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Metal King Slime
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2014 In Review: OkeDoke; Then And Now 
 PostThu Jan 08, 2015 2:51 am
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okedoke0034.png
Can you see the enemies?
okedoke0021.png
A five year old kid crapped herself to death... that's a rough poop joke.
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That's a little better.
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This was easy to miss. I hope it isn't crucial to completing the game.
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It's that kind of game.
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Why are there two liquor stores? Why isn't one of them a bar? That would make things clearer
This is a review of Okedoke! La Leyenda Mexicana.

I first played this game 5 years ago during the first(?) Heart Of The OHR Contest. To be honest, I was dreading this particular game because of how bad a time I remember having with it the first go-around. Still, I thought I'd be fair and see how the game had developed in the past 5 years. So, for comparison, here's what I thought about the game last time, in 2010:

2010 Gizmog wrote:
Game: Oke Doke
Vote: 3

Liked:

Graphics were nice, reminded me of Village People.rpg

Disliked:

Music was repetitive and irritating

Only looked for a third character because IRC told me to, would NEVER have found otherwise

Where I quit: 3 hours in, at the haunted house after my car broke down.

Final Thoughts:

There was a lot of effort put into this, but I just don't like it. The attempts at humor don't really work, some of the jokes feel downright hateful, almost all of my techniques are worthless compared to fighting, the chapter cards/elevator/donkeys/cars/character has joined! cutscenes all feel too slow, it was never clear where I was supposed to be going. If it weren't for JSH in IRC, I never would've looked SOUTH of the starting town for a third character who turned out to be fairly useful, I hated having a dungeon between each town, and if I'd wandered there myself I would've assumed it was an optional dungeon or somewhere I should go later on in the game. The battles didn't give out much EXP or gold, and the NPCs were totally useless. If half of the buildings in your city are just locked doors, then you don't need half of your city.

Long story short, the graphics are pretty, it dodges a lot of the newbie mistakes, there weren't two people talking in the same textbox, the spelling was good, but it just wasn't very much fun. I might've given this game more time than I maybe should've, in the hopes that it was going to get better, but it never did.

(PS: Hachi streamed this game for the guys in #SlimeSalad, and he ran into a lot of things I hadn't. There's a lot of layers and options and secrets in this thing, but without better hints nobody can find them. If my experience had been more like Hachi's, this easily moves up to a 7 or 8)


It's weird how much I agree with my older self. OkeDoke was a labor of love for its author Fnrrrf and I have nothing bad to say about the effort that went into this game. Congratulations on finishing a big OHR RPG. I'm sorry that I just can't get into the story of this game enough to want to go on. Like last time, I'm ending my play at 3 hours, though this time I didn't make it to the haunted house. I'm in the city of Wrongside, and I have no idea what in the hell I'm supposed to do. I've cleared out every gang, talked to every NPC in every shop, found a car to steal, bought 50 taquitos and stolen a bunch of flashlights. There's no indication of where to go to move forward, and my understanding of the story is the same as it was at the start of the game: The guy's father crossed the border and vanished. There's some rumors here and there in town, but it's not enough to make me want to dig deeper and find the truth.

There needs to be a sense of urgency: I should be chasing someone, or being chased. A mysterious postcard, a bad omen, something! It's not really my father, so I don't particularly care what happened to him. Hell, I don't even see the guy! Final Fantasy Legend 2 had a plot like this, only it introduced the game with your Dad sneaking out your bedroom window one night for adventure. That's at least something to think about as the game moves forward and makes it cooler when you run into him again.

The game tries to give you choices so you don't feel railroaded, but it makes it harder to tell what's the "real story" and what's side quests. For example, when you leave the first town you're given the choice of going north or south. North has harm tiles, South has more battles. North leads you to a new party member, the fart-wrestler El Rialgo. South leads you to a ghost town. If you investigate the ghost mine in that ghost town, you'll find Senor Death, who gives you a little news about your father (He's alive!) and then he joins your party. It's really easy to miss this, and I wonder how the game plays out if you don't pick him up. I can't imagine it being easy, as a number of times Senor Death was the only member of my party who wasn't stunned. El Rialgo moves really slow, and if it were just him and the main character, things would be very rough indeed.

There's no indication I found that points you towards finding a powerful mage in that mine, and he seems to be very important. Modern RPGs get a lot of flak for having a thingy that points you right to your next objective, but games like OkeDoke show why we sometimes need it. Without it, you're left to wander a town that's way too big in search of the one NPC who can advance the plot, and God help you if you can't find him. As I mentioned earlier I've defeated 4 or 5 gangs, visited every shop and talked to every NPC and haven't found that magic trigger that lets me go to the next area. All of those things were apparently just sidequests. The modern Objective Finder might take away a little of the romance, but at least it would give me a reason to keep playing.

I think it's too early in the game to be that open-ended. Especially at the start of a game, the player needs direct guidance to introduce them to the story, why they should care, and give them the basic characters and equipment they're gonna need to move forward. The scene where you find Senor Death plays the optional character Gogo's theme from Final Fantasy 6. Is Senor Death meant to be optional? That's a weird decision so early in the game: You unlock Gogo at a point where you've basically already collected more than enough characters. Senor Death is the third, and possibly final playable character in the game. Imagine how different FF6 would be if the lecherous King of Figaro and his Auto-Crossbow was merely an optional addition to your party and not forced in there by the story. A little bit of early railroading is okay, because it's important to start on the right track.

As I've said, I'm three hours in and the plot hasn't visibly advanced any. That could be okay in some games, but when we're dealing with not-quite Zorro, the Grim Reaper, and their friend who likes to fart it's a little harder to stay focused. As others have noted, there's a lot of racial stereotypes in the game. Cerveza and Tequila takes on the role of MP recovery, Tacos and Taquitos replenish your health and you'd better stock up on joints and blunts in case anyone gets knocked out. Mexicans like those things, right? None of it seems truly malicious, but it's all stated so matter of factly that it's hard to not take a little offense.

There's also a lot of childish humor, some of which works and some of which doesn't. The Border Rangers being a knock off of the Power Rangers is kind of funny, as is Captain Crunch leading an inner-city gang made up of pirates. The references to the Geico Cavemen commercials were probably old back in 2010 and now they're completely irrelevant. I feel like maybe this part of the game hasn't changed at all since 2010, and all of my original complaints are still there. The chapter intros take too long and their music cuts off abruptly, ditto for the "xxx has joined the party!" fanfares. Three quarters of the houses in the city are just a locked door, so why are they there? All that does is make it even more annoying to wander around. Is this a town or a dungeon? It shouldn't be both.

Which actually reminds me of one of the weirdest gameplay issues: You can save almost anywhere, even right on top of a boss battle. That's not a bad thing, it's great to limit how much of the game you'll have to do over. The weird part is that I can't save in the inn! If I want to save, I have to go out to the roof, or take the elevator (A cutscene that takes too much time for something you'll have to do every time you want to heal) down to the lobby and walk outside. Yet I can save in a gang hideout right before facing their boss? It doesn't make sense.

Speaking of cutscenes that take too long, the infamous mule scene is still in place. You rent and ride mules up to the American border, which starts a long, boring scene of walkabouts moving right. Once you trigger it, it'll be nearly 3 minutes before you can press a key again (save for advancing one textbox after one of the mules stops to take a dump, ha ha!). I didn't try it, but if I remember right, if you choose to go back it takes another 3 minutes, and then 3 minutes to come back. That's kind of ridiculous.

Originally, OkeDoke was meant for an 8-Bit contest and I wish that in the time since that original release that Fnrrf had updated the graphics away from that NES aesthetic. His graphics are charming, but the lack of color makes things very flat. During one of the early cave sequences, the Scorpions I'm fighting are the same red and black as the dirt of the cave, the tumbleweeds are the same brown and black as the dirt outside, and in the city El Garbanzo is the same black and grey and yellow as the street he's walking on. A little more color could fix this, and wouldn't mess up the existing style.

Long story short, it's a decent game that could be good if it were more inviting. Gameplay-wise, I don't have a lot of complaints. Once you get three party members the battles are okay. None of the enemies have too much HP, so the slightly slow pace doesn't hurt. I still don't notice a lot of reason to use the special techniques, save for Garbanzo's attack+steal item, but fight is okay. The bosses and mini-bosses are about the right level of challenge for a jokier RPG. The story needs a more immediate threat to start things off, and the game oughta hold your hand until you're invested enough in the story to be left to your own devices. It just doesn't catch my interest and I'm not seeing enough good stuff to want to keep digging for the part where it does.
Metal Slime
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 PostThu Jan 08, 2015 6:28 am
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Quote:
There's no indication I found that points you towards finding a powerful mage in that mine, and he seems to be very important. Modern RPGs get a lot of flak for having a thingy that points you right to your next objective, but games like OkeDoke show why we sometimes need it. Without it, you're left to wander a town that's way too big in search of the one NPC who can advance the plot, and God help you if you can't find him. As I mentioned earlier I've defeated 4 or 5 gangs, visited every shop and talked to every NPC and haven't found that magic trigger that lets me go to the next area. All of those things were apparently just sidequests. The modern Objective Finder might take away a little of the romance, but at least it would give me a reason to keep playing.


I actually added in a way to get hints in these bigger, less-focused "sprawling city" areas (Wrongside in Chapter 2, and then New Hamster in Chapter 4), though it sounds like you didn't find it. Which is kind of understandable, considering it's in an optional area off to the side of the map that wasn't reachable in the original version of the game. There should probably be someone "advertising" the presence of a way to get hints if you're lost.

Anyway... Go west from Wrongside (there'll be a guy in a cowboy hat saying that there's "nothing but sand and rocks" that way... but he doesn't block your path like he did in the older versions) and visit the "Wizdum Guy" in the desert. Pay him 50ish pesos and he will pretty much tell you exactly where you need to go--he'll mention the locations of the three NPCs you need to talk to before you can leave town (the first two right away, and then he'll mention the third once you've found and talked to both of the first two.)

Quote:
Is Senor Death meant to be optional?


He is technically optional... during Chapter 1. If you missed him in Chapter 1, he joins immediately at the start of Chapter 2. Same way for Se˝or Rialgo if you skipped him and went all the way to the border through the mountains (which wasn't possible in the older versions), except he'll barge in during the border crossing scenes rather than afterward.

Quote:
Which actually reminds me of one of the weirdest gameplay issues: You can save almost anywhere, even right on top of a boss battle. That's not a bad thing, it's great to limit how much of the game you'll have to do over. The weird part is that I can't save in the inn! If I want to save, I have to go out to the roof, or take the elevator (A cutscene that takes too much time for something you'll have to do every time you want to heal) down to the lobby and walk outside. Yet I can save in a gang hideout right before facing their boss? It doesn't make sense.


Yeah, this is a bit of a screwy thing that I forgot to fix/change when I was touching things up toward the end--thanks for reminding me of it because I'll definitely want to change this if I go back to the game again at some point.

I think the original reasoning is that I didn't want something like "Wrongside Houses" to show up on the save screen if you saved inside a house or in the hotel lobby or a store or something, but what I really should've done is just renamed the maps (to just "Wrongside") so that nothing odd happened and you could save everywhere.

Quote:
I didn't try it, but if I remember right, if you choose to go back it takes another 3 minutes, and then 3 minutes to come back. That's kind of ridiculous.


This has been fixed up a bit. The same long donkey ride scene still plays when heading to or from the border the first time (a bit shorter on the return trip as Se˝or Rialgo's donkey doesn't have to take a bathroom break on the way back), but once you've made one trip in each direction you just get a regular "fade in, fade out" transition every other time you make the trip after that point.

I suppose I could shorten it some (it is pretty long...), or do some script fiddling so the scene goes into "impatient mode" (speed gets cranked up to hyper-chipmunk-donkey levels to rush it to the end) if somebody fiddles with the keyboard during the scene, getting faster with every press of the spacebar or something.

Quote:
Originally, OkeDoke was meant for an 8-Bit contest and I wish that in the time since that original release that Fnrrf had updated the graphics away from that NES aesthetic. His graphics are charming, but the lack of color makes things very flat. During one of the early cave sequences, the Scorpions I'm fighting are the same red and black as the dirt of the cave, the tumbleweeds are the same brown and black as the dirt outside, and in the city El Garbanzo is the same black and grey and yellow as the street he's walking on. A little more color could fix this, and wouldn't mess up the existing style.


Later parts of the game (made after the 8-bit contest version, which only had the first two chapters) do drift a little bit away from the 8-bit color limitations, especially when it comes to enemy sprites... but it's still mostly 8-bit the whole way through.

A full-color "SNES Remake" version of OkÚdokÚ, adding more colors and shading, is something I've considered doing, though. I just wanted to finish the original 8-bit-style version first before starting on a big graphics-revamping project like that. Still a definite possibility for the future, though.
Teekee -- Onboard the Big Humpty Star
FYS:AHS -- New demo released! Download it here!
Puckamon -- Not until the reserve party is expanded
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