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SFC Game 120 – Lennus II

Lennus II: Apostles of the Seals (レナスII 封印の使徒), released 7/26/1996, published by Asmik Systems

This is the sequel to Lennus, which came out in late 1992 and was released in the US as “Paladin’s Quest” (a name that has nothing to do with the game itself). The sequel was apparently plagued by development delays and was intended to take 2 years rather than 4 to develop. The end product is one of the longer SFC RPGs; it does seem like they allowed this game to take the time it needed to take rather than artificially cutting off development like they seem to have done with some of the previous games.

I have not played the original Lennus, but I understand that this is a direct plot sequel, and a number of the characters from the first game re-appear, as does the word Lennus. The game system is also essentially a modified version of the first one.

The game begins with Pharus appearing and being hailed as the savior of the world — this temple has been built to await his coming, and he is now supposed to bring about the Grand Unification. Pharus has no idea what this is and none of the priests seem to know either, but we need to get 4 gems from this underground land of Undel and then put them back in these slots in the temple. The entire game runs on these fetch quest setups — 4 gems, then 8 seals, then the 8 seals again, the the final boss. There’s not a whole lot of plot development other than at the points between these quests.

Like the first game, you have 3 hireable characters in addition to Pharus. There are 8 different categories of spells, and each character has a different combination. For the main character, you start out being able to choose just one, but as you gain more elementals from temples around the world, you can equip more until you hit a maximum of 4. You can switch the elementals at specific places in town, and also using an item.

Each character has a level for each element from 1 to 8 that goes up by beating monsters — the monsters release elements when they die which can add XP to a person’s element level. Moving up the levels doesn’t seem to result in new spells, it just strengthens what you have.

As in the first game, you use HP rather than MP to use spells. But since the spells don’t cost that much, outside of the very beginning of the game you almost never have to pay any attention to how much the spells cost.

There are no healing spells; all healing is done through “bottles” that hold 9 uses each. How much the bottle heals is based on the type of bottle. You can refill them in town — for some reason there are refilling shops that charge 50 gold per bottle, but using an inn fills all bottles for free so I don’t know why you would ever use the refill shop.

The interface is kind of interesting; all the commands are entered through the directional pad. If it weren’t for needing to hold down a button to run fast (ugh) you could play the whole game with one hand.

Also like the first game you can attack with any piece of equipment you have on, although I never found this to be useful.

As Pharus collects the 4 gems, a shadowy figure keeps appearing with a distorted voice; it seems like he’s telling Pharus that he should not get the gems and that the unification will be bad, but he can’t communicate clearly enough (and there’s no way to advance the plot without doing it).

Once the gems are collected and restored to the temple, the four continents of Undel begin to merge — this is catastrophic and the priests beg Pharus to stop it, but there’s nothing he can do. He is carried away in a pillar of light to Eltz, another part of the world. Here, an underling of Granada tells him that he only did one part of the Grand Unification, and that Granada will carry the rest out. Everyone on Undel will die as a result, but that’s basically Pharus fault, isn’t it? Mwahaha

The enemy curses Pharus to turn everyone into stone, but Petro (who was the face talking to us in Undel) directs us to a nearby Purification Shrine that can remove this problem. The next part of the game takes place mostly in the large city of Niguren, with several different sections, a downtown, and outer areas. Basically you first have to reach Petro’s Castle.

Petro tells us that Granada revived Pharus specifically to initiate the first part of the Unification, since normal people would not have been able to do it. Grand Unification means the destruction of all life in the world, but it can still be stopped if Pharus can get seven seals.

This fairly lengthy section of the game involves getting the 7 seals from in and around Niguren. Each seal has its own small story but they don’t really contribute to the overall narrative in any way. I switched out most of the starting companions here for new ones (although you can use a “scent of alcohol” item to re-recruit them if you need to). There are people in Niguren with max level elements, as well as the Gubo’s Fist spell which is very useful if you can raise the caster’s heaven element. Max level heaven element users can do huge damage to all enemies.

Once Pharus gets the 7 seals, Petro tells him there’s an eighth seal, which is back in Undel. Returning there, Pharus finds that most of the inhabitants have died but that the survivors have moved to one city. The high priest of the Pharus temple is getting drunk in a bar, wishing he had killed you as soon as you were born. From there, Pharus descends into a fire cave to get the eighth seal.

Unfortunately as a consequence, the rest of Undel sinks into the lava, killing all the inhabitants (Pharus really did a lot of bad stuff to the poor Undel people!) But undeterred, Pharus continues on to fight 4 of Granada’s underlings together.

Unfortunately they have captured Petro, and as usual for dumb RPG heroes Pharus trades all 8 seals for Petro’s life….and the enemies don’t even free him, they just take the seals. Fortunately Petro has left us a message to seek out Media (from Lennus 1) in a floating fortress, who can help us out. Media tells us that we are descendants of gods who created the word, some of whom wanted to watch over the humans, others (like Granada) who want to destroy the world. Unification will put all the lands into one and make a new sun. We need to go to find someone else who can help us in the sea.

Finally you get a world map, although it’s missable if you’re not careful.

The purpose of this part is to gain access to the gravity tower and eventually go to Lennus, the continent from the original game. The underlings of Granada have set up shop here and we can recover the seals. This part of the game has a lot of locations and random NPCs from the first game; of course I wasn’t able to appreciate most of that connection.

Once we recover all the seals, it’s finally time to confront Granada. Unfortunately in the meantime, Lennus has merged with Eltz — Unification has almost occurred. Back in Petro Castle we can take a transport to reach the Throne of the Gods, where Granada awaits.

We have to beat Granada twice. The first time, Petro and Medea help out, and heal the party before the second fight. Unfortunately Granada escapes on a spaceship, but with Petro and Medea’s help we can follow (it is also revealed here that Petro is Chezni, the hero from the first game).

At the end, Granada tells Pharus that they are essentially the representatives of the two opinions of the gods, and that how things end up depends on who dies in this fight — if Pharus dies, his energy will be released, completing Unification. If Granada dies, Unification will be stopped. Time for the final battle.

After the fight, you can talk to a bunch of companions and NPCs, and then Pharus joins Chezni and Medea to travel back to Raiga, where they originated. They want to bring the hope to Raiga itself so that whatever caused all this trouble on Lennus and Eltz can be healed at the source.

Overall this is a decent game. The plot could be structured a little better and there is some grinding you have to do sometimes, but it’s generally a fun game. And would definitely be worth a play for anyone who did Paladin’s Quest, to see the connections between the games.

PCE Game 48 – Seiya Monogatari (Part 2)

Last time we left off as Taris was heading to the pirate island, or as it’s listed on the map, a place for people to do stretching and yoga:

We don’t find the statue that our priest was looking for, but the son of the head pirate wants to leave the island to become a “rob artist” which is apparently a thief; I thought it was some kind of art person at first. But for him to go he has to go through the challenge cave.

This is mostly puzzles although there are a few fights with ghosts. I could not figure out this puzzle because I was ignoring the dark green text (usually the dark green is a heading). Eventually we recover the Magic Lockpick; the head pirate won’t let us keep it for now but at least he lets his son (Kashim) leave. Kashim is an archer who is quite fast. He has a “charge” skill (that takes time but increases damage) and an “aim” skill (which takes extra time and I assume increases hit rate). He can attack characters in the back which is useful, but his attack power isn’t especially high.

Just as importantly, we get the ship! Now we can sail to the capital Rostarl. Here the head priest tells us that we need to find 5 holy statues and return here. A fortuneteller says that we’ve collected 4 of the 5 “lights” (companions) that will help us; the fifth is in the abandoned magic school in the capital. The magic school has people who keep teleporting in to mock us, and locked doors. I couldn’t figure out what to do so I went back to the pirate leader who sent us to Fislo Village.

Here we learn more about Talis’ past. 20 years ago, a baby washed up ashore, who was supposed to be a sacrifice for the sea god, but they saved him instead, and since then no fish have been in the area, slowly destroying the town. But there wasn’t anything to do here so I had to check a walkthrough — apparently I just didn’t walk in the right spot in the magic school to activate an event.

The head of the magic school tells us to go to the Wisdom Tower and find Nasha, who will help us (she would be the 4th party member if I were not the magic-using main character). We get the unlock scroll and head in.

Everything is upside down, and there are a number of puzzles to solve to get to the top. The spirit of Kyurientes tells us we need to find the lost “6th Helix”, and Nasha also (once we catch up to her) says the same thing. So that’s all that can be done here for now, and I didn’t really have much of a lead on where to find either the 5 status or the 6th Holix. I went to the palace and met the king and some of the other high-ranking people there. It seems that the king’s behavior has been strange lately, but other than that there was nothing to do.

Fortunately an event happens where Adis lures us to a nearby mine by controlling Gregory (the mage who taught Talis) to write a letter having us come there.

The mine has Homonculus creatures in it. By using levers and other things we can activate elevators that eventually take us down to the bottom, where Adis is.

Adis tries to kill us with the “meat” of the Monster of Destruction, but Lena’s divine power comes in to save us, and we survive — Gregory seems to be messed up and has forgotten who Talis is, but teleports away after giving us a Holix.

This was another place I had to check a walkthrough to figure out — if you go back to a fat “gourmand woman” in the capital, one of the Urikuri from earlier in the game has been trapped there (he’s being fattened up for eventual eating). He tells us to visit the Ulitex Canyon and find the holy dragon Ulitex.

Ulitex recognizes Talis as “Fau”, and tells us once again that we need the 5 statues. The first one is on Begolian Island, but before he can tell us anymore, a masked knight named Bartram comes in and kills him — Olga says that Bertram and she studied under the same teacher. In any case, we need to ask the Urikuri how to get to the island. Before that, I did a long event in the castle that involves helping a dancing girl who the king is obsessed with; this gets us the route to Yothmil, the main city where villains live. At the same time, we learn that the king is under Adis’ control.

The Urikuri tell us where Begolian Island is, unfortunately the people that live their are man-eaters and capture us. The chief allows us to escape if we can recover their treasure from the big ogre below.

Ideally you want to find the treasure (one of the statues!) first, because then you can skip fighting the ogre and get one of the permanent Holix. Unfortunately I found the ogre first, and he’s a very tough fight. In the end we get the statue and the Bregolian chief recognizes us as the hero that will save the world.

Next I went to Yothmil, where Talis can change into a cult uniform we found earlier.

There is a shop where you can blend plants to make potions, and also a guy that will give items in return for the gold and silver coins you can find throughout the game. I got one of the permanent helix here, but there didn’t seem to be anything else to do so I left.

It turns out that you need to go back to the fishing village, where Gregory has mysteriously turned up. He is still confused and doesn’t remember us, but does tell us that the “lost son” of Fislo village (the pirate chief) knows where Conrole Island is. He finally tells us and heads back to Fislo himself.

Lizardmen live at Conrole. The priest has become corrupted by Adis and stolen the statue; we recover it and the lizardman chief takes it back to soothe the sea. You have the option to fight him and take the statue instead, but I assumed that we could get it later and let him be for now. That’s apparently 3 out of 5 statues (I didn’t write down where you get the first one, it might be from Ulitex Canyon).

Another important find here is the Search magic; way back in the sewers I had found a tablet that said we could find a legendary sword with the search magic — I did this and got a much better weapon for Olga.

Now we’re without a lead again, but fortunately one of Adis’ followers, a demon called Baryubogil, tells us to come to the Yeogle forest to find the next statue. There, a ninja called Buster Gear challenges us to come to the bottom of the Fire Temple.

There’s a lot of good treasure in here, and we fight Buster Gear at the end. I somehow didn’t get a screenshot, but he’s a tough enemy. He’s really fast and comes with several annoying underlings — I had to try the fight several times to finally win. Now we have 4 out of the 5 statues, and Buster Gear tells us the 5th is back in the capital (why are the enemies so generous with information?) and gives us the candle of truth (why?)

At this point, now that the statue has been restored to the Lizardmen, we can go back to Fislo and fish.

The fish can be sold to the gourmand woman for 50 gold each, so this is a way to make money. There is some equipment in Yothmil to buy, as well as getting 10 holix for a 50 gold donation to the Rostal church. Unfortunately when I try to go back to the church we’re branded as traitors to the king, and Leonard the Knight attacks.

Of course as we heard earlier, the king is in lead with Adis; it turns out it’s that demon from before. The Candle of Truth unmasks him.

And now we have the 5th statue. We still need to get the statue from the lizardmen, but at the same time we hear that Bartram (the knight) is protecting the Time Drops that we will ultimately need. Let’s go to the lizardmen first.

Unfortunately there’s no way to get it without fighting the chief (he’s corrupted by Adis like all the others), so it’s a fight to the death. (Actually later I realized I messed up the order here — you need the Time Drop to successfully remove the statue without messing up the sea again, so I did this later.)

Next up we go back to Yothmil, where Olga realizes it’s time to deal with Bartram once and for all. Before only Talis could enter the town, but now that we have the full party we can explore more places (and fight guys). We find the hilt to the sword that was left with Talis at the beginning of the game. When this is reforged, Talis powers up quite a bit (unfortunately the mage Talis can’t equip the sword).

We’re also able to save Sister Maria that got kidnapped way back at the beginning of the game, and take on Bartram. Now with the Time Drop and the 5 statues, we can open the path to a hidden island.

This island has the 6th Holix on it, but there is a long series of puzzles you have to solve to get it out.

Taking this back in to the magic school gives us the Holy Nova magic. With Talis at full power and having the Holy Nova magic, the rest of the game is not much of a challenge. He can beat most enemies, including the bosses, with just repeated casting of that.

Now it’s time to take on all the big enemies. First up is Adis, who is in a tower hidden behind a waterfall.

She has two forms, but loses to Holy Nova. She was protecting the Sage Sword Shakhall, who gives Talis a good weapon and also gives himself to Olga to use. Now it’s time for the final location — the Oltis Palace.

This is the pope, who is the proper body for Fau’s spirit. Talis has to take him on in a 1-on-1 fight. He’s not too bad but then he goes into the dragon statue behind him and attacks again.

He falls quick to Holy Nova. Finally we meet with the mother, Lena, who has been saving our game up to now. She says that the Pope’s soul was actually that dragon, who wanted to kill Fau when he was born. The only way Lena could protect Fau was to put his soul in a different baby and send him away. (Although the only reason the Dragon wanted to kill me was because of Adis’ meddling, again).

However, we’re not quite done yet. The Beast of Destruction still awaits.

Holy Nova makes quick work of him, and the game is over.

The ending is sort of disappointing, it’s just a bunch of images with no text or speech. But it looks like the world is saved and everyone goes back to their lives.

As I said in the last post, this is a good game; definitely the best PCE game I’ve played and one of the best of this entire blog project. It’s not perfect — there are some interface issues, the battles are sometimes frustrating because of all the missing, and the ending is a bit sparse. But overall it’s really good and I hope some translation group takes it on at some point.

That’s it for 1995! Mid-week (for real this time) I will put a list of the next set of games up, and then it’s on to Galaxy Fraulein Yuna 3 (SRPG).


A commenter asked a good question as I come up on my 6th anniversary of this project — why the blog?

This can be answered in several ways. Why play all these games in chronological order? For some reason I like doing stuff like this; before I did this blog I was playing all the Super Robot Wars games in release order and I have other projects like this that aren’t video game related. I’m not entirely sure why I like doing this kind of thing.

Next — why do something like this site rather than just playing the games? I like having a record of what I did that I can look back on later. I was just looking back at my Dragon Quest V posts in preparation for making the first DQ6 post this weekend and it was fun. I wouldn’t have remembered all the things I wrote down. Plus I like getting comments from people.

Finally, why a blog? Why not a twitch stream or a youtube channel? The main reason for this is that it’s the least effort — the relatively low amount of effort the blog posts take is the main reason I’ve been able to consistently update almost every week for the whole 6 years I’ve been doing this. I never wanted to get into a situation where I was backed up on things, with the blog or channel 10 games behind where I actually was. So I never force myself to write more than I want. This means my posts aren’t as good as someone like CRPGAddict but at least I can keep the consistency.

I don’t know much about video editing so I would have to learn a lot to make youtube videos and it would take more effort than I’m willing to put in given the (probable) low viewership of the videos.

I did actually twitch stream for a little bit, but this is just too niche to attract even retro gamers who probably don’t want to watch games in Japanese. Plus, for several reasons I hardly ever play a game for more than an hour in a sitting, which isn’t good for streaming.

So the blog is the best way to record my progress in a way that’s convenient for me (I also like revisiting blog posts more than youtube videos).

RS update and list of unfinished/unplayed games

I had a strange occurrence when I got back from vacation. I took my laptop along but I couldn’t find any convenient place to set it up so I played Another Eden (as I said in my last post). When I got back and tried to play RS3, my save file was gone or had been overwritten by the emulator, and all the emulator settings were gone as well. I’ve been using the same laptop and setup for all 5 years I’ve been doing this project and this has never happened before — I was still able to load save games from the other games I played before.

Although RS3 was coming along OK, I wasn’t enjoying it enough to want to start all the way from the beginning, so I’ll move along to Dragon Quest VI instead — I’ll post a final update about RS3 this weekend.

For now I thought this would be a good place to collect a list of the Super Famicom games that I have either skipped or not finished. First, these are the games that I started to play but did not finish:

  • SD Gundam Gaiden Knight Gundam Story – This game is a combined port/remake of several Famicom games; I found the game slow and boring and so stopped playing on the grounds that it was a port.
  • Dragon Ball Z – I had reached a point where I could not beat a boss and it looked like I would have to start over from the beginning; since there is a patch for this I moved on.
  • Romancing Saga – I reached a point where random encounters were giving me game overs and I was not confident in my ability to finish the game even if I did grinding.
  • Cyber Knight – The game was not fun and I was losing badly even in regular encounters.
  • Romancing Saga 2 – Basically the same reason as RS1; I didn’t want to do the amount of grinding it seemed like it would take to win.
  • Wizap! King of Darkness – Technically I “finished” this game but I got a bad ending that didn’t require me to actually accomplish anything. I couldn’t figure out how the game worked without a manual or guide.
  • Nekketsu Tairiku Burning Heroes – I finished two of the routes, but it looked like the other 6 routes were basically the same game with slight differences, and there was no bonus for doing all of them, so I moved on.
  • Mahoujin Guruguru – This isn’t really an RPG in my eyes, so I played it until it got annoying and grindy.
  • La Wares – This game was awful, has a patch, and once again was going to take a ton of grinding to beat.
  • Ruin Arm – Also not really an RPG by my standards.
  • Demon of Laplace – This game was OK but not great, and perhaps I skipped it too easily on the excuse that it’s a port.
  • Dunquest – Same as Guruguru and Ruin Arm, not really an RPG to me.
  • Romancing Saga 3 – Save game deleted, unwilling to restart.

Now here is a list of games that I skipped because they have official English releases (E), are ports of games from other systems (P), or I’ve already finished it before starting the blog (F):

  • Drakkhen (EP)
  • Ys III (EP)
  • Final Fantasy IV (EF)
  • Dungeon Master (EP)
  • Lagoon (EPF)
  • Super Chinese World (E)
  • Soul Blazer (EF)
  • Dragon Slayer: Legend of Heroes (P)
  • Inindo (EP)
  • Arcana (E)
  • Ultima VI (EP)
  • Shin Megami Tensei (F)
  • Lennus/Paladin’s Quest (E)
  • Elnard/7th Saga (E)
  • Wizardry V (EP)
  • Final Fantasy V (F)
  • Burai (P)
  • Might and Magic II (EP)
  • Spike McFang (E)
  • Legend of Heroes II (P)
  • Lufia (EF)
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (EF)
  • Secret of the Stars (E)
  • Ys IV (F)
  • Dragon Quest I&II (P) – I feel like I should have played II, at least. I’ve beaten I for the game boy, but never II for any system.
  • Eye of the Beholder (EP)
  • Shadowrun (E)
  • Final Fantasy VI (EF)
  • Ultima Gaiden (Runes of Virtue II) (E)
  • Brandish (E)
  • Robotrek (E)
  • Super Drakkhen/Dragon View (E)
  • Ultima VII (EF)
  • Chrono Trigger (EF)
  • Princess Minerva (I played the PCE version)
  • Emerald Dragon (same)
  • Brandish 2 (P)
  • Wizardry VI (EP)

This leaves a few more: Shodai Nekketsu Kunio-kun, and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure are both only marginally RPGs I think, and Jojo has an English patch. The Barcode Battler game can’t really be played without the unsupported peripheral. All the games relying on the BS modem hookup have content that can’t be emulated.

It’s possible that some day I may come back and do some of these games I skipped. I have an idea for what I want to do once I finish the SFC library, and that could include some revisits of these games.

New Year Post

Happy new year! I haven’t been playing RS3 at all on vacation because it’s inconvenient to set up my laptop, so instead I loaded up Another Eden for the first time in over a year. I’m doing the Tales sidequests. I’ve always thought this game is pretty good for a F2P mobile game with gacha elements — my main complaints are that the main story characters are worthless compared to what you get even just from normal gacha pulls, and the equipment is too hard to forge. Apparently I’m way behind now because I’m only on main story chapter 31 but they are up to 90-something now.

Here’s a reminder of the remaining games upcoming for the current year:

SNES/PCE (1996):

  • Romancing SaGa 3
  • Dragon Quest VI
  • Beast and Blade
  • Tengai Makyo Zero
  • Record of Lodoss War
  • Super Chinese World 3
  • Seiya Monogatari (PC Engine)

Strategy RPGs (1997):

  • Front Mission II
  • Mouri Motonari
  • RONDE (Saturn)
  • Galaxy Fraulein Yuna 3 Final Edition
  • Shining Force III Scenario 1 (Saturn)
  • Ryuuki Denshou

SFC Game List end of 1995

Time for the end of 1995, and it’s a pretty stacked list. Here’s the full list with the games I will actually be playing:

  • Odysselia 2 – I played the first one quite a while back.
  • Tactics Ogre – Already done.
  • Linda Cubed (PCE) – One of the three remaining PCE games on the list.
  • World Creation (Terranigma) – This is one of my favorite games so I’m looking forward to playing it again.
  • Light Fantasy II – Sequel to a kusoge, unfortunately this one doesn’t have a much better reputation.
  • Maten Densetsu
  • Tenchi-Muyo Game-hen – Already done.
  • Romancing Saga 3 – I hope this is better than 1 and 2.
  • Dokapon Gaiden – This is another one of those board game-RPG hybrids.
  • Mystery Dungeon 2 – I don’t consider these real RPGs.
  • Dragon Quest VI – Yay!
  • Seiya Monogatari (PCE) – The penultimate PCE game.
  • Beast and Blade
  • Tales of Phantasia – I have already played this but I’ll make a post about it.
  • Tengai Makyo Zero – Will probably use the English patch in honor of byuu/near.
  • Farland Story II – Already done.
  • Record of Lodoss War
  • Super Chinese World 3
  • Sangokushi Eiketsuden – Already done.
  • Ys V – I think I will play the Expert version.

Atelier A1 – Atelier Marie

When I made my full SRPG game list I included Atelier games, which caused some comment — they are not Strategy RPGs, certainly, but I would consider at least the earlier ones to be Simulation RPGs. Plus I like the series so I put it on there so I could play more of the games.

The long running series began in 1997 and currently has 23 main titles and around 15 side games, plus a number of remakes. The first five games are primarily simulation games where you control a young alchemist trying to achieve some mild goal (like pass an exam or bring prosperity to your village). There is usually a basic “good” ending that’s quite easy to get, and then a number of other endings that are more difficult. As the series progressed, they put more and more RPG elements in — by A5 (Viorate) you had explorable dungeons, a complicated weapon and armor crafting system, and five different bosses. However, the game could still be completed without doing much of this, and the focus was on running a store and crafting items.

A6 (Iris) was a straight RPG (with a crafting system), and the next 4 games after that continued that trend. I first played the series when Iris had just come out, and there was a lot of uncertainty whether the series would ever return to the simulation roots.

But A11 (Rorona) did go back to the earlier style, although the RPG elements seemed more prominent. I haven’t played anything past A13 (Meruru) but from what I hear the RPG elements have become more and more dominant as the series has progressed.

The side games include some games that aren’t RPGs or simulation games, but also a few games for Nintendo portable systems that look like they may be the more traditional games.

I am at least going to post about A1-A5 when I get to them, but after that it will depend on how I feel and what kind of game they are. I’ve already played Marie and gotten all the endings, so I won’t be replaying it here, but I’ll write a bit about it.

Atelier Marie (マリーのアトリエ~ザールブルグの錬金術士~), released 1997/5/23, developed by Gust

The first game in many ways is a tentative beginning for the series — if you’ve played any of the later games almost everything is in a very simple form, which perhaps makes it a good starting game? Apparently the game was originally planned as an SRPG but the director thought that there were too many big name RPGs already out there, and so decided on a new type of game. The game was regarded as a side project for the company but it was so popular that it quickly became Gust’s main product.

The main character is Marlone (nickname Marie), a not-so-great student of the alchemy school in Zalberg. Apparently a normal girl was chosen as the main character because the developers felt that women were starting to play games more — the female main character became a mainstay of the series. Marie’s on her last chance at the school, and she has five years to make a good item so that she can pass the exam and graduate.

This imposes a 5 year time limit on the game. One of the core elements of the early games is the time limit; everything you do takes time, and part of the game is learning to use your time wisely. (I’ve heard that recent games have gotten rid of the time limit; I’m sure this is more popular among casual players but it’s a bit disappointing.)

The dialogue is fully voiced, and the graphics are quite nice. The music is also exceptional; I place Gust second only to Falcom for consistent high quality music in almost every game they release.

The game has no real story. There are some characters like Schia (above), Kreis (a good student at the academy), Ruven (an adventurer), and others. Many of them can join your party for a price to help you out when you adventure outside of the town. They also have some events and small story events, but nothing much.

Basically everything in the game is optional. There are several endings — the basic ending is to craft a level 4 item to pass the exam. This is quite easy and can be done even if you barely know what you are doing. But the fun of the game is that you can replay to try to get some of the other endings — there’s one for levelling Marie to 50, one for beating an optional boss, one for crafting all items, etc.

The core of the game is the item crafting. Marie can learn recipes for items, and then if she has the right ingredients, she can craft them. The difficulty and time it takes depends on Marie’s level — unlike later games there is no separate alchemy and adventurer level; you gain XP for crafting items and for killing monsters. Marie can also buy tools that will either be necessary for the crafting, or make it less likely she will fail.

Later games introduce more complexity to the crafting system, but in Marie you just combine the ingredients into the final item.

How does Marie get the items? Two ways — she can either buy them, or she can go out to the field and collect the items. Buying items of course requires money; the main way to get money is to take jobs at the pub. By turning in certain items Marie will receive money. However, it’s also necessary to get some items by leaving town.

At the start of the game Marie can only access a few locations close to the town, but as the game progresses you gain access to more areas with rarer items. When you reach a location, you simply press the circle button to search for items, which costs a day.

You may also encounter monsters.

The battle system is very basic; characters can attack, use a special move, and Schia and Marie can use attack or healing items. Marie by herself will die (at least at the beginning) so you need to hire some adventurers (which costs money).

So the game is essentially a loop of taking jobs for money, getting the items to craft, buying new books to learn how to make items, and activating events — some events open up when you pass a certain time, and others are only available for a certain time each year.

As I said above, even if you have no real idea what you’re doing, you can easily get the basic ending — as long as you can read the game’s text you would have to try to fail, I think. The extra endings are more difficult but not to a great degree. I was able to get all the endings in one playthrough with just a list of the endings and some information on a few events that activated at certain times. But there was something fun about the simplicity of the game.

The game was later released for Saturn as “Atelier Marie 1.3” with one additional ending and some new events, and some minor things based on the Saturn’s internal clock (like if you play the game on Christmas she’ll wish you Merry Christmas). This version was then ported to the PSX as Atelier Marie Plus, which is the version I played. There’s a later release for Game boy, and then a combination release for PS2 of Marie and Elie. You would think that’s the definitive version of the game, but the designers made the bizarre decision to get rid of the 図鑑, a place in the main menu that shows you all of the items you’ve crafted, monsters you’ve found, and endings you’ve gotten.

The next game for the series is Atelier Elie which came out in 1998, which I have not played.

As I mentioned last week I’m in a busy part of the fall. Next week will most likely be a quick post on Final Fantasy Tactics, and then hopefully I will have finished Seiken Densetsu 3 by the following weekend.

A few notes on comments

Hello, happy weekend. First, I appreciate everyone who comments. I love reading the comments, and even if you comment on something from 4 years ago I will see it.

There are two issues I’ve had with comments, though. First, I have the setting on where I need to manually approve your comment if it’s your first time posting. For some reason, this doesn’t always work and I sometimes have to manually approve comments even if they’re not first-time posters.

Second, I have Akismet’s free spam filter on. Sometimes legitimate comments end up there, and it’s happening consistently with two commenters who have been around since the very early days of my blog (cccmar and Kicksville). I don’t know why this is happening and since this is just the free version of Akismet I can’t tweak the settings. However, I do manually check the spam filter every couple of days and so if your comment ends up in there I will manually approve it.

I just wanted to post this in case people are seeing their comments disappear or getting notifications that they need approval.

Problem with images

Some people from outside the US reported they could not see the images on some of the posts — I believe this was caused by Jetpack (a wordpress plugin) putting images on I turned off the option that did this.

Can everyone see that image?

It looks like the previous posts should be working now as well — let me know if you can see the images on Shiki Eiyuden and such.

Five years!

It’s been five years since I made my introduction post on the Super Famicom blog. I’m about 60% finished with the Super Famicom library, but it will be another few years until I play the last game on that list. Thanks to everyone who has read and commented over the years.

Tomorrow or Sunday I will post Harukaze Sentai V-Force, a (barely) strategy RPG that tries to use lots of anime sequences to tell the story, but leaves them with no much room to make a game.

Then will come Rejoice: The Reaches of Aretha Kingdom, an action RPG, and then La Wares, a regular RPG that is known as a kusoge.