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Game Info:

RPG Maker 2000
Developed By: KADOKAWA
Published By: Degica
Released: July 13, 2015
Available On: Microsoft Windows
Genre: Game Development, RPG
ESRB Rating: None specified
Number of Players: Singleplayer
Price: $24.99
(Humble Store Link)

Piracy is generally bad, and RPG Maker 2000 was widely pirated when it came out, unofficially translated to English, and English speakers made lots of games with their illegal copies of RPG Maker 2000 that nurtured a community that the developers officially legitimized with the official English translation of RPG Maker XP. Now, enhanced with backported features from later makers and given an official translation, RPG Maker 2000 is a blast from the past.

RPG Maker 2000 is one of the earlier makers in the series, and as such was made when 64-bit systems were not common and when graphics, audio, and overall expectations were much cruder. As a result, despite being enhanced with UI changes like in later makers, this lacks custom scripting extensions with languages like Ruby or Javascript.

Like every other maker in the series, this is a top-down, 2D tile-based RPG creation engine. Control is done with the keyboard and mouse to change database objects and create maps. There are two layers on maps, an upper and lower layer, which allows some illusion of height mapping or placing some map areas above others. For example, being able to walk under certain overhanging objects. Aside from maps, customization of your game is limited to whatever tweaks you make in the database and whatever resources you use, either the default ones or those provided from other sources.

RPG Maker 2000
Highlights:

Strong Points: Ideal for creation of retro RPGs
Weak Points: Poor full-screen scaling
Moral Warnings: Optional turn-based RPG violence, if the combat subsystems are used in a game project

Graphically, the style is quite simple, very early NES style fantasy graphics, very reminiscent of the Dragon Quest series. Character sprites are tall, not super-deformed like in later makers, and they also fit the high fantasy NES style. Enemy battler graphics have a bright and cartoony motif, as the color palette is limited as was standard on early, Windows-based computers. Resource graphics are limited to BMP, PNG, and the now nearly extinct XYZ format, retained for compatibility reasons with older projects from the original release era.

Sound is rendered in chiptune style MIDI, though WAV and MP3 formats can be used and uploaded for one's projects if they prefer. The sound effects and music again fit the high fantasy RPG aesthetic perfectly. Controls are limited to the keyboard when playtesting or playing games made with the engine, though the mouse is available when using the editor itself.

Stability is a mixed topic. While the source code was cleaned up as best as possible and made compatible with modern computers and many small tweaks from later makers to update the user interface, full-screen mode looks terrible. RPG Maker 2000 can only play games at a very small-windowed resolution, and it's not recommended to play in low contrast settings due to the art style of the UI not handling color shifts well. This does work well in Wine/Proton on Linux as well as it does on Windows with no discernable differences to my knowledge.

RPG Maker 2000
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 94%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

There is an interesting "amnesty" built into the program for those who used the pirated version of 2000. It is possible to import a project made used the pirated version and update key files in it to work with the modern fixes so they will function properly. It's not perfect, some graphics files in the pirated and legitimate versions were named differently, meaning some improperly referenced graphics will need to be fixed manually. Some database information may not port completely intact as well. Otherwise, this allows those who used the pirated version to legitimize their games for distribution with modern-day updates.

Morally, there is very little to complain about.

Violence is of the turn-based RPG variety, should the creator of a game choose to include any combat. Language is entirely up to the creator to decide if they want to remain clean or profane as well.

Sexual content is practically nonexistent. The incredibly limited colors and art style do not lend well to anything other than simple, cartoony sprites and pictures, even the enemy sprites are tame. There are no occult references like pentagrams in the stock art files, and any references to anything of an occult nature are purely up to game designers. Any degree of unethical behavior is also up to the developer, should they wish to include it.

Overall, since buying this fairly cheap program gives you a license to use its assets in other RPG Maker programs, it's worth buying if that is your goal or you want to make an RPG game on a very retro-based engine. The latter can be done with custom art and music on the later engines, so you may not find this ideal if you intend to go that route. Morally, this is about the tamest engine in the entire franchise, suitable for all ages. While not my personal favorite from the franchise by any means, I'm still pleased to say it's a worthy purchase for diehard RPG Maker fans.

About the Author

Daniel Cullen

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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