Monday, June 4, 2012

Game 10: Miracle Warriors: Seal of the Dark Lord (SMS) - Ancient Lineage

 Game 10

Title: Miracle Warriors: Seal of the Dark Lord
Year: 1988 (1987 JP)
Platform: Sega Master System (SMS)
Developer: Kogado Software Products (Sega ported to SMS I believe)
Publisher: Sega
Genre: RPG
Exploration - Top-down
Combat - Turn-based

"Upon arriving at the castle gate I'm greeted by the king. Without wasting time to chat he tells me I'm the only one that can seal an evil force. My first step is to find the sage Kosama. I'm left to explore the harsh barren land. The town of Garia is nearby, and I realize how ill-equipped I am for this journey. Thankfully the surrounding area provides enough monsters to gain some funds, and one of the villagers tells me Kosama lives elsewhere. Across the land I travel. Crossing many bridges I finally find Kosama, only to be told that I will require the assistance of three companions. The first is said to be in a town where they worship the sea."
Barring the prior consoles, which I have yet to fully explore, Miracles Warriors may very well be the first console RPG. I'm having to play it through emulation due to not having an SMS, and no recent releases of the game. I think it's worked out fairly well so far, except for some lag issues every now and then. If anyone knows where I can purchase this game for a current console, let me know and I'll get it. It's been a good bit of fun so far.

I started out by naming my warrior Qycx, and found myself outside of a castle. The king here explains it's my fate to stop an unnamed evil. It seems some seal of a dark lord may be breaking, broken, or threatened in some way. Also, I should seek out a sage named Kosama to learn more.
And now we begin the cliche...
With no real direction, I have to search the surrounding area. Soon I get into my first combat and see my HP or what I assume is my HP, diminish quickly. In the next battle, I die. I hadn't even located the first town, and I can already tell this game is going to be a grind. Eventually, I get the right combination of enemies and number of encounters that I reach the first town with enough money to heal myself.
I'm about to gain a level, and low on HP
The game actually has two forms of currency, Guilders and Fangs. Some enemies (mostly beasts) will give only Fangs, which are exchanged for Guilders or used to fulfill quests. In addition to that there's a stat called fame that increases slightly with each evil enemy defeated, and reduced if good characters are killed. The best way to handle these good encounters is to talk to them (which gives some hints) or retreating, which appears to be automatic. A high fame is necessary for some townspeople to speak with the party.
What's with the SMS RPGs having a talk command in battle?
The balance of enemy difficulty and reward is a little skewed. Thieves and Evil Merchants are equally easy and give 300 and 2,000 Guilders respectively (some of the best pay out); however, a more difficult Zirod gives 4 Fangs, which is only worth 200 Guilders. Later on the best enemy I've found is the Great Lion, which gives 6 Fangs and 3,000 Guilders.

I spent the first few hours saving up enough to afford the knife, armor, and shield in the first town only to realize that equipment has durability. My knife had broken beyond repair, so I saved up for another. In the second town--after having to deal with repairing my equipment after each venture out--I found the blacksmith required 12,000 Guilders, but this paid for him to follow me around and continuously repair my equipment. It strikes me as odd that the game would throw out a feature like this so early, but I'm glad to be rid of it.

In my wanderings I came across the small village where Kosama stays. He immediately informed me that I need to find three companions born of an "ancient lineage" and also destined to seal the dark lord. He said the first companion would be in a town that worshiped by the god of the sea. At this time, three more spaces for the companions appeared on the display.
Of course they're of ancient lineage fated to save the world, aren't we all?
Finding the village was easy enough, but when I spoke the phrase necessary to recruit him, the game informed me I needed something more. At the time I had been keeping to the plains, as I was warned against--and experienced firsthand--the dangers of the forests and mountains. Hidden in one of these forests was a castle that provided me the item necessary to get my second companion, which I wouldn't find until I started mapping the land.

To help with traveling there are feathers that teleport me back to a town that sells feathers. Unfortunately, the only two towns I've found that sell them are on opposite ends of the map, no help when traveling to the middle. Healing is possible while exploring by using herbs. It's a little confusing at first, but you can purchase them in packs of 5 up to 24. I have to have exactly 19 to get 24, having 20 will give the message that he can't sell me anymore.
It's a trick question. Yes means buy herbs; no means pass...
Stocking up on healing items and feathers just in case, I explored a monument where I found a helm that helps me read messages in caves. The only message I found wasn't very helpful. There was a mask I purchased, which apparently helps me in caves, but I'm not sure how. I also ventured into the forests and mountains as the only other place left unexplored. This is where I found a castle with a king that game me an axe. With axe in hand I could now recruit the second companion, Guy.
Iris? Is this is a girls axe?
With Guy, I went to another castle and traded 300 Fangs for a sword. Apparently, these are weapons of legend, which unlock certain story elements. I'd saved up quite a nest egg of Guilders while randomly traveling, but even so, it wasn't quite enough to upgrade both weapons at the weapon masters' village. It costs 60,000 to upgrade a weapon.

Upgrading Guy's weapon gave it some kind of mystical power to chop through a skeleton blocking my way to the south. Here, on this small lot of land, I found a small village that wants to sell me a ship, for 30,000 Guilders. Time to grind once again.
Selling the 144 Fangs would bring me to 22,830 Guilders, so only 7,170 to go
To explain the display, the $ is Guilders, the pouch is herbs, the tooth or horn are fangs, and the C is character or fame (currently positive 4,020, yes it's possible to go negative).

Experience for each character is gained per hit instead of dispensed at the end of combat. This means characters will only level if they attack. Each round only one character can act, which means only one character is gaining experience. It was already painfully slow with one character, but with two I've yet to gain a single level since having Guy.

Combat becomes somewhat tactical, as the only character that the enemy hits is the one that takes an action. That is, unless the enemy casts magic. I've yet to get any combat spells for my party, but I believe one of my companions will eventually learn some. It's possible to retreat from combat, but if it fails, then each member takes a hit from the enemy.

It's been a little slow going because I haven't found a copy of the manual online. While searching for it recently to see if I missed any resources, I found that the original game came with a cloth map. I've already started on my own MS paint map, which I'll post once it's finished, but below is what the cloth map looked like.
Session Time: 6h00m (Total Time: 6h00m)


  1. This was my first RPGS ever back in the day. I remember the sega magazine hyping it up months prior to release. I quite enjoyed it at the time as there was nothing really like it in the US. Of course later when phantasy star came out it made this game look downright ancient. But I still enjoyed it nonetheless. I,m glad to read this because I remember next to nothing about this game now 20 something years later except the party members which are thought were pretty cool at the time. And I kind of remember being stumped on some part of the quest towards end for a few days.

  2. I'm looking forward to playing more. There are already caves that are locked somehow, and it's been hinted that the third companion will unlock these. Once I get the ship I should be able to reach the continent to the southeast. From there I expect to find the third companion and a way to calm the stormy seas to the west. Hopefully from there it's a hop, skip, and a jump to the fourth companion and the final boss. I'm really not looking forward to grinding any more since it's so slow to gain levels.

  3. I think this is the manual you're looking for.
    Also, the group on the title screen makes me think of Spinal Tap for some weird reason.

    1. That's great! I guess I didn't search for it correctly because when I put in miracle warriors manual this time, that's the first link. :D

      Thanks for that.

      RE: Spinal Tap, must be the mustaches.

  4. Hey, I've not gotten emails saying you are playing as of late; Are you no longer livestraming?

    1. Yeah, I can't live stream my computer desktop and play on an emulator because my computer sucks. It lags horrendously, and makes most games unplayable. So, unfortunately while I go back in time for probably a couple weeks I won't be streaming anything.

      Once I get back to consoles again I'll stream. Dungeon Magic will be the next game to stream. You shouldn't have to wait too long; I think only one of the game actually qualifies, but I may squeeze some of the others in since they're so short.

    2. Wow, your computer must be horrible if it can't run a game this old while streaming! Is it a laptop or a desktop? If you could output everything to a monitor, you might be able to split the signal and stream in an analog fashion. I don't think we are worried about the quality drop on these old games.

    3. Yeah, it's pretty bad. It's about 5 years, and it's a desktop. Although when I built it back then it was average - cheap parts, so it's probably closer to 7 - 8 years old.

      I'm actually enjoying the bit of freedom to start and stop playing without worrying if it's enjoyable for anyone else watching. I always feel self conscious about taking notes and mapping while streaming. I still enjoy streaming though, so I'll get back to it, don't worry.

  5. I'm playing this right now.

    Kinda surprised by how much fun I'm having. The music is incredible and I've grown accustomed to the unorthodox navigation.