I'll try to be objective, but this game really shines for me
My problem is this is the first video game RPG I've ever played. See, that's a huge bias with me because it totally blew me away. I borrowed a TurboGrafx 16 with a CD player and a ton of games for a week in high school and the whole experience totally excited me. This system was not popular, so me and my few friends were probably the only kids in the entire school who even saw it. This is back in the days of SNES and Genesis, 16-bit gaming. Back then, there was no such thing (to console gamers) as voice in video games or CD quality music.
So enter the Turbo CD games. It was expensive so no one had it. It had tons of anime games but nobody knew what anime was back then! Can you kids imagine? I had never seen a narrated intro anime movie (movie!!) for a video game. That didn't exist back then. There were cut-scenes with graphics and text on the SNES and Genesis, but not animated with orchestrated music and with a real narrator. This game was years beyond what I expected to see video games do and only a few of us saw it, the few people who had TurboGrafx.
Combine that crazy stuff with the fact that this was my first RPG makes it amazing to me. Also be aware that I was a huge cartoon and anime geek at the time, and the fact that well-known voice actors from all my favorite cartoons were in this game almost made me die of happiness. See, these hobbies are very acceptable and popular now, but back then nobody knew about them and certainly didn't think it was cool.
So I'll try to rate this game looking back at it without letting too much of my feelings mess with it. Although it's bound to happen, so don't hold your breath.
The game has a perfect difficulty. You don't have to spend too much time leveling up but you do have to do a little. However, the exploring you do while you are trying to figure out how to get through the game will level you up at a nice pace. This game also has quite a wonderful atmosphere. The incredible music definitely sets the tone brilliantly, but also the story and environments certainly take you away. The game play is great. It's an accelerated RPG, which means instead of wasting your time with random encounters and battle screens, you simply run your character into the enemies and the game immediately takes into account your stats and the angle in which you approached the enemy and reacts accordingly with damage. So if you're the impatient type like me it's a great game. It's a nice long game, it took me a week to get through playing after school for about 3-5 hours a night. It might be too short for you if you have lots of time on your hands. There's a reason EGM magazine gave this game a perfect 10 score when it was released. It's a tight game in most respects.
Playing it now, you'd probably think it was just a 16 bit game with awesome music, and you'd be right. It is fairly straightforward, no real side quests and linear, but that's how games were back then. You also might think the cut-scene animations are primitive, but again, that was the technology back then. You have to remember that full screen images of people on screen and talking were literally something no console gamer ever saw before. Also, this is one of those 'main character doesn't talk or have any emotions' type games, which were extremely popular back then. The idea was for you the gamer to take the full brunt of the emotions and situations presented to you (kind of like some first person shooters like Half-Life) and the character on screen was just an extension of you, instead of you controlling a person on an adventure who you may or may not agree with. This game pulls it off nicely, although there is still a bit of disconnection, especially now with games being so complex.
Anyway, if you consider yourself a gaming nut and you think you need to know and play all old legendary games to make yourself an expert in the history of gaming, this is a must-play. Play it alongside the popular SNES and Genesis games released in 1991 and see for yourself why all the people (look at all the comments here in IMDb so far) get all teary-eyed when they think back about it. That's the only way to see what people were seeing and expecting of video games and how far the Turbografx and Y's were beyond those expectations. It really was an amazing experience for us
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