Friday, November 11, 2022

Live-a-Live #4 - The Highest Monk

No one gets higher than Roshi, as he meditates atop a mountain. Really wondering why this game didn't get a U.S. release; it's very playable. Finding it more entertaining than the often-confusing Romancing SaGa III, the closest thing to this that Square put out at the time. It's like one of their other departments thought they could out-SaGa the SaGa department, and made this game.

How does Roshi get so high? Well, apparently he grows his own grass right outside his hut.

 In town, a large rotund guy is fleeing from a restaurant where he didn't pay for his bowl of ramen (which he's still eating as he escapes). The cook chases after and wants to make the large rotund guy pay for his thievery.

 Roshi steps in and talks the cook out of...whatever he's planning to do to the guy. Probably cook him.


 Roshi praises the guy, and is interested in training him.

This guy is quite a one-dimensional caricature.

 Roshi continues his efforts to find students, but before long he gets pickpocketed by some kid. So basically, this scenario is Roshi going around running into lots of criminals, then recruiting them to his Only the Strong capoiera school? How much crime IS there here?

 Roshi follows the kid back to the other bandits, where the kid expresses his displeasure with his pickpocketing ways.

My God. You probably could have just politely asked your grandma for some funds. After she said "Who??" I'm sure she would have confusedly forked over some money.

I'll show myself out

Now the game mocks losers and shitheads.


This is a reversal on "come with me if you want to live"

 Roshi shows up and intervenes on the kid's behalf, telling the bandits that they're weak.

A battle follows! Roshi is a good character, but I suspect he won't be the one I'm taking into the final chapter. Likely that will be one of his students.

Another thing that is noteworthy about this game is that - despite the small sprites - you can see Roshi doing actual authentic Kung-Fu moves. They could have just put generic kick/punch moves into the game, but no, they went the extra mile.

 Roshi takes on another student. His third, by my count.

 Yep, third. The designers of this game definitely watched Kenshin, because the four characters mirror Kenshin's four main characters in the way they meet:

-Roshi met Lei from her wanting to fight him, like Kenshin met Kaoru
-Roshi met Samo after Samo skipped out on a restaurant bill, like Kenshin met Sano
-Roshi met Yun after saving him from his owners, like Kenshin met Yahiko

Lei is in no way like Kaoru otherwise, though. She's always quick to give her impolite ten cents.

 Time to start training! Roshi proceeds to beat the shit out of all of them. This is just like Charlie's Dojo in Highlander Season 2!

Roshi is Goldberg! Look at him mowing through the jobbers!

 He fights and beats all three of them in succession. This is such a bizarre scenario.

Roshi isn't doing too well health-wise. He notes that Yun has the greatest potential of the three, but right now Yun is too scared to fight. So Yun is basically a Yahiko/Gohan fusion.

At this point you need to decide which of the three characters to train, and that one goes on to the final chapter. Sano is the strongest, while Yun is the weakest. Lei is somewhere in-between. However, their potential ceilings are flipped, with Yun the strongest at high levels. I decide to go with him.

What follows is a series of twelve battles that raise the stats of that character. Did I just step into a Dragonball Z RPG?

You can divide the twelve training sessions between the characters, but that would be a bad idea. Stick to the one who you'll be using later.

 After a rough day of training, Lei and Samo are passed out. They didn't even do anything!

 Yun is outside training, though.

The next day, Roshi beats up Yun some more. In this game, fighters like Yun learn special attacks the way Strago learns Lore spells. I make sure to use all of Roshi's special attacks on Yun so that he gets them.

 The next day, Roshi and his three students go up to the mountain to get high pray.

 Training continues between the four as we get a montage. These are the good old days, as they say. And they slip away, like a breeze.

Next thing we know, gangsters are stirring up trouble. It's the bandits who owned Yun, and they're back.

Back in town, the bandits are having their way with the townsfolk.

 Roshi shows up and beats them down...again.

 Odiwan-Lee is the villain for this chapter. We know this because his name has Odi in it. Apparently Odiwan-Lee is the nefarious master of the town's version of Cobra-Kai.

 Also, evidently Roshi saved a number of women from being raped by the bandits. This must be why the game wasn't released in the U.S.

 One of them is particularly thankful, and what follows is one of the creepiest scenes in Japanese RPG history. Which is saying a lot.

She takes Roshi into a house, and...


 Roshi returns home to find the place trashed, with the dead bodies of the two students you didn't choose (in my case, Lei and Samo). Wow, this is pretty awful.

 It seems the Cobra Kai attacked while Roshi was busy with their diversion in town. Samo and Lei tried to defend the house and got killed... while Yun hid.

 He's ashamed of his actions. He probably shouldn't be, because had he also fought there would likely just be three dead bodies here.

 Roshi also feels responsible.

 Roshi and Yun bury the other two on the mountain. Now it's time to storm the Cobra-Kai HQ. This game is surprisingly good at times.

More Live-a-Live Posts HERE


  1. Wow, this was really good until the WTF happened.

  2. This is an extremely rough game world. Really makes me believe it's a faithful recreation of the Seven Samurai life.
    Master's gonna feel real bad about getting those peaches now..with his students being killed then...damn.

  3. This game is really awesome. The scenarios are better than most games we have today with their boring ass predictable bland kiddish stories