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Old 12-08-2006, 06:18 PM   #7
Lightning Flik
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 115
Next three reviews are going to be for the single best series in existence (not surprisingly) Suikoden.

Suikoden 1 (Konami)

You are the son of one of the six great generals in The Scarlet Moon Empire. While working for the Emperor and his generals, your friend Ted (who was adoted by your father) exposes the fact that he has a True Rune, one of 27 runes in the world that make the user immortal and gives them great power.

The Court Magician to the Emperor tries to steal the rune away from Ted, but Ted is able to pass on the Rune, known as the Soul Eater, to you. You are then framed as traitors to the Empire and sent on the run.

While on the run, you meet up with a resistance army, opposed to the Empire and its corruption. From there on, you are swept up in events that lead you to elves, dragons, dwarves, kobolds, vampires and 108 companions. All the while facing the inevitability of facing down your father - still loyal to the Empire.

Gameplay

Suikoden has a fairly unique battle system, with six member parties all performing individual actions, as well as being able to team up together to perform special attacks.

As well, there are strategic battles which happen from time to time throughout the game. These are probably not nearly as hardcore enough for fans of games like FF Tactics or Disgaea, but it's a good introduction for people not familiar with those types of games.

Magic is provided by runes which are attached to each character. Some characters are able to use particular runes while others cannot, depending on abilities and weapons, which makes the system a little more unique and individualised.

Equipment is the standard as in most RPGs, replaced by better and better stuff. Weapons, however, are not. You actually have a smith that works for you who upgrades your weapons, through special hammers that are found throughout the game.

One of the most unique features is the 108 Stars of Destiny. There are 108 characters that can be found throughout the game to join your army. Some join automatically, some are easy to find, some are insanely hard and quite a few have special conditions you have to meet to get them to join. (IE Winning a gambling contest, duelling them, having another character in your party that knows them - it varies)

The characterisation in the game is quite solid, most of the characters have well developed, individual personalities, though some of the lesser characters don't fare as well.

Sound

No voice acting. It's from 1996.

Music - Outstanding overall. Really catchy themes that don't grate on you. The battle theme gets repetitive, but that's kind of a given considering how much you have to hear it during these types of rpgs. An extrememly solid soundtrack.

Graphics - By today's standards, even by the standards of its release, Suikoden looked kind of average. Colourful sprites, yet everything looks a bit grainy. Particularly the pics of people when dialogue comes up. Some nice details in the towns but the outdoor environments look a bit bland.

Overall

This game holds up amazingly well from the PS1 era - it was even released on the Saturn. It introduces alot of interesting plot and gameplay elements which have remained with the series through all five games.

The story is particularly strong, and though it has alot of fantasy/RPG cliches, it turns them on their head well enough that they remain interesting. It starts out fairly light hearted but turns serious early on and is surprisingly mature for a game from this era. Especially compared to games released around the same time.

This game is definitely worth your time, and you can probably find it on Ebay for relatively cheap. At least compared to Suikoden II.

It gets an A from me.
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