Genre: Strategy/RPG Developer: Masaya Publisher: NCS Players: 1 Released: 1994
Langrisser IIis the sequel to Warsong, the strategy/RPG that got a name change and never saw any of its sequels officially translated to English. Just like another great strategy/RPG on this console, Shining Force II, Langrisser II is a sequel that essentially delivers “more of the same, but even better.” It is very similar to Warsong/Langrisser, but has some new features and more of everything. Thankfully, MIJET (and some others, such as D), made a translation patch for this game. As always, when it comes to work by MIJET, the effort is classy, with a font that suits your eyes and a language which may be a bit unusual (words such as “shit” and “bitch” are used, which is just fine to me, though), but always detailed, emotional and never unfitting.
The story is the usual good versus evil nonsense that plagues 90% of RPGs of the time. Of course there is this ultr@ r@re girl with giganormous magical powers, which for some reason can’t help her from being kidnapped by a level four Fighter. Naturally, some dumbasses have created a weapon that can destroy the world (maybe it’s a collective of self-harming emos who did it?). And, as you could have guessed, the plot has more holes than Swiss cheese. You know, the usual stuff.
BUT! There is one thing that really makes up for it, and that is the character development. There are many more characters, both villains and allies, compared to the original. They interact a lot during the battles, also differently depending on how you play, which together with the interesting personalities and backstories give a lot to the atmosphere. I particularly like the honourable villain Leon, who strongly believes in using the power of Darkness to free the world from wars, yet protects civilians and thinks hostage-taking is cowardly. I also like the telling of Vargas (which means “wolf carcass” in Swedish), who leaves his wife and newborn child to win an important battle for the empire. Very great story telling here, which for once makes you feel for the enemy characters, and not only the heroes.
Before each scenario, you buy troops for your generals (the main characters). The troops can be horsemen (strong against soldiers), pikemen (strong against horsemen), elves (weak, but can attack from afar) and many more. It is kind of like rock-paper-scissors or Mega Man. The troops cost points, and once the battle is over you need to hire them again. So buying max troops may not be the best decision, because then you may not afford as many as you need for the next scenario. You need to look at what your enemies are and carefully plan what troops to buy and how many. You can also buy items, which stay after battle, but they are only for your generals.
When entering the battlefield, your troops surround your generals to protect him/her. By using the Mega Drive highlight mode splendidly, Masaya lets you see how far away your troops can go from your general without losing contact from him/her, and thereby attack as well as possible. Usually the winning condition requires you to defeat all enemies, but sometimes you need to do it within XX turns, sometimes take an item, protect an NPC etc. So there is a good amount of variation when it comes to the gameplay. Your generals are very powerful and can attack as well, but if they die it may be game over, so you need to be careful about using them. Your generals have many more classes to choose from in Langrisser II. New ones include Ranger, which is strong, but cannot command troops on the battlefield; Dragon Knight, which can command the magically immune angels, and Silver Knight, which is just another horseman class.
The graphics are a mixed bag. What doesn’t appeal to me are the battlefield map graphics, which often use the standard Mega Drive palette 1A and aren’t anything special, really. Nothing to drop your jaw for there, except for the aforementioned use of highlight mode, but it gets the job done and some critical details such as simple animation which shows what troops belong to the general you are looking at. However, the portraits, especially in the introduction and the ending, are amazing – definitely the best on the console, with the sprite palettes dedicated to them for as much detail as possible. Of course, the character design by some hentai artist (not kidding!) is great as well. In the battlefield, the sequences have bigger sprites compared to the original, but they aren’t very well animated and it’s still not very fun to look at. However, it can be exciting when your ten weak pikemen need to, and succeed in, killing the last point of a powerful High Lord (think of throwing pebbles at a mountain and miraculously destroying it).
The sound effects are nothing to write home about, as we say here on Sega-16, but the music by Noriyuki Iwadare (Lunar, Gleylancer, Ranger-X, Star Odyssey, etc.) and some other guy is fantastic. It’s the traditional up tempo synthrock tunes he is famous for, mixed with the traditional orchestral RPG ballads and some rhythms that make me think of marches. It can be a bit tiresome in the long run, but maybe that’s because I played the scenarios for so many turns?
Warsong was highly addicting to me. So much, I delayed a reply to my then soon-to-be-girlfriend by hours, leading her to ask if she wrote something unfitting. Well, of course she did, I was playing Warsong! I beat the game before we got serious, but then I had no idea how to find time to play the sequel. Fortunately, she helped me with that by breaking up (not related to this, no), so I could spend nearly all my free spare time playing the great Langrisser II, which is even more addictive. And I did, because it is so much fun with all the character classes and troops, it has memorable and great looking characters and catchy music. So buy this game, then play it on your flash cart if you don’t know Japanese (if you know Japanese, you may play the game you bought).
Today’s quote: “Wow… What a bitch!” – Hein from Langrisser II.
SCORE: 9 out of 10