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Thank you for visiting; this is a blog that chronicles my playthroughs of various Super Famicom, PC Engine, and general strategy RPGs. Feel free to respond here to introduce yourself, let me know what your favorite SRPG is, whatever.

I generally update on Saturday or Sunday. I play one strategy RPG, then two Super Famicom (or PC Engine) RPGs.

I’ve now finished the links to all the previous posts, so you can use the links at the top to see the full list of played games so far. Also, if you are only interested in certain types of posts, you can filter by categories (see the bottom of the sidebar). The three categories are Strategy RPGs, Super Famicom RPGs, and PC Engine RPGs.

If you want an RSS feed, this link should work: https://www.rpgblog.net/?feed=rss

SFC Game 99 – Dragon Quest VI (Part 1)

Dragon Quest VI (ドラゴンクエストVI 幻の大地), released 12/9/1995, developed by Heartbeat, published by Enix

It’s been quite a long time, but we’re back to Dragon Quest. DQ5 was one of the earliest games I played for the blog and it’s still one of the best. 3 years was the longest gap between DQ games (although the space between 6 and 7 would be longer).

The basic gameplay is familiar; as usual DQ continues with the same general feel, familiar sound effects, Toriyama’s monster designs, and such. There are a number of interface improvements (like the Bag that stores extra items), but the big gameplay change is the new class system. DQ3 had a class system that was fairly rudimentary — you chose a class at the beginning of the game for each character (except the Hero) and could change that class at Dharma Temple upon reaching level 20. There was a hidden Sage class that could only be accessed by a “Goof-off” or with a hidden item.

In DQ6, about a third of the way through the game you revive Dharma Temple and can then choose classes for characters. Each class has 8 levels, and the levelling is based on fighting a certain number of battles. There are second-tier classes that you unlock by mastering two basic classes, and there is a Hero class that can be accessed by mastering one second-tier class for the main character, or all four second-tier classes by anyone else. Finally there are two hidden classes that can only be accessed by using items, one of which can only be found in the post-game content. (This system would be repeated in DQ7 with some modifications).

This brings a large number of new skills and abilities to the game. In battle there are many more options that do not cost MP, leading to something of an imbalance (the classes are inherently imbalanced at any rate).


The game begins with a dream sequence where the main character (Kurisu) and some companions are taking on the demon lord Mudo. But, it turns out this is a dream sequence, and Kurisu wakes up in his home village Lifecod.

The graphics are much improved from 5 and another good example of late-SFC era pixel art. Kurisu has been chosen to go down the mountain to sell some town goods and buy a tiara for his sister, who will be the priestess of this year’s spirit festival.

Rather than the usual blue slime to start off, they give us mottled slimes. This mountain path is actually one of the harder dungeons in the game because it’s just weak Kurisu and you have no Return/Escape spell. It takes some grinding or just exploring before you can make it down. However, I appreciate as always that if you die, DQ sends you back to the previous place you saved with any items/XP intact but half your gold. This game adds a bank you can store money in that will not be affected if you die.

Anyway, Kurisu makes it to Sienna at a beefed up level 4. This town has a bunch of bazaars and other things. You can buy a world map and a thief’s key (I think the World Map is not so useful despite what walkthroughs way; you do want it eventually but you can come back here later and buy it). I spent all my money on those things rather than equipment.

Turns out the tiara maker left down to the west and hasn’t come back, so Kurisu hunts him down hanging by a thread on the edge of a huge hole. Kurisu saves him but falls down the hole instead, and finds himself in some kind of parallel world where nobody can see him.

Apparently this world is having trouble with Mudo as well. In any case there’s not much to do here except take the well back to the surface and head back to Sienna — the tiara maker is so grateful that we saved his life that he gives the tiara for free. Kurisu heads back to Lifecod to do the spirit ceremony.

During the ceremony, the spirits come and tell Kurisu that it’s his destiny to go beyond the village and fight the darkness that’s threatening to world. So Kurisu gets a letter from the elder so that he can pass the barrier gate, and heads to Reidock Castle where the king is looking for warriors to fight against Mudo.

In Reidock, Kurisu meets Hassan and goes out to compete against other people to recover an item from the Trial Tower.

This is one of the few dungeons in the game that has a good construction — one of my biggest disappointments about this game compared to 5 is the dungeons. 5’s dungeons had a lot of individuality and were more than just tunnels and treasures. I always appreciate games that do this (Breath of Fire 1 was another good one for this). DQ6 trends much more towards the “tunnels and treasures” style that is a staple of lower budget games and old NES-era stuff.

Now that Kurisu passes the test, he’s given the mission to find the Mirror of Ra so that they can expose what’s going on with Mudo. Hassan wants to go to, but they decide first to tame a wild horse that will give us the cart (enabling us to have a bigger party).

Nobody really knows where the Mirror of Ra is so we set out without much of a goal, only to happen on yet another one of those holes to the other world.

We do find someone here in San Marino that can see us — Mireyu, who along with Hassan was the party in Kurisu’s dream at the beginning of the game. Apparently she was also transparent at one point but an old woman helped her. Said old woman can make us visible if we bring her a Dream-seeing drop (the name here seems to be a clue to later revelations). This does in fact work, and now that we’re visible we can take a ship to the Reidock Castle in this world.

In Reidock, it seems that the King and Queen have been sick for a year, and that Kurisu is mistaken for the prince of the kingdom (if you buy the Noble Clothes at the store). Although they quickly figure out that Kurisu isn’t actually the prince and ban him from the castle.

At this point we do a little story that switches between the two worlds, and starts to hint at what’s really going on — we switch to the starting world after sleeping and recover a ring for an old woman who says she dreamed of us. But then we get the key for the Mirror Tower and it’s time to get the Ra Mirror.

The tower gives us our fourth party member, Barbara, another ghostly person (who we can turn solid with another Dream Drop) — she had come to the tower hoping that the Ra Mirror could tell her what was wrong. In any case, we recover the Mirror and it’s time to go back to Reidock Castle (in our world, since they still won’t let us into the castle in the other world).

But the mirror reveals a strange truth — the “King” is actually the Queen, who says that the real King is apparently Mudo somehow. So we need to go Mudo and reveal his true form with the mirror. Mudo’s castle is far to the SE and requires going through a pretty long and involved cave — fortunately once you get through there you can use Rura (the town warp spell) to get back to the castle.

Barbara’s well known bad stat growths

Mudo himself is somewhat challenging but I was able to beat him at level 16. The Mirror of Ra reveals him to be the King of Reidock…the King from the alternate world. Although this is where the truth of the worlds is revealed: the world you begin the game in is the Dream World, and the “alternate world” is the real world. And back in the real world, we have to deal with the real Mudo.

This requires getting the God Ship from the Gent people; you also get the 5th party member Chamoro here, as well as the Gent Staff which is very very useful (casts Behoimi when used as an item). Now it’s off to Mudo, which requires another long cave and castle. In the castle, Hassan comes across a statue that he merges with to become his true form (presumably the statue is the stone figure from the opening).

When the party reaches Mudo, the same thing happens at the very beginning of the game — he turns them all to stone and Kurisu wakes up in his bed in Lifecod. I think the suggestion here is that what happened in the opening was not actually a dream, but was (perhaps?) the Prince of Reidock taking on Mudo for real. But I’m not sure. In any case the Ra Mirror reveals the truth and Mudo himself fights us.

This is a very difficult fight. Mudo has two forms, the first one he appears with two other monsters (who he’ll summon again if you beat) and the second can attack twice. It helps a lot to have Skult (the party def up spell) for Mireyu, and Zaoral (the revive spell) with Chamoro. I was at level 18 when I beat him.

Afterwards, the Queen of Reidock tells Kurisu that he is actually the Prince but needs to find his true form (presumably the statue, just like Hassan did) and sends us out with the Gent ship. Darma Temple has also revived (in the dream world) so we can use classes. This is what I chose:

  • Kurisu: Goof-off (I should have done Martial Artist 2 levels first to get the spin kick move, I did this after mastering Goof-off)
  • Hassan: Martial Artist
  • Mireyu: Priest
  • Chamoro: Magician
  • Barbara: Monster user

I’m not sure that monsters are especially useful but I decided to make one anyway.

This is how far I got when I played this game many years ago when the English patch first came out. At this point the game opens up a lot and there’s more freedom, but this is a good place to end this post.

Why?

A commenter asked a good question as I come up on my 6th anniversary of this project — why the blog?

This can be answered in several ways. Why play all these games in chronological order? For some reason I like doing stuff like this; before I did this blog I was playing all the Super Robot Wars games in release order and I have other projects like this that aren’t video game related. I’m not entirely sure why I like doing this kind of thing.

Next — why do something like this site rather than just playing the games? I like having a record of what I did that I can look back on later. I was just looking back at my Dragon Quest V posts in preparation for making the first DQ6 post this weekend and it was fun. I wouldn’t have remembered all the things I wrote down. Plus I like getting comments from people.

Finally, why a blog? Why not a twitch stream or a youtube channel? The main reason for this is that it’s the least effort — the relatively low amount of effort the blog posts take is the main reason I’ve been able to consistently update almost every week for the whole 6 years I’ve been doing this. I never wanted to get into a situation where I was backed up on things, with the blog or channel 10 games behind where I actually was. So I never force myself to write more than I want. This means my posts aren’t as good as someone like CRPGAddict but at least I can keep the consistency.

I don’t know much about video editing so I would have to learn a lot to make youtube videos and it would take more effort than I’m willing to put in given the (probable) low viewership of the videos.

I did actually twitch stream for a little bit, but this is just too niche to attract even retro gamers who probably don’t want to watch games in Japanese. Plus, for several reasons I hardly ever play a game for more than an hour in a sitting, which isn’t good for streaming.

So the blog is the best way to record my progress in a way that’s convenient for me (I also like revisiting blog posts more than youtube videos).

SFC Game 98 – Romancing SaGa 3 (Part 2)

I’m back. In the last post I mostly went over the game system of RS3. After the initial story sequence the main goal is simply to explore around the world and find things to do. I was stymied by that rat quest I mentioned, which is an annoying beginning to a game that’s supposed to not have these kind of blocks.

In any case, with a walkthrough I solved the rat quest. Many of the game’s quests do not really provide much in the way of rewards, they’re just a way to build your levels and earn skills without having to just grind in circles.

Early in the game I talked to someone who revealed what seemed to be at least the first major “story” quest and links up with the opening pre-title screen narration. There are four elemental abyss gates that need to be sealed by defeating their guardians. But the person can’t give any specific information on where these gates are, so that’s something that will need to be uncovered through game progress.

Meanwhile I gained some party members — it’s annoying to have party members like the 2nd one who join you just by talking to them without any confirmation, and can’t be gotten rid of (except by killing them off permanently). I also found a place where I could send various people around the world to work on forging weapons and armor, which seemed like a better way to get equipment than to buy it in stores with the very limited amount of money I had. Instead I was using the money to open new towns.

I also didn’t get much magic because it seemed too expensive.

Here are the missions/events I manged to do:

  • Protect caravans going from one town to another, and then visit the thieves’ cave to stop their marauding
  • Recover a strange woman’s “pets” in the forest
  • The rat quest
  • Rescue a boy named Gon from the Devil King’s Palace (which will have a more in-depth quest later, I think)
  • Deal with the “mysterious thief Robin” and the imitator
  • Defeat the master fish in the Ice Lake to allow the villagers to fish again. This was a tough boss at the point I fought it, and I barely survived.
  • The Muse Dream world. This may seem tough at first but each fight gives you an item that completely restores all your stats (including LP), making it hard to game over if you’re aware of this — all of those items disappear when you complete the dream section, so you don’t need to worry about wasting them.
  • Treasure Caves in the islands (although I didn’t do the Dolphin statue part)
  • The long series of events in the desert — this place can be a bit annoying because you get locked into a series of quests and cannot leave back to the world map until you complete them. The final boss in this section is rather difficult, but you can recruit an old woman that has the Tornado spell which the boss is weak to.

Although I can’t say I was having a huge amount of fun with this game I am sorry that my save got deleted. From the amount I played, it does seem like this is the most approachable Romancing SaGa game — RS1 is too hobbled and unbalanced, and RS2’s system is too complicated and unforgiving, and is even more unbalanced than RS1. As I said before, I felt that the first two games wanted you to figure everything out on your own but then made the difficulty so punishing that it didn’t feel rewarding to try to work it out. RS3 is much easier (as long as you don’t get stuck on that rat quest as your first thing). You’re able to try out more things and make mistakes and experiment without permanently missing things or locking yourself into bad results.

I also did not do the Business or Ruling minigame at all; they seem quite in depth and could add a lot of interest (and the Business game seems like the best way to get money).

The game was remastered for Android quite recently and has an official English translation so that may be the better way to play than the original.

RS update and list of unfinished/unplayed games

I had a strange occurrence when I got back from vacation. I took my laptop along but I couldn’t find any convenient place to set it up so I played Another Eden (as I said in my last post). When I got back and tried to play RS3, my save file was gone or had been overwritten by the emulator, and all the emulator settings were gone as well. I’ve been using the same laptop and setup for all 5 years I’ve been doing this project and this has never happened before — I was still able to load save games from the other games I played before.

Although RS3 was coming along OK, I wasn’t enjoying it enough to want to start all the way from the beginning, so I’ll move along to Dragon Quest VI instead — I’ll post a final update about RS3 this weekend.

For now I thought this would be a good place to collect a list of the Super Famicom games that I have either skipped or not finished. First, these are the games that I started to play but did not finish:

  • SD Gundam Gaiden Knight Gundam Story – This game is a combined port/remake of several Famicom games; I found the game slow and boring and so stopped playing on the grounds that it was a port.
  • Dragon Ball Z – I had reached a point where I could not beat a boss and it looked like I would have to start over from the beginning; since there is a patch for this I moved on.
  • Romancing Saga – I reached a point where random encounters were giving me game overs and I was not confident in my ability to finish the game even if I did grinding.
  • Cyber Knight – The game was not fun and I was losing badly even in regular encounters.
  • Romancing Saga 2 – Basically the same reason as RS1; I didn’t want to do the amount of grinding it seemed like it would take to win.
  • Wizap! King of Darkness – Technically I “finished” this game but I got a bad ending that didn’t require me to actually accomplish anything. I couldn’t figure out how the game worked without a manual or guide.
  • Nekketsu Tairiku Burning Heroes – I finished two of the routes, but it looked like the other 6 routes were basically the same game with slight differences, and there was no bonus for doing all of them, so I moved on.
  • Mahoujin Guruguru – This isn’t really an RPG in my eyes, so I played it until it got annoying and grindy.
  • La Wares – This game was awful, has a patch, and once again was going to take a ton of grinding to beat.
  • Ruin Arm – Also not really an RPG by my standards.
  • Demon of Laplace – This game was OK but not great, and perhaps I skipped it too easily on the excuse that it’s a port.
  • Dunquest – Same as Guruguru and Ruin Arm, not really an RPG to me.
  • Romancing Saga 3 – Save game deleted, unwilling to restart.

Now here is a list of games that I skipped because they have official English releases (E), are ports of games from other systems (P), or I’ve already finished it before starting the blog (F):

  • Drakkhen (EP)
  • Ys III (EP)
  • Final Fantasy IV (EF)
  • Dungeon Master (EP)
  • Lagoon (EPF)
  • Super Chinese World (E)
  • Soul Blazer (EF)
  • Dragon Slayer: Legend of Heroes (P)
  • Inindo (EP)
  • Arcana (E)
  • Ultima VI (EP)
  • Shin Megami Tensei (F)
  • Lennus/Paladin’s Quest (E)
  • Elnard/7th Saga (E)
  • Wizardry V (EP)
  • Final Fantasy V (F)
  • Burai (P)
  • Might and Magic II (EP)
  • Spike McFang (E)
  • Legend of Heroes II (P)
  • Lufia (EF)
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (EF)
  • Secret of the Stars (E)
  • Ys IV (F)
  • Dragon Quest I&II (P) – I feel like I should have played II, at least. I’ve beaten I for the game boy, but never II for any system.
  • Eye of the Beholder (EP)
  • Shadowrun (E)
  • Final Fantasy VI (EF)
  • Ultima Gaiden (Runes of Virtue II) (E)
  • Brandish (E)
  • Robotrek (E)
  • Super Drakkhen/Dragon View (E)
  • Ultima VII (EF)
  • Chrono Trigger (EF)
  • Princess Minerva (I played the PCE version)
  • Emerald Dragon (same)
  • Brandish 2 (E)
  • Wizardry VI (EP)

This leaves a few more: Shodai Nekketsu Kunio-kun, and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure are both only marginally RPGs I think, and Jojo has an English patch. The Barcode Battler game can’t really be played without the unsupported peripheral. All the games relying on the BS modem hookup have content that can’t be emulated.

It’s possible that some day I may come back and do some of these games I skipped. I have an idea for what I want to do once I finish the SFC library, and that could include some revisits of these games.

New Year Post

Happy new year! I haven’t been playing RS3 at all on vacation because it’s inconvenient to set up my laptop, so instead I loaded up Another Eden for the first time in over a year. I’m doing the Tales sidequests. I’ve always thought this game is pretty good for a F2P mobile game with gacha elements — my main complaints are that the main story characters are worthless compared to what you get even just from normal gacha pulls, and the equipment is too hard to forge. Apparently I’m way behind now because I’m only on main story chapter 31 but they are up to 90-something now.

Here’s a reminder of the remaining games upcoming for the current year:

SNES/PCE (1996):

  • Romancing SaGa 3
  • Dragon Quest VI
  • Beast and Blade
  • Tengai Makyo Zero
  • Record of Lodoss War
  • Super Chinese World 3
  • Seiya Monogatari (PC Engine)

Strategy RPGs (1997):

  • Front Mission II
  • Mouri Motonari
  • RONDE (Saturn)
  • Galaxy Fraulein Yuna 3 Final Edition
  • Shining Force III Scenario 1 (Saturn)
  • Ryuuki Denshou

The Farland series

I’m going to take a break from posting for the Christmas holidays; I may or may not have some filler posts like this scheduled during the break, but I will be back with normal updates on Jan 7 (Romancing SaGa 3)

This post will collect the information on the Farland series and include some of the remakes that I did not discuss in other posts.

The main Farland series consists of 14 games originally for computers, and eight games for various consoles. The console games are mostly ports, but a few of them are more extensive remakes and one is an entirely new game.

The original series

The first 7 games came out for PC-98 and the eighth for Windows. It seems like six of the games have fan translations.

Two games came out for the Super Famicom. The first was just called Farland Story, but it was not a direct port of any of the games. Apparently it’s roughly a combination of the first and second games but not just a straight adaptation. As I said in my review, it’s an incredibly boring game. It’s about the most basic, laziest implementation of a strategy game possible.

The second game for SFC was an entirely original game. It was still bad, but slightly better than the first one.

The second game was remade for Sega Saturn as “Farland Story: Dance of Destruction.” The Saturn version is nearly identical to the SFC version; the graphics look the same. They did not voice the text.

There are two changes that make the game a bit easier to play. You can turn off battle animations, and there is a “gather” (集合) command that moves everyone to the same place, which helps with the parts where you spend 30 minutes just moving your guys to get in range of the enemies

In addition to the SFC games, there was Farland Story FX. It is similar to the SFC version but apparently it’s a closer remake of the first two games together. I’m not going to play either game enough to determine all the differences.

As expected, it plays on the strengths of the PC-FX console with animated sequences and fully voiced dialogues. It has a “speed” mode that cuts out the walking animations and also lets you skip battle animations but the “gather” feature isn’t there. So it’s better than the SFC version but still the same basic bland/boring gameplay, I think.

This version was then ported to the Playstation.

There are some minor graphical differences, you can skip the pre-battle text by pressing start, and there is text for the speech in the pre-battle sequences, but other than that it seems to be the same game. This is probably the best version to play if you really want to do it.

Farland Saga

There were two games in this series, both for Windows. The first one came out in 1996 and got a 1998 Saturn port, and the other came out in 1997 and has a 1998 Saturn and a 1999 Playstation port. I’ll reach these games later, and I will be interested to see if they solve any of the problems with the original game. Given that Saga 1 came out immediately after the 8 Story games I’m not hopeful, but we’ll see.

Farland Odyssey and Symphony

The four games in the Odyssey and Symphony series were never ported to any consoles, so they will not be covered here. The first Symphony game has a fan translation. Since 2002 when Symphony 2 came out, there have been no more Farland games. The TGL company still exists (now as a subsidiary of Entergram) but it doesn’t seem like the series will ever continue.

SFC Game 98 – Romancing SaGa 3

Romancing SaGa 3 (ロマンシング サ・ガ3), released 11/11/1995, developed and released by Square

This is the sixth SaGa game and the last one for the Super Famicom. My experience so far with the SaGa series has been rocky. I found RS1 to have some good concepts but overall seemed sloppy and unbalanced, and I was not able to finish it. RS2 was bold in its attempt to introduce radical new systems and a new way of playing an RPG, and while I enjoyed it to a certain extent, I thought the game was way too difficult. I managed to get to the final dungeon but I was unwilling to do the grinding necessary to win.

I will have to wait until I finish or abandon this one to be sure, but it does seem like this game is not as difficult and easier to play than the other ones. Basically the designers took some aspects of the RS2 battle system and went back to the RS1 style that is closer to a normal RPG. The designer evidently wanted the player to have to balance the usual RPG combat with business trading elements and a war combat simulation, but the latter two were essentially relegated to minigames and the focus is on the RPG play (although the business minigame is the best way to get money).

As in RS1, the game begins with you picking a character, and you do a small event connected to that character. I chose Katarina, a 24-year old noblewoman.

The graphics are overall excellent, which is probably to be expected from a late 1995 game by Square. Katarina has to deal with a potential coup in the kingdom, which turns out to be headed by a demon. Once that’s dealt with her family heirloom sword gets stolen. She cuts her hair and changes to adventurer’s gear to go out and find it.

At this point you are left basically to yourself to go out and find things to do. You can open up new areas by either hearing about them from people in towns, or taking a ship to a new place. There are basically no leads on finding the sword. Based on the opening narration and something we hear early on in Lance village, it looks like the overall quest is going to depend on sealing four Abyss Gates to stop some evil from entering the world, but there isn’t much in the way of clues to pursue that either.

So as in RS1, your basic task is to go around, collect information, and find things to do. Fortunately you don’t have to repeatedly pay transport costs the way you did in RS1, so it’s more forgiving in being able to travel around. The difficulty of the monsters is less variable than in RS1 and the fixed battles tend to be fixed in difficulty also. So some of the early game is finding out what you can do now and what you may have to put off until later.

The system is very similar to RS2. Each character has a skill level with each weapon, although they got rid of the confusing “tech points” system of RS2. After a battle you can get a bonus HP, a tech point, or a skill level in a weapon (which I think increases damage). You can “spark” new techs by doing a basic attack with a weapon — you have to have a sufficient skill level, and the enemies have to be high enough level for it to work. Once that happens, if you use the tech in battle enough times it will become “mastered” and then anyone can equip it.

There is also magic which you have to buy from people in towns.

Also like RS2 you have formations you can set that give various bonuses, although if you get attacked from behind or hit an enemy while running it will break the formation. Finally, you can have 6 characters and if you put your main character in the 6th position you enter “commander mode” where you give AI commands to the other people, they regain HP and heal status effects between turns.

Finally as in RS2 each person has HP and LP. HP are fully restored after each battle. If you get to 0 HP, or if you get hit when you are already at 0 HP, you lose an LP. If the main character hits 0 LP it’s game over, and if any other character hits 0 LP they are gone for good. However, you can restore everyone’s LP simply by resting at an inn.

At first I tried to find things myself without a walkthrough but I immediately got stuck — you can save anywhere and I got in this mission where you get put in a cave to deal with the monsters, but they shut you in so the monster will take you as a sacrifice. The boss is this horde of rats above, which slaughtered my party several times, and you can’t escape from the cave. So I went back to a previous save before I entered.

It turns out what you are supposed to do is run from the boss fight (which normally is not allowed), then go back to the beginning of the cave which will activate an event that lets you go — I’m not sure how you’re supposed to figure this out.

The party members I have there are ones I just happened upon in towns.

Anyway that’s an introduction to the game. Money is very hard to get; I think you are supposed to do the business sidequest minigame but I haven’t found out how to activate it yet. The monsters give almost no money as drops.

I’m not going to do regular updates during the Christmas holidays. I have a filler post scheduled for next Saturday, and I most likely will not have an update the 31st, but I’ll be back on the 7th by which time I probably will have finished RS3 and be playing Dragon Quest VI.

SRPG 80 – Langrisser IV (23C – end)

23C

This is Bruno’s last stage

You have to cross some mountains and go around a castle to get to him but I didn’t find the stage all that difficult. I had Sherufanir’s arbalests help from below the castle, and using Decline and magic spells helped clear out some of the enemies before my main force got into the castle to win.

24C

This stage seemed to be very similar to the previous one, and the same tactics worked. Ivar shows up to the right but I just ignored him and he left after a few turns.

I was annoyed to find out here that somehow I had done things wrong and Landius could not get the final class promotion. I was rather confused by the card drawing at the beginning and I tried to consult several sources, but apparently I never understood it correctly. This is also where I started seeing that McClain, Ricky, and Angelina were going to be dead weight most of the time, I’ll talk about this later. But the GameFAQs walkthrough that says you should make McClain and Ricky Serpent Lords is not good.

25C

This is the usual “Defeat Bozel” stage. Here you have to kill Bozel, get Landius to the back and pick up the Langrisser, and then defeat Chaos with Landius or one of Landius’ units. The first time I tried teleporting Landius up to Langrisser but that didn’t work at all. So instead I used a slow and steady advancement and mostly ignored Chaos (who wasted a lot of turns). In the picture above I think I am using Heal 2 to restore my health.

26C

To beat this stage I teleported Landius directly to Emily — I found this was the only way to save Lansford. He can’t die as an NPC or you lose the stage, but he has no AI at all. There are strong pikemen near where he starts and he goes straight for them on his horse and dies within a couple of turns. But once you have control over him you can move him down away from the pikemen, and use normal tactics to beat the stage.

At this point you get a love scene with Landius and another girl. I tried Sherufanir and Angelina but my love points with them weren’t high enough and they turned Landius down. Only Listil the demon accepted:

27C

This is the final stage and unfortunately it’s where my playthrough came to an end. I tried this stage several times, with different strategies and different pre-battle formations. I went back and cleared 26C again using the stage select code to class up Sherufanir, Lansford, and Naal, and I used the shop code to be able to buy anything, and I still couldn’t do it. The enemy archers and ballistae were too strong and I couldn’t take out enough of them (or their commanders) to stop them before the decimated my forces. Teleporting Landius up to the top didn’t work because he couldn’t get a turn quickly enough to avoid being killed by the enemies up there.

The problem is that too many of my characters were just outclassed and useless, particularly McClain, Ricky, and Angelina. Even at Angelina’s hidden Dragon class, with the best buyable equipment, she could not attack anyone, even grunts, without dying or being reduced to 2 HP. Her Archangels were fine but the enemy archers would just go for Angelina herself and kill her in two attacks. McClain was utterly useless. Ricky could do a little bit but not enough.

Lansford, Listil, and Landius were fine, and Sherufanir and Naal were useful, but that just wasn’t enough to be able to beat all the Meteors and archers.

So this is where I’m going to end my L4 playthrough, unfortunately. I may possibly redo the game when I reach the PS remake of it — if I do, I will do the A or B route, make sure I can promote Landius to a secret class, and do more sensible promotions for McClain. Angelina, and Ricky. But for now, I’ll have to end Langrisser IV here.

SRPG Game 80 – Langrisser IV Part 2 (Stage 16 – 22C)

I had a busy week so I haven’t finished L4 yet. Should be done next weekend.

Stage 16 – This is an annoying water stage, where your people are on various boats. I used Angelina’s flying units to take out all the catapults and then slowly moved everyone up to beat the boss. The guest units that came in were mostly useless.

At this point the story branches into three routes. If you put it in Der Langrisser terms, the A route is the “light” route, the B route the “Chaos” route, and the C route the “independent” route. I went with the C route, which requires you to have the sisters love values at a certain point, you have to activate the event where Emily realizes that Landius is her brother, and you have to choose to reject the alliance with the demons before stage 17.

Stage 17C – I tried the Der Langrisser independent path but was not able to beat the first stage because I was left with only three commanders, one of which I had not levelled much at all. You are also left with 3 here but on the whole they were a bit better, and Landius was strong enough to basically win the stage by himself — I mostly went for the enemy commanders to shorten things.

Now the demon Listil and her companion Naal join; Sherufanir mentions later that it’s odd Landius rejected the alliance with the demons but then immediately got two demons on his team. Listil is a healer and Naal an attacking magician, although Listil’s MP start pretty low.

Stage 18C – I found this stage to be fairly easy; there are plenty of Meteor casters but at least on this stage the enemies quickly run out of MP and with three commanders able to cast heal it’s easy to recover.

Stage 19C

This was a slow, but not especially difficult, stage. We fight against Sherufanir and Selena. By moving slowly and using troops with good affinity I progressed to the bottom. I did have a difficult time dealing with Selena along with Sherufanir’s spells and the other enemies but Landius was able to deal with Selena and from there Sherufanir by herself couldn’t do much.

Stage 20C – This is very similar to 19C, you’re just beating Sherufanir and Selena again. Of course at the end of this stage Bozel brings out Langrisser and Alhazard and revives Chaos.

Stage 21C – Much easier; you start out vs. Sherufanir and Selena but quickly Sherufanir joins your team and Selena as an NPC. Selena won’t die and will help out with the healing, and there are not very many spellcasters.

Stage 22C

I found this stage to be quite difficult. I went very slowly at first, killing all the archers and spellcasters near the start with Sherufanir’s arbalests, and Decline + magic spells. After that I started moving forward but the trolls are strong, and then once you near Bruno, he pulls out a cheap trick that turns Sherufanir and Angelina into enemies. I tried to rush the stage but Bruno’s arbalests were able to make mincemeat of Landius. Plus, you have four enemy commanders that all cast magic spells plus some nasty archers.

However, if you just wait a turn or two, Jessica shows up and disables the arbalests. This gave me enough of an edge that I could kill the archer commander, just walk past the demons (with healing sent up from Ricky and Listil) and then defeat Bruno.

Five stages left; I should be done by next weekend.

SRPG Game 80 – Langrisser IV (Saturn)

Langrisser IV (ラングリッサーIV), released 8/1/1997, developed by Masaya

Time to return to one of the main series of SRPGs in this era. This entry in the series abandons the real time system of the previous game (thankfully), although the turns are now speed-based instead of player turn-enemy turn. Langrisser 5 was released only 10 months after this one, and then both games were ported to the Playstation in 1999. My understanding is that Langrisser 5 is essentially a polished version of 4s, and that the Playstation 4 upgrades it to 5’s system. I decided to play the original Saturn version of 4 to better show the progression of the series.

The game takes place 200 years after Langrisser II, in the kingdom of Yeless. Gizlof, a wizard high in the ranks of the Regenberg Federation, attempts to bend the Federation to his will. At the start of the game he needs the Sage Crystal that is in Gotahl Village, and he uses crushing taxes as a pretext to attack the village for rebellion. The main character Randius is the foster son of the village elder. Gizlof kills the father and captures his other foster daughter Rachel and the crystal. Randius and Ricky, the actual son of the elder, escape, and attempt to rescue Rachel.

After they escape they meet up with the daughters of the ineffective king of Caconcis, the southern kingdom. Randius and his group join up with Caconcis to fight against Regenberg, while Gizlof tries to take over Regenberg. He also seems to have some otherworldly backers with their own ideas (if you’ve played the other Langrisser games you already know who the villain here is).

As I said above, the system abandons the real time system of III and goes back to the grid, turn-based system of 1 and 2. The main difference is that units now act based on their “judgment” stat; basically a speed based system. Magic, as in 3, takes time to cast depending on the magic itself. While I think the system works overall, a major issue is that the hired troops and the commander can have different judgment values and act at different times. This can make it difficult to effectively use the troops and keep them within the commander’s leadership range. I believe that this was changed in 5 (and the 4 remake).

The other main difference is that commanders can’t hire as many units as they could in previous games. The number of available units is now a stat value that raises with level ups (and class changes), and possibly depends on the type of units as well. I think they also added some new abilities like the kind you see in Fire Emblem 4, although they’re mostly about equipment.

There are other minor gameplay changes but other than the major ones I mentioned earlier this is a familiar game for someone who has played Langrisser 1 and 2. I didn’t find the game especially challenging in the early parts (certainly not as hard as Langrisser 2). So I won’t do a stage-by-stage treatment.

The first really challenging stage, I thought was 14. Here you have Lanford as reinforcements who goes straight for the main character and can kill him in one hit from full HP. So you really need to finish the stage before he can reach you, but the first time I didn’t have my guys set up correctly. The second time I had everyone go around to the left, and that helped my strength be concentrated enough to defeat the enemies.

Stage 15 is a bit tough too but I think as long as you make a strong attack first and make sure that the main character can survive until Lanford leaves, it’s not too bad.

I’m finding archers much better in this game than in the earlier games.

Finally, as in the previous games, the way the AI will always heal the commander if they are below 7 or 6 HP makes it easy to deal with fleeing enemies or guys with strong attacks.

I just finished chapter 15 and it looks like I’ve fulfilled the conditions to get the C route (the Independent route that seems to be the “true” one). I’ll have more to say about the game next weekend when hopefully I will have finished it.