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Neo Geo Pocket Power

Faselei!
Reader Review by Insecta
Genre: Strategy RPG
Players: 1-2

Ever since Match of the Millennium, Cardfighters and Sonic Pocket Adventure caused a storm around Christmas the Neo Geo Pocket release schedule has been fairly dry. People have been looking forward to Metal Slug: 2nd Mission, Dive Alert, Last Blade and Faselei! And I can tell you now, that Faselei! was well worth the wait!

Game Play
From what I had heard, it sounded like Faselei! was meant to be an RPG. It's not really a true RPG, but it feels more like a strategy game to me! If I ever classed it, I would call it a Strategy RPG. The game has two modes of play RPG and Strategy mode, and I'll explain each one below.

First of all, I'll explain the game concept. You are basically fighting the ruler of a country during a futuristic civil war. The war is no longer fought by soldiers, but by large mechanical giants named Toy Soldiers. The character you play is in the 13th Division of the army, codename "Faselei!". He is a skilled Toy Soldier pilot so you get to control your own TS during the game! Excited? I was!

RPG mode takes place in your base. You get to buy weapons, ammo, items, CPUs, chips, items, new Toy Soldiers and more from a shop. Set up your TS in a port, and embark into Strategy mode. You may also save, browse through data on TS you have seen and have multiplayer games. You will spend a great deal of time in this section trying to tweak your Toy Solder to perfection. Amazingly, you can have more than one TS at once, with different weapons, colors and names! It's very fun! Pressing option any time will bring up stats for your TS. This is very, very useful!

The second mode, Strategy mode is the main part of the game. You control your Toy Soldier around a top down map, to take down a selection of enemy tanks, choppers, planes and TS. But, you don't control you TS with the joystick, and pressing buttons. You have to run programs stored on your Toy Soldiers CPU. You can store more programs, depending on how fast your CPU is, and run more at once depending on how good the TS is. For instance, to move your TS forward two squares, turn left, move forward one and fire weapon one at the enemy you would select Fw, Fw, Lt, Fw, W1. Then the turn will end, and every unit on the battlefield takes it turn at once. You have to predict your enemies’ moves to succeed. Even things, like reloading weapons require programs. To make life easier, you get a radar of the map and weapons stats all on the same screen. There is even room for what you and the enemy say! Sometimes you will fight alongside AI team members. They will actually go and deal with another enemy, while you take out one. They help rather than getting in the way! Just like in Card Fighters, you can suspend the game mid-battle. The battle screen is very well presented.

There are three ways you can play Strategy mode in three different ways. Mission, is how you advanced through the game. You get a good storyline, money and experience for completing these levels. You even get a tutorial on the first level! For every mission you complete, you get a task, which you can complete over and over again. You will receive money for completing them, and they are easier than missions. The final mode, I haven’t tried, and that is multiplayer. You can see the opening screen for multiplayer where you can select for multiplayer and complete mission maps. From what I've seen, Faselei looks set to kick ass in multiplayer! Shame you can't have more than two players.

Gameplay is real wartime strategy action! Top marks for Sacnoth!

Graphics
The graphics in the Strategy part are just what you would expect from a top down war game. The backgrounds consist of well-drawn objects clustered together in natural patterns There are scatterings of military bases and buildings to add to the already great atmosphere. The moving objects are all three colored, but look great. They are very detailed, and portray the larger artwork you see of them perfectly. They each have simple movement animation, and you will see them firing and taking hits. Damage your team inflicts is shown in white numbers, and the enemy in red numbers. Everything ends up looking very clear, with no confusion.

The graphics in RPG mode consist of pictures strung together, with lots of information around them. The pictures are very well drawn, and the faces of your team really show feeling. There is a database you can explore, with a picture of each Toy Soldier you have seen! In each part of RPG mode, there is a simple picture in the background, which isn't much, but helps the game even more.

In the end, the graphics have been presented very well, in dialog boxes and with fancy borders. When you enter sections, everything flies into place. This is a great use of the scroll function on the NGP.

In general, the graphics portray what they should in the game, and then go even further. The Neo Geo Pocket needs companies like Sacnoth!

Sound/Music
If Faselei! had a low point, it would be sound and music. Luckily, Faselei! does not have a low point and the sound is great! In fact, Faselei is the first game to use digitised music. Well, it's only a song in the intro, but it impressed me none the less. The rest of the music is the regular futuristic war tunes. Varying from lazy, to groovy and scary the music is pretty damn good! The sound is just as pleasing, with audible rocket launches, snipe shots and machine gun fire. A nice little plodding sound plays when you walk!

Faselei! is possibly the first Neo Geo Pocket game to take sound over average, and it really works for the game!

Last Words

Improve:
Better AI
Enemy Health Bar
Exploring
Faster Movement
Mini Games
Sound Test

Get if you like: RPG, Strategy, Showing Off, Good Story

This is one of the best things since MotM! It may not deliver the instant fun found in other titles, but Faselei is certainly an entertaining game. With lots of hard missions and tasks, the game will last you a long time. Everything is to satisfaction, and the game plays well. Way to go Sacnoth! The only problem is that this game won't appeal to everyone, but those who is appeals to should love it!

Scores

Gameplay: *****
Graphics: ****
Sound/Music: ****
Personal Opinion: *****
Total: 90%

Final Score: 85%

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