Sometimes you just need to bust out a classic, hammer out hours and hours on an old school NES until your fingers bleed... in this case tho there is now an online equivalent! That's right, MARDEK RPG Chapter 1 on Kongregate is in the same style of an old school RPG, and I love those.

Just to start off, I want to say that this game has 3 chapters currently available on Kongregate with a total of 8 being written by the author. This review only looks at the first of those 3 chapters, but you will find the next two chapters reviewed in the next two days. Let me also say, that this chapter can easily be beat in under 30 minutes. I had to save two or three times without need, and I could have skipped a few sections and still, as you will see later, I did it in just shy of 30 minutes.

So gamers take the role of the main character Mardek,you are an adventurer capable of slaying dragons and saving the princes. In fact that's exactly how this chapter starts out. You run around a castle, and fight a dragon and kill it. You start off at like level 50 or something, and you just annihilate it. The point is tho, the game teaches you a few things about reflex's and the controls get familiar in the few fights that you do. At that point in time you are warped back to your current existence or something, and you are level 1 again. Don't worry tho, levels are gained fairly quickly, and by the time the game ends I was around level 3.

There are two different main parts to the game. The running around, and the fighting. This is pretty standard for anyone who is used to these Final Fantasy style RPG games. This one, even tho flash games have made massive inroads into graphics, still insists on using an old school sprite based engine. Have to say, I really do love the choice of the author to do this. The maps are fairly detailed, and the shops are present which remind us greatly of Final Fantasy 1. In fact I honestly think some of the emblems and logo's for shops were lifted straight out of that game. Saving is handled not at an inn, but at blue crystals littered around the world, walk up hit activate, save and heal and you are off again.

The combat system is also very Final Fantasy 1, no attack timers just pure turn based combat. At the top of the combat screen you will see the order that the turns will occur in, something I've never seen before in this style of game. It helps quite a bit with the memory work since it means you don't need to memorize the attack turns of your characters. This will prevent you from forgetting that the monster attacks BEFORE your mage heals as opposed to after. While this does simplify combat, I don't feel it reduces the enjoyment of the game, hell this isn't ACTUALLY the original... and that game was brutally difficult.

The controls are handled like you are holding an old NES controller. You have movement keys for arrows, and [Z] and [X] are you accept and cancel buttons. However, the author was smart to know that computers have mice, and so for some more complex menus you will see a little mouse icon indicating that you should us your pointing device. Simple things that this are what I am sure will promise to make this a fantastic series of games.

Now to the meat of this one. once returning to your home town, and going to sleep for the night, you witness a flying object crash land nearby. Being adventurers of course means investigating this crash, and so you do. Encounters are handled randomly, with your character pausing an icon flashing and you being taken into the fight. I feel that there could have been a slightly higher number of random encounters, but that's just my personal feelings, and doesn't detract from the game.

Upon reaching the end of the forest, you must battle a mean bully that requires a touch of healing on your part. This is where your skills come into play. You have an attack type called 'imagination', which can be thought of like a type of magic. And inside this attack type you have two abilities to start, one heals the caster and one attacks the monster with more power but less accuracy. Now for this early on in the MARDEK series, I don't think either is really required, but it never hurts to play around with things so you can use them in the future.

After dispatching the big bad bully, you must venture forth into the downed flying ship where you discover the brutal corpse of... well... something. It then injects itself into Mardek's body, sharing his physical form with him.

This is where the massive plot dialogue starts. To warn you, this game is extremely rich in dialogue, it doesn't just have alot of it, it is also well written and slightly sarcastic. You can always skip through it if you want, but I suggest reading it, these types of RPG's are good because of their stories also.

Either way you chose, once you finish that sequence, you just go back home. Navigating larger sections of the world allow you to actually move freely between different parts. What I mean is, when you step on a little blue arrow, you can move as far as you have traveled previously... sort of like a warp gate that gets you to any destination you have been to previously. So once you warp back to the village, and get to your house and goto sleep, we get A MASSIVE amount of plot details, and then the chapter concludes with giving you the option to save.

I'd save now, the reason being is you can then load your save file from one chapter of this RPG to another, which is exactly what I will be doing.

Overall, the game play in this flash game is limited to start, however the game has a fantastic engine, and the start of a great plot. I can't wait to see the rest of this saga unfold as time comes, so I hope you join me and we can play through it all.


Longevity: 3.0/5
Interface: 4.5/5
Addictiveness: 3.5/5
Sound: 4.0/5
Simplicity: 4.0/5

Overall: 3.8/5