Evolution Review

For Dreamcast

By Contributing Writer Jimmy Payne

Rating: Average
   After you get past the initial wow factor of Evolution's graphics, 
there's nothing to compel you to keep playing, making this game a weekend 
rental at best.
   One thing Evolution has going for it is great graphics.  All of the 
characters look nice, and each one of them has a number of facial 
expressions that are used frequently during conversation.  The towns look 
great, too, with lots of color and detail.  Unfortunately, the developers 
of Evolution slacked off when it came time to create graphics for the 
dungeons.  All the dungeon pathways are tiled, and it can get pretty boring 
looking at the same thing over and over again while wandering around huge 
   The music is probably the only thing better than the graphics.  I found 
that the music was often the only thing that kept me awake, and sometimes I 
would just stop and listen.  This soundtrack isn't far from the level of 
Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy series in my opinion.
   Evolution's battle system is quick and easy, and it's nice that you can 
see enemies before you fight them (as you can in Lunar and Chrono Trigger).  
However, it's unfair that some enemies can go through three turns before 
you get one.  Also, Evolution is sorely missing an escape option in combat.  
If you're out-numbered and dangerously low on health, you don't have much 
of a choice but to stand there and get slaughtered.  This is made all the 
more frustrating by the fact there are no save points in dungeons other 
than on the tenth level (the boss level), so you have to start all the way 
over at the beginning of the dungeon when you die.  There is a temporary 
save feature when you get to each staircase, but it isn't reliable (my 
temporary save has been erased many times for no apparent reason).  
   Evolution's so-called "story line" is one of the worst I've ever seen in 
an RPG.  Basically, all you do is fly to randomly-generated dungeons, 
collect treasure, and fight bosses in order to pay off your father's debt.  
Compared to any decent RPG, Evolution has no turning points, no small 
mysteries to solve, no enemies that you actually know about before fighting 
them, no flow to the story, and no heart-pounding climax.  The developers 
clearly focused on the battle system a lot more than the story line, but 
the battle system isn't good enough to carry the game on its own.
   The idea of randomly-generated dungeons seemed like a good idea at first 
due to the added replay value, but I started to hate it over time.  This is 
mainly because the dungeons have no personality whatsoever.  The only thing 
that differentiates one dungeon from another is the wallpaper.  It doesn't 
take long to get tired of mindlessly running across rooms, only to collect 
treasure and then move to the next floor.  There's very little mystery and 
excitement involved in this ancient gameplay formula.
   Evolution's graphics and music may pull you in at first, but its weak 
story line and the repetitive nature of its gameplay will push you away 
even further.  Evolution might make for a good weekend rental if you're 
just looking for shiny graphics, but check out PlayStation RPGs like Lunar, 
Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 8, or Wild Arms if you're looking for some 
real substance.

Send your thoughts on this review to jimmy@mastergamer.com

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