I just started playing Wildermyth on the PC yesterday. This game is very fun and very challenging. I warn you, don’t get too attached to any of your characters, because it won’t be long before they die. Permadeath is real in this game. You get two chances. First time, your character will be maimed, second time, dead. I’m thinking I have to start all over because my characters just aren’t strong enough for the battle that they’re facing. I’ve tried twice now. Some had already died before that too.
Turn Based Combat
And yes, it will be in English – among many other languages. The catch is you’ll have to wait 2 and a half years for it to be released.
With 31 days left of their kickstarter campaign, Eiyuden Chronicle Hundred Heroes has already achieved its funding goal. You can help fund the game and get a digital copy when it is released for just $38. For $90 you can get Beta Access to the PC version and a physical copy for your platform of choice.
I chose to back this project – for just the digital copy – I won’t be able to provide any insights as to the Beta – but I definitely had to back this one. Suikoden is one of my favorite game series. And this is basically Suikoden with a different name because probably I assume that Konami owns the Suikoden name.
Title: Breath of Fire II
Release Date: 1994
Where to Buy: Your best bet is Nintendo’s Eshop for $7.99 assuming you have a Wii or Wii U. You can go to the Store Page Here. However if you don’t have a Wii or Wii U or you want to have the original SNES version for your collection you can find it on Amazon with prices ranging from $199 to $329 depending on the condition of the item. You can browse what’s available on Amazon right here.
Overall: 63/80 79% C+ “Good Game for Girls”
Concept: 10/10 Breath of Fire II is another one of my all-time favorite games. I loved the cute and colorful graphics, interesting characters who are mostly anthromorphic or furrie in nature, and especially enjoyed the city building aspects of the game. It also had a very touching story; and one that was quite bold and unprecedented especially for a western release at that time as it takes a very negative view of religion. Combat is typical 90s RPG turnbased style and there are random encounters every few steps with unseen enemies. While this style of gameplay is dated today, it was pretty standard fare back in the early-mid 90s.
Gameplay: 8/10 There are numerous characters to recruit, while not as numerous, as say, Suikoden, it still offered a half dozen or more playable characters who could join your party, each with unique skills and abilities. You had a max party size of 4, but could freely rotate characters in and out of your group. As mentioned above, aside from the ability to build your own town, including choosing colors and styles of buildings, and selecting who to move into your city, aside from that aspect, it’s very typical of gameplay found in other 90s era RPGs, especially in terms of combat. While it doesn’t innovate, it’s definitely a tried and true gameplay mechanic with millions of fans of these games. Some people may find the gameplay a bit tedious if not used to games from this era. Combat is fun though since you have many different abilities to choose from with each character, and how many other games are there where you actually become a dragon :).
Story: 10/10 The story of Breath of Fire II follows a young boy, Ryu, who returns home from an adventure one day to find his family missing and other townsfolk acting oddly. It’s as if Ryu’s family, and Ryu himself, have never existed. No one has any memory of them and Ryu finds himself all alone in the world. He is taken in by a priest and meets another orphan dog-like boy named Bow. The two decide to escape the foster home together and flee for the city where they plan to live as Mercenaries for Hire. While taking an assignment from the palace, Bow is accused of being a thief. And thus Ryu’s adventures begin in an effort to track down the real thief and help clear Bow’s name. The journey begins with our cast of characters as light-hearted “scamp” precocious like children, and then it evolves into a very mature mystery as we witness the characters’ growth throughout their journey and we learn more about the evil demons and possessed citizens who have fallen victim to a false religion. We also learn what happened to Ryu’s parents.
Characters: 10/10 Throughout the journey, you meet many people who are possessed by a strange power. You also encounter dragons, beasts, demons, and learn that Ryu is in fact the last remaining member of the dragon clan with a latent ability to transform himself into a dragon and kick some ass in combat. You encounter a full cast of interesting, unique, non-human like comrades who will join your party, including Nina, a winged woman; a tiger girl named Katt; a bull or horse like character named Rand; Sten, a monkey like creature; Jean the frog; Spar, a plant like creature; and Bleu the Naga serpentine like creature. I really enjoyed such a unique character lineup. I also feel there’s significant character depth. While the game largely is light hearted and suitable for all ages, there’s some touching and even “heavy” moments such as the scene with Nina’s sister (if you’ve played the game, then you know the one). I found the entire cast to be likable and found myself caring for them and responding to their emotions.
Graphics: 8/10 The graphics are extremely colorful in this game, more so than other rpgs released around the same time such as phantasy star, final fantasy, illusion of gaia, and etc. The character designs are out of this world and unique (though admittedly, Jean does remind me of Frog from chrono trigger with the cape design and everything being very similar). The special effects in combat were also exciting and fit well with the expectations of one who can shape shift into a big bad dragon. However, clearly, the game is old, and its graphics don’t stand up to today’s standards. Also unlike other games of its time such as Lunar, Popful Mail, Vay, Y’s, etc It suffers from a lack of cinematic scenes which could have really brought this game to life. I’m assuming it’s because it was a cartridge based game and had to make due with less space than other games of its time, but I think it would have been awesome with some anime cutscenes.
Music: 5/10 The music didn’t really make any lasting impressions on me. It’s been about 3 years since my last playthrough; and I can’t really recall any particular tracks. I am sure the music was “good” but when I compare it to say Lunar, Chrono Trigger, or Final Fantasy 6… It just doesn’t “stand the test of time”. While other 90s RPGs have such “iconic” music that I can still almost “hear” in my head years after last playing them; Breath of Fire 2’s music just falls by the wayside.
Replay value: 4/10 The game is linear in terms of story, like so many 90s JRPGs were back then. But I still find myself replaying it, not necessarily for story or branching plot or anything of that nature, but instead, simply because, it’s a very enjoyable game with unique and lovable characters. It also offers a little bit of variety with its city building aspects.
Overall: 63/80 79% C+ “Good Game for Girls”
Title: Lufia the Fortress of Doom
Release Date: December 1993
Where to Buy: Amazon has a few used copies in stock from time to time; at time of this review, it’s priced around $68 You can keep an eye on this page on amazon to see when copies become available. http://www.amazon.com/Lufia-Fortress-Doom-Super-Nintendo/dp/B0007Y66N4 You may also have good luck searching on ebay for a used copy of the game.
Overall: 52/70 74% C “Good Game For Girls”
Concept: 8/10 This is the first game in the Lufia series if you look at release date; however, several “prequels” were released that take place prior to the events in this game. The order that you play them in does not matter much since several decades elapse between each point in the storyline; if you have time for only one game, I recommend Lufia II Rise of the Sinistrals (Which we’ve recently reviewed in our new Lufia II Rise of the Sinistrals Review ) over this original game. The pequel improves on almost every aspect of this title, including storyline, character development, gameplay, and graphics. But the first game is still a great rpg with a touching story full of plot twists and challenging gameplay. The game begins by playing a group of heroes (who are the stars of the prequel) in the final stretch of their journey to seal away ancient evil powers known as the Sinistrals. After some brief gameplay and story, the time skips ahead almost 100 years into the future, and you are playing as the descendant of these heroes. The world has been peaceful and uneventful until now; but now the ancient evil that your ancestors faced has reawakened and you must follow in their footsteps to save the world once again. Lufia’s strength as a whole has always been its rather challenging puzzle solving elements that are presented as you explore various dungeons. There’s also many different side quests and things to explore in each game which give players a break from the main story.
Story: 8/10 As mentioned above the concept of the game is that you are the direct descendant of heroes who faced great evil almost 100 years ago. You play as a young knight serving your kingdom, and you have a childhood friend who mysteriously turned up in your village 10 years ago with no memories of her past that serves as a love interest for the main character. The game is more about Lufia than your main character who is more just like a sidekick as far as story and character development go. Lufia has a very strange past which slowly emerges as you play the game and really becomes the main focus and catalyst of the storyline later on. The storyline is very touching, and you can really feel the love that has developed between the hero and Lufia. The real game (after the prologue) begins when a nearby village is attacked by someone claiming to be one of the defeated sinistrals. As a knight, it’s your duty to go help the villagers and when you arrive, you come face to face with the Sinistral Gades for yourself. After learning that the Sinistrals have reawakened you begin your journey to help save the world once again. The story does start out rather slow, so I deducted a few points there. It suffers from some bad dialogue at times too, being either bland or cringe worthy at times. However, the plot twists and the love story that slowly emerges, as well as the shocking truth about Lufia’s past make the storyline a very rewarding experience that’s well worth the somewhat slow start.
Characters: 5/10 Your party consists of 4 characters, the hero, his childhood friend Lufia, Aguro a knight from a neighboring village, and Jerin, a healer who later becomes a love-rival for Lufia. The characters are not as well developed as in Lufia 2. With the only character who’s strongly well developed being Lufia herself. Lufia and the love that you feel for her are very emotionally engaging. However, the other two party members often feel flat and lifeless. The main hero is left somewhat generic to allow the player to better immerse and imagine themselves in the role of the hero. This can sometimes make the main character feel more cold and uncaring than if he also had a well developed backstory and personality. The character dialogue can also be cheesy or fall flat at times which can detract from the emotional impact of the storyline.
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Gameplay: 8/10 This is a typical “90s RPG” featuring turn based combat, dungeon crawling, (lots of) random enemy encounters, and puzzle solving. You level up and learn new skills and spells, travel from town to town, purchase new equipment, talk to NPCs, and take on side quests as you progress through the main story. There’s nothing terribly innovative here; but the puzzles and monsters can be quite challenging which makes this series very fun for those looking for a challenge. One of the most challenging features is the “Ancient Cave” which has 100 levels and I think it may be procedurely generated if I remember correctly. Each level features better loot, but increasingly difficult monster encounters. This area is completely optional, but most players will want to explore this dungeon to level up their party and acquire some of the best in-game items. This is a linear rpg (as most games where back then) with little in the ways of customization and no replay value or incentive for multiple playthroughs (so I deducted a couple of points there). If you love traditional retro RPGs, that’s what we have here, so you should be right at home in Lufia Fortress of Doom.
Music: 10/10 The soundtrack to Lufia is very memorable, maybe one of the best back in the 90s (aside from “big name” games such as final fantasy). The sound effects and ambient sounds also help to immerse the player into the world of Lufia and help set the mood for each point in the story.
Graphics: 7/10 The graphics are dated by today’s standards of course, but back in its time, Lufia had some of the most vivid and colorful graphics around. One flaw in the graphics may be in the combat system, as you are shown a row of enemies in the middle of your screen, and beneath that, 4 status bars representing your 4 party members, with a small animated sprite in the right hand side of each bar. It seems odd to present the statistical info more prominently than the characters themselves. The game is also often criticized for reusing several graphics and not having enough variety in level or monster design.
Overall: 52/70 74% C “Good Game For Girls”