Monthly Archives: January 2020

SRPG Game 28 – Feda Emblem of Justice wrap-up

FACTS

  1. Turn type: Player and enemy take turns moving units of their choice.
  2. Maps: Medium. Terrain gives bonuses.
  3. Character Customization: None.
  4. Character Development: Standard XP level system.
  5. Party Size: Max 10, with the two main characters required.
  6. Equipment: Each character can have a weapon and a “wrist” armor.
  7. Game Flow: There are 12 “areas” which have several battles each; in some cases you can fight additional battles but for the most part it’s a single path.
  8. Saving: You can save in battle but you start at the beginning of the battle.
  9. Death: If the two main characters reach 0 hp you get a game over. Otherwise the character is “captured” and you have to spend 3 days rescuing them, which lowers your Libra (see the first post) and may force you to fight additional encounters.

IMPRESSIONS 

This game has a lot going for it. I think the player/enemy turn system is interesting and I’m surprised more games haven’t done it — it can be unpredictable at times, but so can a speed-based system when it doesn’t show you who will be next.
I like the “libra” system and the alternate goals for each map, even if it doesn’t always make sense (why should the reputation of your liberation army drop if you destroy robots or slime monsters?) 
The story is decent, and the voiced story sequences are good even if they are out of sync sometimes — I still don’t know whether this is due to the emulation or the game itself. I have had issues with PC Engine games not being in sync with the pictures also.
Unfortunately there are a lot of problems with the game that ultimately made it hard for me to enjoy it.
One is that the game is very slow. There are unskippable animations that are particularly long for spells, and there are a lot of battles (around 75).
The second is that the game is repetitive. Most of the battles seem to involve basically the same enemies, with a lot of palette swaps. Your characters never gain any new powers (with one or two exceptions), so while you are levelling up you don’t have that feeling of getting more spells or abilities. Money is limited so that you can’t really upgrade your equipment that much.
The third is balance issues that I mentioned before. There are too many enemies that can kill most of your characters in one hit from max HP. The AI mostly goes after Brian and Ain, and you can’t see how far the enemies can move, making it hard to know where to move them.
I would probably recommend the SNES version because you’ll be able to speed up the battles more (and there’s a translation patch).

SRPG Game 28 – Feda Emblem of Justice (Areas 8-12)

I found out late in the game that I was inadvertently cheating. The game has an in-battle save, but since it takes a long time to reset the game and go through the opening, so I used save states instead. But I noticed yesterday in the instruction manual that this in-battle saves starts you back at the beginning of the battle, not where you saved. So I’ve been cheating the whole time — but I’m not sorry. As slow as the battles are in this game, I would not have wanted to start over every time (especially with all the one-hit kill enemies).



Area 8

This area has to be done without Brian, but other than that it’s pretty much the same as the previous areas. The annoyance of enemies that can kill your guys in one hit continues.



Area 9

The main battle in this area is the final one against Rasetsu. It seems like a lot of SRPGs have one off-the-wall battle that makes you wonder what the designers were thinking. Rasetsu can only be hurt by Tobikage, who does about 6 damage (out of 70+ HP) per hit. Rasetsu’s attacks will kill Tobikage in one hit. Even though Tobikage can dodge things, he’ll never dodge 6-7 times in a row. Rasetsu will only attack Tobikage, though, and only if he’s in range. So what you have to do is wait until Rasetsu wastes his turn, then attack with Tobikage, then the next round move Tobikage out of Rasetsu’s range, and repeat until he’s dead. Annoying.


Area 10

The boss of this area is Flare. She is a magic user, and because magic is weak she’s not very effective. Her only sticking point is the Death spell that reduces someone to 1 HP. But because that takes her turn, as long as there’s not another enemy to come in and kill the 1 HP guy it’s not too bad (and you can always use a Survival Pack heal item after her turn).


Area 11

This area ends with a 1-on-1 fight with Task and Brian. Brian can’t be one-shotted by Task so just use two of Brian’s super moves and he’s gone.

Area 12 

The final area has three bosses. They all have basically the same strategy — kill most of the enemies (or all of them if you think your Libra can hold) and then take the boss on. Of course all the battles have insta-kill enemies. But the bosses are not so bad — like in a lot of strategy RPGs, most bosses lack the power to take on your entire force by themselves.

The final boss is a bit different — I could only do 3-4 damage per hit to his 96 HP. Fortunately he uses spells that aren’t very strong. But then one guy got a “Super critical” that did 80+ damage so I was able to take him down.

The game ends with another anime sequence, and then an ending that depends on your Libra ranking — I had the best so I got the best ending, although it’s just text. Then there are more evil dudes lamenting that Cobalt (the boss) failed…and TO BE CONTINUED (on the Playstation in a few years).

My quick review is that this game has a lot of good ideas and innovations, but is too slow and repetitive. I’ll write a more detailed wrap-up later.

SRPG Game 28 – Feda Emblem of Justice (Areas 3-7)

Many of the battles in this game don’t really have much to say about them, so I’ll only highlight a few of the ones that were tricky or had interesting things going on. I do wish the Saturn emulator wasn’t so resource intensive because this is definitely a game where having a good emulator speedup would help.

Area 3

Most of the battles in this area involved killing the 2 leaders, something that reoccurs in many battles. Ain and the crossbow girl both have paralyze moves that help holding off the enemies, but it’s perfectly fine to kill a few of them if you can’t handle just the two leaders without getting killed. The AI almost exclusively goes for Brian and Ain, which is both helpful and annoying.

I reached Fedayeen (the highest Law level) after this area, so it’s not especially hard to get.

Area 4

Mostly “beat the leaders”. Battle 22 has you get one unit up to the gate switch to open it. I used one of the flying units, and since most of the enemies were just going down towards Ain/Brian the flying unit was able to sneak in and open the gate. This doesn’t always work because some enemies will attack another unit in their range if they’re unable to reach Ain/Brian. Others won’t, even if they stop right next to an ally.

Area 5

One thing to note about this area is that the troopers wandering around the circle can be avoided; even if they encounter you, you can retreat from the battle and then move on. This helps with time and losing too much Libra.


Area 6 

Battle 35 introduces the annoying Kemp Trooper, which will show up in many battles beyond this. The worst part about this guy is that his special move (which he always uses) kills anyone in one hit. By Area 8 I had enough HP on Brian to survive one hit with single digit damage, but this means you really have to work hard to keep Brian out of their range, and also Ain unless Ain can dodge the attacks.

For several of these battles I could not just do the mission objective; I had to kill all but one or two enemies just to survive long enough to reach the stairs or the top of the map, etc. This never dropped my rank below Fedayeen, though.

Area 7

All the battles in this area are “defeat all monsters” so the game lags a bit here — I was reminded here of how slow and repetitive the game is when you don’t have the optional goals. The same rules apply as usual; watch for the units like the Kemp Troopers that can kill your units in one hit, exploit the enemy AI, and use a lot of special abilities. I subbed out a lot of units here; the mage was no longer pulling his weight so he got dumped for another fighter.

Five areas left. I know the post isn’t very detailed; one thing I always have trouble with is how much to write. I feel like writing detailed descriptions of all 70+ battles in this game would be tedious to read (and write!) and not of much interest to people who haven’t played the game. My usual assumption is that someone who hasn’t played the game should read the first post and then the wrap-up, although if the game can’t be played in English I try to give more detail.

SRPG Game 28 – Feda Emblem of Justice (Areas 1 and 2)

FEDA: The Emblem of Justice (フェーダ 〜 ジ・エンブレム・オブ・ジャスティス)
Release Date: 10/28/1994, remake 6/24/1996
System: Mega Drive, Saturn
Developer: Max Entertainment
Publisher:
Yanoman

This game was made by a number of the developers from Shining Force, and there are a lot of similarities between the games (such as the races, the equipment, 100 xp = level, no counterattacks, and such). There are a few important things unique to this system, though.

I have not seen the turn order system used in any other game. Each unit gets one move a turn, but you and the enemy take turns moving units of your choice. If you have 4 guys and the enemy has 8, you move one, then they move 2, then you move one, etc. until all the units have been moved. This is a little more predictable than a speed system but you have to be careful that you look for which units the enemy might be moving.

The game takes place in twelve “areas” which have maps like this:

You move from place to place, and enemies move as well. Additional enemies will come out of forts and such, so if you stay in one place you can grind.

But you might not want to, because the third significant gameplay feature is the alignment system. Your group has a rank that reflects their reputation (as a deserter band of rebels). There are nine ranks — four chaos ranks, one neutral, and four law. The rank is based on a hidden value called “libra”; the higher your libra, the more Lawful the rank. The rank will affect which characters you can recruit, and the ending. Characters can also leave if your rank changes, so if you start off Chaos but then try to get back to Law you may lose some of the characters that joined you.

The main way to affect Libra is the “mission” in each battle. Battles can end by defeating all enemies, but most battles also have an alternate win condition (like “escape to the north” or “kill the leader”). If you do the alternate win condition you gain libra and get some bonus money and XP. If you just kill everything instead, you lose libra. You also lose a small amount of libra for every kill, even if the battle requires you to kill the enemies.

I am playing the Saturn remake (on the mednafen emulator). It’s pretty similar to the SNES one — they added voiced sections (where the voice gets out of sync with the pictures), tweaked the balance a bit, added one extra character, and a few small changes of that nature.

Area 1

The main characters, Brian and Ain, decide to defect from the Empire when they’re tasked with slaughtering a village of civilians. The first area finds them escaping from the Empire while trying to leave the continent.

Four battles is the minimum:

  • Battle 1 – Escape to the north. As I said, it’s odd to move towards the edge and just have to let the enemies wail on you, and I did have to use one Ration.
  • Battle 2 – Kill all enemies. Nothing you can do here.
  • Battle 3 – Hold off enemies until the villagers escape. The enemy AI is pretty stupid; they go mostly for Brian and Ain so as long as you keep their HP up it’s fine.
  • Battle 4 – Survive for 4 turns. Again, just sit and heal, block the villagers as the go onto the gondola while the enemies hit you.

I had the rank of Blade Eagle (the first Law rank) after this.

    Area 2

    Brian and Ain fall in with a resistance group and eventually meet their previous commander, who is creating “demi humans” out of civilians in the area.

    Seven battles here.

    • Battle 5 – Kill the enemies other than demihumans. They’re first so just avoid them while killing others.
    • Battle 6 – Move to the top corner of the map. Again, just run away from the enemies.
    • Battle 7 – Kill the enemies other than demihumans. No trouble here.
    • Battle 8 – Reach the exit. Here the bats kept blocking my path so I actually did have to kill three of them.
    • Battle 9 – Destroy all enemies
    • Battle 10 – Destroy all enemies
    • Battle 11 – Beat Alnos. You start surrounded which can be dangerous for the low HP magic using units. But Alnos will come down to attack you, and a few strong spells or special moves will destroy him.

    After this area I was at Valkyrie rank, second from the top.

    SRPG Game 27 – Langrisser II wrap-up

    FACTS

    1. Turn type: Player turn/Enemy turn
    2. Maps: Medium to large. Terrain gives bonuses.
    3. Character Customization: Each character has a branching class path.
    4. Character Development: Standard XP level system. At level 10, character automatically upgrades to a new class, although the player can choose which one to advance to.
    5. Party Size: You can always send out all your leaders. Each leader has up to 8 nameless grunt soldiers under them (fortunately the game has an auto-move system for the grunts if you don’t want to move them all individually).
    6. Equipment: Each character can equip one item (which includes armor, weapons, or items).
    7. Game Flow: 27 stages, one after another, no repeating stages (unless you use a code) or multiple paths.
    8. Saving: Permanent saves both in and out of battle.
    9. Death: The nameless grunts all disappear at the end of the stage whether they die or not. A commander who dies misses the bonus XP at the end but survives.

    IMPRESSIONS 

    This game shows a lot of development from Langrisser 1, although many of the upgrades had already been made in the PC Engine version of L1. So this didn’t feel like as much of a jump up, but I thought the changes they did make were good. On the whole it felt smoother and easier to play.
    The story is greatly upgraded as well; it’s still not quite at the level of later games but there’s a fair amount of dialogue during the stages, which is always appreciated.
    It seemed to me like the system made a lot more sense in this game — in L1 I often felt like I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen in a battle, whereas this time I could usually tell from looking at the stats and considering the unit compatibility. I prefer this kind of game (and I’m wondering what the first game will be that actually gives you the damage you’ll do before you attack).
    I’ve heard this is the hardest Langrisser game. Parts of it were difficult, especially the middle. There were a few stages in the middle I had to restart several times to get everything working right. But once I got a good team of 4th-rank characters it became quite easy from that point on. Even the meteor casting enemies weren’t too bad because I could heal, or take them out with ballistae before they could do too much.
    Overall a good game, and probably a contender for game of the year for 1994 although I already gave 1991 to Langrisser 1.
    Next up is Feda Emblem of Justice, which I’ll be playing in the Saturn remake.

    PCE Game 27 – Sol Moonarge

    Sol Moonarge (ソル:モナージュ)
    Released 1/7/1994, published by IREM

    1994 begins with a PC Engine game. IREM created this game by soliciting ideas from fans in their magazine, but apparently due to problems with IREM, it was delayed several times. Wikipedia says that few copies were sold but it’s available on ebay for a low price so I don’t know if that’s accurate.

    The game begins with a montage showing various scenes and characters.

    Then the game begins with the hero Soreil, the first one in that collage above. I don’t know why his nose is so long; there’s no explanation in the game but maybe in the instruction manual? Anyway, Soreil is a knight and his mother delivers a message from the king, who sends him on a mission to find Sarj, a seer who is missing from the castle along with the Sword of Light.

    The graphics are large and colorful; I would say that’s one of the strong points of this game despite the design of the main character. Unfortunately it suffers from the usual drawbacks of a very high random encounter rate and a cookie cutter AMID battle system.

    One distinctive feature is that your level up bonuses are dependent on what you do in battle, but even so the magic users are so limited in MP that they basically can’t be used outside of boss battles. You gain magic by equipping items on characters, and you can select how much MP to spend on the spell to control its power.

    Soreil gets a lead on Sarj but then has to save some villagers from a thieves’ tower. This requires a lot of grinding because Soreil is by himself. You need plenty of herbs and antidotes.

    Oh, you can also peek in on someone bathing and get the 1990s style ero-graphics:

    Do I need to censor this?

    As a side note, I wonder when nipples became verboten? There are plenty of 80’s and early 90s anime that have nipples in them but at some point during the 90s (I think) it was no longer acceptable in normal video games or manga/anime intended for kids.

    The boss builds up power and then attacks, so you just defend a lot and heal/attack until you win. A girl named Mappy joins you, and she’s able to read some writing in Sarj’s room that says where he went, so we’re off to the northern mountain.

    We meet Sarj, who gives Soreil the Light Sword and tells him that they need to protect the Magic Seed because an evil person named Silver is trying to use it for nefarious purposes. Silver shows up and kills Sarj, but not before he can teleport us all away. Soreil is back alone, in the Moon Temple with two goddesses. They immediately get captured by Silver, and Soreil goes after them.

    The dungeon design is pretty good; all the dungeons look different and have various special features about them (in this case the gears carry you around to different places).

    Soreil beats Silver, but one of the goddesses is captured. Soreil has to nurse the other one back to health, and they fall in love and have a child. Now the story moves ahead 16 years to Soreil’s son Sonia. Soreil has disappeared looking for the other goddess and Silver, who is apparently still trying to use the Magic Seed.

    Sonia tries to go to the castle but is blocked; it seems that a seer named Black with the same long nose as Soreil and Sonia has bewitched the king. Sonia has to go to the thief tower again to get a chest that Black is interested in to get access to the castle, but once he does that, Black captures him and a girl, shrinks them, and leaves them as a plaything for the Princess, who turns out to be the other goddess.

    She tells us that if we find the magic mirror that Black is using it can turn us back into full size.

    The mirror reflects our characters, and when one is reflected that character takes half the damage that is dealt to the mirror. But a lot of healing herbs solve the problem.

    Apparently this is about 1/3 through the game. The graphics and the dungeon design are interesting, and there are some notable things about the system. But overall it’s just too grindy and the system fundamentals too basic.