Lady Phantom (レディファントム)
Release Date: 11/29/1991
System: PC Engine (Super CD ROM)
Developer: Shin Nihon Laser Soft
Publisher: Nihon Telenet
- Turn type: Some sort of speed based system, although it’s not obvious how it works. Characters will sometimes get 2 or even 3 turns in a row, while other times it seems like their turn doesn’t come up for ages.
- Maps: Medium to large. Standing on terrain gives no bonuses, but if there is certain terrain between you and an enemy, it reduces hit rate or stops the attack altogether.
- Character Customization: You can pick 2 of 3 (later 4) weapons for each character before the stage.
- Character Development: Standard XP level system, with all awards given out after the stage is over.
- Party Size: 5.
- Equipment: None.
- Game Flow: 10 stages, one after another, no repeating stages or multiple paths.
- Saving: Only between levels.
- Death: A defeated character will come back the next stage, and will not get the small XP bonus for stage completion.
This is very close to just being a strategy game rather than a strategy RPG, but overall it’s decent. The case boasts an “expansive” story but as you may have seen from reading the posts it’s pretty flimsy, even for 1991. None of the characters get more than a slight amount of development and the game is so short there’s not much content there. The decision to make the story scenes only in the cutscenes, with no other dialogue, limited the amount of story they were able to include. The cutscene graphics are also underwhelming, although they’re average from what I’ve seen in other PC Engine games.
The gameplay fares better. Overall I thought it was fun, although a big problem is (like Langrisser) that the battle system is hard to figure out. It seems like any hit can potentially do anything from missing to automatic kill, and it’s not easy to see how the various stats are used to calculate what happens. Weapons have hit rates like “45”, but what does that 45 mean? Percent?
The automatic kill (yuubaku) is a big problem because it adds a huge amount of luck into the game. This is particularly true of the last stage, which is much longer and more difficult than any of the previous stages. Getting your characters to survive through that level is frustrating because of the randomness and the sheer number of enemies you have to fight.
Overall this is not a great game, but it’s short and playable, and I did have fun with it, so it might be worth trying if you want to play a retro strategy game.
Next up is Ninja Burai Densetsu, which is another short, difficult, barely-an-SRPG game.