Review by GreyRainCloud
Reviewed: 02/16/04 | Updated: 02/17/04
When you mix magic, imagination and a little bit of black humour...
---DISCWORLD for Sega Saturn---
Let's say that the world is pizza shaped, four elephants carry it on their backs, and they stand on top of a giant sea turtle. And let's also say that, in this world, Death is having conversations with human beings, and even drops by their houses for a few drinks now and then. Let's just imagine that our hero is a failed Wizard with a living luggage companion. What do we get if we stick with it to the end?
Answer is, a fantastic game that manages to swallow us in it's imaginary world like few games ever could. It's not the detail of everything you stumble upon, or the perfect writing of the creators. It's not the endless humor with which they built everything. And it's not the infinite touch of perfection and individuality in every single part of this game.
It's about the magic. It's about living in another world, full of possibilities and differences, even if for some hours only. But for these hours, you are just living in a new fairy tale, and one wonderfully constructed. Discworld deserves a place amongst the best adventure games of all time, and luckily for us Sega Saturn fans, it's conversion was more than successful.
This game shines individuality. No matter how hard you try, you are highly unlikely to spot any signs of misconception, misplacement, or simply failed architecture. Everything is done carefully, and also detailed to the maximum. The characters are full of personality and style, and the environments look like they were taken out of a tale.
Discworld shows just how well the Saturn can manage 2-D graphics. Many colors are shown at once, movement is fluid and so is animation, environments scroll perfectly... for it's time it was truly a showcase. Extra points are given for the near perfect individuality and style. Words cannot describe how beautiful the Discworld looks on the Sega Saturn. It's a near perfect port of the PC original, and a far superior game when put against it's Playstation counterpart.
The only problem you may have with the graphics is probably the sudden -and small- framerate drops when an animation is being loaded. While it may frustrate you in the start, you will soon get used to it. It's not much of problem, rather than a fact to get past. Apart from this, the game looks and moves beautifully, even for the year 2004.
GRAPHICS SCORE: 9.0/10
The score is composed brilliantly and comes out of the Sega Saturn hardware almost intact when compared to the original game. Nothing was cut from the dialogues or the music ...and what dialogues really! All characters have fantastic voice acting, especially considering that this game came out when the game industry did not had really high standards when it came to this department. Everything is performed with style, humor and intelligence.
You are not likely to find any problem in the sound department. Only if you use headphones to enjoy the game, you might just realize that when characters are talking there is this slight noise in the background from the sound compression. But really it is not much. Again, this game sounds fantastic, even for the year 2004.
SOUND SCORE: 9.0/10
This is probably the main problem of the game. How to emulate the mouse movement with the Sega Saturn 2D control pad? Well, in start it will feel awkward and hard to move the cursor around. It will be a case of point and try in the start, but soon you will understand how it works, and will be able to enjoy the game, and you will rarely feel limited because of the controls. If you press a direction on the D-pad, the cursor will at first move slowly to the direction you have pressed. If you keep on pressing, the cursor will move faster and faster. It's a matter of both frustration and ease, and you are likely to love and hate it at the same time.
Surprisingly, there is no support for the 3D pad, which would arguably make matters a bit easier, and at least on the PAL version I am trying, the Sega Saturn Net Link Mouse is not supported either. At least you won't have a problem using the buttons to select, talk and perform actions. Most are performed by using a single button, and one or two more to enter the options screen or cancel conversations.
CONTROLS SCORE: 8.0/10
''It's just one man and his trusty luggage against the world. Granted, the world is pizza shaped and is carried on the back of four giant elephants, which in turn stand on the meteor pocket shell of a star turtle swimming serenely through space; granted the ''one man'' wears a tall pointy hat and has a beard which smells like yesterday's breakfast - but still, the concept has a certain nobility about it, don't you think?''
There have been more than a couple of ten books based on the Discworld by Terry Pratchet, I believe. And while some would think that the game is based on one of these books, the fact that it's story is original, and remains really interesting and fascinating, is really something to feel enthusiastic about. While based loosely on the books, and throwing references here and there, in the end, Discworld is a totally original adventure.
A Dragon is ravaging Ankh-Morpork, and it all comes down to Rincewind the Wizard to save the world. Cliched and uninteresting as it may sound, there is quite an interesting plot underlying the basic premise. There's the conspiracy and there's the usual plot twist you would expect. While nothing of grandeur, the story in the game is rich and deep.
It gets repetitive in some places, but never actually boring. After all, just the humor that this game is blessed with, would make any kind of story into a fascinating tale of imagination. It's not deep or epic in it's story, but rather in the way it can tell it and unfold it to you. And this certainly shows some talent from the people who made this game. No?
STORY SCORE: 8.5/10
This game is fantastic. I have to say this right from the start. It's graphics and sound are great, even for today's standards, and it's gameplay mechanics are not greatly surpassed by today's adventure games. In fact, Discworld and a couple of other games (Myst, Broken Sword, King's Quest, Monkey Island) set the standards for all the adventure games to come, and still do.
So it's more a matter of if you like adventure games or not. And Discworld is hard. Discworld is really hard. It's weakest part resides in the fact that in some parts you simply won't know what to do or where to go. Some of the puzzles will be simply unimaginable, and you are likely to end up with a guide in hand.
But apart from it's difficulty, it's an experience that has to be lived, if you truly want to see one of the best adventure games ever. The Saturn plays host to the second best appearance of the game, right next to it's PC counterpart. If you have a Sega Saturn, and look past the slight problem in the controls, you will really lose nothing if you buy this game. In fact you will just engage yourself to 10-15 of the most enjoyable hours in your whole gaming life. Discworld, and its sequel, are truly the best adventure games to come out on the Saturn. That warrants a purchase, no?
GAMEPLAY SCORE: 8.5/10
For a game that was released in early 1997, this fairs well even in the 2004. And it actually puts to shame many adventure games that arrived after it's conception. No matter what you opinion is on black and sick humor, or if you like sex related jokes, this game is really the best when it comes to adventure games on Sega Saturn. And the fact that it was never surpassed in style and character, even many years after it's release, shows it's brilliance.
Discworld has firmly proved it's staying value as one of the best games ever. It's one of these releases that make it all worthwhile playing games. And as long as skillful and intelligent developers make games like this, the creation of games will grow into a form of art. Just brilliant.
PROS: Fantastic humor, graphics and voice acting. Great story background. Simply one of the best adventure games ever...
CONS: ...But it's way too hard. Some puzzles will be impossible to imagine. In the end, you will end up playing with a guide in hand.
FOR: People who enjoy long, hard and inspiring videogames, or for people who love adventure games.
NOT FOR: People who want immediate gameplay addiction, few to none puzzles, or who simply detest adventure games.
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OVERALL SCORE: 8.7/10
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