October 24, 2000
Orphen: Scion of Sorcery probably doesn't mean a lot to most people here in Australia. It is actually based on a (supposedly poor) Japanese anime called Sorcerous Stabber Orphen which to be honest I've never even heard of. This game, from Kadokawa Shoten Publishing who developed the famous Lunar series, follows a similar storyline to the movie which is as follows; Orphen, who is the main character, was dropped off at the Tower of Fangs as a baby. This tower was inhabited by mages who brought Orphen up to be a great sorcerer. Yet Orphen detested the magic which required too much training and hard work.
When he has grown up Orphen and his young student, Magnus, end up on a ship after Orphen decides to follow a get rich quick scheme. However the two of them, plus Vulkin and Dortin who tag along, end up on the wrong ship with a bunch of people who are all on separate quests. The ship is attacked by hideous sea monsters which Orphen, with his magical powers, has to battle to prove his worth. Sure enough everyone becomes shipwrecked on Chaos Island where they all continue on separate quests resulting in battles with evil forces and monsters.
As with most RPG's the game is laden with magic spells for the characters. These spells can be area related, some are auto-targeting while others are close range such as the energy sword which is similar to a light saber from Star Wars. The longer the spell button is pressed the more powerful the spell will become however this leaves you vulnerable to attack. While Orphen only begins with four magical spells (fireball, electricity, energy blade, shield) through the quest more spells will become uncovered with 30 spells to be discovered by the final battle. One button on the controller is reserved for your shield to block attacks from foes.
The developers have included plenty of anime styled cut scenes to keep the story flowing while Orphen includes 51 action packed event-based encounters as well as plenty of puzzles to solve, and new items and weapons to discover. The developers have also used motion blur, weather effects and some wonderful effects for the magic spells that include awesome lighting effects.
Orphen: Scion of Sorcery is a very Japanese styled RPG which may not appeal to the casual gamer. For people who like anime and/or RPG's this is probably worth a look especially if you want something different. Activision have done a magnificent job porting such an obscure title for an English release.