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Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator

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Critic Reviews 74% add missing review

RPGFan (95 out of 100) (95%)

With the division between PC and Console RPGs blurring, thanks to original games such as Diablo and Baldur's Gate, and to Square's ports of some of its Final Fantasy titles, it's no surprise that Septerra Core took the form that it did. Valkyrie Studios used its creative muscle to bring this delightful title to PC gamers, a title that might interest die hard console gamers in the much maligned PC platform.

Jan 18th, 2000 · Windows · read review

Game Revolution (A-) (91%)

In the end, Septerra Core is a very strong offering in the RPG arena. If you're not the diehard RPGer who lives for Bauldur's Gate ("AD&D is the only RPG!"), or if you ever enjoyed one of the Final Fantasy series (I know some of you Bauldur's Gaters like it. Come on, admit it!), then pick this one up right away. There are seven whole worlds waiting for you..

Dec 1st, 1999 · Windows · read review

Game Vortex (90 out of 100) (90%)

Overall, Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator is a superb game. The character graphics could definitely use some work, and because of that, it’s not perfect, but it’s as close as it’ll probably ever get on the computer. Get this game.

Jan 31st, 2003 · Windows · read review

Electric Playground (9 out of 10) (90%)

Overall, Septerra Core plays very much like a console RPG, but it isn't an overt copy of them, and it has a few new ideas of its own. Fans of console RPGs will recognize the smooth gameplay and brilliant Final Fantasty-style graphics. It does not have the depth of character interation or development as something like Fallout or Baldur's Gate, but it is a fun ride, taking you into strange policies, and showing intriguing conspiracies and ambitions. Septerra Core is definitely well above a typical PlayStation import.

May 6th, 2004 · Windows · read review

Gameplay (Benelux) (89 out of 100) (89%)

Voor de mensen die al een kramp krijgen als ze het woord "trol" of "dwerg" horen, is de sfeer in Septerra Core als een frisse bries. De omgeving in Septerra Core is nog het best te vergelijken met Fallout van Interplay, maar dan met minder bugs. Al bij al is Septerra Core een bijzonder aangenaam spel, dat elke rechtgeaarde RPG Adventure fan op zijn PC zou moeten hebben staan. Waar wacht je nog op? Op Sinterklaas misschien?

Nov 29th, 1999 · Windows

Gamezilla (87 out of 100) (87%)

Septerra Core is currently my favorite pick for RPG games -- it's one of the very few worthy titles in the genre this year. Its simpler interface doesn't offer the detailed character development options of some titles, but I like getting into the game quickly without getting bogged down in the details of character stats. The story starts out a little slow, but it gets much better fairly quickly and in the end is a lot of fun to play. I highly recommend Septerra Core to all RPG fans -- and with its rich plot it is probably worth a look for adventure fans as well.

Nov 8th, 1999 · Windows

PC Gamer (86 out of 100) (86%)

Valkyrie Studios worked long and hard on this one, and their intense effort shines through in the finished product. The game was obviously started quite some time ago, however - as beautiful as the background and characters are, the entire game has a slightly dated look to it. Once players delve into the story, though, the sense that the graphics belong to a game from two years ago disappears, and only the world of Septerra matters.

Aug 1st, 2000 · Windows · read review

Power Unlimited (8.6 out of 10) (86%)

Fans van Final Fantasy VII kunnen zonder aarzelen in de avonturen van Maya en haar vrienden duiken. De werelden en de graphics zijn absolute beauties en het verhaal is meeslepend en heeft epische proporties. Alleen, net als in FF VIII, gaat het vechten niet geweldig. Heb jij daar minder problemen mee dan zit je meer dan goed met Septerra Core.

Jun 1999 · Windows

Hacker (85 out of 100) (85%)

I konačno zaključak, Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator je iznimno zabavna igra. Istina, tvrdokorniji RPG fanovi bi mogli biti razočarani nekim njezinim aspektima, ali izuzme li se ta činjenica, Valkyrie Studiosu možamo čestitati na vrlo kvalitetnom naslovu koji bi više pozornosti pobudio da se pojavio godinu prije, kad je i bio očekivan.

Dec 1999 · Windows

GameCritics.com (8.5 out of 10) (85%)

With market trends show that more and more PC users own consoles and vice versa, the availability of both types of RPGs will only increase but, I'm afraid, this RPG argument still shows little signs of slowing. However, one need only look at more traditional games like Ultima Ascension alongside a game like Septerra Core to see that there is room for both in a gamer's library. While PC RPGs like Ultima Ascension offers an unreal amount of choice available to players, console RPGs along the lines of Septerra Core tend to cut things down and excel in the storytelling department. I would hope that this pulls PC gamers toward Septerra Core, because storytelling is definitely one of the areas that it excels in. The game does have a few flaws, but when it comes down to the overall presentation, you wont go wrong with Septerra Core.

Feb 14th, 2000 · Windows · read review

Science Fiction Weekly (B+) (83%)

Septerra is a unique and amazing planet, designed by a mysterious Creator so that its continents are layered into World Shells. These shells orbit the planet core at varying altitudes, and once every century they align in such a way that a beam of light reaches the core, providing power for a massive computer that lies inside. In times of great need, the computer may be accessed by a savior...provided that he or she is in possession of a pair of ancient keys.

Aug 26th, 2002 · Windows · read review

GamersWanted (8 out of 10) (80%)

Septerra Core has had a rocky history. For some time, it was unknown whether it would ever get published. Thankfully, its potential was seen, and Monolith has published it in the United States.

Nov 15th, 1999 · Windows · read review

Glide Underground ( ) (80%)

The world of role playing games have gone back a long time in the past. From the first types of role playing games in the form of Dungeons and Dragons in pen and paper, to rolling of dice, all the way to the current Baldur's Gate Advanced Dungeons and Dragons game, role playing games have been around for a long time. The form of role playing games have evolved over time, some good have come and gone while others have suck around. One very popular style of role playing games are those or less reality and more fighting and adventuring based. Action/RPG hybrid games like Diablo and Darkstone have been hugely popular with the PC fanatics, while other, console RPG players have had one major player in the RPG genre, Squaresoft.

Nov 26th, 1999 · Windows · read review

IGN (8 out of 10) (80%)

It's not surprising that, after the success of Final Fantasy VII, PC gamers would start seeing more console-styled RPGs being released. What is surprising is that we'd start seeing console RPGs (CRPG) that were never on any console. Recently games like Silver and Septerra Core have given CRPG fans something to make their console cousins jealous -- especially in Septerra Core's case. It's one part fantasy, one part cyberpunk; one part Fallout 2, one part Final Fantasy VII. But however you classify it, Septerra Core is one heck of a lot of fun.

Nov 11th, 1999 · Windows · read review

Gameguru Mania (4 out of 5) (80%)

You find yourself in the body of non-ordinary student Maya who's curious enough to find out that there's something bad going on in the world. Maya lives at an 'underground' and most poor shell of seven space shells-islands forming together the Septerra planet system. And she's a fine girl btw :-) The storyline: members of highest core, so called 'Chosen' decided to enslave all other people. So here you are the poorest against the highest lords with all their technology and knowledge. But you're not alone, your friends -- Grubb, technoman who can fix any machine, makes his own robots, including another your friend robo-dog named Runner, and other ones -- form party with you. On your way you're continually visiting all the shell worlds, each of them with its own specific culture, architecture. There's a lot of adventure tasks, and the battling system doesn't require a big action. rather thinking and to strike the best way.

Nov 7th, 1999 · Windows · read review

Da Gameboyz (4 out of 5) (80%)

Septerra Core's developmental road has been very rocky. When everything looked like it was going to fall apart Monolith grabbed the project and pulled it all back together... and thank goodness they did! Septerra Core is an anime-style game with obvious console overtones, not unlike Chronotrigger and the massively popular Final Fantasy series. Valkyrie Studios obviously decided to take an established idea and allow one aspect to grow: the storyline.

Jul 10th, 2004 · Windows · read review

PC Games (Germany) (80 out of 100) (80%)

Für Septerra Core muss man etwas Zeit investieren. Was auf den ersten Blick wirkt wie eine Mischung aus Fallout und Final Fantasy 7, stellt sich als fesselndes Rollenspiel heraus, das gekonnt Motive aus Science-Fiction, Fantasy und japanischer Anime-Dramatik kombiniert. Lediglich der etwas umständliche, wenn auch originelle Kampfmodus zerrt stellenweise ein wenig an den Nerven.

Dec 1999 · Windows

PC Action (Germany) (79 out of 100) (79%)

Septerra Core lässt sich zunächst ein wenig zäh an, entfaltet aber dann doch außerordentliche Qualitäten. Sowohl Fans von Fallout als auch die Anhänger von Final Fantasy VII werden sich von der epischen Story und der in düsteren Tönen gehaltenen Endzeit-Rendergrafik angesprochen fühlen. Bei der technischen Realisierung setzten die Entwickler die richtigen Prioritäten: Eine funktionelle Benutzerführung scheint ihnen wichtiger gewesen zu sein als übertriebener optischer Schnickschnack. Hätte ich die Wahl zwischen Final Fantasy VII und Septerra Core, würde ich zu letzterem greifen.

Dec 1999 · Windows

GameSpy (78 out of 100) (78%)

Septerra Core brings the best qualities of console role playing games to the PC. Unfortunately it also brings a few bad qualities of its own. This anime-style epic RPG does some things extraordinarily well, and may be worth the price of admission just for that, but it is also marred by a couple of significant flaws.

Nov 16th, 1999 · Windows · read review

Gamer's Pulse (78 out of 100) (78%)

Ok, here’s the hype. If you are looking for a new quest in your life, this is definitely a good idea for your next game purchase. Setting out with heroic tasks ahead of you, your journey as Maya and her compatriots will take many twists and turns. All your hard work pays off in the end when you’ve built your party up from scratch and obtained all the unique special weapons and awesome spells. When you face Doskias in the final showdown, you know you’re gonna beat him down. Well anyway, that’s my whole spiel about this fun and exciting game. I recommend it to those out there who need these heroic kinds of games, because being a hero is definitely what this game is all about.

1999 · Windows · read review

Svenska PC Gamer (75 out of 100) (75%)

Septerra Core är solid och välskriven äventyrsunderhållning med intressanta förutsättningar, en icke-pinsam historia och - wow! - starka kvinnliga karaktärer.

Mar 2000 · Windows

PC Player (Germany) (75 out of 100) (75%)

Besiegte Monsterhorden tauchen in exakt der gleichen Kombination an exakt den gleichen Stellen wieder auf. Das nervt besonders, wenn ich wieder mal irgendwelche Rätselobjekte durch die Landschaft schleppen muss und dabei zwangsläufig bestimmte Gebiete mehrfach kreuze. Für solche Wiederholungen fehlt es dem Kampf-Programm einfach an Pepp, sprich taktischen Elementen. Auf der Habenseite stehen eine wunderbar abgedrehte Spielwelt, ein netter Fantasy-Plot und zahlreiche Rätsel. Letztere erfreuen mich besonders, weil sie seit langem die ersten sind, die Logik und Kniffligkeit erfolgreich verbinden.

Jan 2000 · Windows

Gamesmania.de (74 out of 100) (74%)

Pro: Der enorme Spielumfang, eine prächtige Soundkulisse und ein komfortabel-komplexes Benutzerinterface könnten ungelogen und unter fachmännischer Gutheißung auf dem Spielkarton prangen...
Contra: ... solange der Käufer auch auf den spielspaßtötenden Umstand hingewiesen wird, dass Gegner immer an der gleichen Stelle auftauchen und - Skandal! - in Kämpfen gewonnene Erfahrungspunkte vom Programm automatisch verteilt werden. Welchen Sinn hat rollenspieltypischer Charakterausbau, wenn ich gar keinen Einfluss darauf habe? Außerdem kann Septerra Core dem Grafikliebhaber keinen Kaufanreiz bieten.
Fazit: Einsteigern wird ein ausgewogenes Programm ohne besondere Höhen und Tiefen geboten, bei dem Spieldauer- und -spaß den Kauf rechtfertigen. Gegen Titel wie Fallout 2, Darkstone oder Revenant hat das Mannheimer Produkt jedoch keine Chance.

Jan 19th, 2000 · Windows · read review

PC Joker (74 out of 100) (74%)

Schön animierte Polygonfiguren, Lichteffekte und scrollbare Renderlokationen erzeugen dabei ebenso Atmosphäre wie Begleitmusik, Umgebungsgeräusche und deutsche Sprachausgabe. Die Steuerung fanden wir zwar einen Tick zu umständlich (viel Klickerei, gewöhnungsbedürftiges Inventar-Handling), doch die Fans asiatisch angehauchter Rollis sollte das nicht abschrecken: Im Kern ist Septerra Core eine durchaus spielenswerte Alternative zur wuchtigeren „Final Fantasy“-Reihe. Und deren achter Teil lässt auf dem PC ja noch ein wenig auf sich warten.

Dec 1999 · Windows

Independent Zin (70 out of 100) (70%)

To całkiem przyjemna gra – jak dla mnie, obecnie zasługuje na takie 7/10. Kilkanaście lat temu, kiedy pierwszy raz się zetknąłem z tą produkcją, dałbym nawet 8/10, ale minęło już ponad 15 lat od tego czasu, więc emocje trochę minęły.

Feb 10th, 2019 · Windows · read review

Jeuxvideo.com (14 out of 20) (70%)

La technique, venons-y. Graphiquement c'est beau, mais on peut trouver que Septerra Core manque d'originalité sur ce plan-là. Par ailleurs, les personnages font un peu "collage sur décor", mais rien d'alarmant. Le son se fait un peu trop discret, autre point faible du jeu ; qui plus est les paroles sont en anglais, ce qui ne facilite pas la tâche de beaucoup. Enfin, la jouabilité est bonne, puisque simple. Au finish, Septerra Core intéressera plus sûrement les néophytes de jeux de rôle ; les dur à cuir du genre, eux, le trouveront insuffisant et superficiel.

Dec 24th, 1999 · Windows · read review

Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) ( ) (70%)

The role-playing empire known as SquareSoft has ruled the role-playing console market for a near decade. Their juggernaut series, Final Fantasy is one of the best selling line of games of all time, and is regarded by many as the greatest role-playing epic ever brought to the digital environment. Spin offs such as Chrono Trigger and the like have helped establish the style and gameplay as solid platforms, and we knew it wouldn't be long before someone tried their hand with something similar in the PC arena. Even though last year marked the introduction of the Final Fantasy series to the PC, its release was marred by a number of problems that included a lot of bugs and quality issues, something console owners aren't too familiar with, but alas something we PC gamers know all too well. Enter Valkyrie Studios and their long-awaited anime inspired role-player, Septerra Core.

Oct 29th, 1999 · Windows · read review

GameStar (Germany) (68 out of 100) (68%)

Septerra Core müht sich redlich, an das Flair der Final-Fantasy-Serie heranzukommen, hinkt ihr aber in fast allen Punkten hinterher. Zwar ist die Story genauso episch und fesselnd wie beim Vorbild, zahlreiche Nerv-Details wie der zu kleine Bildschirmausschnitt oder wiederauferstehende Monster dämpfen aber die Freude. Dabei sind die Rätsel durchaus einfallsreich, und auch das simple Kampfsystem macht kurzzeitig Laune. Aber zwischen den Story-Happen gibt es zuviele unnötige Gefechte und Dialoge. Wenn Sie ein Faible für Manga haben und auf Final Fantasy 8 warten, sollten Sie Septerra Core dennoch probespielen.

Dec 1999 · Windows

Power Play (67 out of 100) (67%)

„Septerra Core“ hat gute bis sehr gute Ansätze, aber leider stimmt die Ausführung nicht immer...

Dec 1999 · Windows

GameSpot (6.7 out of 10) (67%)

It's got some interesting characters, a user-friendly interface, and an intriguing magic system, but it gets bogged down by both minor and major problems.

Nov 23rd, 1999 · Windows · read review

GameSpot (Belgium/Netherlands) (66 out of 100) (66%)

Septerra Core is een adventure, die zich afspeelt op een anime-wereld in een verre toekomst. Het spel is beladen met geweld, vrouwen met poppenogen en robots, en heeft veel potentieel, alsmede enkele foutjes.

Jan 11th, 2000 · Windows · read review

Absolute Games (AG.ru) (65 out of 100) (65%)

Забавно, не правда ли? Аниме, техномаги, игровой мир, порожденный воспаленным мозгом разработчиков. Впечатляющая длительность прохождения. Система боя, характерная исключительно для консольных, преимущественно японских игр. Очень знакомый с мелкими оригинальными вставками сюжет, если посмотреть на происходящее глобально. Баланс сил определен заранее, и сразу понятно, кто плохой, кто хороший. Все это мы уже видели в Final Fantasy, поэтому назвать игру каким-то другим словом, кроме как клон, язык не поворачивается. И все бы было в рамках дозволенного, если бы не эта отвратительная графика.

Nov 10th, 1999 · Windows · read review

Just RPG (60 out of 100) (60%)

A world comprising seven shells joined together by a spine to a central core. Empires at war. A plot to steal ancient secrets. No end of exploration, combat and magic. And lots of characters to play around with. Yep, Septerra Core: the Legacy of the Creator has a lot going for it. It has all the ingredients of a decent RPG and a compelling enough storyline to keep one going for hours. It is therefore, somewhat tragic that its shortcomings tend to trip it up rather badly.

Mar 11th, 2004 · Windows · read review

Imperium Gier ( ) (60%)

Podsumowując. Na pewno nie jest to jakieś odkrycie. To raczej dobrze odrobiona lekcja na temat FF7, tym niemniej (i dlatego) gorąco ją polecam wszystkim, którzy mogą poświęcić kilkadziesiąt godzin na zbawianie świata Siedmioziemia.

Sep 10th, 1999 · Windows · read review

Computer and Video Games (CVG) ( ) (60%)

The point-and-click interface feels a little old-fashioned, although it works well enough. The battle system is satisfying and you can make it as simple or as complex as you like. Some gorgeous FMV sequences punctuate the action and the game has a complete, polished feel. While it does nothing revolutionary in terms of gameplay, Septerra Core tells an epic story that many gamers will find captivating.

Apr 2000 · Windows · read review

Spel för Alla (6 out of 10) (60%)

Om Septerra Core hade kommit för två år sedan hade jag blivit imponerad. Nu är det visserligen ett hyfsat bra rollspel med en hel del originella idéer, men gränssnittet, grafiken och striderna känns redan gammalmodiga.

Feb 2000 · Windows

WomenGamers.com (5.1 out of 10) (51%)

I've had my eye on Septerra Core for a long time. I was first attracted to this game when I saw it in PC Gamer several years ago. This role-playing game has richly painted japanime style artwork with a strong, fully-clothed female lead character. I was excited.

Nov 8th, 1999 · Windows · read review

Gaming Age (C) (50%)

There are always a couple games in the industry that get passed along from publisher to publisher and seem to be in development limbo for an eternity. One such RPG has been a fairly little publicized (but has maintained a strong fan base) console-style RPG for the PC from Valkyrie Studios, Septerra Core. The long development time has taken its toll on the game on the technological front, but this doesn’t stop it from being an entertaining experience.

Sep 5th, 2004 · Windows · read review

Eurogamer.net (UK) (4 out of 10) (40%)

It seems that western developers can almost match the visual style and splendour of the Japanese old hands, but they simply can't follow it all through and provide a gripping story and intuitive play system. If Final Fantasy VII and VIII are happy memories for you, do yourself a favour and give Septerra Core a miss.

Mar 9th, 2000 · Windows · read review

Computer Gaming World (CGW) ( ) (40%)

Although SEPTERRA CORE isn’t a bad game, it owes a lot to Square’s FINAL FANTASY console games and seems rather uninspired on its own. That — plus a number of serious design flaws — drag it down to mediocre status, despite a captivating story.

Mar 2000 · Windows

Archaic.fr N/A

Malgré un bon démarrage, Septerra Core : Legacy of the Creator s’enfonce tout doucement dans une monotonie qui va durer une cinquantaine d’heure. L'unique titre de Valkyrie Studios ne se hissera pas dans les classiques du genre avec une simple volonté, certes louable, de reprendre à sa sauce les codes du genre et de proposer davantage le genre au monde du PC, la faute à une histoire qui ne décolle finalement que trop peu, préférant enchaîner des donjons mornes, des combats pas révolutionnaires, et proposer une partie aventure poussive et incompréhensible, plutôt que de véritablement propulser son univers pourtant original et au fort potentiel. S’il y a bien pire en terme de RPG, il y en a des biens meilleurs.

Dec 14th, 2022 · Windows · read review

Player Reviews

Valkyrie Studios did a good job with Septerra Core. Albeit, they didn't do a great job.

The Good
Septerra Core has a fantabulous story. A super-extra-frosted good story. It's got a man bent on world destruction, secret motives, believable characters packaged into a surprisingly original environment. Graphically, Septerra Core may not take your breath away, but it will surely interest you. The setting changes frequently throughout the game, so at times you'll be playing a dank, dark dungeon crawl, at other times you'll be wandering about in a humid jungle full of mutants. Eventually, one of those mutants even joins your party. It features a very console like combat system, which turns out to be a mixed bag. On one hand, the game has a very interesting spellcasting system. Your character, Maya, will gradually collect "fate cards" as the game progressives. Using one fate card might have a certain effect, such as casting a minuscule fire spell. Combining this fire fate card with another fate card that might, say, cause the character to toss a grenade, will create an all new spell that launches a flaming napalm grenade. Sound interesting? It is, but unfortunately, even the games best ideas are bogged down by the games agonizingly slow combat system.

The Bad
The games combat system is, in a word, boring. A word probably isn't clear enough of a description, so lets elaborate. Imagine yourself playing Final Fantasy VIII. If you remember, casting a summon spell would trigger a lengthy animation, which, while impressive at first, was really, really long and wasn't very fun the third time. Septerra Core's attack animations are much the same, only they were never spectacular to begin with. A character that isn't fortunate enough to possess a ranged attack will jump in a goofy looking rainbow arc to their foe, pause a moment, hit their enemy, pause another moment, and leap back to their original position. There's nothing too wrong with this on paper. Factor in that each animation can take up to 2.5 seconds. Now factor in that there are usually at least 5 hits to go around in a short skirmish for your party alone. The typical combat sequence goes like this: character walks into monster. Game screen shifts to a more suitable position to view the fight. Monster starts off by shifting his feet, and then slowly raising his arms to pummel one of your characters. Then, whilst uninteresting music plays, your character slowly leaps over to the monster to return the favor. It's a good bet that you've already lost interest. Despite having great ideas, an engaging story, and pretty decent graphics, Septerra Core drags itself out needlessly via its slow, cumbersome battle system.

The Bottom Line
Septerra Core isn't exactly a missed opportunity, but it's very close. You'll probably have a lot of fun playing Septerra Core, but you might want to rediscover a tomagachi to keep yourself occupied during the battles. Best compared to watching giant pandas. They're cute, cuddly, and fun, when they aren't sleeping. The problem with pandas is that they sleep 50% of the day. When it comes down to it, I'd recommend Septerra Core. At the price it goes for nowadays (bundled with Shogo, even), you're going to get your moneys worth for sure. Just don't say I didn't warn you. (Interesting note: Valkyrie was working on another game called "Seraphim" where flying angels beat the snot out of each other with their divine powers. The game fell through because they couldn't find a publisher.)

by WJAndrews (32) on Feb 3rd, 2004 · Windows

Passionate and flawed tribute to the Orient

The Good
Septerra Core is a role-playing game in Japanese style made by American developers - a rare and odd phenomenon, considering the almost diametrically opposed RPG design philosophies of East and West. Shortly after Fallout and Baldur's Gate invigorated the Western RPG genre and Final Fantasy VII turned Eastern RPGs into blockbusters with cutting-edge technology, Septerra Core attempted to imitate the Japanese style while borrowing a few ideas from its Western brothers.

Conceived entirely as an homage, without any groundbreaking ideas or technology to back it, Septerra Core really depended on how much feeling and effort the designers were willing to put in it. Fortunately, their passion truly ignited the game, turning a modest effort bordering on fan fiction into a lovingly crafted title that falls short of greatness largely for mechanical reasons.

Despite its anime-like aesthetics and strict adherence to the Japanese formula, Septerra Core still has something that betrays its American origins. These are mostly small features, but adding them together gives the game a significant boost. My number one feature is probably NPC interaction. I don't recall another Japanese-style RPG where you could actually select conversation topics. Rudimentary compared to contemporary Western RPGs, they are still heaps and bounds above the dialogue systems of the East. Not only that, but selecting different player-controlled characters to talk to NPCs may lead to unexpected results such as unique dialogue lines. Many of these are completely optional and hence give the game a light flavor of freedom so lacking in Japanese RPGs. One of the most enjoyable activities for me was scouting a new city for NPCs and just chatting with them, disregarding the main story. I've always had a soft spot for conversation-rich RPGs, and this is certainly one of them. Also, every single line of dialogue in the game is voiced.

Another interesting feature are inventory-based puzzles. There aren't many of them and they are very simple, but I really liked that nod to Western adventure games of yore. You'll actually have to think and figure out what you need to advance, which often involves carefully listening to what NPCs tell you and hunting for clues. It's details like this that differentiate Septerra Core from its countless comrades in a genre where making a generic world map with towns and dungeons and slapping some turn-based combat on them was in many cases a sufficient reason for publishing an RPG. You always feel that every element of the game was crafted with care and dedication.

Instead of being set in one world, Septerra Core has seven of them. Make no mistake - those are really worlds, even though they are connected to each other and are part of one system. The striking difference between the worlds is what makes this setting so cool. You'll start on a post-apocalyptic Shell 2, in a deserted world with heaps of junk and people living among them. You'll complete one quest in this world, leave it, and the setting will change drastically. You are on Shell 3, which is a medieval-like society complete with old-fashioned towns, green grass fields, and knights fighting with swords. You leave Shell 3 and arrive in a modern society where two countries wage war, using weapons of massive destruction. And before you notice it, you are on the weird Shell 7, where nobody lives but the mysterious tribe of the Underlost, but where strange plants and mushrooms grow to form a gigantic mold forest just near the lava mountains.

This setting keeps you interested even at times when the story fails to do the same. The variety of locations is astonishing. Septerra Core is heavy on dungeon exploration, but you'll never feel the dungeons are repeating themselves. From the snow mountains near Armstrong to the futuristic Ankaran research lab, from the spooky graveyard to the colorful mold forest, from the subway tunnels to the claustrophobic Chosen palace - you'll be constantly switching environments that form a maximal contrast to each other. You are not tied to the same standard setting, but at the same time, each individual setting is convincing and engrossing in its own way. You'll be immersed by the plains around Wind City just the same way as by the sleazy World Bazaar with its Slums and Red Light District.

The setting comes to life thanks to beautiful graphics. Septerra Core looks a lot like Planescape: Torment or any other isometric RPG that comes to mind: small pre-rendered character models over pre-rendered backgrounds. While the characters could have used more work, the backgrounds are full of detail and sometimes can be atmospheric and immersive in a nearly magical way. In general, the visuals are almost impeccable and in fact better than in many real Japanese RPGs of the time.

The combat system in Septerra Core has its bright sides. The addition of the quasi-real-time element makes it more spicy than usually, and teaming up to discover new magic spells can get quite rewarding. Some of the enemies are pretty cool, and a special praise goes to boss battles. The bosses are for the most part tricky guys whom you cannot defeat simply by unleashing your most powerful attacks. There is often some sort of a puzzle surrounding a boss. This is much more interesting than simply hacking away without thinking. I enjoyed very much such encounters as for example the battles against the colored Magi in the Chosen palace. And of course, any game that eschews random battles automatically receives extra points for doing that.

I think Septerra Core is one of the very few games in its genre that handle the difficulty level just right. If you found its contemporary Final Fantasies too easy you can count on challenge in this one. However, this challenge is also far remote from "fight 5864 more enemies and gain 7 more levels to be able to survive the next boss battle" of earlier Japanese RPGs. Equipment preparation, party management and tactics are more important than your levels here. The party is well-balanced and the system manages to find the middle ground between old-school classes and the new fashion of characters with identical stats that can do anything at any time.

The characters are unfortunately not that interesting, but at least the game's Western creators didn't feel obliged to include a pink teddy bear or something like that to occupy the customary "kawaii" spot.

The Bad
There are all sorts of negative little things that impede the enjoyment almost the same way as the positive little things I mentioned above enhance it. These may include stiff voice acting, occasional bad writing that makes following the story less interesting at times than just chatting with NPCs, palette-swapping enemies, excessively repetitive NPC portraits, wooden animation, a few interface-related weirdnesses, and so on. But nothing comes as close to ruining the game as the combat.

You see, there is nothing wrong with the battles of Septerra Core, but there is also nothing exciting in them. While Final Fantasy VII had spectacular shows with all sorts of explosions and other eye candy, and Western RPGs had depth and dynamics that compensated for the lack of effects, Septerra Core has neither. It has vanilla Japanese RPG combat where tiny people exchange pitifully-looking attacks until some of them drop dead. Worse, however, is the fact that battles take way too much time. There is a ridiculous leaping animation in the beginning of every single battle, and then you'll have to wait for the bars to fill. Enemies are often speedier than you and the game rarely allows you to get rid of them quickly. A fan patch adds a queuing command that at least reduces micro-management somewhat, but you'll still have to spend precious minutes staring at painfully uninteresting screens. Near the end of the game abusing powerful magic helps things a bit, but the first half is spent with a way too limited arsenal that never gives you the satisfaction of simply shredding your foes to pieces at once if you want to.

Dungeon design doesn't help to alleviate those annoyances at all. Even though there are no random enemies you can hardly ever avoid combat, and enemies blocking narrow passages will quickly become a recurrent sight. Most of the dungeons are designed in such a way that you have to flip switches or hunt for keys all the time. It is okay one time, but it becomes quite tedious when you have to do it in every single damn dungeon you enter. There is generally way too much backtracking in the game, you often have to exit huge areas by yourself and spend too much time running around where you have been before, fighting the same pre-set battles over and over again. This tedium is there for pretty much the entire game. The dichotomy between the graphical beauty of the dungeons and their uninspired structure creates strange hesitation, making you want to press forward to see how the next location looks like and at the same time quit the whole thing and catch some fresh air.

The story is very typical, featuring stuff like ancient prophecies, cosmic battles, a mysterious artifact, evil imperial general, and so on. Nothing wrong with that, but we've seen this stuff before and the writing does little to distinguish it from the many parallel examples within the genre. There is little extravagance in the plot and it's very predictable from the beginning to the end, so those hungry for improbable twists and Freudian traumas will be disappointed.

There is generally something stiff and almost awkward in the way the story of Septerra Core is presented. It is as if the writers tried to make it Japanese but were afraid or incapable of going all the way with that. Thus, the story emulates plot devices and outward characteristics of Japanese anime and video games, but is unable to truly reflect its spirit. This may constitute the game's biggest flaw for those who play Japanese RPGs mostly for the emotions. This is not to say that the story of Septerra Core lacks emotional moments, but they are badly delivered. Even though there are plenty of dramatic situations in the game, their impact is lessened because the characters fail to react adequately. Have you seen Layla after her father was killed? If Septerra Core were made by the Japanese, Layla would fall on the ground and weep bitterly, accompanied by touching Celtic tunes. In this game she just mumbles a few dry and unconvincing lines, ruining the moment and severing any emotional connection you might have begun to have with her.

It's even hard to care for your companions under such conditions: whenever you start feeling something warm they repel you with their indifference. We are hence forced to switch to an old-school mode where playing games with little characterization required us to create their personalities ourselves and invent our own fictional scenarios where they would be more prominently featured. The game also lacks dramatic presentation, with only a few cinematic cutscenes and no effects whatsoever during non-interactive events made with in-game engine. This would be absolutely fine in a Western RPG, but playing a Japanese-style RPG with little emotionality and drama is like eating a pizza without cheese.

The Bottom Line
There is plenty to love in Septerra Core, and unfortunately also plenty to dislike. A Japanese-style RPG devoid of goofy emotionality and flashy gameplay gimmicks quickly reveals schematic, outdated gameplay that is hard and ultimately pointless to deal with, especially when it's also slow and tedious. No matter how much thought was put into designing the game world, it's difficult to appreciate it when the actual game stands in your way.

by Unicorn Lynx (180537) on Sep 3rd, 2014 · Windows

Excellent RPG - a questing adventure with a twist

The Good
I must admit that I've played some really good RPGs over the last year or two -- and this is definitely among that group.

In a nutshell, Septerra Core has all the features I like:

  • An In-depth and Unique Story
  • Diverse, Interesting Characters
  • Loads of Unrepetitive Dialog
  • Dungeon-like Questing
  • A Multitude of Worthy Opponents
  • Various World Environments
  • Pleasing Graphics, Music and Sound Effects
The central plot is not new - the greed of one causing the destruction of the world - but the way it is told, and the atmosphere it is enveloped in, is. It is obvious that the concept came from very creative minds. Everything from the world design down to the simplicity of the game mechanics is marvelous. The shelf like "shells" of the planet Septerra are truly different, but at the same time believable. The personalities of the characters are developed so well that the player really feels they know them - not just as puppets, but as real people. I applaud the script writers whose obvious care and diligence shine here. Combat is turn-based, but more than that. Each character has 3 levels of attack types drawn from inner strength (their core) which must build up in order to be executed. So, you'll wait until the 3rd bar of their "core" is lit before selecting them in order to strike with a level 3 attack. While you're waiting, enemies can have their turn. The speed of that soul strength is different for each of your characters too. Spell casting is decidedly different than any other game I've played. Collect playing cards for fire, air, earth etc. and choose one or more (if other characters are ready) for higher impact spells. There are a dozen different cards that can be used singly or in combinations. Have Maya choose the Resurrect card, for instance, while another chooses the Mirror card. Click on the opponent and the result is the Instant Death spell. The higher their "core", the stronger the effect. And some of those effects are awesome. (I particularly like the on screen looks of the Black Hole spell.) There are a multitude of monsters, and they are varied in appearance, strengths and weaknesses. You can tell how strong your foe is by the color of his/her clothes or features. Sometimes, if you tread carefully, you can bypass groups of monsters. Some are unavoidable, of course. Graphics and music are in keeping with the theme. Graphic atmosphere and characters are clean and unpixelated. Music is original and lovely to listen to.

**The Bad**
I really enjoyed everything about Septerra Core, so consider the following to be "weaknesses" instead of real dislikes.
  • The Maya Dance - party members running into each other while trying to navigate around can cause Maya to jitterbug skip.
  • System errors for no reason cropped up occasionally causing an unexpected exit from the game to my desktop. Restarting was not a problem, though.
  • It's almost too long especially when you know you are almost at the end.
  • Repetitive "Summon" spells - a graphical depiction of the legendary character appears to spew fire on your enemies, for instance, over and over again - each time that spell is cast. A nuisance that I got used to, but could have been handled in a simpler manner somehow. And, arghh, why is it that the switch or treasure chest you're looking for is -always- at the end of a very, very long tunnel! Be sure and get the latest patch for it fixes many early problems with the game.

    **The Bottom Line**
    This game is fun! If story is primary, and you enjoy role playing games with loads of adventuring, Septerra Core is a must for your collection. Not only will it take you a long while to finish, the characters and plot will stay with you long afterwards. A memorable experience, to be sure. It is a real shame that Valkyrie Studios folded .. I would've liked more from them.
  • by Jeanne (75387) on Aug 23rd, 2004 · Windows

    A console style RPG on the PC...What?

    The Good
    Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator, is an American RPG that plays and feels a lot like an RPG from the East. Overall it is a good game, that blends many elements from RPGS, and even does some new things. With a highly imaginative setting and storytelling, Septerra Core is even better than some Asian RPGS.

    The world of Septerra is composed of layers of continents or “world shells”. All of which are linked together by a central core, which in itself is a huge Computer, that regulates the world. Needless to say Septerra Core is set in one of the most unique worlds ever seen in RPGS. Furthermore the world seems real thanks to it’s sharp visuals. But also because of the way the world is presented. It has a long history, and each “shell” has it’s own culture and unique design, for instance one of these shells is covered almost entirely by a city, while another is the home of two nations that are constantly at war with one another.

    The history of Septerra introduces us to Marduk, the begotten son of The Creator. Whom a millennium ago destroyed the devil Gemma, and rescued the angel Kyra. Legends tell of a time when Septerra will be in danger, and the chosen person will appear to unlock the core and bring salvation to Septerra. This triumvirate of beings are central to the plot and are worshiped by the inhabitants of Septerra.

    In Septerra Core, the central character is Maya. A junker on Shell Two. The people of Shell Two live of the scrap of the Shell above. That of “The Chosen”. They are claimed to be decedents of Marduk. Years ago a civil war between the tribes of The Chosen, laid waste to Shell Two, killing Mays’s parents. When the actions of a fellow junker threaten the peace of Septerra, Maya and her companions go on a quest that will span all the shells of Septerra. The plot thickens when Doskias a Chosen General, determines out of hubris that he will be the one to unlock the core, he cares not whom gets in his way. They will see firsthand the cruelty of The Chosen, get involved in political intrigue, learn powerful magic, and of course save the world.

    During your quest you will form a party of three from a pool of nine. Each character is unique, Maya is of course the balanced, level headed leader of the party. Others include Grubb, Maya’s friend, whom is a machine expert. Seline a former Chosen Warrior, and one of the coolest characters Araym, is a mercenary with a conscience, he has two mechanical arms that he uses to attack with in battle!

    None of the characters feel useless or identical to all others. Which sometimes happens in Japanese RPGS. Making things more interesting, many of the party members do not get along, and will even attack each other during battles! You can undertake side-quests to get members to become friends. In one case you can even help two party members realize that they love each other.

    The plot is truly epic and engrossing. And spans about 60 hours of gameplay, with an hour of CGI, and complete voice acting. That’s right you never have to read dialogue it is all spoken. And somehow they fit all of this on one single CD!

    The Graphics in Septerra Core are very good. The backgrounds are done using pre-rendered images, which on a high resolution monitor look amazing. The characters them selves are big on screen and well detailed. No super deformed heroes here! The world map graphics are in particular nice to look at. The CGI looks amazing, almost CG Hollywood movie quality. Combat looks cool with details like the lighting on Maya as she fires her gun. The spell visuals are good. Of course the summon spells take the prize.

    The music is excellent. Often subtle, it excels in fitting the moment. From they war drum sound of battle to the world map music, with each world shell having it’s own theme. The voice acting is also top notch as it would have to be with the game being completely in voice. There are no major names in the cast, which makes the quality of the performances even more impressive. Oddly enough there are no voiceovers during battles unlike most RPGS. No battle cries or incanting or spells.

    The Gameplay at times seems to be an amalgam of various RPGS you may have played. Control wise it is very similar to Anachronox and Return to Krondor. There are no enemies of the world map as in Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, or Chrono Trigger. And Maya reminds me of Alis of Phantasy Star.

    You fight monsters. Gain experience. Find and use key items. All the typical RPG goodness.

    Battle use a modified version of Final Fantasy spawned ATB. Only instead of one time gauge there are three. Which represent how powerful your attack will be, but of course take longer to attack, and have a higher rate of missing. During turns you attack, use items, use special abilities of characters, and cast spells via Fate Cards.

    Fate Cards have a specific spell built in. And can be combined with others for varying levels of effect. For example a Heal combined with and All card create Heal All. Up to three party members can combine to produce spells. This is also how you summon creatures in battle. A Summon plus Fire card, summons a fire dragon to burn your enemies. All the summoned creatures are based not on myth and legends of our world like in Final Fantasy, but on myth and legend of the world of Septerra. The only downside to these is that you cannot skip the animations, therefore when fighting certain bosses you must watch the same scene repeatedly.

    The Bad
    On the downside however Septerra Core is riddled with bugs. To play it you will almost definitely need a patch. And it takes some work to get it to work of Windows XP. Without the patch the game tends to freeze during a boss battle about half way through the game. Recently I discovered another game killing bug, in which you cannot land your ship at Azziz’s Temple. And some parts of the game are just too difficult. I had to buy the strategy guide so that I could finish the game. Why can’t the spell animations be skipped?

    The Bottom Line
    Overall Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator is a very good RPG. Well worth your time. It is as good and in some cases better than many Japanese RPGS. You can probably find the game for about 10 bucks so why not give it a try?

    by MasterMegid (723) on Jul 30th, 2006 · Windows

    Plus 23 player ratings without reviews

    Contributors to this Entry

    Critic reviews added by chirinea, vedder, Scaryfun, Plok, Wizo, Patrick Bregger, Jeanne, Tomas Pettersson, Lukasz Bur, Cantillon, Max Tikhonov, ti00rki, Tim Janssen, lights out party, Alsy.