Monthly Archives: May 2020

SFC Game 45 – Day of the Idea (Part 2, Finished)

When I last left off I headed for the South Pole. One of the annoying aspects of the game is the “cold” and “hot” areas of the game. In the cold areas, you take damage every step unless you have cold-weather gear. In “hot” areas you take damage unless you have light clothing on.

In theory this is an interesting idea. In practice it’s a nightmare. I complained about the horrendous item/equip interface in the first post, and it’s places like this where you really see it at its worst. Your inventory space is far too limited to carry around cold-weather, warm-weather, and regular gear. Switching between them takes forever. You would have to use the storage location to swap items. Not only this, but there’s no real indication of what qualifies as warm-weather gear so you just have to guess. To make it worse, there’s one dungeon that combines both hot and cold on different floors. I mostly just ignored this system and took the damage, healing up. Raigan is useful in the warm areas because he doesn’t wear anything.

The next major goal is to find a submarine so we can get to the underground base of Idea. The subquest here is to stop “Freddy”, who is invading people’s dreams.

Once we find where he is, he throws the heroes into a dream world. This dream world has the hardest and most annoying boss in the game.

He has a very powerful all-hit attack that also stuns and confuses you, and he can put everyone to sleep (which is not broken by attacks). The game gives you two items you can use (just in the dream world) to fully recover everyone’s HP as many times as you want. Despite that I could not beat this boss legitimately. I lost 15-20 times before I broke down and used save states. Even using save states (not every single round) I had to load the states 10-15 times to win! Maybe I was underleveled, but the status effects are so devastating combined with his huge damage attack that sometimes I would get a game over having done one attack.

Once he’s done we get an item that neutralizes Freddy, a sleeping captain Ahab gives us his spear, which allows defeating a shark to reach the next area. This area is based on Romeo and Juliet; you have to reunite two towns so they can work together on a drill we need to reach new areas. The R&J story is predictable but the poison is fake so everyone is happy.

There’s also a hidden character TomTom that you can get here. He’s a great character, partly because he doesn’t equip anything so you don’t have to bother with that. But he also has great powers that he can use for free, like an all-hit freeze spell. His HP is not very high, though.

Eventually we get both the drill vehicle and the ability to pick it up with the helicopter, so it’s time to go to the underground world (we’re still working to get the submarine!). Under there are the usual stereotypical primitive people. This is where the “hot” areas are; Raigan and Tomtom are great here. TomTom’s cold breath will take out most of the monsters in one turn, and his speed is very high so he usually goes first.

Getting the submarine requires beating this powerful monster that can only be hurt by an Ice Sword. I went through the cave to get it only to find that you need Seal Skin Gloves to do it, so I had to go all the way out, get them, and then head back in to the sword. But finally after all this fetch questing and vehicle upgrades, we manage to blow the submarine out of underground and now we can use it.

The first thing we have to do is investigate several sunken ships and a dungeon to find missiles to open Idea’s lair. Once this is accomplished we’re finally in the end stage of the game.

The party meets Idea as she’s heading onto the Ark. Her plan is to flood the world and restock it with specially selected children that she’ll use to make an ideal race. When Kurisu challenges her, saying there are good people out there, she responds that we’re not those good people. We rob houses and kill things for experience and gold. But it’s not necessary to fight Idea now because she does the usual supervillain move of leaving us in a place where we’re sure to die and then cackling as she runs off. Of course we escape as the lab blows up.

Now we’re back in the sub and I see the Ark as well as a whirlpool. We can’t get into the ark right now. The whirlpool takes me to a future dystopia where Idea’s plan has occurred, but the repopulation of the world didn’t work; instead it’s a bunch of mutants and monsters.

The future world has the ruined Ark. You need Mikoto and Dr. Po for this part (of course they don’t tell you, and you can’t use the Pocket Bell to summon the storage shop unless you go back to the present world). One thing we find here is the device to open the hatch, and another is writings and recordings left behind by Idea. It sounds like even her chosen people didn’t behave the way she wanted them to so she went insane and eventually died inside the Ark.

At this point we can get some of the best equipment in the game. I collected all 8 pieces of matching girl equipment.

And then there’s a set of Atlantis equipment for Kurisu.

There’s also a drowned village under the sea where we find Idea’s diary; it turns out that Idea is Kurisu’s mother and that his “parents” were just researchers in Idea’s lab. At some point most of the world also gets drowned, leaving islands with the major cities on them. I didn’t notice exactly when this happened, though.

With the hatch opener we can get into the Ark to save the children, and fight some of the underlings of Idea. First up is Beads, who has powerful precognition that blocks any attempt to fight him.

What you’re supposed to do is intentionally confuse yourselves and then rely on that to beat him. You can also use Kurisu’s “anger” power with a full gauge to instantly kill him, although the dialogue still indicates you used the confusion strategy.

Now the children are safe, but we rush to confront Idea. She refuses to listen to Kurisu and attacks.

But after just a bit she runs away, and we can see that she’s being possessed by some kind of malevolent spirit. Now it’s time to return the children to their towns, which gives us scuba diving suits and an upgraded sub that we need to reach the final cave for the last boss.

The scuba suits mean you can’t use Tomtom or Raigan for this part. You have 60 minutes to get through the cave, but I did it in 8 minutes without a map, so you hardly need that much time. After that there’s the final cave part, which has an Inn and resting place so I could switch back in Tomtom and Raigan.

The final dungeon has a bunch of warp areas and three bosses. Tomtom’s Roulette Beam is very helpful because it can do big damage, but also take away the bosses’ turn with Sleep or Paralyze. I thought this first boss Equal was the hardest one. He had the most HP and did the most damage. Next up is Justy, who was much easier.

Then we reach the final boss, Idea’s wrath, who has left Idea’s body to fight. First she tells us to get in the cave or she’ll kill Idea and Kurisu’s dad.

If you pick “yes” you go in the cave but the parents die anyway, and you end up in the same place as if you pick “no”.

Idea has some nasty status effects, but I didn’t find her that hard. I used one Anger of Kurisu and then a Roulette Beam that did huge damage, and she was gone. We shut off the machine that was going to destroy the world and then leave the cave.

A few weeks later, Kurisu goes around to check on how everyone is doing. Tomtom has been healed by Dr. Po back into a real person. Mikoto is back to working as a medium. Raigan is a sumo wrestler again. Jado has bought the orphanage. And Rinko is now the most popular girl in school. But she has another message — she’s pregnant with Kurisu’s child(!?!?!?!?!?!?)

So the game ends with their wedding. That’s…not what I expected.

This is another game that has a lot of potential, but is ruined by bad design choices — in this case the item interface. I’m not sure you can understand how bad it is and how much it affects the game until you try playing it. The story is not bad, although marred by an excess of fetch quests that stop all story development. There are some unfair boss fights, but not too many. The battle system manages to have enough in it that it’s not completely bog-standard.

Next up is Shin Megami Tensei II, which should be better!

SFC Game 45 – Day of the Idea

Day of the Idea (イデアの日)
Released 3/18/1994, published by Shoei System

This game is something of a spiritual sequel to Maka Maka. That game was a buggy mess full of non-stop nonsense and bizarre gags. This game does not have the bugs of Maka Maka, and the nonsense is confined mostly to the enemy designs (who are done by the same gag manga writer as MM). The graphics are not as good, though.

The game opens with the main character Kurisu. His parents were killed and he was captured and tortured to bring out the psychic abilities he showed when he was 4. They bring in his dog and kill the dog to make him angry, and he blows up the room — Dr. Po escapes, however. They claim this is being done for “Idea-sama”.

Kurisu then escapes the lab. This game has a stupid feature where you can dash with the B button, but it lowers your health as you dash. And if anyone is dead or in low health you can’t do it. I think they did this because in the dungeons the encounters are not random, and it makes it harder to run away from the monsters. But it’s annoying.

The battle system is fairly standard, except for the way weapons are done. You don’t equip them. Instead, there is just an “item” command where you can choose a weapon, a shield (for defense), or any other item (curing, etc.) you have.

I found a town fairly quickly, but without much money I couldn’t buy much. The whole shopping and equipment system is a complete nightmare, one of the worst parts of the game. I think they intended for it to be a highlight, but I hate equipping the characters in this game.

You have 8 equipment slots which are actually reflected in the picture to the left of the character. I think they intended this to be an interesting part of the game, but you can’t see the stats of anything in this screen. When you buy stuff, there’s no way to see if it’s better or worse than what you have, or what equipment slot it goes in (which isn’t always obvious). You can’t see who can equip what. The stores are divided into 3 or 4 floors each selling different things, and characters only have 18 item slots.  Seriously, getting to a new town and seeing the store makes me want to quit playing for the day.

Kurisu finds out that his data was sent to a research station on Easter Island, which is the goal of the first half of the game. But until then it’s basically a normal old RPG style of traveling to the next town, fixing some problem there, and moving on. Along the way I picked up the first “pet”, animal characters that you can’t control. After bringing a doctor to a stable to restore a horse’s health, the game switches over to Rinko (the character above).

She plays second fiddle to her sister who’s better than her at everything.

She soon discovers that the mayor had her parents killed because her father discovered a gold mine and the mayor wanted it. Rinko kills the Gold Eater inside the mine before finding this out, which helps out the mayor. Her sister dies in the fight against the gold eater and then the mayor captures her and decides to kill her in a supervillain way.

The game switches back to Kurisu now, who has dreamed about Rinko with his ESP and goes off to save her, riding his new horse. When Kurisu reaches the tower, there’s a cutscene that shows he only has 7 minutes to reach Rinko. These timed parts are the only place where the “dash does damage” actually has a big effect, but even so this isn’t that hard. He makes it up to the top and saves Rinko, who joins the party.

There’s a hut nearby with a brain that can’t be hurt, so we move on. There’s a little town that claims to be bullied by the large Heian city. But Heian city has its own problems — a closed dam has caused a lack of water and they’re dying of dehydration because the key is guarded by a monster.

We unlock the gate and guess what — the Heian people were just tricking us into opening the gate to flood out the little town. Kurisu gets so mad he learns a new power that fries everyone’s brain in Heian, but we can now use that to beat the brain back in that house for some nice treasures. And the game now switches over to Raigan, a sumo wrestler.

This guy is my favorite character because he can’t equip anything, so you don’t have to bother with the shops. He’s also really strong. He gets kicked out of his sumo training for fighting in this pro wrestling ring, especially since he lost. The first task is to bulk up by killing a bear for its meat and then making a big pot of chanko (Sumo wrestler food), which gives Raigan a huge boost to his stats. Then, he has to save the master’s daughter who has been kidnapped and forced to work in the pro wrestling arena. But it turns out this is a trap; all the fighters are locked in prison and forced to fight. Raigan beats the first few opponents but now has to fight Bigfoot, who will surely defeat him. The story switches back to Kurisu and Rinko who head out to save Raigan.

They arrive and throw themselves into the ring just as Raigan is getting his butt kicked against Bigfoot. But after winning, we all just get thrown into jail. Nice job. Next up we head off to get a ship, which involves another series of fetch quests. Along the way, there’s a medium Mikoto who joins the party. She could be found in the first town healing “possession” (a really annoying status effect). Now she’ll join the party so her power can be used outside that town.

Also when you go back to Rinko’s hometown, Mikoto can exorcise the ghosts in the abandoned building which turn out to be her parents. They show her the way to a gold nugget in the cave, which sells for a nice amount.

For the boat we have to find out why the captain and all his crew got sick — it’s because in a drunken state they throw a cenotaph into the ocean that was commemorating the local dead. By making a new one and enshrining it, the angry ghosts leave and the captain is able to sail towards Easter Island.

Unfortunately in true RPG fashion, the ship gets attacked and destroyed. Kurisu and company have to escape the ship on a raft, which requires them to ditch a lot of heavy equipment (including 9 gold nuggets found on the sinking ship). But eventually we float down to Mexico. Here they get arrested as thieves, and the game switches over to the next party member, the thief Judd. He makes money stealing so he can help an orphanage, but his wife doesn’t like it. First you have to do a big heist of a diamond from the museum, which requires making it through the sewer defenses to sneak in.

But he’s captured on the way out. He makes a daring escape, but then is captured again and thrown into the cell next to the other party members. He helps them escape. At this point there’s a small sidequest; go back to Fukushima and you can save the deposit store’s daughter. He gives you a pager that you can use to use the deposit store at any time — this is how you switch party members (by depositing them or taking them out) and also items.

Meanwhile Judd is by his dying wife, who got tricked by people; she had hoped to sell the diamond for a huge sum that would be enough to save the orphanage and make them rich, but it was a lie. She dies, and Judd goes running off to Manhattan Tower.

At Manhattan Tower we face Demok, a disciple of Idea-sama who is working on some nefarious plan, but he quickly runs away, heading down to Easter Island on a helicopter.

Judd now joins. He has the special power of being able to open all the locked chests and doors, so there’s some backtracking here to get some treasures from previous dungeons. This includes being able to read Kurisu’s mom’s diary; she and his father were apparently aware of Idea’s plans and were killed as a result. The party then continues on to find a way to get to Easter Island. In a cave there’s a frog that puts them all to sleep, as well as a spirit that possesses Mikoto. We switch over to the next party member, Dr. Po.

He’s the guy who was helping torture Kurisu at the beginning, and also sunk the ship we were on earlier to steal uranium to make a nuclear gun. He’s joined with the Idea cult with their plan to destroy the world; Po wants to do it as revenge for his son being killed. His son was working on a virus that escape into the world and caused all the monster mutations and such, and he thinks that his son was killed because of that. So all humans deserve to die. Great party member!

After some fetch quests Po arrives at the cell where the rest of the party members are. The spirit Mikoto was possessed with is Po’s son, who tells him that it was actually Idea who released the virus into the world. The people Po thought killed him were actually trying to protect him when Demok showed up and murdered him. So Po decides to go against Idea and join the party.

Po tells the party that in addition to the Easter Island research facility, there’s also one undersea, in the south pole area. But first we need a helicopter to make it to Easter Island, and Po runs ahead on his own to go there.

A few fetch quests later and we’ve got the helicopter and a nice Mode 7 view. There are random encounters that result in this:

You just have to move the sight left and right and hit A to fire the laser.

At the research facility we rescue Po, destroy the atomic gun, and kill Demok. That solves the first part of the quest, and now it’s off to the south pole.

This game is OK, but the interface issues really hurt it a lot. This game would be a pretty decent RPG if it weren’t for that, but it’s really a chore to play.

SRPG Game 34 – Front Mission

FACTS

  1. Turn type: Player/enemy turns.
  2. Maps: Medium. Terrain gives bonuses, and there is height.
  3. Character Customization: Mechs can be customized (see below)
  4. Character Development: When you move up an XP level, XP gets assigned to four areas of fighting, and can lead to learning new skills.
  5. Party Size:Usually in the 8-11 range, although up to 17.
  6. Equipment:  Mechs can hold two weapons, and have two shoulder weapons in addition.
  7. Game Flow: 29 stages, no alternate paths or repeated stages. Towns have colosseums you can train in.
  8. Saving:  Before battle. There are in-battle saves; the manual says they get deleted on load but in some places you have to play 2-3 battles in a row so I have a feeling there must be some way to do a permanent save that I wasn’t aware of.
  9. Death: Pay a cost after the battle to repair defeated mechs. If the main character dies, game over.

IMPRESSIONS 

Once again I failed to do stage-by-stage updates, but since this game is easily available with a translation patch everyone can try it themselves. My main impression from this game is that I was expecting a lot out of it — a Square game with big names involved in the development, and I felt like I had heard it hyped up. But I found it rather disappointing. It’s not a bad game, but it has a lot of flaws.
The story is fine for 1995. Here’s the opening story from Wikipedia:
Set in 2090, the story of Front Mission takes place on Huffman Island, a fictional Pacific Ocean island roughly the size of Oahu, created by volcanic activity south of Mexico’s west coast in 1995. In 2002, the land mass was classified as an island, and was ceded to United Nations control. However, in 2020, the United States of the New Continent (USN), a unification of North American and South American countries, made a bid for control of the island after withdrawing from the United Nations. The Oceania Cooperative Union (OCU), an alliance of the nations of South Asia, South East Asia and Australia that was created in 2025, dispute this claim when the two superpowers colonized the island in 2065. The tensions heat up and eventually lead to the 1st Huffman Conflict in 2070, with Huffman Island being divided into two halves at the end of the war. An uneasy peace is maintained until the Huffman Crisis in 2086, when a series of skirmishes across the island causes chaos. Tensions flare up and end in war when the OCU is blamed for inciting the Larcus Incident on June 3, 2090.

The main character can be named; his default name is “Roid” (Lloyd?) but I went with Kurisu. The game opens with the final sentence in the above description — Kurisu goes to investigate a munitions plant along with his fiancee Karen. A USN dude named Driscoll kills Karen and blows up the plant, setting off the war. Kurisu is blamed for the war, chased out of the military, and turns to fighting in coliseums for money. But he’s recruited into a special mercenary force in the OCU. The first part of the story involves the war against USN, but this evolves into a more complex plot later.

There are a number of people you get on your team. Most of them are just there, with a bit of backstory, but a few of them have deeper involvement in the plot. Of the antagonists, only Driscoll really gets that much development.

I believe this is the first SRPG to have height, although it was not always clear to me what difference it makes. I think it affects the range of long attacks, and you can’t use fight/short attacks if there’s too great a height difference.

Each mech has four areas of damage — the body, right and left arm, and legs. When you make an attack you harm one or more of those areas randomly (I think). Destroying arms removes that weapon, destroying legs lowers the movement, and destroying the body kills the mech. Although this sounds interesting, in practice I found that when attacking enemies it didn’t make much of a strategic difference. Once you get the Duel ability (which lets you target a part), it seemed like it was pretty much always a good idea to target the body. Maybe I could have done better taking out some of the weapons first if I couldn’t kill the mech in one turn, but the game was never challenging enough for that to matter.

If a unit gets destroyed other than the main character you pay a small repair fee and its back the next turn. I never felt like I had to protect anyone other than the main character, since that’s game over if he’s destroyed.

There is a lot of customization you can do with your mechs — 4 body parts and 4 equippable weapon areas. Unfortunately the game doesn’t really give you a good reason to think about the process much. You basically just buy the strongest stuff for everyone. Some people excel more at Short, Long, or Fight, but that only produces minor variation in the overall setup. It becomes tedious to upgrade everyone’s mechs at a new town.

The Short, Long, Fight distinction helps each character learn skills. I wish they would give you a better idea of when you might learn skills; it seems like just a random chance when you move up a level. There’s also a huge difference in difficulty with these skills. I found the game quite challenging in the early stages, and it’s even more challenging if you don’t have a good idea of how to set everyone up. But once you start getting characters who can do a double attack targeting the mech body, you can kill most things in one attack and the game becomes significantly easier. Even the bosses can barely stand up to a few characters with good skills. The final boss can be defeated by ranged attacks outside of his own range, which is a surprising development oversight.

There also is not enough variation in the enemies you fight. They have some different weapons, but they all basically look like the same mech. This paired with the balance problems I mentioned earlier meant that I was hardly ever looking at enemies and saying “Oh, I’ll need to use this particular strategy to fight those guys.”

The graphics are a high point for the game. Yoshitaka Amano’s art is used more or less directly in the game, and gives the game a certain atmosphere that is different from the usual “anime kids against the world” motif. The mechs look decent in the battle sequences, and the attacks are fast-paced and you can see what’s happening.

This all seems pretty critical, and I guess it is, but the game is OK. I’ll be interested to see if Front Mission II takes the good ideas FM1 has and improves on them.

SFC Game 44 – First Queen: Record of Olnic War

First Queen: Record of Olnic War (ファーストクイーン オルニック戦記)
Released 3/11/1994, developed by Culture Brain

 

This game is an interesting mix of real time strategy and RPG that I had a lot of fun with. I’m not sure if this qualifies as an SRPG for me or not.

Kure Software released a number of these RTS/RPG games, starting with Silver Ghost in 1988, then First Queen later in 1988, and then sequels in 1990, 1993, and 1994. The original 1988 First Queen was ported to the Super Famicom in 1994, and that’s what we’re playing here. As is often the case with these Japanese computer RPGs, they don’t really play like anything else out there — the game clearly draws inspiration from the “run into enemies” action RPGs like Ys, Hydlide, and Bokosuka Wars. The last one in particular makes me wonder if Kure Soft wanted this to be a faster-paced, more expansive version of Bokosuka Wars.

The box and other art was done by Yoshitaka Amano, who is most famous for doing Square art (Final Fantasy and Front Mission, for instance).

The story is fairly simple, as you might expect from a game of this age. Olnic Castle has been taken over by Catherine, who is now trying to conquer the whole land. The main character is Richmond, who starts out with a small group of soldiers setting out to beat back the forces of Olnic and defeat Catherine. There are only one or two story developments and no big surprises.

You begin with your one force, and a large map covered with enemies.

If you scroll up to the top you can see Olnic Castle, the final destination. Each of the grey squares is a location that can either be a town/castle, or an overland place. Most of these places have monsters in them, and if one of those enemy sprites is there you have to fight the monsters in addition to the enemies. Some of the enemies stay where they are, and others will move downwards. New enemies will also spawn during the game. I’m not sure what happens if you let an enemy get all the way down to Gardic Castle at the bottom; I never tried to find out.

In the first town to the left you can pick up an additional commander, Jane. There are ten or so commanders you can recruit during the game (sometimes you have to make choices between opposing factions). Each commander can have around 15 troops.

Each troop can carry one item. When they reach a certain level (usually 10 or 15) some of them can class change in town.

When you get into a battle, it’s a big free for all.

You can take control of any of the characters, and you just run into the monsters. Hitting or being hit will often result in losing act time, but the system is a bit opaque. You have to watch the HP of the troops at the bottom, and if they get low enough (green or red) you can take control of that character and try to have them retreat from the battle.

Once you’re done, you can move on, or Camp, which regenerates the monsters but also lets you save your game or switch to a different commander.

The first part of the game is basically moving everyone forward, clearing out locations and getting new commanders. I never found that it was worth using more than 3 commanders — I eventually settled on Richmond (who is necessary for the game), Isolde (the Amazon chieftess), and Roy (the elf). I don’t know if there’s really a “best” commander; you can probably train up any of them to be decent.

Eventually you get magic arrows and rings that can make all kinds of things happen in the battle. It’s always hard to tell when an enemy is actually getting hit or damaged, or how effective you are in combat. It’s especially tricky when there are archers or flying enemies because they can be hard to approach or hit, and tend to run away.

There aren’t that many tasks that you actually have to do in the game. You have to revive Richmond’s home town so that they’ll build a bridge over a cavern, and meet a witch who will dispel Catherine’s confusion spell for you. I think I may have missed another thing or two, but the majority of what you do in the game is optional, mostly just to get extra items (like the Excalibur for Richmond) or additional characters or commanders. I skipped an entire castle that would have let me upgrade priests because I wasn’t using that commander.

Once you reach the next to last place there’s a massive battle where most of your commanders and troops join the fight and there are probably 100-130 enemies, though they come in waves. This feels really epic, and you end up losing a lot of characters (death is permanent in this game, including commanders). Basically I think it’s the most important to watch Richmond’s troops, since he’s the only one that can enter the final area, although you can pause before then and transfer any troops from another commander to Richmond.

The final area is the castle, which has a number of areas, but eventually Richmond finds Catherine.

She goes down pretty easily, but then there are three gargoyles

And then the final Manticore boss. There is no saving in castles so you have to do this all in one go, which can be pretty tense if you start losing characters.

I found it really hard to tell where to go to hurt the final boss, and it was hard to tell if I was doing any damage, but then I won.

I enjoyed this game quite a bit despite being kind of primitive and with a semi-obscure system. It’s pretty fast moving, and there’s a lot of tension when you’re overpowered and trying to keep your troops alive while positioning everyone to fight the enemies. You can’t always just rush in do whatever you want. And while you’re advancing forward, you also have to make sure that you have a couple of strong commanders in the middle part of the map to deal with new enemies that come from the castles or enemy areas.

First Queen II and III were not ported to consoles, but IV came out for the Playstation in 1996. I have it on my SRPG list so I’ll eventually do it on the other blog.

SRPG Game 33 – Farland Story

Farland Story (ファーランドストーリー)
Release Date: 2/24/1995
System: Super Famicom
Developer: TGL
Publisher: Banpresto

The Farland series of SRPGs started on computers in 1993, and between 1993 and 1996 there were eight games in the series. A number of console games came out as well, some of them ports of the computer versions, and some new games. According to the back of the box, this game is a combination of the first two computer games, although it’s only 24 stages so I don’t know if the computer games are just really short or whether this is really a remix or new creation based on those games.

Unfortunately, this game is about the blandest, lowest effort creation you can think of. The system is less developed than Fire Emblem 1 for the NES. Each character can move, and attack or heal. That’s it. There are no skills or spells — healing is implemented as attacking your ally (it even uses the same command), and nobody has MP. Magic doesn’t work on actual spells, it’s just the attack of the magician. There are no class changes, no new powers, no anything. On stage 1 your main character can make a range 1 attack. On the final stage your main character can make a range 1 attack.

This is incredibly lazy and disappointing for 1995, a year that is going to see SRPGs like Front Mission, Tactics Ogre, Der Langrisser, and Super Robot Taisen 4. They were churning them out, though, because Farland Story II comes out in December 1995 with a Saturn remake later.

I played three stages of this game and that’s enough. The game begins with Ferio being captured by a black knight, and a small group of people led by Ark has to go in chase of her.

The graphics are pretty pathetic. I guess the only thing the game does that isn’t standard is that it uses a hex map instead of a square grid. The game plays very slowly; the maps are larger than they need to be and the enemies often don’t move until you get close to them.

There are little places that look like flowers or gems; if you approach them they reveal treasure chests and you can open them. There are also towns and forts; the town system is strange. You can buy things, but only if you do it at the beginning of your turn, before you move. Then you’ll also have a conversation with a townsperson to get information, but that only happens if you pick “shop”.

The bosses are usually surrounded by units who don’t move, but you have to approach them carefully and sometimes just use one character to take them down from range 2 distance or they’ll overwhelm you. Especially the axe users have very low magic defense.

Anyway, there is little reason to play this game, unless you are so starved for Super Nintendo-era SRPGs that you’ll play anything.