Monthly Archives: June 2024

SRPG 93 – Langrisser V Part 2 (PSX)

I was out of town for a few days and I hit a tough stage so I’m not done with L5 yet; should be done by next weekend. I’m not saying much about the storyline because it’s all over the place — the parts don’t really fit together that well and it’s constantly jumping from one thing to another and introducing new elements out of nowhere.

19 – I believe this is the first stage with undead. Clarett’s monks didn’t work as well as I had hoped, but they still did OK. It’s not that hard to protect the villagers, and the boss will run out of bodies to summon eventually.

20 – This is another “protect the NPCs while they leave the map” stage. You can destroy bridges to try to stop the enemies but I don’t know how much of a difference that makes. I think protecting all of the NPCs is really difficult but you can let one or two die and it’s OK.

21 – Nothing tricky about this stage.

22 – I had a really hard time with this stage, to the point where I considered using level select to level up. The DeathLord that starts in the middle of the stage seemed unkillable by even my most powerful units. What eventually did work was to use Decline on him and then have every character that could, use damage magic on the DeathLord. Even after that the stage isn’t a cakewalk (there are a lot of units, with reinforcements, and annoying magic/arrow units that are difficult to reach) but it was manageable.

23 – This is the end of Gilmore. You have to beat this big robot thing first, but he’s very slow and his attack doesn’t do that much damage even though it works on a large range. I believe I used decline/magic to beat him as well. You have to be careful of Gilmore’s ballistas that can sometimes target a weaker commander (like Mariandell) and take her out, but as long as you can get within attack range and not die they go down pretty easily.

24 – This is the “find Langrisser” stage (wasn’t there one of these in a previous game?) There are a bunch of chests, and once the Langrisser is found you have to leave the stage with it. I think I could have beaten all the enemies but I basically got Clarett down to near the bottom of the stage, got all the treasures and beat Omega, and then left (I think only two groups of enemies were still there).

25 – This stage just takes too long — you have 20 turns but it’s plenty of time. What takes forever is moving up the mountain, especially since there are so few enemies. You also have to sit through Landius and Langford wasting their turns.

26 – As long as you know what is going to happen in this stage it’s quite easy; just have someone near the statues to deal with the (very slow) reinforcements. If some units were left at the bottom that helps in stopping Alvis from reaching the stairs (he’s pretty slow).

27 – Even though all the enemies rush you at the beginning here, I didn’t find it very difficult. Pikemen deal easily with the horses, including the boss.

28 – The goal is to beat Ferakia before she reaches the crystal, but she’s so slow it’s not very hard to do (she also got stuck behind some of the other enemies).

29 – This is another long “wait until the NPCs leave the stage” map. Omega becomes a lot stronger starting here and he can take out almost any unit from a distance. I used Langford’s horse units to take him down. I did not try to defeat Rainforce and the other reinforcement, I just escaped.

30 – You start with just Mariandell and Sigma, but I found they could hold their own against the enemies. Langford dealt with Omega again, and I had enough pikemen to deal with the horses.

Only 6 stages left. I believe that all my characters are at 4th class (Clarett might still be 3rd).

SRPG 93 – Langrisser V Part 1 (PSX)

Langrisser V: End of Legend (ラングリッサーV 〜The End of Legend〜), released 6/18/1998), developed by Career Soft, published by Masaya

This is the last “real” Langrisser game, in a sense. Perhaps the subtitle of the game suggests this was already planned, but after this game, Career Soft went on to develop the Growlanser series. There were a few more games with the Langrisser name but none of them seem to be well regarded (I’m not sure the DC one is even a strategy RPG).

The system of L5 is essentially the same as IV, with some refinements. The biggest change is that troops now take turns with their commander, rather than having their own place in the turn order — this is a welcome change that is a big improvement. 4 and 5 were first released on Saturn, and then ported to the Playstation. Whereas 4 was remade to match 5’s system, 5 was more or less a straight port so I decided to play the Playstation version instead.

In some ways L5 is scaled back: like 1, 2, and 3, there are no branching paths. Also there are only six commanders in the game for you to have in your party.

The storyline begins near the end of Langrisser IV. The main characters at the start (Lambda and Sigma) are magically-modified/developed humans, made in Gizarof’s lab (the main villain of L4). The beginning questions that establish your character are done by Lambda asking about the character. After my messup with L4’s class paths I’m mostly answering whatever I feel like in the questions and going for the Hero class which you can get regardless of your answers.

Stage 1 – This is everyone’s favorite “run away” Langrisser starting stage. Their lab is attacked, and Lambda and Sigma escape, while another one of Gizarof’s projects (Omega) is defeated by the enemies.

Stage 2 – This is also a “run” stage although I did manage to beat the grunt enemies first. Serena and Wiler (from L4) show up as well.

Stage 3 – Finally I have some pikemen from Alfred, so I sent him upwards while everyone else went around.

Stage 4 – In Stage 4 you are pursuing Wilar up to the top of the map; it seems at first like you might have to hurry but Wilar moves quite slowly until you attack him the first time so you can take your time.

Stage 5 – Brenda arrives here in the middle. Even though horsemen are a bit hard to use in this game because of their size (and the slow speed of the commanders), they’re quite helpful at least in the early stages. She is the key to doing this mission.

Stage 6 – Alfred seems like he is in big trouble trapped in the fort, but when you get near him he can open the gate and escape, at which point you can clear the enemies easily.

Stage 7 – This stage starts everyone off in gas that lowers your HP, but despite that (and having no heal spells yet) I didn’t find that it hurt them enough that it affected their fighting. This is around the stage where Langrisser IV ends; up to now, Lambda and Sigma were doing a mission for him but now with Gizarof gone they decide to go after the Langrisser for their own purposes but soon go to the continent from the original Langrisser games for a totally different purpose.

Stage 8 – This stage has Emily (from L4) as enemy reinforcements. I tried to fight her but even my pikemen couldn’t hurt her so I just fled south on the bridge after beating all the other enemies (which is the victory condition).

Stage 9 – This is a classic “save the villagers” stage. Our fourth party member Clarett appears here although doesn’t join yet. You get bonus love points for all the girls if you can save all the villagers; I lost one villager which still gets you a few points.

Also how stupid is Jessica? The enemy takes some people hostage so she gives them both Langrisser and Alhazard, and then just heads back to the continent!

Stage 10 – This is an annoying stage because of having to save both Jessica and Clarett as NPCs. At some point don’t SRPG designers figure out that “save the NPC with dumb AI” isn’t good game design?

Stage 11 – Pretty slow stage, I had the villagers take the top way around. We’re trying to help Clarett take back her kingdom, and also the past life of Sigma and Lambda are involved.

Stage 12 – I split my force into two here. The goal is to get the tax revenue stealers before they escape the stage. I was a bit worried that I hadn’t done things right but fortunately the tax stealers need to reach the top right before they flee.

Stage 13 – We’re freeing some “liberals” from the prison, but then the enemies decide to open the cells and kill them instead. I told the prisoners to stay put and nobody even got into the castle to harm them.

Stage 14 – We use an ancient flying machine to get the drop on the enemy forces. This is a sky stage with all flying units but it’s not too bad.

Stage 15 – In this stage, you’re supposed to retreat when the reinforcements come, that’s what I did but I had Alfred near the edge to deal with the horsemen — I think I might have been able to defeat all the enemies but I decided to leave.

Stage 16 – One of your characters has to be at the top right but I don’t understand the purpose of the person, they just have to waste their turns. We’re supposed to protect a hostage from the enemies but the enemy AI was messed up; they attacked me instead of heading for the prisoner.

Stage 17 – Nothing much here, just took people forward and fought.

Stage 18 – This is the halfway point of the game, where Clarett takes back the kingdom from the usurper and pledges to start a democracy. Now the idea is that we are going to travel back to where we started the game (we’ve been seeing how things are going there — Lanford from L4 is having to deal with a rebellion). But things will intervene to stop us.

Overall this is a decent game so far. I would prefer the L1-2 grid style and the game can be slow moving at times. The characters are good and the story is entertaining as well. Lambda turns out to be a princess and Sigma is the resurrection of a knight who was killed by Clarett, although he hasn’t recovered his memory yet so there’s still some ambiguity there.

Ys VI: Ark of Naphishtim (PS2)

Ys: Ark of Naphishtim (イース -ナピシュテムの匣), released 3/10/2005, developed by Konami, published by Konami Shanghai

I’ve had Ys VI for quite a while (I either bought it right before I left Japan in 2005, or more likely I bought it in 2013 on another trip). I was waiting to play it until I had finished the other Ys games before it, which I’ve finally done, so I can play this game I’ve had sitting around for ages. Because I played it on an actual PS2 I wasn’t able to take screenshots, so I’ll have to try to borrow some screenshots from the internet to do this post.

The Ys series started out with the hugely popular Ys I&II — not just the successful computer originals but the highly regarded PC Engine port. After that, though, the original team disbanded. Ys III’s side scrolling gameplay was not as well liked, and the ports weren’t great. Ys IV had the weird double release, with a (rather bad) Super Famicom game and a better PC Engine game — although by this time, the “run into enemies” style was pretty out of date. Ys V finally added more action elements, but that game had a number of problems as well.

It was 8 years before Ys VI came out, and I wonder whether at the time people thought the Ys series was just dead. In 2003, Ys VI finally appeared, as well as PS2 ports of the first three games. The PS2 port of Ys VI (with the number dropped) was released a few years later in 2005 — as usual the port was not handled by Falcom.

One big change between Ys 3 and 6 is that the mess of competing computers (PC-98, MSX, etc) had been swept aside and replaced with Microsoft Windows, which probably allowed for easier development. DirectX 9 was out by this point. Obviously the graphics are far better than anything the series had seen before, and the technological advancements also allowed for a more fast-paced, action oriented game.

Adol can do a basic attack, but you can hit the button several times to chain attacks together. You also have a jump-spin attack, a downstab attack, and a few more things that I never really used much because they were too hard for me to execute reliably. (The worst one in this respect was the dash jump, which you need to do in order to access certain treasure chests but I never managed to do it right)

Courtesy of Gamespot, obviously

As usual, Adol can do magic-like attacks as well. The way it’s implemented in this game is that you get three different swords, one of each element. By earning Elemen you can upgrade the swords, and as you do so, you gain the ability to use the sword’s associated power. Once you use it, it takes some time to recharge, depending on the level of the sword (I think it also helps it recharge if you beat monsters with it).

The bosses are huge and colorful. This game shares Ys V’s ability to equip an item and carry up to 9 of them, so you can have a lot of healing during a fight. I actually found that this alone did not break the difficulty of the combats — you can do extra levelling and sword crafting to make most bosses much easier (including the final bosses) though.

The game is relatively short, a feature it shares with the previous games. For extras, you have a Time Attack mode (vs all the bosses), a bonus dungeon, some optional bosses and item collection within the game, and harder difficulty levels.

The storyline is the usual Ys fare, where Adol comes to a new place and solves the problem there. For some reason when Konami did the PS2 port they replaced the anime opening with a CG one (contrary to what I’ve seen elsewhere, this was not something done for the English release.) All the lines are voice acted, but the quality varies.

The story brings back a few characters from previous games, particularly Dogi and Terra (from Ys V). But all the returning characters play side parts. The main storyline involves Adol’s ship being attacked by Romun Empire forces, which causes him to shipwreck on Canaan Island, a place that is cut off from the main lands by strong vortexes. He is saved by two daughters of the chieftain of the Eleshia people. He distrusts humans, but Adol slowly wins his trust and then goes out to try to find the magic mirror they have lost. Of course this will eventually lead to stopping a world-destroying evil. The plot is nothing special, but it’s enough to support the action without being so detailed and long that you just want to fight things.

On the whole this is a far better game than Ys 3, the Super Famicom 4, and Ys 5. I still have a strong nostalgic affinity for Ys I&II though. All of the Ys 6 releases are available in English. Unless you really care about voice acting it seems like the PC version (on steam) is the best way to play it.

I will be out of town next weekend, but I will try to schedule a post on Langrisser V.