SFC Game 97 – Maten Densetsu (Finished)

Last time some commenters were saying that this was a ripoff of Shin Megami Tensei. I think this is a little unfair — while it’s clearly strongly inspired by SMT I don’t think it’s just a cheap ripoff. This game does not have the same monster recruiting system, the religious emphasis of SMT, or the “law vs chaos” idea. And the Energy system I described in the last post is an entirely new system.

Having now finished the game I have mixed feelings about it. One issue I had that (as far as I could tell) there is no way to get any information in-game on what all the items and spells do. I was able to figure some of them out just by experimentation but sometimes even using the spells in battle doesn’t make it clear what they are supposed to do. This game has very little information available on it; the Japanese sites are mostly just reviews. The usual richie walkthrough is on GF but this must have been one of his early efforts because he tries to summarize the story and the English is worse than usual (I tried e-mailing richie to thank him for all his work but I got no response; I don’t think he’s been active on GF for 10 years or so, so I imagine he’s moved on.)

My biggest issue with the game was that it became tedious due to how large the dungeons are. As is common with many of the first-person dungeon games from this era, there is very little of interest in the dungeons. In this game at least you do not have to explore every square to know what is there because of the HUD that shows you points of interest. But it still seemed like the dungeons were unnecessarily big. There is a certain tedium to fighting, making MP restore items, healing, walking down long featureless corridors, and fighting again.

The other issue was that there did not seem to be a clear forward movement of a story. Generally the flow of the game is that Chisato teleports you to an area, you beat a boss in a dungeon, the dungeon starts to crumble, and Chisato teleports you to the next area. There are issues in each area but I did not get the feeling that we were moving towards any kind of ultimate goal.

In the last post I had gotten to Hiroshima. Here, there are monster ants in a big anthill. Defeating them gives us another oopart that allows Chisato now to teleport to various places we haven’t been before. You can choose between two places; I went with Kyoto.

In Kyoto we go around to various places and collect body parts of a demon.

Eventually we go to a pyramid that reunites all the parts of the demon, and causes the demon to fight us. This was a tough boss but I figured out something that makes most of the game’s bosses much easier. One system thing I forgot to mention last time is that you have a total defense value that is divided among mental, physical, and energy defense. But you can change way the division goes any time you want. So for most of the bosses you can just see what type of attack they have and then put all your defense points into that type. Most bosses only have one attack type so this will leave them barely able to damage the main characters. (This does not work so well near the end of the game.)

We get another oopart and then proceed to Nagano, where some kind of monster plant has covered everything.

Beating the giant plant monster gives us another oopart and we go to Shikoku. This is a long section with a bunch of dungeons you have to clear; there’s also a strange place where people have transferred their consciousness into stone tablets so they can live forever, but they don’t like the results. I was never clear on where these people were supposed to have come from. In any case, another boss gets us another oopart.

Next up is Kyushu, which has another strange section with some kind of dinosaur humanoids. One of the shamans here tricks us into giving up an oopart so we have to chase him into a dungeon. Beating him and a giant dinosaur yields another oopart.

Next we teleport to where Tokugawa Ieyasu and other sengoku era generals are fighting. Maybe I just didn’t read the dialogue closely enough but as with the dinosaur humanoids I’m not entirely clear on what is happening here. But once we save them all from the monsters we gain access to a castle — another boss, another oopart.

We end up back at the Nazca pictures where Rai initially met the mysterious mask that gave him the ability to form weapons. Using one of the ooparts reveals an underground area. This area is enormous; by far the most tedious part of the game because of how many empty areas there are, but there are 6 important places in there so you have to know where you’ve been. The people here have been studying some kind of ancient rocketship.

After clearing the monsters from several areas we enter the rocketship and use it to go to some kind of final area. Here, Rai meets Ando, the mask from the beginning. Rai gathers power from all sources, including his friends, to make one final killing blow against Ando.

The final battle has an annoying part where each turn you go to his right or left (shown by right and left arrows) to decide where to attack, but it doesn’t seem like it’s doing any good. You have to press up (not indicated) to jump over him and attack his back. I wonder how long I would have spent on this battle figuring that out if I hadn’t seen it in the walkthrough.

After the battle, Rai learns that an ancient race split into two factions — one that wanted to leave their DNA in humanity and watch over them, and the other who wanted to control them as tyrants. Ando was the head of the tyrant group, but with them defeated, the Earth will be free from that influence. I guess Japan goes back to Earth? They didn’t clearly state that, and Japan is certainly going to have a lot of rebuilding to do.

In the end…meh? It’s certainly not the worst game I’ve played but it is too tedious and long, I think.

8 thoughts on “SFC Game 97 – Maten Densetsu (Finished)

  1. stepped pyramids

    The heavy use of digitized photographs here is interesting. It mostly seems to work pretty well but Ando looks like a plastic model.

    1. Morpheus Kitami

      I got that impression too. I wonder if they just used something off the shelf or kitbashed a bunch of different models together? The main body of the figure looks like something out of a Super Sentai show.

  2. Morpheus Kitami

    PS, for the past few times commenting, I’ve noticed that an error message keeps cropping up. Not sure if its just me or what, but its happened consistently.
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    1. kurisu Post author

      I don’t time my play so I’m not sure.

      The monsters you find at certain points in the game — sometimes you have to make specific choices to get them, or find items. I think it would be possible in theory to not find any of the monsters, or to do all the things wrong so you fail to recruit them all.


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