Monthly Archives: June 2019

SRPG Game 20 – Sword Master (Part 3)

Battle 16

On the way to the dwarf village we encounter a group of Dark Elves — despite the story making them seem scary they’re just basic enemies.

The dwarf chieftain initially refuses to help us but when Aks shows him the God Orbs he agrees to help, and gives us a bunch of armor and weapons. They’re just basic upgrades like Chainmail, so I’m not sure what makes them particularly useful against the dark elves. There was also a movement ring which I gave to the iron golem — he moves so slowly that I haven’t even gotten to make an attack with him yet; I’m not sure this upgrade will help much but he might get a chance.

There’s also a little event you can do in town (I’m not sure if it’s optional or not) with a wounded child. This gets me 20 healing herbs, and then a dwarf joined the party. Now we continue on to Crystoll Temple and encounter another set of Dark Elves.

Battle 17

I now have 22 units which makes the turns take a while. This is a really long fight because of how long it takes to move everyone and how many people do 1 damage. This is a general problem with this game and it’s exacerbated by the way the XP system works. It seems to me like your XP gains are partly dependent on the amount of damage you do, which means weaker characters have a really hard time catching up.

After this, Aks makes it to the port town that will take him to Crystoll Temple. But the ship only holds 10 people, so you have to select who to bring. I took my highest damage dealers, and a magician and priest.

On the other side of the ship, there’s a black fog that separates Aks from his companions, and all four Shitteno are waiting for him.

He’s ready to fight them all, but…

Arselia is there, and they threaten to kill her. So they start beating Aks up and he doesn’t resist…but then they kill Arselia anyway. This pisses Aks off so much that some light energy comes out of him and gets rid of the black cloud, bringing in the companions.

Battle 18

You would think a fight against all the Shitenno at once would be difficult, but it really wasn’t. Partly this is due to the horrible AI, which made the Shitenno hardly move and sometimes not use spells even when they were in range. But also they seem to be the same strength they were when you first fought them. So Gazes, the first one you fight, is incredibly weak.


Once the fight is over, Aks apologizes to Arselia’s corpse….

Except she’s still alive! The dragon gave her protection against the Shitenno earlier in the story, so this protected her. She an Aks share a romantic(?) moment.

She then opens the temple for us, and Aks has her go back to her village while he goes in. No battles here, but Aks receives the Holy Sword from a goddess who watches over those from Aks’ village. He isn’t sure why someone who is the son of the devil can use the Holy Sword, but the goddess doesn’t have answers. Aks heads back and picks up all the party members, as well as two new Holy Knights from the temple — they’re helpful because they have healing spells.

From this point on we have all 24 members but the game never gives you enough equipment to make using them all viable. In the last set of battles I basically used a small party of Aks, Ganesha, and the ninja guy for damage, Mute for magic damage, all the healers, and then the dragon knights and horse knights in cases where I needed to charge ahead and take out magicians before they could do too much damage (or to do the last 2-3 necessary to kill something). I also got another MP restoring ring which meant I could use the other magician as well.

Aks heads towards the cave leading to Dark Castle, and meets Arselia along the way, who tells him that there’s another evil power in the castle besides Balgas.

Next up is a series of 4 or 5 grunt battles as Aks makes his way through the caves to Dark Castle, and then the castle itself. None of them were particularly hard; with all that healing and the powerful attacks of Aks and Ganesha, plus two magicians with MP restore, the enemies are quite easy.

Finally, Aks reaches Balgas’ room.

Balgas threatens the party, but Aks just retorts that Balgas is a plaything of his dad. And that seems to be the case since he has low HP and is no harder than any other boss in the game (he has the same HP total as the first boss in the second stage of the game). Balgas does indicate that he’s serving some other boss than Aks’ dad but doesn’t explain further.

After the battle, Aks sends Balgas’ spirit back to the demon world, and then you get a chance to talk to one party member (with a voiced sequence). Aks says he has something else to do, and then goes back with a small party to a warp zone behind Balgas’ throne.

This is Lucifer, who serves Aks’ dad Satan(!); he initially pretends to be congratulating Aks but then declares he’ll control the world, etc. The fight is not very hard because Aks is ridiculous and you get two healers. Aks then decides to use Satan’s power one time to banish Lucifer.

Aks now returns to the mainland and begins to live a quiet life with Arselia, which includes sex because this is on the PC Engine.

But after a while Aks decides he needs to go settle the score with Satan before he can live in peace, and leaves Arselia in the night, saying he’ll be back. She cries and the game ends — nice happy ending!

Romancing SaGa update

Sorry I haven’t posted on RS2. I’ve reached the final dungeon, but I’m too weak to actually take on the final boss. I also got annoyed that I missed the Elixir spell because I didn’t know fusion magic takes a generation shift to learn.

I’m not a huge fan of grinding, and it looks like I’m going to have to do a fair amount to stand a chance against the final boss. I’m not sure what to do — I’m considering using cheat codes to give a few people Elixir and raise my weapon and spell levels to 40, which is apparently a reasonable (but not excessive) point to take on the final boss. Or I could just move on to the next game.

I just finished Sword Master on my other blog and I’m going on vacation for 4th of July week, but I’ll hopefully have some sort of RS2 update within the next week or two and then move on to the next game, Yume Maboroshi no Gotoku.

SRPG Game 20 – Sword Master (Part 2)

One aspect of the battle system I overlooked in the manual that’s useful to know — if you have multiple allies around a monster (up to 3) they can all attack at the same time, and the enemy only gets to counterattack the initial attacker. This is very helpful to let weaker characters join a fight. The enemies will also use this technique against you.

Battle 7

Aksu’s party continues towards the cave, stopping at a fortress. Enemies attack and the entire fortress battalion flees, but two remaining archers join the party. The enemy attacking is Prince Serius. I guess I didn’t get any screenshots of this battle but it wasn’t too bad. When we beat Serius, a disembodied voice tells us that he was being controlled by evil powers, and so we just killed the prince who wasn’t acting out of his own will.

Battle 8

This is actually a series of battles in the cave; the first one is the hardest battle I’ve faced yet. 12 gargoyles who have very long movement range and do decent damage. I had to reload a lot and keep repositioning my guys until I survived. Aksu’s Return magic doesn’t work in these fights.

I believe this is one of my failures

The cave has a bunch of tricks and traps, and you have to find two keys to get through to the final room where the next of the Shittenno is waiting.

Aksu is pretty great

She was strangely easy, doing only 1 damage to everyone while I beat the tar out of her.  Unfortunately, she kills Ris Tis, who can only tell us to find the 4 Jimmu orbs (I mistook these as “god weapons” in the last post) to turn into the sacred sword which can beat Belgas. The first of the orbs is in the Dark Castle.

This ends the cave section and now we’re on to Dark Castle itself.

Battle 9

The castle is similar to the cave, with several intermediate battles and then the boss, who is the next of the Shitenno. He was the one who controlled Prince Serius, and now guards the blue orb, the first of the God orbs.

After the fight we get the typical “castle is crumbling” but we can’t escape, until a dragon rider shows up to save the party.


Not only does Akurus save us, but he also offers to lead us to his home, where the Red Orb is in the care of a dragon.


After the long cave and castle, there’s now an extended section with no battles. First, we travel to a fortress where we actually get some equipment ugprades! It’s disappointing that the previous dungeons have no chests or items, but the fortress gives some weapon and armor upgrades, and some herbs. Of course they can’t spare anyone but in the next town there’s the opportunity to trade a jewel from the fortress to hire a mercenary. You have a choice between 3 (this is why the instruction manual says you can get 24 out of 26 characters in a playthrough). I chose the female warrior.


Next up is the cave. First we reunite with Aselia, who is sad to hear about Ris Tis’ death. She has been summoned here by the dragon Bistors about the Crystoll Temple.

Bistors seems to know who Aks is, calling him the たわむれの落とし子 — I’m not sure what a good translation for that is. Joke child? The dragon thinks that Aks can defeat Balgas if he can gather the 4 orbs and unseal Crystoll Temple, where the orbs will become the Holy Sword — this is something only the Meifu Clan can do, and Aselia is the only one of them left. She isn’t sure how to do this, but they eventually find out that Aks needs to use an item Ris Tis gave him. Aselia heads for Crystoll by herself while Aks looks for the other orbs (and gets the red orb from the dragon). But the cave gets attacked by the 3rd of the Shitenno.

Battle 10

The 4th of the Shitenno has a strong attack, but other than that the battle’s not too tough. The damage in this game is so variable that you can just reset until you get 2-4 damage instead of 18 damage.

Aks’ next goal is across the sea, where he hopes to meet a magician who knows more about the orbs.

Battle 11

Crossing the sea is tough because there’s a ghost ship. Of course it attacks the ship Aks takes. The ship itself has a few battles against skeletons, and then the boss, another Shitenno. He’s not especially difficult.

On the ship we also find out the spirit of Prince Serius is there; sorry for killing you.

On arriving in the new continent, it seems that Aks is a wanted man — everyone there believes that Serius’ evil activity was part of the kingdom’s wishes and that everyone else associated with Saturnia is bad. But somehow Aks immediately convinces him otherwise, and the king of this new place gives us the green orb! Also some new weapons, armor, and companions. How trusting!

Battle 12

This is a long battle on a large map, but it’s just grunts, so no problem. Our force is getting bigger — you can always use your full group!


Battle 13

Next up is Damud cave. This is another long cave with a lot of warp zones and incidental fights against grunts. Once we get through all that, Aks gets taken to a  room with the magician Zabra Muba, who reveals a lot of backstory.

Aks’ name

It seems that Aks is the child of a human priestess and the evil god, who was accidentally(?) summoned by these villagers. He reminds Aks that if he used his innate power he could crush Balgas without the Sacred Sword, but Aks is determined not to use his father’s power. It turns out that Zabra Muba was a childhood friend of Aks’ mother and escaped the village with her. After Aks was born, his mother returned to their village to warn them about its impending destruction, but it was too late and she was killed (maybe) along with the village. Zabra Muba and Aks were both put into hibernation by “that person” (Aks’ father?) 1000 years ago, and now they’re both back to deal with Balgas. So it’s off to Crystoll Temple.

Along the way we stop at a town to pick up a new party member (an Iron Golem) and then the next fight.

Battle 14

This battle had 1 enemy, which seems like a bug or programming error. There are other areas of the game that I feel are this way also — a few characters gain almost no experience from killing things, for no clear reason I can see. Sometimes you get no stat increases on a level up, particularly at odd-numbered levels.

Battle 15

Next we stop in another fortress, which gets attacked once again; this time you fight the two mercenaries that you didn’t hire back earlier in the game. I also started getting class upgrades here (which seems to happen around level 18-20). I’m not sure what the class upgrades do other than give you some stat boosts.

Then in the next town Aselia is there — she stayed back to warn us that the Shitenno are back with Dark Elf weapons, and the only way we’re going to be able to deal with those is to visit the dwarves in the nearby forest and get their special armor.

So that’s where I am now. Based on a Japanese “let’s play” of this game on Youtube, I’m at about the halfway point in the game.

SRPG Game 20 – Sword Master

Sword Master (ソードマスター)
Release Date: 11/19/1993
System: PC Engine
Developer: Right Stuff
Publisher: Right Stuff

This is the final game of 1993 and the final game on the PC Engine (check out my other blog for lots more PC Engine games, through 1996, but none of them are SRPGs.) It is almost totally unknown in the West and doesn’t have much presence in Japan either. There is a playthrough on youtube and a few blog posts about it, but no walkthrough sites.

The first thing I want to point out is the package; the back of the CD case just has a collage of combat scenes, which aren’t that impressive, and no text at all. It gives no indication of what kind of game it is or what it’s about at all.

According to the instruction manual, a great power once destroyed the world. Our main character, Aksu, has been born with a cursed destiny, and wanders the world by himself. He sees dreams that indicate he is the son of this great power. He has access to some sort of power but sealed it away.

Here is a video of the game up to the end of the second battle:

The game begins with a cinematic opening and a vocal song. Aksu then reaches a small town, where he comes across a girl stumbling into the bar; her village has been destroyed and the chief kidnapped. Aksu decides to escort her back. Along the way he meets some Orcs.

Battle 1

The battle system is pretty typical, although I believe this is the first game I’ve played that lets you move and attack in any order, with all your guys. That is, you can move a few people, attack with one of them, then move another, etc.

I noticed here that there is no money in the game. I still have not gotten any drops from monsters yet which means that everything you get is decided at specific points in the game?

The battle sequences are standard:

One annoyance is that sometimes people will get multiple strikes, and the enemies sometimes go before your character. The damage also can vary widely; I’ve seen 11 damage which on a reload was 1 damage. You can save any time, but there is only one save file. Aksu has the “Return” spell which works like Shining Force, so as long as he hasn’t moved yet it’s safe to save unless you’re in a battle that doesn’t allow Return (which the instruction manual mentions).

After the battle, Aksu refuses to spare the Orcs’ lives:

Yikes!

Battle 2

Aksu goes to see King Dalk VIII, who tells him that Balgas, an evil being, seems to have been reborn. Aksu takes immediate interest in that and decides to go take him out. The King gives him two companions — Ganesha the warrior, Belzes the knight, and Sesca the priest.

But before that, the King tests Aksu’s ability by having him fight some guards, which are no harder than the Orcs.

Battle 3

Before this battle there’s a cutscene where Balgas reawakens, and his four Shitenno minions agree to carry out his will.

Here is a video of the third battle:

After that battle Aksu and the party head on to the next town, Premia. Although you can explore the towns, the game is (so far) linear in that once you leave a town and clear the next battle, you can’t go back. Your progress follows a map:

This battle is pretty tough because the first of the Shittenno is there. His 32 HP are difficult to deal with, since he can attack 3 times in a round — I retreated the first time but the second time I won with reloading. Hope for misses!

You get medical herbs before the battle. These get equipped on a character, and when they reach 0 HP, the herb will automatically be used to restore to full HP. Since there are a limited number of these and no money or stores to buy new ones, I’m trying to avoid using them — I will let them get used on a boss battle or something like that, but if a random orc happens to do more damage than a character’s max HP (which has happened a few times) I’ll just reload.

Battle 4

The townspeople complain about monsters, and the chief tells us that without the God Weapon we won’t be able to seal Balgas — maybe the Meifu Tribe in Systore Village knows where it is. The chief doesn’t think they’ll talk to Aksu, but Aksu seems to know more about this Meifu tribe than the chief does…

Heading out to Systore there’s a battle, but it’s an easy one vs. grunt Orcs and Lizardmen.

Battle 5

Unfortunately Systore is deserted. Aksu eventually finds Aselia and some children hiding, who tell him that the chieftan, Tis Ris, knows where the God Weapons are — but he has been captured. So off to Dark Castle to try to recover him. On the way, there’s another grunt battle. It has some slight challenge because you start off surrounded, but the enemies themselves are the same as before.


Battle 6

Aksu and his party reach Quarg, an elf village. The townspeople complain about Balgas, and the chieftan tells us that they sent a party to a nearby cave that connects to Dark Castle, trying to recover Tis Ris, but there was one of the Shittenno there waiting for them. Two elves join our party and we’re off to the cave. But on the way another fight with random monsters — there are new monsters (Gargoyles) here that can move far.


Several people levelled up to 5 and gained no stats no matter how many times I reloaded…that’s odd.

SFC Game 37 – Romancing SaGa 2 (Part 4)

The Reign of the 10th Empress Emerald

Emerald had a short reign; I made a mostly female party to try the Rocbouquet quest, but after getting through the tower the Stone guardian slaughtered me.


 
The Reign of the 11th Empress Gertrude

I then decided that my best bet was to go back and try Dantarg again. At this point I started noticing a pattern to some of these bosses — if you just try them several times, eventually they might not use their high damage spells too many times. I also made sure that everyone had a healing spell so I could at least partially recover from getting hit.

With this in mind I was able to beat Dantarg on my 5th or 6th try. This caused a generation shift.

The Reign of the 12th Emperor Tesshu 

And now Tesshu was able to go do the Volcano quest to open up Dark Magic.


This makes a new tower that teaches Dark Magic, which I hope is useful — I’ve already started researching some combo magics.

With my success against Dantarg, I decided that Rocboquet was probably the next best bet, since you want to wait for the bridge to break for Subier so that he’s not in his more powerful form. Someone on the discord told me that it’s fine to just skip the whole ruins quest and fight Rocbouquet at the beginning, which is what I did.


This was basically the same as Dantarg; I just had to try it 5 or 6 times until she didn’t use her “hit all” magic attack too many times. Unfortunately I didn’t learn the defense against Temptation, which is apparently good for the final boss.

The Reign of the 13th Emperor Aurora 

Aurora was short lived because before I beat Subier I wanted to get as many formations as I could (since after you get the Final Emperor you can’t learn anymore). This involved suiciding 5 or 6 Emperors but I guess they don’t count in the line. Finally Epaminondas appeared, who is basically the same Imperial Guard as Tesshu.

The Reign of the 14th Emperor Epaminondas

Subier took me about 10 tries, but eventually he didn’t use his worst attacks and I beat him.

Now it’s time for Kurisu, the Final Emperor. Unfortunately I was not aware that fusion magic research required a generation shift, and that means I don’t have Elixir.

SFC Game 37 – Romancing SaGa 2 (Part 3)

The Reign of the Seventh Emperor, Tampuku

I decided to go with another Tactician (actually the next Emperor is a Tactician too, three in a row — probably a bad idea but oh well.) Tampuku’s first idea was to head out to the island of Komulune, where he easily solved a volcano problem by throwing an ice seed into the lava.

Two short missions followed next; clearing a desert tower to join the desert area to our Empire, and then destroying a big gem in a mine that was causing problems.

Tampuku’s reign came to an end in an interesting way. He saw a beautiful woman dancing at a bar and was determined to seek her out — she turned out to be a mermaid! He went on a quest to collect items to make a potion letting him breathe underwater. It would only work three times, but after three steamy nights with the mermaid, he decided he wanted to stay underwater.

And thus Tampuku was lost.

The Reign of the Eighth Emperor, Koukin

Koukin immediately received the long awaited news that the Privateer quest was open.

This is a pretty short quest that has us once again dealing with the pirates that we had dealt with before.

After doing this, Koukin seemed strangely suicidal, and went out to fight strong monsters for no purpose — almost as if he knew that the Emperor coming after him would be much better. He quickly died.

The Reign of the Ninth Emperor, Mazeran 

Mazeran is a Privateer, and thus I can finally learn the Rapid Stream formation, which lets everyone go first before the monsters. This seems to be generally considered the best formation in the game, with other formations being useful in some specific areas. After getting this the game got considerably easier, at least with respect to the random battles.

I kept building up my magic levels and finally began to research the first few Fusion spells.

Mazeran’s first act was to go after another one of the Heroes, Bokuohn. He is on a Landship, which requires sneaking on to (I went the route where you get the help of a Tactician, otherwise you have to lose all your equipment). Bokuohn himself was not that hard, because his main Marionette technique has no effect if you have the Rapid Stream formation.


After this I was limited in what I could do:

  • There’s another quest on the Volcano island but it hasn’t opened up yet. 
  • Rocbouqet requires a female Emperor (I think)
  • I tried Dantarg and he wiped the floor with me
  • The quest leading to Subier seemed not to be open yet

This left Wagnas. The quest leading to him is long and involves several dungeons, but with Rapid Stream and a steady supply of JP/MP healing items, it wasn’t too bad…until I got to Wagnas himself.

Wagnas uses a move called Psycho Bind that does more damage than the max HP of three of my characters, and leaves the other two below 100 hp. Seeing no chance of victory, I let this Emperor die.

This game is frustrating me in much the same way that RS1 did — it’s just not fun to me to go against these bosses that have these ridiculously powerful attacks. I’m at the point where I have no confidence of being able to do any of the events that are open to me, just because the bosses are punishingly hard and the system is so difficult to figure out. I’m also getting tired of every random battle being a potential game over. I was really hoping not to have to give up on this game like I did RS1, but if I keep having these experiences I think at some point I will have to move on. Or at least take a break and play a SRPG on my other blog.

SFC Game 37 – Romancing SaGa 2 (Part 2)

The Reign of the Second Emperor, Gerard

Now that Kujinshi has been defeated, Gerard decides to add the southern area to his empire. This first involves helping some monks by taking out a creature that is weak to magic.


This guy sucks, and it sucks even more once it starts showing up in random encounters. Having the free formation like this helps against a lot of bosses because if they have any horizontal range attacks they won’t hit more than one person. But with regeneration this guy is rough.

On the whole I think this game is too difficult; it’s even harder than RS1, and the game gives you so little information about what everything does (and how to get stronger) that it can be frustrating just to fight random battles. Maybe I’m just a wimp, but I’m using more walkthrough and guide help than I normally do just to figure out the system.

Next up is a fortress that is blocking the way to the next area. There are apparently a number of ways around this part; I just paid the dude to let me in but there’s a more intricate way that works out better in the end (I learned later).

In any case, beating the boss added the next area to my empire!

For some reason Gerard decided that was all he wanted to do in his reign, and it was 145 years until the story progresses — I guess probably there were multiple emperors between Gerard and the next one, but I’ll pretend that the witch’s power also gives the emperors longer life.

The Reign of the Third Empress, Onyx 

I chose a mage, Onyx, to take the throne next. She immediately decided that building a magic research guild was a great idea.

Now I can teach everyone magic, which helps out a lot, especially in raising the magic levels. It’s also nice that now the strategists in the castle can teach any skill that has been learned to any character — that makes it feel like you’re accomplishing things even if everyone dies.

Onyx decided that it was time to add to her empire, and went first to southern lands. This turned out to be quite simple; all she did was clear one mine of enemies and the entire region joined up.

Now Onyx heard also about some troubles in Cumberland to the east, and went there. This was a tough part and I had to kill off one guy who only had 1 LP before I left — if you leave the area before you finish the quest you get a “bad” ending and it affects things later on. I could have let this happen anyway but I decided to try to do it — which ended up being really difficult. I reloaded a lot, but I did manage to save Cumberland in the end, and they joined up.

Onyx was exhausted after this and decided she’d had enough of adventuring. She returned to Avalon to rule over her empire for another century.

The Reign of the Fourth Emperor, Theseus 

Next in line is Theseus. He actually went back to finish a quest that his ancestor had started — dealing with pirates. First, to even get a ship to go to the pirate HQ, Theseus had to do the villagers’ request to free a mine from monsters.

The boss exhibited the inconsistent difficulty of this game. When I tried it the first time I got this fight, which slaughtered me:

The second time I got this fight:

which was no problem. This was a big issue in RS1 as well, where random encounters could range from “mash A and win automatically” to “enemies do more than your max HP in damage, sometimes to more than one unit”. That didn’t start happening in RS1 until much later in the game, here it started happening very early.

Theseus next decided to venture to North Nazelle, which turned out to be a pretty easy quest (just beat a few dungeons and add to the empire).

But the next quest was the end of Theseus’ reign. The Steppe dwellers were having trouble with ants. Theseus made his way down to the bottom of a hole and found this boss, the Hive Queen:

And was summarily slaughtered, thus ending his reign.

The Reign of the Fifth Emperor, William

His successor, William, suffered the same fate.

At this point I wasn’t sure what to do — I had probably tried this boss 10 times and not even gotten close. I got some advice from Discord and a Japanese walkthrough to rely on Stun, but this requires having a unit faster than the Queen. Fortunately I had just built the Academy, which can give you a Tactician unit. I believe that once you recruit a unit you can then become that in the next generation, so we move on to the next Emperor.

The Reign of the Sixth Emperor, Shigen

Shigen took his party down to the Queen. At first this didn’t seem to be working but it turns out that armor slows you down. Once i took off Shigen’s armor, he was able to go first. Stun is not 100%, but it worked often enough that she didn’t wipe out my party, even when Shigen got paralyzed for a few rounds.

Once the Queen was defeated, Shigen decided that his single mission was enough for his reign, and 115 years passed before another ruler continued the quest.

On the whole I really think this game is just too difficult, and the system too opaque. But we’ll see if I can beat it. 

Two rejected games

One of the important elements of a strategy RPG for me is a developing story. To me, if it’s just a series of battles with no story sequences at all (other than maybe an introduction and ending), it’s lacking a key part that puts the RPG in the SRPG.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell from videos or descriptions whether games qualify, and my master list is peppered with question marks; I’ll evaluate those games as I get closer. Sometimes it’s hard to tell even after playing it — there are games that might technically qualify but are right on the line, and in these cases I just have to make an executive decision.

First on the chopping block is Dark Wizard, a Sega CD game. Although it has an opening sequence and there appears to be some slight story sprinkled around, it plays much more like a strategy game than an SRPG to me. It also looks like it’s a fairly long game and it goes slowly (even on an emulator), plus it’s available in English, so I’ll skip it.

Powers Kingdom, released as Guardian War in the US, is notable for being on the 3DO, an unpopular and expensive system that few people had or played. But as far as I can tell there is no story in the game other than a brief introduction and a very short ending. Once again, it’s available in English.

The twitch user Landail who is doing a playthrough of all English RPGs, has full plays of both of these games (on youtube or twitch), so if you want to see them, check out his channel.

Therefore the next game will be Sword Master, a PC Engine SRPG that seems to be very little known in Japan, much less the US.

SRPG Game 19 – Shining Force II wrap-up

 FACTS

  1. Turn type: Speed-based system, although each unit only acts once in a round.
  2. Maps: Medium. There is terrain that gives bonuses.
  3. Character Customization: Promotion of units at level 20.
  4. Character Development: Standard XP level system.
  5. Party Size: 14 on a map.
  6. Equipment: 4 items for each character, one equippable weapon, one equippable ring.
  7. Game Flow: 44 story battles; some can be repeated, and I think there may be a bit of freedom in certain parts.
  8. Saving: Only outside of battle.
  9. Death: Revive units at churches; very affordable.

 IMPRESSIONS

This is the fourth Shining Force game I’ve played so far on this blog, so it’s possible I’m getting a little tired of it, but I was rather disappointed in this game. 
As I said throughout my posts, this game is much heavier on the RPG elements than the previous entries. The storyline and setup is more about the normal RPG-style quests and not kingdoms battling each other or someone leading an army. There’s a lot more exploration on the world map, and more battles that feel like they could be normal RPG battles if they were just swapped out for random encounters.
And maybe that’s what caused my biggest problem with it — too many of the maps involve generic enemies, on a fairly generic battlefield, with no real purpose or story to the battle other than “this is who we fought on our way to the next place”. Unique enemies don’t start showing up regularly until near the end of the game.
That being said, this is not a bad game by any means. It fixed one of the major problems I had with SF1 in that units no longer lose stats on promotion, and the stat gains also aren’t as wildly random as they were in SF1. 
The story is longer and more detailed than SF1 as well, but does trend towards a standard RPG storyline than what I am used to seeing out of a strategy RPG.
Finally, I thought there were some balance issues in the later part of the game. Too many grunt enemies were doing 1/2-2/3 of the HP of some of my characters, which meant that any double attack (or two enemies attacking one guy) meant death for the unit. I had a few characters that did not take this much damage, and they formed the backbone of my fighting force — that was almost the sole deciding factor in who I used. It actually turned out that the archer I accidentally promoted to the armored vehicle was one of my best units because of that.
I know that a lot of people name this as their favorite Shining Force game, but it just didn’t draw me in.
Next up is Dark Wizard, another game for the Sega CD.