Friday, March 7, 2014

Romancing SaGa III Finale - Pagoda of Fire

 Time for the exciting conclusion.

::guy rises out of the floor on a podium:: "I'm afraid I've got some BAD NEWS."

Harid journeys on to find a destroyed village. Judging from the dragon tracks everywhere, a dragon did this. But we beat every dragon except the Red Dragon Ruler, and it's over in the final areas. What happened here?

What? Gwayne? He was on our side. Why would he turn evil? SOMEONE TELL ME WHY!

Harid confronts Gwayne with some stern words.

Gwayne points out that by nature, dragons destroy things.  Just because he helped take down Byunei does not make him a good guy.

The battle is joined! Gwaine is quite bad-ass.

Muse dishes out Golden Dragon, the strongest single-tech in the game that I know of.

We win without much trouble. The knocked-out character in the corner is the mysterious ????? kid that I picked up at the Fire Gate. Thusfar, he's useless, but he is required for THE PLOT.

Gwaine says that he considers our heroes his friends... and then he dies.

Out of all of the episodes this game has had, this one... well, this one did it right. Everything made sense, and I actually felt something.

Now Harid makes the long, somber walk back down the mountain, as sad music plays.

No one knows what it's like!

To be the bad man.

To be the sad man.

Behind Blue Eyes.

At this point, I have one big side-quest to wrap up: Leonid's Castle. Remember this, from the intro? It's ruled by the vampure, and the basement is home to some of the toughest foes in the game.

Harid wants the Holy Grail that Leonid has in the basement, and Leonid is like "sure ok". Er, what?


Not so fast. Gotta fight my way down there, and it isn't easy.

The enemies may be high-powered here, but at this point the party is top-of-the-line itself. Here we see Muse dishing out an Aura Bolt... catching Harid with it, apparently. Friendly fire? DAMN YOU MUSE!

The boss down here is the homicidal, genocidal Yami. Now that's a boss. He's at Abyss Lord level.

He also BELCHES POISON. In this game, poison-based attacks are the worst things enemies use. Seems like no one has any defense whatsoever against the "element" of poison, unlike other elements, so it usually does mega-damage.

Either way, I win. This nets me the Holy Grail, and I can recruit Leonid. As I'm down one good character, I let him join. He's interesting, because he's undead and has infinite LP. You can never lose him. Unfortunately, heals have almost no effect on him. He restores his HP by draining it from enemies, and he hits really hard. He's worth the side-dungeon to get.

The fifth and final Abyss Gate is in Huang City, to the east. Emperor Huang, the leader of his namesake city, is in league with the Abyss Lords. Or something along those lines. The story of this game lost me a while ago, likely because of the translation being a bit lacking.

Time for a rare Suikoden style war! These are fun, wish the game had more of them.

Our forces and the forces of Huang City fight to a stalemate, and Harid seizes the chaos to break into the city itself. Time for the final battles.

First, our heroes are face-to-snout with the Fire Dragon Lord. DUCK AND COVER, SNOWMAN! DUCK AND COVER!

 I dispatch it without much trouble... Green was much worse.

Harid corners Emperor Huang on the roof of his temple. But wait! Huang brought a friend.

The Abyss Naga is a formidable opponent. The boss sprites in the late-game are really nice.

6000 damage! Know why they call Harid "the human tornado"? It ain't because of his sword. HUWAH.

After this fight, Emperor Huang was cornered and just sorta...disappeared. Perhaps my game was bugged, but I didn't see his fate. I'm assuming he fell to a...


Here's Abyss Gate #5. This time, instead of sealing it, we're going in.

The mystery kid's identity is revealed. He's Shonen, the prophesized Divine Child, and the one who can stop the Devil Lords. ...well, he's still going in the reserve party slot. I like this group too much.

Here it is, the Abyss. The final dungeon. It reminds me of The Edge, the last area of Phantasy Star IV. This area is a series of portals. I can go through the center portal and fight the mysterious final boss in his full power state, or I can take on four sub-bosses in their own sub-areas and each one that I kill reduces the power of the final boss substantially. It's just like Xenogears and Final Fantasy III (the Famicom one). The four sub-bosses are the true forms of the Abyss Gate Guardians.

Fire Portal leads to a redux of the Ocean Palace.

Aunas 2.0. This fight is NASTY. The 300 point damage shield he had before is now a 700 point damage shield, which means death to the person attacking him. I've read online that this fight is near-impossible and that you need spells/multi-techs to win, but again I didn't find that to be the case. Just control your damage output.

Next portal is the Earth dungeon. I like that each of these sub-dungeons imports the unique music from that particular Abyss Gate. Those areas had some insane music, and I wish I could link it.

At the top, our heroes face... Fabio?

Nope, it's Arakes 2.0. Like the previous time, he's the easiest of the four. His primary offense is a brutal single-target physical attack, and it's pretty easy to keep the fight under control.

Forneus 2.0 lurks in the water subdungeon. Is it a dude, or a babe? One thing's for sure, these "true forms" are far more human-looking than their original monstrous forms.

Forneus is the strongest of the four bosses this time around. Interesting, considering how easy it was the first time around. I'd say it's even more difficult than Aunas 2.0. I barely eke out a win here.

I try to leave and heal, but there's no escaping this dungeon. Luckily, the thing that I thought was the exit portal turns out to be a healing point. This makes the final dungeon ideal for last-minute grinding.

There's one boss left.... BYUNEI~!

Byunei is definitely a woman. I had no idea.

Another brutal fight. All four of these fights were brutal, aside from Arakes. On the bright side, Muse mastered the strongest attack in the game, meaning now Harid (my other one-handed sword user) can attack with it. This is a huge boon.

Finally heading into the last portal, Harid is overjoyed to find Sara.


Turns out Sara is also a Divine Child, and she needs to join forces with Shonen to shut down the Abyss. Wonder what would be happening here if one chooses Sara as the main character.

Harid may have a death-wish, but he isn't going out here.

The final boss warps in to stop our heroes from sealing the gate. Is that Zeromus?

No, it's The Destroyer. Since I took out his sub-bosses, he's one-third as powerful as he'd be if I hadn't. And he's still easily the hardest fight in the game. That's with my characters essentially capped in power, or close to it.

If you fight him at full power, he basically becomes the uberboss of the game. I'll leave that to the SaGa masters, because this form alone is tough enough.

He switches between Defensive and Offensive forms. While he's Defensive, his attacks do less damage, but he also takes half damage from everything. This sucks, because your strongest attacks are quite limited in usage. Using them when they'd do half damage is a waste, so you end up in a holding pattern while this is going on.

When he sprouts wings and glows gold, that's attack mode. Now he deals and takes much more damage. It's the cue to start breaking out the high-impact, high-cost super attacks.

 His attacks now dish out PAIN, unfortunately. It puts a different spin on things.


When I lose, he fades away. Wait, did I win?

Nope, he was just powering up to OBLITERATE THE PLANET~!

That's some Game Over.

Subsequent attempts go a lot more smoothly as I know what to expect. Here we see Leonid singing some FABULOUS hymns to increase the party's attack. Leonid is a damn good character... matter of fact, this party of Muse/Snowman/Harid/Nora/Leonid more than proved their worth in this battle. The only one who didn't really pull their weight was Nora, the supposed best character in the game. She was consistently outclassed in this battle by the others. I think I did something wrong while building her up. It's like she's missing some key skills.

The Destroyer starts talking when his health gets low. Soon after, he crumbles...which is great for me, because I was just about to run out of gas.

The Destroyer, despite being defeated, STILL manages to destroy the world.


And then there was nothing.

But wait! Thanks to the Genesis device, the planet is reborn.

"Ahh! Genesis!"

...that or it's the Destined Children. Well good! That last battle took me four tries, by the way. It didn't mess around.

The end credits feature a lot of quick scenes, showing what different characters are up to. There are a ton that I never met, showing how expansive this game is.

Fairies: "HEY! LISTEN! HEY! HEY!"

Final stats for the various characters also pop up. Here's Muse, riding atop the world's luckiest boat-mast.

Final stats for crowd favorite, Snowman. He looks enraged.

Rad attacks and characters that I never saw! A blue elephant? There are a hundred ways to play this game, as it turns out.

A very interesting-looking boss that I'm pretty sure I never fought...

Here's a fight that I definitely didn't see. I remember Ren Wang and wondered what his story is, and apparently he has two partners in crime somewhere. Never encountered the other two, much less all three together.

For the final shot, it shows my party in the exact condition they were in when I beat The Destroyer. Nice touch here.

And that's the end. Decent game that I didn't really get the most out of. I've pointed out the flaws already, so I'll just say that when it was all said and done I'm glad I played it.

Onward to my next big game project. More Super Famicom? Something classic? Something modern? Stay tuned, and leave a comment below.


  1. You're right, they did the Gwayne scenario really well. Everything made sense, and...I'm repeating what you said!
    I like it when games bring you back to the beginning. slept in that castle, and all that awful stuff that could've destroyed you was right there.
    Glad you got a cool vampire to make up for the sad losses of Boston and Undine.
    "Shonen" means "young man."
    This game has really outdone itself with boss sprites and cool environments.
    Byunei returned! These 5 boss sprites were also great, and I'm happy this gave you so many challenges.
    Beating this guy, the hardest boss, without taking out the supports...that does sound uber. GET'IM, SNOWMAN!
    I really like the strategy involved with this final boss. And to get a special game-over like this...only Lavos does this too, right? This is so badass.
    AWESOME COLORS in this next shot. With your posts one really gets the best of the best.
    Snowman pulled his weight? Brofist!

    I LOVE that they showed you everything you missed at the very end. Makes you wanna get up and play this again to find more.
    Our own world really is that big, too.

  2. Nice reviews for this game! I really enjoyed reading them. They make me want to try to get a copy of this game and then play through it with one of the other characters as the main character.

    How about doing a good TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine RPG game review?

    1. I'm very unfamiliar with TurboGrafx-16, but if you recommend an RPG for the system I'll do something for it. It's a missing system in my lineup.

  3. At the end of all things, there is Snowman.

    Snowman is life.

  4. when i visited gwayne after the battle, he actually rewarded me with a ton of money (i believe he maxed out my cash), not a fight to the death. also, the male child of destiny didn't join me when i ran into him and sara at the other gate, and joined me as '????' for the final dungeon.

    apparently, there are several mystery variables that not only activate or deactivate events, but change them slightly so that you're gonna have a unique experience unless you've got an official guide and map out your desired route from start to the finale.

    and blegh, had no idea that the vampire guy could join you since the game didn't hint at it at all, but i guess at this point i shouldn't have been surprised? i was wondering what i gained by doing that sidequest aside from the useless holy grail item. oh well, i already saved inside of the final gate, no time to go back now.