Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The 7th Saga, Part 1 - Apocalyptos

This week I'm doing a full series for one of the more difficult RPGs on the Super NES. This game came out in 1993, and I played it in 1995. This was before I was interested in RPGs (which didn't happen until Chrono Trigger) so I didn't really know what I was doing. As a result, when I initially played this, I couldn't finish it. Not even close. Time to avenge a career loss, to put it in MMA terms. Egad! How far did I get back then? The battle with Red Pison. I played the game again a couple of years ago, which we'll be seeing screenshots of now. Tune in to find out how it went with double digit years of experience under my belt.

You can tell just from looking at this game that it isn't for everyone. It's difficult and it isn't the least bit user-friendly. It's safe to say that this game is an acquired taste. Like coffee, or vagina.

For some reason, Ticondera is really emphasized in the opening of the game, as if it's supposed to be a big reveal. Why? Is that name supposed to mean something?

That's one androgynous manwoman. Whoever s/he is, they seem to be mounting the planet. We're trying to sleep down here!

My chosen character for this game is Esuna, a busty milk-wench. Her last name is Busy. That's right, Esuna Busy. Oddness.

It was actually a tough call figuring out who to be. The game gives you seven choices. There's a balanced generi-hero, a defensively tough robot, a sturdy dwarf, a healer, a sorceress, a demon, and an alien that resembles a Final Fantasy monk in abilities. I have heard that the demon is the best character, but for this playthrough I chose the sorceress. When I played this back in the day and couldn't get very far, I went with Lux the robot. If I remember right. Didn't work out too well for me.

Esuna is brimming with sass, in addition to being mildly creepy to look at. As the offensive caster of the game, she can't take too much punishment, but she can dish it out better than perhaps any other character.

The seven potential heroes have been brought together by the king, who can teleport and personally delivered all of their invitations. A king who can teleport, huh? I bet he turns out to be the bad guy. In any case, he sends our heroes out to find the seven Dragonballs seven runes, which grant wishes when united.

Huh, so the king is indeed known for his badassness. Here's Lejes, the demon. He's the Vegeta of the game in that he walks alone...unless you're playing as him. You can only get him on your team if you choose him as your main hero to begin with.

Olvan the Dwarf is another "best character" candidate. Enix did a good job balancing these characters out in general. Some, like the healer, really do require a second character as backup. But most are pretty self-sufficient.

Olvan wants to collect the runes so he can wish for youth, as he is currently old and needs ointment. Unfortunately for him, I'm getting all of the runes first. Wonder what Esuna will wish for. A Lux?

"BZZZZ" says Lux while vibrating wildly.

Here's Valsu, the healer. I want him as my second for this playthrough, if at all possible. He can restore both HP and MP, and I'm hoping that what he lacks in offensive strength will be made up for by Esuna's spells. If so, the two of them will be unstoppable. Another benefit to picking Esuna over Lejes is that Valsu is Lejes' sworn enemy and won't join you if you picked Lejes. Basically, Valsu is a huge racist.

Esuna starts with Ice 1 and very little HP. She may be the sorceress character of the game, but oddly enough she only gets a few attack spells throughout the game. Her single-target spells are Ice 1 and Ice 2, which is her strongest attack. She also gets a couple of weaker spells that hit multiple enemies (Blizzard 1 and 2) which aren't very useful since enemies rarely attack in groups of more than two in this game and they're very inferior damage-wise to Ice 2. She's better at using these spells than anyone else, but some more variety would have been nice.

It's BEETLE MANIA as Esuna battles giant bugs in the Mad Max style wasteland. This game is highly exploitable in that you can basically plug in a turbo controller at any time and AFK grind if you're strong enough to beat the enemies in your vicinity. Enemies come to you in this game, so unlike most RPGs, standing still will not save you from getting into battles. This exploitability doesn't really apply to Esuna, however, since she doesn't really use physical attacks. If I were playing as a meleer like Wilme or Olvan, however, the game would be easily AFK-grindable.

Esuna one-rounds everything at this point with her one spell. It's bad-ass. No trading hits back and forth like most of the characters would do with enemies at this early stage.

Esuna moans loudly after slaying her foe. My God. Whatever gets you going, lady.

Here's the second town. The people here are all "rabble rabble rabble"

Uh oh, it's a Pison Alert. That notorious bastard ended my first run at this game, and it's time to settle the score.

"Ohhhhh" says Esuna as she murders more wasteland critters.

I really dig the enemy radar. Makes it possible to dodge enemies as they approach. It should be noted that this first dungeon has awesome music that better play again... a lot.

At the end is a blue thing occupying the throne. It's none other than the first boss...

...ROMUS. This is one of the more memorable first bosses of the SNES era of RPGs, huh?

Esuna is undeterred and lets him have it with ICE 1. Amazingly, he doesn't instantly die like every other enemy up to this point.

He fires back with bolts of lightning, upon which my old CRT monitor exploded in a small shower of sparks., this is a true story. It happened. Was bizarre. I think it overheated from being on all day for several days straight. Got a new monitor and continued.

And we're back, as I confront Romus with a new, much nicer monitor. ...and ICE 2! Seems that Esuna's strongest attack spell is acquired at level 7. Fighting Romus at level 6 was a fool's errand, for that reason. Ice 1 is only good for fighting monsters in the newbie areas; for anything past that you want Ice 2 all the way. It does 2-3 times as much damage as Ice 1.

Romus fires back with lightning, but this time my monitor doesn't short out. Most epic battle ever candidate? Maybe.

Even at level 8 he keeps beating me, at one point randomly hitting me for 36 damage in one shot. Ah, wildly random attack numbers and incessant need to level-up... it must be an early-90's Enix game.

I keep at it, having Esuna really hammer him with her one good attack spell...

...and I win. Barely. That's right, I barely defeated the first boss of this game at level 8, after quite a bit of grinding. This game lets you know right off the bat that it isn't going to be easy. Also, that's a LOT of exp for winning the fight.

Many RPGs seem to begin with Earth-themed stuff, if elements are involved. Wonder why. In any case, I was expecting a rune for taking out that beast, but instead I just got a key for another dungeon. THIS... is 7th Saga intensity!

Esuna leaves and levels to 9 on the first battle outside. Blizzard hits all enemies for a lot, somewhat close to Ice 2's damage. Maybe I was wrong, maybe Blizzard 2 will be her strongest attack. We'll see. It's the only attack spell left to get, but it isn't for a bit.

The townspeople are glad Romus is gone. "That boy was no good" they say. I don't know, seems like he was just minding his own business, throwing lightning bolts around in an abandoned throne room.

The difficulty spikes as soon as I go into the next dungeon. This game is basically an EKG meter esque procession of difficulty spikes. You pretty much have to stop and level up constantly.

The Gate of Earth is opened, and commerce between the towns can resume. It is a joyous day, one heralded by midgets with trumpets. That is, until the coming of...


It one-shotted Esuna. Geez. And what's worse, it was feely-handed about it.

I come back and one-shot it with Ice 2. HA! WHO IS CHEAPER NOW?

UH OH. It's... it's...

...PISON. Which one was it? Which one of those bastards hired you to run me down like a dog!? WHICH ONE BY GAWD?

"Ah did it...for The Rock" says Pison.

It should be noted that this isn't the Pison fight that beat me many years ago. That'd be Red Pison. Just to avoid confusion. He'll come along a bit later. Because they had to pallette-swap the boss to reuse him, I guess...

Standard Pison is still a rough fight, but at this point I was taking the game seriously and pummeled him into submission with Ice 2.

An ancient civilization that once flourished and now lives on only in ruins? That's very Secret of Mana. Or FFXIII. Or FFX. Or FFVII. Or Final Fantasy Tactics. Or...

Here's the guy I wanted on my team... and he joins me. Wow, much earlier than expected. Since the party size limit is two, that'll round out my team for the rest of the game. That is, barring something unexpected.

This is swank. Offense caster and healer, in the same group. Nothing can stop us! ...unless it kills one of us in one hit due to our flimsy defenses.
Hopefully he won't up and leave at some point, while going "IT WAS I WHO HIRED PISON! IT WAS I ALL ALONG!" and laughing maniacally.

Lejes hates everyone. I almost thought he'd start a brawl, but he didn't. He's the closest thing to a villain out of the seven heroes.

THIS is how you make money in the game. Find gems, sell them, reap tidy profits.

Pandam: No relation to Manpanda, of World of Warcraft fame.

Olvan is another loner. He's a pretty tough dude, but I wouldn't want to go it alone in the hellish 7th Saga world.

I paid 450 G for a 1 Defense robe earlier, and having an "upgrade" robe here with 2 Defense for 800 G is just insulting. I went with the Scarf instead, 10 Defense for 1200 G. Wow, did I just actually get my money's worth?

I also get the all-important world map here, after a brief sidequest. Let's have a look!

...Maybe I just played too much Earthbound as a kid, but I think I see a fetus.

At this point, our heroes enter a new part of the overworld, where they battle... cyborgs? WTF? Well, I shouldn't be too surprised, the game does have a robot as a main character.

...and what in the blue hell is THAT thing?

The scientist joins us. Not as a playable force, but just as a guest/convoy type character who tags along. I remember this... Red Pison - who slew me long ago - is near.

Here's Zellis, home to Zell Miller.

"Update your jokes! It isn't 2004 anymore, jackass!" yells someone in the audience. With that, I will sulk offstage for today.

But first... time to walk.










  1. This actually worked really well as a wordless post.

    1. That was a premature post, as it were. Now it's fixed! Hopefully it still works as a word-ed post.

  2. ...this actually makes me want to try and beat this game once again. Damn this game. I won't do it!

  3. Romus shattering your monitor is one of the most badass things I've ever heard. Now THAT is a boss.
    Poor Lejes, hated by everyone..