Ranma 1/2: Hidden Treasure of the Red Cat Gang (らんま1/2 朱猫団的秘宝)
Released 10/22/1993, published by Toho and Shogakukan Productions
This is another game based on an anime — so far on this blog I’ve played games based on Dragon Ball Z (just for a bit), Fist of the North Star, and 3×3 Eyes. They’ve been pretty bad on the whole — I did give DBZ some credit for at least trying to implement a system that represented the atmosphere of the source material. The other two were just straight RPGs, and it was hard to avoid the feeling that they were just relying on the name to sell the game.
Unfortunately I feel like this game is also just riding on the name value — it’s nowhere near as bad as 3×3 Eyes or Fist of the North Star 5, but there’s essentially no attempt to make it stand out from any other cookie cutter RPG released in this era. There are still a number of anime-based games to come on this blog (among them Sailor Moon, Slayers, and Magic Knight Rayearth) so it will be interesting to see how this thread develops.
If you’re not familiar with Ranma 1/2, the premise is that Ranma (and many of the side characters) fell into a cursed spring in China. All the people who fell into the springs change into something else when doused with cold water, and revert to normal with warm water. Ranma changes into a girl, and his father Genma into a panda (in the image above). Ranma lives with his “fiancee” Akane and her family.
The game begins with the Cursed Spring Guide accidentally releasing the spirit of Nekmaoh, a ghost cat. At the Tendo Dojo (where Ranma lives), after a morning spar with Akane, people from the Red Cat Gang show up and capture Genma.
We spring to the rescue, and the first place to investigate is the nearby high school. The town is overrun with Red Cat Gang enemies. Shampoo, a Chinese girl who turns into a cat, joins us after a bit. Unfortunately the walking is very slow, with no run/speed up button.
The battle system is standard AMID. The only difference from usual is that the M part is martial arts special moves, which drain your 闘気 (touki, “fighting spirit”) meter. The meter refills as you walk around, or if you defend in battle or use a refill item. This is appreciated because it means you can actually use the moves without just having to save all your touki for boss fights.Using a bucket or a kettle you can turn the characters back and forth from their human and changed forms, but this isn’t as useful as it could have been. I think part of the laziness of the designers shows in the fact that even characters like Shampoo and Ryoga, who turn into little animals, retain all their stats in their changed forms but just can’t use some techniques. So most of the time you don’t want to be in the changed form unless you have to for the story. Ranma is exactly the same either way. I guess this does match the anime for Ranma at least.
Soon we learn from Shampoo’s grandmother (Cologne) that the Red Cat Gang is a legendary group, and to stop them we will need three items: the Peach Gem, the Cherry Blossom Sword, and the Forest Mirror.
|Ucchan, Ranma’s other fiancee, sells healing items
At the school, the principal (who was paid off by the gang) ambushes us and knocks us unconscious with a pineapple bomb. Ranma wakes up alone in a separate world in a jail cell. He quickly breaks free and makes it to the nearby Strawberry Village. There’s a Peach Village nearby which sounds like it might have the peach gem, but first we have to rescue Akane from the Apple Village. Ryoga (who turns into a pig) joins up.
To save Akane we have to sneak into a women’s bath (by having Ranma as a girl and Ryoga as the pig) and make our way through an underground cave. Since this party has no healing techniques it’s important to have a lot of healing items to make it through, especially since you have to fight a tough boss at the end. Fortunately we get Akane back at the end, who brings along some nice healing arts.
Now we head south to the Chestnut Village, where we learn that Peach and Persimmon Villages have been taken over by the Red Cats. The Peach Gem is in the White Tree Shrine, which we can get to with a Hajutsu paper. Unfortunately a villain arrives and steals the mayor’s daughter, and we have to rescue her from the tower to the south.
The boss in the tower is Rasetsume, who takes the paper and gives it to Genbu. But of course she refuses to give the kid back, so we have to beat her up. Now it’s off to Peach Village to see if we can get the gem back.
Since I started late in the week that’s all I did. There is a translation patch for this game, but even if you’re a Ranma fan this really isn’t that good of a game. It does seem to be short, though, so maybe I can finish it in another week.