Welcome to another review!
This time I want to give a special shout out to my friend, Elise.
You can check her out on twitch here, elisebby01
I heard about Neopets, The Darkest Faerie from her, and I decided to give the game a try. I mean, the PS 2 is notorious for having a wonderful library, and since I love trying out new games, I bought a copy of Neopets off Amazon for like $8.
While I didn’t have any expectations, I did kind of think the game would be like Dragon Warrior Monsters, or maybe Castlevania, Curse of Darkness, where you run around, fighting, but utilize monsters to progress through the game.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Neopets are the citizens of Neopia, and Petpets are little creatures you can feed so they follow you, but rarely do you need to actually feed a Petpet to progress through a stage. Anyway, let’s get started with my review!
Neopets was released in 2005 by Idol Minds and Sony, the same year as Suikoden Tactics, and God of War, which are all awesome games—must have been a great year for new games, but back then I had only just cracked open my first SNES… I’m kittening of course.
Neopets is an action adventure game played in third person like The Legend of Zelda, The Wind Waker. You can learn more about how Neopets got started here! The game mechanics are easy to pick up, the graphics are good, the music is good, and overall it’s just a fun game to see, hear, and play.
You begin the adventure as Tor, a Lupe, which looks like an anthro-coyote, but I guess he’s a wolf—whatever.
Tor lives on a farm outside of Meridell with his mom, dad, and sister, but his dad has a special errand for him; he needs to deliver a package to Meridell, a city built around Meridell castle. In Meridell, Tor gets to become a squire, and then a knight, and that’s when all Hell breaks loose.
The Darkest Faerie, who was sealed away because of her evil ambitions a thousand years ago, has awakened, and she’s pissed! She begins conquering Neopia, and because Tor was given a special amulet, he can resist her power. Once Tor comes face to face with the Darkest Faerie and her evil sisters, he has no choice but to flee from Meridell, and then begins Roberta’s quest.
Roberta is a princess and a sorceress. She looks like a mouse with weird tentacles growing from her head, but she has no tail, which kinda’ let me down, but whatever. Unlike Tor, who is a hack-and-slash fighter, she can shoot projectiles from her wand, but that’s not enough to fight off the Darkest Faerie when she begins her conquest of Faerieland. Roberta receives a twin amulet like Tor’s before she is chased from Faerieland, and then she meets Tor.
From this point on, you can control both characters, and switch between them by pressing L1 and R1 together on the controller. While Tor has more life and can withstand more damage, Roberta can fight from a safe distance. Other than that, both characters play the same; they run at the same speed and jump the same height.
Tor and Roberta decide to team up in order to fight the Darkest Faerie and return peace to Neopia, but it’s no simple task; they need a special wand, which has been buried deep beneath Castle Meridell, and it’s under the dark spell of the Darkest Faerie! In order to get the wand, they must work together and help out the citizens of Neopia, who inhabit many towns, such as Bogshot Swamp, and lemme’ tell you, this is where the shit hits the fan.
For the most part, Neopets is pretty good, but Bogshot is the bubbling shit hole where everything falls apart; I literally reached AVGN level anger during this stage, but I’ll get to that…. More like Bogshit Swamp!
The Good: As I mentioned as a whole, Neopets is a great game; I like the graphics, animation in the cut scenes, the music, and game play. But Dubz, the Meowclops is my favorite Petpet.
I read that the game is very glitchy, though, but I didn’t run into many issues until Bogshot—and again, I’ll get to that…
My favorite feature of the game is its creativity. I especially like the baddies, like the thug, who will pick you up and shake your money out of your coin purse! There’s a little puzzle solving, some platform jumps, a lot of fighting, and some really cool stuff like “motes.” Motes are magical alignments you can add to your equipment, like your sword, wand, robe, or shield, and you need to learn these alignments in order to deflect attacks, and deal the most damage.
Everything about this game is cute and fun, though some dark themes permeate the plot. I especially like the sounds the people make while you talk to them. There’s no voice acting outside of the cut scenes, but Tor, Roberta, and the other Neopets make cute sounds while the text is displayed during “conversations.” It’s reminiscent of the sounds from Wind Waker when Toon Link interacts with the townsfolk, and that’s pretty cool.
Most everything in the game is self explanatory. There’s no one who tells you, “I am Error,” or “Do not look into the death star." While the game is pretty linear, you do get lots of side quests by talking to the citizens of Neopia. Usually, your reward is money, but sometimes you get “neggs,” which can increase your max health or magic, so there’s plenty to do, and it’s a pretty big world to explore if you want to complete all side quests and gather all the hidden treasures.
The Bad: I’ll begin with my least Neopet peeve… get it…? You can’t sell excess items to shopkeepers for more money, which is called “neopoints.” That’s kind of a bummer, but no big deal. I also get annoyed by the camera. It’s like there’s a physical camera, which can sometimes get blocked by the scenery, like a column, tree, or rock, and by “sometimes,” I mean all the fracking time; it can even make you get hit during a fight, but it is something I can get past… Until the Black Knight’s Castle; that’s where the camera was the biggest pain in my tail.
Now, the big mother fucker; Bogshot Swamp…
After you have control of both Roberta and Tor, in Act 3, you need to get someone to repair the bridge between Meridell and Brightvale. That guy lives in Bogshot Swamp, but when you get there, there’s a plague making everyone sick. The alchemist of the town would like for you to gather some special berries, so that he can make a cure, and off you go into the swamps. However, quests are usually marked on your map, but no… He doesn’t mark on your map where the berries are.
First off, the swamps are dark as shit, and no one tells you that you can walk in the green water, but not the dark green water. I learned that quickly, but sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish where you can walk because the whole stage is so dark. The in-game map kinda’ helps, but not too much. Then, you get to an area with a save spot, and I am glad that there are many save spots throughout this game, but it would have worked better if you could just save at will like in Wind Waker; there’s another Neopet peeve.
Anyway, I got the white berry without too much of a problem, but then I needed the red berry and black berry, and I had no idea where they were, but that’s the fun of exploration, right? Wrong!
I made it to an area where this bog serpent pops out. I figured, okay, the stage boss, whatever, let’s kill him. All the other bosses were easy as crap, but no. I tried to defend myself, to no avail. I tried striking with Tor, but couldn’t reach him. I tried firing magic with Roberta, but it had no effect. He sprayed poison mist; he shot weird blue energy at me; he knocked me off the platforms, and I fell in the dark water, and I died.
Round two: I got to him again; the save spot was right before him. I just defended for a moment, and Tor says: I need to reach a higher platform in order to defend. I looked around, and I saw that from my point of view, there was a ledge above the platforms where I was standing, so I jumped all around, while trying to stay alive, but every time I tried to jump on a higher platform, I either fell, or I fell to my death.
I tried fighting this sucker for thirty minutes before I gave up and looked at a walk through. Now, I almost never check a walk through the first time I play a game; I like learning how a game works, and then I use a walk through to accomplish everything on my second play through, but I had had enough of this stupid snake. The walk through said to block the serpent’s attack when he delivered a head butt; it mentioned nothing of jumping to a “higher platform.”
A head butt? The snake never delivered a head butt! In fact, I stood still for five minutes, and all he did was spray poison mist! I jumped from platform to platform, trying to stay alive, until finally, that slithering ass hole did indeed snap his maw at me; I would not call it a head butt, though. Anyway, he struck. I blocked. He went down. I attacked. I died. WTF?!
So, evidently, he can attack from the front or the rear, and lemme’ tell you, if he attacks from the front, jump to a different platform until he strikes from the rear. Then, it’s a pretty easy battle. Otherwise, when you try to strike him, you’ll fall into the dark water and die. He struck. I blocked. He went down. I delivered a jump attack while wielding the fire mote, and in like four hits, he died. Cool, right?
Nope! At that point, the black berry, which I needed to continue the game, was available, but I still had to jump over “dark” water to get it. I certainly didn’t want to die after killing the snake, but I did mange to nab the berry, only I could not figure out how to get back to the save spot. I kept falling into “dark” water. Fortunately, the game just set me back a few paces without killing me until I learned you have to jump on the snake’s corpse to reach the platforms, which lead back to the save spot. OMG!
Of course, it wasn’t over; I still needed the red berry! I ran all over that damned swamp looking for the red berry. I could not find it, so I assumed it was down in one of the sinkholes. Yeah, there are sinkholes in this stage, where you drop down and futz around in some underground tunnels, but no! The berry wasn’t in any of the sinkholes, so I again checked the walk through.
That’s me pointing to where the berry is supposed to be, but that triangle is where the berry actually is!
I howled. I whinnied. I cried! (Not really). I finally found the red berry, and from then on, the game was pretty good again.
My only other Neopet peeve is that you read books throughout the game, which teach you how to play. One book teaches you how to attack, and it states that attacking by slashing your sword like an ass hole is not the best approach; you should hang back, block, charge your attack, and release it when the enemy is unsuspecting. Bull jizz. That doesn’t work at all. I found that mostly, mashing the circle button allows you to attack before your enemy strikes you, and if you work ‘em into a corner, all the better.
Other than my Neopet peeves, and Bogshot Swamp, I would have to say that Neopets is surprisingly good. It’s no Wind Waker, but what it? It’s a great PS2 game, and it’s really cute. I think it probably has a large appeal to younger gamers, and that’s pretty cool. Not all video games need to be Halo, and I liked running around in a cutesy animal world.
There was plenty to do in a fairly open world. None of the puzzles stumped me. None of the fights were overly difficult aside from the ass hole serpent, and the story line, while uninspired, was still fun.
I give Neopets a B- score. It’s a great addition to the PS2 library, and evidently there are other Neopets games. There’s even a whole Neopets community! I imagine most of them are furries, but that’s okay. I don’t judge or condemn; we all like what we like, and I think more games should appeal to the furry community.
To be perfectly honest, I’m surprised it took me almost 14 years to learn of and discover Neopets on the PS2. It was like learning about the Front Mission series, which is a great series. For some reason, I don’t know why, some games get a great deal of traction, even though they suck ass, and some games, which are great, get no traction.
Hopefully, you’ll give Neopets a try. Besides, you know about the serpent now, so apart from Bogshot, you’ll be okay. Once more; thanks, Elise, for telling me about Neopets, and thank you, readers, for giving me your time.
I always try to tell you guys which games are worth playing, and which games suck, but in the end it all boils down to opinion and predilection. The point is that games should be fun. If they’re fun to you, they’re good games. If they aren’t fun to you, why the hell are you playing them? It’s like watching bad T.V. just because you can’t find you’re damned remote, or something. I don’t know…
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