This user is unfamiliar with the GZDoom modding scene.
This user is a member of the LGBT community, so he can tease this game for its gayness all he wants.
Are you part of the rare Venn diagram cross-section of people who can't get enough of GZDoom mods, but ALSO can't get enough of
intensely homoerotic furmen with turbo bulges?
...If so, that seems statistically unlikely. Color me surprised
by the direction your life took you.
We're talking about Memoirs of Magic!
The Animal I Have Become
Among my friends on Discord, I am known as "Memoirs Enjoyer". Trepid statements like "I better not join and see Memoirs of Magic" are regular occurances when I tell everyone that I am
about to stream a game.
They're rightfully worried -- I have subjected them to an amount of furry Doom that potentially exceeds some legal limit. In fact, the response I received when I informed my
friends that my first review would be Memoirs of Magic was a weary "of course it is". Memoirs of Magic is a game I am *inexplicably* attached to. I say "inexplicably" because not only am I
completely unfamiliar with boomer shooters, but the game is also ruthlessly difficult -- but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Memoirs of Magic is a total conversion mod for Doom using the GZDoom source port (a broadly featured version of the Doom source code, built upon the older ZDoom) by
StrawberryOctopus Productions. The game itself, while retaining the fast-paced, move-at-light-speed FPS gameplay of
Doom, also has RPG mechanics; you begin the game by picking a class (each represented by a distinct character), stats that can be raised that directly affect things like your damage or MP, and progression is almost entirely non-linear (meaning locations, gear, and some bosses can be
visited/obtained/fought in whatever order you wish, respectively). It also is full to bursting with buff, flamboyant furry men; this game is as gay as the day is long.
(I may be gay too, but I
promise that isn't why I'm writing this review... hey! Don't raise your eyebrows like that! I'm serious!)
Full disclosure: accurately portraying this game's difficulty (believe me, it is NOTORIOUSLY, frustratingly difficult) will be a struggle for me;
when I described the exasperation of my acquaintances whenever I play this game, know that I've thoroughly earned my reputation as "memoirs boy".
I have beaten this game from start to finish maybe a dozen times at time of writing. There is no playable character I
am unfamiliar with. I've even gotten dangerously close to attempting a speedrun, though expedient psychiatric intervention and being beaten to the punch before I could try by some fellow named
teddyras spared me from that ultimate act of self-destruction. At this point,
you may be saying to yourself "Fuck, it's not crack, daiko. How good could a Doom mod possibly be?". To that, I say... shockingly! Also, maybe hold onto that "crack" thought, for this game has
copious amounts of "crack" of a different, rounder, sexier kind. (NOT A FURRY!!! I SWEAR!!!!!)
Loremaster Daiko, of the Royal House of Essay
The story is presented as a meta narrative; you, in the vacuum of space (presumably, the game starts in a black void) are regaled with the legend of the heroes who once saved the World of Magic.
The World of Magic, according to the game's opening, is a world with a lot of magic in it. Many kinds of creatures lived in harmony, until a mysterious, powerful entity appeared and began to
exert his sinister will on the previously idyllic land. Part of his unbridled malevolence includes changing the weather, and creating all kinds of new monsters "in his image" (we'll be coming
back to how confusing that is later), and also the 5 elemental macguffins have disappeared from where they belong, conspicously being relocated to 5 different Zelda temples.
In response, King Essay,
the ruler of the World of Magic, called on anyone who may be up to the task of getting the hearts back -- and the 7 playable characters are one of (presumably) many such parties of adventurers
(I think that it's cute that the PCs know eachother). Then the intro is capped off with a confusing mix of tense towards the end, shifting the entire context of the game as a tale you are hearing to
a story in which you are an active participant. The "you're hearing a story" thing kind of never comes back up, but as you might
expect of an action-packed Doom mod, the plot is merely a pleasant (but unimportant) accountrement to the running and gunning, so who cares!
The "entity" the game is referring to is none other than "Dark Steiner" (you're stronger than me if you can read that ridiculous name with a straight face), a blue golem a la Zelgadis Greywords
that majored in archaeology and minored in being a Reddit moderator at Golem College, because he is exclusively found throughout the game within the various Zelda temples you plunder,
waxing philosophical and making snide diatribes to no one about how dumb ancient societies were for believing that the gods that canonically exist, exist.
His job throughout the game is to be a
limpwristed miniboss that can be melted in nanoseconds with what I like to call the "Stop, Hammer Time" strategy (Level 2 Water Magic to freeze time, then turning his grundle into swiss cheese by shooting beneath him with
whatever weapon/spell does the most damage). He then makes a wry comment about underestimating you and insists he holds all the cards before teleporting away. This happens 5 times throughout the game.
Side content reveals that Dark Steiner was once an earth mage that was petrified by Typhon, an optional boss. He somehow reanimates sans memory, and concludes that the only logical next step is to
turn the rest of the world into stone and that he's obviously a messiah, since he possesses great power and doesn't know where he came from. I guess it's something? It's interesting that this is one
of the few (or perhaps only) hints about his motivation and origin, yet it can be entirely skipped (and indeed was on my first few playthroughs). Anyway, at the end of the game, he turns into a rock
space fetus, and then becomes a Final Fantasy boss, and then you beat him and he disappears into a black hole. The end!
...Wait, did I forget to come back to that "created in his image" thing? Crap, I did. He's a blue rock golem man, but only two monsters are actually made of stone, and neither look like him. Did he
create those mushroom enemies and those skeleton enemies thinking they were his spitting image? The Gargoyle enemies are directly confirmed in the story to be his creations, and they have LARGE cheeks. Is
Dark Steiner cheeked up underneath that robe??
Getting an Eyeful of Round, Firm... Sprites
Perhaps Memoirs of Magic's greatest strength is its presentation. The game is visually trying to invoke a kind of mid-90s console RPG aesthetic; particularly Quest 64, by my reckoning.
I'm not sure if "Memoirs of Magic does a spectacular job looking like it came out in 1995" reads like the compliment I intended it to be, but I swear I'm not being facetious;
I (along with most people my age, if the current trendiness of PSX horror is anything to go by) really dig this sort of look!
If you're reading this in the future (or now, let's face it),
maybe 5th generation console
nostalgia is passé and embarrassing, akin to the second-hand shame one feels when YouTubers make NES-style video games about themselves. For now, while I can still admit it without getting a big fat
"CRINGE" stamp on my forehead,
I will always eat this kind of shit up like the shameful, greedy little
90s-retro sycophant piglet I know myself to be.
If you find my comparison to the visuals of Quest 64 to be tenuous at best, Memoirs of Magic would be thrilled if you compared it to Ocarina of Time instead. The lengths it goes to wear the same makeup and
buy the same shoes as its crush gets a little absurd.
Entering an area and seeing the name of the location appear in the center of the screen a la Zelda 64 is one thing; that's just a cute little homage, as far as I'm concerned.
But by the time you reach the first boss Yian Yun, and witness its thoroughly Wind Waker-esque design
(it may not be OoT, but my point still stands about the Zelda fixation), *and* it's got a dramatic Zelda cinematic of the boss awakening,
***and*** then it displays the name of the boss with a [subtitle] [name] format,
it starts to make one cock an eyebrow.
By dungeon three, one is left speechless at how blatantly Memoirs has peeled off the flesh of its idol and donned it in some sort of grotesque worship ritual. The dungeon lifts its central gimmick
directly from the Water Temple; for the unaware, Ocarina of Time has a distinctly miserable water-themed dungeon that (typically) is the third one you visit. The main room contains a large, multi-level
pillar in the center of the room, and many doors leading elsewhere in the dungeon that can only be accessed by raising or lowering the water level in the central pillar room. The exact same premise exists
in this third Memoirs of Magic dungeon.
Further discovery during the court trial reveals that not only is the second phase of said dungeon's boss a big blob of water with a core that must be exposed and damaged, but the cutscene preceding the start of phase two also
mimicks the introductory cutscene to the Water Temple dungeon boss, Morpha. Like, the first person perspective from inside a watery mass, rising up to face the player thing.
Memoirs of Magic takes this to its ultimate logical extreme by ALSO making the dungeon really, really unfun. It's like I'm really playing OoT!
I'd like to stress that there's nothing wrong with taking inspiration or paying homage to something; at worst, I just found it distracting. The game does that "look, it's like the Ocarina of Time version!" thing twice; the 5th dungeon is a desert temple with a pair of spellcasters elementally coded to fire and ice, and
mid-way through the fight, they fuse to become a more powerful combined form (that poses sexily, it's also got the Twinrova aura of horniness), and then it cuts to your character reacting with a
sweat drop, like how Link gasps in OoT after the same cutscene. You just want to roll your eyes, but I still think it's charming in its own way.
In spite of my playful teasing, Memoirs of Magic definitely has its own character. The weapons and characters are rendered as 2D sprite versions of 3D models, Donkey Kong Country style, and they look
phenomenal. Every NPC and enemy is meticulously rendered and features 8-directional sprites, most of which must also walk in those directions, which really starts makes the "graphic design is my prison"
frog inside me start quaking and shitting when you start noticing just how many unique sprites this game has.
I haven't even mentioned the playable characters, which can also carry a primary weapon, a secondary weapon, and a spellbook.
The herculean undertaking it must have been to complete even a handful of sprites is terrifying enough, but to think of the number of frames every single sprite uses just for walking? Or to think of
having to entirely redo a character if their design changes? Or to think if there's a lack of visual clarity on a part of a sprite? And then the bosses are full 3D models instead of sprites???
It's enough to make me forget my own game development aspirations
and take up corn shucking out of fear.
The weapons have this awesome mix of looking cartoony and over-the-top enough to suit the game's presentation, while also maintaining this raw creative coolness that you'd think might slip away in
the presence of the first-person view's Mickey Mouse gloves, but it all comes together beautifully. This may only make sense to me, but the "cool, but silly" energy most of the game's graphics have
strikes a certain part of my brain that loves "whimsical JRPG" as an aesthetic choice. I wouldn't think twice about putting it next to games like Dragon Quest or anime like
Magical Circle Guru Guru as things I can point to and say "this is a visual style that I adore".
It feels appropriate to slip this into the rear-end of this section, but the game also has a lot of curvaceous asses (and sometimes bulges); sometimes on sprites, sometimes on the 3D models of the dragons (mentioned below).
It's only a small part of the game, so I didn't feel it warranted extended discussion, but it's worth mentioning because noticing it for the first time starts impressing upon you that there is an undercurrent
of horniness the game casually sidesteps acknowledging. Not that I'm giving the game flak for it; if you're hungering for your own characters, who's gonna stop you from putting them all in
banana hammocks? It might have been nice if there was a warning about it on the itch.io page, though there's no actual nudity, so...
(if you get the Dracul pact, I swear you can see the
base of his cock in one of the credits slides, and I am NOT posting it)
The Meroes of Hagic
Before I can dive into gameplay, it would be prudent to first illustrate what our gameplay options are:
Bowie from Shining Force 2,
Slade from Shining Force 2,
Mad Dog McCree,
Vecna von Boner,
or Fist of the North Yiff, all of whom are given profiles below:
"Lucien Voyager is a young cleric who is embarking on this quest to rid the World of Magic from the evil that is currently plaguing it. Wielding his mace and shield which gives him
powerful defensive abilities as he becomes more experienced, and his magical holy cross that can imbue special attributes to certain objects when used, he is the youngest of the adventurers
embarking on this quest. Proficient in light based weapons."
STR: 500AGI: 100INT: 200DEF: 400
"Phazar Bluetail is a grizzled veteran in combat who is embarking on this quest to prove he is the greatest warrior in the World of Magic. Wielding his powerful axe which he can throw out
when he is more experienced, alongside his ability to go beserk[sic] which amplifies his melee attack power and speed, he is easily the juggernaut of the party. Proficient in water based weapons."
William Slay III
STR: 100AGI: 500INT: 400DEF: 200
"William Slay III is a master thief in a long going lineage of master thieves, and is embarking on this quest to add another exploit in his families history. Wielding a sword which he can use
in a flurry of swipes and the ability to dodge any enemy attack when he is more experienced, he is the most nimble of the party. In addition to this, he has the ability to pick special locks that
can benefit the party. Proficient in earth based weapons."
STR: 400AGI: 200INT: 100DEF: 500
"Prince Baradus is the single child of King Baradus of the Hawkman Kingdom, and is embarking on this quest to save his and other kingdoms from the current crisis. Wielding his lance, he is able
to launch himself towards his enemies as he becomes more experienced. Due to his nobility and charisma, the Prince is able to get discounts from paid goods. Proficient in air based weapons."
STR: 200AGI: 500INT: 400DEF: 100
"Gremile Hotshot is a mercenary from the Chaos Realm, and has been sent out to save the Chaos Realm from the upcoming crisis, saving the World of Magic as a knock-on effect. Wielding his pistols
that allow him to ricochet bullets off the environment as he becomes more experienced, as well as having the ability to create powerful alternative ammo, he is the most skilled marksman of the party.
Proficient in fire based weapons."
STR: 400AGI: 200INT: 500DEF: 100
"Zandro Doom is a mysterious undead lich of unknown origin, embarking on this quest to prove himself as the most powerful entity in the World of Magic. Wielding exclusive sorcery spells that give
him the ability of fire, ice and lightning, as well as the ability to craft potions of a variety of effects, he is the most skilled magic user in the party, but suffers from a glass cannon effect.
Proficient in dark based weapons."
STR: 300AGI: 300INT: 300DEF: 500
"Leo Howel is a master of the Akuma no Ken martial art technique, a pressure point fighting style designed to destroy enemies from the inside. Due to this, Leo see's[sic] fire arms[sic] as weak,
and will not utilize them in combat. In addition to this, Leo has a unique progression system where his numerous martial art techniques grow in strength the more they are used. For advanced users."
That's a surprising number of options! I mean, I thought so. Seven is an impressive amount of variety for a Doom mod (or maybe I'm just underestimating how much effort the community puts into their mods).
To help narrow down your choices, allow me to list the five aspects to each character that you should consider, and then rank each character from best to worst.
Each character starts with a unique stat configuration across Strength (your damage with all weapons and spells), Agility (your movement speed and jumping height), Intelligence (your maximum MP and AP),
and Defense (your maximum HP). All of these stats can be upgraded by buying said upgrades in shops, so the starting amount for each class is something you only need to worry about in the early game.
Unique in each the toolkit of each class is a special Signature Weapon. The Signature Weapon doesn't cost MP or AP to use, unlike spells and Alchemy Weapons (I'm throwing around
a lot of words, I know, you'll learn what they mean in the gameplay section), though their damage is limited (and for most characters, only usable within melee range). These Signature Weapons can be
upgraded to grant extra functionality or special abilities as the game goes on, though the hoops each character must jump through to receive them varies.
Alchemy Weapons are the third thing you should know about. An Alchemy Weapon is a much more powerful firearm that you're likely going to spend most of your time using, though firing them costs AP, or
Alchemy Points. Six exist, with each playable class starting with the one that matches the magic element they start with (Six exist, but there are seven characters? Remember that the bio above says that
Leo doesn't use guns). Alchemy Weapons can be upgraded after purchase, though the highest level requires you to fight and defeat a secret miniboss tied to the weapon's element.
Some Alchemy Weapons are FAR better than the others, though fortunately all of them can be bought at the various shops throughout the game. All Alchemy Weapons may also use
special ammo that further beefs their damage.
Fourth, magic! It would be fucked up if a game called Memoirs of Magic did not have books with magic in them. Much like Alchemy Weapons, they're upgradable, and there are six spellbooks coded to Earth, Fire, Water, Air, Dark, and Light.
Naturally, your character has the element that generally matches them.
Lastly, every character gets some kind of unique ability. These might be super important for your character, or barely relevant.
You can definitely just skip this upcoming wall of text if you have no intention of playing this game. I'm serious. I'm about to waffle like no one's ever waffled before. Do yourself a favor and just
skip to the gameplay section; this review is long as fuck as it is.
Anyway, my picks for most to least useful characters are...
1) Prince Baradus
This is an absolute no-brainer. His signature weapon is a lance, which is to say a melee weapon and is therefore bad -- if you're not
running around, circle strafing and jumping in this game, you're definitely dead.
A melee Signature Weapon is basically an unusable anchor in the arsenal of weapons you accrue, especially since most enemies fire projectiles fast enough to nearly be hitscan, though the lance goes from a piece of crap to the best weapon in the game once you upgrade it. The draw
isn't for the damage, though -- right clicking allows you to dash in the direction you're facing for a pittance of MP; this includes upwards, so you gain the power of flight completely for free. This
utterly decimates nearly every dungeon, as you can sequence break and bypass encounters to your hearts content.
Prince Baradus starts with the Magnetic Minigun, an extremely powerful Alchemy Weapon with a high rate of accurate fire. The problem is that every shot costs 1 AP, and with Prince Baradus' intelligence stat
putting him on par with the likes of *me*, you can only fire the thing for a few seconds, making the rapid firing rate a moot point until you get some intelligence upgrades down your gullet. It gains some
sort of railgun shot when upgraded, but it needs a second to charge up before firing, making it of limited use; trying to be accurate while running in circles so you don't get turned into swiss cheese is far more
easily said than done. The Minigun is great, just not until you have the resources to regularly use it.
Air Magic is okay. Left clicking fires a bolt of lightning that spreads to every monster standing in water (including you!), which makes it of particular use in the Water Temple (It's actually called the
Submerged Ruins, but why not call a spade a spade). Right clicking at level 1 allows you to turn invisible until you attack, which has its uses in certain scenarios, though if you're surrounded by enemies and would
want to be invisible, they're almost always already attacking you in some kind of ambush encounter, so it doesn't get much use. At level 2, you get a super jump, and at level 3 you can fly. Both are pretty
unhelpful with the aforementioned lance upgrade, but I'm sure they're great on other characters.
Lastly, Prince Baradus' special ability is "Diplomacy". By collecting and using "Book of Diplomacy" items hidden throughout the world, you can get discounts on items you purchase in increments of 10%, up to a
cap of 60%. This is *absolutely* the best ability in the entire game, since everything you need to survive longer in this game costs money; being able to buy stat upgrades even as they get exponentially more
expensive makes Prince Baradus fucking jacked by the final boss. You GOTTA play this guy on your second or third playthrough though, because his ass makes most of the game a breeze.
2) Lucien Voyager
Lucien may look like the "I'll have my oatmeal with no flavoring, thanks", "I like playing Mario in Smash Bros", "Please tell me more about the history of glue" option, but the all-rounder stats are pretty nice
to have at the start of the game. Like Prince Baradus, Lucien starts with a thoroughly useless melee Signature Weapon. Upgrading it unlocks the ability to put up your shield, rendering you invulnerable to small
projectiles (Skeleton Gunners are no longer a problem, but Golem fists still destroy you). At level 3, the shield starts "reflecting" projectiles (it just fires a laser at enemies nearby when you're attacked).
The shield is actually pretty handy in situations where you aren't fighting enemies that attack with big explosive hits, like Golems or Detonites. Unfortunately, the number of enemies that deal light damage like
this drops off precipitously towards the end of the game.
The Alchemy Weapon you get as Lucien is an embarrassing little Jetsons ray gun that fires cute, slow moving star projectiles. The damage isn't great, but once you level it up, you get the ability to
charge up a shot, which helps bring it up to "about standard" in utility. Honestly, just use something like the Flame Furnace instead. At level 3, you get an orbital space beam a la the Euclid C-Finder
from Fallout: New Vegas that tracks wherever
you point while holding left quick, rapidly melting enemies in its radius. It's also very easy to accidentally end up in its radius, killing you quickly, because it follows your reticle. God help you if you
accidentally look downward while firing.
The real star of the show, and the main reason I'm recommending him at #2 is the immediate access to Light magic. Left clicking throws out a twig(?) that transmorphs into a snake, which I guess maybe makes sense
in some esoteric biblical water-to-wine sense. The snakes are pretty handy early on against weak enemies like Ropers and Skeleton Gunners, but the star of the show is being able to cure yourself of status effects.
Statuses in Memoirs of Magic are few, and one in particular will be a scourge that haunts your experience from the very beginning up to the end: poison. Poison *microwaves* you in this game, and only disappears
over time. A low Defense player will definitely die as it chunks your HP every second or so, and a stupid number of very common enemies inflict it. It will be an omnipresent burden that forces you to waste your
healing items just to tank the damage until it goes away, and the only way to remove it is via this level 1 Light magic spell. If you don't start as Lucien (or Leo, he also gets Light magic), you're unable to
get it until you're nearing the end of the game. If you're Zandro or Gremile, you can't get it at all, as the shop that sells it won't ever open to you. This is by far the best reason to pick Lucien, and the
value to your playthrough puts it at #2. Everything else is only okay, but the Light magic steals the show.
Lucien's ability is "Holy Cross". As the bestie of Jesus Christ, you can use the Holy Cross item in your inventory to fully heal yourself, fully heal someone else (in multiplayer), bless food to heal
more HP, or transform wooden furniture into snakes, bizarrely. These powers can only be used once the Holy Cross is at 100% charge, and it slowly ticks up 1% at a time as you run around doing your thing.
It's nice in a pinch, but it's not going to rock your world.
3) Zandro Doom
This might be controversial with all 5 people who play Memoirs of Magic, but I think Zandro has a spot here at the top of the middle of the list. Starting with high intelligence is fantastic, as MP and
especially AP are going to be things you're usually short on at the start of the game. Necessary too, because as previously mentioned, Signature Weapons kind of blow, and you'll want to mostly only use
Alchemy Weapons. Fortunately, Zandro also has decently high Strength to put Alchemy Weapons to good use. Speaking of Signature Weapons, Zandro gets an orb. It floats around you in a circle, and you
throw it with left click, where upon it bounces around and plinks off enemies. The cooldown on it is atrocious, and you'll only be able to use it once every few seconds. By right clicking, you can toggle
its element between fire, ice, and lightning. This is slightly useful throughout the game, as some enemies are weak to fire magic and enemies in water can always be vaporized by using lightning magic.
Ice, not so much, but you can't have everything. Upgrading it just gets you two, then three orbs to use, which slightly helps the slow attack speed thing, but not by much. The primary fire is a little
forgettable, but it looks pretty cool how they float around you. Oh, and Zandro has the lowest possible defense and will die immediately all the time, which is pretty ironic for the skeleton lich.
Invest in defense upgrades.
Unfortunately, after all the cheerleading I did for Zandro with his high intelligence and strength, the Alchemy Weapon does not make use of your strength and hardly matters at the start of the game.
Firing the Death-Blow (SHIT name) summons a single skeleton, who follows and attacks enemies for you. It's basically the Light magic primary fire where it summons a snake, only worse because it uses AP,
the resource you need much more often than MP. Upgrading it from level 2 to 3 summons more skeletons per use. Two and three, to be specific. Riveting. Of much more use is the alternate fire at level 2+;
you fire a massive, kicking blast from the gun, knocking enemies away and dealing pretty decent damage. Notably, you can use this alternate fire to propel yourself upwards if you fire down, allowing you to
use a much more expensive version of Prince Baradus' lance. It's certainly not unwelcome, as being able to skip encounters and shitty puzzles is by far the most valuable thing a weapon can do for you in
Dark magic is my favorite type in the game. I'm real biased because skeletons and necromancy kick ass, and because Dark magic just gets more useful the further into the game you get. At level 1, left
clicking fires this slow-moving dark portal thing. It's extremely expensive in MP costs, and is too slow moving to really be of use in normal combat, but the utility gets apparent when you combine it
with level 2+ water magic during boss fights. By casting the time stop spell and then firing off a couple of these Dark magic attacks into a large, slow moving boss, you absolutely annihilate them.
Bosses like Yian Yun, Tectonis, and Myriad are particularly weak to this strategy, but it'll work on anything if you've got them stuck somewhere where they won't quickly move out of the way. This is
because projectiles in this game have a quirk where they will inflict damage on every frame if they pass through a large, girthy model, like that of a boss. Only the primary fire of Earth magic and
Dark magic penetrate like this, and if you shoot enough, the battle reaches its climax almost immediately... ahem. Is it hot in here?
Anyway, at level 1 you can fire a spread of small sparkles to turn certain enemies into pigs, which you can then kill for a restorative Ham. It doesn't affect larger, more dangerous enemies, but it's
reasonably handy if you can spare the MP but not the HP in the early game. At level 2, you get this godforsaken vampire ability that rapidly depletes your HP but supposedly drains nearby enemies of their
health, healing you up. I've never ever gotten that to actually work, though, and using level 2 Dark magic is basically a suicide button. How about instead of draining enemies to heal your dropping HP, just
shoot them and keep your HP where it is? It's a really inefficient solution to the time-tested "shoot them" strategy. The real money is in level 3 Dark magic; at the cost of *all* of your remaining MP
(minimum 100), you conjure a massive black hole that draws enemies in and immediately kills them. This has no effect on bosses, but when encountering incredibly obnoxious and powerful enemies in the late
game, like Gargoyles and Marionettes, it is the "fuck you, I win" spell. If you can't be asked and want to go nuclear on a swarm of enemies in an ambush encounter, you can throw one out and watch them all
get dragged in and die immediately, ending the encounter in seconds instead of minutes. I love this spell.
Zandro's special ability lets him craft potions using monster drops. It's actually decently helpful early game, when money is tight, but it becomes less useful later on when buying the potions in
shops is easier and the number you need at any one given time is usually far more than you can make. Unique potions that imbibe spell effects like increased damage resistance or the fury status can be
crafted as well, which are a neat idea, but a little too situational to be something you remember to use at any given time.
4) Phazar Bluetail
Riding comfortably at the exact middle of the list, Phazar is just fine. His Signature Weapon is an axe, which is to say, pretty bad. It's telling that the weapon is only reasonably practical once
upgraded into a form you can throw. The rate at which the axe swings is kind of slow, as to be expected, but the damage isn't bad. It's just that the damage hardly matters when you're getting your
tongue blasted out of the back of your skull from standing right in front of an enemy with an incredibly fast or hard-hitting attack. You'd think that with such high Strength and Defense that Phazar
would be built for face-tanking enemy damage, you still lose HP insanely quickly, and it's not like higher defense actually grants any sort of resistance to damage. Just because you're losing HP
up close with the axe doesn't mean you aren't also getting peppered from a thousand directions while you stand there like a dildo, swinging your axe at one enemy.
Benefitting from Phazar's high strength and suffering immensely from his low intelligence is the Shatter Shotty (even worse than Death-Blow), an ice-based shotgun. The Shatter Shotty is a reliable
companion throughout the whole game, as it does high damage if you're reasonably close to an enemy, and fires in rapid succession between the reloading animation once upgraded. Its alternate fire
allows you to fire freezing shots that can be a massive help in briefly shutting down an annoying enemy in a tense ambush encounter (particularly Octopunks, who are definitely not Octoroks, that hide
underground before popping up to blast you. Freezing them just leaves them helplessly sitting there instead of trying to play whack-a-mole as they come up on their own). The Shatter Shotty is a great
help early on and will be a staple weapon throughout the game on any enemy; it's just a shame that this stupid jock lizard doesn't have the AP to use it much.
Water magic is also great to have; left clicking fires a short ray of ice across the ground in front of you, freezing enemies and doing pretty high damage. Upgrading it creates a second ray in a V
formation, and at level 3, there are three prongs, further increasing the covered area. Water magic is tied for the best magic in the game with Dark, in my opinion; at level 1 you can right click to
summon ice sculptures of cherubs that fire arrows at nearby enemies. They suck so bad I almost forgot they were here; the damage is terrible and they're easily destroyed. You summon more as you level up,
but why would anyone want more of something so ineffective? The main draw is level 2 Water magic; it lets you straight up pause time for a few seconds, and even longer at level 3. This is the spell
you'll mostly commonly use, if you're anything like me; every boss and ambush rolls over in the face of frozen time and a Macross Missle Massacre to the gooch. Level 3 Water magic allows you to
teleport back to the City of Magic, which is pretty handy too. It's the only spell that lets you fast travel, and can be a convenient time saver. Nowhere near as nice as time-freezing powers, though.
Upgrading to level 3 is for that, not for the teleport. The Water spellbook and Alchemy Weapon
are super easy to get early on if you know where you're going, so even though they're both really great, it's hardly worth picking Phazar for them when basically anyone can get them from jump street.
Phazar's special ability is Berserker Rage, which heals you and makes you attack much faster. It locks you out of using anything but your axe, though, so fuck this ability.
5) Gremile Hotshot
I was conflicted whether I should put Gremile or William lower, because they're both pretty bad. High agility on both is very nice when it comes to surviving by dodging attacks and accessing harder-to-reach
areas, but Gremile's pitiful strength and defense make him really difficult to use. He's the one I used in the playthrough where I got all my screenshots, but that was mostly because I was trying to learn
how to upgrade his Signature Weapon to level 3; I had to reach out to the developer on Twitter to ask, because the game gives you basically nothing to go on (unless you count an NPC cryptically telling you
that one particular NPC is a military general to be "guidance"). Gremile's Signature Weapon is a cool revolver, and is one of few Signature Weapons to be a ranged weapon. Being a ranged weapon, they actually
have some use for once! You can use them to finish off weak or weakened enemies if you're trying to conserve AP, which stays true throughout the game. Upgrading it lets you shoot slightly faster and
fan the hammer to empty the chamber quickly. Bullets also ricochet off walls when you do this,
which is completely unhelpful. At level 3, you get two revolvers, which means faster firing. The upgrades are underwhelming; its just a moderately useful tool that doesn't get a significant amount of use, but
it's better than no use at all, in the case of most of these weapons.
Gremile's Alchemy Weapon is the Flame Furnace, a rocket launcher. This is one of the better Alchemy Weapons, and one you'll use frequently when enemies are clustered together or against bosses. Upgrading it
allows you to fire a homing shot via a right click toggle, and at level 3 you can shoot a spread of 3 rockets at once. It's okay and these are nice to have, but even just a level 1 Flame Furnace does the
job you want.
Fire magic is one of the less useful spell types in the game, though it's far from useless. The primary fire is a bit of a piece of shit, as you shoot a short-range flamethrower shot that isn't great after
the first few areas. Helpfully though, it rapidly destroys ice-element enemies, like Ice Golems, who are a bitch and a half to deal with as they slow you on hit with a freezing effect. Quickly decommissioning
them makes Fire magic pretty good in the area leading up to the second dungeon, though it drops off entirely in utility after that. Right clicking at level 1 allows you to summon a bomb trap that explodes if
an enemy goes near it or you shoot it. I actually like this spell a lot for clustered groups of enemies, but it's easy to accidentally catch yourself in the blast radius. At levels 2 and 3, you get haste and
fury spells, which are both broadly useful at any point in the game. They're pretty cool. A little less efficient to use than just putting on the Green Gorgon Ring if you need to move fast or the Red Demon Ring
if you want to attack quickly, though.
Gremile's special ability allows him to craft unique ammo, which I have neglected to mention at all until now. Every Alchemy Weapon has special alternate ammo you can buy in stores that does a lot more damage when
applied, though the cost to benefit ratio is pretty off. Not that any of it's too expensive, but the extra help you get from using it speeds up boss fights only slightly, and you're fine if you never use it.
Annoyingly, you have to "level up" your ammo crafting ability by making shittier, inferior ammo you don't really want using drops from monsters. It's like Zandro's potion-making thing, only less useful.
(I have a history with Gremile; being a cool demon cowboy, he's naturally the first pick of a lot of players. When I first played the game, I was completely lost and unable to figure out where to go, and the
game's brutal difficulty wasn't helping. I joined the developer's Discord to ask for help, and after some discussion, I just picked a different character and was told to suck it up on the difficulty thing, which
turned out to be the advice I needed, because the game's challenge is part of what keeps it so replayable. Gremile is a little bit of a noob trap because he looks and sounds cool, but trust me, steer clear and
you'll thank me if you're playing for the first time.)
6) William Slay III
Where to start with this asshole? 100 Strength is a joke, and so is 200 defense. His Signature Weapon is a gay little rapier that attacks quickly but does low damage on its own, which is only compounded by the
embarrassingly small and impotent strength stat on this jabroni. He does no damage, he dies insanely quickly, and his spellbook and Alchemy Weapon are available in the very first shop you're likely to come
across. He has nothing going for him. Also his hair sucks and I hate thief characters in general. Upgrading the signature weapon allows you to blink by right clicking, which is the only use the Signature Weapon
has. Did I mention melee Signature Weapons are quasi-useless? High agility and reasonably high intelligence are nice things to have, except that the Alchemy Weapon and spells you get do very little damage anyway.
Everything is an uphill battle with this guy.
The Auto-arrow (seriously, what is with these names?) is the absolute rock bottom least useful Alchemy Weapon in Memoirs of Magic. It looks like a cool crossbow, but don't be fooled; it fires weak arrows in an
awkward arc that takes a long time to get used to, and you're just as likely to miss as you are to not kill them even if you do land shots, because the low damage and low strength is a compounding problem here.
Upgrading it fires a wider spray of arrows and allows you to shoot bouncy poison grenades, which only add to the things you need to be dodging in any given situation, because the poison can also affect you. As
mentioned in Lucien's section, getting inflicted with poison in Memoirs of Magic feels as good as having a beloved family pet die, and statuses being what they are, it's much, much worse for you to get poisoned
than it is for an enemy to get poisoned and slowly lose HP over a good 8 seconds or so when you could be just shooting them.
Earth magic is an underwhelming necessity in every playthrough. As stated in Zandro's section, Earth magic's primary fire is the one of only two methods of abusing the game's damage calculation, as the shots you
fire penetrate through enemies. Paired with the Blue Skull Ring to quadruple your damage and time stopping Water magic, you can shred bosses on a budget, without paying the exorbitant MP cost of Dark magic.
Earth magic being available so early makes it a great option against Yian Yun, the first dungeon boss, especially since he spends the first phase of the fight invulnerable to damage until he reveals his head.
Earth magic penetrates right through that invulnerability, making the first phase a cakewalk. It's hidden little mechanical niches like this that make Memoirs of Magic so fun, exciting, and replayable for me.
Most every weapon and spell has some edge case or specific use (except for the Auto-arrow, fuck that thing). Earth magic lets you rapidly grow a small apple tree in front of you, and is the only way to restore
HP. This can feel a little clunky and annoying for a new player, as you have to attack the tree, pick up the apples, and then eat them to restore HP, but it encourages you to be buying Life Potions at shops and
conserving them for when you really need them, instead of blasting out healing spells all day. Plus, you can store the apples for use later, and if you're not in combat, nothing is stopping you besides your own
impatience if you want to grow tree after tree, slowly bringing your health back up to full. You can only hold 20 apples at a time, though. Level 2 Earth magic gives you damage resistance that is basically never
worth the time to cast, since you don't want to get hit at all. Level 3 Earth magic summons a Golem who teleports to you if you stray and attacks enemies. You know, like the ice cherubs from level 1 Water magic,
the snakes from level 1 Light magic, or the skeletons from the level 1 Death-blow. At level 3. You get Earth magic for the apples and the penetrating shards and that's it.
William's special ability allows him to unlock special doors and chests that contain treasure or rare items, though the lockpicking skill needs to be leveled up. This means that you can only unlock these special
areas in a specific order, which is a ballache and likely will result in you forgetting what areas you need to return to if you access them out of order. The door that gets you your first level can be unlocked
by any character in a separate way, meaning if you don't use your lockpicking ability on it, you are permanently locked out of ever upgrading your lockpicking again. This is right at the start of the game, so
starting over if you do shouldn't be an issue, but it shouldn't have been designed like this in the first place.
7) Leo Howel
Do you like melee Signature Weapons? What if I told you there's a character entirely designed around melee attacks? In a game where standing still in front of an enemy is the fastest way to die? And the
character refuses to use Alchemy Weapons, so you're actually just playing the entire game with magic only? Leo Howel is the opposite of a good dog. He's a bad dog. I'll make a small concession in that for a game
so out there in its mechanics (at least in my experience, maybe fantasy RPGs with magic and purchasable stat upgrades are a common thing in the GZDoom scene), Leo Howel is the most adventurous concept and I like
that a lot. There's something to be said that the developer wanted to throw in a fun, gimmicky wildcard character with a unique restriction but a functionally complex Signature Weapon that allows you to input
fighting game combos to attack. And... that's the end of my praise.
Leo has slightly higher stats in total compared to every other character and starts with Earth magic and Light magic, but this hardly makes up
for the crippling restriction on Alchemy Weapons. Magic is generally not powerful enough to carry you through the game, making a run as Leo pretty frustrating and low-power, much like William. The Signature Weapon
is your fists, and you can input 3-button long combos by pressing left and right click in specific sequences. These are decently powerful in the early game, but the issue of melee attacking is omnipresent no matter
which character you play, and you can't use the more powerful techniques until you gain experience by using the weaker ones first. Also, you can't find a specific combo and stick with it, as inputting the same one
twice in a row makes you taunt instead, which does nothing. It requires far more brain power and concentration than is practical for a boomer shooter, and if you can manage to juggle not dying with inputting
one of many combos, you still aren't rewarded anyway. Some attacks do large amounts of burst damage, create an AOE blast, or stun enemies, but it's not like it's worth all the damage in the world if you die before
you can consistently get one out in the mid to late game.
Leo doesn't have a unique element, but starting with Earth magic for *some* ability to attack at range is appreciated. Light magic is very good to start with for the poison reason I mentioned multiple times earlier,
but it's not enough to put him any higher than rock bottom. Seriously, the no Alchemy Weapon thing is brutal, especially for new players. The bio for him pointedly challenges you by saying that Leo is only
"for advanced players". The combo thing is surface-deep, and not at all difficult to understand or execute. You should really only look at him as a challenge mode character that forces you to beat the game with
an arm tied behind your back, not as some brilliant pro-gamer option that whomps in the hands of only masterful players.
Leo's special ability is the combo thing. That's it. It levels up and unlocks the other combos the more you use it.
I finally talk about gameplay now
Holy hell, you deserve a medal if you read all that. Let's just finally get to the game part of the review and wrap this thing up already!!!
Memoirs of Magic's combat is, as you may have expected with the keen analytical mind of yours, similar to Doom's. The player moves at a million miles an hour, there are guns, and you circle-strafe
around sprite-based enemies until the game ends. Although Doom has boss fights and puzzles, Memoirs tries to format its dungeons in a way similar to Zelda dungeons. Puzzles are few and far between,
unless pulling levers and the occasional dungeon gimmick are all you need on that front. Unlike Zelda, only the final dungeon contains a special item that is required to reach the boss, which I think
is a little bit of a shame; some of these weapons could make cool secret dungeon rewards, if you manage to find them and don't want to spend the money.
Kicking is a surprisingly important and frequently used mechanic for something that has pathetic range and does basically no damage; by tapping L-Ctrl (your Kickin' Key), your character does a small hop
and kicks whatever's in front of them. We're here for that small hop, which will give you a tiny upward boost if you use it while airborne, making it a kind of small double jump. This is INCREDIBLY useful
as a corrective measure when platforming, or if you need just a tiny bit more airtime to cross a particularly wide pit.
However, by tapping the Kick key while jumping, there's a nearly frame-perfect window where your character will do a massive jump instead of their normal jump height. This can
help you reach certain areas with less Agility than you'd normally need, cross particularly far-apart platforms, or even sequence break with the right Agility stats for the boosted vertical distance.
A skill-based movement exploit is such a cool feature in any game, and I think it adds just enough spice to make certain dungeons more interesting and repeat playthroughs more enjoyable since the developer
is permitting you to get rewards and secrets early, if you're skilled enough to pull the trick off.
There's an inventory bar at the bottom of your screen that contains your items, equippables, and special abilities; tapping the bracket keys scrolls left or right, which is completely deranged and
something only a psychopath would want. Rebind them to something sensible that you can press in the middle of sweaty, frantic combat like additional mouse buttons, if your mouse has those. Scrolling
the scroll wheel cycles through your weapons and spellbooks, but honestly, it's a little easier to just remember which number key (1 through 7 or 8) corresponds to which element, so you don't have to
slowly cycle past the Auto-Arrow or the Fire Tome, kicking up all the dust and cobwebs on them.
Each dungeon has a boss that must be defeated in order to access the final dungeon, though each dungeon requires the previous dungeon's macguffin to enter, which kind of really sucks. The game already
lets you access towns and certain areas in any sequence you want, provided you have the equipment and stats to survive the journey. It's a little disappointing that the same freedom doesn't apply to
the game's critical path, and all that open-world player goodwill is generally just piss in the wind when you have to access certain towns in a specific order if you want to beat the game.
are pretty cool though, and extremely challenging on a first playthrough, but they're not the only ones to worry about -- you can also find secret "dragon" bosses hidden around the game world, often
in ingenious places, making exploration uniquely fun and exciting. Defeating these secret bosses rewards you with increasing amounts of gold based on how many other dragons you've already fought, but
also rewards you with their pact, which can be traded in at the corresponding elemental shop to unlock the ability to upgrade that element's Alchemy Weapon and spell book to their fullest potential, and
allows you summon the dragon at any time by pressing the 'G' key.
Dragon pacts are an extremely cool idea, and can only be used when your Summoning Points (or SP) are full; SP is gained by collecting gold, which is a really clever tie-in to the whole dragon hoard thing.
When summoning a dragon, the camera switches to an over-the-shoulder perspective as the giant model you now inhabit flies around, vaporizing enemies and bosses with the attacks they once used against you,
and reverting back to your character when your SP depletes (which happens over time and when you take damage). The problem is that I've never been able to fully guarantee in any of my playthroughs that
an extremely annoying bug wouldn't happen when the summon ends -- sometimes, you just immediately die and enter spectator mode with no way out. I've managed to survive using a summon before, but there's
really no telling how this bug triggers or when, so unfortunately these massive rewards from these special secret boss fights aren't something I can recommend ever using. Depending on the kind of person
you are, the worst part may be that you're deprived of seeing the sculpted bara asses on the dragon models. Not me, though. I'm very normal.
The game also pretends to have multiplayer, which is cute. In the scarce few reviews and discussions of it I've seen, there's plenty of praise for the ambition required to implement such a thing into a
Doom mod, but it requires returning to a primitive state of being as you're forced to use something like Hamachi to connect to a friend. Like what cavemen used to do. I'm not an expert on networks or anything,
and I doubt something like this has an easy solution outside of getting players to monkey with their IP's or something, but it's still way more effort than most people are willing to put in. I've only played
multiplayer once with a friend who wasn't particularly interested in the game, and we quickly discovered that we share our gold, which makes buying anything twice as difficult. Instead of one character with
decent weapons and stats fighting a boss, you now have two massively under-equipped weenies getting turned into atoms within seconds -- and did I mention that dying in multiplayer also puts you into spectator
mode with no way out? AND costs you money, which both of you desperately need? I don't think we ever found out if there was a way to respawn, because the multiplayer provided seemed basically unplayable in
a game like this one.
The final boss is a two-phase affair in a massive arena with some pretty awesome music and the grandiose, JRPG energy one would hope for at the climax of any game. Unfortunately, the first phase can be
melted in nanoseconds with *Earth Shards*, the weakest spell from the earliest available spellbook; the second phase isn't much better, as if you survive long enough for him to use this black hole attack
where he becomes completely stationary, you can find a way to stand on top of him (via Time Stop + the Jump spell) and shoot down with Earth Shards in a similar way. I like a boss with a creative cheese
strategy, and it's not like I (or most other players) would think to do something like that, but it's pretty funny to defeat him so quick. Oh, and the final boss is Dark Steiner, but now he's in his
goo-goo gaga baby god form, not yet fully powered up. His design's pretty cool. The credits will include very well done illustrations of your journey, including extra slides if you complete optional
content like reuniting the bee king and queen, or fighting every dragon. Each character gets their own ending slide a la Super Smash Bros, which is a very cute touch, and it's what motivated me to beat
the game as every character. That's all I've got for Memoirs of Magic!
For being really fun and really horny, Memoirs of Magic gets...!
The game is super replayable, and it's one of my favorites! It's something I'm more than comfortable recommending to anyone who likes boomer shooters and/or hard games and/or furry shit, but it has a few
instances of spotty, irritating design, and some things that I like about the game feel like they may have been more accidental than intentional. If any of this looked fun or cool to you, please
go play it! Its itch.io page can be found here.
(pretty please?? none of my friends will speak to me anymore after i made them watch this game for over 8 hours once. i need other people to be annoying to)