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Name: Elemental Arts (80.00% in 5 votes)
Type: STG
Platform: WINDOWS
Company: Baroque
Release date: 1999
Reviewed by: Lamuness

The story is about the world after the war between the light and the dark was over. 10 years ago, the daemon (leader of the dark race) was defeated by the heroes (light), and the remaining dark race is being used by the light's as servants and/or slaves. The player of this game is Len, a young member of the dark race who doesn't know about his identity and is raised by his grandfather just like a normal kid. One day when he and his childhood friend Lia return home from fishing, Len's grandfather is confronted by some unknown people who turned him into a demon and killed him. Len then finds out that he as well ask Lia are actually part of the dark race and that the people who killed his grandfather are the light heroes' henchmen. Therefore, the 2 embarks on a journey to gather and free the other members of the dark race from slavery and confront the light heroes to avenage Len's grandfather.

Elemental Arts (EA) is a fairly long strategy game with at least 30+ stages. It runs on a grid-system map with an interface like TGL's Farland Saga (FS), but the game uses 3d technology in that the battlefield is rendered in 3d like in FF Tactics (FFT). With the help of little animations like raindrops, snowflakes, flowing waters, the battlefields are more realistic than the block-like maps in FS. In FFT the game has preset zoom and rotation angles. However, in EA you can ABSOLUTELY rotate in ANY ANGLE you wish, as well as zoom in and out at ANY RATE you wish. wow! Also, there are some 3D logical programming which is nice. For example, like in FFT, you will never be able to shoot an enemy if you are standing in front of a wall, or if there is something blocking the projectile motion of the arrow.

The game engine is very similar (in fact, it's a 99% cop-out) to FS. The game is turn based and you can walk a number of steps. Besides the usual attack and use item option, you can use magic spells known as Arts. Each character has a innate element and can cast Arts of that element by default. Later in the game you can equip items that has different elements attached ot them to expand your Arts list. Certain Arts are only accessible when a certain pair of elements are present (eg Ice + Wind gives Blizzard Arts), which makes the Arts system very flexible. In addition, there are a number of support effects that you can attach to Arts elements to create new Arts. With so many permutations, it is estimated that there are at least 100 Arts in this game, so have fun finding all the Arts out. Each Arts can be offensive or supportive, and all the effects are done in 3D, and in some ways they are even done better than those in FFT. Also, did I tell you that occassionally you will see different effect animations for the same Arts?

The graphics in Elemental Arts are top-notch. The 3d battle fields are nicely rendered, and the Arts effects will make you speechless. In addition, CG and character design is done by Yamamoto Kazue (artist for Farland Saga and all Studio EGO! games) so you know what that means. Finally, you can choose what resolution to run this game at, rather than the unchangable 640x480 directx full screen configuration. That way, if you have a big monitor, images will be much much crisper. Music is gorgeous. Sound effects are really dramatic. Elemental Arts is the first game that actually (and literally) blew my speakers into pieces (yes, my speakers are dead now). With the support of surround sound, you'd probably need a subwoofer to fully enjoy the music and sound effects of this game. The only bad thing I can see about this game is that it's a bit buggy sometimes minor animations are not shown for some reason. Also, if there is *full* voice acting, this game would be perfect.

Overall, I am really impressed by this game. Although this game is not H, Elemental Arts is definitely one of the best Japanese PC strategy games I have played for the past half year or so (if not more), with the Farland Saga interface hybrid with FF Tactics' 3d effects. If you are a devoted fan of Farland Saga (like Kyubi-yarou), and if you have a 3D card, then you have no reason to miss out this game. Similarly, if you like the visual aspects of FF Tactics, then you really should try this game.

PROS: Lovely Yamamoto Kazue CGs, over 100 Arts to discover, gorgeous animated battlefields, insane Arts effects. Overwhelming music and sound effects.

CONS: Interface too similar to the one in Farland Saga (complete cop-out). Somewhat buggy programming.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO: Kyubi-yarou, Farland Saga and FF Tactics fans, people who want to use their 3d card on Japanese PC games, people who don't mind ruining their PC speakers.
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