Corrected a few things based on advice from TDOMMX.
And corrected some more.
After me and many others having to wait four years through development hell, the well-hyped sequel to Rosenkreuzstilette will be released this Saturday. And even if I'm not demonstrating my levels of excitement as much as most of the fan base, I am eager to dive into Freudenstachel and give it a closer look.
Keep in mind I'm not going to play just one level and then write up a negative review with no valid criticisms present, as I did for the first game, I'll give an in-depth look though the prologue stage and the initial eight levels (planning to conquer at least half of them, either up to the boss or boss included) before I cite my opinions. And before you ask, I do have early thoughts on the game based on pre-release screens and information (many of which I got from following the blog Schwer and Schwer Alike) which I'll go over quickly in my own perspectives.
The game, as you probably all know, is a Mega Man clone playing under the viewpoint of Freudia Neuwahl, whom was a boss in the first Rosenkreuzstilette (and the only of the eight to share unique traits and have a significant place in the plot), going on to battle a crew of black-magic users (Word along the Grapeline calls them "Dark Magi") known as the Schwarzkreuz, or Black Cross, led by Pamela Arwig, in addition to dealing with the same girls from the first game Spiritia Rosenberg had to defeat herself, alongside newcomer Dolis taking the place of Freudia in an all-new environment raging with plant-life and Guts Man lifts. All the levels of the returning characters look similar with almost identical tile sets, but with new layouts, making Freudenstachel seem in ways a "1.5" entry and in others a true sequel.
Excluding Liebea and Schwer-Muta, the other Magi users have undergone a "timeskip" in their clothing, now being presented with more advanced outfits (i.e. Trauare Wrede looks more like a warrior, Sichte Meister shreds her clothing for no reason, and Grolla Seyfarth, another fan-favorite, gets upgraded armor and now carries the sword of her deceased grandfather, Raimund Seyfarth, which Raimund's spirit possesses. And of course not to mention the implants. *slaps myself*. Rather than taking their weapons ala Spiritia, Freudia upgrades her main weapon, the Freudenstachel, by combining it with one of her friends' after they fall, thus transforming it into a new weapon (aside from changing the color of Freudia's hair ribbion and cross-shaped blood-stain). Fans speculate that Iris Sepperin, the final boss of the original will return, and much like Grolla from the first game, Black Cross leader Pamela Arwig will become the protagonist in her own side-quest.
This is where my words may become slightly more severe, but please keep in mind I'm not trying to do any harm to the series in any way, just voice my thoughts. For one thing, while perhaps doing the following crucial to the story and the Dark Magi's plans and having new attack methods, why reuse seven of the eight initial bosses when you could have said bosses being new recruits to the RKS, with ID numbers RKS10-12, and 14-17 respectively? With how well WOMI designed the original cast and how many talented Japanese artists volunteered to create Strudel, Dolis, and the entirety of the Black Cross back in '08, the addition of new characters would enable the series to expand further, but in defense, this does spark some "quantity over quality" issues where it's better to have a few characters done well than a bunch with little to no proper backstory given, thus preventing us, the players, from connecting socially to these new characters. If anything, the Black Cross could be larger with five additional members, the runner-up eight (of course including Eifer, Schirach, and the Refrakita Twins) serving as the main bosses with Pamela Arwig afterwards in her own fortress. Again to speak out against myself, this'd render Dolis useless, making her a throwaway character at the last second, and with all this drama about Freudenstachel's tough development process, I'd say not waste a good character. Bottom line, I say keep things the way they are. so we don't have to go through another two seasons of guessing and crazy rumors. Just hope it's done right so the fanbases don't go raging on like Legends 3. Seems Capcom is really diving into some deep chit, so now we need to have the fans fill in after the great Inafune departed from Capcom.
I'm not going to bring up the whole "it's unoriginal bla bla bla" scenario, as I've said what I need to more than enough, whenever it be deviantART, Twitter, or this very blog. Though to add fuel to the fire, one other source for how a proper Mega Man clone could be done right, are all these ROM hacks of the original sextet of NES Mega-Man games, regardless of if it's a Japanese or English person doing all the modding, though for this instance, the one I'm going to bring up is Rockman 4 Minus Infinity, which features a good number of unique twists to the original formula, such as the sloped surfaces that normally didn't come until Mega Man 8, Quick-man lasers that don't kill immediately but appear a little quicker (whenever this is good or bad is up to you) and shorter wait times between death and restarting a level. And not to mention the custom soundtrack for Minus Infinity, while not original compositions, fits very well with their assigned stages. Other hacks would induce alternate game modes, like the "Endless" series that puts you through random rooms where the goal is to survive, and not to mention time attack in Mega Man 9 and 10.
With non-hacked games, there's Fegaman. Just Youtube game footage and just see how heart-pumping it is. Or just look below.
On a similar topic, I want to bring up that a while back, I figured out how to create mods for the original game with the assistance of TDOMMX's RKS Data Archive Decoder and some guides from Ravy Comics (Link to his RKS pages), mainly music and sound modifications, to ones that were a little more intense and went with the stages a single tune was assigned to. A few examples as to what this mod did are below.
*The sound effects are changed to ones that sounded more realistic, and when a Magi user fired off her weapon, the sound it makes is like a basic real-life gun being shot. Later versions eventually had me using equliveant sounds from both Mega Man and Darkwing Duck, though long after I decided against it, as the realistic sound effects made me chuckling every time I fired off a weapon.
*Zorne and Sichte's stages use music from both Super Monkey Ball and Super Monkey Ball 2.
*Schwer-Muta uses the factory music from Kirby 64.
*the Iris Palace bosses use the "armored boss" theme from Super Mario RPG.
*Others I don't really recall from memory, but all the songs were defiantly modded.
Soon after I posted the modded OST on Grolla's Dungeon, so anyone who owned a non-pirated copy only had to replace the needed files to execute the mod successfully. The download itself wasn't the full game, and I never intended on posting the game as a whole. The most I'd see myself doing is just posting everything in the game's "data" folder that could be modded easily pre-decompressed, no .exe file or anything like that.
With that said, Freudenstachel contains files compressed in a different format, which makes the RKS decoder useless in attempting to extract everything. Via e-mail, I got in touch with TDOMMX, and based on what he stated, the Decoder will not be updated due to the extensive amount of piracy the tool had inadvertently caused (Why work on something that'll make it worse?) Even if I could somehow rip all that the game has without some complex tool and still mod it for my own enjoyment, I'd keep the mods to myself if it's for the goods of the bigtime followers of the series' development, and I respect TDOMMX's final thoughts on the scenario, not wanting to force him into a very detailed project. Unmodded or not, I'm sure Freudenstachel will still remain enjoyable even without me gutting everything out.
I'm leaving one final song to end the post.