22, 1999 (Japan)
16, 1999 (USA)
> Evolution, developed by the experts at Sting, was one of the first RPGs
in Japan and now it holds the same honor in America. The story revolves
around Mag Launcher (your character), an adventurer who seeks to pay down
the family debt and find the secret of Evolutia. You carry a "Cyframe",
which is a multi-technique device used in battle. Earning a living
is accomplished by successfully completing assignments from the "Society",
an organization responsible for investigating the ancient civilization.
> After having spent many hours on the American version, I'm sure that
this game would not be all that great for importing. The adventure
is basically linear, but the techniques, items, and weapons would surely
be a sticking point on the import game. No matter since most of you
have likely made a decision on the Japanese version a while ago.
> Evolution leans towards the super-deformed and cartoonish side for its
characters and locales. It reminds me of Shining Wisdom (Saturn)
in this regard. There's basically one town plus various ruins and
areas with multiple dungeon levels. In town the buildings, trees,
people, trails, and other scenery are nicely detailed. The ruins
vary to include a forest, space, undersea, volcano, and temple. Every
dungeon is random and constructed of hallways and rooms. Monsters
are visible in the dungeons and are cartoonish too. Quite impressive
are the bosses which await you at the end of each dungeon. I really
liked the mechanical contraption (Monograptus - pictured below) which wields
electric bolts and killer gears!
> Techniques are the most impressive methods of attack in the game.
Each character has his/her own list of techniques which can be upgraded
and changed, depending on whether the character in question carries a Cyframe.
Mag Launcher's punch techniques are the best looking, especially the one
where he jumps up, hits the ground with his fist and all the enemies explode
into a giant cloud of fog, sparks and polygons! Overall, I would
have liked to see more detail throughout, but that's sure to be addressed
in the sequel (hits Japan this week).
> While in town you can move, talk, search, jump, rotate view, and bring
up the game menu. In dungeons you can do all that minus the talk.
During battles everything from attack to retreat is menu driven.
Saving is done either at save points or pause points. Pause saves
are available in dungeons between levels and are erased once you resume
the game or "unpause".
> There are three numbers you need to keep an eye on: HP (health points;
at 0 you're exhausted), FP (fighting points; used for techniques), and
TP (technical points; you need these to master techniques). Battles
take place in limited spaces with a floating third person view during attacks.
You can move your character forward to increase attack strength and backward
to increase defense strength. Each character takes a turn and you
watch the results of your commands (or the enemy's). The best battle
features are that you can attempt to avoid them and enemies do not reappear
when you defeat them, leave the room, then return.
> Most of the music is whimsical and upbeat. The occasional mood
setting tune is thrown in to keep you interested. Decent, but could
have been better.
> The sound effects are mixed with most of them being in the high quality
category. Each weapon has a unique effect and the Japanese speech
(during techniques) is really cool.
> There aren't too many characters in the game, but at least you do feel
the need to earn enough money to pay the family debt to the "Society".
Random dungeons helps to keep the game fresh, although you pay in the graphic
variety department. One thing is for sure, the battles don't wear
you down and you have to keep fighting if you want to use the most impressive
techniques. I'd have to say Evolution is most likely an RPG you will
beat once, never to return.