Lennus II: Apostles of the Seals (レナスII 封印の使徒), released 7/26/1996, published by Asmik Systems
This is the sequel to Lennus, which came out in late 1992 and was released in the US as “Paladin’s Quest” (a name that has nothing to do with the game itself). The sequel was apparently plagued by development delays and was intended to take 2 years rather than 4 to develop. The end product is one of the longer SFC RPGs; it does seem like they allowed this game to take the time it needed to take rather than artificially cutting off development like they seem to have done with some of the previous games.
I have not played the original Lennus, but I understand that this is a direct plot sequel, and a number of the characters from the first game re-appear, as does the word Lennus. The game system is also essentially a modified version of the first one.
The game begins with Pharus appearing and being hailed as the savior of the world — this temple has been built to await his coming, and he is now supposed to bring about the Grand Unification. Pharus has no idea what this is and none of the priests seem to know either, but we need to get 4 gems from this underground land of Undel and then put them back in these slots in the temple. The entire game runs on these fetch quest setups — 4 gems, then 8 seals, then the 8 seals again, the the final boss. There’s not a whole lot of plot development other than at the points between these quests.
Like the first game, you have 3 hireable characters in addition to Pharus. There are 8 different categories of spells, and each character has a different combination. For the main character, you start out being able to choose just one, but as you gain more elementals from temples around the world, you can equip more until you hit a maximum of 4. You can switch the elementals at specific places in town, and also using an item.
Each character has a level for each element from 1 to 8 that goes up by beating monsters — the monsters release elements when they die which can add XP to a person’s element level. Moving up the levels doesn’t seem to result in new spells, it just strengthens what you have.
As in the first game, you use HP rather than MP to use spells. But since the spells don’t cost that much, outside of the very beginning of the game you almost never have to pay any attention to how much the spells cost.
There are no healing spells; all healing is done through “bottles” that hold 9 uses each. How much the bottle heals is based on the type of bottle. You can refill them in town — for some reason there are refilling shops that charge 50 gold per bottle, but using an inn fills all bottles for free so I don’t know why you would ever use the refill shop.
The interface is kind of interesting; all the commands are entered through the directional pad. If it weren’t for needing to hold down a button to run fast (ugh) you could play the whole game with one hand.
Also like the first game you can attack with any piece of equipment you have on, although I never found this to be useful.
As Pharus collects the 4 gems, a shadowy figure keeps appearing with a distorted voice; it seems like he’s telling Pharus that he should not get the gems and that the unification will be bad, but he can’t communicate clearly enough (and there’s no way to advance the plot without doing it).
Once the gems are collected and restored to the temple, the four continents of Undel begin to merge — this is catastrophic and the priests beg Pharus to stop it, but there’s nothing he can do. He is carried away in a pillar of light to Eltz, another part of the world. Here, an underling of Granada tells him that he only did one part of the Grand Unification, and that Granada will carry the rest out. Everyone on Undel will die as a result, but that’s basically Pharus fault, isn’t it? Mwahaha
The enemy curses Pharus to turn everyone into stone, but Petro (who was the face talking to us in Undel) directs us to a nearby Purification Shrine that can remove this problem. The next part of the game takes place mostly in the large city of Niguren, with several different sections, a downtown, and outer areas. Basically you first have to reach Petro’s Castle.
Petro tells us that Granada revived Pharus specifically to initiate the first part of the Unification, since normal people would not have been able to do it. Grand Unification means the destruction of all life in the world, but it can still be stopped if Pharus can get seven seals.
This fairly lengthy section of the game involves getting the 7 seals from in and around Niguren. Each seal has its own small story but they don’t really contribute to the overall narrative in any way. I switched out most of the starting companions here for new ones (although you can use a “scent of alcohol” item to re-recruit them if you need to). There are people in Niguren with max level elements, as well as the Gubo’s Fist spell which is very useful if you can raise the caster’s heaven element. Max level heaven element users can do huge damage to all enemies.
Once Pharus gets the 7 seals, Petro tells him there’s an eighth seal, which is back in Undel. Returning there, Pharus finds that most of the inhabitants have died but that the survivors have moved to one city. The high priest of the Pharus temple is getting drunk in a bar, wishing he had killed you as soon as you were born. From there, Pharus descends into a fire cave to get the eighth seal.
Unfortunately as a consequence, the rest of Undel sinks into the lava, killing all the inhabitants (Pharus really did a lot of bad stuff to the poor Undel people!) But undeterred, Pharus continues on to fight 4 of Granada’s underlings together.
Unfortunately they have captured Petro, and as usual for dumb RPG heroes Pharus trades all 8 seals for Petro’s life….and the enemies don’t even free him, they just take the seals. Fortunately Petro has left us a message to seek out Media (from Lennus 1) in a floating fortress, who can help us out. Media tells us that we are descendants of gods who created the word, some of whom wanted to watch over the humans, others (like Granada) who want to destroy the world. Unification will put all the lands into one and make a new sun. We need to go to find someone else who can help us in the sea.
Finally you get a world map, although it’s missable if you’re not careful.
The purpose of this part is to gain access to the gravity tower and eventually go to Lennus, the continent from the original game. The underlings of Granada have set up shop here and we can recover the seals. This part of the game has a lot of locations and random NPCs from the first game; of course I wasn’t able to appreciate most of that connection.
Once we recover all the seals, it’s finally time to confront Granada. Unfortunately in the meantime, Lennus has merged with Eltz — Unification has almost occurred. Back in Petro Castle we can take a transport to reach the Throne of the Gods, where Granada awaits.
We have to beat Granada twice. The first time, Petro and Medea help out, and heal the party before the second fight. Unfortunately Granada escapes on a spaceship, but with Petro and Medea’s help we can follow (it is also revealed here that Petro is Chezni, the hero from the first game).
At the end, Granada tells Pharus that they are essentially the representatives of the two opinions of the gods, and that how things end up depends on who dies in this fight — if Pharus dies, his energy will be released, completing Unification. If Granada dies, Unification will be stopped. Time for the final battle.
After the fight, you can talk to a bunch of companions and NPCs, and then Pharus joins Chezni and Medea to travel back to Raiga, where they originated. They want to bring the hope to Raiga itself so that whatever caused all this trouble on Lennus and Eltz can be healed at the source.
Overall this is a decent game. The plot could be structured a little better and there is some grinding you have to do sometimes, but it’s generally a fun game. And would definitely be worth a play for anyone who did Paladin’s Quest, to see the connections between the games.