I watched, the other night, someone speed run through Unlimited Saga.

This is a standard mission screen in Unlimited Saga.

While the game was in Japanese, I could basically tell their tactics.  First of all, they avoided almost all battles.  Secondly, they got skills that seemed to emphasize speed.  Finally, they used two main tactics – knife skills with a high chance of a deadly strike, and a specific axe technique which tends to kill the final boss quickly.  The player finished the game in about an hour and a half.

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The first Ys game has subtle differences between the versions.  However, it’s pretty much a defining game for that genre of action RPGs.

The hero, in full equipment, crosses the bridge toward the second town.

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Ys Clones

I’ve mentioned several games as being Ys clones in this game.  I think as a definition article, I should define what I mean.

Makai Hakkenden shows a typical YS clone.

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I think you can kind of separate tutorials into a few categories.  For example, there’s games that assume you are very young.  There’s games that assume you don’t know the genre conventions.  There’s games that want to give you information about the world.  A final category might be games that want you to be able to look up mechanics.

Here, in Final Fantasy II / Final Fantasy IV, the game makes sure you know how to move and talk.

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Tao is an infamous game in Japan, and came out in 1989.  While I can’t read the commentary about it that well, many people say it’s attempting to force a political view on the player (which seems to fit the ending,) and that it’s a kusoge.  The developer was Pax Softnica who worked on a wide range of stuff including Mother, Wrecking Crew, and Ice Hockey.  The publisher was VAP (NTV).  VAP, thanks to ties with Nihon Television, did a lot of anime tie in games, and from what I can tell, didn’t seem to publish great games.

The hero, in red in the upper left, finds a church in Crosston.

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The translation for this game dates back to 2000, and suffers from the occasional line that I don’t think is perfect.  However, I’m curious to talk about this series.  This is another early RPG that came out from Data East in 1989.  The previous game came out in 1987.  The last game in the series was in 1994.

A shot of Athens by day in Herakles 2 shows the hero standing near the harbor. The hero is the man in white.

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There’s people doing retro games now.  I think it might be interesting to discuss what they’re evoking, and how they can fail.

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Dragon Quest V

Dragon Quest V is a game that was legendary when I was a kid.  I remember everyone saying that Dragon Quest V had the best story, and Dragon Quest VI had the best graphics.  This was back around 1992 when the game first came out from Enix.  It finally was officially translated in 2009 for the DS.

Here, a nun discusses what your hero has endured up to this point in the story.

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ZOIDS : Chuuou Tairiku no Tatakai and ZOIDS 2: Zenebasu no Gyakushuu are two NES games, and fairly early.  The first one came out in 1987, and the second one came out in 1989.  Both were developed by Micronics and published by Toemiland.  They’re tie-ins to a long running anime / toy line which I know nothing about (save that it seems a bit like a Transformers clone.)

The grinning blue Godzilla is the hero.

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Outlanders is a manga / anime tie in game.  It’s from 1987, and was developed by Micronics.  The publisher was Victor Musical Industries.  The author of Outlanders is Johji Manabe.  It’s basically a space opera with a fair amount of humor as best I can tell.  The original run of the manga was 1985 – 1987, so this game came out near the end of the run of the manga.

The hero finds an underground area with what I assume is a city.

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