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Updated November 20, 2004

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Kids of Karendow Chapter 1: Dawn of a Revolution
(PHAT Games)

"Sick and disgusting entertainment at its absolute best"
2000 QB Gaming Gold Award Winner for Best Music and Best Story
2001 QB Gaming Gold Award Winner for Best Gaming Babe: Showl

Deep in the basement of Padenka Prison, the kids of Karendow are being imprisoned for their mindless antics and poo-inspired shenanigans. As prisoners these kids are forced into slavery and sick pleasure by Padenka's robot guards. After days of such grueling torture, the Kids of Karendow try to escape!

Your mission is to get out of Padenka Prison so you can form a resistance against Karendow. Then, send your army of young miscreants on a rampage in the land of Karendow before the King can catch you. Walk any which way you can... this is the largest QBRPG ever made!

Game Review
Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
This game gives a strange first impression. There are some initial things you can't get away from-- the people are the color of vomit, this game has a little animated blood in it, and the first thing you see moving when you start this game is a pile of feces.

But once you get used to extreme style art that makes up Kids of Karendow, you notice some of the other stuff with which time and effort was clearly spent. The animation for this game is good, and if you've played this game before you'll notice the addition of rain and snow effects. The worlds have pretty good detail, and a lot of the worlds really do look different from each other. There are also graphic demos within the game that have some nice special effects. As an extra polish, the enemy backgrounds have been re-done again and they look spectacular. Still, the graphics score didn't climb since the last time we reviewed this game. Most of the game looks great, but sometimes some of the tiles used were questionable and a little too choppy. The garbage dump is an example of what I'm talking about.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
If the graphics won't shock you, the choice of music for Kids of Karendow probably will. Instead of the standard woodwind instruments and harps that have been the cornerstone of traditional RPGs, this game uses an original heavy metal-type soundtrack to back up the game. A very nice decision! The hard guitar, powered by BWSB, really gives Kids of Karendow the attitude that I think it was shooting for. A Great job by Groovin G! His BWSB percussion in Kids of Karendow is absolutely awesome.

In addition to the music, the latest version of Kids of Karendow finally comes with some sound effects. Some sounds are used during battle and really give the crash of Elmo's sword some extra kick. But better yet are the atmospheric sounds; for example, you can hear the water crash around while walking in the fields. It's these subtle additions that make the Sound/Music score excellent.

Gameplay (n.)
The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe
If only PHAT Kids could walk up to the man in charge of Squaresoft right now and give him a lesson or two about how to make gameplay! Battles are set in a similar "real-time" fashion, as each character in your party has a meter that gradually fills up. When it fills up, you get to fight the enemy. In addition, a second bar fills up indicating your character's adrenaline level. If it fills up, your next spell or attack wil be devastating. A second unique option during battle here is the ability to know the condition of the creature. Whether the condition of the creature is excellent or poor usually depends on the enemy's HP.

What throws off Kids of Karendow from its Square counterpart are the strange choices for spells you have to cast. Unlike FF, you have to decode what the spells you learn do. For example, what does the spell "Kir-flam" do? Well, only one way to find out... zap! So that's what it does.

While the gameplay lends a lot to character development (the game has a whopping ten characters in total, and each "kid" has a different strategy), the meat of the gameplay belongs to the newly installed mini-games. In between the game's RPG elements, there are parts in the story that involve your participation in a mini-game, a la Super Mario RPG. It was especially awesome playing "Hero Man" (you should listen to see what Hero Man says when he gets hit; it's really cute)... This really adds a whole other dimension to KOK and gives it perfect gameplay.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
There are tons of adult language, gay jokes, and piles of piles of feces intended to make this game humorous for the sophmoric. There are even some concepts in the game that don't feel too original... But beneath all the guffah is a pretty sad story that needs some laughter so that it wouldn't be so tragic. Characterization is also well-done. Demos and cutscenes surprisingly breathe life and drama into the story while adding a chuckle to other parts of the tale. Best of all, you really get the impression after a while that Elmo (the main character in Kids of Karendow) is a true hero. PHAT Kids do a pretty good job of building him up.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
Excellent. The high replay value of this game stems mainly from Kids of Karendow's deep battle system. There's a lot more to think about than just which enemies to fight. You have to keep track of your yellow bar to see who in your party can deliver devastating attacks, while watching which enemies are causing the most trouble. Besides fighting, there are also tons of spells to choose from, many combat items to test, and you even have the ability to customize battle formations for offensive and defensive effect.

But a managerie of options won't matter if you don't need to use them, and in Kids of Karendow you have to use every option you have. In some cases, you have to use all members of your party in an offensive position to completely slaughter a boss. In other cases, you have to take a more defensive position, concentrate all your power on one of your party members, and enhance your party with spells and items. There's a vast mix of things to do in battle, and since the enemies have various weaknesses you really do have to use some pretty deep strategy in every fight. Throw in some music, some new sound effects, menu options, and three times the size of the original Kids of Karendow, and you find an RPG that truly brings itself ahead of the pack in terms of solid Replay Value.

Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
Kids of Karendow starts at a moderate level of difficulty and has sudden jolts of increased difficulty as the game goes on. The first few parts of the game are used to teach you about the game's interface, mainly in stores and in fighting. Note that you will have to think when it comes to battle. The key is usually to knock out the most damaging enemies first, like those who cast spells that hurt your entire party. I also noticed that it is extremely difficult to make it into the game without going to the store and constantly updating your weapons.

As you get even further into the game, the challenge propels even more, to the point where Kids of Karendow is a completely-involved RPG. You better pay attention to what the villagers have to say, because their clues will be critical in getting past the game's many caves, forests, and towers. The mazes also get progressively larger as the game goes on. Sometimes the key-and-door puzzles in the mazes were so difficult that we had to contact the PHAT Kids for a clue or two. It's that tough.

If there is one fault in challenge, it's that Kids of Karendow lacks back-tracking. In Final Fantasy games, you can usually go back to an earlier part of the game if your party's characters are too weak. Kids of Karendow does not offer this luxury, often forcing you to stay in sections of the game universe. If you rush the game too much, you may end up missing an important weapons store. Also, you never really know what items will come in handy or which character is best to beat a boss until it's too late. My best advice to you is to overstock on items. You never know when life is going to throw you a curve, and if you don't stock up you may even have to start over a quest. That's especially frustrating if you've invested more than fifteen hours into the game and you're closing in on the game's end.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
V Planet reviewed an earlier version of Kids of Karendow and gave the game a 28 point verdict, citing that the game needed slight improvements in the graphics, sound, and challenge departments. It's obvious after playing this finished copy that the PHAT Kids heeded our call-- dramatic improvements have been made in these three departments. The graphics now come with various weather effects, sound effects have been added, and the challenge level of the latter half of the game is immense.

However, as improved as Kids of Karendow became, some of the Fun Factor tapered off in the process. I think the reason for this falling out of Fun Factor points is the sheer size of the dungeons later on in the game. A prime example of this is the terror known as Parnol Tower. Between looking for keys and climbing the tower, it took me a good four or five hours to finaly reach the top of the tower, only to discover that I had "forgotten" to do something first. I earned so many experience points during that time that I overwhelmed my foes during the rest of the game, ruining the great balance in battle that the PHAT Kids protected.

To make matters worse, the game lacks a critical element that makes dungeons so huge a pain; the use of an "Exit" spell. At one point I wanted to warp back to town so I could spend some money on new weapons and armor, but there is no such warp. Instead, I had to walk for about forty minutes down a winding tower. This hiking process (when done many times over so that you're far stronger than your enemies) can get very boring.

Still, you have to give the PHAT Kids a lot of credit. With up to thirty hours of gameplay, Kids of Karendow is easily the largest QBRPG ever made. And considering that, the majority of the gametime is spent having absolute fun. The mini-games always seem to come at the right time between gathering new characters and discovering new parts to the story. The FF-style battle system is easy to use, familiar to most folks, and modified a little to get you best into the game. The PHAT Kids have truly done a remarkable job in turning one of the most under-dogged games to one of the best and largest QBRPGs... if you're looking for the big burger of QBRPGs, this is the one to download, and if you have an older version of this game you're certainly missing out on a whole lot.

Kids of Karendow, Chapter One Reviewed by Vance Velez and QBShire

Players 1 player Genre: RPG/Adventure Game
Rating To solve: 20-30 hours Final Rating: 29/35

To download Kids of Karendow Chapter 1: Dawn of a Revolution (5.91MB), click here.
wIf you're unzipping this program in DOS, use the -d option.
wMake sure you run SETUP.EXE to change sound card settings first.
wTo play Kids of Karendow, run "KARENDOW.EXE". 

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Game Summary
Coding Group
PHAT Games
Homepage URL
Final Rating
29 out of 35 points

The Highs: One of the most recommended RPGs from gamers and from V Planet. If you're going to download only one RPG, this is the one to download.
The Lows: At a hefty 5.91MB, Kids of Karendow can be a lengthy download for slower connection speeds.

V Planet! Archive
This is an archive of V Planet, circa November 2004, when the site was last active. This is read-only, and preserved here as part of the QB Zines Archive at Pete's QB Site.

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