Category Archives: PC Engine RPGs

SFC Game List (1995, April through June)

Time for a new post outlining my next set of games. As usual, I took my full list from a variety of sources, some of which are very liberal in labeling something an RPG. There’s also a burst of PCE games in this section. The bolded games are the ones I will be playing.

The first three games on the list are all games that I think qualify as Action RPGs, but I’m not 100% certain about any of them.

  • Lady Stalker: Challenge from the Past
  • Mahoujin Guruguru
  • Rejoice: From Far Aretha’s Kingdom (the last game in the Aretha series)
  • La Wares (This game is notorious as a kusoge)
  • River Fishing 2 (this game may technically qualify but it’s mostly a fishing game rather than an RPG, and I’m not a big fan of fishing games.)
  • PCE Gulliver Boy (This is a different game from the Super Famicom RPG of the same name, although both based on the same anime)
  • Elfaria II (Sequel to the auto battle game I played earlier)
  • PCE Nekketsu Legend Baseballer
  • Princess Minerva (I already played the PCE version)
  • Ruin Arm
  • Der Langrisser (I played the PC-FX version on the SRPG side)
  • Gran Historia
  • Little Master 3 (already done on the SRPG side
  • Tottemo! Lucky Man (I may reevaluate this when I reach this point, but I don’t believe this quite qualifies as an action RPG for me.)
  • PCE Xanadu II (Apparently much shorter and simpler than the first Xanadu game)

No big names in this list. The huge hitter for 1995 will be the last set (October-December), although the next block does have Seiken Densetsu 3 in it.

PCE Game 43 – Dragon Knight & Graffiti (NSFW)

This is yet another game in the Dragon Knight series of eroge. The second and third games had already been released in non-ero ports for the PCE, and they decided to release the first game in 1995. This game was originally released for PCs in 1989, so understandably it’s going to be somewhat outdated by now.

The “graffiti” part of the title refers to the “graffiti mode”, where you can see profiles and pictures of the girls from all three games — you can sort the lists by age, bust size, name, etc. The example is Priscilla from Dragon Knight III (Knights of Xentar).

Like the second game, the first one is a dungeon crawler. The hero as usual is Yamato Takeru, a wandering adventurer who happens on the town of Strawberry Fields, where he doesn’t see anyone. It turns out this is a place of only women, which piques Takeru’s interest. A woman named Ann sees that he is a knight prophecied to save them, and leads him to the Queen. It seems that Gabirlban, the head of the Dragon Knights, has taken six jewels that are necessary to revive the goddess Aqualine. Takeru’s goal is to find one gem on each of the six floors of the goddess tower. Everyone seems a bit uneasy about Takeru because he’s so casual and focused on beautiful girls, but he sets out anyway.

Takeru is given a gem that lets him cast spells — just two spells, a healing spell, and an attack spell that hits all enemies (and can also do some damage to enemies that aren’t hurt much by regular attacks).

Fortunately there’s an automap, so the game plays smoothly. The balance is what you might expect from a 1989 game, though. At first the enemies are very strong and you can only last 2-3 battles before having to go back to town. Healing and restoring MP costs money, so there’s almost nothing left over for upgrading equipment. The enemies also get stronger as you level. But once I hit level 5, the enemies stopped increasing in strength and it became much easier to explore the level, and by level 6 most of the enemies on the first floor couldn’t even hit me. Then I was able to fully explore the level and upgrade my equipment.

The first task is to remove this golem so you can get a key. The wise woman in town has a potion that puts it to sleep. With the key, we can save one of the warriors who was captured by the enemies. This is where the ero-scenes all come in.

As usual we’re faced with the uncomfortable situation where all of the ero-scenes involve the women tied up, captured, or threatened by enemies. Unlike the other DK games, there is no sex. I found a set of pictures from the PC game and many of them don’t even have nudity; the amount of censoring they had to do for the PCE release was very minimal (for instance, the picture I gave above is exactly the same in the PC version).

Anyway, this girl is guarded by 6 goblins who can’t damage me. She gives Takeru a password to reach the next floor, where there’s another captured girl.

She joins the party; you can have one other person with you (this is an addition in the PCE game). She also gives a further password that will let us reach the first of the Dragon Knights, on the first floor.

At level 7, the boss could barely hurt me but had a large HP pool. I just healed once and it was no problem. Takeru then recovers the first of the gems.

We’re now ready to tackle level 2. But even at level 8, the enemies here were so strong that I could barely survive one battle. It seems like the balance continues from the way it worked on the first floor, and I would probably have to do some more grinding on level 1 before I could proceed. But I thought that was a good place to stop.

On the whole this is not a terrible game as long as you’re wiling to put up with the 1989 balance issues. The floors have a bit more interest than some of the empty dungeons from this era. The conversation scenes are all voiced, with some amusing dialogue. The creep factor of the tied-up women is hard to ignore, though.

That’s the last game in the first block of 1995, so in a few days I’ll have a post with the lineup of games for the next three months.

Happy new year!

Welcome! (Sticky post)

Thank you for visiting; this is a blog that chronicles my playthroughs of various Super Famicom, PC Engine, and general strategy RPGs. Feel free to respond here to introduce yourself, let me know what your favorite SRPG is, whatever.

I generally update on Saturday or Sunday. I play one strategy RPG, then two Super Famicom (or PC Engine) RPGs.

I’ve now finished the links to all the previous posts, so you can use the links at the top to see the full list of played games so far. Also, if you are only interested in certain types of posts, you can filter by categories (see the bottom of the sidebar). The three categories are Strategy RPGs, Super Famicom RPGs, and PC Engine RPGs.

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.

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.

PCE Game 40 – Record of Lodoss War 2

Record of Lodoss War 2 (ロードス島戦記2)
Released 12/16/1994, published by Hudson
 

  

This is the second of the two Lodoss War PC Engine games; you can look back at the post I made on the first one for general information about the series. Like the first game, this is based on one of the computer games, which itself is based on the second group of Lodoss stories. The main character of these is Spark, with a new party of his own (although some of the characters from the original stories appear as well).
 

 

What I appreciated about the original game is that it seemed to capture the tabletop RPG origins of the franchise better than a normal RPG. There are not many random encounters, and you don’t win them just by mashing buttons. Most of the XP you get comes from finishing quests rather than killing monsters, and you don’t level up that many times during the game. It had a different feel from the typical RPGs of the time, and to me it was similar to the Sword World SFC games (especially the first one) in this respect.

Unfortunately the second game walks most of this back. Random encounters are now more along the lines of a regular RPG, most of your XP comes from them, and you’ll end up auto-battling the majority of the encounters. Level ups are also much more frequent, and you can now grind levels and money in a way you really couldn’t in the first game.

 

After the opening movie, the game begins with Spark, who is a knight in training. King Kashue (who I believe is from the original party) and Slayn are in the palace, and charge Spark with the mission of figuring out what’s going on with the Flame Tribe, who seem to be plotting a rebellion. Evidently Spark should be the head of the Flame Tribe but I’m not entirely sure what the backstory is there. Specifically we’re supposed to head to Hilt and Hebun towns.

The towns are “select a building” type

 Spark is on his own at first. While looking around for the towns I hit level 5 and bought most of the good equipment; there are other towns that have better equipment to the left. Hilt was easy to find; there some ruffians attacked but with all my equipment and levels it was fine. Hebun is on the right near the desert; here we’re attacked by Flame Tribe nomads (easy fight as well).

Spark heads back to Kashue to report. For now, Kashue is interested in settling new areas, particularly the dangerous Fire Dragon Hunting Zone — Spark is supposed to deliver a secret message to Raiden port town to enlist the help of the people there. Spark also gets his first companions, Garack the fighter and Ald Nova the magician. They’re a bit lower leveled and have bad equipment so I got them some better stuff and then went to Raiden.

 

The mayor of Raiden seems to be having trouble with bad dreams; it turns out he’s being affected by a succubus. This was still the age where nipples are acceptable in games/manga.

booba

Anyway, after the Succubus goes down, the mayor pledges to give whatever money Kashue needs, and we also get a new party member, the thief (scout) Lyna. At this point we can go to the guild and take on submissions. I did all three — recovering a child from a cult, clearing out thieves from the town, and delivering weapons to a nearby town. This gets some additional XP (the rewards from the quests themselves are quite low but you fight monsters along the way, and there are some good weapon and armor upgrades).

 

Now back to Kashue, where Dark Elves are attacking. After they’re beaten, it seems that the expansion into the Fire Valley has begun, but the new threat of the Dark Elves means it’s time for Spark to head south to Valis.

This is where I stopped. For me, this game is a downgrade from the first one — it’s by no means a bad RPG (it’s in the top class of the PCE games) but I miss the more tabletop RPG feel of the first one.

I’m playing Sakura Taisen for my other blog but I’m on the last stage so I will most likely have a Daikaiju Monogatari post up next Saturday. If you want to see what games are coming up, you should look at the completed games list, where I put in all the games I’ll be playing up to the end of 1994.

PCE Game 39 – Startling Odyssey II

Startling Odyssey II (スタートリング オデッセイ2 魔竜戦争)
Released 10/21/1994, developed by Ray Force

 

This is Ray Force’s third (and final) game for the PC Engine. SO1 was a basic, cookie cutter RPG. SO2 is another basic, DQ2-clone RPG. It is more polished than the first one — the graphics are better, there are more voiced cutscenes, the interface is cleaner, and the game as a whole moves more quickly. So if you like old-school, basic RPGs this one is probably not bad. There’s even a translation patch, although it probably doesn’t translate the voiced cutscenes.

As usual with this kind of game, I have very little to say about the gameplay. You buy the best equipment you can afford, use auto battle for most fights and hold down a speedup key, and go through dungeons and open chests and find the boss or goal. Rinse and repeat.

The game starts with some kind of magician or researcher causing demons to come into the world, and then the main character Robin killing a Chimera with one hit. He’s well known in the kingdom for being the Blue-Haired Knight

Back in the capital city, Robin talks to the king’s daughter, who is his half sister. He gets a new mission to head to Neria town to the south and see what’s the matter there, taking his two best knights with him.

The townspeople say they saw a dragon, and going through the cave we come across the room where the magician from the opening was summoning the monster, but now it’s gone. So back to the castle…where it turns out monsters have overrun the castle and killed the king. Robin’s sister has gone on ahead to try to seek safety, so we follow her through the underground passage.

 
Robin’s two knights have to push him away and collapse the corridor when they’re attacked by dragons, and Robin goes on himself. Attempting to continue his escape a bridge falls away, sending him into the ravine.

He wakes up later in the care of Julia. He’s been out for three days and is only now recovering. But when monsters attack the town, he heads out even in his weakened state.

The PC Engine allowed for more violence and sexual content than the Super Famicom. Anyway, this reopens Robin’s wounds and he has to rest for a while more, but after he’s healed he finds out that a child in the town is sick and needs a special item (the wing of an animal) to heal him. Julia joins him and they go out in search of the wing. They have to beat a boss:

And then find the wing and cure the child. At this point Robin decides he needs to continue on his journey (to find Patricia, his sister) and Julia decides to come with him.

This is where I stopped. As I said in the intro, this is a playable DQ2 clone — if that’s the kind of game you like this is a better game than other examples of the style. At the same time, I really would like to see them doing something innovative in 1994. Even Dragon Quest itself didn’t make any true DQ2 clones.

PCE Game 38 – Megami Paradise

Megami Paradise (女神天国)
Released 9/30/1994, published by NEC Home Electronics

 

As you might expect from the title and the PC Engine’s library, this is a fanservice RPG with a lot of girls — aspects of the game remind me of Princess Minerva. It’s based on some kind of reader-participation game that ran in Dengeki PC Engine. These games seem to have been popular in the 1990s but I’m not clear on exactly how it worked. I think it’s sort of like a Choose Your Own Adventure or Lone Wolf style game that you can create characters and play on your own from the magazine. Along with the game there was a manga, OVA, and this PC Engine RPG.

 

The story and setting is silly. The main character is Rinrin, studying at the Megami Academy to become a Megami (goddess). When she gets there she comes across the “MegaQ” orbs that the Academy guards, and not knowing what they are, throws them away, hits them with baseball bats, etc. and scatters them around the world. She then begins her registration to enter the school, but they learn about the “disappearance” of the MegaQ orbs. Rinrin has the help of Pop, a fairy, and is sent to go find them. Also sent out are the four goddesses of the school — Lulubell, Juliana, Lilith, and Stacea.

 

Opposing them is the student council, who is secretly working for the Yamamama (Darkness Mom), who wants to find the MegaQ to take over the world.

 

There is a lot of voiced dialogue and cutscenes. It may seem obvious since that was the PC Engine’s selling point (especially in late 1994), but a surprising number of games only add a tiny amount of this content to the game.

The first part of the game is entirely in the school. The student council sends out a message to all students that they should beat up Rinrin for going against the council, so the first random encounters are students from the tennis club, anime club, soccer club, etc.

The combat system is standard RPG except that all attacking is done through spells (which cost no MP). Each character can have 4 spells, which are learned by finding sunflowers that will teach them. One annoyance for me is that there’s no way to tell what each spell does, although the names have some onomatopoeic clue. However, this is an interesting system.

I found the first part annoyingly difficult. Since it’s just one character, you basically have to level up a lot. As usual the balance is way off; the bosses are much easier than the random encounters so if you can just survive to the bosses you’ll probably win.

The first area involves going around to the different school buildings, beating up the leaders of the clubs, and getting keys to the next area. There is a shop in the main building that sells outfits and items. Outfit changing requires you to go to a changing room, then you can equip different things. Each one has a “beauty” value and then raises one of three stats — goddess, defense, or speed. I think goddess is attack. I’m not entirely sure what the “beauty” value does, but the in-game explanations indicate it’s important to always have that as high as possible. Even a better defensive item, if the beauty is less, might not be as good.

 

You can unlock special skills by equipping certain pieces of clothing, or by combining certain outfits. Apparently you can also get cutscene pictures this way as well. 

Eventually I made it to the student council room and faced Rouge, one of the 4 followers of Yamimama. She brought out a Mazinger Z ripoff to fight, but with repeated healing and attacking it was fine.

Rinrin gets the yellow MegaQ (that talks to her and raises her stats). Now Rinrin is sent out into the world to find the other MegaQs, but she takes off in balloons and gets sunk by a storm.

She washes onto a beach and meets Kurisu (the dude you name at the beginning of the game). In the next town, all the 4 goddesses are there and you can pick 2 of them to join your team. There is also a way to warp back to the school so you can use the sunflowers to get spells for the new members.

 

This is where I stopped. I guess this is an OK RPG for this era; the spell system and outfitting are interesting features, and you can progress in the game fairly quickly. There are a lot of well known VAs (well known for the 90s, at least) and a good amount of cutscenes and voiced dialogue. The silliness and fanservice will probably turn a lot of people off, though.

PCE Game 37 – Xak III

Xak III: The Eternal Recurrence (サークIII ジ・エターナル・リカーレンス)
Released 9/30/1994, developed and published by Micro Cabin 
 

  

This is the final game in the Xak series, which had three main games and two side games. As I said in my previous post on the game, it is clearly modelling itself on Ys: an action RPG with meaningless short name for the series, and a first game split into two parts.

As with the previous games, Xak III began as a computer game and was later ported to PC Engine. From what I could see on Youtube, the port is pretty faithful although the computer version had a stat called EP in addition to HP and MP, I don’t know what that is and don’t think it’s in the PC Engine version.

The first two games had the Ys-style “run into enemies” system, but this game has you press the button to attack. The port is disappointing like the original games’ was — there is hardly any voice or cutscenes throughout the game, not even at the beginning. I actually wondered if there was something wrong with the copy I had but the first cutscene doesn’t happen until a bit through the game and there are only two more (a very brief one near the end, and then the ending scene). However, this might be good because surprisingly this game actually has an English translation patch — they don’t do anything with the voiced cutscenes, but they don’t add much to the story and you can almost guess what’s happening in them just from the pictures.

The game is quite short as is typical for ARPGs of this era (the youtube playthrough is 6h30m). However, it does conclude the story of Xak, as Ratok takes on the third evil general (having beaten the other two, Badu and Gospel, in the previous games). The question of what happened to Ratok’s father is addressed as well, and there’s sort of a conclusion to Pixie and Frey’s stories too. You could definitely play this without playing the first two, though, since anything of importance in those games is repeated here.

The graphics in the dialogue scenes are not bad.

The opening scene is the bloodiest thing I’ve seen yet, where this dude comes into the castle and kills the King, ripping his head off. The princess then says he might as well take her head too, and he rips it off, leaving both heads on the throne. The PC Engine generally allowed more explicit content (in both violence and sex) than the Super Famicom did.

Like the last game, this game has jumping puzzles, but they’re nowhere near as annoying as the previous game — for one thing, you don’t die if you miss the jumps, and the graphics make it much easier to see where the platforms are and where you’re supposed to jump.

There’s also a dragon riding part again, but it’s quite easy.

Unlike the first game, you get companions in this game — most of them are from the other games (Frey and Ryun, for instance). They just run around and fight on their own, and are actually relatively helpful unless they die — you can’t change screens without reviving them.

 

Overall the game is easy. There are some parts (particularly near the end) where the grunt enemies hit hard, but the bosses can almost all be beaten just by mashing the button and taking hits — as with the previous game, it’s easy to level because the amount of XP you get from the enemies never goes down. You can also buy tons of healing potions since there’s nothing else worthwhile to spend money on.

There’s a lot of laziness in the interface and presentation — you can’t see stats of items at all, so you have no idea what to equip (I can’t believe we’re still seeing this at the end of 1994). You can “teleport” back to any place you’ve been with no explanation for why. There’s no real backtracking or exploration, it’s more like a series of stages.

This is not an especially good game, but it’s not terrible either. That being said, the Ys games that were coming out around this time weren’t all that great either (except for Dawn of Ys, I suppose). But somehow Ys was able to continue on to the present, but Xak never produced another game after this. I’m not sure if that had to do with Micro Cabin itself, or the sales of Xak relative to Ys.

PCE Game 36 – Alshark

Alshark (アルシャーク)
Released 8/26/1994, port developed by Ocarina Systems

This game was initially released on computer in 1991, and this port was done 3 years later (along with one to Mega Drive CD). The result is similar to what we’ve seen with previous computer games ported to PC Engine — an old fashioned and somewhat peculiar system with voiced cutscenes. It’s frustrating to see the designers spend all their effort on adding in the voiced cutscenes, but do nothing to address the interface issues. 

The original developer of the PC game was Right Stuff. It seems to have been their first game. They went on to make Emerald Dragon (which I played earlier), Sword Master (which I played on my SRPG blog), and Alnam no Kiba (which I’ll be playing later). They struggled after 1994 and went bankrupt after releasing their last game in 1998.

The main character is Shion. At the beginning of the game, a mysterious comet or asteroid has come down nearby and his dad goes to investigate, telling Shion to stay home. But Shion rounds up his friend Shoko and they decide to go see what’s up.

 

They grab one handgun from Shoko’s house and head out.

The battle system makes it look like there will be some sort of grid or positioning system, but it’s just a normal RPG system and the way everyone is represented on the battlefield has no purpose. Whether it’s a hand-to-hand attack or a gun attack the position doesn’t matter. It’s the usual Dragon Quest II system.

Reaching the asteroid area, Shion and Shoko see Shoko’s dad with some of the Imperial troops (who are the villains of this game). Shoko’s dad seems manaical and they kill Shion’s dad and the other humans, and then leave. As Shion’s dad is dying, he tells them to find Scrap Joe who will help them out. Heading back to town, they find that Shion’s mom has run away from home, so they chase after her, taking the house robot Saru for help.

After picking up a few items from shelves, I headed down to Hamack, hoping to find Scrap Joe.

Scrap Joe is in a garbage dump near the town, along with a bunch of robots that attack. Once we find him, he’s an ornery old cuss. But once he knows who he are, he changes his tune — it turns out that he was close friends with Shion’s and Shoko’s dads. So he agrees to help, and shows us his ship that he’s outfitted himself. It turns out Shion’s mom headed off planet so we’ll try to save her.

 
We manage to catch up with the ship that took off from the planet, and get onto it — Shaina (Shion’s mom) is there, captured by the Jagma Forces which are the elite troops of the Empire. Maon (Shoko’s dad) is also there, ranting about some great mission he has, and that even his beloved friends couldn’t be allowed to stop him. He’s found some great power. We might have all been killed but a woman named Milets comes in to rescue us, and Shaina is freed. Maon leaves, telling us not to interfere anymore.

Milets takes us to her ship, where we join her in doing missions — the first one being on a nearby planet Zajil. We use Joe’s ship, and he has a menu:

Using “scrap” that you get from beating enemies, you can upgrade the ship’s components as well as make weapons and armor for your group.
 

Now we can fly the ship through space. I found this part very hard to navigate.

 There is a map but it’s difficult to understand, and there aren’t any landmarks to help you know where you are. Every so often you get in a fight, where you just watch the ship shoot the enemy until it dies. Just wandering around I gained a bunch of levels because the enemies could barely hurt me. Eventually it turned out that the planet I needed to go to was really close to where I had started, but you move so fast that you blow past it in a second if you aren’t inching along.

This is where I stopped playing. The story seems potentially interesting and some of the gameplay elements might work, but it just feels like a 1991 game and with the PC Engine I’m not interested in a game where I’m just going to be holding down a turbo button for every fight.

Next up is Mother 2/Earthbound!