Shin Seikoku: La Wares

Yutaka, as best as I can tell, didn’t publish many RPGs other than La Wares.  The developer, J-Force, did do some other RPGs for the SNES.  Shin Seikoku: La Wares is a 1995 game, and it never came over to the US.

You get to play as Michelle as you plan a rescue for Shi-Feng. Note the muted colors.

The game itself suffers from some pacing issues.  Of course, without understanding the language, you can’t really use the text to tell you where to go next.  However, consider this.  In one area of the game, you’re in a mansion. You need to go 6 rooms over to find a kitchen off the dining room to talk to some people.  Then you need to go over another 6 rooms to talk to one of the people again.  Head back to where you started the sequence to talk to a guy in the hall, then south to talk to a woman in a bedroom.  Return to the area near the dining room, and you can trigger a scene that allows you to continue the game.  Possibly due to text size, most of the conversations run at least seven text boxes in length, which makes it feel even more “talky” as you explore the early part of the game.

Michelle's status screen art is pretty different compared to her ingame sprite.

The game involves some kind of noblewoman (Michelle?) who rescues the hero (Shi-feng?) after he’s captured.  They then head off on a mission to rescue the hero’s father, and try to bring justice in the world.  Their character designs do not resemble the status screen designs at all.  In fact, there’s a fair amount of disconnect between the muted graphics of the world and the bright style of the status screen designs.

All the status screen art may be done by Kazuko Tadano. This is the hero, Shi-Feng.

The first dungeon in the game features several time wasting elements.  This includes things like multiple routes ending in the same path, winding passages, and blind choices between treasure and the way to continue.  The boss at the end of it is kind of a let down, since you end up talking longer than the fight usually takes to win.

Shi-Feng confronts a chest in the first dungeon area of La Wares. Note the multiple paths.

Exploring the world map is done in the giant robots.  This is the only place (not counting treasure chests) where you seem to get money, which seems like an odd choice.  It’s a little hard to find where to repair your robot (a blacksmith’s shop) which can be tedious.  The giant robot battle system is brightly colored and looks pretty nice.

The red bottles seem to be HP, and the blue ones seem to be fuel or MP. This is an early fight with a giant robot in the game.

All in all, La Wares is a curious game.  I suspect if I could read the dialog, the amount of talking to people would feel less annoying.  It is interesting that you have a fairly powerful heroine, and the game has a very different feel compared to a generic Final Fantasy clone.  On the other hand, it doesn’t feel particularly amazing.

While fighting on foot, it typically looks something like this. When you level up, there's massive text reading "LEVEL UP" scrolling across the screen.

Do I think everyone needs to play the game?  I suspect most people, especially without English text, would find the game to not be worth the work.  Prices seem high in stores, so I suspect you could get stuck unable to get cash, and unable to heal your robot.  The unique feel of the game, though, may make it worth it for some people.

Lushunas is a temporary partner for the first dungeon.

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