Review by Y0u
"The most underrated game ever? Quite possibly."
Radia Senki (or Chronicle of the Radia War) is a great RPG released for the Japanese NES (Actually, Famicom) in 1991 by TEMCO, of all companies and never in the US. I stumbled on the fully translated ROM and downloaded it for no particular reason, and I was glad I did! I didn't know an action RPG this good existed on the NES! If this had been marketed well in the US (but it wasn't even released here), it would have (hopefully) been a success.
The battles remind me of Secret of Mana more than anything. Battles are fought in an overhead view, in real time. You get up to FIVE characters, although you may have as few as two during the story. You control the hero (whom you name) directly, and everyone else is computer controlled. You can, however, give them general commands (Move here! Attack this monster! Do whatever you want!) with a menu which is accessed by pressing the A button. You also use the menu for pretty much everything but moving around and attacking with the main character, such as casting spells (everyone but the hero, but you control it), using items, and playing dead (Radia Senki's equivalent to running away.) Like in just about every other RPG, the characters gain EXP towards leveling up from monsters, but unlike in just about every RPG, money is gained by selling dropped items from monsters.
Items are divided into four categories- Gear (equipment,) Medical (healing items, of which you can carry 9 each of 6 different items), and Item, which covers everything else and a few healing items (maximum of 18,) and Prize, which covers pretty much everything you get from defeating monsters to sell for money.
The spell system reminds me of FF1, in that each character (except for the hero) can (and probably will by the end of the game) learn up to four spells, and each has its own number of charges. Spells are learned by using scrolls, which can be found scattered around the whole game, by which a character will learn their next unlearned spell.
What I didn't like about the gameplay? Well, I don't like the MP system, as it never made sense to me that a character should have the MP to cast a really, really powerful spell, but not enough MP for a basic attack spell. Also, spells can only target ALL monsters or ALL allies- there's no spell ranges or single monster spells.
Now, anyone who's played this game will probably tell you that these graphics are some of the best on the NES, but I have several complaints. In battle, with five characters, the NES's sprite per line limit is frequently exceeded, causing the characters and monsters to flicker. Also, there are NO spell animations whatsoever- the targets are just knocked back. Also, many of the PLAYABLE characters are pallet swaps of each other, and two even have identical graphics (good thing you never have those two at the same time.)
But, the graphics look very realistic indeed for the NES, some of the best on the system, which is why I give them an 8. What single handedly raises the score up to an 8 is that for random battles, the screen doesn't change, you fight in the same terrain you were walking around in!
The story starts out with the main character (all that is revealed about him at this time is that he is a swordsman) waking up in a forest, not being able to remember anything. Darus (I can't remember the exact spelling since it's been a month or so since I've played the game, and you only see the first four letters of someone's name in battle), a resident of the nearby Elfas Village, finds him in the forest and mistakes him for a thief. Monsters attack, and the two call a truce to fight the monsters. After this, Darus realizes that the hero is not a thief, and the two go to Elfas Village. I won't spoil any more of the storyline, but I will say that the main character has an identity.
This game is great- I can't believe I'd never heard of it until I downloaded the ROM!
Good things about this game-
Five character parties, which is unheard of for an action RPG on the NES or even SNES.
Story is pretty good for an NES game....
But more importantly (IMO), gameplay is great for a game of ANY system.
Bad things about this game-
Pallet swapped characters (See Graphics.)
Not enough bosses- I think there are ten in the whole game.
Character AI is VERY bad, but what do you expect from an NES/Famicom game?
It wouldn't hurt if it were a little longer.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/20/01, Updated 12/20/01
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