Featured Fantasy Games
Armed With Wings 3
Not long ago, if someone were to tell me that I would be singing the praises of a game that combined action, platforming and the use of an avian sidekick, the doubts that would have crept through my mind would likely have been astronomical in nature. ‘Armed with Wings 3’ shattered has all but shattered these doubts in a violent and definite way with its smooth blend of action, logical puzzles and formidable fighting aspects, woven together with great care to create what would best be described as a masterpiece of platform gaming.
Epic Battle Fantasy Series
The Epic Battle Fantasy series began in May 2009 with developer Matt Rozsak or Kupo707 as he's probably known in his "workplace" releasing the flagship Epic Battle Fantasy game. He subsequently followed this up with its even more successful sequels Epic Battle Fantasy 2 and Epic Battle Fantasy 3 in November 2009 and September 2010 respectively. All three games are based on the increasingly popular turn-based RPG format with the same core characters but with upgrades in many other areas, thereby improving the series and making it more enjoyable without ever alienating the ethos of the series and hence the core constituency of fans. Here is a comparison of the games through comparing their performance in some key areas and how they have evolved over time to become the leading games in the Flash turn-based RPG format of games:
Gameplay Within the Games
Epic Battle Fantasy was one of the first games to explore the turn-based RPG genre of Flash games. It derives heavily from the Pokemon series of games for its battle sequences, which constitute the game itself in this case. It starts off with nothing in the way of a plot or storyline, instead pitching you straight into a battle against a blob of jelly. "You" here consists of two characters, one of them being a man with a woman's hair as the creatively titled Player 1 and the other being the butt of all perverted jokes, named Player 2. You are required to use the two of them together to defeat the waves of enemies that will keep coming at you. At the end of a series of waves is a boss, and after beating that boss you move on to the next level where you face more waves made up of newer, stronger enemies and then you have to beat those. It is a simple concept, and one you should keep track of as it will be used throughout this game series.
As for the battle sequences themselves, you start with Player 1, who has a long list of attacking and defensive powers, many of which are related to the sword he bears. They also follow the Pokemon route where in you attack once, Player 2 attacks once, then your enemies attack one-by-one. The attacks for Player 1 range from the mundane regular sword slash which does a cursory amount of damage, to Power Metal which brings the power of music into battle. Player 2's attacks range from regular spells to the ability to summon Pokemon-like creatures into battle, some of which cause a huge amount of damage to all parties involved in the battle. Her more important powers in the context of the game are the White Magic powers which are used for healing. The game requires plenty of healing and playing the meat shield by Player 2, which is again a trend that will be repeated in the latter games.
Moving on to the sequel Battle Fantasy 2, the first thing that you'll notice by sheer virtue of it being the first scene of the game is the arrival of a storyline. It is more a semblance of a storyline, to be honest, but it is there. Basically, it relates how after the destruction of the planet in the first game, the heroes and the innocent people started to pick up the pieces of their life again while the remaining enemies mutated because of radiation into things that were ever more dangerous. They were led by a new boss who tried to take advantage of the broken world by taking over it.
The battle sequence format is the same, but the range of powers gets increased to include the extra power here or there. Some of the names of certain powers get changed to make them seem more dangerous, but that is pretty much all there is to it. The big difference is the new upgrade system, which allows you to upgrade your characters in between levels or phases. This system gives you the capability to upgrade your attack or defense stats as well as improving the strengths of certain types of attacks. Mixing and matching these upgrade types allows you to develop new strategies, thereby including a strategy quotient that was conspicuous by its absence in the first game. This game is therefore a definite improvement upon the original game.
As for Battle Fantasy 3, this is the game where the series finally honors its name and becomes absolutely epic. The only issue with the games so far had been that despite being described as turn-based RPGs up to now, there had been very little of the Role-Playing aspect in these games. Epic Battle Fantasy 3 addresses this fault to make a game that is a huge step up from the first two. This game allows the characters to move around and interact with objects and people and perform quests. They can interact with chests to gain goodies and powers, interact with certain NPCs to gain side-quests and so on. The storyline is also much more developed too. In this case, our characters, having defeated the boss at the end of the previous game, begin questing across the plant before they come upon a dragon that they know they shouldn't touch and despite that, do it. They end up falling in a place that they've never seen before completely devoid of their earlier powers and now they must quest again to recover those powers.
This game also adds a new character to the game in Lance, who was the fallen boss of the last game and is now a companion of our earlier two characters. While Player 1, now named Matt, specializes in swords and Player 2, called Natalie, is still in love with her spells, Lance is the quintessential American in that he loves guns of all kinds. Other small improvements to the earlier games include being able to pull out of battles if you're overmatched and switch the battle order. Type-matching is especially a concern in these games, but you will get the knack of it as you proceed through the games.
Sexist and juvenile humor is a running trend throughout the games, and Natalie in particular comes in for some serious harassment some times. There's even a medal in the third game called "Pervert" for anyone who can jiggle Natalie's breasts ten times in a row. Some people might enjoy it while some other won't, but no matter how much you like the genre if you don't enjoy this sort of humor then you would do well to avoid these games.
Graphics and Audio
Barring the occasional wardrobe change for the main characters, the graphics don't change much throughout the series. This is a good thing, because the graphics are of a very high quality to begin with. There is very good detailing and the range of colors and contrast is very high as well. This automatically leads to a very long time for the game to load as well as some lagging midway through, but there are options available to lower the graphical settings should these issues bug you too often.The audio remains pretty much the same through the series too, with slight variations here and there that don't make much of an effect. Again this isn't a bad thing because the music was good to begin with and didn't really require any changes.
"A great series of games that could be ruined in a stroke depending upon your sense of humor", is how I would define the Epic Battle Fantasy series. There is no denying that the turn-based RPG genre has really taken off thanks to this series, and this series has therefore risen ever higher in the popularity stakes thanks to the rise of the genre itself. In other words, this series is almost entirely responsible for popularizing an entire genre of Flash games, and for that alone it is worth at least one shot.