Monthly Archives: July 2017

SFC Game 11 – Dragon Quest V Part 3

At the end of the last post, I had set off for the western continent to find the Heavenly Shield. A few things I forgot to mention: Papas says in his letter that Kurisu’s mother is still alive but captured by demons. Also, the “hero equipment” that is the Heavenly Sword, Heavenly Shield, etc. was translation in Dragon Warrior IV as “Zenethian” equipment. DQ 4-6 form a loose trilogy with some connected themes; it’s not like 1-3 where the stories actually connect, though.

After finding Bolongo the panther we set off for the Salabona, a large city on the continent. After a quick detour to learn the Rula spell (that lets us teleport to towns we’ve visited), we reach Salabona to find that the richest man in town is giving his daughter Flora to whoever can find the Fire and Water rings. There’s a good chance that this man has the Heavenly Shield, so it’s time to get a bride.

That other suitor’s not going to get very far

The fire cave is a really hard dungeon. It’s long, has a lot of damage floors that you have to go through, and the monsters are fairly difficult too. At this point you only have Kurisu plus two monsters — I was using Pierre the Slime Knight because he has heal spells (I’m actually still using him), and Bolongo. Fortunately you get your wagon in the cave so you can have backup units in case they die. The worst enemies in this dungeon are the bombs, who use Megante. This spell kills the caster but then has a chance to kill all the opponents. It’s not a spell you want to cast, but it can be devastating when the enemies use it. I never got a game over from them but I had 2 out of my 3 guys die.

Then we have the bosses.

Lava monsters

They can breathe fire for fairly high damage, which is rough if they all use it. If you can beat one of them and still have a decently healthy party it’s smooth sailing from there, but it’s easy to die before that can happen. It took a lot of trips in the cave, several game overs, and even a period where I explored around to see if there was anything else I can do other than this dungeon. Eventually I won, though, and got the fire ring.

Next Flora’s father gives you his ship to find the water ring. A bridge blocks your way so you can only explore a lake on this continent. In order to reach the cave with the water ring, we first need the people of a small hot springs village to lower the gate. In that village, who do we find?

Adult Bianca

Bianca, your childhood friend, has been here for a while. She decides to come with you on your quest to marry Flora…awkward. Unfortunately Bianca has the same level and equipment as when you left her as a child — what was she doing all this time? There’s also a rumor here about a temple being built to usher in the Kingdom of Light, presumably the one slave Kurisu was working on.

Fortunately the water cave is much easier than the fire cave and has no boss, so it’s easy to recover the ring and head back.

The different caves and dungeons are nicely differentiated

But now we have a choice — who to marry?

Akira Toriyama’s art of Bianca and Flora

I barely know anything about Flora at this point, so I went for Bianca. I guess the dilemma is supposed to be that if you marry Flora you’ll get the Heavenly Shield? But of course the game’s not going to leave you without a way to get the shield. This is all very sudden, but next thing you know, it’s wedding time.

Would you like to save your g…I mean, do you take this woman…

The DQ tradition of choices at silly places continues, as you can pick “no” when the priest asks if you accept Bianca as your wife. After the wedding, you have your first night together…in separate beds.

We’ll have none of that hanky panky in my house!

But the adventure isn’t over yet — it’s time to set out again to find the remaining pieces of Heavenly equipment. Flora’s father gives us his ship and we hear about a castle in the desert to the south where the grave of the Hero is. Along the way, I finally make it to the Medal King’s castle. Dragon Quest IV introduced items called “small medals” hidden around the world which you could then turn in for prizes. DQV continues this tradition; we’re still trading them in rather than just getting rewards for reaching a certain number of medals.

Warrior Pajamas, Mysterious Bolero, Miracle Sword, Holy Armor, Falcon Sword, Metal King Shield

Of course I’m tempted to save up the 43 for the Metal King Shield; as of this post I’m at 26. Moving on to the desert castle, they are keeping the Heavenly Helmet, but unfortunately it doesn’t fit Kurisu so we move on. But this detour isn’t entirely useless — we hear a rumor that King Papas left his kingdom in the East with his child. So daddy was a king? Well, obviously the next destination is his kingdom, where I guess Kurisu is now the true king given Papas’ death.

Getting to Granvania Kingdom requires landing to the south of it and progressing through a huge dungeon that’s divided into two parts. You climb to the top of a mountain and reach a small village, where you can see your goal in the distance. Bianca collapses from exhaustion, but after one night in the inn she’s OK.

Granvania Castle

One side note: as you can see in the image above, only Kurisu and Bianca are there. The game often forcibly removes monsters from your party during story sequences, and if you forget to add them back in, you suddenly find yourself solo vs. the monsters. Fortunately you can sub them in during battle, though, unless you’re already in a dungeon. 

The second half of the dungeon is confusing, with lots of pits, mimic chests (which do give small medals), staircases, etc. It took me several tries to get through it. There were “hagure metal” (“Metal Babbles” in the NES games) but I didn’t manage to kill any of them. Finally we reach Granvania. Nobody believes that you’re the king, of course, but in a small house to the side lives Sancho, who was a close friend of Papas and recognizes you. He brings you in to see the king, who is the brother of Papas. Unfortunately Bianca collapses again, but for a good reason: she’s pregnant!

I guess the separate beds didn’t prevent them from consummating the marriage

Now to become king, you have to go through a cave of trials and recover an item of proof. The current king doesn’t seem too concerned by that but the Minister insists…very suspicious. The cave itself has a number of puzzles and confusing places, but it’s not very long. We recover the proof only to be attacked by people sent by the Minister, who want to keep the current king. After an easy fight, it’s back to the castle.

The timeline is a little confusing but it’s time for Bianca to give birth. Players may remember at this point that this is the same room Kurisu was born in at the beginning of the game, just before Martha (his mother) got taken away by demons. Fortunately Bianca survives the pregnancy.


I named the twins Leto and Ghanima, and I expect big things out of them. Next up is the coronation.

Long live King Kurisu!

And thus ends Dragon Quest V!

No, of course not. After a night of drunken revelry, you make your way through a silent, BGM-less castle to find that Bianca and the children are gone. Fortunately the maid hid the children under the bed, but Bianca has been captured. The Minister is also gone. But entering his room we find some Flying Shoes, which take us to a new area to the north. A man tells us that monsters were taking a woman to a tower in the north.
The tower is another complex dungeon with a lot of tricks and traps, such as the following, where you have to put boulders in front of dragon heads to avoid being burned by their fire.

The damage floor to the south seems pointless

Finally at the top we reach Jami, who was one of the monsters that killed Papas. He’s holding Bianca captive.

Revenge time

Other DQs I have played had very severe difficulty spikes at significant bosses (I remember 6 and 7 being particularly bad in this regard), but fortunately Jami’s not that hard. At first he’s nearly invincible, but Bianca somehow makes light come out and take down Jami’s barrier, allowing us to defeat him. It seems that Bianca is a descendant of a past heavenly hero. But Jami has his revenge, turning both Bianca and Kurisu to stone before he dies.

The next sequence is very well done and one of the best things I’ve seen in an RPG of this era. As we were going through the tower, we met some people who were looking to loot treasures from it. They make it to the top and decide to take the statues of Bianca and Kurisu and auction them off.

Do I hear 1000? 1000!

Kurisu is sold to some rich guy, but the thieves decide to keep Bianca’s statue for unknown purposes. Meanwhile back in Granvania, Papas’ brother has to become king again because Kurisu has disappeared.

A new decoration

The rich guy brings Kurisu back to his house to serve as a decoration and guardian of their house. Now you see several scenes where his child George grows into a young man, but then is captured for slavery by monsters.

Another slave for the mines

This pisses off the rich man so much he knocks the statue over. And thus the seasons pass, with Kurisu lying in the front yard.

Fortunately statues can’t feel cold

Finally 8 years have passed, and Sancho has brought Leto and Ghanima to the house. Who knows how they found it, but they are able to restore Kurisu to life.

Leto and Ghanima

Unfortunately Bianca’s whereabouts are unknown. However, Leto can now equip the Heavenly Sword and Shield, so it seems we’ve found our hero.

This is a good place to stop for this post. This is definitely the most fun I’ve had with a game so far on this blog. I still haven’t felt the need to use a speedup hotkey despite the rather high random encounter rate — at least the battles move quickly.

SFC Game 11 – Dragon Quest V Part 2

At the end of the last post, I had gotten to the end of the childhood section of the game. Papas is killed, and Kurisu sold into slavery, then the game advances 10 years. During all this time, Kurisu has been slaving away building some sort of temple.

Slavery makes it hard to recover HP

On this fateful day, however, a new girl named Maria has accidentally dropped a rock on one of the overseers’ feet. 

“I’ll beat that gutsy nature out of you!”

Kurisu steps in and defeats the overseers. Of course this just leads to him getting the crap knocked out of him, but it turns out that Maria was the daughter of one of the soldiers. In gratitude he sends you, Maria, and Henry down a river on a barrel to escape. We wash up at a church, where Maria gets cleaned up, but decides to stay at the church.

Maria cleans up well

Kurisu and Henry head off to a nearby town, where we can buy a wagon for 3000 gold. This allows us to start recruiting monsters. Monsters will offer to join you after you beat them if they think you’re strong enough. I quickly got a slime, brownie, and stinking man. They can level up, learn spells and techniques, and equip things just like anyone else. Unfortunately you can’t name them (at least not yet). There’s also a casino, but there’s no video poker or blackjack! What kind of DQ casino is this?

Slime racing, monster battles, slots

The next town is Papas’ hometown again, but it’s looking much worse than it did ten years ago.

You can’t go home again

Apparently the soldiers from Reinhart burned and pillaged the town, because Papas was blamed for Henry’s disappearance. They’re really trying to milk every sad thing they can out of this. An old man recognizes you and lets you use his boat to explore a new area of this cave (he blocked the door in the young period). 

Metal slimes!!

If you’re not familiar with DQ, Metal Slimes are an iconic enemy. They tend to run away, and your attacks frequently miss or only do 1 damage. But if you can beat one they’re worth big XP. 3 and 4 had introduced new types of metal enemies which I assume will show up here too. I don’t like grinding so I didn’t wander around just to find these, but I did manage to beat a few in this dungeon.

I had to use a walkthrough here, partly because with the contrast on my laptop I could barely see this:

Cracked floor

Any part of this floor you step over cracks, and the corresponding water square one floor below disappears. I didn’t realize what was going on. Anyway, at the bottom of the cave is a sword and a letter from Papas.

The legendary sword

Papas had begun to search for the legendary hero equipment to try to find the hero himself. Standard RPG trope would suggest Kurisu is the hero, but he can’t equip the sword, and based on one small thing I know about this game I don’t think that’s where the plot is heading. Next up is Alpaca. Unfortunately Bianca is long gone, so it’s off to Reinhart castle. Henry’s brother Dale has become the king, but things don’t seem to be going very well in the kingdom.

Henry keeps his slave clothes on so he’s not recognized, but we still have to use a secret entrance into the palace. On the way we find a woman claiming to be the real queen, but there’s nothing we can do about her for now. Instead, Henry secretly reveals himself to Dale, who gives us a key to the castle so we can take a secret warp — there’s a tower with a mirror in it. It’s not clear how that’s going to help, but in RPGs you generally go where the clues lead.
The tower requires a maiden to open it, so it’s back to the monastery to get Maria to help out. With her help we can enter the tower, which is quite difficult, especially since it takes a while to reach a town from the tower. But eventually I got the mirror. With that we can head back to Reinhart where both a real and fake queen are confronting Dale. The mirror quickly shows who’s the fake one, and we fight her:


Not very hard. Once that’s finished, peace is restored to the kingdom.

Kurisu and Slimey

Henry stays behind, leaving our party as Kurisu and two monsters (surprisingly only 3 characters at once allowed in this game). The harbor where we sailed into at the very beginning of the game is now open again and we can sail to the western continent to see if we can find more of the hero equipment. If you return to Reinhart later, Henry has married Maria, and you can buy a world map from the same person you bought the wagon from earlier.

Queen Maria

Now we sail for the western continent.


Soon after arriving, we are approached by a man from a rural town to the south, who offers 3000 gold (1500 upfront) if we can deal with a monster who is ruining their crops at night. If you wait until night you see a shadowy figure fleeing the town, to the west. There’s a cave out there, and at the bottom is a panther.


This is of course Bolongo, the baby panther we saved from the kids all those years ago. If you show him Bianca’s Ribbon he’ll join the party. If you then head back to the town they think you tricked them — you were in league with the monster the whole time. They pay up the 1500 gold but aren’t happy about it.

Now there’s a rumor that at least the hero’s shield is on this continent, so let’s head out to the largest town where there’s a rich man rumored to have many treasures…

SFC Game 11 – Dragon Quest V

Game 11 – Dragon Quest V 

Dragon Quest V: The Heavenly Bride (ドラゴンクエストV 天空の花嫁) 
Released on 9/27/1992, published by ENIX

This is surely the best known game on my list so far. Of course the Dragon Quest series is the pioneer RPG series in Japan, and as far as I know it still outsells Final Fantasy there. The first four games in the series were all localized into English for the NES. They went all out for the first two, improving the graphics and adding a battery save (the Japanese versions of I and II used passwords instead of save files!) They also changed the names to sound more high fantasy (e.g. “Loto” to “Erdrick”) and translated the dialogue in a pseudo-archaic style, whereas the original Japanese is standard colloquial language.

Unfortunately after IV, it was 9 years until the next game came out in English. V and VI, the Super Famicom titles, were skipped, along with the remakes of the first three games. However, complete or nearly complete fan translations of both games were done in the early 2000s, letting Western players experience them. Subsequently the DS remakes of both games were localized.

So this game is pretty well known and can be experienced in English both in original and remake form. If the only purpose of this blog was to document unknown games, I would skip this, but I also just want to have fun playing good Super Famicom games.

Anyone who has played the first 4 games will feel right at home here; Dragon Quest has always kept a more consistent gameplay style than Final Fantasy. The sound effects are all the classic ones, and Sugiyama’s music and Toriyama’s character and monster designs are familiar. Of course there are new elements as well.

Kurisu is born

The game starts out with a short prologue featuring the birth of the hero (and death of his mother). We then jump 8 years later, with Papas (the main character’s father) returning to his hometown with Kurisu. While Papas catches up at the port with old friends, Kurisu wanders out of town and gets in the first battle:

Aren’t they cute?

The slime is the iconic enemy of Dragon Quest, so it’s almost always among the first monsters you encounter. Three slimes is a bit much for 8 year old Kurisu, but Papas quickly comes in to support and make quick work of the enemies. Then we continue on to Papas’ hometown. While Papas is engaged with other stuff, Kurisu is able to wander off into the first quest — finding a medicine maker who has been trapped in a cave in the town. Fortunately the merchants are willing to sell weapons and armor to an 8 year old. By the way, you can finally see the stats of equipment and who can equip it before you buy it. I think maybe Heracles III had this too, but none of the other games.

Youngest RPG protagonist?

One thing I’ve always liked about DQ is how dying takes you back to the last place you saved with half your money, but everything else intact. Coupled with the ability to store money in a bank (or just buy equipment with it), this usually means that you don’t have to grind before you can even attempt a dungeon. You can always try your best and then just accept the death, and next time you try you’ll be stronger. Once you get the “leave dungeon” and “return to town” spells it’s even better.

Kurisu saves the medicine guy, with Papas none the wiser. Now it’s off to Alpaca to the west, to deliver the medicine. Here Kurisu meets Bianca, the innkeeper’s daughter. They see some kids tormenting a “cat” of some sort, but they promise to release it if you’ll clear the ghosts out of a nearby castle. Of course we have to sneak out at night so our parents don’t know.

Bianca and Kurisu, kid power

The castle is a little harder than the caves. It has a delightfully creepy atmosphere, with ghosts everywhere, things moving on their own, and such. 

Skeletons in beds
It even has an inn you can stay in, which transports you back to the beginning by an old man’s ghost. I wasn’t aware of this at first and walked all the way back to the town. Papas takes ill by the same sickness Bianca’s dad had, so that gives you as many nights as you need to finish the castle.

Skeletons ready to eat you for dinner
The brownies are tough enemies who miss most of the time but get criticals that can take a lot of HP off. I lost to the boss ghost once, but once Bianca learns the lower defense spell it’s much easier.

The boss ghost

Once you beat the boss ghost, the ghosts of the king and queen can re-enter their graves, thus calming the castle down. The kids then agree to give you the cat, who is actually a baby panther. One of the new features of this game is that you can recruit monsters. DQ4 had some monsters you could get on your team but they were set by the plot; this game lets monsters join you after battle. Here’s some nice fan art of Kurisu, Bianca, and the panther.

Bolongo the baby panther, of indeterminate gender

Papas then recovers and we head back home, leaving Bianca behind. Now it’s time for Kurisu’s third secret adventure. A wispy elf, who only Kurisu can see, appears and leads Kurisu up some stairs to a secret land of elves. The head elf needs a wind flute to restore spring to the land.

Are you sure this isn’t just a dream?

An elf, Bera, joins you as well, although you can’t change her equipment. I was finally able to buy the Boomerang for Kurisu. This is a nice weapon that’s new to the series with DQ5; it can hit all the enemies. There are also whips that can hit a group. The damage goes down after the first target but they’re still pretty good.

Slimes, humans, and elves living together. How nice.

The elf quest involves two parts. First you have to go learn the technique of the thieves’ key from a dwarf in a cave. Then once you have that, you can open the door to the ice cave up north. The ice cave is interesting because you have to plan your movements. You go sliding around when you walk a direction so it takes some experimentation to get everywhere and recover all the chests.


Finally we confront the boy who stole the flute, and it turns out he was being tricked by an evil magician.

Fortunately Bera also has the lower defense spell

This completes the elf quest, and the elf leader is able to restore spring to the land. He promises that when Kurisu becomes an adult, he’ll repay the favor.

Of course Papas continues not to know anything about his son’s adventures, and next we’re off to a castle. It seems the new queen favors her own son over her stepson’s, who is first in line. Papas is assigned to look after the crown prince, although he’s a big jerk. It’s not very long before bandits come in on the queen’s orders and kidnap Henry (the crown prince). 

Give him back!
They’re supposed to kill him, but they decide to sell him into slavery instead; same result, plus they get money. This time Papas jumps into action, leaving on his own to find Henry, and making you follow behind. After progressing through a twisty cave, Kurisu catches up with Papas and we find Henry, in the clutches of some sort of warlock or demon named Gema. Gema sends his lackeys after Papas, who fights them off easily. 

Jami and Gonz, the minions
But then Gema grabs Kurisu and holds a knife to his throat, forcing Papas to stand while the lackeys beat him up.

“Gonz’s attack! Papas takes 18 points of damage! Papas dies!”

So Kurisu gets to watch his father beaten up and killed. Gema then attacks, and easily wipes the floor with both Kurisu and the panther.


Once Kurisu is knocked out, Gema decides to sell both Henry and Kurisu into slavery, and throw Bolongo out in the wild where he’ll revert back to being a normal wild panther. This is the end of the first section of the game, and the story moves ahead 10 years — Kurisu and Henry are still slaves.

Grown up Kurisu, pushing rocks

That’s a remarkably dark turn of the story. There are a lot of parent deaths in video games but here they actually let you travel around with your dad and do stuff with him, so it’s a lot more emotional when he dies, especially since you have to watch the enemies chip him down with attacks, while he just sits there and skips his turns. Not only that, but then Kurisu spends more than half his life as a slave.

So that’s where I’ll end this post. I’m already several dungeons beyond this so I’ll have another big post on Saturday.
I’m not sure I can adequately communicate how fun this game is compared to the garbage I’ve played before it. I’m looking forward to playing the game, and I don’t have to use any speedup buttons or anything like that. 

SFC Game 10 – 3×3 Eyes Seima Korinden Review

After I wrote the last post, I learned about a trick that got me past the final boss. Due to a bug, if you successfully run from the final boss, it counts as beating him. Although he always starts with a fire breath attack, it sometimes will do 100 or 50 instead of 300. So if you just load state enough (or actually go through the entire dungeon again), eventually you can get lucky enough to not die and then run. This is the only alternative to hours of grinding. Since Guptar’s XP is glitched (it starts at ~700 for the next level but then jumps to 18,000 after your first battle, and her defense goes down), I feel it’s only fitting to use another glitch to get past it.

The ending is pretty short; Guptar uses the power of the demon statue to restore her clan, and Pai and Yakumo go off to rest. After the credits there’s a teaser scene; I don’t know if they planned another game which was never made, or if they were simply encouraging you to read the manga.

On to the review.

Story/Characters: These are both problematic. Although the game provides enough background for you to understand the basics, this is clearly intended for fans of the series. None of the characters are fleshed out more than just brief outlines, and there’s very little dialogue in the game beyond where to go next and what to do. The story feels incomplete — it’s adapted from the manga, but it doesn’t start at the beginning, and the manga wasn’t finished yet when the game came out. The story is more like a series of episodes than a unified plot. If you’re not familiar with 3×3 Eyes it’s going to be hard to appreciate what’s going on.

World: The game takes place in the real world. You’re based in Hong Kong but you travel to India, Greece, and Tibet. The areas have different designs and classic locations like Mount Olympia and the Himalayas. Not bad, I guess.

Game Flow: The dungeons are quite long, and often involve essentially repeating the same task several times — for instance, finding 5 separate statues in five sections of a dungeon. Although the dungeons are large and confusing, they’re fairly easy to map because they’re a grid-based layout like the early Zelda games. 

Of course, the largest problem with the flow comes from the XP bug that afflicts both Haan and Guptar. It means that unless you’re willing to use save states and other glitches, you’re going to spend many hours grinding levels. Playing this on a real console would be an exercise in masochism.

One other issue, if you’re not using a walkthrough, is that flying around to the various areas costs $4000. This is a significant sum of money even later in the game. If you go to the wrong place, or it turns out you forgot items (like the Plastic Bombs), you have to spend $8000 to rectify your error.

System: Pai and Yakumo have plenty of MP, and can afford to constantly spam their magic and techniques. This makes most of the monsters quite easy to deal with, including the bosses. The biggest problem with the game is the fact that you get a game over if anyone other than Yakumo’s HP reach 0. If it weren’t for this, the game would be sleepwalk easy. Unfortunately, Haan and Guptar join with very low HP that makes them sitting ducks for the enemies. A game over sends you back to the title screen and your last save.

But even beyond that, the RPG elements are undeveloped. Equipment is almost non-existent in the game, and getting more than the first buyable stuff involves a complicated method that’s not worth the tiny benefits. Most dungeons have no chests, and the ones that do aren’t very good. There are few monsters, and even in the final dungeon you can encounter monsters from the first dungeon. Pai and Yakumo gain very few additional spells, meaning that what you start with is basically what you’ll have for the whole game. 

One feature that is interesting is the white pieces of paper you can buy and then turn into talismans that have various effects (healing, curing status effects, escaping from the dungeon). It’s a bit more interesting than the standard items.

There’s no inventory limit!!

Side Quests/Optional Content: None

Graphics/Sound: The music is fine. 

The graphics are normal for the era. The opening and conclusion have some nice cutscene graphics, and there are one or two other instances of this in the game. The map sprites have no faces, but I guess that’s something I can overlook.

Interface: Standard for this era. You can’t see the stats of equipment before you buy it, or what any of the items do. Fortunately there is one button for talk and search so you don’t have to choose that from a menu.

I am finally at the end of the 5 game “kusoge” sequence. Out of the five games, I would say Villgust was the best — it’s dull and tedious but playable. Maka Maka is interesting and if you can deal with the bugs it’s OK. Fist of the North Star is more or less playable but requires a lot of grinding at parts and is extremely slow and tedious to play. Light Fantasy is unplayable. 3×3 Eyes is boring, but decent up until the final dungeon, when it becomes unplayable unless you’re willing to use glitches.

Out of all the games I would say Light Fantasy is the worst.

Next up on the list, from this site, is Shodai Nekketsu Kunio-kun. This is a game in the long-running Kunio-kun franchise, which Western players know from games like River City Ransom and Crash ‘n’ the Boys: Street Challenge. These games were heavily modified in localization. As for Shodai Nekketsu Kunio-kun, it’s marginal as an RPG. It’s basically a beat-em-up game but you can level up and equip things, and there is some degree of exploration. As I posted a while back, I find it very difficult to objectively define an action RPG in a way that includes games like Secret of Mana but excludes games like Castlevania II.

For me Kunio-kun is borderline, and because there is a translation patch and walkthroughs, I’m going to skip it. Which means next up is Dragon Quest V. Finally, a game that should be good!

SFC Game 10 – 3×3 Eyes Seima Korinden Part 2 (Final)

This game ends in failure, which is perhaps the best it deserves. But let’s go through the steps anyway.

The last post left off with me heading to Mexico to find the remaining keys to sealing off the pillar of light. The primary location in Mexico is Teotihuacan, where you have to visit the temples of the Sun and Moon in order to gain the favor of the gods — essentially the same story as in Greece.

The dungeon is very long, and the encounters aren’t very interesting. Some of them are from the early parts of the game, but no matter what the encounter is you can beat it by using Yakumo’s Tuchao magic, one of Pai’s summons, and an attack from Jake. This is true for basically the rest of the game — even the strongest monsters in the final dungeon fall to a single spell from Yakumo or Pai. Sometimes when you first get to a dungeon the monsters will be faster than you and be able to get in one attack, but since you regain HP on level up you don’t even really have to heal.

Eventually we reach the first bosses of the game, over halfway through the game:

The game’s first boss

These are three Inca or Mayan priests of some sort. On my first try I got killed before I got a turn, so I had to do a bit of grinding to be able to survive. Once you can survive one turn you’re fine because you can heal whoever got hurt. This is actually the hardest boss fight in the game with the exception of the final boss. Once the priests go down, you get the 4th key, and find the 5th key in a chest. Now we can seal off the holy land.

The holy land itself is another very long dungeon. You have to go to five separate areas and find five statues, who question you about their element and its relation to the human body. Once you find all five you can proceed to the last area.

One of the five statues

There are no chests in this dungeon. This is fairly common in the game; probably half or more of the dungeons have no chests. Items and equipment are not very important — weapons help, but armor really doesn’t do that much. The amount of defense you get from a piece of armor is equivalent to about one level up, and the later game equipment is annoying to get. You have to spend not only money, but jewels as well, which requires going around to shops in the various countries and buying them. It’s not worth the trouble. You also don’t really need items since you can create anything you need using those blank papers you buy for 10 dollars.

Finally we reach the center of the holy land and take on Taisoei.


He went down in two attacks. That seems weak for such a major enemy — I wonder if they made a mistake in his HP?

Now that we’ve completed this major goal, Ling Ling has another job for us. It seems rather anticlimactic but since they’re following the manga (which hadn’t ended at the time this game was made), it’s not going to have a real plot arc. Jake leaves the party and Haan joins, which is unwelcome. Haan’s HP are low, and there’s some sort of glitch or mistake with his XP. Normally you need about 500-600 for each level, but Haan needs 8000 for the first level. I think this is because they set his level but then set his total XP to the wrong value.
You suck Haan
After getting a few new summons for Yakumo, the next task is to go to Greece again to help Haan look for magic books. With a new labyrinth key we can open up a dungeon and find a couple of magic books and a good weapon for Pai. Then it’s off to Tibet, where a demon named Nauthiz is causing problems in the Himalayas. There’s another large dungeon where you have to blow up 9 statues to get stone fragments, and then place them in 9 altars at the end. The door then opens up and you can face Nauthiz.

Nauthiz, the next boss

Nauthiz will kill Haan in one hit, which is a game over. So you basically have two options — grind levels until Haan can survive a hit, or just try the fight a few times and hope he doesn’t attack Haan. This is what I did (using save states). It would be annoying on a real console because the dungeon is long. Unfortunately you have to fight a second boss, who can also kill Haan in one hit. Both bosses go down very quickly as long as you use 99 power spells, you just have to hope for luck.


Once you beat these, there’s a long story sequence. Pai is upset because she thinks all the fighting is because of her. On the flight home, a magician named Guptar attacks the plane, capturing Pai to try to capture the secret of immortality.

Lots of plane flights in this game

You fight Guptar:

A doomed battle

This is a story loss, though, and the plane goes down, killing everyone. Yakumo can’t die, of course, and Haan gets away through magic. Pai is captured by Guptar. Yakumo then goes searching for Pai at Aberdeen (Hong Kong, not Scotland). I don’t know what happens if your HP reach 0 during this part, since it’s only Yakumo. It’s unlikely to happen anyway. In a laboratory at Aberdeen, Yakumo defeats Guptar and then learns the secret of her clan:

Guptar’s race inside capsules

She needs the immortality power to keep her clan from dying off. After a quick boss fight, Guptar runs away and we head back to India to find Pai. She’s being held by Galga, the final foe of this game. After going to a treasury for a key, it’s off to the final dungeon. Here we recover Pai, and then fight Galga, who goes down pretty quickly.

Galga, the final boss?

But no, this isn’t quite it. Galga is trying to fuse with a devil statue to become Gasshin Galga, who will be the true final boss. Unfortunately, Guptar joins. Here’s her stat screen:

Utterly absurd

As you can see, she needs 17000 XP to move up a level. The final boss uses an attack that does 300 damage to everyone, so you’ll need to raise Guptar at least one level to survive. It will take over 100 battles to do this, possibly as many as 130 or 150. I tried to use a cheat code to increase XP after a battle but it didn’t work. This game is not worth grinding that much XP, so this is where my playthrough will end.

(Incidentally, if you’re playing without save states you also have to deal with random enemies that can do the 300 damage fire breath as well. If they get a surprise attack and use that, all your hard work is gone. This is a low probability, but it can happen.)

Gasshin Galga, you win this round. Or really, bad game design wins.

So that’s 3×3 Eyes. It joins Light Fantasy in the “unplayable” category. But thankfully I’m done with this “5 kusoge in a row” sequence and I can move on to some games that should actually be good. Review to follow in a few days.

(EDIT: I discovered there’s a bug where if you successfully run from the final boss it counts as defeating him. Since the last boss doesn’t always do the 300 damage fire breath, this means I can use save states to “beat” him. I may do this to see the ending, so if so I’ll post that along with the review.)

SFC Game 10 – 3×3 Eyes Seima Korinden

3×3 Eyes: Legend of the Advent of the Divine Demon (3×3EYES 聖魔降臨伝)

Released on 7/28/1992, published by Yutaka
Fifth and last in the series of 5 crappy games in a row is 3×3 Eyes: Seima Koriden. This is based on a manga (pronounced “sazan eyes”) by Yuzo Takada, which ran from 1987-2002 and has a continuation that may still be running. I’m not overly familiar with the series. I know that the main character, Yakumo, is immortal after being resurrected by the demon Pai. Pai’s goal is to become human, but they have to fight off all kinds of demons and monsters throughout the series.
Supposedly this game is based on stories from the manga, but I won’t be able to comment on this since I only read volume 1, a long time ago.
The big problem with this game seems to be the system where any death (other than Yakumo, who can’t die) is a game over. I never like the systems where you get a game over when certain characters’ HP drop to 0. It seems to introduce too much tension into the game just based on luck of critical hits and the like. But this system has been used so far in GDLeen, Light Fantasy, Hokuto no Ken 5,  and I think Villgust. What makes it so bad in this game is that Pai is too weak, and the third character that changes from time to time tends to be weak as well. Also there’s no system in this game where you can keep your levels and items gained since your last death, it’s just game over. 

But most of the complaints seem to center around the final dungeon, where you get a party member who dies in one hit to the final boss. People say it takes 3-5 hours to build up the character to the point where he can survive, and you can’t save your game, and the grunt monsters can also sometimes kill the character in a hit. I can guarantee right now that when I hit this point I will use a cheat code to make the levelling fast.

Anyway, let’s get started. The opening story is hard to follow since I don’t know any of the characters or what happened in the first 5 manga volumes, but essentially a pillar of light appears. Pai, who has been away, reappears, asking for Yakumo’s help again. A great demon named Taisoei will soon enter the world through a hole that has opened up to the Holy Land.
Pai’s return

In order to close the hole, we have to find 5 keys, make a covenant with someone at Kunlun mountain, and then defeat Taisoei. Helping us find these keys is Ling Ling, a magazine editor. Fortunately one of them, a sword, is right by the light pillar so we’re already on our way. Pai calls Takuhi, a large bird thing, to take us to Hong Kong.


Our next clue is an incense burner, which is sold in town, but unfortunately a man named Jake already used it, so we have to fly all the way to Tibet to find him. The ticket costs $4000, and this is one of the second complaints I’ve seen about the game. There are various things you can do in the game due to poor design or bugs that can leave you stuck. In this case, if you fail to buy Plastic Bombs before you go to Tibet, you’ll have to spend $8000 to return to Hong Kong and back to Tibet again. You can’t afford to make many mistakes like this when the monsters give you little money at the beginning (and there aren’t any monsters at this point in the game).

Jake’s not happy to see a little kid free him

Anyway, once we do reach Tibet with the bombs, we can free Jake from prison. He’s a treasure hunter who is looking for immortality, and he gives you the incense burner as long as he can come along. Yakumo has a sword and there’s a dagger for Pai, but at this point in the game you can’t buy any equipment and Jake has no weapon. There are a lot of little strange design choices like this throughout the game.

One interesting feature is the “white paper” you buy for $10. You can use these to create talismans, which have various effects (healing, escape from dungeon). I’m not sure exactly how the system works; you say which type you want to create and then how many, but you don’t always get the number you specify. You can do it on the fly, though, which is helpful in dungeons.

Now that we have the Incense burner (key #2), Ling Ling has more information — the next key (a sacred spear) can be found in Greece. So it’s off to Athens. Here we go to the Ruins of Agora which is the first actual dungeon of the game.

The battle system is nothing unusual. You take turns attacking, defending, or using items. Yakumo has a few spells he can use and Pai can call on various demons. These are quite powerful and stick around for several turns. They have a base MP cost but you can spend extra points for more damage. They’re cheap to cast, and you recover all MP and HP on level up, so Pai can pretty much use these any time she wants. From what I can tell, nobody gets any additional moves on level up, so what we start with is it.
There are two other options. Yakumo can heal himself but it heals so little that it’s not worth it. Pai has a move called “Sanjiyan”; I’m not sure what it does. In the manga she gets more powerful when her third eye on her forehead opens, but maybe Pai has to be low HP or something like that for it to work. 
Pai summons Feioh
When you get a critical hit, there’s a cutin image of the character:

Our goal in Greece is to find the Holy Spear, which will require meeting various Greek gods and going through dungeons. The dungeons are all laid out on a grid system a little like Legend of Zelda:

A dungeon

This makes it fairly easy to map things out. Like a lot of games from this era, there’s basically nothing in the dungeons except for a few treasure chests (most of which are worthless) and the goal. In general there seems to have been a stronger feeling in older games that simply wandering around and fighting monsters was its own reward.

This is what we do in Greece:

  • Go into Agora to find the statue of Agora
  • Trade it for Hadrian’s key, which opens the next dungeon
  • Find Zeus’ statue, get a book, and blow the statue up with a Plastic Bomb (hope you brought one or it’s time to spend $8000)
  • Go to Olympia, where you can finally buy armor (though it’s pretty expensive). Yakumo has to use a knife to draw his own blood, which along with the Zeus statue fragments, opens the next dungeon (Hera Shrine)
  • Go through the Hera Shrine to a secret entrance to Zeus shrine, find the Sacred Stone
  • Show the stone to a priest at Athos
  • Go to Delphi, buy Medusa Eyes, go through Apollo’s temple and show Apollo the eyes, then go to Mount Olympos and use the eyes on Medusa statue to go to the Temple of the Sky
    The statue of Medusa

  • Find the Propylia key, go back to Athens, go in the Parthenon Temple, and get the Holy Spear from Zeus.

There’s a certain sameness to all of this. The dungeons are all very similar. There aren’t any bosses, and there really isn’t any story other than “here’s where you go next”. At least the encounter rate is low, so exploring the dungeons doesn’t feel like a slog. So far the game is pretty easy as well. I did encounter one monster that did almost Pai’s max HP but with Jupiter Talismans (which heal full HP) and Pai’s spells it wasn’t really that difficult.

Now we’re off to Mexico to find the next key.

As I said in the last update, I’m going to be on vacation this week so I don’t know when the next update will be. I may not be able to get one out next Saturday but definitely July 15th at the latest. Every other chronoblog seems to be on summer break too so I guess I’m just joining the party.