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Tristan & Iseult – A sort of Review, partial dissection and a case of confused identity…

February 9, 2013

You are in for a treat!… For I the HANDSOME UNCLE MUGEN had this massive wall of text and pictures for you to enjoy…

Ehem… So Shakespeare asks… TO OELVN or NOT TO BE OELVN… that is the question…

Today we have one game that fits this… Tristan and Iseult

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According to the description given in the Renai Archives… home of the finest OELVN’s on this planet…

A millennium before Romeo and Juliet, another doomed love – that between the Breton Tristan and the Irish princess Iseult – passed into legend. Some of the stories have the pair running off to France to live out their days; in others, they’re both murdered by a jealous husband. Sometimes Tristan is a knight at King Arthur’s court, other times a wandering Pict. Against a backdrop of war between the Irish and the Celtic peoples of ancient Britain, the pair fall in love and play out their respective roles in the fate of the whole of the British Isles.

So without looking at images, it’s safe to assume that this could be an OELVN but alas it is not to be. For it is actually a a hybrid OELVN turning strategy game meant to demonstrate the feasibility of using the Ren’py OELVN Engine besides it’s intended purposes… more on that later… for now let’s focus on the game itself…

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So here we have Tristan… this long haired lad who speaks really weird English which make things slightly hard for someone like me who is a non-native English speaker… Seriously, what shampoo are you using?

For starters, those who are accustomed to the typical Ren’py VN will find the way this game transitions from one speech bubble to another quite jarring due to it’s sudden movement from off-screen left… again and again… every time you click… but you’ll get used to it…

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And then without warning… the Irish has attacked!!! Time to hit Google… because I know next to nothing about Irish…

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And after a brief introduction and tutorial… you get to beat the crap out of them pretty easily and effortlessly. Now the really fun thing about this is the way they react once you killed them or killed one of their own… Something tells me the Irish and British don’t get along very well in this game…

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The next level, you’ll find yourself armed with new type of units… Now unlike the previous level… the Irish (enemy) is actually on the retreat and your job is to finish what you started earlier. Unlike the previous unit you are commanding, the current units you have are not really that powerful and all it takes is one unit to escape and it’s game over for you so you’ll have to actively pursue them in order to get them… which is actually harder than it seems since your turn only allows you to pursue so much that you’ll have to rely on the archers up ahead who are not really that powerful to finish the job.

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And after the slight adrenaline rush from the battle it’s… back to being OELVN… which I will not go into detail to prevent spoilers…

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And just when I was slowly being sucked and absorbed into it’s world… SUDDENLY! A GUNDAM ZAKU!?… WTF!!!…

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I rubbed my eyes only to realize… it’s just some guy in red Armour… I get up and brew myself a cup of Coffee… at this point I realize I’m hovering the thin line between a review and a spoiler so we should stop here and focus on the other things…

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Is it an OELVN or a Turn Based Strategy?…

As I have mentioned before… this game is a hybrid… a combination of both… Unfortunately, both genres present in this game are not only highly contrasting each other but is actually dragging each other downwards…

As a Turn Base strategy, it’s not really as detailed or deep… if I can put it in a simple way… you are given a specific set of units with known strengths and all you have to do is to place them at the right place at the right time… besides terrain, no other factors will have visible impact on the outcome of the battle… this is very evident in the second battle and the very long intermission OELVN between battles breaks the momentum so much.

On the other hand… as an OELVN, the turn based strategy game breaks the continuity of the OELVN so much since the battles can be quite long… not as long as most people think but certainly long enough to break the OELVN momentum…

For now, I’m going to leave that question in the hands of the readers…

Normally, this is the part where I end this but I Uncle Mugen is very VERY curious how this thing works in Ren’py… I’ve been using Ren’py since 2006 and despite what people say about it’s ease of use… a complete beginner will feel overwhelmed by it and that’s only the default OELVN creation part. And now we have a game that completely bends Ren’py in a way not intended to be… It’s like cutting down a tree with a hammer…

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As you can see in this close up… there is a visual tearing in every tile-set… map. This is Ren’py’s fault for Ren’py doesn’t really scale up and interpolates things properly when dealing with odd numbered sizes… but then again, you really can’t blame Ren’py for it is not intended to do this kind of thing…

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Of course, I UNCLE MUGEN can no longer resist the temptation… I wanted to know how this thing is even possible so I did the obvious thing to do and uh… extract the files by force and see what we can learn from it…😄

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OK so the usual things are there… graphics, RPY, RPYC’s and WAIT A MINUTE!?… What’s this?… CSV files!?… in Ren’py!?… What kind of Sorcery is this!!!… T… This is dangerous stuff…

At that point I realized I have to stop going further… I’m dealing with something dangerous here that can destroy the entire world… or at least make me a powerful Sorcerer… You know what Uncle Ben once said… Great power comes great responsibility… You know what Uncle Ben… if I have “THIS” much power or skill to bend Ren’py and create any OELVN or game I can imagine then I’ll focus on games where I “UNCLE MUGEN” is the protagonist and the “STAR!”

OK… I still peeked at the files and I’ll be honest… I can’t even comprehend what’s written in there…

Also what’s a “evil-demon.png” doing in there?… Ehem… no let’s move on to another thing…

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This is the reason why I reviewed this Hybrid OELVN…

Well… true… part of it was the battles but there is a bigger factor why the game was overlooked by so many and buried into obscurity… the name…

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A quick and unbiased Google search revealed to me THIS RESULTS…

Basically, the name is a very well known and commonly used, chances are… using the same name will not only make the game be buried in obscurity because Google goes after the most likely place or thing associated with the term… which is is a legend made popular during the 12th Century and chances are… Google will place high priority on readily crawlable literature… which is way off the radar range of the typical OELVN or even TURN BASED STRATEGY audience…

Also, you forgot to post in Lemmasoft XD… you know… that place was a great source of web traffic…

Uncle Mugen Seal of Approval

Oh well… I enjoyed the work so the least thing I can do is provide some exposure to it. I’m giving it the UNCLE MUGEN SEAL OF APPROVAL!!!…

You can download the game HERE on their site or in the Renai archives HERE

“POOF” (Disappears)

2 comments

  1. *Is happy*

    I’d not have thought you would have given it your seal of approval! As a long time follower (without a LS account, so I can’t post it there :P) I can say I’m happy enough.

    Plus, the Zaku screenshot made me laugh out loud during lunch break in the middle of the office, you made working at the week-end much more enjoyable.

    Thanks a lot for the review!


  2. I’ve been playing Fire Emblem Awakening and just realized all T&I needs is expensive fancy 3D animations and they’d be on par.

    I kid you not, I think the “AI” (or more like, pathfinding) in this Ren’Py-based game of all things seems smarter than in Fire Emblem. The battles here are far more deep than in Fire Emblem, which battles end quickly for a strategy game.

    (Well of course, you’d need inventory, world map, etc.) I really think it’s the common name that isn’t uniquely google-able that’s limiting the exposure of this fine game.



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