by: Yoshio Kiya (producer)
by: Early CRPGs.
Eight games. To this day, only three games in this series to have made it to
the U.S. One is the NES' Legacy of the Wizard, in Japan
known as Dragon Slayer IV: DraSle Family.
The other, Sorcerian, got a limited
PC release by Sierra On-Line. Dragon
Slayer: The Legend of Heroes hit the TurboGrafx CD. The NES sleeper
action-RPG Faxanadu is a side-game to
It's actually hard to point to conclusive evidence of the games Falcom
inspired, but the tendency to rework the entire game system for each
installment was probably an influence on Final
going to cover these game by game, because they're different enough from each
other that describing one doesn't begin to explain the others:
a huge, deviously-constructed, tile-based world, a hero fights monsters and
harvests items (by carrying them, laboriously, one at a time to his house) to
increase his power so that he can fight more monsters. After hours of this, he
becomes powerful enough to kill the biggest monster, the Dragon, and so proceed
to the next level. (Level?!)
hero can move his house around by pushing it, making the trip to carrying
things home less time-consuming. Visiting home replenishes hit points, carrying
a sword makes the player able to kill monsters, carrying home a power stone raises
his strength, and so on.
The hero also has spells for some utility purposes,
such as tearing down walls. Overall he is extremely fragile, so he must plan
carefully in order to succeed.
Dragon Slayer (Screenshot courtesy http://hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/)
Dragon Slayer prominently displays a
number of stats (using eight-digit numbers with lots of leading zeros) and pits
players against lots of strange monsters,
but it's more of an action game, really, than an RPG. Still, its
loot-based character advancement system is in line with the older D&D way
of doing things.
Dragon Slayer is an overhead game. Its
sequel, Xanadu, is more of a
side-view platformer, although, when contact is made with a monster, the game
switches to another screen for the battle sequence.
is real-time and consists of the usual Falcom combat scheme, also used in the
better-known Ys games, of ramming
into enemies and hoping your health holds out longer than theirs. Despite the
similar combat, Xanadu doesn't have a
whole lot to do with Dragon Slayer,
an aspect that became typical of the series.
three in line. Not a long game, and not a complicted game, but an incredibly
difficult game all the same. The game is an RPG platformer, and this time
doesn't switch to a separate battle screen for combat.
It's got quite a lot of obscure tricks that
must be performed to proceed, sort of like Namco's Tower of Druaga. It also has a strict 30 minute time limit! There is a fan-made
English translation of this game, which also fixes some minor bugs and restores
some features found disabled in the code.
Family, a.k.a. Legacy of the Wizard:
of only three Dragon Slayer games to
make it to the U.S.
It's infamous there for its immense difficulty, and excellent music. I've
played all the way through this, and can say that it's incredibly large,
extremely hard, and yet strangely fun to play.
The game makes you work for every little thing, but it's very satisfying
when it's all pulled off A Let's Play video report on the NES version of the
game is up on YouTube, and demonstrates well the game's many insidious traps.
a side-scrolling action RPG with a four-member party and Wizardry-like character creation! Your party members follow behind
sort of like the options from Gradius.
It's especially interesting because, also like Wizardry, there were further adventures that could be purchased to
take your characters into. The game got
a DOS release in the U.S.
under the auspices of Sierra On-Line, although none of the add-on disks made it
Slayer: The Legend of Heroes:
standard JRPG, nominally in the Dragon
Quest mold, with the usual town/dungeon gameplay split, turn-based battles,
and strong story elements indicative of the genre. As Xanadu earlier spun off into its own series, so did Legend of Heroes series; games in this
series continue to this day in Japan.
greatest hit was Ys, which is a shame
as, for its good points, Ys is still
painfully straight-forward. The Dragon
Slayer games, for their weird action elements and platforming,
paradoxically kept in closer contact with the spirit of old-school roleplaying.
What a strange and wonderful collection of games.
demonstration of Romancia
patch for Romancia (Geocities link)