Now what can I possibly say about this game that hasn't been said by anybody else?
How did I ever hear about it?
I was at an auction when a tray of hard drives came up. Most hard drives are made up of aluminum, and aluminum is about 30 cents a pound. I have torn hard drives apart before and know that there is a lot of iron in them. That drops the price to about 20 cents, there was ten hard drives, the auctioneer said "Two dollars!" I raised my hand and the auctioneer said "SOLD!" Then the math caught up. I still had to pay commission and sales tax. I was already in the hole on this deal. I paid my bill and hoped that maybe there was something useful on them.
Not quite. Most of the drives were blank. One had WIN 95. Another had XP with some iTunes songs that I already had. A Vista install with some porn, that I already had. The last one, a treasure trove. WIN 7 installed with backup ISOs, a bunch of hidden picture games, and RKS. At first I thought it was a driver folder, maybe someone misspelled ATI. I thought "Meh, what harm if I open it, already scanned it for viruses."
I start clicking around on all the text docs and it's gibberish. Then the data folder is when it hit me, stuff like bgm, sound, graphic, stage. This could be a game. So I held my breath and clicked on the rks.exe. It was the game. I let it cycle through the story, all in Japanese. At the title screen I pick up my world traveled trusty controller that I had been using since 2003. And start trying to play. I get over the whole Megaman thing to confront the next big issue: the contoller.
That's not how my controller worked. The jump and fire buttons were reversed! What to do, what to do? Go to the title screen and click on options. Game quits. Shuts down completely. Back to desktop. Try this several times with the same result. Next I go into the program folder open up the config file and see a bunch of ?s. Like I was hacked by the Riddler. Nothing indicating controller mapping. I next tried importing the instruction, notes and everything into an online translator with nothing telling me how to remap the controller from outside the game. Since I was online I search for a way to remap controllers from within Windows. Absolutely nothing. I can't believe after some fifteen odd years no one has written a program that tells Windows how to remap a controller?(Months later a friend mentioned a program Joy to Key. Works great on flash games. Never tried it out on Rosenkreuzstilette. By that time The issue got resolved. I'm jumping ahead here.)
So I'm stuck mostly on the ground and firing when the baddies come close enough. Let me tell you, this game is not easy when all your attacks come the ground, and all the bad guys can jump and shoot. I'm going "After years of emulators, what crack-head programs a game like this?" This crack-headedness is not just the purview of the beginner programmer. Professionals screw it up as well. Nintendo makes the GBA with only two action buttons. Fine if you only emulate NES games. Everybody wants to do SNES. I wound up not buying Kameo for the 360 because I couldn't figure out to map the controller. It was a store demo, but hey, that's a make it or break it deal.
So in one of many tests of Windows 7 Beta/RC and it ran fine. "How can this game do that on an OS that hadn't even been built when the game was designed, but not work on the number one installed OS?" I went back to XP and it worked fine. This is my conclusion: Microsoft is the culprit.
Okay okay, me too. While everybody else in the whole wide world was smart enough to use the version of XP that comes with their computer. I just have to use a special version: XP 64. That and Microsoft's updates screwed with the game. Now in my defense I have been able to recreate this problem. In XP Mode on Win 7. That's a clean install of XP SP3. The same deal of clicking on Option send you back to the desktop in Version 1a of the game.
How about this: to Isemiya and Womi I apologize for ever having called you crack heads.
Now I think we all can get together now and do what's best: riff on Microsoft.
So, I can now fully enjoy this game so lets do a quick review.
I've read a few reviews of Rosenkreuzstilette they all eventually fall into two categories: "THIS GAME IS SO GREAT I JUST WET MYSELF OVER HOW GREAT THIS GAME IS!" And: "This pixel in Lord Sepperin's hair is just like a pixel in Reggae's tail feathers." Forget that crap, I'm willing to brave the howls of protest to say that this is not a great game. It is a good game. Good enough to make me want to support the programmers and buy this game.
For starters sound effects: nothing catchy. Kind of generic stuff you'd hear in any game.
Music: I think it was pretty good. The songs were stage appropriate. Somewhat longer than they needed to be. I think there was almost a perfect number of boss battle music. Which is pretty rare. Overall I still plop a few in the queue to listen to.
Difficulty: Fairly easy I thought. Except for the Raimund and Sepperin battles.
The Grolla version however: YIKES!
Control: Nice. Smooth. Very precise. Haven't had to deal much with sliding off into bottomless pits of doom.
Grolla on the other hand: YIKES times 2! You're grabbing the wall if you get too close. Which is bad in the instant death laser stage.
Story: Can't really judge the Japanese version. Seems to be very well thought out, but also seems kind of long for this type of game.
The Rosenkreuzstilette English Patch Version is definitely well thought out, well researched, I didn't detect any in the way of typos, (of course I don't pay tipoes much mind unless it's something like Metal Gear. (I was playing that game while writing this review.)
) and is way too long for this type of game. For a while there I thought for every step I take I would wind up in a random battle.
There's is a technical critique of the English Patch that I have: the implementation of it. The first version was made to only work with the original CD version of the game. The idea was to reward those that had actually bought the game. I certainly do support and respect someone's right to program their application anyway they want to. However, how many English speaking people would actually have a real copy of the CD? I can only think of U.S. Military in Japan. Only those lucky enough to be in the Tokyo area.
A lot of hard work went into this patch, only to have people find a work around in about five minutes.
Oh well, back to the review.
Graphics: Over done but very good for a couple of blokes poring their blood, sweat, tears, and personal fortunes into a game that they hope people will buy.
Polish: The game seems to suffer in this category. You get awesome visuals such as the main title and final battle. Then you get seems every where.
It's not the brick and mortar. It's where the graphic tiles meet up.
Sprite movement is pretty limited. Trauare has really only three distinct movements.
Odd that the final boss of the game has fewer hit point than the one right before.
I have the feeling the programmers where limited in what they could do with the material they had at the time and tried to cover it up with richly colored backgrounds and special effects.
I also notice that patches come fairly frequently. From 2008 to mid 2009 we went from 1.00a to 1.05c. As of this writing we're at 1.06b.
Any-hoo, the over all feel is that Rosenkreuzstilette is a mixed bag of compromises. Not so much that you can't just sit back and enjoy a good 2-D side scroller in the same vein as Megaman. Buy it. It's cheap enough that you won't regret it. Just little over twice the price of Angry Birds for Windows.
I give it a 7.