Posted on November 10th, 2009 6 comments
Shiryō Sensen: War of the Dead
Maker: Victor Musical Industries
Release Date: 3/24/89
Price: 5500 yen
Media: HuCard (2 Mbit)
PC Engine FAN Score: 19.66 / 30.00
Kōgien: “The hero, a woman, takes up a gun as she fights off grotesque monsters. You travel around a map screen gathering information, but the game shifts to an action scene when you encounter an enemy. Port of a PC game.”
Definitely something of a cult title in Japan, Shiryō Sensen was originally released by Victor for the MSX2 in 1987 — a good couple years before Sweet Home, the Famicom release that people often call the first “true” survival horror title. I would say Shiryō Sensen has a far more valid claim to that prize, and it was popular enough in Japan that it was ported to both the PCE and NEC’s PC-88 computers in early ’89.
Katsuya Iwamoto, producer and designer on the game, told GameSide in 2008 that the project, like so many of the time, got its start from Dragon Quest. “I got a job as a game designer and they told me to come up with something, so I wrote the basic idea in two or three sheets of notebook paper,” he said. “There weren’t any horror games back then, really, so I wanted to make one. Dragon Quest taught me how I could tell a story through video games, so I wanted Shiryō Sensen to move along like that, too.” The game he came up with, especially in its PC Engine incarnation, certainly betrays Iwamoto’s inspiration; it plays much like a modern-day Dragon Quest but with Zelda II-like battles, because Iwamoto thought turn-based fighting with guns and grenade launchers would be weird.
Set in the small town of Chaney’s Hill, the game stars Lila, a member of the US Army’s S-S.W.A.T. team of paranormal investigators. She’s sent to the area after all communications are cut off and an entire company of Marines disappears without a trace. The plot (involving a portal to another world and the family that’s secretly protected it for generations) is a little bit Escape from New York and a little bit Stephen King’s The Mist, both of which Iwamoto claims as inspirations — in fact, nearly the entire cast besides Lila sports names borrowed off one horror film or another.
When you kick off, you’re about as lost as you would’ve been if you ever played the first Dragon Warrior without a strategy guide (be honest here). Considering people call it a “town,” Chaney’s Hill is vastly spread out — the drugstore’s only accessible by boat. The church you start nearby is a safe zone, but you have no map and no real mission apart from “find survivors and bring them into the church,” even though you have no idea where the buildings even are in this town. This makes for a lot of wandering and hoping for something interesting to happen at first, and it doesn’t help that Lila’s just as hopelessly underequipped as every 8-bit RPG hero at the start — one-hit kills are a serious concern for the first hour or so.
Get used to gameplay, though, and you begin to see Shiryō Sensen’s charms. The atmosphere is Iwamoto’s biggest success here, definitely — the game’s dark and creepy, although not outright terrifying, and the music (an exclusive addition to the PCE port) is a heavy contributor to this. The battles get easier once Lila powers up a little, and eventually the game opens itself up pretty freely to the player, letting you explore town fully and get to the bottom of the twisty story on your own terms.
In a way, this is the sort of PCE game that’s really taken this whole 20 years to be recognized for its merits. The PCE FAN score is not high, thanks to a ridiculous 54-character password system and some very famous glitches, including an outlandish overflow bug that resets Lila to level 1 if you grind past the maximum of 9999 experience points. Emulator save states makes the passwords obsolete, of course, and if you’re aware of the bugs, you can avoid them easily enough. Then you can just enjoy Shiryō Sensen for what it did right — and that’s pioneer Japanese storytelling in games, right up there with how 1987’s Metal Gear managed it.
Here’s a vid of the opening and the final chapter of the game. Looking back at it, Shiryō definitely suffers graphically from its 2mbit size. Sadly, it’s not the first nor the last PCE game to fall victim to manufacturing budgets…
Posted on November 10th, 2009 5 comments
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers comes out for the Wii in two days in Japan, receiving 30/40 points in Famitsu’s cross review. It is the latest Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles game to be released after Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers is not strictly a sequel to Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, the GameCube game where you searched for crystals; it is simply a game in the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series, alongside Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates is set before Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, while Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time is set after Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles; in terms of the story, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers uses the same setting as Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time.
To be more precise, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates is the oldest story-wise, followed by Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, and then Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates, to be even more exact, takes place 2000 years before Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, making it interesting to compare with Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers‘ far-future setting.
The Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series has also appeared on WiiWare — first as Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, set in nearly the same era as Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was actually published by Nintendo, not Square Enix. However, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, along with Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, were all Square Enix publications, making Nintendo’s involvement with the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series unclear.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers is set several millennia after Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, featuring modern technology not seen in other Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles games. Many Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles titles are action-oriented, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers continues this tradition by offering classic Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles-style action and adventure.
If you like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, or even if you’ve never tried a Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles game before, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers is a wonderful experience, one of the most accessible in the whole Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series.
(Inspired by Gadget News)
Posted on November 10th, 2009 2 comments
1 ：2009/10/24(土) 09:29:40.25 ID:ZbYgLYgS0
Besides being stuck in stones and only The Chosen One can pull it out, please.
15 ：2009/10/24(土) 09:33:46.73 ID:L3+9DZHPO
19 ：2009/10/24(土) 09:35:25.65 ID:peU8BuTGO
Bouncing around the elf village
21 ：2009/10/24(土) 09:36:12.91 ID:thLQuWCN0
Passed down over generations
25 ：2009/10/24(土) 09:40:10.59 ID:1lBxmTOZO
Made by dwarves
26 ：2009/10/24(土) 09:41:15.73 ID:8ndyR8PM0
Either really thick or really long
29 ：2009/10/24(土) 09:43:54.45 ID:hTxwVJWq0
The old guy near it is really surprised when you touch it without being shocked/blown away
39 ：2009/10/24(土) 09:45:58.05 ID:+caNLnvIO
Doesn’t look sharp
41 ：2009/10/24(土) 09:47:02.24 ID:hTxwVJWq0
Disappears after you plunge it into the final boss for the last time
45 ：2009/10/24(土) 09:51:36.35 ID:NlmVjI8i0
All rusty at first
48 ：2009/10/24(土) 09:54:07.01 ID:xVHA9OX8O
If you can sell it it’s either worth a ton of money or 1 Gil
55 ：2009/10/24(土) 09:58:54.25 ID:pTlbCYigO
Usually about the 3rd strongest by the end
59 ：2009/10/24(土) 10:04:24.90 ID:/kE0FSIq0
Based on the Holy or Light element so it’s hard to use
70 ：2009/10/24(土) 10:17:03.87 ID:oko8Efuq0
There’s an evil sword that goes with it
72 ：2009/10/24(土) 10:20:46.04 ID:NJZrzPWh0
If a villain steals it from its owner he usually bursts into flames or something like that
87 ：2009/10/24(土) 10:32:28.58 ID:RMf1mtf6O
97 ：2009/10/24(土) 10:41:34.50 ID:l5iyqfrz0
Nobody really knows anything about the legend behind the sword
Old man “Ahhh, the legendary sword!!!”
Hero “Uh, great”
132 ：2009/10/24(土) 11:26:42.99 ID:6OVYMpmr0
141 ：2009/10/24(土) 11:36:25.76 ID:h4EWnKLMO
Capable of killing things in one swipe during cutscenes only