posted 8/11/2004 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: Xbox
What do you do when your company is the maker of the world’s leading motorcycle simulation? Well you make the natural leap into the RPG realm of course, at least if you’re British developer Climax that is. Known primarily for its Moto GP series, the developer was commissioned by Microsoft to develop an Xbox-exclusive RPG. That RPG has arrived and it’s pretty much what you would expect from a developer that has decided to leave its comfort zone.

Xbox RPG fans are placed in an awkward position because their choices reside on such opposite extremes. On the one end of the spectrum lies Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, quite possibly the best traditional console RPG ever made. Meanwhile, the scale tips heavily towards the opposite end with stinkers such as Black Stone: Magic & Steel and Metal Dungeon. So it comes as no surprise that someone would eventually develop an RPG that lingers in the middle ground. Climax’s Sudeki does just that. It has an abundance of great ideas but it never does quite pull them all together.

When booted up, Sudeki greets gamers with an oddly told, yet intriguing opening sequence. Told completely in rhyme, players learn about the tale of two brothers and how they came to fight over the world. Nothing here is abundantly clear, but as the game progresses players are given more insight to the fight and struggle between good and bad. Things start off quite nicely with a flyby of the first town, leading into the introduction of the lead character as he runs into the three other leads. Initially players can only control Tal but they’re quickly introduced to the other three characters that round out of the cast. Calling them cliché would be too nice, let’s just say that they were exactly what you would expect from an RPG that supplies you with only four characters. There’s the fighter, the offensive magician the weaker fighter, and a character that specializes in ranged attacks. Basically you have the foundation of the original Final Fantasy NES game, but with less variety because you’re saddled with four pre-determined characters. Some more customization or at least more playable characters would have helped to remedy the situation.

Perhaps Sudeki’s most unique gameplay element comes in non-combative situations. Each of the four characters has a special ability that can be used when traveling around and about. Tal can move blocks with his strength, Ailish can enter first person mode and remove obstacles with her magic, Buki can climb up walls in order to help the team and Elco can fly for short amounts of time. Players can change between the characters at any time and will often be called upon to use these abilities in order to progress in the game. It’s nice to see that some developers are thinking beyond the combative schemes of RPGs and are starting to implement new ways to solve puzzles and problems.
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