Monthly Archives: September 2021

SFC Game List (1995, January through March)

I’ve completed 1994! That’s the longest year; the Super Famicom now enters a slow decline. 1995 still has a fair number of games. 1996 has noticeably fewer games, although there are a good number of high quality ones. 1997 is where you really see most of the companies abandoning the platform, leaving just a few games to trickle out until 2000(!) when the system finally dies.

There are no new RPGs in January, perhaps because of the post-Christmas lull. Here are all the games I picked up identified as RPGs in various sources. The ones I will play are in bold. (See this list for links to the SRPG posts.

  • Majin Tensei II – SRPG, already played on my other blog.
  • Estopolis Denki II (i.e. Lufia II) – I’m looking forward to this. I’ve started it twice in the past but not played past the first few hours.
  • Farland Story – crappy SRPG.
  • Front Mission – SRPG
  • Nage Libre – I had initially missed this on my SRPG playthroughs. After I play Estopolis Denki II I will do Nage Libre on my other blog.
  • Eternal Firena
  • Last Bible III – I have played the first two for the Game Boy; they were OK but nothing special.
  • Chrono Trigger – Great game but I’ve already played it plenty of times. Interesting to see it occur here. I think of this as a very late SNES release, but when I reach here I will be at 72 out of 130 games so it’s just a bit over the middle.
  • Love Quest
  • Nekketsu Tairiku Burning Heroes
  • Super Robot Taisen 4 – SRPG
  • Dragon Ball Z: Super Goku-Den, Totsugeki Hen – This does not really look like an RPG to me, although it has RPG elements. It also looks to me like it relies heavily on knowing the story of the manga. There’s also a translation patch.
  • Esparks
  • Kyuuyaku Megami Tensei — this is a remake of the NES Megami Tensei games. I played it some years ago and have no desire to replay it. It really shows its age; most of the game is just exploring empty, featureless dungeons.
  • RPG School Super Dante – This is just a creation kit, not a game. 
  • Dragon Knight and Graffiti (PCE) – One of the seven remaining PCE games. It’s a remake of the original Dragon Knight; I probably won’t finish it. 

One interesting detail is how few RPGs got translations after this point. I think this was partly because the US was quicker to abandon the SNES than Japan. With my tentative list of games, I have 61 games left to play. Of these 61, only four came out in English: Lufia II, Chrono Trigger, Terranigma (only in Europe), and Super Mario RPG. These are all strong games to be sure, but I feel that in the last years of the SFC, more good games got left in Japan than in the earlier period.

SRPG Game 60 – Langrisser III Stages 13-24

Sorry for the brevity of this post. I had longer writeups, but blogger managed to delete my 13-19 sections so I’m going to recreate those in a sentence or two.

Stage 13

We’re trying to find and protect the Holy Beast (who then joins the team) — I made the mistake of not getting up to him fast enough and he died, but then I was able to get healers up there to save him.

 Stage 14

Not too bad; Dios has to be protected but he’s pretty hardy.


Stage 15

The “find Langrisser” stage. The enemies weren’t very hard and I only lost one treasure to escaping thieves.


Stage 16

There are a ton of enemies in the stage but I didn’t have much trouble with them.


Stage 17

I was not able to attack all 4 city gates at once so I just did three of them, and then moved all my guys up to where Freya was.

Stage 18

This has a robot machine but it can only shoot straight down. You do have to be careful because it’s hard to get the troops not to be in front of the blast range, but if you take the long way around and go after Boltz first it’s not too bad.

Stage 19 

Boltz is slowly fleeing. I was able to surround him by the time he reached the first stairs and then take him out.


Stage 20

This was a very hard stage — the enemies have a sudden level boost. I first tried to split my party up and go across the planks but this didn’t work. Then I tried going just on the bottom two, but I was still getting torn apart by the spellcasters. What I ended up having to do was staying on my ship and letting the enemies come to me, defeating them, and then going across mostly on the bottom. I had to kill all the enemies below to allow the healers to come up as well, and then with enough healing I was able surround and take out the boss.

Stage 21

In general it’s easier when everyone is in one place; it makes it chaotic and hard to see what’s going on, but the heal and damage spells are much more effective (so it’s maybe not so good if you’re getting hit with a lot of enemy fire). There are a ton of horses in this stage so I changed everyone over to pikemen who could do it. I stayed in my starting location, moving to the center and using the horizontal and vertical formations with the pikemen to deal with all the horses. In about 10 turns everyone was dead, leaving just the two ballista and summoners. For those I just split my team into two and took them out.


Stage 22

The GF walkthrough says on turn 8 monsters come out, but I think they come out when you cross the bridge, not after some turns. I stayed at the starting location and waited for the initial force to come. Then I headed north. The monsters appear, and Emerlink and one horse group stay behind to cover the retreat of the other forces. I killed them with a pike group and some support, and blasted the big monster group with spells to soften them up and killed them. This leaves one annoying dragon at the top left who moves about one pixel per turn; I had to take my whole force up there just to deal with him.


Stage 23

This map is deceptive. If you try to save all the villagers it seems very difficult and I think you would need some superpowered Luna to do it. If you’re content to let most of them die the stage isn’t hard, but you do need to be prepared. Most of the monsters (including the reinforcements) will prioritize the civilians over your characters, so you need to be strategic to block them and not move too slowly. I came close to losing but I did manage to protect the villagers in the end.

Stage 24

This stage starts out with you vs. Empire but soon switches to monsters. I hate the golem enemies; I should use Attack+1 more aggressively when I fight them. It took a long time but eventually I was able to kill them.

Now I need to decide if I want to continue playing this or not. I feel like I’m not really enjoying it that much and I want to finish it as fast as I can, but it’s so difficult that I’m struggling with every stage which means that it will take another week or two to finish. I think that if this game did not have the Langrisser name on it I would have already given up and moved on, so maybe that’s a sign I should stop playing.

My biggest complaint about the game is that it’s just too chaotic. There are so many enemies on the map that you can never quite tell where your armies are going to end up. Sometimes you move and you’ll find that one of your guys randomly gets pushed out to the far left of the group and now you’re suddenly in range of the tough enemy who can attack your entire force. 

The magic spells are also devastating; I get locked in a cycle of fast enemies casting huge area effect spells that lower the effectiveness of my guys, I can’t beat anyone, then they heal, and finally my attacks come late in the phase (and the heals) so I basically make no progress in the turn.

PCE Game 42 – Travelers: Densetsu wo buttobase!

Travelers: Densestu wo buttobase! (とらべらーず! 伝説をぶっとばせ)
Released 12/29/1994, published by Victor Entertainment

This is the final game of 1994! It’s a pretty standard RPG with some meta-elements — the back story is that 1000 years ago a demon attacked the world, and after it was defeated, the king created schools to train people who would become “travelers”, which are basically adventuring parties. The main heroes are one of these traveler parties, with the usual fighter, mage, priest, etc. They take missions from the Guild and go around solving problems.

However, there are several reasons why I didn’t play it much. The first is that the voice audio is mixed so low compared to the music that I can barely understand what they’re saying. I’ve encountered this problem before on other PC Engine games. Every time it happens I wonder if it’s an emulation issue or just my non-native Japanese abilities. But I found some Japanese players playing on original hardware who have the same issue; one blogger said “I can’t understand the story at all.”

In the first area (the school) I got a mission to go somewhere, but I have no idea why I’m going there or what I’m doing because I can’t understand the dialogue.

Second, I really do not like the art. All the characters have this creepy, dead-eyed look.

Third, it has all the usual problems of a game this game this age (and worse). The interface is terrible — you can’t tell who can equip things or what the power of items are in the shops. Everything takes more button presses than it should and moves slowly.

The battle sequences divide into front and back:

Only the front characters can attack with melee weapons; back characters have to use magic or spells.

From what I have read, the game is very easy once you move up a couple of levels at the beginning. You level very quickly, the magic is overpowered, and the game itself is quite short. One blogger said it was worth buying it at 10% of the original price.

So that’s about all I will say about Travelers. That ends 1994; next week I will have a preview of the first part of 1994, and then Lufia II, a game I am very much looking forward to. Langrisser III is taking a long time, though, so I’m glad for that buffer week.

SFC Game 69 – Dual Orb II

Dual Orb 2 (デュアルオーブ2)
Released 12/29/1994, published by I’Max


Dual Orb 1 was complete garbage, one of the worst games I’ve played so far for this blog. I was not looking forward to the sequel. Fortunately it’s considerably better than the first one — it’s still average, perhaps below average, but at least it’s playable. The developer I’MAX mostly did Mahjong, Shogi, and other gambling games; the Dual Orb games seem to be their only foray into RPGs. The game has a translation patch so you can give it a try.

The system is pretty basic DQ2 style. The main distinctive feature is the weapons; rather than buying new weapons you mostly upgrade them in towns. Each character has only 1-3 weapons they can ever get in the game; beyond that you have to find +X versions or upgrade them at a blacksmith. +20 is the maximum and if you get it that far you get a special move you can do with the weapon when you’re in critical health. The cost goes up drastically as the +X gets higher but the better the blacksmith is, the cheaper it is to upgrade. You can also find already upgraded versions in dungeons but they might also be cursed -1 weapons (you don’t know until you equip it).

This is an interesting system but I don’t think it’s implemented particularly well. You will not get any weapons to +20 (or even close) without doing a lot of end-game grinding for money. 

The random encounter rate is high; not as high as Last Battle or some of the other games like that, but high enough to be annoying. The balance on the whole is not good. Enemies do a lot of damage, even grunt units. Bosses frequently require a lot of grinding to beat just because they hit so hard it’s impossible to survive — particularly when they have hit-all spells (there’s no heal-all spell), and they can often take multiple turns for your one.

Here’s the intro from Arcadia’s Gamefaqs walkthrough:

A dragon appears in the night sky, intent on destroying all it
sees. Elsewhere, a man and a woman, Alex and Sera try desperately
to stop it. With no other option left, they decide to use their
final plan, the Orb. Alex activates the Orb, sacrificing himself
in the process, but also destroying the dragon.

Many years later, a man, walks through the snow, carrying a baby
he found. The man is a priest of Kaleid, on his way back from a
training journey, in order to be promoted to High Priest. He shows
the baby to the King. While he was walking in the Coriander
mountains,a group of white-clad people suddenly appeared, gave the
baby to him, along with a strange crucifix, then disappeared. The
king looks at the crucifix and wonders of the strange people were
sent from God. The High Priest has decided to keep him, and names
him Ales. The King brings his son, Ragnas, and shows him the baby,
insisting that they grow up to be friends. He sends the soldier to
spread the news of the High Priest's promotion and prepare to


Several years later, and old man [Hardwick] awakens on a table, surrounded by
a scientist and three others. The leader, Oldras, rejoices, having
succeeded in his plans. This man is the key to their finally
gaining the power of the ancient relics...

You begin with Ales, who is training with the king’s son Ragnas. After a brief sparring match they head home but are ambushed by thieves — fortunately a bard Cornelius comes in to save them.


After returning, it turns out Cornelius is from Highlandia, which is being attacked by a foreign nation that is unearthing ancient technology. He wants to find the ancient ruins before they can do so. The King decides that Ales and Ragnas should go with him. Ales has healing spells but also attacks decently, and Ragnas is just a fighter.

It takes a while to get any good weapons — you start off with wooden sticks that don’t do much. Until I found the spear in the first dungeon I basically had to run from everything. One general annoyance about this game is that they often like leaving you in situations where you can’t buy anything or use an Inn.

We find a green jewel and the girl Sara from the opening, although she doesn’t remember anything but her name. The priests in town thinks she’s a goddess because the jewel is glowing, and it only does that in the presence of the goddess. We also learn that the Red, Blue, and Green jewels are around the world and can unite to form the Orb.  Sara joins the party; she’s also a healer and attacks with guns — her weapons cannot be upgraded, but you find new ones in ruins. She tends to be a pretty good attacker if she can survive.

Meanwhile Hardwick has attacked Kaleid. We try to save the King but he gets killed; all we can do is escape and head back to the ruins where there’s a suit of armor that hears Ragnas’ cry for help, and bonds with him. Now he can cast magic, which his helpful (he has a def buff and some elemental spells). Hardwick tries to stop us but Cornelius holds them off while we escape.

Our next goal is the nearby kingdom of Corodos, which is allied with Kaleid and should help us. But we need the help of our next player character Saladin to get through a forest. Saladin is also a combo fighter-mage.

Unfortunately Corodos refuses to help because they’re too busy fighting off goblins from the SW ruins, which is odd since goblins usually don’t want anything but food. There’s also a mysterious masked figure, and once we find out that the “goblins” are actually the Gurica tribe of demihumans, it’s obvious the masked man is controlling Corodos. One of the Gurica (Najif) joins temporarily in place of Sara.

We get back to Corodos but the king already knows about the Gurica, and he’s the one who sent the army against Kaleid. We beat him up, and then destroy the staff that the masked figure was using to control everyone. Now that all that has been dealt with it’s time to go to the ruins.

This ruin is like the other one, with advanced technology, a boss guardian, and this time the Red jewel, which joins with the green. Back at the Gurica village Sara has recovered but the masked figure is back. He tries to kill us but Saladin is able to fight him off with a spell (he seems to have a hidden identity). Although Saladin stops the dude from killing us, he kidnaps Sara.

We’re not sure where Sara is, but time to cross the sea — this is the usual “get a ship” part of the RPG. Cornelius returns; turns out he’s a spy and can show us the way to the hidden spy city (which moves). Unfortunately Hardwick is already there and tries to kill us, but Ragnas agrees to go with him (he wants Ragnas’ armor). Hardwick decides to kill us anyway, but the power of the jewels teleports us away to a mysterious mountain.

We go down the mountain and head for a port to take a ship. We run into another future party member Carline, who is trying to rescue her brother from pirates. Since Cardosa is blocking the sea we can’t really get across anyway so we decide to help her find her brother. This involves hunting down the pirates and beating them up, although we get involved in a fight between rival pirates in the process.

There’s a part where you have to do a puzzle to push casks into specific areas; it’s actually a somewhat challenging puzzle and is not optional.

Eventually we recover Elliot and reach the friendly pirates’ location, Gadmos, which is actually a giant turtle. It also turns out that Elliot and Carline are the children of the King of Highlandia, so that’s a nice ally to get. We also learn in Highlandia some of the past lore — if the three jewels come together they can make an Orb. This Orb can help us defeat the ancient weapon that Hardwick is trying to unearth, which seems to be a flying fortress.

We head out to Gassa to try to form an alliance, and there find the third jewel. This is the toughest dungeon so far, with a guardian that does an enormous amount of damage. There are shops in Gassa but they’re hard to find and I didn’t know they existed until after I finished the dungeon. Fortunately there is a heal spring in the dungeon, so I just used that to grind about 10 levels until I had Full Heal on Ales. 

Afterwards we get the third jewel and also learn more about the past; Sara and Alex (in the opening) were fighting against Chandra, who is Alex’s friend. Alex sends Sara to the future to help future generations deal with Chandra while he stops him (temporarily) with the orb. There’s also a lot of side stories here (I’m just touching the broad elements of the story; it’s more complex than this). The mages of Gassa then send us back to Kaleid, where we started.

The high priest in Kaleid gives Ales a cross and sends us to Coriander mountain to learn the truth about Ales. There, we find another advanced technology tower and a hologram from Alex. Alex tells us about Chandra, who misused the technology to almost destroy the world, and it was only the Orb that saved the world. Now Ales (a clone of Alex) and Sara have to use the Orb again to defeat Chandra. 

We now get a flying Ornithopter (buried by Alex) and can go anywhere in the (small) world. There’s a town Cronheit that has the cheapest blacksmith in the game, although it still costs a huge amount of money to upgrade any weapons to max. But the next destination is Hardos, which Hardwick has attacked. Unfortunately Carlina has been captured so it’s time to save her, vs another tough boss fight.

This is another time when you get stuck with no shops, and have to do a lot of grinding. The enemies just hit too hard and too fast to do otherwise — there’s a spell that paralyzes enemies that works on the robot grunts but even with that you can get hit really hard. Buffs stack, so often if you just keep casting the def+ and mag+ over and over again you can get to the point where your defense is finally high enough to withstand some attacks, and Saladin can do 9999 with his spells. At this point if you also have Full Recovery and Full Heal, it’s possible to beat the enemies. Around level 50 is enough to win the rest of the fights in the game through this method, if you also grind money to level up your weapons. I will admit that I got frustrated enough that I used a money code to upgrade my weapons because I had done so much grinding in the game already and I was not looking forward to the prospect of even more grinding (I didn’t do this until the final dungeon, though).

Anyway, next up is the flying fortress that destroyed Hardos. There’s another tough enemy here, but the aforementioned strategy works.

Ragnas is with Hardwick at the top — he seems to have been corrupted to evil now. The Armor that he found early in the game is actually a vessel for Chandra to return. There’s yet another difficult combat against Oldras, one of Hardwick’s generals, which you have to fight with only 3 guys.

If you want to earn money legitimately, go to Cardosa to fight gold beetles for cash — it’s time for the final dungeon.

The final fight is Ragnas; first you have to fight him in several forms (the buff strategy works fine on this and the final boss).

Then Chandra (with the regular battle music!)

And that’s the game.

The story is the best part of the game; I just sketched the outline above but there are a lot of sideplots and background for the various characters. It doesn’t seem to have any connection to Dual Orb 1 and I’m not even sure why this is “dual” orb since there’s only one orb in this game. There is a translation patch as well.

The gameplay could be a lot better, though. The game balance forces a lot of grinding, which I never like, and as I said above I think the weapon upgrade system is flawed. I barely got to use the special attacks except at the very end of the game, and even then you can only use them when you’re in critical HP and it’s very easy to get killed by the enemies. There is a good XP code that just gives you max XP after a battle (raising you 2-3 levels); this allows you to skip some of the grinding without having totally overpowered characters.

So this is light years better than Dual Orb 1, but it’s still a flawed game in many ways.

Next up is a PCE game and then we’re done with 1994!

SRPG Game 60 – Langrisser III (Saturn) – Stages 1-12

Langrisser III (ラングリッサーIII)
Released 10/19/1996, developed by Masaya

We’re back to the Langrisser franchise as the series moves to the Saturn, where the last three games in the series game out. Rather than continue to refine the gameplay of L1 and 2, Masaya chose to complete reinvent the gameplay. I think the result was not well received because for L4 and 5 they returned to the gameplay of the first two.

The graphics seem to be based on Der Langrisser FX, and like DFX, there’s a fair amount of voiced dialogue and some anime scenes. However, they returned to the L1 and 2 single-path storyline rather than the branching paths of Der (although there are some secret stages, and a “true ending” with 2 extra stages).

Parts of the gameplay are similar to the previous ones. You still hire troops, and the basic unit compatibilities are the same. The classes are similar, although this time you don’t choose a class path, you unlock additional classes that you can switch between (and they will get better); this makes things more flexible so that you can hire more of a certain type of unit depending on the stage.

The biggest change is that the battle system is now done in a semi-realtime. You choose how you want to move your guys, and then all the commanders move at the same time. Then each unit can attack someone they’re close to. The individual army members no longer act like units, instead they’re just extensions of the commander — they affect the range of the attack and also the damage (more troops is good). However, this time even if troops die, they can be brought back by heal spells or the Heal command. This is annoying when powerful enemies are just healing over and over again; you really need to gang up on the bosses with 3-4 squads.

The effect is rather chaotic; units are often packed into small spaces almost stacked on top of each other, and it’s not always easy to tell who is going to be attacking who. You can switch formations (which I don’t really understand the purpose of) and switch between move/defend/normal which lets you speed up (at the cost of defense) or defend (at the cost of not making an attack). You can also view attack sequences but they’re so slow I can’t imagine doing that for the whole game.

There are 5 equipment slots now.

Stage 1

This is similar to the previous Langrisser stages; our guys start out on the left (just me and Tiaris). Story stuff happens on the right side and basically this is just so you can fool around with the battle system a bit before the story stuff plays out. I just moved Dihalt and Tiaris around and fought the Pegasus units. Even Tiaris and her guardsmen had no real trouble with them, although I cast a Heal 1 once. 


Stage 2

This is another typical early Langrisser stage; all you do is escape down to the bottom of the map. Maybe you can try killing some of the top enemies (if you save all the villagers you get a bonus item) but I just escaped.


Stage 3

The first real stage, against undead. I almost lost. Initially I sent everyone north but I noticed some undead groups were evading me and heading down to where the villagers were, so I had to sent Dihalt and Gilbert back down to the bottom. They actually had a surprising amount of trouble dealing with the undead, maybe because I don’t fully understand the battle system yet. Grop keeps summoning undead which I was fighting off, but Grop was too difficult for just Ruin and Tiaris to beat, so I had to send Gilbert up to the top. He got stuck fighting some undead and Dihalt had difficulty dealing with the bottom on his own. I just barely squeaked out the win; I think one more turn I would have lost all the villagers but Gilbert managed to make it up to the top (with a Move mode) and then I had to move Tiaris out of the way so I could get Gilbert in there with his horsemen. 


Stage 4

I just moved everyone west and ordered the NPCs to go right. Once the enemies caught up to the villagers I had the new NPC forces attack; the enemies are outclassed so this isn’t too hard.

Stage 5

I moved everyone along the road, and then when I neared the castle, I had Gilbert in Move mode go up around the side of the castle while everyone else stayed there to fight the enemies. Once Gilbert reaches the castle the stage is over.

I’m starting to get some of the class changes; it’s interesting that you change your class to have different units rather than simply hiring different guys (at least at the moment).

Stage 6

This is a really short stage — the goal is to get two opposing forces to fight each other and then retreat. I thought you would actually have to move around so that the two sides had a battle, but all you have to do is move close to the enemies until there’s dialogue, and then run away. You only need one or two units. 

Jessica shows up after this. I guess she’s used the “youth” magic again.

Stage 7

This is a tough stage. I actually had to restart because I didn’t have the right troops. One thing I’m discovering is that it’s very difficult to do a 1 on 1 fight; because you can use the Heal to even bring back your troops, I often need 2-3 units to take down a strong enemy even if the compatibility is good.

I went with Soldiers for Dihalt and made Rifanny a hunter so I could use bowmen (this ended up not mattering so much).

The basic strategy was to proceed slowly at first, saving Tiaris’ heal spells for the last part of the stage. I took down the initial pikemen with Dihalt and Ruin, and then took everyone forward into the fortress. I used my hours units and Runa to take down the soldiers, then moved Ruin up (with his pikemen) to deal with the horsemen and flying units (along with Rifanny). I used one Heal from Tiaris during this time.

Now the tough part starts. I used Attack+ on Dihalt and had him and Ruin take out the pikemen (with help from a Thunder spell). Then I healed and moved forward, doing the same thing with the next group of pikemen. Meanwhile you have to deal with attacks from bowmen above; I see no good way to take them out.

Last up is Freya. To enable the best ending you have to get Dihalt near Freya so they have a conversation, then let Freya attack Dihalt (do not attack Freya with Dihalt) then defeat Freya with someone other than Dihalt. Initially I had too few units in there and so I had to reload a save from a few turns ago and move both my horsemen and Luna in there. Rifanny stood back to draw the fire from the archers. There are mages that cast spells as well, but with a Protection from Dihalt and my last Heal from Tiaris, I was able to finish the stage — just barely.

I hope this is one of the harder stages!

Stage 8

They reused the “burning field” stage from Langrisser 2. This one moves a lot more slowly so you have time to move. I initially tried splitting my force but that turned out to be a mistake, so I just went in kind of an upside down V direction. Rifanny was surprisingly effective against the pikemen and archers with direct attacks. 

Stage 9   

I thought this was a fairly tough stage also. You first have tribesmen to deal with, then Emarinc’s troops. Emarinc will kill some of the enemies but probably won’t get very far (I wonder if the best way to deal with this stage is to go to the NW at the beginning and let Emarinc and the tribesmen fight it out.

I had this mess:


It seemed like I was not doing all that well and I was completely out of spell points by the time I had the battle under control, but at least I was destroying one troop or so per turn.

I think the Heal command is too powerful in this game, although maybe that benefits my team a lot as well.

Stage 10

You have a 19 turn limit here. I think on my first try I tried to move too quickly and got killed by the Shamans and bosses. It’s not necessary to go that fast. I got bogged down by the initial pikemen and was worried about my turn count but once I got past them, the stage opened up a bit. Eventually I was able to reach the boss without killing all of the intervening enemies, which turned out to be a good thing. Other enemies come in afterwards, and the shika tribe will help you fight them. The shamans are especially useful — their fireballs suck when they’re coming at your party, but they help a lot directed at the enemies.

Stage 11

This stage is a nice breather; there are a lot of enemies but they aren’t very hard and they come at you in small batches. The priests can get some EXP by killing the ghouls and other monsters. The boss can hit hard (I lost Luna) but when she’s by herself it’s not that bad. Although it was hard to tell what kind of units she had.

So Bozel is back, of course, he and Jessica seem to be two constants in the games. 

Stage 12  

This is the “save the bridge” stage from Langrisser 2. I was worried at first because I didn’t see how I was going to beat all enemies in 14 turns, but actually you only have to defeat the infantry group on the right side of the bridge, then the turn limit goes away. From there I didn’t have too much trouble; I summoned some Dark Elves to help against the flyers. Ruin was able to hold off all the horsemen with his pikes, and the archers helped pick up the slack.

On the story, this game does a better job than previous Langrissers (and other SRPGs) of showing what’s happening on a large-scale war — too many of these games make it seem like it’s just your own force against the entire enemy army, and you don’t really understand why the army isn’t doing anything while you’re fighting one battle in one area. But here they have a map between stages that shows the territory of each army and where important characters are. So even when we’re doing something like trying to secure a Gate to prevent demons from coming through, other wars are still going on.  

It is odd that the plot started up with the wars between the countries but then almost immediately we go off to defend the Gates while the war keeps going. 

There are 36 stages so I’m 1/3 through.  

PCE Game 41 – Alnam no Kiba

Fangs of Alnam (アルナムの牙 獣族十二神徒伝説)
Released 12/22/1994, published by Right Stuff 


Right Stuff is the developer responsible for a few other games I’ve played (Emerald Dragon, Alshark, Sword Master). This game takes place in a world with humans, and then 12 tribes of demihumans (who transform into beasts) who are treated as lesser beings by the humans. One day mysterious beings called Shishimura appear, and threaten the humans. The Empress of Alnam, Marien, calls on representatives from the 12 tribes to come to the capital. The main character is Genbu, studying sword use under Ouken. Ouken is supposed to be the representative, but he’s killed by one of the Shishimura trying to protect Genbu, so Genbu goes in his place.

The game begins with an extended cutscene; as is common for these late PCE games, the scenes are well done.

The battle system is pretty simple. You can choose “attack” or “beast attack”. Everything you do uses Qi, which is a bit annoying at the beginning because everyone’s Qi is so low that even just doing basic attacks quickly exhausts your supply. The problem is made worse by this game’s ridiculous random encounter rate, one of the worst I’ve seen (it may even be worse than The Last Battle although this game’s areas are much smaller).


But the much bigger issue than this is that the game is full of bugs, almost at the level of Maka Maka. There are numerous graphical glitches here and there, but also a large number of bugs that cause freezes

Some examples of the bugs:

  • The strongest fire spell freezes the game (even if enemies cast it).
  • The strongest weapon (the Fang of Alnam of the game title) sometimes has negative attack power due to a bug.
  • Bosses are frequently absent; you have to leave the dungeon and come back (if it’s the final boss you have to reset)
  • There are other bugs where when you enter or exit places, or use stairs, you get stuck and have to reset
  • For two characters, if you level them up too much before a certain point in the game it will always freeze during a cutscene
  • Characters appear and disappear, or have the wrong face portrait
  • There are multiple places where after a cutscene, if you try to backtrack instead of moving on, you get stuck and have to reset

There are a lot of other minor graphical glitches as well. For some of the bugs you can save your game in a bugged state where you can’t win the game, and since there’s only one save slot you would have to start over.

Once Genbu reaches the capital, he’s ignored and insulted by most of the humans but eventually reaches the Empress, who tells everyone about the Shishimaru and asks for their help. Throughout the game Genbu will work with various representatives to deal with the Shishimaru and also figure out his place in the world.


Most of the sites I looked at praised the story and visual scenes, and in fact the game was remade on the Playstation as an adventure game with no RPG elements. A sequel RPG came out for the Playstation in 1997 and there was supposed to be a third game, but Right Stuff went out of business before that could happen.

Given the high encounter rate, basic battle system, and the bugs, I didn’t see any need to play the game beyond this point. It’s a shame because the visuals do look good and there is potential in the game. It has a good interface and everything plays quickly and smoothly.

Next up will be the final SFC game for 1994, Dual Orb 2.

SRPG Game 59 – Arliel Crystal Legend (Game Gear)

Arliel: Crystal Legend (アーリエル クリスタル伝説)
Released 12/13/1991, published by Sega

Why do some of my retroarch screenshots include that note at the top?


I skipped this game on my first pass through, because it looked like it did not have a developing story. I think this basically a correct judgment although it might technically qualify. It’s notable as a very early SRPG example — it would have been game 5 if I had played it on my first pass. It was released in English as Crystal Warriors. As usual, the box design was replaced by Western-style art — the Japanese art was done by the same artist that did the Monster Maker series. I recognize the huge eyes.

It’s the forerunner of Royal Stone, which I did play. You can see the connection between the two games; Royal Stone is better in almost every way, but for a handheld game in 1991 this one’s not terrible. I played about half the game, which was enough.

The story is that Queen Ellis of Arliel Kingdom has to fight against the magician Gram who wants four crystals. This is the whole story. There are no story sequences between fights; the only text comes from townspeople you can talk to between stages (who mostly just talk about what to expect in the next fight). The entire dialogue of the game is given in the GameFAQs walkthrough and barely fits one screen.


The battles have the same element triangle as Royal Stone: Wind->Water->Fire->Wind, with Earth neutral to all of them. Each character has an element. You start with a party of 6 and can hire more people at the Inn before certain stages. Between stages you can also buy equipment, items, and spells.

The classes are roughly the same as in Royal Stone; you have magic users, healers, and a few types of fighter.

The battles themselves are simple; they take place on small maps. Each map has some set enemies — as in Royal Stone they appear first as question marks until you use the Scan magic or fight with them once, then you can see what they are. In addition there will be some monsters on the map.


Fights work similar to Royal Stone. When there is an attack, each side gets 2 turns; they can defend, attack, use a spell, or retreat (which may fail).

In Royal Stone you could capture monsters, something I didn’t realize even after beating the game. Here the system is more integrated. Whenever anyone (other than a mage or healer) kills a monster, they will acquire that monster. In a fight, rather than using your turn you can send out a monster instead. This makes it easier to exploit the elemental weaknesses of the enemies and is a nice feature that I wish they had retained in Royal Stone.


There is a limited equipment system (there seem to be only a few items each character can equip, and they only have one slot).

I played to about stage 6 and then got a game over because I moved Ellis poorly. I thought that was enough; this is not a particularly good game. Royal Stone improves upon it in almost every way and I would definitely recommend that over Crystal Warriors. But I can see that this was probably not a bad game at all for a handheld system in 1991.