Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Seiken Densetsu 3, Part 2 - The Gilded Seraph

Our heroes begin their limp towards destiny, as I cover more of the intros.





Hawkeye is our next intro to look at. This guy is a smooth rogue, and was the first character I ever played through this game with. While Duran is all about knight skills / defense and Kevin is all about punching really hard, Hawkeye is more of a rogue/ranger light-fighter type. He can also get ninja skills.

He's a member of the Nevarl Thief Syndicate, who rob from the rich and give to the poor. Also a member: Neko. BY GOD, IT'S NEKO IN ACTION!

Hawkeye stealthily infiltrates a mansion. It just occurred to me that this game also shares DNA with the SaGa series, given the multiple playable characters having their own intros and everything. I did a similar thing with Romancing SaGa III where I covered all of the character intros before anything else.

Hawkeye steals from this Don Corneo looking guy and runs off. If this game were actually connected to Secret of Mana, they could have had this guy be Mammon from the previous game so he'd get some comeuppance. Oh well.

If you think about it, the system of law exists to maintain the status quo by protecting the financial system as it reaps the whirlwind from the peasant class. So this guy taxes his people to death, but it's Hawkeye who is the criminal for taking his money. I mean, arguments can be made in either direction if no one is getting hurt physically, and it's an interesting subject.

Hawkeye works for the mighty Flamekhan (Flame King?), lord of the Nevarl Bandit Clan. The good news is that Hawkeye doesn't have a ruined family unit or terrible parents like every other character. The bad news is...

...Flamekhan isn't such a great guy. Ever since noted hot sorceress Isabella showed up here, he's been getting increasingly warlike.

Note: This is NOT the same Isabella as Sword of Mana. None of this is connected. Whatev. I'd rather not have "homages" between games if they aren't actually connected, but unfortunately most Square properties are like this.

In any case, Flamekhan is doing everything Isabella says, regardless of how bad of an idea it is. Does Isabella have mind-control powers, or is it just her succulent breasts?

You decide.

Hawkeye talks to his girlfriend (I think), Jessica. She's the daughter of Flamekhan. Maybe she can do something about-

-nope, she isn't doing anything, and gets mad at Hawkeye for thinking Flamekhan is wrong. Even when a character in this game doesn't have parent issues, they have a girlfriend with parent issues. Geez.

This guard talks weird. "Leave Jessica alone, ya big meanie!"

King Flamekhan's approval ratings haven't taken much of a hit.

Found this treasure hoard in the basement, but can't get to it. Considering that several of the chests would be unreachable even if I did find a way into the room, it's likely that this is just for show. Still, it's pretty tantalizing. I'd like to know if there's anything in here, if it's possible to Game Genie your way in or something along those lines.

Eagle is the son of Flamekhan, Jessica's brother, and another thief badass.

He's gonna expose Isabella...who, given her outfit, is already pretty much exposed. This game has several characters that would be automatic wardrobe malfunctions if they appeared on American TV during the Superbowl.

Our heroes find Isabella with a drugged/sleeping king and some weird vampire guy. Count Lee?

Isabella brainwashes Eagle, and we have our first fight of this scenario.

Hawkeye hits fast, and can stunlock some opponents.

I actually LOST this fight, because it's no joke. Like the Mantis Ant in the previous game, you get auto-revived if you lose any of these first intro fights. Luckily Eagle revives you... until he gets killed.

Isabella uses the opportunity to frame Hawkeye for the murder. There seems to be an M.O. in all of these intros of people being forced to fight their friends because of mind control, or having evil parents. What a depressing game. Weirdly enough, back in 1999 I got ahold of this game and was completely stoked for it, then ended up only playing it for about an hour because I found it depressing. ...and that was it until about 2014.

Hawkeye is imprisoned! Meanwhile Flamekhan just silently follows Isabella around, entranced by her luscious [mind-control powers]

Jessica, whose sprite is permanently in a curtsey, stops by. She's devastated that her boyfriend (?) killed her brother...and doesn't believe it. Unfortunately Hawkeye can't tell her the truth, because if she knows the truth, the bad guys will get rid of her too.

Neko detonates a nearby wall and saves Hawkeye! Egad!

Wait, what's in that sack? I think it moved!

"Don't ask questions."

Neko assures Hawkeye that he'll take care of Jessica's needs while he's away. Every foot-rub or back massage is well in-hand, meow.

Hawkeye runs for his life from his hometown, as the guards he used to be friends with chase him down. It's a hard knock life for the characters in this game.

That's it for Hawkeye. Ousted from his home, exiled from everyone he cares about. Well, best of luck, Hawkeye, because we're on to the next scenario!

He gets to ride the sweet boat. It has a very Final Fantasy VI vibe to it. Bet it had the same sprite designer as some of that game's vehicles.

Hawkeye himself is some eye-candy for the ladies. Meanwhile, we've also got the man-catnip known as...

...Riesz, the most Mana-like character ever. She looks like she just sprang forth from Pure Land to battle the forces of Mavolia. What a look.

She's the captain of the guard in a kingdom filled with women. Angela's kingdom was also filled with women, though it at least had a couple of dudes around (presumably to be harvested for their seed if necessary). Riesz's kingdom is devoid of men, except for her wee brother Elliot and the king.

The intro battle for Riesz is against this random bird on a cliff. Well, they can't all be meaningful duels.

Citadel Laurent is a really cool idea for a place. I think it's that mountain fortress on the right side of the world map, which you can see in these image borders.

The music here is another memorable track, perfect for the area.

This fortress, thanks to its formidable Valkyrie-like military and a high cliff location, has never been conquered. It's like how countries with high elevation typically get invaded the least and last the longest, like Iran, Turkey, or Germany.

We get some Secret of Mana references here: Riesz's brother is named Elliot, like the Pokey-esque kid at the beginning of Mana. Also, and this one's a bit more subtle: The Wind King here is blind, like the old man in the Wind Palace of Mana.

Our next mission: Find Elliot, who knows what time it is.

This just in: Riesz looks like a goddess?
::slowly takes off sunglasses:: ...My God. It's true.

Riesz may be a goddess, but Elliot is a snack-stealing little bastard. No wonder this kingdom is full of women.

Since this game is depressing, it turns out Riesz's mom died. At least she didn't turn evil like most of the other parents in the game.

Seiken Densetsu 3 was always a bit of a bummer. I tried playing it in 1999, I really tried.

Meanwhile, Elliot encounters a couple of villains.

They pull a Pennywise and regale Elliot with tricks and promises of bringing his dead loved ones back to life. Yeah, it's no coincidence that the It balloon is featured in Secret of Mana. The devs were clearly fans.

"Tell me more about these shoes" says Quentin Tarantino when reached for comment.

Here's our first? gold statue. These things are ideal for level-building in this game since they function as free (and quicker) inns.

Riesz descends down a winding stairway to hell in search of...

...Elliot, who is making friends with Bil and Ben and their repertoire of magic tricks.

The thing is, Laurent is protected by the high winds around its cliffs. You'd think the cliffs and the Valkyrie Army would be enough, but it turns out they need the wind too. You can turn off the wind and make the kingdom defenseless, if you're royalty. So they need Elliot to do that. Why don't they just take the key? I don't know.

They go full Pennywise and switch from nice magic trick guys to angry "You want to see your loved ones again don't you, you monster?" demon guys.

Elliot caves in and turns off the wind. Dammit!

Riesz arrives just in time...to be too late. Now the forces of... ::checks notes::

...Nevarl and the nefarious Flamekhan can invade. It's interesting how the various character storylines play off of each other. Duran, whose mom died, finds his kingdom besieged by the kingdom of Angela, whose mom turned evil.

On the other hand, Riesz, whose mom died, finds her kingdom besieged by the kingdom of Hawkeye, whose girlfriend's dad turned evil.

Still to come: Charlotte, whose parents died, finds her kingdom besieged by the kingdom of Kevin, whose dad turned evil.

In what I think is an extremely out of character moment for her, Riesz speeds off and just leaves Elliot there. I've never been able to figure this scene out. What does it accomplish?

Yeah, I agree, she probably wouldn't.

Oy vey.

In any case, we get a very Doma Castle like scenario now as the guards are taken out by spores unleashed by the bad guys. Previously the wind kept them safe from biological weapon attacks.

The castle quickly falls to invaders.

Riesz is forced to flee out into the mountains. This gives us a shot from the official artwork:

It's a dark moment for Riesz. It's worth noting that the game is only wildly-depressing like this early on. Once we get past the character intros, it lightens up a wee bit.

Oh yeah, Elliot is missing too. That pretty much wraps up Riesz's scenario.

She arrives in the same harbor town as the other characters. Will I pick her as my main character? We'll find out...in the next episode.

Since we didn't have much music in this one… this track plays much later, but it's so foreboding that it fits here.

1 comment:

  1. Neko getting a larger role was an interesting choice.

    Isabella doesn't /need/ mind control powers.

    Yeah, I'd say those chests being literally out of reach is a good sign you can never get them.

    I was wondering if it was Count Lee too!

    Elliot should have never had that key, and Riesz should have never ran off and left Elliot in the first place. Her entire story arc is something she could have easily prevented.

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