Next up on the chopping block:
Shin Megami Tensei
This is the third game in the long-running Megami Tensei series, which started with two games on the NES. I played both of them in their Super Famicom remake. They are clearly indebted to the Wizardry series but introduce the system of being able to recruit almost any enemy in the game to your team, which can then be summoned via a computer.
The main problem with both games is a problem common to a lot of early first-person RPGs — large mazes with almost nothing in them. When I was 10 I thought it was fun just to walk around, map, and fight battles. Mapping a Wizardry level felt like an accomplishment even if I didn’t find anything on it. But after playing the gold box games and later Might and Magics, I lost interest in empty dungeons.
Shin Megami Tensei improves a little on that, but not enough. There are more dungeons so at least there’s more variety, and the story is certainly better than the first two, but I feel the game is a bit overrated. Maybe I just feel that this kind of game doesn’t age as well as a top-down DQ type game.
As you can tell I’ve already played this one so I’m skipping it, but I have not played II or If…, so when I get to those they will be on the blog.
A translation patch is here (that’s actually a bugfix for a translation but it links to the main patch.)
Lennus: Memories of Ancient Machines
This game was localized as “Paladin’s Quest” in the US; the title has nothing to do with the game but apparently the localizers thought it sounded more like a game Westerners would buy. It’s one of those localizations where they were too lazy or underfunded to expand the VRAM so the items have names like “Mid drs” and “Sct msg”. A friend of mine had this when I was a kid and didn’t seem to like it much.
Zenic and Shen will get here eventually.
This is a port of a western RPG; the graphics are better but since it’s a port and it was released in the US I’ll skip it. I played the DOS version many years ago but I didn’t get all that far. CRPG Addict has completed this game.
Paladin's Quest is one I'm looking forward to revisiting. I had the same experience as you, didn't care for it as a kid. We'll see how it goes soon.
Wizardry V, that'll be something else.
I liked Paladin's Quest. It is not great, but pretty good, with some interesting gimmicks, like the magic system that uses HP for casting spells. No healing spells, obviously, only the ones to remove status effects. It may sound strange, but it makes you use magic more. You loose HP in fights anyway, so it makes a lot of sense to blast numerous enemies with a good spell and actually loose less HP, then if you just kill them one by one with normal attacks.
It is an enjoyable game. And if you will be playing Lennus 2 later on, you may want to reconsider and play this one. I'm not sure, as I haven't played it yet, but there is might be some related story elements.