Title: Whisper of a Rose: Gold
Release Date: April 5, 2010
Publisher (Developer): RosePortal Games (RosePortal Games)
ESRB Rating: N/A – I’d say 13 and up, since there are some touchy issues like bullying and child abuse.
Pros: Lovely music, interesting mix of futuristic and fantasy worlds, quick save feature, optional tutorial messages, can save anytime, detailed sprites and environments, diary keeps track of quests, lots of side quests, crafting feature to create equipment and items, can skip difficult puzzles by agreeing to forfeit a reward, can see enemies on the map and intriguing story.
Cons: No note saying that you must press W on the keyboard to save changes in the Options menu if you don’t have a mouse with a middle button. You can’t be a summoner on the first playthrough. Surprisingly difficult early on and level grinding is mandatory.
Overall Score: Two thumbs up, 92/100, A-, * * * * out of 5
RosePortal Games’ first title Whisper of a Rose: Gold is an intriguing one. It’s can fall into the casual PC RPG category, but it possesses a depth and serious uncommon in most games. The tale is quite tragic, at times, and as players get to know the heroine Melrose, they’ll geniunely begin to feel for, and pity her. Once she gets the opportunity to live out all her dreams, it still ends up taking a darker turn. It makes you want to work even harder and perserve in the hopes that you can somehow help her overcome her situation and oppressors.
The tale of a bullied girl searching for happiness
Whisper of a Rose: Gold is set in 2024, in the suburbs. In the future, only the poor live there, and Melrose is one of those more unfortunate citizens. She’s a 17 year old college student who’s spent most of her life bullied and abused by not only her peers, but her parents as well. She’s unappreciated and overlooked unless someone wants someone to blame or pick on.
So, it’s only natural someone like that would look for some kind escape. Melrose looks to fairytales and fantasies. She dreams of strong warrior princesses, fighting for themselves and those less fortunate. And she regularly visits her local museum.
Melrose then hears that the iDream, a prototype device that will allow people to enter and live in their imaginations, is going to be on display at her local museam while locked in her family’s basement by her parents. She remarks that she’d want one, and heads to school with a castle she built for a project. Her mother chases her out of the house, and she almost makes it to her destination. Almost, because two classmates attack her and destroy the castle shortly after she gets to the school. Melrose cracks, and decides she’s going to steal the iDream prototype. She does, and the police chase afterward provides the adrenaline boost necessary to make the device work. She then finds herself in an imaginary, but dangerous, dream world that doesn’t provide the escape and freedom she hoped it would. She now must find a way to escape and return to reality.
Very intricate and detailed, but also a little intimidating
The first thing you’ll notice upon beginning a Whisper of a Rose: Gold adventure is the detail. It’s incredibly detailed, with intricate sprites depicting all kinds of items like computers, exercise equipment and so on. There’s also a lot of hand-drawn accents, like character portraits and scenes, which enrich the game. The music is also quite pleasant, and works to create an appropriate ambiance.
It also has a story that’s mature, classic and unique all at once. Melrose is a sympathetic heroine, a young woman who’s trapped and held back by unfortunate circumstances beyond her control. And, on the rare chance she tries to stand up for herself and break free, she’s only thrown back down again. It’s no wonder she’d dream of a perfect, fantasy world and want to retreat into fantasies and dreams. Unfortunately, even her dream world, the perfect sanctuary the iDream is supposed to give her, isn’t the safe and perfect respite she hoped it would be. You find yourself genuinely rooting and hoping for Melrose throughout the game.
One thing I mention in the Pros and Cons section above is that Whisper of a Rose: Gold starts out surprisingly difficult. This isn’t just because the first puzzle you’ll encounter is tricky and may require several attempts to complete. The first area Melrose finds herself in once she’s used the iDream stacks the odds against the players. Melrose starts at level one, and not a strong level one either. The yellow orb enemies she’ll face can deal between 3-8 points of damage to her, and my paladin Melrose could only deal between 0-3 points of damage. Battles end up fairly drawn out, which is surprising for an introductory sequence that’s also acting as a bit of a battle tutorial. Even worse is she needs 15 experience points to reach level two, and each yellow orb grants only one experience point.
Whisper of a Rose: Gold provides a unique and challenging experience.
Whisper of a Rose: Gold is one of the more mature PC RPGs I’ve seen. Even though the story possesses futuristic and fantastic qualities, the story also contains a raw realism that makes it easier for the player to connect with Melrose and her endeavors. It looks good and provides quite a challenge that I’m sure many RPG fans will welcome. Plus, the crafting system and puzzles can help get players thinking, rather than having them go from battle to battle or fetch quest to fetch quest. The mature storyline and mandatory level grinding may put off some people, but all in all it’s a wonderful game worth playing.
Site [Whisper of a Rose: Gold]