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Glory of Heracles II

Glory of Heracles II (ヘラクレスの栄光II タイタンの滅亡) 
Released 12/23/1989, published and developed by Data East


When Data East released the first Glory of Heracles in 1987, console RPGs were still in their infancy. You had the first two Dragon Quests, two Deep Dungeon games (first-person maze crawlers), and a number of action-RPG hybrids like Hydlide and Adventure of Valkyrie. So there weren’t a lot of established rules for how the console RPGs should work, and Glory of Heracles has a lot of oddities in its system.

In late 1989 when Glory of Heracles II was released, the situation was totally different. Since the first game, there were many other DQ-like games released for multiple systems: Dragon Quest III, Final Fantasy I and II, SaGa 1, Phantasy Star II, Mother 1, Tengai Makyo, and others. The Dragon Quest clone had become fully established as the dominant console RPG style, and Glory of Heracles II follows the pattern. All of the oddities of the first game are gone — the durability of weapons and armor, the passwords that don’t preserve which bosses you’ve beaten, and overworld and towns on the same field, for instance. 

The wikipedia article says that what did make this game stand out was the Greek mythology theme, as well as the tragic story that was somewhat more developed than other games at the time.  


The game begins in the town of Nana, with naming your hero, and then talking to a girl and naming her. The hero (Kurisu)’s grandmother has gotten a letter looking for people to go out fight the Lord of Darkness. She tries to hide it from him, but Kurisu finds it in his bed and heads out. The Queen of Nana tells me to find Homer, who should know more about what to do. I bought a sword and then headed to the mainland, to Athens.

Homer’s already left Athens, but I meet a doctor who tells me to find Deadelus in Selan because his son Icarus is injured. Selan is to the east, and I gained a few levels before going there.

The battle system doesn’t need description; it’s Dragon Quest II. I did learn from wikipedia and reviews that there are monsters later that can break your equipment, which is pretty annoying. There’s also a day and night system like DQ3, and it seems like the random encounter rate is much higher at night. The enemies give a lot of XP though so raising levels was fast.


I made it to Selan and found out that Deadalus wasn’t there. Homer had gone north to Minoa, so that’s where I headed next.

Homer was there, and told me that we need to find the Chaos Axe to break the seal leading to the Dark God. That’s a big quest with no direction, but at the same time a centaur being bullied tells me that there’s a great treasure in the cave to the east, guarded by Cerberus. Unfortunately there’s no inn in this town so that’s a hassle to walk back and forth.

This is where I stopped; it seems like this is a perfectly playable (for 1989) RPG that has an interesting theme. I believe this has a translation patch so if you like early NES era RPGs, give this a try. Next week I will cover the Glory of Heracles game for Game Boy that came out in 1992, six months after the third game. I should be done with Bahamut Lagoon by then and I can move on to Wizap and two PCE games.

1995 wrap-up

1995 was the longest year yet. Here were the games, which I’ll categorize in three sections — good, average, and bad.

Good: Majin Tensei II, Super Robot Taisen 4, Riglord Saga, Tactics Ogre

Average: Front Mission, Royal Stone, Another Bible, Shin SD Sengokuden, Arc the Lad, Little Master 3, Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict, Bounty Sword, Heian Fuunden, Tenchi Muyo, Sangokushi Eiketsuden

Bad: Gundam Cross Dimension 0079, Farland Story, Super Robot Taisen 2G, Battle Robot Retsuden, Sengoku Cyber, Farland Story II

This year was mostly Super Famicom games, but Playstation and Saturn both had their first offerings. Of course graphics and presentation are improving. Front Mission and Tactics Ogre introduced height and the isometric perspective, and Arc the Lad continued the trend of SRPGs with far more RPG elements than previously.

Which of the 4 good games should be the Game of the Year? For me it’s between Riglord Saga and Tactics Ogre. Both have flaws. But Tactics Ogre’s story writing is far beyond anything else, and it emphasized the role of class changes and job systems. Riglord Saga has an open world, non-linear style, and a neat skill system.

I think I am going to go with Riglord Saga because Tactics Ogre has some pretty serious balance problems, and the permanent death is too severe given the lack of in-battle saves and the frequent places where you have to fight two or more battles in a row. I think the designers realized they messed up there because in the PSX remake the following year you can do in battle saves (I used save states myself). But it’s very close.

Games of the year:

  • 1990: Fire Emblem
  • 1991: Langrisser 
  • 1992: Just Breed 
  • 1993: Super Robot Taisen 3 
  • 1994: Langrisser II
  • 1995: Riglord Saga


Glory of Heracles

Glory of Heracles (闘人魔境伝 ヘラクレスの栄光)
Released 6/12/1987, by Data East, for Famicom

I’m still playing Sangokushi Eiketsuden for my other blog. As I said in the previous post, when I don’t have a post ready for this blog, I’m going to make a short post about some other retro RPG. I’ll play it for a short time (1-2 hours at most). This is not a new chronological project, just a way to make a quick post to fill a gap here.

This post is for Heracles no Eikou (The Glory of Heracles). The third game in this series was one of the early games I played here, and Glory of Heracles IV is a 1994 game that I will get to later. So I thought I would go back and see how the series started.

As far as I can tell, this game is the first RPG imitating the Dragon Quest style. Dragon Quest 1 and 2 had already come out by this point, but it took a while before other companies began to mimic their design. Rather than the generic fantasy world of Dragon Quest, Data East used ancient Greek mythology as the basis for their game.

As is typical for games of this era, the game itself gives no backstory — upon starting the game you’re immediately dropped in Athens. The instruction manual has the story. Hades has captured Venus, and Heracles has come from Olympia to save her. 

 The graphics are pretty underwhelming even for this era — look at how Heracles gets lost in the brown color of the floor. The inside of the buildings is also strange:

Dragon Quest did a much better job with their limited graphics.

It appears that the game involves defeating 12 bosses (reminiscent of the challenges of Hercules from mythology) and then defeating Hades. You cannot save your game; instead you have to visit a person in town to get a password. Many western players do not know that the first two Dragon Quest games in Japan used passwords instead of saves. In the early days of the Famicom, the battery backed memory had not yet been developed. The Famicom Disk System had come out in 1986, which allowed saving games as well as larger games than the cartridges of the time could hold. But Data East stuck with the cartridges.

The password system is strangely implemented. Using it allows you to preserve your levels, equipment, and items. But all the bosses you defeated return, and all the chests in dungeons can be taken again. This seems to mean that you do not actually need to defeat all 12 bosses to win the game. Some of them have items that you need to win, but others just give XP/gold or items that might be useful but not necessary to win. I understand that Data East wanted to keep the passwords shorter (the DQ2 passwords are 41 characters), but it creates a strange playing experience. If you die you return to Athens with half your money but everything else the same. So I suppose nowadays you could just use save states on an emulator instead of passwords, although it would change the way the game played.

I wandered around Athens, getting some clues to various places I could go — everyone agreed that I should go south first and gain levels. I bought some basic equipment and a few pieces of food to restore HP. 

I bought a copper sword, copper shield, and leather clothes, which are shown on the right. Those numbers are not the strength, but the durability — as you fight and get hit, the durability goes down. You have to return to Athens and get Hephaestos to fix them before they get to 0 or they will break and disappear. You can also hire him for 5000 gold and then he’ll be permanently in your inventory and automatically fix things after each battle.

I’m not sure what the stats of equipment is or even if they have stats — apparently the weapons have different compatibility with different types of monsters (which is listed in the manual).

I left the city and headed south. Unlike Dragon Quest, the city and overworld are not on separate maps. I quickly encountered my first enemy.

As in DQ1, each fight is one on one. Running is pretty effective; I’m not sure what talking does. The instruction manual warns you to be careful doing it but doesn’t say what it actually does.

I gained a level wandering around, but ran into an Iron Golem that blocked the way and was impossible to defeat. However, you can simply run from him and pass by, which leads to the second city, Pella. This is actually where I stopped playing — I intended to do a bit more than this, but this game is really bad. It’s slow moving, ugly, and the annoying blacksmith feature means you have to keep running back to Athens.

So this is not a good outing for Data East, and according to the Wikipedia page it was not received well in Japan — it was criticized for its poor game balance, lack of in-game guidance, and difficult puzzles with inadequate clues. There were also ways you could mess up your game, by selling key items or running into certain bugs that would stop you from being able to finish the game.

I should be able to do a Live a Live post next week, but next time I have a free week I’ll do Glory of Heracles II to see how they improved on the original.

Merry Christmas

 Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates.

I’m playing games but won’t have any updates until after New Year; expect Farland Story 2 on the other blog probably next weekend, and then back here for Kishin Korinden Oni.

Doing more with this blog

I got a comment from an anonymous user that aligned with something I had been thinking for a while — the progress on this blog has slowed down too much because of the SRPG blog. I want to do both projects, but I think doing a 1-to-1 alternation is naturally prioritizing the other blog because the SRPGs tend to be longer. Lately I haven’t even been averaging one game a month on this blog, which is far too slow.

I have two possible fixes for this — one is to do 2-to-1 favoring this blog unless the SRPG is very short (like Tenchi Muyo! I just did which only took me 4 days). The second is to play SRPGs and the SNES RPGs at the same time so that I always have a post to make here each weekend. This might be a better option although I have never liked playing multiple RPGs at once. Or if readers have any other ideas?

Tomorrow or Sunday I will have a new update with Sword World SFC 2 and I have started Tenshi no Uta so I will have updates here for the next few weekends and hopefully I can go more quickly here in the future.


I just finished Tactics Ogre, and restarted Samsara Naga 2. I’m going to use a cheat code to get the necessary monster corpses to pass that stupid baby feeding part, but hopefully I can quickly get back to World 3 with the correct dragon combination, and can make an update next weekend.

Super Famicom Strategy RPGs

I wanted to remind everyone of my other blog on strategy RPGs and link all the Super Famicom SRPGs I’ve done so far. The Super Robot Wars entries are just a collection of message board posts I made many years ago when I was playing them, so they may not be as interesting.

I still have around 15 more Super Famicom SRPGs to go.


    I’ve finished moving and have all my stuff set up so I’ll be back to regular updates. The next game I’m playing is a Super Famicom game but it will be on my other blog — it’s Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblems. The first post should be up by the end of the week.

    In the meantime I’ve been playing Another Eden, a mobile game that I recommend; it has a retro game feel and has some gacha elements but no artificial play limits. Anyone else played this?

    2 Years

    I’m going to schedule the second (and last) Ruin post for a few days from now so that I can do this post instead.

    Two years ago I started this blog. If you view this on desktop you can see from the sidebar that I’m 30% done with the game list (which doesn’t necessarily mean 30% of the time the blog will take). Thanks to everyone who has been reading me, either the whole time or just starting recently.

    A few new readers over at the PC Engine Bible forum commented that judging from my posts, it didn’t seem like I was having much fun. There is some truth to this — I have been disappointed in the quality of the games so far. Before I started the blog, I was thinking about the classic SNES RPGs I had enjoyed as a kid, and all the untranslated Super Famicom RPGs I had heard about that people liked.

    Instead, too many of the games so far have basic, dull RPG systems, too many random encounters, poorly designed magic systems, and boring dungeons. It’s sometimes difficult to find things to write about in the posts because once I’ve described the basic gameplay in one paragraph, that’s pretty much how it goes for the whole game. You can see a real difference in interest and energy level if you look at the Dragon Quest V posts.

    However, that doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying the experience. I do like the accomplishment of finishing the games and advancing in the list. I do expect the library to improve as I go on. There are still quite a few games that I’ve heard good things about but never played. My decision to do the Strategy RPG blog alongside this one was a good idea I think, because the RPGs feel fresher when I return to them.

    Lastly, here are some of the games coming up in the next few months that I’m excited about:

    Illusion of Gaia – I know this was released in English, but I haven’t played it in many years and I loved it as a kid.

    Dokapon kingdom – This is a mix of a board game and RPG; there will be several of these on the blog, but I’m interested to see how it plays.

    Romancing Saga 2 – Will I like this better than RS1? Will I be able to beat it?

    Shin Megami Tensei 2 – I’ve played 1, and the remake of the NES games.

    Forward to year 3!

    PS: Geocities Japanese is shutting down soon. This is the source of a lot of walkthroughs and info for older, more obscure games, so it’s a big loss.

    Streaming (twitch/YT plan)

    One thing I’ve been frustrated by in searching down games for this blog is how many of these games, particularly the older ones, have almost no information on them in Japanese or English. Videos are also scarce in many cases; sometimes there’s only an intro, or a minute or two of gameplay.

    I’ve been hesitant to set up a Twitch or streaming youtube (for either of my blogs) because I can’t commit to a regular time, and without that I’m not sure I could get consistent viewership.

    What I would like to do is for each game, stream my first session (1-2 hours) so that at least there’s a video for each game with a basic explanation of how the game works, and footage that includes both story sequences and the gameplay.

    I don’t know exactly what form this will take or how I’ll do it, but I’ll try to decide that in the next few days. Little Master 2, the game I’m playing now, has a full video playthrough on youtube so I’ll wait until the next game, probably.