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Star Ocean

Super Nintendo

Game Description:

If you’ve played Star Ocean: The Second Story, you’ve pretty much got the idea behind Star Ocean. This isn’t a knock against either game, though; it’s more of a testament to how groundbreaking the original was. Er, is. You’ve got the same basic combat system, along with lots of skills that can be leveled up, and a whole crapload of mostly-useless items. Private Actions are also possible, where you hit a button before you go into a town, and your party splits up to explore the town individually. In the end, though, it just ends up as a way to have even more people to talk to in town. Though it has a use or two.

The combat’s very different, though. All the action takes place on one non-scrolling screen. This eliminates a lot of running around like a dumbass from the second game, and makes the battles a lot more strategic. This also makes the “run-behind-the-enemy-and-then-attack” maneuver invaluable, as there seem to be a lot of enemies that block all your attacks from the front. Of course, in the second game, all that move did was suddenly make you run around in circles instead of, you know, attacking.

I know, comparisons in reviews suck. Especially if you have no idea that a Star Ocean 2 (or 3!) even exists. But really, Star Ocean is a great game with beautiful graphics and music by The Man, Motoi Sakuraba. It has one of those “hey, if you’re not at a certain level right now, you’re going to be slaughtered here, but oh wait, you can’t go back to previous areas from this point so you can level up” things going on at the end, but up until then it’s great.