Thursday, August 25, 2011

Emerald Dragon journey part 1

This week I started a quest playing what many consider an excellent Japanese RPG only released in the orient.  The game? Emerald Dragon.  My progress thus far: only about 1 hour 30 minutes.  I realize that I am still at a very early stage in the game, I'm not even sure how long it really is, and at this point I don't really care.  My experiences with completing a Japanese RPG from beginning to end is lacking.  On the PC Engine/Turbob I can only think of two Action/RPG's that I've played all the way through.  Ys IV and Gulliver Boy.  Both I would consider excellent games, and while it can add some difficulty to the overall challenge of playing, the language barrier is something you just get used to.

After watching the opening cinema, which looks really excellent by the way, we see a group of Dragons standing around talking about something that I'm quite sure is important business.  Maybe the lives of many are being threatened and they have to send off the young dragon on a quest to save humanity.... I'm not really sure, I'm playing without aid of a translation or a gamefaq-walkthrough.  The Young Dragon (YOU) says his goodbye's to a young human female and it seems as if he has feelings for her.  Then we are taking a few years into the future, we see the Young Dragon has grown to a slightly less younger dragon.  We walk about talking to other Dragons in the village, then stop to have a conversation with the elder dragon.  He tells us that everything will be fine, and says we must start our journey.  Magically transforming the young dragon into a HUMAN!!

Just after this we wind up in a town for your usual RPG fare.  There are inns, shops and people to talk to.  Step outside of town and you chance getting into a random battle.  I really got to tell you, I LOVE the battle system.  It's so easy to get into!  It almost reminds me of a mix of Ultima and Ys a bit!  The battle system starts with a battle map with the baddies on one side and you on the other.  When it is your turn to act, a number pops up over your head.  You can either use items, attack, cast spells, flee or move.  Usually when you're just starting out, you'll mostly just be moving and attacking.  When you use the D-pad to move, you instantly move, like you would in say Ys, but when you take one step the number that popped up over your head goes down one.  For example, if you started with a '12' over your head, and took two steps, the number would now show '10'!  It's pretty awesome!  It involves a great amount of strategy.  Attacking depends on the character and sometimes the item they wish to attack with as well.  Say a baddie is 9 paces from you, attacking costs you 4 points, and you only have 12 points per turn.  You would only be able to move your character up to the evil doer, but wouldn't be able to get in an attack this round, so you might want to only move half way, so the enemy would waste some of their movements on their turn, then you could also use a heal potion or do something else this turn too.  It just goes back and forth like that till one side is dead, and the other collects the spoils.  I love it!

Once I got the battle system down, I started the search for allies to join my party.  In the first towns bar I acquired a kick ass fighter that really helped in battle.  Then after leveling up a bit, we headed out East and found our first dungeon. After playing around with the menus I found a nice Map feature that helps out a lot showing you a good amount of your surroundings.  Kind of similar to Zelda: Link to the Past's over-world map.  Really helps out if your lost.  In the first dungeon we ran into the same young girl from the opening sequence!  She's actually a pretty good healing character with some excellent projectile attacks, and she now joins the party.  After running around a bit, we fought a pretty awesome boss battle and went on to beat the dungeon.

Our party of now 3 went back to town and stayed at an inn, healed up, filled up on weapons, talked to the towns folk, and continued onward.  I remember a cave entrance to the East that I got my butt kicked early on when I first started to get used to the battle system, so we headed out that way.  Got into the dungeon, leveled up a few places, and at the end we came to find a bald magic user that was casting some sort of spell on a giant statue coming out of the wall!  He quickly joined our part (4 strong!) and we were able to defeat the monster!  Now with our 4 person party I wondered about through the country side doing the level up dance, and moving south slowly to see if there are any other dungeons close by.

From my experiences so far, this game is incredible, and easy to get into!  The battle system is excellent, the music and graphics(which I hardly touched on) is top notch, and I'm not finding it too difficult even with it being Japanese.  After you get your feet wet with this adventure you would swear it was made by Falcom.  It really sucks you in and the music sets the mood.  The battles have the usual Turbob chiptunes, that we've all grown to love, and it has a nice transition from red-book audio to battle music and back to red-book between battles.

I'll keep chronicling my journey through this game here, sharing my thoughts and experiences. I was able to find Emerald Dragon a few months back on eBay for around $8($12 shipped) from 'hit japan'.  It seems like a fairly common game, and not hard hard to find or too expensive for the average turbob head to own.  For what it costs and how much I'm enjoying it thus far, I would have to say its already been worth it, and can definitely recommend it for anyone reading!

Till next time.......

You read it. You cannot un-read it.

No comments:

Post a Comment