Tag Archives: mechanics

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – The Art of Shalchemy

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It would have been easy for the Atelier series to just stick with one alchemy system and trot it out for every new installment. And people would have probably been fine if Gust had chosen to keep the exact same alchemy system for all the games in each of the franchise’s subseries.

But as we’ve seen numerous times by this point, that isn’t how Gust does things. Gust likes to experiment, refine, reinvent and occasionally revisit past ideas, all in the name of providing an interesting and varied experience — say, for anyone undertaking some sort of ridiculous mission like playing all of the Atelier games one after another.

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is one of those installments where Gust decided to reinvent the alchemy mechanics, rather than refining the systems we’d previously seen in Atelier Escha & Logy and Atelier Ayesha. And it presents us with an interesting new angle to this aspect of gameplay.

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Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – What a Girl Wants

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Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea draws a number of cues from past Atelier games in terms of its overall game structure and execution — and indeed the way it does things can also be traced forward to some of Gust’s other games such as Blue Reflection.

For those who have played the previous games in the Atelier series, Atelier Shallie most closely resembles Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm in terms of structure — though with a few twists here and there. While Gust aren’t afraid to return to what worked previously, it’s very rare that they will simply recreate it wholesale without any changes.

It’s that game structure we’ll be taking a look at in this part of our exploration of the series as a whole.

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Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky – Battles at the End of the World

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While, as we’ve already seen, much of Escha and Logy’s time in their own game is spent living the corporate life and doing things that other people tell them to do, there are times when the pair of them have to take their own initiative.

We’ve already looked at how this works inside their workshop; today it’s time to take a closer look at their work out in the field, and particularly at how they fend off the foes they encounter during their investigations.

Yep, it’s combat time again; make sure you’ve got a basket full of bombs, ’cause we’re going to be out for a while!

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Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky – A Question of Technique

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As always for the Atelier series, alchemy is at the core of almost everything you do in Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky.

This time around, there’s an interesting distinction made between female protagonist Escha’s “traditional” approach, taught to her by her mother, and male protagonist Logy’s “modern” approach that he learned in the mysterious Central City. Mechanically speaking, both are pretty much the same — though they are each used for different purposes in the game as a whole.

Today we’re going to take a closer look at that alchemy system, see how it differs from Atelier Ayesha’s approach — and give a firm thumbs-up to some quality of life features that longstanding Atelier fans will find very welcome, particularly if they haven’t played Atelier Lulua yet.

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Fur Fighters: Bizarre Gets Blasting

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It would be nearly three full years between the release of Formula 1 97 and Bizarre Creations’ next game — and that next game was quite a change in style!

Having proven themselves in the racing game sector with the two PlayStation-based Formula 1 titles, the company turned its attention to Sega’s new Dreamcast console and two new projects. One of these, Metropolis Street Racer, would prove to be Bizarre Creations’ breakout hit. But don’t sleep on the other, because Fur Fighters is a fascinating game that is well worth your time — even if it’s not what you’d typically expect to see from the company!

And for those who don’t have easy access to a working Dreamcast, there’s even a PS2 version that came out a year later with some significant improvements such as cel-shaded visuals and full voice acting. It’s that version, subtitled Viggo’s Revenge, that we’ll be focusing on for today.

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Aquaventure: The Game That Deserved a Release

One of the nice things about modern, curated compilations of games from old platforms is that they provide an opportunity for “lost” classics to finally get an audience.

In many cases, “lost” classics were completed and reached a full prototype phase, but just never ended up getting duplicated and distributed to the public. Sometimes this is understandable; at other times, it’s a bit of a mystery.

Aquaventure for Atari 2600, which you can play not only in Atari Flashback Classics but also as part of the Atari Collection 1 cartridge on Evercade, definitely falls into the latter category. This game is good, so why didn’t it get released?

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Alice in Wonderland: Curiously Entertaining

When I’m tired, bored, depressed or, most commonly, a combination of all three, there’s something that I occasionally like to do.

Once I’ve cleaned up the mess from doing that, I like to delve into what I will euphemistically refer to as my vast collection of digitally preserved retro video games and pick something at semi-random. I’ll scroll through a platform I typically don’t give a lot of attention to, pick out something that I probably wouldn’t typically make the choice to play under normal circumstances, and then give it an honest go.

And so it was that as last week drew to a close and Friday evening became Friday night, I found myself playing Digital Eclipse’s official Game Boy Colour adaptation of the classic Disney movie Alice in Wonderland. A couple of hours later, I’d accidentally beaten the damn thing, and I didn’t feel the slightest bit sorry.

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Wiz ‘n’ Liz: Hunting Wabbits for Fun and Profit

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Three years after the well-received The Killing Game Show first hit home computer screens, Martyn Chudley and friends were back with a new title, this time for both Amiga and Mega Drive. I give you Wiz ‘n’ Liz: The Frantic Wabbit Wescue.

Having gone by “Raising Hell Software” for their previous game, some alleged behind-the-scenes trouble with Sega forced the team that would eventually become Bizarre Creations to go nameless for a period; the introductory screens for Wiz ‘n’ Liz credit Chudley and his co-designer Mike Waterworth directly by name rather than attributing the game to a company. The actual name Bizarre Creations would appear for the first time with their next game — but more on that next time!

For now, let’s take a look at Wiz ‘n’ Liz which is, by all accounts, a thoroughly strange game, but another beautiful example of how Chudley and his team were consistently capable of creating exceedingly attractive, highly addictive games that would constantly keep you coming back for more.

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Wonder and Danger in the Twilight

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So far, we’ve seen how Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk starts a new age for the Atelier series, both with its overall sense of design, and with the specifics of its alchemy mechanics.

Today we’re going to look at what protagonist Ayesha gets up to when she’s not working away in one of her several workshops: the ways in which she is able to explore the world around her, discover many new and wonderful — and sometimes horrifying — things, and how she protects herself from danger when things get tough.

Yep, it’s time to look at combat and exploration in Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk, another area where the game feels both comfortably familiar and fresh.

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Alchemy in a Fading World

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Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk is, as we’ve already established, something of a step in a different direction for the series.

Over the course of the series, Gust has always drawn a hard line underneath each of the main “sets” of games before moving on to the next; the narrative of the setting isn’t necessarily wrapped up conclusively (which leaves things open for titles like Atelier Lulua to revisit past series) but there’s usually a significant reinvention of, at the very least, overall aesthetic and mechanical components.

One of the most obvious places where we see this is in the heart of the series: the alchemy component. So let’s take a closer look at exactly how Atelier Ayesha handles this side of things!

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