Just RPG - Reviews, PC and PS2 Walkthroughs, Previews, and RPG News!





HOME

Reviews
Previews
Walkthroughs
Strategy Guides
Articles
Interviews
Editorials
Links
About Us
Past Issues

June 14, 2011
March 22, 2011
Feb. 28, 2011
Dec. 14, 2010
Nov. 23, 2010
Nov. 9, 2010
Oct. 26, 2010
Oct. 6, 2010
Sept. 21, 2010
Sept. 14, 2010
Sept. 7, 2010
Aug. 31, 2010
Aug. 24, 2010
Aug. 17, 2010
Aug. 8, 2010
June 15, 2010
January, 2010
Dec. 21, 2009
Past Issues

Age of Conan: Unchained
Dark Souls
Dreamlords: Resurrection
Final Fantasy IV In-Pack Items
Mount and Blade: With Fire and Sword
League of Legends: Co-op V.S. AI
Final Fantasy IV
Duke Nukem Forever
Divine Souls Open Beta
inSANE
Mass Effect 3 Unveiled
League of Legends: Cassiopeia
League of Legends: Trundle
King Arthur: The Druids
Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom
RIFT Closed Beta
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Magicka
Pandora Saga
DC Universe Online Screenshots
Fallout: New Vegas Add-On Content
League of Legends: Lux
Bloodline Champions: The Nomad
Majesty 2: Battles of Ardania
League of Legends: Battle Training
League of Legends: LeBlanc
Iron Cross
Prinny 2
Crusade Kings 2
Lionehart Kings' Crusade
Borderlands Game of the Year Edition
Castlevania Harmony of Despair DLC
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Spiderweb Software's Birthday
League of Legends: Swain
Gormiti: Lords of Nature!
Disgaea 4
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
League of Legends: Magma Chamber
League of Legends: Sona
War of Angels
King of Kings 3: Mage
Legend of Edda
Lionheart:Kings' Crusade
Cladun
Dreamlords
TERA
League of Legends
Silkroad Online Battle Arena
Grand Chase Thunder Hammer
Aika Global
The Shadow Sun
Saw ll: Flesh and Blood
TERA
Neverwinter
League of Legends
Castlevania Harmony of Despair
Smash Your Food
I SPY Spooky Mansion
Hexyz Force
World of Tanks
League of Legends
Mass Effect 2
DOFUS 2.0
DOFUS Screens
FFXIII Box
Puzzle Chron.
Gyromancer
Warhammer OL
Star Trek OL
Lost Saga Scr
Marvel DLC
League Legends
Poxnora
Demon's Souls
League Legends
League Beta
Fort Zombie
Arc Rise Fantasia
Arc Rise Screens
Mimana Iyar
League Screens
Marvel DLC
Free Realms
Adventures To Go
Fusion PR Group
Demon's Souls
AdventureQuest
Witch's Tale
League Legends
Half-Minute Scr
Half-Minute
Freaky Scr.
Valhalla
Dragon Quest
Vandal Hearts
Mytheon
Risen
Gemini Lost
Freaky
Gyromancer
FF Crystal
Dragon Quest
Star Trek OL
Fort Zombie
Disgaea 2
FF Crystal
Champions OL
Wizard of Oz
Star Ocean
League Legends
Valhalla Scr.
Dragon Age
Marvel Ultimate
Risen Website
League Legends
Adventurequest
Final Fantasy
Agarest War
Agarest War Scr.
Demon's Souls
SMT: Persona
Pangya
Dragon Age
Warhammer
Mana Khemia 2
Runes of Magic
Cursed Mtn.
Cursed Mtn. Scr.
Freaky Creature
Phantom Brave
Runes of Magic
Aion Goes Gold
Free Realms
Wizards Exec
Freaky Creature
Arma II
Champions
Aion CG Movie
Marvel Ultimate
FFIV Dev Diary
Steambot Chron.
League Legends
Phantom Brave
Runes of Magic
Champions
Champions Vid.
League Legends
League Trailer
Risen Screens
Freaky Creature
Star Treak DAC
Phantom Brave
Demon's Souls
Geneforge
The Witcher
Free Realms
Runes of Magic
Demon's Souls
Aion Screens
Fallout 3 DLC
Marvel Ultimate
PuchiPuchi Virus
League Legends
Fallout 3 DLC
Mytheon
Wizard of Oz
Oz Screens
Marvel Ultimate
La Tale
Asda Story
Avernum 6
Battle Fantasia
League Legends
Adventurequest
Warpforce
New Nintendo
Aion
FF Crystal Chron.
Mind Twist
Little King's
Stan Lee, Marvel
Elf Island
Ether Saga
Wizard101
Demon's Souls
League Legends
FFXI Trailer
Champions Online
Free Realms
Aion Preorder
BioShock/Elder
Silkroad Online
Warpforce
Warpforce Scr.
Runes Screens
Runes of Magic
League Legends
Marvel Ultimate
FF XIV
Knights
Asda Story
Champions
League Legends
Runes of Magic
FF XIV Online
Time of Shadows
Kingdom Hearts
FF IV
Demon's Souls
Lunar
League Release
League Trailer
Cross Edge
Runes of Magic
Phantom Brave
Crimson Gem
DC Universe
Freaky
SMT Devil
Steal Princess
Steal Screens
Wizard101
SMT Devil
Runes of Magic
Warrior Epic
Fallout 3 DLC
League Legends
League Screens
Bounty Bay
Bounty Bay Scr.
Ragnarok Scr.
Ragnarok Online
Runes of Magic
Time of Shadows
Time Scr.
Steambot Chron.
Adventures
Adventures Scr.
Warrior Epic
Sacred 2 Ships
Disgaea 2
Last Rebellion
Mana Khemia 2
Sakura Wars
Witch's Tale
Runes of Magic
Runes Screens
Class of Heroes
Sacred Trailer
Valhalla Knights
Wizard101 Gift
Freaky Creatures
Playboy Manager
Blizzcon 2009
Champions
Little King
League Legends
Wizard101
Wizard101 Scr.
Neverwinter
Warrior Epic Beta
Elder Scrolls
Warrio Epic Beta
Sacred 2
Utopia Kingdoms
Wizard101
Tweet in Games
Star Trek D-A-C
Champions
Champions Vid.
DragonSky Scr.
DragonSky
Free Realms
Free Realms Scr.
FFXI Vana'diel
DC Universe
Warrior Epic Scr.

 





Developer:
Valkyrie Studios
Publisher: Monolith Productions
Platform: PC
Release Date: 1999

by Nimish Dubey




A world comprising seven shells joined together by a spine to a central core. Empires at war. A plot to steal ancient secrets. No end of exploration, combat and magic. And lots of characters to play around with. Yep, Septerra Core: the Legacy of the Creator has a lot going for it. It has all the ingredients of a decent RPG and a compelling enough storyline to keep one going for hours. It is therefore, somewhat tragic that its shortcomings tend to trip it up rather badly.


The game comes on a single CD and requires very little by way of system requirements. I must mention that the minimum installation size comes at a mere 1 MB, enough to make one sentimental about the days when all one needed to carry games around was a floppy disk! Needless to say, it installed without a hitch on my PC.


The game has a console-like look to it with scrolling screens. The graphics are 2D but are pretty nifty with most of the characters being anime-inspired. Some of the locales, especially on the world map (more on that later), are breathtakingly beautiful. Character movement is a bit jerky but one can live with that. The music is good, although it tends to get a trifle repetitive and the same goes for the voice acting. The cut scenes are adequate, although not exactly classic stuff. Gameplay is rather simple with the mouse handling most tasks.


The game is based in the mythical world of Septerra - a world comprising seven shells bound to a single core by a massive spine. Septerra had been ravaged by a bitter battle between the forces of good and evil, ending with the victory of the former (lead by Marduk). And the core is literally at the heart of matters in the game. Not only does it radiate energy that is vital for the shells but it also contains the gift of heaven, which promises almost god-like power to the person who finds it. Unfortunately, the keys to the core have fallen into the possession of the evil lord Doskias who wants to use its secrets for his own ambitions. He plots a devious course, triggering civil wars and leaving a trail of blood as he tries to get to the core. Trying to stop him is the game’s heroine, Maya. An orphan who lost her parents in the civil war, she collects junk for a living on one of the shells but gets swept into the plot when one of her friends is caught smuggling arms.


Helping Maya are some of her friends as well as allies (yes, you can form a party) that she picks up along the way as she goes from shell to shell in an attempt to defeat Doskias. And they are not there just to make up the numbers in combat. Each of them evokes different responses from the people (non-playing characters) she meets. Some are arrogant, others helpful and some plain neutral. What’s more, they are not averse to a spot of bickering between themselves. As a consequence, Maya has not only to look out for the enemy but also keep an eye on her own flock on her travels.


And talking of travelling, one of the most attractive features of the game is the world map - a huge map that allows you to travel great distances by simply walking from one place to another. To get a better idea, imagine you had to travel from the US to Canada. In a conventional game, you would have stepped into some ship (or other means of transport), the game would have paused, loaded a new screen and eureka, you would be there! Here, all you have to do is go to the world map and coolly walk to the place you want to go to. Once you reach the place, the map is replaced by a screen showing you at your destination. It’s almost as if the world had shrunk to facilitate your travel. A good concept with some very nice music thrown in to boot! The maps of specific areas are however disappointing - coloured outlines that seem right out of Doom!


It is not all smooth sailing for Maya and Co. There are enemies to vanquish, ranging from guards to wild beasts. And in keeping with the finest RPG traditions, there are lots of weapons and spells going around. Each of Maya’s friends has a weapon that he/she is most comfortable with - one of them even has a colossal spanner! In addition, weapons and armour can also be bought from shops. There are lots of spells going around too, if you want to keep your hands clean. The spells are cast using fate cards and core energy (Septerra Corespeak for Manna, I guess) and can bring on everything from floods to avalanches. Of course, some characters are more skilled than others when it comes to casting spells so one has to choose one’s party members carefully if one intends to rely on magic!


There are hours and hours of adventuring here, especially if you want to investigate all possible routes and worlds and also solve all the little sub-plots that keep cropping up. It would also help to keep a shopping list handy, as you never really know what you might need in a particular situation - you might need an empty phial to collect some fluid or even the odd earplug to keep your ears safe.


Septerra Core however trips up thoroughly in more places than one. The most spectacular goof-up is the combat. If that sounds harsh, then try to picture this. Maya and her party suddenly come across the enemy. Before you know what is happening, everyone executes a leap into the air and takes up specific positions (no, you cannot control where they land). What follows is a bewildering version of turn-based combat. Maya and her companions can take offensive action only after they are charged to a certain extent. Depending on the extent to which they are charged, they can either launch a weak, medium or heavy assault on their adversaries. While heavy assaults do more damage, charging up for them takes more time. Attacks may succeed or fail at random, irrespective of how well you have aimed them. The execution of the attacks is also a bit comical. Most of the characters jump into the air, land near the enemy and bash (or chop) them. This continues until the enemy is vanquished or Maya’s party is dead. While running away is an option, the characters can do it only one by one. All of which makes combat a rather time consuming process, although there’s lots of gold and goodies to be had if one is successful.


Another problem with Septerra Core is the fact that the game does not flow smoothly. There are many occasions when one seems to have reached an impasse and progress seems impossible. The developers seem to expect the players to make some rather unrealistic assumptions. For instance, there is an area that is so filled with noise that it can only be explored while wearing earplugs. Fair enough - the problem is that earplugs are hardly on top of one’s shopping list so one has to canter through several regions on the world map until one finds a shop selling earplugs. And when one tries to return to the noisy area, one discovers that all the monsters and guards one had killed initially seem to have respawned.


Then there are the non-playing characters. While having lots of them makes for a lot of interaction, their tendency to react differently to different members of Maya’s party makes things a bit tiresome. So if you think someone has information for you, you have to keep going to him with different permutations of the party until you get the response required. Also, one has no control over the development of characters. Points are allotted to different characteristics automatically whenever one goes up a level - not much fun for those who like to tinker between different attributes in best Diablo tradition. Rounding off the flaws are a series of ‘Panic Level’ bugs which often crash the game midway through combat. Unfortunately there is no way of dealing with them unless one replays the particular episode from scratch.


At the end of it all, one is left with more than a little bit of regret. Septerra Core is a great example of how less-than-smooth gameplay can plague even the most interesting plot. Better design could have made this a classic. It is a tribute to just how well the story is woven that I kept hammering away at it, even while cursing the flaws and giggling at the funny combat sequences.


To err is human, they say. Well, Septerra Core is so riddled with humanity that it stops well short of being an RPG classic.


Final score: 60%


System Requirements:

  • Pentium 233 or better
  • 32 MB of RAM
  • Windows 95/98
  • Direct X 6 and QuickTime 4 or higher
  • 150MB hard drive space
  • 2x CD-ROM drive
  • Direct X compatible soundcard


Official Septerra Core Website




All materials © 2000-2010 Just RPG
RPG Network: Free MMORPG | RPG Music