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     " Wait a minute; you mean this isn't by Square? "

   Title: The Legend of Dragoon by Sony

   Format: Playstation RPG

   Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

   The Hype: A four-disk epic RPG, with vast levels, incredible new combat systems, great graphics and spell effects galore... Wait a minute; you mean this isn't by Square? Sony comes up an answer to the Final Fantasy legacy with this game.

      What This Monkey Thought...

   Graphics: You know, every time I play one of these, the graphics seem to improve a bit. Legend of Dragoon is no exception. The graphical style is very reminiscent of the Final Fantasy games (or anything Square does, for that matter). With cute but kind of blocky characters running around the screen, well detailed fight animations, and very well done cut scenes. The transformation and spell animations are particularly nice (at least the first couple of times you see 'em). 4 out of 5

   Sound: The soundtrack to this game is great. When you deign to pay attention to it, you'll often times find yourself whistling along with the background tunes. It's quite unobtrusive and easily ignored should you also wish. The battle sounds uttered by your alter egos manage to remain unobtrusive (All though why the hell Rose says, "Die" before the end of her combo is beyond me); even the announcement of combo names (see game play) manages not to sound gay after two hundred repetitions. 5 out of 5

   Game Play: Square may only do one thing, but they do it well. Sony has a big legacy to live up to in any RPG attempt. Good thing for them they came through, this game is fun. The standard adventure game format applies: Explore, fight things, explore some more, fight a boss, view cut scene. Repeat until finished. To add spice to the formula, they've decided to add in a new combat system involving "additionals". Basically, now for all those of you who didn't think final fantasy was quite twitchy enough, we have a system in which you can engage in devastating human or Dragoon combos by pressing the button at the right time. The additionals have varying difficulties, depending on which one you're using. There's a certain satisfaction to be had in completing additionals, especially when you get one of the harder ones right. It's a fun system, which helps to keep the more than ample combat scenarios interesting. 4 out of 5

   Level and Environment Designs: The environments for this game are quite well done. Ranging from the fantasy mundane to the rather bizarre, all of the places you visit are believable and generally fun to look at. The levels are nothing new, nothing too complicated. You'll rarely find yourself lost in a level, although I think it's somewhere in the adventure/rpg game manifesto that there must be at least one "Find your self back in the beginning" maze at some point. 4 out of 5

   Multiplayer: Is there a playstation multiplayer adventure/rpg game? N/A

   Replayability: Well, for those of you sick monkeys who simply must obtain every secret to be found, obtain every additional for every character, and all the other mind boggling things there are to nab in games like these... You'll probably play it through a second time or something. Otherwise it'll sit in your "beaten game" pile and collect dust. 2 out of 5

   Story/Dramatics: Hmm, well it's a fairly typical story. You seem to be constantly playing a game of "Track down the puppet master". Beat a boss, only to discover he was being manipulated by a bigger boss, etc. There are a couple nice twists and turns, unfortunately most of them are telegraphed so badly you'll see them a disk or so before they happen. It's still kind of fun to yell, "I knew it!" when the big exposition scene comes along. 3 out of 5

   Instructions and Learning Curve: The instructions pretty much tell you all you need to know (for those of you who actually read them rather than throw them in a corner and have at it). Unfortunately they also give away a major plot twist. Everything is explained to you, in game though, so I suggest just chucking the booklet. Doing additionals can take a little practice, and some of them will down right piss you off, but otherwise the game is as easily learned as any of its other brethren. 4 out of 5

   Installation and Real System Requirements: Stick the disk in your Playstation. Press the power button. If this is too difficult for you, maybe you should try a rubber ball. 5 out of 5

   The Verdict:

       It's fun dammit! It's really nothing new in the field of RPG games. The additional system adds a new challenge, and Dragoon transformations a different feel. RPG fans should definitely take a look.

   The Good: Lot's of fun, good-looking game.

   The Bad: We're not exactly talking revolutionary here monkeys.

   The Overall Ugly: Good RPG, certainly worth your while.

   What it's Worth: $35-$40

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