Tao's Adventure: Curse of Demon Seal

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Kewne, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. Kewne

    Kewne Member

    Aug 2, 2007

    I bought this game since I am a huge fan of Azure Dreams, some might figure that out by my name, and this was supposed to be a sequel/port/remake. The concept of the two games are the same, but as this is lightyears away from the quality of the old PSX classic, I won't compare them in any aspect.

    You play as Tao, a child of the Bente tribe who lives on a remote island. The tribe is well-known since they are capable of casting magic spells, but are also disliked by this fact. One day their village is attacked by monsters and before they can defend themselves nearly everyone is turned to stone. Unable to break the monsters curse using magic, Tao is sent to the mainland to find out where the monsters came from and more importantly get his hands on one of the monsters eggs. Gaining control of an egg means that they can reverse the curse, but time is short.
    Tao soon finds the town Mondominio in which a great monstertower stands. This tower is filled with all kinds of monsters and not so long ago the seal which kept them inside was broken. As Tao is a Bente, the townspeople won't help so he's got no other choice than to enter it alone. His luck soon turns as he finds Petcho, a small monster who can speak human language. They become friends and Petcho lends Tao a hand in his quest to reach the top floor.

    The concept of the game is simple, it's a dungeon crawler taking place in a tower full of monsters. There are lots of items, from magic orbs to healing herbs, from swords and other equipment to gold and silver nuggets. If you're lucky you'll find monster eggs who, when hatched, will give you another partner. Two monsters are always better than one.
    The controls are simple, everything is controlled by the touchscreen(you can use the d-pad to move, but it's easier without it). The left half of the touchscreen is used for the menu and the right part of it is for moving, featuring a circle with all 8 directions. A light tap turns you the way you point, a harder tap makes you move and a double tap makes you run. Tapping the different options in the menu lets you search the place, strike an enemy, open the inventory or open the spell circle to use magic.
    Casting magic is a really cool thing, when choosing it a spell circle appears and you draw a magic symbol on the touchscreen. Only problem is that it seems to have a hard time recognizing triangles, other than that it's great.
    Camera control? Well, the game won't let you control the camera, if you're looking to see what's on the other side of the wall you've got to go there. This is a feature that should've been included, but isn't. You can manipulate the camera a little, when choosing to use an item or drawing a spell the camera pans to give you an above look, letting you see a little more than before.
    Then what about controlling your partners? Another thing left out by Konami. There's no way to control Petcho manually, but as for the camera you can manipulate him a little. This takes time to learn and doesn't always work, which is FRUSTRATING! The AI of the monsters are so bad that Petcho, at lv. 50, will choose to use sleep magic on a lv. 1 monster, instead of just looking at it, which would've been enough to kill it. Instead he uses sleep magic, most times not just once, but 3 or 4 times in a row!!!

    Graphics and sound
    Well, for being a DS game it's graphics are really good. The backgrounds are detailed and look nice overall and the magic spells can look really cool, which is good since they haven't put much time into the graphics of the monsters. Sure, the monsters on the first floors are supposed to be weak, but please use something other than a rat, a slime and a hen! It gets a little better, Killo looks cool, but fighting fishmen and frogs when you're a few floors from the top floor is just silly. The bosses doesn't look good either...
    As for the sound you're better off connecting your headphones to your iPod. The backgroundmusic soon gets repetitive and the sound effects are annoying, the only track I actually enjoy is the one that plays when you're in the town.

    Replay value
    Close to none. Sure, if you want to try to beat the game in as few visits to the tower as possible then that's one, other than that the game ends when you beat the last boss. There are a few things to do, like level up and gather all different kinds of monsters, max out your stats and the levels of your equipment, but not much else. No side-quests, all of the events that could be called side-quests are put into the main quest so you can't skip them(it's basically the same, you have to save people and you just happen to either run into them or the cure on your way up).

    Tao's Adventure is a game that could've been so much better than it is. Several features that I would've wanted in it aren't and most times the lack of them are frustrating. I don't know how many times I just wanted to either snap my DS in two or throw it away, just because the AI of all monsters suck. As I wrote in the beginning of the review, I won't compare it to Azure Dreams, I'll just say that if you liked that game you'll be very disappointed. For everyone else, play it if you're a fan of dungeon crawlers, otherwise just skip it.
    Final Score:4/10
  2. gettogaara

    gettogaara GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Mar 6, 2009
    United States
    I had this it got me so pissed off I just stopped playing it. Good review btw u should write one about wolverine for the ds if you've played it before.
  3. canli

    canli GBAtemp Regular

    Nov 15, 2006
    Thanks for the review!

    It could be a good game but you know, It's a Konami game and I don't except something special from them.
  4. Noitora

    Noitora ::

    Aug 9, 2007
    That's so not true, Konami has made tons of goods game including the castlevania games.
  5. canli

    canli GBAtemp Regular

    Nov 15, 2006
    Yeah, Castlevania is one of the exceptions. I'm talking about Nintendo made games and don't count MGS games into that.
  6. Rayder

    Rayder Mostly lurking lately....

    Former Staff
    Jan 14, 2007
    United States
    I actually played this game all the way to the end, but I got stuck at that part where you had to do 7 or 8 runes in a row to......unlock "sleeping beauty, was it? I can't remember. Anyway, I tried many times (like way over 20 times) to do it and I just couldn't do it fast enough, so I quit at that point. I believe it was one of the last things I had to do to actually complete the game too.

    Up to that last thing though, I was loving it.
  7. GeekyGuy

    GeekyGuy Professional loafer

    Former Staff
    Jun 21, 2007
    United States
    I had a really good time with the game, and considering what was available in the genre on the DS at the time, it was worth much more than a "4" in my book. When it released, we had Lunar and Mario & Luigi, and that was about it. The only gripe I had with the game was the inventory system. Otherwise, it was an interesting, albeit easy, take on rogue-like games. It was also one of the few games to do good-looking 3D graphics on DS at the time.

    Nah, you can't really come back to this game almost three years later and compare it to what's now available on DS. But even if you do, it's still a fairly entertaining dungeon crawler. Additionally, Konami never said this was to be a sequel -- spiritual or otherwise -- to Azure Dreams. To each his own, though.
  8. Hadrian

    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

    Former Staff
    Oct 12, 2004
    Game Boy
    Castlevania Adventure
    Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge
    Castlevania Legends
    Gradius: Interstellar Assault
    Kid Dracula
    Motocross Maniacs
    Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
    Track & Field
    TwinBee Da!

    Game Boy Advance
    Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django
    Boktai 3
    Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
    Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
    Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance
    Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX
    Goemon: New Age Shutsudo
    Gradius Galaxies
    Jurassic Park III: Island Attack
    Konami Collector's Series: Arcade Advanced
    Konami Krazy Racers
    Motocross Maniacs Advance
    Ninja Five-O
    Silent Hill Play Novel
    Silent Scope
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus
    Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars

    Game Boy Color
    Azure Dreams
    International Track & Field
    Juukou Senki Ballet Battlers
    Konami GB Collection Vol. 1
    Konami GB Collection Vol. 2
    Konami GB Collection Vol. 3
    Konami GB Collection Vol. 4
    Konami Rally
    Metal Gear Solid
    Motocross Maniacs 2
    Survival Kids
    Survival Kids 2
    The Grinch

    Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
    Winning Eleven 6: Final Evolution

    Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
    Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
    Contra Force
    Ganbare Goemon Gaiden 2: Tenka no Zaihou
    Ganbare Goemon Gaiden: Kieta Ougon Kiseru
    Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Douchuu
    Gradius II
    Life Force
    Rush'n Attack
    Super C
    The Goonies
    Track & Field
    Track & Field II
    TwinBee 3: Poko Poko Dai
    Yie Ar Kung Fu

    Nintendo 64
    International Superstar Soccer 64
    Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon

    Nintendo DS
    Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
    Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
    Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
    Contra 4
    Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero
    Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits
    Lunar Knights
    Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times

    And then there are many many more for the SNES.
  9. Nojoy

    Nojoy Advanced Member

    Sep 25, 2003
    I played this one through on release, and had high hopes for it because of the tenuous Azure Dreams link. I enjoyed it. As has been stated it filled a niche at the time that was lacking. However, it definitely was a game of missed potential. Even if not a direct sequel, they used the original as a template and threw away much of what made it unique and fun. I really think a complete port would have fared better.
    At least this was brought over to North America... I'm still waiting on a Monster Farm translation to hit state side or Europe. I think I'll be waiting a long time.
  10. GeekyGuy

    GeekyGuy Professional loafer

    Former Staff
    Jun 21, 2007
    United States
    Well, I will agree with you there, though I'd imagine Konami's thinking was that it would still appeal to the new DS audience. It could have been much more, but for the Pokemon-gotta-catch-em-all crowd, there's still a lot to like about the game. It also was the first (having released before LostMagic) to incorporate the drawing of runes to cast spells. That was a very enjoyable element of the game, though it's a shame there was no penalty for drawing the runes wrong.

    Bottom line, though, is I can't see how anyone could possibly conclude this is a "4" of a game. Personally, I'd reserve such a low score for games that either offer no entertainment value or are broken, neither of which are the case here. As a rogue-like, it was very fun, regardless of the very easy difficulty (or perhaps because of it). The movement made sense, and it was easy to place Petcho or your other on-hand monster where you wanted them by simply planning moves strategically. The fact that the A.I. doesn't always perform the action you would prefer isn't really a plus or minus in my book; it's a design choice I think works, and personally I like it.