The Frozen World

By: Terry

On: September 29th, 2007

Heya, TIGSource! My name’s Terry Cavanagh, and this is my first post here. (Grand so, that’s the introduction out of the way.) Today I’m going to talk about The Frozen World:

Released after three months of development in 2003, it’s one of four major titles by the RPG Maker developer Lysander. I thought it would be a nice one to highlight since the game (and its developer) are often overlooked. Lysander pretty much focused entirely on plot with his games, and like a lot of RPG Maker developers, he used ripped graphics and music (and relied quite a bit on the “RTP”, a default set of resources that’s bundled with RPG Maker). Naturally, this is something that really bugs some people – but if you can get past that (and you should try, at least), there’s a real gem of a game underneath…

The basic idea is that the amnesiac heroine “Lutine” wakes up in a world where time has stopped, and she’s one of only a handful of people able to move around. She quickly learns that it’s the doing of the ominous “Dark Wizard”, and sets off on a quest to kill him and restore the world to its unfrozen state.

Frozen World: In game shot

While it’s mostly a plot driven game, the most noted thing about “The Frozen World” is that it features both a CMS and a CBS, to use the RM2K lingo; that is, a Custom Menu System and a Custom Battle System. With careful use of scripts and variables, it’s possible to totally bypass the standard RPG Maker menus and battle systems – resulting in something that plays and feels completely different from the average RPG Maker game. When Lysander credits himself as the programmer in the game’s opening sequence, this is what he’s talking about.

Frozen World: Basic Plate System shot

Specifically, Lysander came up with the “plate” system. The jist of it is that you equip five commands per character at different energy levels – higher up commands are more effective, but take longer to charge up. It’s something you really need to see in action for yourself – it’s a little slow at first, but as the game gears up it gets very tactical.

While most of the game plays pretty well, it’s got one serious flaw – it’s poorly balanced, especially at the beginning. As a result, most people don’t stick around long enough to see how good it eventually gets. In fact, to get anywhere, you’ll need to fight through as many battles as you can early on (even though it’s supposed to be designed so that you can avoid most of them).

If you’ve the patience for it, though, it’s worth sticking with. Trust me. Once the game gets going, things quickly become quite interesting – the battles get more strategic, the concept of having a world where time has stopped is explored in more detail, and in particular, the plot really picks up.

On the whole, it’s one of the best indie games I’ve ever played.

If you’re up for it, you can download it here! You’ll also probably need the RPG Maker 2000 RTP, which you can get here. Finally, there’s a good chance you need the font patch, which you can find on the same page as the RTP. Best of luck with it – and feel free to let me know how you’re getting on in the comments. Sorry if I rambled on a bit, heh.

  • SEH

    Hoohah? The first half of the trailer uses music from Blast Corps on the N64.

  • alja

    Yeah, I played through most of it (well up to the “plot twist” anyway), and have to agree with it being really good.

    Although the story starts cliched, it is quite original overall.

    As regards the bad writing in the video – it is the intro cinematic, NOT a trailer. If i understand the creator correctly it’s meant to be humorous. I smiled.

    As for the review, I think there were a few things you did that caused the “controversy” –
    The video was kind of useless, screenshots would have sufficed.
    You could have pointed out that the game plays on various stereotypes of RPGs.
    Lysander’s other works deserve a mention.

    but still it got me interested enough to play the game.