Monday, July 15, 2019

1993 wrap-up

1993 had six games:

Albert Odyssey
Ogre Battle
Shining Force Gaiden II
Super Robot Taisen 3

Shining Force II
Sword Master

In terms of new developments, Ogre Battle is the first real-time SRPG on my list. Along with Super Robot Taisen 3, it also brings in the multiple paths and endings that become more common with SRPGs as we move forward. 1993 has the first Super Famicom game and the last PC Engine game.

Choosing a game of the year is tough here -- I know that a lot of people would pick Shining Force II, but as I said in my review I was somewhat disappointed with it. Ogre Battle would be another popular choice but once again I found it frustrating. For me, I think I would have to go with Super Robot Taisen 3. The branching storylines, multiple endings, and large cast list are a huge advance on SRT 2 and I had a lot of fun with this game. It's difficult until you figure out how to manage the system, though.

In addition to SRT 3, I would recommend Shining Force II, Shining Force Gaiden II (better to play the CD remake), and Ogre Battle. Albert Odyssey is not a good game. Sword Master has an impressive story and visuals, but the gameplay is not especially good.

1994 is all Super Famicom and Mega Drive games (the last 3 MD games I'll be playing). Fire Emblem 3 is probably the biggest and best known game on the list, but I'm interested in Hioden, which is another real-time game that has SFC mouse support.

One other thing that I'm going to try to do going forward is make at least one video for every game, even ones that I'm skipping because I've already played them or they're ports. A lot of these games either have no videos, the videos that exist are short and of poor quality, or you won't find them unless you search the game name in Japanese. At some point I would like to go back and make videos for the games I've already done but that's not a priority.

Games of the year:
1990: Fire Emblem
1991: Langrisser
1992: Just Breed
1993: Super Robot Taisen 3

Monday, July 8, 2019

Game 20 - Sword Master wrap-up


  1. Turn type: Player turn/enemy turn
  2. Maps: Medium to large. There is terrain that gives bonuses.
  3. Character Customization: None; characters promote at some point but you have no control.
  4. Character Development: Standard XP level system.
  5. Party Size: For most of the game, your entire party (up to 24 units)
  6. Equipment: Four equipment slots -- weapon, armor, two items.
  7. Game Flow: The game is purely linear with no returning to previous battles; there are dungeons where you can explore and fight some optional battles.
  8. Saving: Anywhere, but only one save slot
  9. Death: Permanent.


This is the final game of 1993 and the last PC Engine game. The PC Engine continued on strongly through 1994 and limped along until 1996, but no more strategy RPGs came out for the system.

The story is pretty good for 1993. Most of your party members have little to no presence in the story but Aks and the main characters have developed backstories. There are a lot of cinematic sequences and voiced sections of the story. 

The gameplay, unfortunately, is not as good. The game suffers from pretty serious balance issues. The first problem is that the damage you take or do can vary widely -- with reloading I've seen the same attack do 1 damage, and then do 23 damage. For reference, the final boss has 32 HP and your characters will likely not get into the 30s. This wild luck also seems to affect the level up bonuses. A lot of times you get nothing on a level up.

But the most serious problem to me is the XP awards. I'm not completely sure what the formula is, but it's clear that by far the most important factor is the amount of damage you do. There seems to be a small effect from level difference and from killing a monster, but if you kill a monster at 1 HP by doing 1 damage, you will get almost nothing. This makes it extremely difficult to use your full party, because you can't really catch up the weaker characters. The game has no money or shops, meaning all the equipment you get is pre-determined, and there's nowhere near enough equipment to outfit your entire party.

The game is not especially hard since you can save as many times as you want, and having a few strong characters is good enough to clear the game. But it's more satisfying to be able to use a larger party rather than just having them sit back and watch.

So I probably wouldn't really recommend this game; as I said, the story is interesting enough, and if you really like the PC Engine it might be worth a play. But there are better SRPGs even in this period.