The next part of the game is pretty light on story; it’s basically just the king sending you out to various places to find the other God Stones.
Now that the heroes have the “magic” thread, they can make a sail that will take them to the next continent. However, first Schwartz leaves the party temporarily to escort Jan’s mom back to their hometown, so we’ll be without him for the next boss.
As usual, the next dungeon has both a stone and a boss.
Despite the lack of Schwartz he’s not especially difficult. I was able to do a bit of damage with Jan this time rather than just healing.
On our way to the next ruin, we get attacked by a guy in a dark cloak, the Beast King!
It’s a story mandated loss, but as is typical, he leaves us alive while attending to something else. Two of his minions stay to beat the rest, but Schwartz reappears to save us.
The last god stone seems to be in a northern village that is supposedly the first village made by the gods. The town itself is fairly non-descript, but in a nearby dilapidated village, we find the old woman who narrates the opening cutscene.
She gives us the last stone, and relates the prophecy that a hero will use the 6 stones to call the power of lightning to defeat Ruin. And that the Beast King may be Ruin himself. Finally, she tells us the “pendant” Jan has is actually a key to one of the Sacred Areas, where we might meet the gods themselves.
The gods turn out to be people, of course. The backstory is never made entirely clear, but the people on the world now are “replicants” made by technologically advances humans. It was after some sort of disaster and made to preserve the human race, but didn’t work exactly as intended, and now the remaining humans (“gods”) are in cold sleep. This guy is Gilmore, who is surprised to hear about Ruin — that project was supposed to have been cancelled. But he believes the prophecies of the Replicants and tries to find a way out of this while we defeat some enemies that broke in.
Run away and heal as usual, and the boss goes down fast. Meanwhile, Gilmore has enabled a weapon that will shoot the “lightning”, using the energy from the god stones. We just need to point the controller at Ruin and hit the button. He also gives us an “old” ship to get to where Ruin is, and tells Jan about his father. 100 years ago, some of the humans left the shelters for a while, and it’s possible that Jan’s dad is still sleeping there. He offers to find him, but Jan doesn’t seem to care (why not?)
Next up is the final dungeon.
The Beast King goes down to the usual heal strategy. We think we’ve won, but then he merges with Ruin to make the real final boss.
He can’t be hurt until Jan activates the weapon, which weakens him.
Where Jan is standing is basically a safe space, so just stand there and hold down the attack button until he dies.
The shelter crumbles as everyone flees, and suddenly the ending is “some years later”. It basically just says what happens to each character.
Schwartz and Sharol get married, as do Jan and Altena. The humans stay in their cold sleep, apparently forever. Jan and Altena set out in the technological ship to find a new continent. The ending has a vocal song as the credits roll.
So that’s Ruin. It’s a pretty basic game, and I don’t think the gameplay was well designed, although most of the action RPGs that came out around this time had problems. The story is enjoyable, and that alone may make it worth the play.
Next up will be Aretha.
This game doesn't look too bad, but I guess it's not very well-known even in Japan, is it?
Aretha actually has some things going for it with its crafting system and all, despite being sorta generic. I remember reading somewhere that this whole series sold pretty well in Japan. No wonder that 3 GB games and 3 SFC games were made.
I've only played the beginning of Aretha 1, what struck out to me was its music. It works in iMUSE fashion, see for example how Secret of Monkey Island 2 handles the music. Entering different buildings in town layers different music tracks together seamlessly (or as in the case of Aretha, more or less seamlessly). Can't recall any other SFC titles doing the same.
Its intro sequence is also cutely synchronized to the music.
The final boss looks to be heavily "inspired" by the rotting God Warrior from Nausicaa. I love how these older games did not give a damn about copyright infringement and just ripped off whatever they liked.