Name: Farland Saga (78.75% in 8 votes)
Company: TGL - Japanese
Release date: 1996
Reviewed by: Kyubi Fox
Farland Saga is a very famous strategy RPG by TGL. It was supposed to be Farland Story in 3D and Win95, but it has far surpass the fun of the Farland Story series. Since it was released back in 1996, it has inspired a countless number of games that uses similar battle systems and graphic style, most notablely the recent Castle Fantasia ~Seimataisen~.
The story is like this: one day Brian decided to bring Ralf (his son) and Leon (son of a friend who died in battle long ago) to the palace to meet some people. On their way, they saved Fam (the princess) who was attacked by a wieldo; So they went to the palace together.
As you would have already guessed, bad thing happened at the palace. Fam was called in the middle of the party, only to find out that someone has killed Avi, the hero who helped bring the peace between human and the magical people. Then Of course, someone saw her and thought she killed Avi. Leon, Ralf and Brain helped her flee out of the palace.
After they left, Kaiser, the leader of the magical people, declared war on the human race and begin killing humans. Leon and friends fled to a nearby country to ask for help, only to find out that there is a more evil plot that's creating all these... During their journey they will find new friends like the fire kid Kalin and Archer Othelia, who will help much during battles.
For the most part, this game is fun. The battle system is simple turn-based strategy, but what makes this game different is that height and direction also matters. Getting yourself surrounded by enemy is dangerous until later in the game when you get those cool super moves that attack almost everything in the screen (not shown in the screenshots to spoil your fun). Different people have different elements (fire, wind, etc) that are better against some elements. Running straight for several squares before attacking an enemy will give bigger damage and a cool zoom-in of the action. Also, walking and doing action is considered different things so you can hit and run if the enemy is right next to you. This is a pretty nice feature that makes planning a somewhat different from most of the strategy games out there.
The weak point of the battle system is the AI. The computer is stupid at best. Except the beginning wave of enemies, everybody just stand there until you get in their range. This is certainly too predictable. Also, the types of stages are very limited. You either kill all the monsters or kill the boss at the other end of the screen. Some of the kill all monsters stages are simply filler stages in between storylines. They are quite boring when the goal is just to pass that stage. Sometimes you just want to move on with the storyline. Actually the last boos is pretty weak.
One special point to the system is that there are shortcut keys for just about every command. This is a really nice feature that shows the programmers really want you to play the game instead of struggling with the menu's.
As much as I like this game, I do have to say the story sucks. Sometimes the way they telll the story is really funny, but we've all seen this setting before even in several of TGL's own Farland Stories. Later in the game it does get a little more interesting when you finally know the main goal of the enemy, but it doesn't save enough of the below average storyline.
This game features some of the most effective use of SD characters I've seen. Although the game might be a little old, the SD characters looks much much better than some of the high-tech 3D characters in some games. The spirtes are not just there for the battles, they are like actors for the storyline. They talk and do things as they are supposed to do. The only times they need to use the cool Viper style animations are when really cool effect is needed like when Leon first met Lian but they are extremely rare. The spirtes are good enough for the storytelling effect.
The icing on the cake will be the snow and rain and thunder effects. The terrain also is varied enough to keep you from getting bored. Also, most of the different weapons have different animations so you won't get bored by the same slashing animation every time. The magics may be a little weak because there are not that many of them. The ultimate magics for each character though are really cool, especially the one for Lian (a huge moon in the background and tons of bats flying in the foreground damaging the enemy).
You have a choice of CDDA or MIDI. They are not too good nor too bad. As usual for strategy games in the beginning it might be a little repetitive, but near the end they have some funky variation of the main theme music which is quite interesting. The sound effects are actually pretty good with all kinds of sounds for magics.
This game is old, but definitely worth a strategy gamer's time if he/she doesn't mind the little weak storyline. After you beat the game you can continue playing the game with the same maps but tougher monsters with a different scenerio after the main storyline, which adds a little to the value of this game.
On the CD there is a omake section with some wallpapers and a demo section where you can run a game trailer for Farland Saga to show your customers if you run a software store. You can take that as the opening of the game I guess.
Japanese Level: Low
As with most strategy games, the commands are all in Japanese but it should be easy to figure out.
[ Demo Music ]
Demo Music #1
Demo Music #2
[ Screen Shots ]
[ Voting ]