw all over the place, as it seems to me that the Dreamcast shouldn't have had a problem rendering all of it. Furthermore, the game is titled Hundred Swords not so much as a clever title, but as a "gimmick" to point out that the game is capable of hosting 100 units on a battle map at any given time. On a console, that could perceivably be a big deal, but that's just trifles compared to most PC RTS titles. I hit the unit cap before I was halfway through the game. There's also a building cap, but since your dragon steel and dragon oil mines get exhausted relatively quickly, you can easily destroy your old mines with no penalty to make room for new buildings.

    The game engine aside, the graphics for the game are beautiful. Argue with me about resolution all you want, but the hand-painted character portraits and scene depictions done by Yoshio Sugiura are simply breathtaking at times, and really help to accentuate the story's drama and feel. All the more reason I'd have liked to play this game longer…to be able to see more of Sugiura-san's fantastic artwork.

    The sound is pretty good too. The themes are powerful and moving, not unlike the familiar tunes from Hitoshi Sakimoto (Composer of the soundtracks to Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story) and Masaharu Iwata (Also composer of Final Fantasy Tactics). The one big problem with the music, however, is that it gets old quickly. Since you only play as the nations of Gran and Nalavale in the campaign mode, that means you'll have all of *two* tracks to listen to during the actual game. The cutscene music helps to balance this out, but believe me...you'll eventually get tired of Gran's music pretty quick. Gran's themes vary depending on the plot situation, but generally stick to a particularly bouncy theme, which doesn't seem appropriate given the sad tone of the game at the time.

    I'd also like to take a minute to address a singular unfounded complaint of mine levied squarely at the programmers in charge of the game's port. I've played through this entire game, and I have yet to figure out how exactly this game required *two* CDs full of data (a full 1.1 GB install, the largest of three install options: 600 MB, 650MB, and 1.1 GB), and *didn't* have any voice-overs for the characters. I'm not saying that Activision should've hired vocal artists to speak the character parts, but I've seen much longer, more graphically and artistically intensive games that fit on a single CD, and didn't necessarily even fill the whole disc. At this point, many PC gamers have come to expect voice acting in their games, and 1.1 GB of data without a single voice clip is rather inexcusable. Granted, the Dreamcast uses GD-ROMs that hold approximately a gigabyte of data, but I find it incredibly hard to believe that it was impossible to optimize or compress this game down to a single CD-ROM. All the sounds and background music are WAV encoded - Activision could have easily licensed the RCA MP3 codec, and they may have been able to ship the game on one CD instead of two. Or, even better, they could've used Ogg Vorbis, and saved even more money.

    Considerations Go the the next page
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    Article Navigation

    1. Introduction
    2. Gameplay
    3. Plot/Presentation
    4. Graphics/Sound
    5. Considerations
    6. Pros & Cons/Conclusion

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