La Wares (真・聖刻), released 4/21/1995, developed by J Force
This game is part of a franchise that originally began with a tabletop RPG “Wares Blade” released in the 1980s. The game is based more closely on a novel called Wares 1092. The term “wares” is assigned to the characters 聖刻 which mean something like “holy time” and has a number of different meanings in the franchise.
This game is one of the legendary kusoge of the SFC and it definitely lives up to that reputation; it’s one of the worst games I’ve played on the blog so far, in the gutter with games like Fist of the North Star 5, Light Fantasy, and The Last Battle. It actually has a translation patch, but it’s not worth playing.
One issue is the number of typos in the text. If you can read Japanese you can see how in the screenshot above, 青ざめた has been written 育ざめた (then you have 青だてる). The character 救 is substituted for 教 in every instance. The main character’s name changes spelling throughout the game. There are is annoying kana-kanji majiri that to me is harder to read than all hiragana (things like きょうあく犯 and 再とう合).
But the issues go far beyond the text. The interface is a mess. When you choose “equip” you can’t even see what’s a weapon/armor or a regular item. There’s no way to see the stats of an equip item, or what items do. You can’t see a character’s current XP. The stat menu is under “system” for some reason.
The story is an incoherent mess. They adapted it from the novel, but they left out a bunch of the scenes, so that characters enter and leave for no reason, there are key terms undefined in the game, and the overall story is very short. The only reason this game takes any amount of time is because you have to grind to beat it, which I’ll get to later.
So the story is bad, but that’s not a deal breaker. The interface is annoying but a lot of those problems can be overcome as well — is the game system any good? No, it sucks too. There are two types of combat in the game. The normal combat as shown in the shot above is just the basic “hold down the attack button” that we’ve seen many times. There are only 2 enemies, and they only use regular attacks. As you level up (you recover HP fully when you level) the enemies get stronger, but they’re not very hard. So why did I say this requires grinding earlier?
You also have mech combats. These are all 1-on-1. You have three choices — punch, kick (which is lower accuracy but higher damage), and defend (which is pointless in a 1-on-1 battle). So there is no opportunity for any kind of strategy, and whether you win these fights comes down to luck on the kicking, and whether your level is high enough. The red meter there is your HP and the blue is your “water”; both can only be recovered in towns.
When you travel on the overworld, you just pick a location and then automatically go there, encountering mech combats on the way. The random encounter rate is unpredictable, and if you get unlucky you can’t survive all of them and just have to try again from your last save.
I actually played over half the game in just a couple of hours, but I reached a boss that I was going to have a do a ton of grinding on, and one review of the game said that over half their time in the game was just grinding. So I decided to put my little used rule to effect that if a game has a translation patch, I can give up if it’s really bad.
The story is basically that thousands of years ago there was a civilization that came up with powerful mechs that could only be used by the chosen ones. It seems like the main character will be able to become one of those chosen ones; he begins the game as part of a bandit group but his father dies and he goes out to seek the mechs. The other main characters is a princess who escapes the confines of her life and begins adventuring.
In the end, there’s really no reason to play this game, but there is a translation patch if you really want to try it for some reason.