Author Archives: Kurisu

SRPG Game 62 – Vandal Hearts (chs 4-6)

Chapter 4

We’re fighting the Empire now! The first battle here has a ton of strong enemies, but the goal is just to escape the town. Apparently you can kill all the enemies, but I just grabbed some treasure with a few guys who then died, and everyone else escaped.

 The second battle seems easy at first, but there are so many long-range archer units that they can easily gang up on someone, and it’s difficult to judge where they can move and who they can hit. Once you’ve cleared out some of the archers it gets much easier (and the mages can be killed by your own archers).

 

Third battle is tricky because you start surrounded, but when I moved everyone towards one side I was able to escape with only one loss.

Fourth battle you just need to move forward while the train cars crumble behind you, but it’s not bad.

The last battle you have to destroy all the death devices in 8 turns. I managed to do it on the last turn, but I was not able to get all the hidden treasures. 

There’s also a trial map to be done in this stage; these are getting longer and more annoying. Here you have to do a lot of crate pushing to be able to reach the chest with the prism, and make sure you don’t block yourself off by moving them wrong.

Chapter 5

This chapter on the whole seemed a lot easier than the previous ones; maybe my characters were just a lot better.

The trial map, though, is a nightmare. It took me over 90 minutes to do; you just have to walk up this long spiral mountain and avoid archers by hugging the wall. It’s not challenging, it just takes a really long time. Thank god for emulator speedup.

The fifth battle has some reinforcements. At this point my mage had Salamander which hits a huge range and makes things generally easier.

Finally you have to protect Leena (who has a strange time travel backstory); once again not too difficult.

Chapter 6 

First task in chapter 6 is to do the last trial, which I thought was pretty easy.

Upon completing the last trial, you can change Ash into the Vandalier class; he gets super powerful equipment and can cast all the spells in the game, including Plasma Wave which hits every enemy on the board. This basically breaks the rest of the game but I’m not sure the final stages would have been that challenging even without plasma wave.

The chapter only has 4 stages. The first one is probably the hardest one, since Kain gains the ability to use Plasma Wave himself. If you let him stay near the cure circle he’ll keep regaining MP, but as long as you move towards him he’ll move away from that and then quickly run out of MP — with one or two Soul Water (heal all HP of all allies) it’s not tough to deal with.

I tore through the next two stages with no problem, leaving the final fight.

The final boss is not very hard (he’s easier than Kain), even though he has two forms. For some reason the second form only has 165 HP — was this a programming mistake?

I made sure to beat him with my Sky God — everyone always bashes that class but I really didn’t think they were that bad.

Afterwards the ending scene shows what happens to all the characters, and if you got Vandalier you get a special ending screen.

Overall this was a pretty good game. The story was above average – some cliches and I wish they had developed the villains a bit more. The ending was also a bit of a cheat (how did Ash get back?); I don’t know if VH2 or the third game are plot related at all.

I had some interface problems with the game — for instance, you can’t see a list of all your units and their HP, which is a pretty basic thing that is often useful and every SRPG should have. 

The map design is good, with different goals, gimmicks on the maps, some maps that aren’t just “defeat all enemies”, and other variety.

Vandal Hearts 2 came out in 1999 so it will be a while until I get there. Next up it’s back to Arc the Lad II, and I was able to dig out my save files from the first game so hopefully the carryover will work.

SRPG Game 62 – Vandal Hearts (chs 1-3)

Vandal Hearts (ヴァンダルハーツ〜失われた古代文明〜)
Released 10/25/1996, by Konami
 

 

This seems to be Konami’s first SRPG. It makes use of the Playstation hardware capabilities to have a rotating 3D isometric map. This is not the first 3D game I’ve played, but it’s much more competent and worthwhile than Sengoku Cyber. Vandal Hearts allows for full rotation of the camera and angle change. Other than that, everything in this game we’ve seen before. 

There are narrated sequences between chapters, otherwise there is no voicing. This is something that always interests me about the Playstation, although there are fully (or mostly) voiced acted games as well (we’ll be seeing one example very soon).

I seem to have abandoned my data matrix because I stopped doing wrap-up posts. But I think it’s a good way to overview the system so I will resurrect it.

  1. Turn type: Player/enemy phase
  2. Maps: The maps have terrain bonuses, as well as height. There are chests, hidden items, and switches as well as poison bogs and occasional other things.
  3. Character Customization: Characters can promote at level 10 and 20. Some classes have the option to take one of two paths at level 10.
  4. Character Development: Standard XP/level system.
  5. Party Size: I don’t know what the max size is, but you always use all your guys.
  6. Equipment: One weapon, one armor, one shield, and then 2 carry items.
  7. Game Flow: 6 chapters with 5-7 battles each, all done in order. No random encounters. There are also some optional “trial” maps you can unlock throughout the game.
  8. Saving: On the world map, and one in-battle save.
  9. Death: Main character = game over, other characters will come back after the battle (you have a small money penalty)

Here’s the backstory for the game from Wikipedia:

Thousands of years ago, the holy man known to history as Toroah the Messiah traveled far and wide across the continent of Sostegaria, spreading his teachings throughout the land. After his death, his descendants and heirs assumed absolute political power over the region, forming the basis of the Holy Ashah Dynasty and ruling through a combination of religious doctrine and military power for millennia. The kings and queens of the Holy Ashah Dynasty, however, did not always rule wisely or justly, and, as time passed, the citizenry began to resent the power of their leaders.

Fifteen years ago, this growing discontent found its ultimate expression in the person of Arris the Sage, who united the desperate and resentful anti-royal factions throughout Sostegaria and shaped them into a powerful guerrilla army. Under the cunning leadership of Arris, this Liberation Army managed to outwit and outmaneuver the Royal Army, and finally smashed through to the palace of the Ashah Dynasty itself, and burnt it to the ground.

With the monarchy dissolved, the rebels establish a ruling council founded on the principles of democracy and popular sovereignty. From the ashes of the Holy Ashah Empire emerges the Republic of Ishtaria. The leaders of the revolution naturally assumed leadership positions within the new republic: all, that is, except for Arris himself, who suddenly disappeared and has not been seen of, nor heard of, ever since.

Today, the fledgling republic is in increasingly dire straits: the autocratic Minister of Defense, Hel Spites, and his elite anti-terrorism squad, the Crimson Guard, are using ever-increasing force to stamp out the last vestiges of resistance to Ishtarian rule, while they allow outlaws to roam the countryside and pirates to sail the seas.

The characters are generally much older than usual (Ash is 25 and I think the youngest party member is 17). Overall the story is decent so far.

(Sorry the screenshots suck for this post except the title one; I changed the duckstation settings after this to take better ones.)

 Chapter 1

The story for this chapter basically shows Hel Spites beginning to take control over the republic while Ash and his friends serve it through a guards regiment (while opposing the Crimson Guard, though not to the point of attacking them).

The first battles are pretty easy although I had to restart the first one until I learned the system basics. You can only counterattack, and units get support bonuses if their allies are surrounding the character. This means that if enemies gang up on one unit, that unit will tend to get severely hurt or die. This game has the “main character dies = game over” system; I really don’t like this in any games. It’s not as bad here as I’ve seen it, but it still tends to create this fear of actually using the main character.

But basically, the general tactic is to keep back and stay together unless you have to go forward. The system has unit compatibility; there’s a triangle between the fighters but then the Armors are good against all of them, and magic is good against armor.

 

There are hidden treasures on many of the maps. They are marked by things like craters, cracks, or strange patterns in the ground.

The second battle introduces the first switch, which you “search” to activate.

Battle 4 has a burning bridge so you do have to move forward.

Battle 5 is just one enemy plus a bunch of arms; the arms paralyze but if you just move towards the main enemy it’s not too bad.

Finally Battle 6 is a ship battle. The enemies cluster on the gangplanks and can be finished off with bows and spells.

 

At this point I had some people hitting level 10. These are the paths I took everyone on:

  • Ash – Hero (he has no choice)
  • Jose – Hawk Knight/Sky Lord
  • Reen, Amon, Genius – Sniper/Ace Gunner
  • Keith, Rado – Armor/Heavy Armor
  • Dolmen – Knight/Sword Master
  • Elena – Wizard/Spellmaster
  • Horcus – Bishop/Messiah
  • Samdera, Saria – Monk/Godhand

I did this without reading about the pluses and minuses of various classes. I probably should have made Samdera a second Wizard since their damage spells are quite good. It seems like most people recommend Genius being the Hawk Knight; you need one to get Ash’s hidden class. Personally I have found the Hawk Knight pretty useful so far in contrast to what everyone says. (BTW all the names are different in the translation. It looks like Keith->Clint, Jose->Diego, Elena->Eleni, Horcus->Huxley, Dolmen->Dolan, Rado->Grog, Saria->Sara, Samdera->Zohar, Genius->Darius, Reen-Kira.)

Near the end of the chapter we begin getting the Trial Keys. Each one can be taken to the promotion area and then there’s an optional trial map. In each map you have to beat all the enemies but also get a chest before you do that, which has a prism in it. If you get all the prisms, you unlock Ash’s secret class.

The trial maps all have some sort of gimmicky setup; in this case you just have to climb this huge mountain. I thought I would lose but I managed to win with 2 guys left alive and no MP.

Chapter 2

Here we go to an island and find the intrigue surrounding a certain gemstone. The first battle you have to destroy statues without destroying all the enemies (who are villagers changed into monsters). This is only a challenge because you can’t choose not to counterattack. This rubs me the wrong way; a battle that bases its strategy on a fundamentally flawed system element that makes no logical sense in the story. It does have strategy because you have to make sure you are placing your units in the right place. I ended up killing all the villagers but one.

The fourth battle in the chapter is annoying; you have to use these elevators that raise and lower to get everyone across a wall, and since the goal is “reach the castle door with everyone” even when you beat the enemies you still have to spend a bunch of time moving everyone.

The sixth battle is vs. a bunch of guard dogs, who have to be beaten within 7 turns and like to run away. Not very hard, but a strange battle.

There’s also another Trial in this chapter which is vs. all archers. It’s not especially hard but archers tend to be able to gang up on a character and it can be hard to judge placement because of the archers’ movement and then attack range.

Chapter 3

The plot takes a strange turn here as most of the characters get sent to another dimension where 3 years pass in a few days — I think this is to allow them to show the change in the world after the takeover by Hel Spites.

In the second battle you have to prevent towers from being destroyed by the enemies; I only had one left at the end but that’s enough.

The next few stages aren’t too bad, then there’s an interesting one where the enemies will start running away when you show yourself, so you have to wait until they reach a good spot and then pick them off before they can run.

Then we switch to a different party of people who are in jail, with some interesting enemies — they can’t be hurt except from behind, and from behind they die in one hit. So it’s all about maneuvering them into the right spot and then killing them. 

The trial for the chapter is easy; just one enemy and a bunch of chests, and you have to find the one with the prism.

So that’s half the game down (I’m on chapter 5 so hopefully I will finish up this weekend). Not bad but it does show its age in a few interface issues.

SRPG Game 61 – Nage Libre: Seijaku no Suishin (Super Famicom)

Nage Libre: Seijaku no Suishin (ナージュリーブル 〜静寂の水深〜)
Released 2/24/1995, developed and published by Varie
 

  

This is a game I missed on my first pass through 1995. It’s a 美少女ゲー, a game where every character is a high school girl in various school dress. There was a 1997 sequel for Playstation as well. The game was way too expensive to buy, so I don’t have in instruction manual. My discussion of the system is entirely based on playing the game plus information from one walkthrough site I found; there may be parts of the system I didn’t get.

The game is 23 stages back to back, with no other content other than short story sequences. The story as a whole is fairly thin — five high school girls get brought into the world of Nage. They spend the first half of the game trying to escape, but then find that Nage is imposing itself on the real world. They go back into Nage to defeat Misty, the person that initially summoned Nage, and then defeat Nage itself. Most of the dialogue is just banter between the girls.

The first thing you do is input birthdays for the 5 girls.

This affects the birthday stone system in the battles, but there are two special things you can do. If you put in the birthdays as 1/23, 4/5, 6/7, 8/9, and 10/11, all cards count as birthday stones, making the game much easier. If you do 10/10, 3/3, 2/14, 7/7, and 12/24 you can see profiles of the girls. If you put everyone as 11/25, when you beat the game you get this unknown bald guy singing Happy Birthday to Me (a designer?)

Everyone can move 6 spaces on the map regardless of the terrain. What the terrain does it affect the speed that your turn gauge fills, and some of the map squares are damage or healing.


 


 

The battle system is interesting. It’s based on a card system, but not deck-building as such. Each encounter is 6 rounds (or until one person dies). At the beginning of each battle there is a random hand of 5 cards. When you use one of the cards, it will get replaced by another random one. Everyone shares the same hand so you do sometimes have to use less-than-optimal cards to clear them out of your hand. Each card has two numbers; a power at the top left and a speed at the bottom right. Who actually goes first is affected also by the character’s speed stat in addition to the speed of the card. There is also a gemstone on each card, and if it matches the character’s birthday gemstone, it automatically has max power (15).

The types of cards are:

  • Attack
  • Defense (raise defense just for that battle)
  • Heal
  • SP (a special super attack)
  • COS – This changes your costume.The Winter costume gives you more def/agl at the cost of str/mt. Gym clothes are +str/agl, -def. Swimsuit is +str/-def (more than Gym). Coat is just +10% def. The costume change just lasts until the end of the stage.
  • CHG – This allows you to pull one of your stock cards. Between battles you can buy up to 5 stock cards for each person. All of them have 9 speed and X (maximum) power. At the beginning of the game you have to be somewhat frugal, but starting around mid-game I always had one heal and four SP cards to draw from.
  • Escape (end the battle, can fail)
  • ????? – random effect, although I swear that defense is the most common outcome — maybe this is just confirmation bias though. 

Every character also has a club, although some people are “regular students” or bosses. The main thing I am not sure about is whether the clubs affect your stats; there’s no information about this in the game or on the site. There is a compatibility like in other games (for instance, the Tennis club is very strong against the Karate club but weak against Japanese Dance). This is potentially interesting but in the end not very useful. You only ever have 5 people and can only switch clubs between stages. Most stages have a large assortment of enemies and so it’s difficult to pick an optimum set of clubs.

 

It’s not really necessary though — the game is quite easy for the most part. There are a few tricky stages and bosses, but if you lose a girl they just come back in the next stage.

 

 

One other thing I’m not sure about is the level advancement. There’s no XP; the girls gain levels at the end of the stage, but I can’t tell whether it has anything to do with what they did during the stage.

There are a lot of interface issues. It’s very hard to see the stats of your girls during the stage, and there’s too much opacity in the system (although some of that might be cleared up by the instruction manual). 

In the end this is not a bad game, but it’s not particularly good either. I’ll be interested to see what the PSX game changes in the system. I read one complaint that there aren’t as many clubs, but that doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me. I did notice that they made some changes that reduce the randomness of the card draw a bit, which is probably good — it can be frustrating at times when you’re drawing nothing but costume change and escape cards.

After you win the game you can play an Extra Stage with all the bosses on one map.

Next up we’ll be back to 1996 for Vagrant Story, a game I have heard about but never played.

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.

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.  

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.

SRPG Game 58 – Sakura Taisen

Sakura Taisen (サクラ大戦), Saturn
Released 9/27/1996, developed and published by Sega

This game is not an SRPG; it’s really a visual novel with tactical battles. The tactical battles aren’t just fluff — while the system is not as developed as some of the SRPGs I’ve played up to now, it’s not as bare bones as something like Farland Story. Where this game fails in my criteria is that the characters cannot be developed in any way; you can get them some stat bonuses for each chapter but the bonuses go away at the end of the chapter. However, I’m going to play the game anyway. I’ve always been interested in the series and several friends of mine are big fans of it, so this seems like a good time to play it. 

I could have played the PS2 remake but I decided to go for the original instead. My general view of remakes is that especially with a series like Sakura Taisen, I want to see how the series develops. The PS2 remake was released after Sakura Taisen 4 and probably incorporates a lot of the developments in the series that were made in the three sequels.

The setting is the Taisho period, but a cyberpunk version of it with a lot of steam engine technology (that gets pretty ridiculous at some points). The setting is inspired by various stage drama, particularly the all-female Takarazuka Revue and kabuki. The main characters are actors in a troupe that seems a lot like Takarazuka. The presentation is similar to an anime, with a fair amount of FMV videos, and each chapter ending with a “next episode preview” narrated by one of the characters. 

The character designs are by Kosuke Fujishima, at the time a major manga-ka known for Ah! My Goddess. He had designed the characters for Tales of Phantasia the same year, but in this format they could directly translate his character designs to the game itself rather than just having them appear in the instruction manual. 

The story involves Ogami Ichiro, who is assigned to be the captain of the Imperial Attack Squad, which moonlights as the Imperial Stage Revue (pronounced the same way) — this has elements of magical girl anime in it, and I wonder if the popularity of Sailor Moon (which was running its final season when this game came out) had an influence. Tomozawa Michie, who played Sailor Mars, does the voice for one of the game’s characters.

The majority of the game is reading text (and listening to the voice acting for some of it), so it will not appeal to everyone. The general flow of the chapters is you have long sections of dialogue, with some choices. The LIPS system requires you to choose your choices in a limited time, or you can wait for the time to run out and then your character will stay silent. By choosing various options you affect the girls’ trust in you, which raises their stats for the battles. You can also have some free exploration points where you can go to various rooms and talk to the girls, although it’s a bit annoying that you can’t see who is where (so sometimes you waste all your free time going to places where nobody is). The trust values reset at the beginning of each chapter (and can never go below 0), but there’s also a hidden “love” stat that accumulates throughout the game and affects the later chapters.

Eventually there will be a battle (some chapters have just one, some have more than one). The battles are basic tactical combat style. Each character can take two actions a turn, although you can’t use two attack or two defense actions. In addition to move, you have basic attack and special attack, and then defend, heal, and build power. To use the special attacks you need a full power gauge, which goes up when you get damaged or when you use the build power command. Finally, Ogami has a “cover” skill which will negate all the damage to a girl from one attack (can be done 8 times per battle). Each girl has their own type of attack:

  • Sakura is just a 1 range basic attack.
  • Maria has a longer range gun attack (but only in straight lines)
  • Sumire has a 2-range halberd (which can attack two enemies at once)
  • Koran has a range attack that isn’t limited to straight lines and affects a 1-radius area
  • Kanna is just a 1 range basic attack
  • Iris attacks all the enemies in a 2 radius range from her mech.

There are also some supporting characters like Ayame and Yoneda the commanders.

 

The battles on the whole are not very difficult, but they require enough skill and thought that they don’t feel like they were just slapped into the game. The lack of real advancement or learning new skills is a bit of a letdown but overall I thought this was a decent battle system for the game.

This game has a patch, and the patch actually subtitles the FMVs — I guess they’re stored on the disc in a format that makes this possible. So check it out!

Now a brief chapter runthrough:

Chapter 1

Ogami joins the squad and learns about the secret mechs! They run off psychic power, so all the people are in the squad because they have the power necessary to operate the units.

 

The enemy is Tenkai, who wants to use magical power to restore the Tokugawa Shogunate and send all the foreign stuff away. He has four underlings, and you fight one of them (Satan) here. This is an introductory battle so it’s even easier than most of the already easy battles. The standard tactic against the bosses is to attack normally until their power gauge is almost full and then unleash all your special moves.

I did not use a walkthrough, so I just picked whatever options in the dialogue sections seemed good to me throughout the game. A few times I restarted from my last save when it was pretty obvious I had picked bad choices, but I feel like the game would not be impossible even if you picked all the worst choices in every dialogue.

Chapter 2

Koran joins here. The battle introduces missile shooters that can target your guys from far away, so you have to be careful to avoid them.

 Chapter 3

And now we get Kanna. This is vs Setsuna, one of Tenkai’s other followers. The next few episodes follow a typical anime trope where each chapter focuses on the backstory of one (or two) of the girls. In this case it’s Maria, who was a fighter in the Russian Revolution (so this must take place in the later part of the Taisho period, early 1920s?).

You have two paths to reach the end — I took the longer path because it looked safer, but I was probably too much of a scaredy-cat. Losing one person lowers your relationship with them so it’s good to keep everyone alive, but there’s no other drawback.

One other thing you start encountering is minigames — each girl has one. You can play all of them when you beat the game, otherwise they’re only available in certain short periods. Koran plays Hanafuda with you, and Maria makes you remember instructions to make a stew, and so on.

Chapter 4

This episode focuses on Iris, whose psychic power goes haywire at a scary movie. She then starts to believe that no one in the group cares about her. (She also destroyed the whole movie theater and some things around it; that must cost a lot of repair money…)

The fight is against Rasetsu, who has an annoying power to teleport people around, which makes it rough to fight him. But you can take him down with the same basic tactics.

Chapter 5

This chapter focuses on Kanna and Sumire, who are the classic “don’t get along but also seem like friends” characters. You have to investigate a haunted mansion — I found this part rather annoying because you have to keep investigating empty rooms over and over again with no indication of where you should go next, and I think the “repetition for comic effect” would have worked better as an 8 minute segment of an anime episode rather than something that can take an hour to work through.

The battle is against Miroku, another one of Tenkai’s underlings. It’s a long stage because you have to climb a cliff area with a lot of those missile launchers. Miroku herself is just another basic boss strategy.

Chapter 6

This one is Sakura-themed. Everyone is preparing for a party, but Sakura doesn’t return from buying snacks. She and Ogami get trapped underground and we see Sakura’s psychic power go into overdrive to save them both. Meanwhile, Tenkai has finished setting up the magic areas that will let him attack Tokyo in full force.

The fight is against Miroku again. This is an indoor map where you have to open doors (although apparently you can defeat Miroku through the wall without going into her room; I didn’t realize this).

Chapter 7

This is the last stage of Disc 1, so obviously not the end of the game — once again this is patterned on a pretty common anime trope where the first major enemy is not the true final power. The goal here is to beat Tenkai. The stage has several battles, and you have to beat Tenkai twice. I didn’t find that the exact same tactic worked on Tenkai as the other bosses, but with judicious use of Ogami’s block skill you can make Tenkai’s super attacks much less scary.

Chapter 8

Several months pass, and it’s New Year’s. The main enemy is now Satan, who was the underling of Tenkai but now takes center stage with his own underlings. The plot also goes off into bizarre areas — I have to say I didn’t like this part as well as the first one. I liked the “restore the Edo Bakufu” of the first part; it seemed to fit in really well with the overall theme. But here it turns out that Satan is literal Satan (the Devil), and the Archangel Michael appears as well.

First, there’s a date with the girl that you have the highest love rating with. For me it was Sakura. I wonder if that’s just the natural result if you don’t specifically try for one of the other girls.

There are three battles in this chapter (the last three chapters are all longer than the first ones). In the first one you mostly get your butt kicked until the ship comes in and saves you — this is an excuse to destroy all your mechs so that you can get more powerful ones. Unfortunately that makes no real gameplay difference, but it fits with the usual powerups in mech and magical girl anime.

The second fight is against Inoshishi, one of the followers of Satan.

Chapter 9

Satan is trying to revive the Seima Castle in Tokyo Bay. This stage also has several battles. In the first one you are trying to prevent the enemies from entering the base, while also having to destroy some machines that are making additional enemies. Despite the difficult sounding goals, I didn’t find it too hard.


The second fight is against Cho, another underling.

Chapter 10 

Final stage, as we attack the Seima Castle. There’s a new battleship — the technology gets kind of ridiculous here but I guess it’s part of the anime/cyberpunk theme. All the bosses revive, and the first section is devoted to killing off the entire party (I have a feeling this was directly inspired by the end of Sailor Moon’s first season). However, Archangel Michael revives them all so it’s fine.

The final boss is annoying because he pushes you back with his attacks, which force you to move back up. I was afraid that I would have a lot of trouble but I managed to beat it only losing one person (although if he had another 25% HP or so I would have been in deep doo-doo.)

Everything’s back to normal! I guess Tokyo rebuilds? After they sunk so much money into the new mechs and ships? Maybe the theatre can make their own money.

So overall I think this is a good introduction to the series. The game succeeds at what it’s trying to do — combine a visual novel/dating sim with tactical combat. It won’t appeal to people who are primarily looking for tactical combat because so much of the game is just reading text. I would also recommend playing this in one of the remakes (for the Dreamcast or PS2) because they incorporate some QoL improvements that were in later titles. 

The story was more interesting to me in the first disc — I liked the Edo Bakufu-related plot and the character focus. The second part seemed out of left field and the Judeo-Christian stuff didn’t fit as well with the theme.

Sorry this post took so long to come out. Next I’ll be going back to 1991 for Crystal Warriors, and then move on to Langrisser 3. Sakura Taisen 2 came out in early 1998 so it will be ~25 games until I play that.

Also, I mentioned this on my other blog, but Blogger is getting worse and worse. I can no longer edit the sidebar except as a mass of unformatted HTML, so I’m cutting out the “recent and upcoming” parts. I have added all the remaining 1996 games, as well as Crystal Warrior and Hybrid Front, to the “list of finished games” area so you can see what’s coming. Part of me wants to find a different home for this than Blogger but I’m too lazy.

Wikipedia’s list of SRPGs – games I didn’t play

 

Wikipedia has a list of tactical RPGs that seems fairly comprehensive although it doesn’t have all of the games on my list. It does have some games I didn’t catch that I later added, but I keep forgetting which years I’ve checked so I want to start making a list of what I’m rejecting and why.

This list is through 1996. At least for now I’m only playing games that were originally released in Japan for a console, so that excludes some of the games already. As a quick review of my criteria: the game has to (1) be based around a series of fixed maps rather than random battles, (2) have unique characters that you can develop rather than just generic troops, and (3) have a developing storyline rather than just a frame narrative. 

Please let me know if I’ve mistakenly excluded a game by my own criteria (not whether you personally think it’s an SRPG).

Bokosuka Wars (1983, FC port 1985) – Nobody considers this an SRPG; some say it lay the foundation for the SRPG genre but I’m a bit skeptical of this. I feel like Fire Emblem drew its main inspiration from games like Daisenryaku and Famicom Wars, and I’m not sure that either of these games are all that indebted to Bokosuka Wars. I think maybe we can say that it had certain elements that would later be in the SRPG genre, but I’m not sure if it deserves credit for starting the genre.

Moryo Senki MADARA (1990, FC) – One debate that often occurs among SRPG fans is about games like this. The game is basically a standard RPG except that when you get in a random battle, the battles take place on a grid with some strategy elements. For me, these are not SRPGs (thus criteria 1 above).

Bahamut Senki (1991, MD) — MADARA is an example of a game that’s too far to the RPG side, and this is an example of a game that’s too far to the strategy side. There are a number of games that are sometimes considered SRPGs that (to me) are basically strategy games instead. This has only a frame narrative rather than a developing story (criteria 3) and is almost entirely generic characters (criteria 2).

Chaos World (1991, FC) — I don’t understand why this is on the list. It’s just a normal RPG with an auto-battle system.

Crystal Warriors (1991, GG) – I may have wrongly skipped this game. It’s the forerunner to Royal Stone, which I did play. I believe I cut it because it didn’t look like it had a developing story. But there might actually be one, just a very thin one. 

Master of Monsters (1991, MD) – Same deal as Bahamut Senki.

MT: Last Bible (1992, GB) – This seems to be another mistake on wikipedia. Another Bible is an SRPG but this is just a standard RPG.

Dark Wizard (1993, MD-CD) – I actually started this game, and it’s possible that it technically qualifies. It did not feel like SRPG to me, though (it felt more like a Bahamut Senki type game). In the end I skipped it because it seemed very long and slow moving, and it’s available in English.

Super Barcode Wars (1993, SFC) – I think this is another Bahamut Senki situation. However, even if it does qualify, it can’t really be played the way it was intended to play because no emulator supports the barcode scanner peripheral that was made to go with the game.

BB Gun (1995, SFC) – No developing story.

Kou Ryuu Ki (1995, SFC) – Rise of the Phoenix in English. This is another type of difficult game for me to assess because it has a storyline in a sense. But I don’t think it fits criteria 1.

Monstania (1996, SFC) – This one is so close that it might be an SRPG, my question is whether it qualifies for criteria 1. In the end I decided to skip it because I will end up playing it anyway on my other blog.

Treasure Hunter G (1996, SFC) – Same comment as for Monstania.

In the future I’ll include Wikipedia entries in the previews of each year.

In addition to the above, I have two games that I missed on my first go through — The Hybrid Front, and Nage Libre. I’m going to do Nage Libre when I reach that point in my SFC blog. I will get to the Hybrid Front eventually; right now I’m not in the mood to go back to a Mega Drive game.

SRPG Game 57 – Energy Breaker

Energy Breaker (エナジーブレーカ), Super Famicom
Released 7/26/1996, developed by Neverland Company, published by Taito

This game was released in the waning days of the Super Famicom. There are still a few well remembered RPGs after this, but Playstation and Saturn were starting to pick up steam, and once Final Fantasy VII was released at the beginning of 1997, that was basically the end for the system. After this game, my list is all Playstation and Saturn until 1999 (except for a couple of PC-FX games that may not qualify as SRPGs). Because of the late release I think this game was not given a lot of notice, as we can perhaps see from the prices of used copies of the game.

 Energy Breaker was developed by Neverland Company, which is known to Western gamers primarily through the Lufia and Rune Factory series. On the whole, the game is weighted towards the RPG end of the scale. The battles are small, with at most 5 player characters. The towns and dungeons may be explored, and a good deal of the game is in walking around the various places. However, there are fixed battles (numbered) so it does qualify as an SRPG under my definition, though just barely.

The game begins with no real backstory — the main character, Maira, wakes up out of a dream where she sees a woman named Selphie talking to her. It seems that Maira has lost her memory, although exactly what she’s doing in the town isn’t explained (maybe it’s in the instruction manual). Her friend Irene tells her about a fortune teller in town who predicts everything perfectly. It turns out to be Selphie, who gives Maira a green gem. Maira’s goal seems to be to find out who she is, and she heads to a nearby forest to track down a researcher named Lenardo who is looking for companions to find a flower that can supposedly recall the dead to life.

This is just the beginning of the story, which overall is fairly decent for the time. The characters (including the villain characters) are all developed and have interesting connections to each other and the main characters. There is enough dialogue to flesh everything out. Since there’s an English patch I don’t want to say too much about the story (even though I know that many readers will never play the game, so I probably should do the whole story…I guess you can watch a youtube playthrough.)

As you explore the towns and dungeons, you can hit A on almost everything to generate a response from Maira. There are a lot of hidden treasures, although the inventory space is fairly limited (for game balance reasons, I think). Everything is done in a 3/4 view like Tactics Ogre and such, with the battles taking place on the same maps as the exploration. You can jump up places by holding a button. There are a lot of hidden passages also and chests/treasures hidden in places of the map you can’t see, so the game rewards poking around everywhere.

 When you talk to people, most of them just give you a short line. But some have more options; you can give them things, or take different attitudes with them, or ask them about specific things. Only a few characters have specific things that you can ask them about. The attitude has no real effect on the game; I was barely able to find any places where it even made a difference to what the people said, much less having an effect on the plot.

The world map is a Mode-7 area where you just choose your destination. However, there are other world maps beyond the one you first see. The world is kind of semi-fantasy, semi-steampunk, with trains and robots and such.

In the non-town areas, entering a screen will sometimes produce a battle (though it doesn’t always happen until you’re partway through the screen). The first time you encounter the battle you have to fight it. If you return and activate the battle again, you can fight it again or you can choose “run away” and skip it, which is much appreciated. Each battle has a turn limit; most of the time that’s the loss condition but in some cases you win by surviving that number of turns.

The battle system resembles Tactics Ogre in that it has both height and facing. An attack from the front deals the least damage and the opponent will counter. A side attack deals the same amount but no counter, and a back attack deals the most. I am not completely certain how the mechanics work, but you will notice that when you attack, a damage number will appear, and then roll up or down (sometimes severely — like 28 down to 2). This has to do with Dexterity, and I believe it’s the difference between the attacker and defender’s DEX stats. So don’t neglect DEX.

Each turn, a character can take as many actions as they have Balance points. Each character has a set maximum Balance that will never change through the game (except for one unique item that increases it by +1). Each ability costs a certain amount of balance — moving costs 5, a basic attack is 3, using an item is 1, and abilities cost from 3-10 depending on their power. There are no other MP/AP costs or anything like that. Any ability can be used as many times as you need to in each battle as long as you have the balance. The 1 cost for items does unbalance the game a bit (no pun intended) but the limited inventory space keeps it from getting too ridiculous, as does the fact that the shopkeeper inventories for the more powerful items are limited and only refill a few fixed times during the game.

 

At the beginning of a turn, a character recovers some of their balance points depending on their remaining HP. The lower the HP, the less balance they recover. This sucks for your guys who sometimes have such low balance they can’t even move, but the enemies can also be reduced to low enough balance that they can’t use their attacks. This system does provide a lot of flexibility in what you do on each turn, and there’s a tension in deciding what you want to spend your balance points on for each round. If a character is defeated in battle, they just exit that battle and will return afterwards (you recover all HP at the end of each battle).

Each character learns abilities by assigning points to four elements (wind, water, earth, fire), both to “light” and “dark” sides. At first I thought you would have to choose between them, but you can assign points to both. There’s both a maximum (from 0-7) and the points you actually have assigned. By the end of the game at least some of your characters will have enough points to max out all 8 areas and assign most of the points. You learn new abilities by assigning points to the right places then taking an action in battle, upon which the character will use it and then you have it (as long as you keep the points assigned). You can figure out where to assign the points by finding certain books in the game that tell you, but there are also some hidden abilities.

 

The one exception to this learning method is Staa, who has to defeat certain enemies to learn attacks (in addition to having the right elements set). This is rather annoying because he tends to lag behind since there’s no indication of which enemies give you which skills. But there’s also an item Fortune Slip that can teach him abilities without having to beat the enemies (if you have the points assigned).

Not every character can learn every ability, so each character remains individual. The stat buffs are important, and probably the most crucial ability is Poison Drop, which lowers all stats of the target. This is a brutal attack when it’s directed against your own guys, but also works very well against strong
enemies. You can buy or find scrolls for many of the spells and use those instead.

In most battles you also have a robot who cannot attack or be attacked, and has 5 balance a turn (enough for one move). So you can use him to block the way for enemies, but I rarely found this helpful.

The graphics are well done; typical late Super Famicom style. The BGM is also strong, with several memorable and atmospheric tunes.

There are some flaws in the game. Parts of the story are undeveloped (supposedly the development time was cut short). Items are perhaps a bit too powerful, and the inventory limit and shop limit doesn’t entirely compensate for that. A few places in the game don’t have many hints to figure out where to go next. But all in all this is an impressive late-SFC game that’s definitely one of the better games I’ve played so far on this blog. Give it a try, if you like SRPGs that are closer to the RPG end of the scale rather than large scale army vs army games.

Rarity of games

I’ve been trying to purchase most of the games that I play, partially to support the used game community, but also to get the instruction booklet. I like to at least start the game with only the information in the instructions, and some games I’ve played are obscure enough that even Japanese sites don’t have good information on them. I wasn’t able to get any during Covid because shipping costs would have been through the roof, but cheap(er) shipping has started again. I also typically skip buying the game if the price is over $30 before shipping. I just went through ebay to see the prices of all the games I haven’t bought yet that I have passed in my list. These were the games that were not available for less than $100, which I suppose means they’re the rarest:

  • Nage Libre (SFC) (this was not originally on my list but it’s been added to 1995)
  • Shining Force Gaiden Final Conflict (GG)
  • Heian Fuunden (SFC)
  • Der Langrisser FX (PC-FX)

I think the most expensive was Der Langrisser, which is not surprising given how poorly the PC-FX sold. However, they are all cheaper than Fire Emblem Thracia 776.

Part of me wants to spend whatever I have to in order to get a complete set of CIB strategy RPGs, but I don’t really know what the purpose of that would be.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with Energy Breaker.