One thing that separates good RPGs from average/bad RPGs is memorable locations. In Dragon Quest V, each dungeon and town has its own personality. Sometimes it’s just aesthetic, like the underground waterway with its streams and moss, or the haunted castle with the dancing ghosts and torn hangings. Other times it affects the gameplay, like the mine carts or the pits. The goals are also different — sometimes you need to find an item, sometimes beat a boss, sometimes get through to the other side.
The flip side is Hokuto no Ken 5, where every dungeon looks and feels exactly the same. You wander through featureless corridors fighting random monsters and finding useless treasure chests, until you fight the boss at the top. Repeat for the whole game.
Unfortunately Hero Senki is more like the latter. The dungeons are a bit more varied than HnK, but they’re still pretty cookie cutter. The random encounter rate is not as high as HnK and you walk faster, so it’s more bearable, but it still gets boring after a while.
I said last time I was going to give more plot information, but the plot is hard to follow and not very organized. Unlike SRW, this game doesn’t make it easy to follow things if you’re not familiar with the source material. New characters get very little introduction, and there are a lot of in-jokes and parodies that don’t make much sense. They want to let you use as many characters from Kamen Rider, Ultraman, and Gundam as they can — this is probably nice for fans but is confusing to me. I can tell from the Gundam parts of the game that I would appreciate this a lot more if I knew more about Kamen Rider and Ultraman.
One interesting feature is “discuss”, where your guys will talk to each other and tell you what you have to do next if you forgot. This occurs soon after I broke off the post last time; a villian steals Dan’s Ultra Eye, rendering him unable to transform into Ultra Seven. Another being named Windam comes in to fight for him instead.
|What’s wrong with Kamille as a boy’s name!?|
Soon after, the Kamille-Jerid eternal rivalry begins the same way as it does in Z Gundam, and Kamille joins up for a while. We’re working with the Titans (at least for now) to protect towns. Fortunately the original Ultraman joins and with him along it’s easy to beat up the enemies and recover Dan’s Ultra Eye, restoring Ultra 7 to our team. Meanwhile we hear rumors of a revolt in Axis City, and also come to understand that behind the three leaders of the various enemy groups (Scirocco, Shadow Moon, and the Ultraman villain) seems to be a single unknown leader.
I’m going to gloss over the next couple of sections because it’s mostly just dealing with various Ultraman and Kamen Rider enemies with the help of Kamen Rider V3, X Rider, and other characters.
Eventually the group decides that they need to power up if they’re going to deal with the terrorist organization, and the three heroes split up. This is a tough part of the game because you are often fighting with just 1 guy. First up is Amuro, who has to go get the Nu Gundam, stolen by the Black Tristars.
|The Tristars again|
This is the kind of battle I don’t like in these RPGs. The 3 vs 1 style, where your 1 has no healing power, makes the entire thing just depend on your level. If you haven’t done enough grinding, you’re never going to win. Fortunately you don’t have to do that much, but I think battles with severely limited strategic options should be fairly easy to win.
Afterwards, a big surprise: Masaki Ando, an original character from Super Robot Taisen.
|He lost his way again|
So far he’s only been in Super Robot Taisen 2 (for NES). What surprised me is that he mentions Langran, has his familiars Shiro and Kuro with him, and gives his “knight” name from Langran — all of these elements aren’t in Super Robot Taisen until EX, which doesn’t come out for another 2 years. I don’t know if these things were in other materials beyond the games, or whether this really is the first mention of what would later become the Masou Kishin franchise. Anyway, all he does is help you take on a boss and then leaves, chasing after Shuu. We’ll see if he shows up again or if that’s his only cameo appearance.
Next up is Ultra 7, who is looking for Ultra King to get a powerup. After getting the runaround for a while, he eventually comes to Yapool and Ace Killer. After fighting a losing battle, Ultra King appears and powers the Ultras up so they can defeat the enemies.
|Yapool and his hostages|
Finally, Kamen Rider, who is going to power up to Kamen Rider RX. There’s another losing battle against Shadow Moon, and once they throw him in a trash chute somehow the sun powers him up? I’m not sure what’s going on. Anyway, RX makes his way back to the town, and now the game commits the unforgivable sin of an RPG.
|4 General Shadows (one is dead)|
This game allows you to save anywhere. When RX enters this building, he has to fight three battles. You can save after the first one, but can’t leave the building until all three are beaten. The final battle is impossible unless you have 5 or 6 of the most expensive healing item (or are grossly overlevelled). It’s 4 vs 1 and the enemies do way too much damage to beat them any other way — what’s worse, they can blind you, making your attacks miss. This means that you can save in an unwinnable position and have to restart from the beginning of the game — this should never be allowed in any game. I know you have multiple save files, but in my opinion that’s no excuse. Fortunately I had a save outside of the the building, since I had been warned by ritchie’s walkthrough about this.
Once this screwover part is over, the three heroes rejoin. Now Zeon has started a war against Axis. Dakar is under Titan control which means we can’t get back to headquarters, and Emma and Kamille have been stranded in Zeon territory.
Sneaking in requires the help of Haman Karn:
|Looking for Mineva Zabi|
We have to fight her because of a misunderstanding, but after that she’s willing to show us a secret way into Solomon City. Unfortunately, Jerid is in the passage, and we find out that the Titans have predictably joined up with the terrorists, blocking that way. Thanks to an ex-Zeon soldier (and Haman’s help again) we find a second way in, and that’s where I’ve stopped.
I’m still only at about the halfway point of this game. I feel like I should start looking up who all these Kamen Rider and Ultraman people are, but I guess I’m too lazy.