May 25, 2024

Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles | Review – A journey into the past


The issue of video game preservation is extremely timely. Knowing that at the moment 87% of old video games legal and inaccessible without recourse to the second-hand market, it casts a rather worrying shadow over the future of this medium.

And this is a concern that does not only concern the “classics” – all those video games that have made history and that, as they say, you should play at least once in your life. After all, these games are usually the ones that have the best chance of coming back onto the market because interest in them never completely dies down.

The worst worries of fate all other games, all those discreet titles that may not have gone down in history but that nevertheless deserve to be at least available to anyone who wants to recover them, even if only for historical memory. Since demand for these titles is significantly lower, it is difficult to see them back on the market.

Fortunately, there are publishers like NIS America who seem to have taken the issue of protecting their intellectual property very seriously and are also offering it Titles that seemed forgotten by time.

So the collection we’re talking about today is really special: we’re talking about it Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chroniclesfrom September 1st also in Europe Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5 And pcs.

Let’s assume that it is not just because of this that it is a specific operation brings back two relatively unknown JRPGs, but also because these are two titles that have never before reached the West through official channels. It is about Rhapsody II: Ballad of the Little Princess And Rhapsody III: Memories of the Marl Kingdom.

Let’s find out together what these two atypical adventures still have to tell.

Chronicles from the Kingdom of Marl

Let’s start our analysis with a fairly obvious consideration: within the collection the first episode of the series is missing, Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. This is the only chapter that has arrived in the West (the original appeared in the US on PlayStation, while in Europe only the remake appeared on Nintendo DS), which was recently revived Prinny presents NIS Classics Volume 3 (You can restore it on Amazon).

This box set brings the two missing chapters of Rhapsody to the Western market for the first time.

The absence from this collection can probably be explained precisely by the recent re-release of the first chapter, along with the fact that the three titles, although actually connected at the plot level, they are actually playable as standalone works, because every journey is complete in itself.

However, we have to admit that this choice surprised us a little. Having all three games in the series in one package would have been ideal for anyone looking to recreate it; In addition, the third chapter loses a bit of its bite if you haven’t played the first episode.

Our advice is therefore: restore both collectionsso you can enjoy all the references in the second and third chapters of the series.

Rhapsody IIactually represents a direct continuation of the first episode; Here we control Kururu, Cornet’s daughter (who became queen of the Marl Kingdom after the first episode). The princess leads an aristocratic life in the castle, but decides to escape to have adventures and, above all, to find true love.

The musical parts are a special feature of this series.

Rhapsody IIIhowever, handles the plot differently because they are there different scenarios with changing protagonists. It’s a bit like that’s what the game is designed to do Complete all storylines and subplots introduced in the previous chapters and shows us the daily lives of the characters we now know (this is why we said that the episode works less if you haven’t played both previous chapters).

In both cases we face the challenge light and carefree actions; the series rhapsodyIn fact, it is precisely his work that is famous Don’t take yourself too seriouslyTell stories in which there are antagonists, but no worlds are in danger or lives can be saved.

The peculiarity of these turn-based JRPGs is the presence of musical interludes that are reminiscent of cuts from film musicals.

Plays an important role in this Musical sketches which give the series its name: Right from the start you’ll get used to the fact that the cast starts suddenly from time to time singing and dancingjust like what happens in some movie musicals.

It might seem strange at first, but it’s one of those things that enriches the series rhapsody a unique personality; and although it cannot boast of a plot that could compete with what was then proposed a Final Fantasy all in terms of character depth and writing, It is precisely his quirks that allow the series to still have its say more than twenty years after its original publication.

To conclude our commentary on the narrative area, we would like to highlight this Goodness of adaptation in Englishwhich also uses a synchronization good quality. You can still choose which audio you want to keep, between original and English dubs, but the work done is truly valuable.

At a technical level, no work beyond the simple has been carried out Resolution improvement and little else. Luckily, the games haven’t aged that much at all Rhapsody IIthat is a concrete example of how pixel art can still offer wonderful views even after twenty years.

However, the discussion changes somewhat Rhapsody III: The transition to three-dimensional settings means that the aesthetic area loses a little of its magic, because here the past is clearly felt – and what may have seemed groundbreaking twenty years ago, today only has a touch of old, with a not indifferent loss in personality to his predecessor. As far as the conversion goes, an excellent job was done and we had no problems with our Nintendo Switch (of which you can find the excellent Oled version). on Amazon).

However, very good soundtrack both chapters. We are not facing the best OSTs of all time, to be clear, but there are many pleasant songs, starting with those of the musical curtains, that accompany both adventures.

Even more classic: you die

So let’s move on Play style From Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles. The two titles included in the collection have significant differences, but still remain anchored in the “classic JRPG” experience of the 90s.

We therefore have 2D games with a top-down view, quests to follow, a party to train, worlds to explore, a turn-based combat system and everything you would expect from a game from this period.

There’s not much to say about the basic gameplay; Rather, it is interesting to focus on other aspects, namely the combat system and the complexity and duration of the adventure.

The combat systemAs a matter of fact, varies significantly between chapters. rhapsody II offers a very classic turn-based combat: You can use your character’s attacks and special attacks, use objects, magic and everything you expect in a JRPG.

You can also use i in combat MarionetteCreatures that accompany Kururu on his journey and essentially have the function of a bit like a summons From Last fairy taleso to speak.

A really well-known combat system that will certainly entertain those who like this particular gaming formula, even considering that it is becoming less and less common these days.

The two games included offer a different combat system.

In Rhapsody III The structure has been slightly revised. Now many more characters are used in battle, divided into groups Grid of four. The main grid is the only one we have direct control over, while the back grids are assigned a support role but are ready to take over the action if a character is defeated.

This is a variation that does that more complex system – but not too much, since the direct command is only limited to some characters. We preferred the more classic version of Rhapsody IIbut actually these are two valid combat systems and preferring one over the other is just a matter of personal taste.

In short, we’re faced with two JRPG experiences that don’t stand out from the crowd by offering something radically different; rather the suggestion of Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles focuses on giving the player something a solid JRPG experiencewithout flickering, but also without annoying problems.

Two factors differentiate the series from the competition: complexity and duration. rhapsody it actually is one Series known for its accessibility, comes from a time when many JRPGs were a guarantee when it came to sweating out the proverbial sweat. The two titles are perhaps a little more difficult than the first installment and offer a selectable difficulty level, but on the whole they still hold up Also suitable for beginnersthanks to a significantly shorter duration than the standards of the genre.

The collection has not brought significant improvements in terms of gameplay, but we can still count on the possibility Save anywhere and speed up dialoguesElements that only appear to be of little importance.

In summary, Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles offers two games that have not entered the history of the genre and it is clear why; On the one hand we have a light and carefree plot, certainly successful but also not very memorable, and on the other hand we find a gameplay that does not want to go beyond the classic JRPG formula.

But let’s go back to the original discussion: it’s still about that two games with a unique personality, which, although it does not claim to achieve the status of a masterpiece or an unmissable title, still manages to offer a solid experience of its kind thanks to its uniqueness, its quirks and, yes, even its flaws. And that’s exactly what matters in the end.

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