Name: Ikusa Megami (Battle Goddess) (60.00% in 8 votes)
Release date: 1999
Reviewed by: Lamuness
Ikusa Megami (IM) is Eushully's debut Hgame. The story is about a male fighter called Serika. What is special about this guy is that he really looks like a girl. Why? This is because Serika holds the soul of an ancient goddess who is also known as The Slayer of God (Wetall? Xenogears?) Because of this, Serika has a so-called immortal body that doesn't get old. However, this goddess "side" is starting to become dominant of Serika's body and hence Serika's female-like appearance.
The story is basically about Serika and his servant going to a kingdom where Serika is asked by a friend of his to investigate the disappearance of the Royalty, mainly the Princess. This is how the story starts, but later in the game things will start to get complicated where religious cults, demons, angels, and goddesses will start to get involved in the story.
IM is primarily a H-RPG game. You walk in Field Mode where you explore dungeons and you fight in Battle Mode. The Field Mode uses a isometric field. You will find treasures, switches, and stairs to other floors. I'd have to say that the isometric map is very nicely drawn. However, this creates the consequence of lagging. In Field Mode you walk extremely slow probably because the refresh rate is slow. This can be annoying at times when you want to walk from one side of the map to another and it takes around 5-10 mins to get there. The maps are very large and they come in a large quantity, so there is a lot of exploring to do in this game. This of course is a good thing because the length of the game is longer, but one can very easily be lost track of where things are simply because the maps start to get pretty complicated towards the end of the game.
The Battle Mode is probably the best part of IM. There can be 9 enemies at once, but often Serika is the only one in the battle, which can make the battle difficult at times. What is special about the Battle Mode is Eushully's introduction of AFBS (Active Frame Battle System). In AFBS, all the character's actions are determined by frames. This is really sort of like Final Fantasy Tactics charge/spell system, where certain attacks take longer to initiate than others. Sword attacks usually take 12 frames, and sword skills might take a little bit more. Spell follows the same concept, but you immediate cast the spell upon initiation, but you will have to stand idle for a certain period of time. Because of AFBS, magic and status effects will also last of a certian amount of frames. This is where your strategy skill comes on because you have to plan very carefully so that you attack before the enemies do. Most of time only Serika participates in battles, but at certain events you will get an assistant as well who will fight automatically. In addition, you have the ability to summon supporting casts such as angels, demons or succubus who will also be NPCs and controlled by the computer. Note that most of the summon monsters and the most powerful magic spells have to be somehow bestowed on you.
After battles and certain events you will get EXP. However, you do not level up automatically. IM follows the same character growth method as F&C's famous HRPG Romance wa Ken no Kiki. Basically you can choose to raise whatever attribute you in exchange of EXP and of course larger values require more EXP to raise. So if you feel you are weak in certain areas, you can use your EXP to raise them, or you can just keep on increasing a certain attribute and be a master of it. Basically, Serika's attribute growth is entire up to your planning.
Personally, I haven't seen a good RPG for quite a while, besides Asgaldh and Pastel Chime. IM is a really nice HRPG. The field, although has slow refresh rate, is very nicely drawn. The AFBS and EXP growth system is very innovative and is extremely rarely seen in other games. The CGs are very nicely done, although at times facial proportions are a bit weird. In terms of drawback, besides a low refresh rate of maps, the music is very repetitive and can be pretty boring. Also, the battles are pretty slow and at times you will just want want to let it run in auto mode and skip the battle effects. In addition, IM suffers a similar problem as Final Fantasy 6: non-linearity. In FF6, the game starts linear but at the end it's totally non-linear. IM is very similar in that the maps starts to get so complicated and there is so much to do that you have no idea what to do first. This causes occasional plot incoherence if you somehow do something "too early."
Overall, IM is a really really nicely done H-RPG, and I am pretty impressed with it. Even though there are some minor problems with the game, the innovative game engine and its nice CGs make Ikusa Megami the high reputation it deserves.
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