Monthly Archives: April 2020

SFC Game 43 – Kabuki Rocks (Part 2/wrap-up)

At the end of the last session, I had faced Tensai but it was clear that we could not win in our current state. So Rock sets off to find some magic users and weapon crafters who can help, starting with a weapon crafter Shingoro. Unfortunately his lover Oshichi is missing, but we’re willing to find her in exchange for Shingoro’s help. Eventually we do find her, but the enemy catches up with us and tries to bring down a bridge in the lava.

Shingoro and Oshichi both sacrifice themselves to save us, adding more to the body count. But, around the same time we determine that Benkei is still alive, and we can save him by going into his sword and defeating Doman.

Chasing Doman out of the sword and rescuing Benkei is fine, but then we have to go to a devil mountain to beat Doman, and he’s quite difficult. I had to grind about 6-7 levels to beat him — fortunately grinding is fairly quick in this game, and being able to use Kiyosuke’s haunt power to increase the stats helped a lot. Once I was high enough level I used the buff spells and constant healing and it was enough to take him down.

Unfortunately this is followed by Hokaibo having to sacrifice himself to save us, meaning yet another party member lost (and the one with the buff spells!) Fortunately, it turns out that Shingoro survived, and he joins the party.

Now we have to go to the frozen land of  Ezo and free them from Kiyohime. This requires going to a side dungeon to recover an item that will help us beat her.

She has a devastating attack, but it will be blocked for a while by the item — this eventually runs out though, and lacking the buff spells it was a tough fight, and I barely managed to beat her.
Next up we go to Mutsu to find out about someone who can supposedly call back dead spirits. This is the final party member Itako. Once we prove our worth to her, she joins. Her main benefit is the buff spells. She can also bring back the dead party members and attach them to the characters (sort of like Kiyosuke), but I found these were weaker than the monsters Kiyosuke could bring. You can also switch to the actual character once they are attached, but I didn’t find this helpful either.
Also around this point all the karaoke boxes get closed down, so you can’t learn any more magic. I don’t know if there’s some sidequest I could have done to reopen them, but I found this fairly annoying because it basically eliminated the magic. For Rock you can create songs using this:

I never found anything in game to suggest how you’re supposed to know which songs to use; obviously it’s impossible to get these just by random guessing. In any case they’re just for Rock so they’re not overly useful.
Meanwhile Kiyosuke leaves the party because he’s intimidated by Itako, and goes to Osore-yama to train up more. To chase him down we have to face Doman again, but rather than a boss fight, Itako and Kiyosuke just team up to destroy him, and we’ve got Kiyosuke back.
Now we have one obstacle remaining on our quest to reach O-Edo to finally beat Tensai. This boss:

The remaining bosses basically have the same strategy. Macky can heal, and she can do a “chorus” with Rock to fully heal everyone at the cost of 30 mp for both of them. Itako buffs, and everyone else attacks.

Now there’s a silly part on our way to Oedo, where our ship transforms into a mech for a boss fight.

And finally we reach the last land. Oedo is a big city surrounding the final dungeon, and after buying some supplies I went in.

And got my butt kicked. This guy sucks — as you can see, he’s like the early game boss where he puts all your guys to sleep. They don’t wake up when hit, so this often just means hitting A until you get a game over. I left to level and buy the best equipment I could along with stat healing items, but even then I could barely touch him before he just killed everyone. The only way I found to beat him was to use items that cancel spellcasting for everyone. This is rough because it’s hard to heal and you don’t get any buffs. But with enough levels and using some healing items I was able to do this eventually.

The final boss is much easier.

He has several forms, and the last form has very high defense. I just had Itako keep casting the strength buff on Benkei (it stacks) until he was doing 2000+ damage every hit, and with that plus the full heal and some occasional revives or anti petrify, he went down.

There’s a lot of plot stuff I didn’t touch on, so I hope if a romhacking group ever takes this game on it can still be enjoyable. Like I said in the last post, it’s no masterpiece. But it’s very playable, not very long, and has a fun sense of humor. I wish they had fleshed out the spell casting a bit more and made it a little more thematic with the music — they tried to do something with Rock’s ability to make spells himself through songs; I wish they had made this a bigger part of the game.

But it’s nice to finally be able to recommend a game!

Next up is First Queen, a strange game that seems to have elements of SRPGs and real-time strategy in addition to RPG.

SRPG Game 32 – Majin Tensei II: Spiral Nemesis wrap-up


  1. Turn type: Player/enemy turns.
  2. Maps: Medium. Terrain gives bonuses.
  3. Character Customization: On level up, you can assign a point to any stat.
  4. Character Development: Standard XP level system.
  5. Party Size: 16 monsters plus 5 humans.
  6. Equipment: Five equipment slots.
  7. Game Flow: Roughly 50-60 stages, some optional ones. There are multiple paths but only a few stages actually change for that.
  8. Saving: You can save out of battle, and at the beginning of each turn.
  9. Death: If any of the human characters die, it’s game over. Demons who die cannot be revived.


I enjoyed Majin Tensei 1 even though there were problems with it, and I would say that generally MT2 improved on it in every way except maybe for the in-battle monster graphics, which I don’t consider a big deal. 
The story barely existed in MT1. The MT2 story does get a little lost in the last part, and involves time travel, but overall it’s entertaining and has some memorable characters. The atmosphere, as usual for MT games, is a change from the typical bright fantasy — you’re in dark, crumbling areas of Tokyo and eventually on different planes of existence.

The gameplay is similar to MT1; I do like that the monster recruitment is easier and doesn’t depend on picking basically random choices from a talk menu. It seemed generally like it was easier to keep the enemies from swarming my guys although you do have to be careful of the long range birds and such.

The multiple paths in the game are the usual Law vs. Chaos. As I said in my last post, I think that taking the Law-Light path with the recruitment items gives you a team that’s so powerful you no longer need to bother with monster recruitment or fusion. The Neutral path offers the best opportunity to fully exploit that aspect of the system. The fact that you have to have a high levelled human character to get good units means you can’t spread the XP around to all the human characters and you’ll inevitably end up with 3-4 of them being useless.

A big complaint about this game was the long enemy turns. I found that in BSNES even just with a x3-4 speedup it was more than enough that I never noticed this.

So overall this was a good game; this has a fan translation and it’s definitely worth a play.

SFC Game 43 – Kabuki Rocks

Kabuki Rocks (カブキロックス)
Released 3/4/1994, published by Atlus

There’s a band called Kabuki Rocks in Japan, that uses kabuki costumes, makeup, and dancing on their stage shows. This game seems to have been made to capitalize on their popularity, but the designers (or band) made the decision to make it basically unrelated to the band. Apparently the lead singer makes a small cameo in one area, but other than that they mainly took the kabuki aesthetic and made a game where magic is done by rock songs and where there are a lot of kabuki trappings to the game (both in the story and the visuals).

It’s interesting because if I had played this game before I started this blog, I would have considered it an average or even below average game, since my points of comparison would have been FF6, Chrono Trigger, Lufia 2, etc. But having 42 previous SFC RPGs under my belt at this point, it now seems much better.

The story seems to be (maybe intentionally?) a very direct good vs. evil story, perhaps following in the footsteps of actual kabuki plays. The game takes place on a series of connected platforms in space, each representing a different old area of Japan. For a while now the lands were ruled by a wise ruler, but he suddenly died, and the new ruler Tensai is a despot. The main character Rock, along with his friend Macky, decide to go on a journey to rid the lands of Tensai’s dictatorship.

Rock quickly discovers that the former ruler of the lands was actually his father, who secretly took over from the real ruler who wanted instead to enjoy life. This gives him an even stronger reason to want to defeat Tensai (who may have killed his father).

The battle system is pretty standard AMID. Despite the music theme, when you use magic there’s not actually any music that goes along with it. One welcome feature is that you actually have enough MP that you don’t have to save every bit of it for a boss fight. You’ll also see that the fights take place on a sort of kabuki stage. When you win, fans throw money on the stage to represent the gold you get, and your XP is kabuki experience which then raises your actor level.

Anyway, Rock heads out on the adventure and crosses the first cave. When you are walking, you can press the Y button to change between normal, Search (which shows hidden passages), and Look for Enemies (which increases the encounter rate). At the next town, Rock sees Benkei in a performance but then is captured and thrown into a prison forest, supposedly for fighting the monsters outside the town. Escaping, he goes back to defeat the local ruler who is using the monsters for his own purpose.

Even though we have the help of Benkei, this is a very annoying battle because he puts your guys to sleep. I had to try this battle 6 or 7 times to get through it — like most bosses he has an attack that hits everyone, and that plus sleep can make it hard to win. The game is divided into 18 short chapters, and that’s the end of chapter 1.

Chapter 2 introduces the musical instruments, which you equip to raise your magic power. Then to learn spells you visit a karaoke box.

I’m not sure what actually influences learning new spells — whether it’s magic power, level, or just reaching new areas in the game. But everyone gets spells (Benkei gets them late because he’s tone deaf). The characters also have these powers called “eighteenth” but I’m not sure what they do; they often seem to have no effect. This is a place where the instruction manual would probably help.

The next person to join up is an old man Hokkaibo. He has very useful buff spells. After that we get Jiraiya, a young thief, and Kagekiyo. He has an interesting power — when you defeat monsters that are below his level, they will sometimes leave behind a soul he can take, and attach to one of the characters. This gives them additional stats (a lot!), that last until the character (or Kagekiyo) dies. I found this incredibly useful.

After a few dungeons and towns the party gets access to a ship, which lets us travel between the platforms. There’s also a “black jizo” house in each town that lets you revisit any town you’ve been to so far.

We beat up four women in the next area to recover a giant sake barrel.

They tell us we need to save a merchant who they serve, by feeding him fresh water to overcome his hangover.

The next new character is Fujimaru, a crossdressing man who looks like a woman. She (not sure about her pronoun preference) isn’t all that strong but has an interesting power that whenever she gets hurt, her fans throw a zabuton cushion that hurts all the enemies.

This may all sound pretty silly but there’s a lot of death in the game too. On our way to find a local corrupt leader Kurotsuka, we have to go through a have that has exploding “mine grass”. Jiraiya throws himself on the grass to save Rock, killing him.

So that’s down one kid. Fortunately Kurotsuka isn’t that hard, so we take him down and get revenge. This will not be the first party member to die.

We finally reach the capital, where Tensai is. There’s a big party; unfortunately the ship gets used as a float in the party and ruined, and Tensai recognizes Rock in the crowd. Benkei sacrifices himself so we can get away.

But a new companion arrives as well, Jirokichi. How long will he stay around? In any case, he helps us sneak into the dock where the ship is being kept, and we repair it and take off for the next area. The main goal now is to find better song magic and weapons, and strengthen the party to take on Tensai.

Overall this is an entirely playable game — it’s no masterpiece, but I definitely think if some romhacking group wanted to take it on it would be well worth it.

SRPG Game 32 – Majin Tensei II: Spiral Nemesis (Scenes 5 and 6)

The Law-Light path definitely makes this game a lot easier, especially if you got the Eden Bugle and Bell of Revive earlier in the game. With the full army of Angels and the increasing number of powerful weapons and armor you get from the stages, nothing can stand in your way. There are still some tricky parts and you can’t just move your units with no thought at all, but it’s not very hard.

I feel like the way to play this game that would offer the most strategy would be to take the Neutral route, which blocks you off from all the broken bonus units, but gives you the widest freedom in recruiting and fusing demons. Even if you did take the Law-Light route, not having the Eden Bugle and Bell of Revive would give you about half of the angels; enough to give you an edge but not completely break the game (maybe).

Scene 5 – Amnesia

This is the Angel place. I messed up the turn count on the first one but didn’t want to restart.

There’s not too much to say about the stages here — they’re all fairly easy with the Angel army. You have to watch out for the birds and foxes that have advantage over your characters. This stage has an optional area:

I took a Frei that I had fused, Bishamonten, and a couple of powerful angels. The foxes have advantage but still die to Gabriel or the like.

Scene 6 – Paranoia

The final scene is where the Angels really show how overpowered they are. In contrast to Amnesia, Paranoia is covered with terrain that slows your movement to a crawl, and lots of damage floors. To clear the stages in the time limit for the bonus weapons, you basically have to move your main character towards the enemy base as far as you can every turn, and you’ll get there with one or two turns to spare. Of course, having eight flying Angels makes the terrain a joke since they can go anywhere. 

The stage in the picture above has a mean trick. By this point, most of the human characters are useless because I made sure Naoki got high enough levels to recruit good monsters. So I left them at the start here — unfortunately those generators make hydras starting around turn 5 that can attack across the void. So you have to move the weak humans to the bottom right.

In the two pictures above you can see the nasty terrain. The bottom one is especially bad. When they give you 30 turns for the optional weapon you know it’s going to be rough; those mountains are 1 space per turn. I made it on turn 30 exactly.

The bosses are all fairly easy; my main character was so powerful by this point that I could just attack once with Michael or Gabriel and then have the main character finish the boss off with a double attack. Once you beat all the demons here it’s time to go to the final boss (at least on the Law Route), who is Satan.

This stage doesn’t have the rough terrain, but it also has no occupy or time limit; all you have to do is beat Satan. I imagine that just sending Michael and Gabriel up there would have finished it pretty quickly but I thought I still had one stage left (there is a stage after this for the Neutral route), so I killed everything and had Naoki finish off Satan, who really couldn’t do that much.

So the timeline is restored, DIO is possibly dealt with, and Karen finishes her mission. You also get each of your demons to give a farewell message.

Like I said, I think this game would have been more strategic without the broken angels but it also probably would have taken me another week at least.

SRPG Game 32 – Majin Tensei II: Spiral Nemesis (Scenes 3 and 4)

Stage 3

We go back to 1995 to stop Ogiwara from killing Naoki’s parents. I continued to develop my guys and try to move the main character up as many levels as possible, and recruit monsters when available. It’s especially important to have flying units — they tend to be weak, but they’re often important for protecting the base or reaching enemies.

Make sure that you have a Pixie (which you can get before this) before doing Shinjuku. It’s a pretty mean secret, but if you don’t have that you won’t be able to get some of the most powerful units in the game on the Law/Chaos routes. It opens up Ikebukuro, which has an important item (the Eden Bugle) in it.

The first few stages weren’t too bad. I thought Ginza was the most difficult one in this scene.

The base looks safe because of the blue buildings (which can’t be crossed by non-flying units). But there are flying devils at the top who will come down and get you. It’s good to have a Houou-type unit (the birds) because they have double advantage against the devils; I was able to hold out against them with just my bird. But that’s just the beginning.

The multi-headed dragons at the left are Yurungs, who have very long range and a high attack power. They can only attack long so if you can get to them they can be taken out. But they can’t be easily reached because of this Lilim who has a ridiculously high HP. Meanwhile the generator is spitting out ghosts. You just have to make sure you don’t move into the Yurungs’ area of attack and slowly whittle down the HP, then deal with those 4 harpy things surrounding the generator. Then I was able to move up and take care of the Yurungs. But it’s not over yet.

There’s a second set of Yurungs. The movement rate goes down so low through those buildings that it’s hard to reach them, and the foxes make it hard to send flying units up to deal with them. I had an Archangel I had fused in the Remix station, who was a big help. By using my own Yurung I had recruited from a previous stage, I was able to take out the foxes enough to allow the Archangel to go up and defeat the Yurungs, retreating to heal when necessary (the bird could not do it because the foxes have range 2 attack).

Once they’re all taken out the stage is basically over, but that’s a rough one.

After that it’s smooth sailing. The end of this scene has Ogiwara, and depending on your responses to him you’ll be set into the Law, Chaos, or Neutral routes. The responses aren’t very obvious, though. I wanted to do the Law route.

Scene 4

After killing Ogiwara, I headed to 2056 Tokyo to take down the demons that had infiltrated and taken over the government there. In this scene, if you did the 15 turn clear in scene 2, you get a bunch of powerful neutral units — Bishamonten is the best, although he also is somewhat of a secret unit. You have to clear Sideopolis-9 in 15 turns.

The main stage of interest here are the second-to-last and last. The first has you going around a big spiral to the end.

Of course there are generators, long-range units, and fliers. This map takes a long time but with Bishamonten and others it wasn’t too bad. The last stage is interesting.

Throughout the stage there are sets of these dragon units. The dragons are so powerful that even my strongest guys could barely hurt them and died in one hit. I imagine if you really knew what you were doing you could bring units here that could deal with them, but the saving grace of the stage is that the dragons do not move unless you’re in their attack range. So the key is just to watch their range and make sure none of your units ever move into that range as you make your way to the top of the screen.

The boss is not difficult.

After this comes the second decision point, where you choose between Light and Dark. It basically deals with why you are going to the two other worlds connected to Earth (Amnesia and Paranoia). I went with Light, so I’ll be getting the most powerful angels.

Scenes 5 and 6 have turn limitations for optional content on almost every stage, so this will be interesting.