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• Threads of Fate

developed & published by Square/2000.07.18
1 Player/1 CD-ROM/SONY PlayStation


Threads of Fate (originally titled Dewprism in Japan) is an action-RPG divided into two different story threads.  At the outset players choose between Mint (a magic user) or Rue (a fighter).  While the storyline focuses on different main characters (interweaving at certain points), the adventures are roughly the same.  Rue’s quest has a more serious tone than Mint’s, but both feature their fair share of light moments.  The cast of a dozen supporting characters each have distinct and enjoyable (if somewhat shallow) personalities.  Essentially everyone is out to unlock the secret of a relic made by the greatest Aeon to have ever lived, rumored to possess enough power to destroy the world.

Gameplay

Threads of Fate is a fairly simple game.  There is no overworld and only one central town, which serves as the hub between a relatively small selection of areas.  You can return to previously explored regions, and will do so frequently to progress the story.

Regions are broken up into several smaller areas, which are filled with respawning monsters and some platforming.  Sometimes these areas can get repetitive, especially in the dungeons where rooms and passages begin to look the same.  The main difference in the two quests (besides the storyline) is how the main characters attack.

2 Characters, 2 Ways to Play

Mint uses projectile magic attacks, divided into different colors.  Using magic requires MP so Mint’s quest presents a different challenge than Rue’s.  Luckily the developers gave her a jump kick attack which can be used when low on MP.

Rue uses a sword for close range combat, aided by a somewhat clumsy lock on system, and can defend himself by holding down the attack button.  Rue also comes with the ability to transform into monsters that (once defeated) drop special coins.  Many of the puzzles require a certain monster’s special ability, such as fire breath to light a torch.  These monster coins also serve as the game’s currency which can be traded in town for better equipment.

Graphics & Music

Graphically the game is a notable upgrade compared to the earlier Brave Fencer Musashi, its closest relative.  The characters and enemies are made of far more polygons and have more detailed textures.  The animation is fluid, especially on Mint’s pigtails and flowing clothing.  The action is viewed from a variety of preset angles, unlike Musashi’s predominantly overhead view.  The in-game cinematic scenes do the job, but a lack of voice acting and blank expressions hurt the presentation – surprising considering Musashi got these things right.  The music can get repetitive in some places, but there are a few memorable songs.

Known Issues

The main problem with Threads of Fate is it never fully delivers on its premise.  Had the game featured two completely different stories and settings, it would be much more rewarding to play.  Also as far as action RPGs go, it is a bit of an underachiever.  Any comparisons to the N64 Zelda games would not end favorably for this one.  Despite this, the game’s primary strength – its appealing cast of characters and simple but engaging story – does a great deal to save this simple quest from being forgotten.

Final Thoughts

Threads of Fate is a decent action-RPG, resembling a kind of 32-bit Secret of Mana, but suffers due to its clumsy controls.  The platforming sections, especially those in Mel’s Atelier are difficult only due to the poor jumping control.  The game does present some challenging boss battles, requiring the player to learn unforgiving attack patterns, but none of them have the flair of the battles in Brave Fencer Musashi.  Unfortunately there are few puzzles in the game, and those that are there range from overly simple to unfairly cryptic (with most being the former).

While Threads of Fate is far from perfect, its short length (two 8 hour quests) and endearing characters make it a worthwhile romp for adventure fans looking for something a little offbeat.

Quick Run Down

PROs:

  • Two playable characters/quests
  • Solid cast of characters
  • Good graphics & animation
  • Doesn’t take itself too seriously

CONs:

  • Repetitive areas and monsters
  • Poor jumping controls
  • Weak puzzle & dungeon design

One Sentence Review: While it improves on many aspects of its predecessor Brave Fencer Musashi, it presents some issues of its own.
One Word Review: Ok.

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