Friday, March 27, 2020

Seiken Densetsu 3, Part 3 - Decision Bell

A lot of this game takes place at night, and it's glorious. Today, I decide on a main character.



We get a night-pan over to the land of...

...Duskmoon, home of the Beastmen. They're basically the werewolves from Secret of Mana.

Next character is Kevin, the monk type. This dude hits harder than anyone else, some of his specs can heal, and he can turn into a werewolf at night to hit even harder. This means there's a significant advantage to playing the game at night with this character.

Kevin's dad is the Beastman King. Will he get killed or turn evil? FLIP COIN.

Goremand appears and promises him the power to defeat the humans that once ousted the beasts from their homeland, resulting in the king turning evil. Goremand is, supposedly, a Thanatos incarnation. Even though the games aren't directly connected, he's similar enough to Thanatos and has the same final form.

Boy, Kevin gets a double-whammy: His father just turned evil AND his mother abandoned him. WTF is this game?

Kevin finds a wolf puppy in the woods. The puppy's mom DIED.

Kevin and the pup make friends. Well, it's true that nothing thaws the heart like little puppies and kittens. Kevin's gonna be his friend forever.

Kevin...has the weirdest walk in 16-bit RPG history. He takes these great big strides.

LOOK AT HIM GO

Our heroes wake up from a nap, and the adventure begins!

...by Karl immediately turning rabid and attacking!

Here's our intro battle of the game, as Kevin is forced to defend himself against his best friend in a fight to the death.

W...T...F.

Even if you don't attack Karl, eventually Kevin turns into a werewolf and fights berserk-style on his own, slaying the pup. In the future, you can control werewolf form and it does twice as much damage as his base form, which makes him vastly stronger than the other characters at the outset.

It feels weird talking about game mechanics right after our hero was forced to fight his puppy. I hate this game. Well, it'll get better if I can get past the intros, as it turns out.

Kevin buries his puppy. Yeah, I get why this game never got a U.S. release in the 90's, even though it was guaranteed to sell well. They would have had to censor the F out of it. This part would have been him building a shrine to the puppy while wondering aloud why the puppy just ran off for no reason.

Meanwhile, back at the castle, the Beast King is sending his minion Ludgar to lead an attack on human settlements, starting with Wendel by way of Jadd. This is why most of the other characters encounter beastmen in the occupied town after their intros are over.

Ludgar takes a moment to talk smack at Kevin. Because Kevin isn't a bloodthirsty monster due to being half human, the other beastmen don't like him.

Next up, we learn the terrible truth: Goremand is the one who cast a spell to make the puppy attack Kevin. The king wanted this to happen because his son was showing "weakness" in general.

It's weird to be referring to the Thanatos character as Goremand. In 1995's original Seiken Densetsu 3 release he was always Death Jester, while Goremand was the rename he got in Sword of Mana a decade later. They carried that over to the 2019 release - the first official translation of this game - but it isn't actually what he was called. This game is in a weird position, given that it didn't get an English translation from Square until almost 25 years after it came out, and retcons a few things.

I missed a bit before this. Kevin confronts them about their misdeeds, which leads to the king punting him out of the castle and back into the woods. ….yep, he actually punts him. Then Kevin waits in the bushes and jumps Goremand as he's leaving (figured he'd teleport away or something, not walk).

It turns out that, considering he's the big bad of this storyline, Goremand is a bit of a wimp. He immediately begs off of fighting Level 1 Kevin and instead tells him where he has to go to revive Karl, then slinks away.

Here's a brief glimpse of Kevin's delightfully overpowered werewolf form, as he battles more forest creatures.

Of course, the priest in Wendel can't revive Karl, nobody can. It was a good way for Goremand to trick him into looking the other way though.

Kevin arrives in Jadd, which is already under beastman occupation...

...and sets sail for his next destination. That's it for the 5th intro. One left!

Charlotte is the Sprite of the game...sort of. She's the main healer-type character, with potent group heals that no one else gets. Duran and Kevin can both get light heal spells, and that's about it.

Charlotte is the Princess Toadstool of the game, while those guys are merely Mallows in the healing department. Unfortunately, she's also the weakest character in the game offensively, with short-range attacks that usually do single-digit damage for like a third of the game. It's interesting that she's got a similar look to the Sprite, while having the Girl's moveset.

Later on she can get some offensive attacks: If she stays in a healing class specialization she can get Saint Beam (formerly Lucent Beam) which is a pretty good attack spell. There's also Holy Ball (a weaker interim holy attack spell that SoM didn't have, sorta the Gem Missile to Saint Beam's Earth Slide).

Also, she's got some dark specializations like Necromancer that let her summon pets to attack with, so there's that too. The class choices in this game are very diverse and give you several ways to play. Since you choose a class path and stick with it ala the original Final Fantasy, this dramatically increases the replay value (as if six characters didn't give you enough of that). You've basically got 24 different characters to play as in this game (though admittedly sometimes some classes are similar to each other). Factor in the choice of three characters at the beginning and you've got hundreds of possible party/class combinations. HUNDREDS.

Plus you have three possible storylines and final bosses, so you won't be doing the same thing every run. Though most of the storyline differences only come into play during the last 20% of the game at the most.

Charlotte lives a healthy, happy life, frolicking with her parents in a flowery meadow. Whew, it's so nice to finally have a character with a solid family unit, who isn't surrounded by tragedy.

...NEVERMIND, HER PARENTS DIED. She's just hallucinating.

At least her grandpa is still around. I bet this guy's on borrowed time. He's the high priest of Wendel that everyone else keeps referring to. Heath is basically the strongest mage in Wendel, and a friend of Charlotte. ...I bet he turns evil.

Charlotte...is freaking ADORABLE. She reminds me of someone...


She, like Kevin, is half-something. Are all of these character similarities between scenarios on purpose or were they just short on ideas?

Charlotte CAN'T READ. She should get with Duncan and Fitz.

I think I like this character a lot, which is funny because back in the day she was the only character I didn't like. I've seen a lot of "I like every character except Charlotte" online too. Her way of speaking is unique compared to the rest of the cast.

She's a real BALL OF SASS.

Looks like the mode-7 cannon travel got into this game, unlike the Secret of Mana remake on PS4. It's mainly Charlotte who gets to use it early on, probably for the comic relief.

Charlotte crash-lands near Hawkeye, who is concerned about people falling out of the sky (as we all should be in this series). Even though he's my second character, he quickly sods off, leaving Charlotte to...

...continue to the next town, where people are afraid of the looming threat of the beastmen rampage.

The main menu in this game is pretty hard to negotiate for a SNES game. There's a laggy delay on everything, and equipping characters isn't the snap that it was in the previous game. The good news is that you don't have to do too much on the main menu, since you cast and use items from traditional ring-menus. Here we see Charlotte's stats, and her upcoming class change possibilities. Priestess starts you on the light path of being a super-healer, while Enchantress starts you on the dark path of having more offensive spells while being a lesser healer.

I'd be willing to bet that the dark path of classes for Charlotte are the least-played classes in this game. Most people pick her because they need a healer, and picking her for offense casting when several other characters are better at that seems counterproductive.

Next stop: A valley full of rabites. I actually got obliterated here because Charlotte's attacks are so weak (and she is FAR from getting any spells that help in that department) and had to just run past groups of foes at first.

Heath (the tough mage from Wendel) is here, and he's getting mobbed by beastmen.

He fights them off, then gets zapped by Goremand! My God!

Kevin's scenario made this guy seem like a sniveling wimp, while here he's portrayed as a threat. I suppose Kefka wildly vacillated between those two portrayals as well.

Goremand warps Heath away, Dyluck-style. And right in front of poor Charlotte. This concludes her scenario.

That's all six characters, time to pick one.

And the winner is...

DRUMROLL...

...Charlotte!

::heavy booing is heard as people throw things::

What?! Why do people not like this character? YOU LEAVE HER ALONE!

I chose her for a few reasons:

A) I could just continue where I left off without having to replay another intro, and I'm lazy.

Just kidding.

A) I like her talking style, it's fun.

B) She's the only character that doesn't seem wildly depressed.

C) With her in the party, you can pretty much beat any chapter of this game about 4-5 levels earlier than you can without a dedicated group healer/buffer. Which isn't to say that she's required. The game has very strong group heal items that can be bought, though you can only carry ten at a time and they get burned through a lot quicker than Charlotte's MP pool will.

D) I've already decided which three characters to have in my party for the current-gen remake Trials of Mana, so in this game I'm going to play as the opposite three characters: Charlotte, Hawkeye, and Duran.

E) Out of those three, Charlotte makes sense because my first two playthroughs were as Hawkeye and Duran.

The next step after everyone's intro is to sleep at an inn and follow this faerie around in the woods in the middle of the night.

The faerie is injured and exhausted, and demands to be brought to Wendel. We just fell out of the sky from there!

Faerie: "I likes to rest inside people. Kick back and get comfortable. Find out what makes 'em tick!"

When you level up you can choose a stat to give an added boost to, Mario RPG style. However, it's less of a choice than it initially seems. It won't let you level up one stat too much, and you can expect to be locked out of your primary stat about two-thirds of the time. Sometimes you end up having to put points into tertiary stats that you don't need because the main stats your character uses are all on lockout. What was the point of even letting you choose? It's more of a placebo choice than anything else, and it isn't much of a placebo when you're forced to put points into Luck.

Anyway, the stats are:

Strength: Attack power. Charlotte's will always be super-low, and while it's tempting to put points on this early on, it won't help much either way. The three melee-type characters should all focus on this as much as the game lets them.

Dexterity: Supposedly affects accuracy and evasion. Seems to have a pretty negligible effect.

Stamina: Adds more HP to your level-up. The easiest stat to see an immediate benefit from. This is a good secondary stat for pretty much everyone if they're locked out of their main stat.

Intellect: Affects attack power with magic spells, as well as magic resistance.

Spirit: Affects the power of defensive spells like heals and buffs.

Luck: Nobody really knows. The only thing I can say for sure is that it reduces the odds of getting damaged by trap chests. With low luck, you get damaged by them about 80% of the time. With endgame luck, it's more like 5%. Supposedly this stat does other things like affect critical hit rate, but I can't confirm.

Charlotte gets back to town and finds it in ruins at the hands of Ferolia's army. She can tell beastmen did it because all of the house walls look like scratching posts.

Charlotte goes back to see Hawkeye, the guy she ran into earlier, and this time they join forces. Finally, I can fight things.

Hawkeye gives her the rundown of events in his scenario, and we're off. Since I'm choosing characters from all three story paths, we might get appearances from all three villains (Goremand, Isabella, and Crimson Wizard) at various points. Not sure if it works that way or if the story only follows your main character, though. Goremand is the primary villain for Charlotte.

After a long trek, we're back in Wendel where it all started.

WIKE POOF.

"English, motherfucker! Do you speak it?" says the elder.

Not sure if Charlotte is cut out for retrieving or wielding any Sword of Mana...which is why we're bringing Duran.

TO BE CONTINUED.



1 comment:

  1. Maybe don't join up with the "death devourer", dudes.

    Yeah, Kevin's walk is something else.

    Wike poof!

    ReplyDelete