Torneko: The Last Hope
In this game you play as Torneko the merchant from Dragon Quest IV. Six months ago, you ventured into the Magical dungeon and recovered the Joy Chest, thus bringing peace to the village. But now monsters have started to reappear and areas are turning into magical dungeons. So it's up to Torneko to find out what's causing the magical dungeons to appear and put an end to it.
First Torneko must make his way through the Odd Field to meet with the king. This is the first of many magical dungeons that Torneko must face on his journey. Each time you enter a dungeon it's layout is randomly determined so it's never the same twice. Unfortunately every time Torneko loses all his levels when he exits a dungeon, but leveling up is not the main point to this game. If he escaped alive Torneko can keep all his items for use in another dungeon (or another trip into the same dungeon), plus any skills that Torneko learned he gets to keep.
The main reason I give gameplay a rating of 10 is all the many different things to do in this game. There are 12 dungeons in this game, some of which are 99 levels deep, each with its own theme to it. While trekking through the dungeons, there are tons of secret items to try and find. Also as a warrior, Torneko can learn skills, and learning them all can take a long time. Plus there's a mystery list, which keeps track of various things you've done. To get all the items on this list you must try everything imaginable, including getting killed in every way possible, robbing a shop, finding the secret items, and much much more. If you just want to ''beat'' the game, then there really isn't much to it. But to master the game could take a lifetime.
The first few dungeons are relatively easy, but after a certain point in the game you can access 5 ''bonus'' dungeons. These dungeons each pose a different challenge but are all extremely difficult. I have not known anyone who has every beaten the hardest dungeon without cheating. As stated above if all you want to do is ''beat'' the game, then the challenge level is fairly low. On the other hand if you truly want to enjoy the game then be prepared for some extremely hard dungeons.
You probably won't want to start the game over and try again from the beginning, but luckily you won't have to. With all the stuff to do in this game, you'll be playing for months, or even years trying to find all the secrets.
This is one place the game falls very short. Although the game does have a story it's fairly primitive. I really can't divulge much of the story without giving spoilers, it basically involves finding three items to unlock the path to a final dungeon where you and up battling a big bad evil. One main problem is that the story ends right when the gameplay starts to get interesting. If you're looking for the next greatest masterpiece storywise, then look elsewhere.
Don't be fooled those who say the graphics are worse than an NES game, they actually look more like a SNES game. Overall the graphics are fairly standard 2-D fare. The intro done in Claymation is pretty neat though and definitely worth viewing. If you're a fan of the Dragon Quest games then you're sure to like the graphics of the monsters, all taken from earlier DQ games.
All the music in the game sounds very familiar to music in other Dragon Quest games especially DQ4. However, the music is CD quality and sounds excellent. Koichi Sugiyama (the composer) did an excellent job on the soundtrack. I would have given a higher rating but the sound effects are really nothing special.
Overall Rating: 9/10
I should mention that I have seen numerous people complain about having to start over at level 1 all the time, if you don't like this idea then please ignore my review and stay away from the game as you will absolutely hate it.
For those who like this kind of game however, this is one of the best available, with tons of things to do and items to find, you could have fun with this game for a long time.
But in the end, I still recommend renting this game first; too many people expect something different and are sorely disappointed with Torneko.