A Ghetto Final Fantasy 2.
A game in 1995 should not look, feel, or play like this.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #92/100
Secret of the Stars is the throwback game you would never want. Given a North America release of ’95, you would think it would boast some of those late system features. Instead, Secret of the Stars seems more apropos as an NES game.
It’s most readably comparable to Final Fantasy 2/4; it has a similar feel in art direction, gameplay, and horrible mistranslations. It just somehow does everything way worse than a game released four years prior.
I’m not sure there is anything good about this game. It’s massively slow in every facet including walking, battles, conversations, and menus. The music reminds me of Methodist church hymns. The one creative twist, controlling two separate parties, is a complete failure.
It’s actually quite impressive but not in a good kind of way.
Ray lives on a the tiny island called Heart Island (❤️). He ends up going into a volcano and finding and evil time-traveling zombie scientist (☠️) named Homncruse (pronounced: stupid) who plans to destroy the world. If I remember correctly, he has some beef with your dad (🤠), and you find out your are an Aqutallion — an ancient race/hero that will ban evil from this world once again.
Someone in a biplane come picks you up and brings you to the main continent to recruit the rest of the Aqutallion to fight Homncruse.
Where in the world to begin. Oh yea, this game is awful.
Typical RPG fare here. Your classic choice of attack, magic, item, and run is present. The game does nothing else. It is repetitive. Monotonous. Over, and over. Encounter rates — high. Few steps fight. Fight, fight, fight. Nothing new. Heal occasionally. Walk two steps. Fight again. Grind. Keep going. But where’s the town? Can’t explore — another fight.
I’m not sure what the worst aspect of the fighting system is but I’ll go with the repetition: outside of boss fights, you’ll be slamming the A on the menu screen. The second is that the game requires you to level up a decent amount between areas, so you get to be bored for longer.
Words and Meaning.
This game is aimless. My early journey included turning dogs into humans, recruiting a farmer, slaying a giant, going to the circus, and boxing. There is no thread that connects as you get whipped around by lazy writing.
Layered on top is sometimes incomprehensible word choices. For instance:
There is no way this is an “error” right? This has to be some sort of weird homage.
Where things get really weird is when you try and figure out what anyone is trying to say to you. The Engrish is strong with this game.
My head hurts.
Two Parties and Still No Fun.
While you may be an ancient Aqutallion or whatever, you aren’t the only race of people wanting to help the world. Kustera are some sort of helpers to the Aqutallion living on a lower step in the caste system of Secret of the Stars. Some characters in the world, upon sharing indecipherable conversation, join you at home base and can form a second party.
Now, I thought this might be neat. Switching between a main party and an axillary party, hitting switches and solving puzzles together. Instead, they might as well not exist (like Secret of the Stars).
They always join at low levels and bad armor. Since experience is never shared, trying to have a party of Kustera only doubles the already tedious battle. They also don’t really have a purpose: 95% of the game is assessable to your main party. The last five is hidden behind electric forcefields that are green and only able to be entered by this secondary party. The payoff of trudging your level 5 party outfitted with daggers and leather caps into the hoard to get one special item is not ideal.
Please have not play do this game.
Other People’s Takes:
- Retromaggedon: “If you want to dig a little deeper into the Super Nintendo’s RPG library, without scraping the bottom of the barrel, however, then Tecmo’s Secret of the Stars might be right for you.”