Monday, February 1, 2016

Game #51: Wizardry: Knight of Diamonds (NES) - A Familiar Friend

Game 51

Title: Wizardry: Knight of Diamonds
Released: 1991 (1992?) (March 1990 JPN)
Platform: NES
Developer: Game Studio (original game by Sir-Tech)
Publisher: ASCII Entertainment Software (aka Asciiware)
Genre: RPG
Exploration - First-Person
Combat - Turn based
Series - Wizardry

It's really hard to pin down US release dates. I originally used GameFAQs suggestion of April 1992, but the manual and MobyGames refer to 1991 as the copyright and release respectively. Even stranger is a second copyright date of 1990 attributed to Andrew Greenberg. My understanding was that Werdna's namesake had left Sir-Tech well before that time. He had worked on Star Saga One and Two in 1988 and 1989, so I wonder how he got attributed to this title personally. Due to the lack of an import feature, the game was reworked as a standalone title, so maybe he provided some input.
There's a nice set of black and white art paired with exposition detailing the new story
The city of Llylgamyn was protected by the Staff of Gnilda, which shielded the city from all forms of attack from outside. Unfortunately, it didn't protect from within, and an upstart evil tyrant named Davalpus seized this opportunity after the fall of Werdna. He slew the entire royal family, all except the prince and princess. After some time, Alavik returned wearing the armor of the The Knight of Diamonds and wielding Gnilda's staff. Davalpus fell, but so did the castle. With no sign of the staff, the city was now defenseless, and it was up to a brave band of nameless adventurers to retrieve it.
Wizardry is a rare breed of console RPG that requires building the party from scratch. There is a default party, but they have generic names like Fighter2 and Thief1. When rolling up my first set of characters (I expect many to come) I decided to roll for 10+ stats, and aimed for an evil party with Fighter, Samurai, Cleric, Cleric, Wizard, and Mage as my starting classes. I remembered the Calfo spell incorrectly, and thought it also disarmed traps. In this game, it only identifies the trap type with a high reliability, but a thief or ninja is required to disarm it. For the first couple of levels I ignored chests, and after a couple of levels had my fighter take the brunt of trap damage until I could class change my wizard to a ninja.
I nearly had one from the very beginning
From character creation, to stripping the default party, to purchasing new gear, I didn't actually enter the maze for the first hour. I was a expecting a trial by fire the way the first game had, but I think this version is a bit fairer in the early game due to the re-balance. The only time a party member died was due to running into a pit trap, then opening the menu, which caused the pit to hit a second time when I exited it. After that small setback, I fought some early creeping coins for a good amount of experience, and I was level 3 before I knew it.
Even the cost for resurrection seems adjusted
I was feeling confident with those early levels that I hardly thought of the gold I was leaving behind. Low level thieves usually fail disarming rolls anyway. On this first floor I found an are deemed for officers only, a corroded key, and a kobold king that dropped a gory badge. I also found a dusty statue with a golden light. You know what that means, right?
Our old friend Murphy is back
I didn't spend much time with Murphy, but the opportunity is there to grind out some early levels with fighters followed by a class change to mages in order to get higher HP. As it stands, my current mage only has 33 HP, and would easily die to most breath attacks or high level mage spells. If the first Wizardry has taught me anything, it's that I should be able to survive at least one tiltowait by the end of the game. I feel like I'll need a good number of class changes before that happens. The drawback to grinding on Murphy safely is that special items are only dropped on the lower floors, and those battles are actually worth a good amount of experience.
Much like the first game, the main quest is revealed while inside the maze
Gnilda appeared before the party in a small room. She claimed responsibility for the disappearance of the staff and armor, and declared only those worthy of her favor could reclaim them. I'm not sure what "the five" are or what the seven barriers entail. If it means the keys and badges, then I've crossed at least five barriers so far, and traded for a couple more keys. The manual says there are only six levels to the dungeon, and I'm about halfway through mapping the fourth. It's a rather short game if that's really the case, and I'm not sure there's enough content to support leveling very high.
Of course, the manual also says elite classes like Ninja and Lord are reached by characters level 18 - 25
With a ninja in my party, I was able to start disarming some trapped chests. The most troublesome at the moment are those that give random status effects to mages or clerics. I found a living magic armor, that very well could be the Knight of Diamonds' armor, but I ran away before finding out how tough it was. I'll make another attempt after I've exhausted my options on the lower levels.
It's available fairly early on the first floor in the officers section, but I still fear it may be too soon to tackle it
Most of my exploration has led to empty corridors giving the game a eerily quiet feel punctuated by the sudden appearance of monsters capable of wiping the party given the right set of circumstances. On the second floor I traded the kobold's badge for an emblem, which allowed me to exchange the corroded key for a black one in the officer's area. The black key was then traded for another key I didn't bother to identify that opened the path to the third floor. There I let my guard down for one second, and was sent down a chute to the floor below in complete darkness.
That square marking on the ground denotes tiles where events take place. Up to this point they've all been items to find, stairs, or helpful messages, but now they include chutes. Luckily, I had already located the stairs down to the fourth floor, so I knew where I needed to go to get back up. How to get there was another matter to figure out. I managed to get out alive without teleportation while running low on spells. I'm very glad I picked a party that included two clerics as the extra healing is more helpful than a second mage. I think my first set of class changes will be to increase my overall spell potential.
In the first Wizardry, this is a deadly battle that could result in instant death
I could be jinxing myself here, but so far this game is much easier than the first Wizardry. The idea that there are six floors gives me hope that the game could end soon; although given my HP totals, I feel like I should change classes two or three times before I actually venture further. Most of the ninjas in the battle above fled instant of attempting their instant kill attack. The only truly nerve-racking battles are those against enemies with breath attacks, or the carriers capable of paralyzing on touch. I'm going to spend a bit more time on floors three and four to collect some higher level gear. I don't have many magic items, but I did manage to wrap up my last session with a sword of slicing, slayer of dragons, and mace of power. To save money, I made my own ID-GUY after I found some cursed items would auto-equip upon identifying them.

I'm not really sure how he's dual wielding a Sword of Wishes and Epee of Dismay, but that's probably not good for his health, especially given his AC 15
My spellcasters are nearly able to use level 7 spells, which is really only a big deal for mages that gain tiltowait and teleport. I think once that happens I'll move one cleric to mage, and possibly swap my current mage with my samurai (who has been underperforming with minimal HP gains). I realize now that I'd have been better off going all evil instead of mixing in neutral alignments as those are locked out of clerical classes. If I were truly min/maxing, I'd go all fighters to level 13 or 14 for HP, then half to clerics half to mages, and swap once level 7 spells were unlocked. Repeat until satisfied with HP, and a final class change to include a thief or ninja, fighters for the front line, and a wizard for identification. I like the challenge though, and the tension this party has deep in the dungeon is palpable when I encounter a new enemy type.
Hold reset, then power off; we never knew why, but we always did it even with games without battery saves
With any luck, I'll have this game wrapped up by the end of the week. Without any luck, I'll have a new party and might be implementing the plan above. At least Murphy will be there for me when I need him. I think one reason I didn't really get into the first Wizardry may have been my choice to solely grind on Murphy without bothering to get gear from floors 5 - 9.

Elapsed Time: 9h12m (Total Time: 9h12m)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Game #50: Traysia (Genesis) - Move Along; Nothing to See (Finished)

A fitting generic ending screen to a run of the mill RPG
I rarely suggest not playing a game, but this one can be skipped entirely. It holds no value over other RPGs, and is slightly incomprehensible in its presentation. I finished it though, and will give it a proper burial. The worst part of this game was getting stuck in chapter 3 for nearly 3 hours. I was making good progress, but couldn't find my way into the Town of Swordsmen. The reason being the entrance wasn't a kind the game had used before. Up until this point moving between the different towns was done through visible stairs.
This one is in a random otherwise unremarkable indentation in the southern wall
Before I found it, I completed a side quest in the Thieves' Town for some extra gold. It had a secret passage in the wall that led to the treasure I sought. After finishing that off, I thought maybe the game had a similar hidden passage to the next section, and that's how I found the entrance. The Town of Swordsmen had a colosseum style arena I could grind in (didn't bother), and a random NPC that revealed Banegie was a princess in a far off land called Alkishea. In the Noblemen's Town I found a store with Water Sticks. Previously I'd found that characters could equip multiple sticks, and their defensive power would stack. I hadn't thought much of it since the stick bonus was very slight; however, these new sticks were about as powerful as the best armor. For weapons and armor (including shields), the game automatically removes the older item of the same type. Not so for sticks.
Seriously, there's nothing in the game or manual to suggest this shouldn't be the case
I'm fairly certain it's an exploit of some kind because from then on my team never took another point of damage. I wrapped up the Town of Adventurers by facing off against the rogue mages, reporting back to the king my findings, and finally assaulting their leader. With his dying breath he mentioned Floyd. So, our team headed north in a stage coach provided by the king.
By this point I wasn't really paying attention to the story for two reasons. First, it's a bit incoherent. The bad guys are bad because they found some ultimate power they can use to control people by making them lose all their memories (only revealed in this chapter). Second, combat was completely trivial and became a huge time sink with little gain, which turned me off to the game as a whole. The townspeople in this area had their memories wiped by the super awesome powerful spell called the black (balls of) light. A guardian witch didn't do her job, and asked the party to stop the wizards to the north. She directed me to a temple where the last wizard to oppose the rebels stood. I arrived just as he fell, and once again reaffirmed that the party was the world's last hope.
How can I remember memories are missing if I don't recall them?
There's a very sudden scene after the screen above where Banegie declares her love for Roy, and asks him to give up on this fool's errand before he forgets everything. Apparently left with only one memory, that of Traysia, Roy commits to finishing the job. Banegie leaves, unable to continue to watch as Roy loses himself on this quest. When Roy faces Floyd and the queen of mages, he loses all memory and is left wandering outside aimlessly. Banegie returned and helped him remember his quest by showing him Traysia's pendant. The queen was a pushover, and Floyd disappeared once more. Seriously, they let him escape again!
The only spell in the game worth anything (it can target any enemy), Roy is the only one that can cast it
After the battle, Banegie once again disclosed her burning passion, but Roy was having none of it. So, Banegie (and the other two) accompany Roy back to the town of Johanna to better understand his commitment to Traysia. There they find Floyd had taken over the town and ruled it as the ultimate authority.
*Plop*5 (Final)
Finding the triggers to continue the story was difficult in this chapter as well. First an old man in the second floor of the inn spoke of a mysterious man that arrived by boat. Next, south of town, was a lighthouse where the keeper retold the story of the wizard who burned down the mayor's house with him in it. Guards then came to arrest us for progressing the story. The party appeared in a dungeon (I don't consider it a *Plop*) that must be navigated in complete darkness.
The only visible object aside from the party was a treasure chest with a really good sword
Once I escaped that hell, I still had to deal with Floyd. Somehow getting caught removed the man that guarded his castle. I found Traysia in the dungeon... well, heard her from the dungeon, but there was no way in. I had to talk to a blind architect that sent his assistant in to show me the secret entrance. He was a bit hard to locate, hiding in a southern corner of one of the screens. The reunion with Traysia was bittersweet as Banegie acted as a diversion while we escaped. (Completely unnecessary, but part of the plot.) The party charged in to save her, and drove Floyd away once more. This time to a previously inaccessible temple north of town.
By this point the game really liked throwing in screen transitions without any visible indicator; the game asserts there are stairs here
The final dungeon didn't have much of note. After Traysia and Banegie were rescued, I didn't see much reason to continue butting heads with Floyd. He's not much of a villain. Again, he's just evil and mad because I didn't let him conquer the world. Every time he escaped it was completely unreasonable. He didn't even poof. The screen just fades in and out, then he's gone. This time though, I faced off with him in combat for the last time.
Wait, is this the same guy?
Seriously? Froid? In the first battle I fought him he was named Floyd. In every dialogue since then it was Floyd. In the final battle, it's Froid. I suppose one could say I care about this game about as much as the developers. To put the final book end on this disappointing story, Floyd has a final trick where he turns himself into a human bomb and Banegie shields everyone from the blast. Bye Banegie; guess we'll never know if you and Traysia would have hit it off.
"Love her as I would have loved her" -- pretty sure that's what she meant
Roy and Traysia get married, and Magellan and Bellenue go traveling back to her home town. Roy opens a tavern and shop to supply other adventurers with supplies. No mention of kids though, so I can only imagine what depravity Traysia underwent in that dungeon of Floyds. The end.
I suppose the town of Johanna is in this picture somewhere
Elapsed Time: 6h55m (Total Time: 14h29m)

Combatant - The worst part of this game is the combat. There's no challenge, and spells are useless. The AI is completely broken, not just due to the pathing, but also because none of them ever use spells. Walk up and attack is all they understand. Even the mages only have physical attacks. I'm not sure Floyd had a physical attack in the final battle because he only walked up to my characters and just stood there. Leveling up matters very little, and combat options are limited. Running is actually the best thing to do since it serves to save time.
Rating: 2
This is the "black" dragon from the cover art... I guess they had to throw him in somewhere
Admirer - There's hardly any customization in this game. Character sprites don't change with equipment (imagine 10 sticks sticking out of each character). Spells are purchased, and it asks to select a character to learn it, but everyone gains the spell (if they can use it). Controls are stiff, and the game stutters while moving, and freezes after speaking to NPCs.
Rating: 2
Is that Banegie's grave they're going to "relax" on?
Puzzler - The main quest is often obscured by the translation. There is a side quest, and it's mildly interesting, but doesn't add much to the game. There aren't any puzzles.
Rating: 2
As the only non-Japanese name, I'm going to start the blame list with this guy at the top
Instigator - The story doesn't only suffer from translation issues, it's bland and jumping between chapters gives it a disconnected feeling. There are inconsistencies as well, from the minor Floyd vs. Froid to Roy being gone for many years (mentioned multiple times) even though the final scenes plainly state he was gone for one year. There are no decisions (although some false choices are presented), and nearly every NPC has nothing to offer towards completing tasks. Banegie was the last line in some random royal lineage that will never again see the light of day because they're now all dead.
Rating: 1
A whole year?!
Collector - There are a lot of items in the game, but nowhere to store them; jewels, trinkets without description, and a lot of equipment get sold for a pittance to make room for new gear. None of it really matters though. Sticks are cheap and just as good as other armor. Weapons are the only thing worth buying. Healing items (food) are worthless as they can only be used outside combat. There's no way to have a full collection. Checking status between equipment is annoying as it takes 3 screen transitions (about 10 seconds) for each item.
Rating: 2
I guess Roy can get anything he wants now
Explorer - The world is uninteresting, and sparsely populated. Each section of the game gets cut off as soon as the next chapter begins. There weren't any unique or interesting discoveries. The music was the best part, and very enjoyable. The graphics looked dated, and I wondered if this was intended for or a port from a lesser known system. Often locations in one chapter are blocked by invisible barriers until plot points are met.
Rating: 3
This was the only time the game actually acknowledged the invisible barrier
Final Rating: 12 [20%]

It's hard to believe a game that looks like this would score lower than Wizardry or Double Dungeons. This just isn't a fun game, and missing the mark on nearly every aspect of an RPG. If I had some evidence to back it up, I might even claim this was an unfinished product and rushed to production. This game makes Phantasy Star III look polished. Please, if you're thinking of playing this game, do yourself a favor and pass on it.

Speaking of Wizardry, we have the second scenario up next. I'm glad this isn't a PC version that requires party members from the first game. I'm hoping the re-balance they had to do to accomplish the lower levels means they made the game a little more manageable. Granted, I'm expecting to die a lot, but with a little luck I can avoid losing the whole party to an unrecoverable position.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Game #50: Traysia (Genesis) - Dreaming of Better Times

Game 50

Title: Traysia
Released: 1992 (February 1992 JPN)
Platform: Genesis
Developer: Telnet Japan
Publisher: Renovation Products
Genre: RPG
Exploration - Top-down
Combat - Turn based
Series - Standalone

And don't come back if you lose it
This has got to be the most generic fantasy RPG I've ever played. End post, end game, nothing to see here. Even the story doesn't bother to give much motivation. The main character, Roy, has a good life, but he's always dreamed of other lands. So, he says farewell to his girlfriend, Traysia, and follows his traveling merchant uncle to another town. He's there left to fend for himself as his uncle has to travel to other lands that only allow merchants. Something tells me this traveling thing wasn't well thought out.
The first NPC gave me the lowdown for the game. Visit towns, find out what the mayor or sage wants me to do, and get it done. Magic shops for magic, weapon shops for weapons and armor, item and general stores for food and accessories, and inns to save the game. It costs money to stay, so saving is only possible with enough gold. Strangely, the save happens before the party is healed, so upon reloading I either need to stay again or find a doctor that specializes in only healing.
Question: "Would you like to continue playing the game?" -- I foolishly accepted
The mayor of Salon, fondly called Master, was getting groups of men together to defeat the monsters that were attacking merchants as they passed the nearby forest. I got paired with Magellan, a tank-like character that uses swords (like Roy except better); Banegie, a mysterious knight covered from head to toe in full body armor; and Floyd, a mage capable of using fire, thunder, and lightning spells. They came with additional gold and items that allowed me to purchase the best equipment available for every member.
Magic in battle is always cast in a straight line
The combat system is rather unique to a Genesis RPG. It begins by selecting an action for each character: fight a target, cast a spell, defend (and move), or attempt a party retreat. Once actions are assigned the turn is carried out in a deterministic order based on character speed. The first town has nearly every spell in the game, and they're all relatively inexpensive that it's possible to purchase them all before fighting the first boss without much grinding. Even so, they're hardly worth it, and healing isn't possible during battles. Moving in combat follows a set pattern, carrying out vertical movement before horizontal. If there's someone in the way, then it'll cancel that character's turn. Leveling up produces only small gains for most characters. Every battle (except one) has been a cake walk.
Cahoots, there's a word you don't see very often
Turned out that Floyd and the master were the bad guys. They're running some kind of scheme to lure all the men and adventurers from Salon into the woods, and killing them off in small groups. Before he fled, Floyd mentioned he would frame the party for the murders. The boss of the cave isn't even worth a mention, but the fighting caused a cave-in that forced me to seek help from the Stone Village on the other side of the mountain. Unfortunately, I ran into the one enemy that could wreck my party at this stage of the game. Crawlers killed Roy in two hits. If Roy dies, then it's game over. Playing it a little safer I was able to avoid death by having Magellan tank difficult enemies, exploiting the AI's movement.
No indication, but the wood is at this one spot even though there are trees everywhere
The mayor of Stone Village suggested I seek the forest to the west for some wood. Once collected, a craftsman offered to build me a raft. He said it'd take some time and to meet him by the river later. After finding yet another specific location, this time along the river, that triggered an event, I received the raft. Taking the raft back to Salon resulted in the loss of the raft, even though I was told I could use it as much as I wanted.
It's not all about you, Magellan!
Back near Salon the party had a touching time with some character development. Roy shared that he was traveling just because, and dumped Traysia for the unknown. Magellan mentioned that he traveled for the same reason, left behind the love of his life as well, but now could no longer return home. Banegie was just your average adventurer wearing full body armor. I liked how Roy's story included cutscenes along with a melody full of melancholy.
One of the memories Roy recalls of Traysia as we assume he's describing it to the others
Waiting for us in Salon were a couple of warlocks from the North. Floyd was one of their own, but betrayed them. Now they're seeking revenge. The one dressed in red put the town to sleep to protect the party from the wrath of the townspeople, as my name had been so tarnished that my story wouldn't be accepted as truth. Bellenue joined, and I found Floyd and the master hiding in a previously inaccessible portion of a house on the north side of town.
My confidence in this translation is shaken
I'd like to take this opportunity, as I tried to grind Bellenue up a level, to point out that this is not a well polished game. In addition to an eyebrow raising translation, the walking is not smooth, there are load times between screen transitions (e.g. entering buildings, exiting towns), and stat growth is very slow (1 HP levels are very common for Roy). Scrolling the screen seems to take a pause every half screen, and after speaking to an NPC the game freezes before resuming. There are times where the sprites will flicker around the screen. Add in the oversight of saving at an inn before healing the party, and it says to me that this game wasn't play tested. I just hope it's actually beatable.
The game is separated into chapters
Defeating Floyd and the master freed the people of Salon, but Floyd escaped while he weren't looking. The sage in town assured us that the townspeople would one day know the truth. I bought out the magic shop, and headed off to the next adventure. Oh, and we had another party revelation. Bellenue reaffirmed her commitment to destroying Floyd, and Banegie turned out to be a woman. "This is the beginning of a new adventure!" the party exclaimed.
*Plop* 2
The next area was rather simple. The enemies were only slightly more powerful, and I had plenty of funds to purchase all the new (best) equipment. This made all the fights in this chapter very simple. I arrived outside a Gypsy camp where I learned that the kingdoms of Lyudes and Iyuves were starting to war. The mayor of the Selvies asked me to speak to the kings then return, and both told a similar story. They were attacked by the other kingdom, and were gearing up to retaliate. The Selvies stayed neutral, but the mayor revealed he'd seen some rebels in a nearby cave.
Oh, you mean that cave where I found a suspicious robed man that wouldn't let me in?
During my travels through the desert I ran across a sword master that I bested easily. (Actually, he nearly killed Magellan). On the advice of the mayor, I broke up the rebel forces, but the kings did not believe a third party was inciting the war. I spoke to the wise sword master, and he suggested I kidnap the prince and princess of each kingdom to make them listen. Somehow my party thought that was a great idea, and so did the prince and princess when I asked them to steal away with me in the middle of the night. They ended up falling in love with each other during their travels to the swordsman's hermitage, and their union united the kingdoms.
It's always the advisor
Even though the kingdoms were no longer at war, I had some unfinished business with the rebels. There were ruins to the northwest that had previously been sealed by a mysterious force. In them I found and dispatched the rebels. Everyone left alive thanked me, and I headed off to the Town of Adventurers.
*Plop* 3
Each chapter is completely separate from the previous with no way to return to previous lands. I contemplated this after getting stuck in the Town of Adventurers. There were no random encounters, and nothing of note beyond the town. The town is actually reportedly 13 layers of towns built on top of each other collectively known as the Empire or Sandora. Roy had his pendant stolen in the Town of Thieves, but recovered it from the mayor after yet another heartfelt retelling of the love he left behind. Roy then agreed to help him by attending the school of magic in the Town of Mages. The mages had their own trouble as a group of rogue mages burned down the school after I graduated. Each town is locked, and only the mayors have the keys. The king in the Town of Kings granted me audience to discuss the matter of the rogue mages.
I found many Book of Magic, but I have no clue what they do... probably nothing as I bought all the spells already
I met the king, and he told me to seek out the Town of Noblemen to further my investigation. Someone else made mention of South Town, but all I could find were North and East towns. I found some craftsmen that were used to build an underground house, then were left to rot in a cave. Under East Town was a strange room that constantly spawned battles with some kind of spectres. I was now at a dead end with no idea how to get to South Town, Town of Noblemen, or Town of Swordsmen (also mentioned by random NPCs). I spent another 2 hours looking for them, but I'll save that for the next post.
So do I... so do I
I like the idea of a town that takes the focus away from combat, but doing so in this game actually glares light on the drudgery of walking around, the sluggish dialogue crawl, and the incomprehensible description of events. If this were a better game, then I might welcome exploring such a town, but here and now I couldn't stand searching each town, especially when I got stuck. I'm hoping the game wraps up soon.
There are supposed to be hints about what to do next from the party, but they're completely worthless
Elapsed Time: 7h34m (Total Time: 7h34m)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Below the Cut: Cowboy Kid (NES)

Interesting art direction (Source: Wikipedia)
Cowboy Kid - Rating(5 RPP)
1) 0 - Character Advancement: practice/experience based advancement, stat or level increases, multiple classes or characters, customize characters
2) 0 - Combat: character stats used for combat, additional combat options, turn based
3) 1 - Items and Equipment: store to buy and sell, equipment decisions, item decisions
4) 2 - Story: main story at the forefront; world full of hints and lore; descriptions for objects, people, and places
5) 1 - Exploration: open world from the beginning, visited locations remain open
6) 1 - Quests and Puzzles: side quests not related to the main quest, puzzles and riddles to solve

Welcome to the wild west, where if you have money, health, and stores, you get to call the game an RPG. Simply put, the game hides its levels by placing the duty of sheriff on a new stranger in town, and you select a "quest" to capture a bandit. Put another way, it's a simple action game with no character development, combat based solely on weapons, and even some scrolling-shooter levels. I can only imagine someone was confused by the inventory plus health related items and slightly open world, and decided that was enough to label it as having RPG-elements. This categorization has since been corrected on MobyGames.

The setting is interesting for an RPG, and one that's hardly ever used to my knowledge. It seems a wild west RPG is ripe for the making. The only RPG that comes to mind is the Wild ARMs series, but an action-RPG based on the western theme seems to be missing.