This is a followup to the 1988 Famicom game Kaiju Monogatari. The title is probably meant to play on 怪獣 (e.g. Godzilla, Mothra), but the first kanji is replaced with the kanji for “shell”. It looks like it is set up as a direct sequel, with a new “fire shell” hero but some of the same supporting characters, and the same villain Fat Badger. (The Wikipedia article claims this is not a direct sequel, so it may just be that the names and setting are reused). There’s a sequel (Daikaiju Monogatari II) which will be one of the last games I play for this blog.
There is a fan patch for the game, unfortunately it’s marred by an excessive freedom — there are numerous references to pop culture, as well as multiple right-wing rants against the Affordable Care Act, taxes, regulations, Socialism, etc. It’s a shame because (so far) this is one of the better games I’ve played on the system and it deserves a better translation than the one we got.
The game begins with something coming down from space, causing tsunami sweeping the world as well as other natural disasters (comets, etc.). It also appears that Fat Badger will return.
So a wise man calls forth the Fire Shell Hero, who you name (Kurisu). Despite being summoned out of nowhere he decides to take on the task. The man sent out some other people too but they get separated. Kurisu takes a ship but is immediately wrecked at Chikri Village, which is then attacked by robot soldiers. Kurisu hides while the town is destroyed (great start for the hero!)
Afterwards, Kurisu sets out. The villagers remaining have some basic stuff to sell you, and then we begin. One complaint about this game is the high encounter rate — it’s nowhere near as bad as Last Battle, Monster Maker 3, and some of the other games I’ve played. I’m conditioned to accept mediocre as great, I guess?
The battle system is basic but works fine. One nice feature is that you can set up four strategies where you pick a command for each character and then they will execute it. So I made a “fight” strategy that picks fight for everyone, which speeds things up — along with the emulator speedup it makes the encounter rate not so bad.
The battle graphics look nice too. Unfortunately I got poisoned in the first battle and didn’t have enough money for an antidote so I had to reset — levelling is quick in the beginning. I headed down to Sandside.
In Sandside we learn that the Aura Ball, which we need, is in possession of Doglar. Also here you can form a party with various characters. I took Zardon (basically a fighter), Linda (priest), and Babu (can use boomerangs which hit all people, and some buff magic). Linda has the incredibly useful Angel Song ability, which costs no MP and uses sleep on all enemies plus kills undead. I’m over halfway through the game as I type this and I’m still using it constantly (I have a 3 fight + angel song strategy set up).
The interface on the whole is OK. There’s no item limit, you can see the stats of equipment and who will benefit when you buy it, and there is a “best” option in equip. The only wrinkle to me is that you can’t see who can equip an item from the item menu, and you can’t L and R to switch characters in the equip screen. But compared to the horrid interfaces in a lot of these games this is a minor complaint.
I also rescued a thief from a well. In addition to the party members you can get “helpers” that perform various tasks — let you climb areas with a rope, view the surrounding area, increase the encounter rate (haha), and other things.
We set out for an underground passage to other parts of the continent (the asteroids and tsunami have destroyed a lot of the bridges). Coming to Bridgetown, we learn that Doglar definitely has the Aura Ball, and continue on to the waterfall cave. An herbalist joins up and has a special potion; very suspicious but I drank it. We came across Piggy, who can get rid of boulders, but then the herbalist turns out to be a follower of Doglar and attacks. We start poisoned, but he’s not too hard.
Doglar himself is in the next dungeon; we overhear him talking to a mysterious woman. But she’s not actually there so we fight Doglar.
He’s got a pretty nasty all attack, but with speed/defense buffs and some healing I took him down. Now I have the Aura Ball, and freed all the girls that Doglar captured. Continuing on, I came to Lamir, which is one of the outlying towns of Dorado City where we can probably find Fat Badger. But all the bridges are broken and there’s no way to get there. Lamir itself was totally destroyed by asteroids. You can free a slave here for 5000 pearls (I didn’t have the money then but I came back later. She just leaves on her own; I don’t know if this does anything later).
The next actual destination is the Seaman Temple.
A huge fish comes in and captures the chieftan, but once we beat the fish, we receive the Water Shell (we started with the Fire Shell so that’s 2 of the 4; these are somehow connected to defeating Fat Badger but it’s not clear yet how.)
My notes aren’t clear here so I don’t know why this opens up a new area — I know you have to find a crystal in the next mountain area and get a blacksmith to forge a sword to free people from the cocoons that the robot attackers put them in. Anyway, once you do this, one of the people freed is Milmy. She’s one of four sisters that is the daughter of the Great Gnome and a human. We need to seek out the Great Gnome to find out more about Dorado City.
In the next area, we come across a tree full of mask-wearing people. The tree is sick, and the medicine needed to cure it is in Sandler city to the south. There, Zenim (a former underling of Doglar) has made himself rich off the backs of the people. He offers us a nice place to stay but of course it’s another trap. I was not clear on how we escape this, but the screen goes black and we find ourselves in the poor area of town. From here it’s time to put an end to Zenim. Apparently he has a magic book and armor that protects him. His mansion dungeon is fairly long, and the key item comes from a little kid who gives us a water pistol. For some reason this nullifies Zenim’s armor.
Zenim begs for his life after being defeated, but when I spared it he just attacked again. This time he dies for good. We get the medicine for the tree (healing it doesn’t seem to have any immediate effect on the story). Perhaps more importantly, Zenim had the shell ship that Kurisu sailed out on in the beginning. With that, we can sail around the shallow areas of the world map.
I jumped to the next continent, where one of the other Four Sisters in Mosswood makes me some protective equipment to cross the snowy mountains to where Great Gnome lives.
Oh right, you can also found your own town and build stuff in it, and name it.
Great Gnome’s house is across the mountains, but unfortunately he’s sick. The person that can heal him is Fairy — I had apparently missed her all the way back in the second dungeon, where I took a right instead of a left and missed the chest she was in. She also gives the hero use of special abilities. But with her help, Great Gnome has the potential of being healed, but we have to get a remedy from a bird village. There, five stone heads send me on a quest to get 5 items (just basic items you can buy at shops).
Once Great Gnome is back up, he gives us an item to melt a snowdrift that will let us pass through a dungeon to Dorad City. On the way, the Aura Ball breaks, releasing a robot that immediately bonds to Kurisu. Also along the way, Korikot, another one of the sisters, heads back to Great Gnome’s house. There, Great Gnome tells us we can combine the 4 shells into a Combine Shell that will help us defeat Fat Badger. He gives me a map that shows where the other shells are. One can be gotten just by getting Genji, the fisherman, to dive into a lake and grab it. The other involves a dungeon.
This is a prison island, where one of the prisoners found the Earth Shell and used it to gain power. But he’s pretty easy to beat up.
Now with the 4 shells, Great Gnome creates the Combine Shell. We also learn that the Love Sword will be necessary to defeat Fat Badger, but fortunately it’s in Dorad City, where we can finally reach now. Dorad City has encounters in it, and just an inn for services.
This is another relatively long dungeon. It’s filled with creepy statues and pink goo. We need the Love Sword to remove a barrier before the throne, and finally Fat Badger appears.
You can’t hurt him until you use the Combine Shell. He’s pretty easy, actually, although you do have to fight him twice. I think in general the high random encounter rate and relatively quick advancement make the bosses pretty easy.
So that’s the end of the game!
No, of course not. Now a UFO comes down and Gyag Far declares himself the ruler of the universe. He tried to revive Fat Badger and will now show us just a bit of his power.
He fires a huge beam at Shellland which destroys continents and sinks much of the world underwater. How will we defeat Gyag Far!?!? Join us next time.
So this is actually a good game! The story is surprisingly dark (at least in what happens; all the characters are pretty cutesy) and it’s easy to play. I’m looking forward to the second half(?) of the game to see how it concludes. School is starting again so I may have a bit less time to play than I did during the summer, but I’ll keep the weekly updates going.
Both games are pretty good, I'd definitely agree. Fairly fast-paced, decent encounter rate in most places, lots of additional stuff to do (there are 'tons' of hidden items in these games, even most guides don't show all of them). Don't want to spoil too much, but the 2nd part does things somewhat differently. No idea about the Famicom title, but it's surely much more rudimentary by comparison.
What you describe as strategies, I know from Phantasy Star IV (1993) as macros, where it was a great feature, even helping with combo attacks. It would actually be interesting to know where that originated from.
They're called "strategies" in the game. This is the first time I've seen this idea in a game — Dragon Quest 5 allowed you to set individual AI, but not actually define moves like this. It is a nice feature and I wish more games had it.
I kept reading to the end to see what this Fat Badger looked like. But that doesn't look like a Fat Badger at all! What a ripoff.
I wonder if that name sounds more intimidating in Japanese….
I never played the famicom installment, but on that system there's a game I never tire to recommend, and I consider it almost to be unofficially part of the DKM series: Juvei Quest. Made by the same developers and with almost all the features the two snes DKMs have, like helpers, some enemy designs, etc. It'd be great if someone remade it with the improvements the snes games have.