Fred and I go way back, I mean way back. When I first found the OHRRPGCE back around 2000, me and my next door neighbor at the time decided to make our first games, and Fred was his project. As many of you know, this game inspired me to create my very first full-length game, The Omega. One might ask, what about it inspired you to make your game? Was the original one really cool? I’ve thought about this question for a while now and decided maybe its time to give the grandfather of my game a fair review.
I’ve always liked the style and characters of the game. Set in medieval times, you have your main protagonist who has flashy yellow slacks and a razor sharp, red flat top. You have Alan, who is a mountain man and literally a beast in combat (useless trivia: Alan is named after the author’s older brother). Then you have Gluep, who is a talking green ball of slime. I always liked the crustacean look with the arms and hands for some reason too; not really sure why though.
Unfortunately, the core design of the characters and the lobster hands is where the innovation ends and where the suck begins. You will realize very early on that there is literally no story; not even a hint of one. All I can gather from my playthrough is that Fred is enlisting help for something, yet, it is never apparent what he needs help with. Fred more or less gets people to join him for something amazing then doesn’t do anything; the ultimate blue ball experience. Unless you feel the urge to explore, you will likely never finish the demo. Some key places are hidden and will never be found unless you have the urge to randomly check wallmaps in certain areas.
As an added bonus, when the townsfolk give you useful information such as, “Have you heard of Gluep Forest?”, they generally vanish. In fact, all three towns in the demo become completely barren besides a single fisherman. One guy even gives you a Steak, a restorative item, says nothing and vanishes as well. Not only did I find it very disturbing that people kept disappearing, but it really started bringing my morale down. When I would look around and see no activity in a once bustling town, and it’s all because of that flat haired freak, it really depressed me.
As you might have expected, the combat mechanics and balance are pretty much horrific. Magic is the most expensive product you can buy, and is the most worthless; often doing less than melee damage or even occasionally healing enemies. Fred can start out fighting battles on the world map and win most of them, but once you step foot into the mountains you find yourself getting 1-2 shotted no matter how much grinding you have done with Fred. Alan comes in handy here, but ironically he is found at the top of the mountain and you start at the bottom.
Unless you have a death wish, you probably should run from every fight on the mountain until you get Alan. The Red Baron enemies in particular can obliterate a lone Fred in seconds. Alan joins your group for no apparent reason and now you can safely face the encounters on the mountain. Alan is a tank, more or less the Sephiroth of this game. Fred from this point on is pretty much obsolete, doing less than 10 damage to Alan’s 40-80 damage. It’s not even worth buying weapon and armor upgrades for him because he flat out sucks.
You’re probably wondering where to go now. Remember the guy that asked if you had ever heard of Gluep Forest, then he disappeared? Well, that’s your clue right there. There’s a hidden cave under part of the water on the world map that you must find to progress the story. Enemies get a little more difficult from here, but nothing Alan can’t handle (Fred still sucks). On the other side, you can visit the town (whose townsfolk vanish as well), or head straight to the fabled Gluep Forest, which is atop the large mountain ahead of you. This is where things can get difficult, even for Alan. Specifically in Gluep Forest itself, you will want to run from most encounters. At the top, Gluep also joins you for no apparent reason, and now you have nothing better to do than to climb back down the treacherous mountain.
Sadly, Gluep pretty much sucks too. He was meant to be a caster hero, but due to the magic system already being retarded, he’s pretty much crippled from the start. At the bottom of the mountain, you encounter the huge Gluep named Sam who proves to be not much of a threat to Alan..er, the team. This is where the game more or less ends. In the town beside Gluep Mountain, there is a man that talks about a tower, but it was never fully implemented in the game (although the comparable area, Mage Tower, exists in The Omega).
If you managed to play through this you are probably sitting there saying, “What was that?” I must say I’m pretty shocked too. Looking at it from a design point of view, there’s no reason how I could even remotely be inspired by this game. I just suppose there was always something I liked about the characters and the “vision” (or lack thereof) of the game. Besides the fact you could play Fred and in turn understand some of the parallels and references to it in The Omega, there’s no real reason to even download it. Fred’s Great Adventures are not great at all, though it will always be a nostalgic trip for me.