SD Gundam Gaiden 2: Knights of the Round Table (ＳＤガンダム外伝２ 円卓の騎士)
Released on 12/18/92, published by Yutaka
This game took me less than 5 hours to beat so I’m just going to make a review post to cover the whole thing. This is another SD Gundam game; you can read about the Knight Gundam franchise in the post I made for the first game. This is what’s known as a “chara game”, a disparaging term for a game that is only interesting for people who are familiar with the franchise. I agree with that assessment; it’s not very good.
Story/Characters: The story is that you are a descendant of King Gundam and you have to free the British Kingdom from the rule of the Zabolonia Kingdom. That’s pretty much the story. You progress through the game, and there’s not that much in the way of interesting twists. You go back in time, and there is a little bit of interest there, but not much.
The main problem is that it’s hard to care about the story because the characters barely exist. As is common with these chara games, they try to cram as many of the source characters as they can into the game, meaning that they barely get any development at all. It’s hard to tell the difference between the characters, and the link between this and the original Gundam is tenuous.
World: Generic fantasy. There’s very little attempt to build any kind of world, explain what these Gundams are and why they exist in a fantasy world, or distinguish between different towns and castles.
Game Flow: Despite the game being so short, there are some really annoying parts. There are hidden staircases you have to find by searching specific points on the map, and you’re given no clues whatsoever to the find them. There’s a forest where you can’t see the paths, and it took me 25 minutes to get through that. However, since you can run from every random battle and the treasure chests are not all that useful, you can progress quickly. Especially if you use the cheats (see next entry).
The final boss is easy — he uses an attack that takes 4 turns to charge but you just wail on him for 3 turns then defend on the 4th.
System: The battle system is standard attack-defend-magic RPG. You can have up to 13 people in your party, but do you really think it’s fun to mash A 13 times in a battle?
They tried to do something innovative by removing experience. Instead, you move up levels by recruiting new people into your party. I don’t really like the way that works — money isn’t that useful so it means that there’s really no purpose to fighting the random battles. Even if you did the game would be 10 hours at most.
The other unique aspect of the system is the “order made” weapon system. You can create weapons by paying money to add points in various categories. But this doesn’t really matter because then you get to name the weapon, and there are bonuses for having certain characters in the name. Seems like a neat idea but the bonuses are ridiculous. If you have the kanji 盾 (shield) anywhere in the name the weapon gives +100 defense, which is higher than the best armor in the game. 最強の剣 (strongest sword) does indeed make the strongest sword in the game. There are other bonuses, and they all stack. So in the first town, for 1 gold, you can make a weapon that is better than anything else in the game for both attack and defense, and you can add poison, stat bonuses, etc. I usually don’t exploit things like this but since this game is bad already I had fun doing it.
Side Quests/Optional Content: There is a bit here — some optional characters (you can get up to level 99, I only hit 75). In the time travel part there are some things you can do in the past that you can then revisit in the present and future.
Interface: This is OK. You can see the stats of weapons and armor before buying them. There’s a unified use button.
Graphics/Sound: The enemies look pretty good — there’s a lot of detail in the mechs and since they already had existing Gundam models to work off of there’s not a lot of palette swapping. The music is average.
Next up is Hanjuku Heroes, which I don’t think qualifies as a strategy RPG but I may make a post on it anyway.
Wow, why did they even make this thing? Well, I like the aesthetics, clean and vibrant graphics, reminds me of the Dual Orb and Shell Monster Story games. But wasted effort is just that, when none of it serves much of any purpose as a coherent game, except as a vessel for fan-service. Times really haven't changed all that much, have they?
Hanjuku Heroes is more of a strategy game with some RPG elements, but (at least the SFC version) has a story of some sort IIRC. There was also a Famicom game, but that one was obviously more simplistic than anything. It's kinda like with Lord Monarch – the PC-98/SFC versions have no story campaign, but the Genesis/Playstation remakes do.
As to the game in question, no surprise there… most of the SD Gundam Gaiden/Ultraman RPG games are very short, the Famicom ones can also be beaten in a couple of hours I think.