Monday, July 27, 2015

Game #43: Final Fantasy Legend II (Game Boy) - Posing Pantheon

More like, "Obvious Passage!!"
Alright, so... where were we? Well, this game just so happens to have a handy dandy memopad. In it is stored all past important conversations. This is definitely a first for console RPGs, and we probably won't see it very often. I'm not sure the description by Johnny was necessary for the different colored block to appear, but reaching the Micronize (and a few other pieces of Magi) was a quick operation. Back at Ki I was able to use the potion to enter her body. It was a mass of tendril-like passages that ended in a single Magi piece until finally I was able to access a final passage with a set enemy encounter. With the final Magi in my possession, Ki seemed free from the monster infestation. She thanked me, and we headed to the next world.
We'll just see about that
Apollo was a gracious host, and even provided a Magi to help us in our quest. He posed riddles to find the rest, but answering them involved little more than just going to each cave in the world. In the next town someone named Lynn had run off into the nearby cave. A being named Dunatis was said to haunt the cave, protecting the Magi within. Lynn's mother was in a poor health, and Lynn thought the key to a potion lay within the cave.
Are you saying I look like a man?
I found Lynn in the cave standing before Dunatis. Unable to overcome his power on her own, she welcomed my help. Turned out it was some kind of security robot, and a very easy battle. Ako, my mutant, learned the ability O All. Monsters and mutants have abilities that indicate strengths and weakness noted by O and X. Robots start with an O Para/Pois, which protects against paralyzation, poison, and other related effects. Other examples are O Ice, O Fire, and so on that give elemental immunity as well. O All gives immunity to all status effects and nearly all elemental magic (wind seems to be the exception). When I returned to Lynn's house, Celd's father was there being called dad. Is he two-timing on Celd's mom? Before finding out, Celd and party walked out of the room, and back to the more important search of Magi.
The only time this Magi is used... seems like it should be more useful
We recovered more Magi from an undersea volcano, and even more in a dark cave where the walls were previously invisible. Thanks to the True Eye Magi we recovered, one of the few uniquely named pieces, we wrapped up our collection of Apollo's world. Next world was the guardians secret hideout. Using a clue about listening to the Heroic Tune, I found a secret door in the cafe; however, I was immediately captured. Luckily Celd's father was their leader, so I was released. I learned about two other gods, Venus and Odin, that were gathering Magi. That night, one of them sent monsters to attack the base.
Trust me, it'll be safer in my hands
I fought my way through many waves of enemies only to the find the base, and the town above, completely destroyed. One of the enemy commanders said they had captured Lynn, and were waiting in the next world. Lucky thing I collected all this Magi off them to open the next door. The next world was a staging area to show that Celd's father was not Lynn's real dad, only filling in while they searched for him. Celd's father sacrificed himself to take out the monster, and release Lynn; however, the monster reappeared victorious. I took him out, and returned Lynn to her world. A moment of silence for Celd's dad... okay, back to gathering Magi. Lynn's mom, having recovered from her illness, passed on a Magi she'd been holding back. The next world, now accessible, was home to Venus, goddess of vanity. She ruled her world with an iron fist, and nothing less than perfection was acceptable. My party was tolerated, and she laughed at my intention to gather Magi, saying none were left in this world.
Pretty sure you're wrong, Venus
Outside Venus' palace, a young woman named Flora bemoaned the exile of Leon, her love. He had broken his leg in an accident, and was banished for being imperfect. I visited the outcast village, and found Leon acclimating well to his new life, although he worried for Flora. Someone mentioned goodies in the sewer though, so I quickly forgot their plight in search of Magi. In the sewers I modified my robot build, increasing his strength and defense while relying on the Revenge sword, which only hits enemies through a counter-attack to physical attacks. Putting him in front increased his chances of getting hit, and turned him into a literal killing machine.
Except that one time we all died, but that was cool because we finally got to meet Odin
Everything was going well until I tried to open a chest that turned into a monster. The high level monsters easily wiped out my party with their magic attacks. I found myself in Valhalla, home of Odin. He admired my courage, and revived on the condition that when we finally met I would fight him. I agreed, and returned to the previous battle, this time aware of what was in store for me. I made it through alive on my second attempt. This aspect to the game is interesting, but it's strange to be able to try the same battle over and over without any drawback. I then fought a hermit crab, grabbed a key, and emerged on the other side of the sewer entrance in Venus' Palace.
Then a mysterious volcano emerged for no reason
Flora was still waiting outside of the palace, but this time she had an even sadder story. Venus was forcing her to marry Nils (some random dude). When she told me this, my whole world shook. For some reason, this caused a volcano to rise. I told Leon about Flora, and he asked me to help stop it. So, I ignored his request and went off to explore the pretty volcano. Inside, of course, was more Magi. As I collected it, Leon ran in and took one of them. Strange, I wondered what he was going to do with it. In any case, Venus had invited me to the wedding ceremony, so I thought the only polite thing to do was go. I arrived just in time to sit and watch the drama unfold.
Oh, my, doesn't she look pretty...
Leon showed up in the middle, and challenged Venus. But,with only one piece of Magi he didn't stand a chance. Flora begged for mercy, then slashed her face so she could be banished as well. Venus took offense to the undermining of her authority, and it was about this time my party finally woke up and took down Venus. I honestly don't remember the fight, so I'm going to assume she was a pushover. I collected the last of the Magi off her body. Flora and Leon hardly notice as they were finally reunited. Nils became the third wheel, while Flora assured him she'd hook him up with one of her friends. They lived happily ever after. As for me, on to the next world!
Why is Till-bot always blinking in these pictures? Better yet, why do robots blink?
In the next world, Apollo was hosting a dragon race with some Magi as the prize. I scouted out the dragons, and accidentally picked the slowest one thinking I was just test driving it. I immediately fell behind. As I made my way toward the finish though, it became clear something was amiss. The other racers were hurt, attacked by a monster, their Magi stolen. So I did the only noble thing I could. I defeated the monster, claimed all the Magi for myself, then moved on to the next world.
The next world had a Japanese theme to it. A shogun ruled from his giant pagoda with a large town next to it named Edo. A gang known as the Hatamotos hassled me as soon as I reached their turf. This world had a lot of tough enemies, and I struggled here just a bit, especially trying to find a good monster to use. After beating the initial group, more members showed up, but a girl named Hana, a detective, sent them away with a "how rude" attitude.
Someone named Echigoya was employing the Hatamotos, and Hana's father was investigating Echigoya at some point before he disappeared. Now Hana has taken up that burden. I confronted the shopkeeper at Echigoya's, and he told me a shipment had just arrived at the harbor. The ship was well guarded. In the hold I found Hana and Taro, a teacher from the small village Hana lives. Finally, we found evidence of Echigoya's criminal dealings.
Apparently bananas are illegal in this world. Maybe bananas are a euphemism for drugs or guns, but the game has guns. Whatever it stands for, it's apparently serious business, and Hana joins me to alert the judge. He immediately sent the police to confiscate the...bananas... and arrest Echigoya. When they returned, they reported no bananas. Back at Hana's house we discussed the situation. Maybe the police, the judge, or both were paid off by Echigoya. Before we could get too serious into these assumptions, Kame (Hana's friend), returned in bad shape. She had tried to sneak into Echigoya's shop, but was found by the Hatamotos. She barely escaped with her life. Hana joined the party once again to investigate the shop. Inside, we heard the Shogun discussing his plan to sell bananas on the black market to afford buying up all the Magi. Echigoya was helping with the import, and I assume taking a small cut.
It's the Heroic Tune! You're about to be busted
The shogun escaped while we fought with Echigoya and a group of nine Hatamotos. Echigoya pleaded after the battle that he was under duress by the Shogun (I just realized it's actually Sho-gun for some reason). I dropped off Hana, and picked up Taro to take on the Shogun. He had the powerful Muramas sword, and a back-up katana. It's really unfortunate that I can't remove equipment from NPCs.
I don't think I can even buy a Muramas
Unfortunately, before I could get to the boss, Taro contracted blindness. Blind reduces agility, which affects hit-rate with the Muramas, and I had just used the last eye drops on Celd. Blind is one of the few status effects that follow outside of combat. Poison and paralysis resolve themselves. Stone requires an item called soft, but I carried a soft through the whole game without needing to use it. Same with curse, which I never actually saw.

The Shogun was another push over, but for good reason this time. He was actually a puppet for a demon collecting Magi. Magnate showed up to challenge me on the roof. This battle was quite challenging. Till, who had focused on strength and defense increases, didn't have enough agility to actually connect with any of his attacks. Taro was out on the damage dealing for the same reason. Luckily, the revenge sword doesn't rely on agility.
I really should have bough more eye drops
In the end, it came down to just Till and Taro. With Till on revenge duty and Taro healing, I was able to whittle him down. I collected the Magi off Magnate, and set out to the next world. Oh, and Taro and Hana hooked up.
So, the game is suddenly going to give me only 1 per world now, right?
With the realization that Till is going to need some agility to hit bosses, it was time again to rethink his build. I hadn't quite decided what to do, but I knew it was going to cause problems going forward. Especially once I start running into those enemies that focused solely on magic. I samurai bow I found in the pagoda as a possibility. While I did find some missiles and tank cannons, the limited charges didn't seem useful when cut in half. I had also been finding more and more mana based weapons, and foolishly depleted their durability trying to equip them on my robot. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Join me next time for the thrilling conclusion.

Elapsed Time: 7h18m (Total Time: 9h50m)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Game #43: Final Fantasy Legend II (Game Boy) - Father Found

Game 43

Title: Final Fantasy Legend II
Released: November 1991 (December 1990 JPN)
Platform: Game Boy
Developer: Square
Publisher: Square
Genre: RPG
Exploration - Top-down
Combat - Turn based
Series - SaGa

An intro!
I've been looking forward to this game for a while. The first in the series was my only Game Boy game growing up, and while I knew more were being released, I didn't travel nearly enough. Also, the SNES released the same year. So, I dropped Game Boy altogether and never looked back, until recently. I've actually been exploring the Game Boy library as a side project, and plan to play through them all. I'm keeping the RPGs set aside in chronological order, so each game experience on this blog will be as fresh as possible.
Straight to character selection
Right away, I could tell that this title had more polish, leveraging on the previous game I'm sure. We have humans, mutants, and monsters (still rather pathetic) returning as selectable characters, and the addition of the robot class. I chose to first start with a human female. Humans now increase stats the same way mutants did in the first, although slightly faster. Increases seem based on actions taken in combat: stat based weapons increase the corresponding stat, spells increase mana, and HP seems to increase on its own. Monsters continue to live off meat, and often fall to a weaker state before rising back to the level of the party. Robots are a new breed that don't evolve with battle. Instead, they get stat boosts based on equipment. Armor greatly increases their defense, and weapons will either increase strength or agility. The key weakness to their design is their mana stat, which doesn't increase. Mana doubles as magic attack and defense.
Almost done with the boring stuff
The scrolling intro described Magi, a great power left behind by ancient gods. After character creation the scene above shows the main character's father stealing away into the night, but first he left a piece of Magi behind. An undetermined number of years later he still has not returned, so Celd decides to set off in search of him. She said her goodbyes to her mom and teacher, Mr. S. The latter gave her a bit more story about Magi: 77 pieces exist that form the statue of Isis, an ancient god. Each Magi has a special use, and the one I received is called Prism.
That's convenient
Mr. S told me to assemble an additional three members from the rest of the students. I chose one of each class: female mutant, robot, and a slime. My party fully assembled, I left my hometown. Mr. S stopped the party on the way out. He joined through the first cave, which was rather uneventful. There was a boss-type monster waiting at the exit, but he went down in a single use of fire by Mr. S. Additionally, Having a mutant with Flame at this level seems too good. The mutants are the only class with inherent magic abilities. They have four slots for abilities, learned and lost randomly. Unlike the first, only the last slot is replaced each time in order to allow the character to permanently keep up to three skills.
The first town, aptly named First Town, was obsessed with someone named Ki at the Shrine of Isis to the west. In the tavern I learned of Ashura: a power hungry demigod looking for Magi. Ashura's base was to the north near the Pillar of the Sky, which connects this world with others. The tavern also had a music box where it's possible to listen to all the tracks in the game. A standard inn provided healing services at one gold piece per hit point. Staying also restored charges for mutant abilities, and weapons on robots. Weapons normally have a max durability, and degrade by 1 with each use without any way to repair them; however, when equipped on a robot they lose half their durability, but uses get restored at an inn. Immediately I thought, "infinite charges on weapons," but the weapon is reduced by half a second time when unequipped from a robot, so the net gain isn't much. I bought some armor, especially for my robot, and moved on to the shrine.
Artist rendering of Till-bot at this point
Ki, a cleric with the power to heal (is this rare?) directed me to a big rock to the south where Magi might reside. While I found some, most of the chests were empty. The Magi recovered appeared to be stat boosting, so I equipped them to each member. In the Magi menu there are options to equip or use the Magi, but only the Prism did anything useful. I ended up chasing the culprits out the back, but they escaped, killing some guards on the way out.
Strangely no sugar coating here
When the party broke the news to Ki she joined us to assail Ashura's base. A second town on the way provided a respite before I steamrolled through the base. Seriously, the early game is a bit of a joke. After beating another easy boss-type monster waiting for the party, the base started to collapse. As we rushed out I picked up three more Magi, some elemental ones that I figured enhanced my affinity with those spells. Escaping put us directly in front of the Pillar of the Sky. Ki stayed behind in her world while I pressed on to Ashura's desert world.
Each world is locked until enough Magi are gathered
Ashura's world began with a Desert Town overrun with scamps, thieves, and vagabonds. The party was waylaid inside the town multiple times. Through some bribery I learned where Ashura was holed up. I upgraded my armor, and tried to follow the directions given by the barkeep. Seven steps south of a cactus and seven east were much harder to follow in the sand storms because the ground continuously moved the party. Clumsily we made our way south. There was a town outside Ashura's tower, but it wasn't of much consequence. The tower climb was fairly easy, and I found a masked man named Mask that joined my party. Now, up to this point I was feeling very confident about getting through this game without much trouble. Then I came to Ashura. Being the first monster to cast mass damage spells my party members fell quickly. Before Mask could get a cure off on himself, he also fell. Till-bot was the final member standing, and delivered the final blow at just 40 HP.
Never to be seen again... wait, was that Celd's father?
Ashura gloated that minions were micronized, and would invade Ki's body to extract the Magi residing inside her. She wasn't doing too well when I arrived, completely catatonic. I was directed to the world of giants for a solution. The giants world was once ruled by giants, but no longer. Rumor had it they found a way to reduce their size. Asking around town revealed that a shopkeeper was getting giant armor. I confronted him about his source by sneaking into his shop from the side. He directed me to Johnny at the tavern, who revealed I needed to find a different colored block to enter the giant's town.
Oh yeah, I also found my dad
Even though my original goal was to find my father, he wouldn't come home without recovering all the Magi. He warned about others like Ashura, seeking them only for power, and they had to be stopped. Thus concludes night one.

It's a rather enjoyable game. I'm sorry for the slow posts, and the rather short one here. I've already completed the game, and well into The Bard's Tale, so hopefully I can catch up to my current game soon without slowing down how often I play. In any case, I wanted to get something out this week instead of delaying once again. I'll have the follow-up post(s) soon.

Elapsed Time: 2h32m (Total Time: 2h32m)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Game #42: The Faery Tale Adventure (Genesis) - A Quest in an Empty World (Finished)

Game 42

Title: The Faery Tale Adventure
Released: 1991
Platform: Genesis
Developer: New World Computing (original development by MicroIllusions)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Action-RPG
Exploration - Top-down / Isometric
Combat - Action based
Series - Standalone (on console; PC had a sequel)

Once upon a time, the end. This is how this game should be treated. It's just not worth the time. Boasting an expansive world is worthless when it's not filled with interesting encounters. Completing this game was a wholly unsatisfying endeavor, from disjointed quest hints to unnecessarily long mazes and soft locks. It's enough of a mess that even Chet over at The CRPG Addict decided he'd had enough of the game about mid-way through. I'm amazed that anyone thought this was a good idea to port to console.
Alright, I've got my blame list
Looking over the list of developers I was confused over New World Computing's role in the creation of this game. All the names were employees of MicroIllusions, which created the original game. In the early 90's this company filed for bankruptcy, and while I can't find hard evidence, I suspect during the liquidation that NWC bought up their IP. Having a close relation with EA, and an easy buck to be made, they ported this to the Genesis. However, neither the game nor manual mentions of anyone with direct ties to NWC. It's possible EA was the one that carried this project, and only licensed the rights. EA's role is detailed in the manual, so maybe that's as far as it goes. Eventually this IP would find its way back to the original developers working at The Dreamers Guild, a company formed shortly after the collapse of MicroIllusions. That one was never ported to console though, so we won't see it here.
Enter the red shirt
The back story, presented storybook fashion, refers to events in the past tense. The land of Holm was threatened by an evil necromancer and his encroaching army of evil. Only three brothers hailing from Tambry were capable of recovering a talisman of power that once protected their village (seriously, forget all those other villages). Their father was the first sent out to discover the cause of the invasion, but he returned mortally wounded. With his dying words he spoke of mysterious prophecy, never detailed, that foretold of a large fetch quest with many different parts, and he tasked his sons with fulfilling the vague instructions. Each brother begins with a bare minimum of equipment: a dirk and twenty gold. Instead of controlling all three at once, they take turns by age once they realize the previous brother to venture out hadn't returned for some time.
Tambry is a small village with only a few houses to loot. The local tavern had provisions, so I bought a couple travel rations and a meal to start my journey. I noted a few weapon upgrades and other consumables that I couldn't afford. The mayor directed me to beseech the king of Marheim for aid. On the road there I passed by a graveyard, was assaulted by a wraith, and died. Great peril really does exist. As luck would have it, each brother has a guardian angel that revives them for the cost of 5 luck.
Learning about the witch of Grimwood
The stats for each character are Bravery (battle prowess), Luck (used only to revive), Kindness (if it drops too low, then NPCs will ignore the brother), and Vitality (i.e. hit points). There's a nice compass that highlights the direction I'm headed. Below that is my gold value. The action menu from top-left is inventory, pause, take item, look, toggle music, toggle sound, give gold or item, talk, save, and restore. Each enemy defeated increases bravery by one point. At the time in the above picture, I had used an item called a jade skull to safely kill an enemy that carried the sword I now wielded. With it I killed two more enemies, but suffered another death. Spoils are gained after each battle by taking items off the bodies. Most enemies provide the weapon they were wielding plus an additional item such as a key or magical trinket. Keys are vital to making it anywhere in this game, and they're completely random drops.
Maybe I'll have better luck with Phillip
Julian met his end before I could find the correct key to unlock any of the doors in Marheim, which is on complete lock-down. So, Phillip began his adventure. At the entrance to Tambry I met the apparition of "my dead brother." (Seriously, they couldn't spare the room to note Julian or Philip?) He spoke of his belongings deposited with his body in the graveyard. Sure enough I was able to recover every bit of my inventory. While that's helpful, it still did nothing for my current predicament.
I'm missing two keys, one of which opens the door to the first castle to complete the first step in the quest
So, I wandered around the land looking for a key that according to the manual is most likely a white key that drops from wraiths. The other key is a red one that drops from skeletons, but that one is relegated to secret doors according to the manual. Thankfully the kind folks at EA provided a reference map in the manual, without which I would have been completely lost. It notes the locations Tambry and Marheim (the only towns on this island), points of interest such as Hemsath's Tomb and Isle of Sorcery, and other unnamed locations that include various roadside inns, ancient forts, and stone circles. I picked out the Vermillion Manor as an interesting place to investigate. Along the way I checked out the stone circle east of Tambry. These circles act as quick travel between each one for the cost of one blue stone. Sitting in the middle was a pile of gold, which I added to my reserves.
The map from the manual notes several key locations
As I followed the road north I ran into another wise man that revealed crystal orbs as useful for detecting invisible doors. With a few more battles under my belt by the time I reached the manor, I was feeling a bit more confident about my foothold in the game. Rations are used quickly, and at this point I wasn't sure what effect starving would have on my character. Each ration costs 8 gold, and the only gold source I'd found was the stash at the stone circle; I was beginning to worry about food. The manor provided another stockpile of gold, which I was grateful for, but I quickly found myself in an impossible situation.
Having used both my green keys to enter, I exited the manor to find myself trapped inside
That's right. The game has a soft-lock state where it's possible to entrap one of the brothers inside the walls of the Vermillion Manor. The manual even notes such, although in the hints section, which I skipped over. Restoring a saved game is a complete state, including location, and I had no luck getting enemies to spawn within the manner to hopefully get the correct key drop. So, I restarted the game, and promptly got Julian killed again.
This time I had better luck getting the correct key to the castle
I found the king in a state of complete depression over the kidnapping of his daughter. He wouldn't even lift a finger to point me in the right direction. So, I followed the south road to a place called The Watchtower. There I found a seashell that summoned a turtle, which allowed me to cross the oceans with ease. No enemies spawn while at sea. With no other leads, I returned to the mayor who lamented for the king's loss and directed me to the Isle of Sorcery where a sorceress lives. It wasn't hard to locate with the map, and the turtle allowed me to reach her with few encounters.
Finally! Some direction
The sorceress revealed that I would need to find five golden statues, the first of which she provided. I had no idea how these would help me, but at least it's something. I returned to the mayor of Tambry, and he spoke of the Lord of the Dead roaming the graveyard at the witching hour. It wasn't quite night, so I wondered to the west this time, but only discovered a couple more inns. When night fell, I hurried back to the graveyard. Time isn't ever displayed, so entering the crypt at the right time took a couple of tries, and a key each time as it locked behind me. Once I spoke to the specter, he told me to bring him a bone of an ancient king, and then he'd help me destroy the necromancer. The tomb seemed like the most likely place to get such a bone.
To sleep, just stand still on a bed roll and wait; otherwise, face exhaustion and collapse in the middle of an adventure
Inside the tomb were a couple of mazes. One held a clue to a golden beast to capture, but first a special rope must be gained. The other was a much larger affair of locked golden doors requiring golden keys. Getting through them all required more keys than would show up on the inventory screen. So, I had to constantly wait for skeletons to appear in order to gain more.
Not even a straight path
I spent a good amount of energy making certain I had enough food to make it in and out during each expedition. Unfortunately, it wasn't simple as unlocking all the the doors. Each time I left the tomb, all the doors would lock again. Also, I'm not sure if it's specific to the Genesis port, but only a certain number of doors can be open at one time. I noticed this in the middle of the maze when I ran out of keys. I found myself stuck in the middle. I'd approximate the number at 8 to 10 doors, and there were about 20 in total. So, I sat there, waiting for skeletons to spawn, hoping they'd drop keys; quickly working my way through the last of my rations. Crystal balls are described in the manual as helpful to finding secret doors in the tomb. So, I tried them out; they only work on the visible area of the screen. My first only led to more doors, but helpfully a golden statue otherwise inaccessible. Using the secret doors are the key to getting through this area with minimal keys.
One of the luckiest pair of secret doors ever, and on my last crystal ball
Through a couple more secret doors the tomb opened up to a larger chamber. By this time Phillip was starving. A condition that's less life-threatening than combat. At the time Phillip would normally eat, if he doesn't have any rations, he loses a mere two points of vitality. By this time I had enough health vials that I wasn't too worried about it. The chamber led to a long hallway and to the bone I sought. One side effect to hunger is that Phillip started to jitter about as he moved, as if he had the shakes. It made an already slow walk even slower. Delivering the bone gained me a crystal shard, which does me absolutely no good with my present dilemma. At this point I expected another hint from the mayor, but he was oddly silent. When I attempted to talk to him, the screen would pause for a moment like it was thinking, and then nothing.
So, I went to go fight a dragon
The descriptions of many items spoil a lot of the game. I'm not sure if this was done through pity by the R.J. Berg (in charge of documentation at EA), or if this is true to the computer versions, but I'm thankful in any case. The gold ring highlighted here works as a time stop for enemies. The manual says it's useful for getting past the dragon in her cave to search for the wand.
If I were a dragon's cave, where would I be?
Sticking true to its ideals, the cave was a long twisty maze devoid of anything interesting. The dragon herself could be subdued, but would soon rise again full of fury. Retrieving the wand and escaping was an easy feat with the numerous gold rings I'd found. Next time I returned to the mayor he pointed me towards a golden treasure kept in a hold south of Marheim. I headed straight south, and circled the mountains until I came upon a strange sight.
I've reached the mountains south, but see two possible holds
It's difficult to see, but I'm at the black cross. The fort below is completely walled off. The one on the left I encountered a black figure that proclaimed the place as "the sacred shrine of the People who came Before." The wand was useless against him, but he was easy to defeat in a duel with the sword. Standing just outside his range I swung my sword until he proclaimed me the victor. Combat in general is a bit underwhelming, especially at 500 bravery. All the melee weapons only require holding down the attack button, and then facing the direction of the enemy. While doing so, the character is immobile. There is a bow, which is useless in my hands, but deadly in the enemies (it even ignores bravery, which acts as a defense bonus). Mainly it's because enemies match my movement perfectly, and travel at my max speed, so there's no kiting and no escape. The wand is slightly better as it has a higher damage output, but I preferred the sword when I could get away with it.
Using a bird token to get an overhead view of Grimwood forest maze
My reward for defeating the black figure was the Sunstone, which automatically disables the witch's aura. I took the long way to her castle in the middle of Grimwood due to not having many bird totems (the only way to view the map). I'm glad I did; doing so allowed me to find another golden statue in another part of the maze. I used the wand to take care of the witch, and she dropped the magic lasso. I took this immediately to Swan Isle to procure the last golden swan. I then flew to the princess tucked away in that unreachable fort.
What other method is there to fly that someone could stash the princess here?
What happens if Phillip dies, does she just pledge her love to Kevin?
The safe return of the princess produced a thanks from the king along with a modest gift of gold. He pointed me to the priest in town that had been holding a golden statue all along. I had enough keys at this point to check all the houses. Only two produced a hefty supply of apples. One other housed a wise man that told me of the swan I had just flown on. The priest handed over the statue, and revealed they were from Azal-Car-Ithil. Gathering all five would reveal this vanished city. The map had Azal noted as in the middle of the desert. With one last statue to find, I flew from point to point on the map until I finally came upon it at Seahold in the southeast corner of the island. Up to this point the mayor had kept repeating his hint of something golden to the south. Once I had all five he told me to seek out Azal.
Wait! How did that guy find it before me?
Azal was the resting place of a rose that protects me from lava, the first barrier to the necromancer's castle. I braved the Plain of Grief to find his castle, barren and devoid of any threat worth speaking. Inside his castle was a blue magic barrier that I'm guessing didn't block me due to the crystal. The only thing on the other side was a portal to a different plane of existence. It had floating shapes that attacked, but only three of them appeared. There was different colored terrain in this strange place: green was normal, blue had weird ice physics, and red sped me up considerably. The final showdown took place in a completely black area that reversed the controls. In the center was the necromancer that fell quickly to the wand blasts.
I just realized I forgot to talk to him, or maybe I just didn't care enough to try
Picking up the talisman started the ending sequence where Phillip returned to Marheim, had a wedding, and lived happily ever after. That's it, nothing more to see. Overall it's an easy game, but the size of the world plus the disconnect between one step and the next makes it drag on far too long. The golden statue at Seahold isn't mentioned anywhere in the game according to the manual (it has a step by step guide for beating the game, which I didn't read I completed it). Actually, the game didn't mention the one in the tomb or forest as far as I know. I wouldn't recommend this game to anyone. On to the review, and a better game: Final Fantasy Legend II. I'm actually quite behind on posts, and have finished that game as well.
On the back of a horse? Have you no shame?
Elapsed Time: 11h12m (Final Time: 11h12m)

Combatant - Combat is the worst offender of this game. Random keys drop from random enemies that will most likely kill you before you can even get a foothold in the game. Once you do though, things swing completely in the other direction as to become trivial. Still random drops rule all, and if the game doesn't want to give you a single white key, it doesn't have to.
Rating: 3
Did they not even try to improve the game?
Admirer - At least each character has a unique look, and the weapon shown is the one wielded; however, that last aspect is limited to only the two most powerful weapons of which there are only five (wand, sword, bow, mace, dirk). There' no armor, and no other way to customize the characters. Controls aren't bad, but walking is extremely slow. Strangely, the inn menu and stone circle location menu of my copy of the game seemed to react to up and down per frame instead of per button press. I'm not sure how that would even happen.
Rating: 3
Poor Kevin, I wonder if anyone even used him
Puzzler - No side quests, many red herrings, and a main quest that's a complete mess to follow. This game deserves the first 0 in this category. Maybe things would have fared better with clues or hints that took some thought.
Rating: 0
Why is this note here, and who was it written to?
Instigator - The only reason this doesn't get lower is there's at least a passable story here with some descriptions and hints by various wise men that act more as signposts than people. Knowing how to trigger each point is covered above. The idea of playing through a cliche fairy tale could have been more interesting, but this game falls flat.
Rating: 3
Which goal?
Collector - Possibly one of the best inventory displays I've seen, although the selection is rather poor. Half the items are hardly useful, but the economy keeps me wanting to purchase bird totems until I'm poor. I'm missing one item (the rose) in the below shot, and it's obvious where it goes. If only this were in a better game. I didn't cover the green stones that light the night red, but they're only sometimes useful.
Rating: 6
Item count can go above what's displayed, but there's no way of telling how high
Explorer - As I mentioned, graphics, music, and sound are sufficient if not good. The world at large is expansive, and there's nothing preventing exploration of every corner from the very beginning. Nothing prevents it because nothing is there. It's a nice calming nature walk when the game cover and manual promises excitement and adventure. There are a few items, chests, and random gold piles to discover, but nothing really jumps out as surprising.
Rating: 6
Here's the password for the above inventory, and very nearly the end of the game for anyone interested
Final Rating: 21 [35%]

A forgettable game that I don't mind remaining forgotten. There was a lot of promise, but not fully realized. Had the quest been streamlined with hints all the way through it might have been tolerable. Had the world not been so empty, it could have at least been entertaining to get lost. Had someone play tested this game, maybe someone would have been able to adjust it. In the end, there are better games out there that do these things better, even on the Genesis.

Now on to Final Fantasy Legend II.