Saturday, October 14, 2017

Game 15 - Benkei Gaiden: Suna no Sho Part 3 (Final)

The second part of this game takes place in China. According to the instruction manual the designers went to China for background research -- or did they just want a free vacation? All the music changes to more Chinese-sounding music, your weapons all get taken, and your money gets replaced with Chinese money. There's no explanation for how your characters can speak Chinese.
The new world map


Our goal is to find Kunlun, the mythical mountain. Supposedly Yoshitsune is waiting there for us. I found the sequence somewhat disconnected -- one of the flaws of this game is that it's not always clear what you're supposed to be doing next, either from a story or gameplay standpoint. This is especially a problem when you have to backtrack, because the backtracking is often based on something you heard 3 hours of gameplay ago that has no direct connection to where you are in the game now. I had to use a walkthrough quite a bit in this section just to learn where to go next; maybe if I had taken detailed notes on what everyone said I could have figured it out.
Meisa, now a full party member


Since Kunlun is said to be at the source of the Yellow River, our first task is to find out how to go upstream. We start off in Lin'an, and our hope is that the Wokou pirates will help us out with a ship -- they are Japanese, after all. After paying some money for the ship, Fudou goes aloneto an island, but the Spirit General Bukoku attacks and defeats her, and she wakes up in a village. A boy Byakuren joins our party; he wants to get to Kunlun to beg the gods to stop the war. He's like Benkei in that he just pops up to attack during combat. He's pretty useless.
Byakuren
Fudou quickly reunites with the party, but Tokoyo has been captured by Bukoku. We also hear that Kublai Khan is being used by the Spirit Generals in order to bring back the Demon Castle. After some fetch quests, the Wokou let us borrow Hou, a sea monster that can ride up the Yellow River.
Hou. I don't know what the source of this monster is.
This is where I feel like the progression starts taking too many detours. We have to awaken ghosts of dead soldiers to pass through an underground lava river, fight a flame dog boss, and then finally get to the castle where Bukoku is holding Tokoyo. Maybe if you're more familiar with the Chinese mythology this all comes from it makes more sense.
Agni flame beast
This is a tough fight. One other big flaw in this game is the lack of good revive options. When enemies have group attack spells, it can be very difficult to resurrect a character and then heal them before they die again. Since enemies often randomly get multiple attacks and criticals, it's easy to get screwed over by luck. I think the fact that I had to grind levels so much for Jugon (the boss of part 1) made it a bit easier, though.

At the top of the castle is Bukoku.
The second Spirit General
He's much easier than Jugon. For the most part my boss strategy from this point on was the same -- use strength buffs and heals, and forget about damage spells or Tokoyo's sword techniques (which often do less than a regular attack). Depending on the boss, Stopspell can be useful as well as the defense buff or the "reflect magic" buff.

With Tokoyo back in the party we continued up to the capital city, although there's nothing to do there at the moment. Instead we head to the Great Wall, where they've managed to decipher some old stones. One is yet undeciphered but somehow Meisa can read it -- it's in Kunlun language. Unfortunately Bukoku shows up again (they can't die as long as the Demon Castle is around), and has one of his minions fight us.
Bukoku and Shigaraki?
Now we know where to go in order to get to Kunlun, but we still need a flute to open the way. So we continue up the Yellow River, and meet Chizam, the head of a Mongol troop. He seems suspicious of Kublai Khan's actions. Finally we reach the end of the Yellow River (or at least what we can access) and have to go through a cave, where Bukoku once again challenges us...but by now he's easy.

A detour brings us to Rakaku, one of Jugon's servants from part 1, but he's now become a priest. He challenges Fudou.
A one on one fight
He uses a lot of debuffs and heals which is annoying -- I had to try a few times and use a lot of the Shiki items to beat him. But he gives us a seal which will prove useful at the end of the game. Afterwards there's a cave that has a map showing us exactly where to use the flute in order to gain access to Kunlun...which would be nice if we had the flute.

Continuing on, we meet the next one of the Spirit Generals, Jako. She(?) sends us back 1000 years to the Jama Taikoku, where Himiko tried to use the Mirror but ended up calling forth an evil power that would be around until someone went to Kunlun. Not sure why Jako wants us to know about this, but of course we manage to get back to the present. Jako meanwhile has killed Chizam and many of the mongol forces. Apparently they are indeed using Kublai Khan, and once Khan calls forth the Demon Castle they will kill him.
Jako

Back in the present we reach the final stage of the journey. Jako once again tries to kill us but Hou sacrifices his life to open the way.
Don't do it!
With that, the last obstacle is gone and we recover the flute. With that we can go to the lake and open the path to Kunlun.
Kunlun
Kunlun is a magical place of happiness where the animals talk. It turns out that Meisa is actually the sister of the leader. We learn that Yoshitsune is no longer there -- he and Genghis Khan were allied at first but were turned against each other by the Demon Castle and apparently killed each other (although later we learn that they defeated the Shikai Emperor so I don't know exactly what happened here). Kosa, the leader, gives you the ring necessary to open the way to the Demon Castle and defeat the Shikai Emperor again.

Back on Earth, we go to the Capital, where the door is. Unfortunately Jako reappears and takes the ring. Byakuren is able to recover it, but Jako kills him.
Noo Byakuren
Beyond the door is an underground cave where we meet the fourth and final General, named Sogyoku:
Sogyoku
He's somewhat annoying but if you use the Stopspell magic it limits his damage a lot. In this area is also a cameo from another Sunsoft game, Hebereke:
Hebe, worth 10000 EXP
And then we can use the item Rakaku gave us earlier to go back to the Jama Taikoku and the final dungeon. Here we have to face all four of the Generals again, although fortunately there is a heal and save to go back to. Then it's the final boss, the Shikai Emperor, who inhabits the body of Kublai Khan to fight us.
The final boss
He has a ton of HP but his attacks aren't as bad as some of the other generals. But just because it's such a long battle, you can get screwed by unlucky hits. It was touch and go for me when I was desperately trying to bring people back to life and heal them, but eventually he went down. My final time was about 16 hours with this as my final levels:

The ending is pretty short. With the Shikai Emperor dead, Kublai Khan also dies, and we escape the Demon Castle. Benkei has to sacrifice himself to let us go, but he promises he won't die.


Kunlun goes away for another 1000 years, and Meisa makes the decision to come to Earth rather than staying in Kunlun. She lives in a village we visited earlier where someone mistook her for his lost daughter. The others go back to Japan and resume their lives, and never meet again. Fudou loses the "Suna lineage" powers and returns to her village to be a normal woman again.
The last night together

Overall not a bad game, although not great either. Certainly just being average puts it ahead of most of the games I've played so far.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Game 15 - Benkei Gaiden: Suna no Sho Part 2

I've finished the first part of the game. At the end of the last post I was heading to the mountains to find the Kasumi clan for help. They want us to prove our worth by recovering the bone of the sea dragon, and we get the item to open that dungeon. That's not very hard, and fortunately we can now use the bone to cross to Kyushu, where we'll supposedly find Jugon's base and the Spirit Ring.

Meanwhile Meisa has disappeared.

Now in Kyushu, we meet a one-eyed girl named Shinobu, but she doesn't want our help. Instead we follow a guy named Enjo to Sakura Island, where he's supposed to lead us to more of the five Spirit Rings we're seeking. Instead he betrays us and lets us get captured by some sort of demon plant.
Screw you Enjo

Fortunately, Shinobu arrives to save us.
Thanks Shinobu

Now we learn that Shinobu is in fact Princess Shino, who blinded herself for some reason (to increase her power or something, but that seems like a bad choice). Unfortunately her father and a close childhood friend have gone over to serving Jugon. We head to the Demon Castle to recover the Purple Ring, and that's where the friend (Magobe) and her father are.
Magobe
You have to fight both of them one-on-one with Shinobu but it's not very hard. Afterwards we recover the Purple Ring, and the castle on Sakura Island is reclaimed for Shinobu and her clan.
Happily ever after (without father, Magobe survived)
Next we head off to Hokkaido. While we were in Kyushu, the Kasumi clan was attacked and destroyed, but their remnants are in Hokkaido. There we learn about the Orange Ring, which we can recover in the East Cave. The cave has no boss and someone in the cave simply gives it to us, but then we have to fight a fearsome boss on the way out (who actually isn't very hard).
The foot is an effect from using the "shiki" power of the main character
Now that we have the rings, it's back to Shikoku where we started to revive Benkei.
Musashibo Benkei
As you can see, Benkei is not a full party member. Instead you collect weapons for him, and he randomly appears in battle and uses them. Sometimes they attack everyone, sometimes just one person, and I think it's completely random whether he arrives or not. Seems like not much benefit for all the work it took. Anyway, the Kyubu monster from above returns in a more powerful form, and he's actually a pretty tough boss.
Shi-kyubu, too powerful for us
With Benkei's help he's defeated, and now finally we can head to the Kamui Ruins in Hokkaido to face Jugon. Benkei destroys the barrier in the dungeon. Jugon is waiting for us at the bottom.
Doo doo doo
He takes us into some sort of spirit world and then we fight him. This is a really tough boss fight. I had to level up to 30 to be able to beat him, and buy 99 shikis. Fudo does about 500 damage with the 10 shiki move, so that's 4500 from her, and he has about 7800 HP. She can do a bit more damage with the remaining 9 shikis, but the rest of the damage has to come from random Benkei, and then buffed up attacks from Tokoyo and Mikage. The Earth Medicine helps a lot since it restores all HP to all characters. There is some luck involved as in a lot of battles, though, since all the characters randomly do multiple attacks -- I haven't been able to figure out when or why this happens. But the monsters can do it too, so someone can go from full HP to 0 in one round.
Jugon, the boss of part 1
Jugon informs you that the Mirror has already been sent to China, so it's too late to do anything. We then learn that Meisa has recovered her memory -- she is from Kunlun, and was sent by Yoshitsune from China to bring Benkei and the other heroes back. So our next destination is China. There's also a cutscene where someone (I think Kublai Khan?) is telling the remaining three generals (minus Jugon) to beware of Benkei's arrival.

Here's the text from the intermission:

With the destruction of the Tower of Light, Japan has lost the means for calling the divine storms. Kublai Khan, knowing this, prepares to invade Japan for a second time, preparing 140,000 troops and 4400 ships, much more of a force than last time. Hojo Tokimune prepares all of Japan's strength in North Kyushu to counter this. At the same time, Fudo and the others take Meisa and travel to China. Their destination is Kunlun, a legendary place of mystical illusions. But Kublai Khan's otherworldly servants are waiting to stop Fudo.


Hopefully I can finish the game this week, but we'll see.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Game 15 - Benkei Gaiden: Suna no Sho

Benkei Gaiden: Suna no Sho (弁慶外伝:沙の章)
Released on 12/11/92, published by Sunsoft


Sunsoft released Benkei Gaiden for the PC-Engine (Turbo Grafx 16) in 1989 and then followed up with this game in 1992. It's not a remake or a direct sequel, but from what I saw on youtube of the first game, it seems to be very similar in gameplay.

The title is a reference to Musashibo Benkei, the famous warrior monk who served Yoshitsune during and after the Genpei Wars. However, this game takes place in 1274, 80 years after the death of Yoshitsune and Benkei. Genghis Khan has just attempted his first invasion of Japan, which was repelled by the "kamikaze" hurricane. Immediately Japan begins to prepare for his next invasion (which happened in 1281). There are various legends about Yoshitsune, claiming that he didn't commit seppuku but instead escaped and lived in Hokkaido, or even that he went to China and became Genghis Khan. Someone in the game did mention this legend so maybe it will end up being part of the story.

According to the instruction manual, the kamikaze was called up by ancient magic, and once Genghis Khan realized this he sent one of his generals Jugon (呪魂) to Japan. The current shogun, Hojo Tokimune, has started to collect and send out his own magic uses to counter the Jugon and their spirit army.

The main character's default name is Fudo, which you can change to anything and even draw your own kanji (or pictures) if you want. You can also choose between a male or female, which is the first game so far on this blog that lets you do that.
Girl Fudo
Fudo is training at the Shumon fort in Shikoku under the guidance of Saizo. She has the lineage of Suna. I'm not yet sure what this means -- 沙 is just an alternate character for 砂, which means "sand." As far as I know this isn't a reference to anything in Japanese history or literature, and the game hasn't explained it yet. Your other party members, Mikage and Tokoyo, also have special powers because of this Suna lineage.


As you can probably tell, this game is very Japanese themed. No Western loan words are used, even for things like the settings (instead of the usual "stereo" and "mono" for sound it's 双 and 一). The one exception seems to be "level" for experience level. Perhaps this is why there's no walkthrough up on GameFAQs: if you can't read kanji at a pretty high level this is going to be a tough game to play.

The world map is based on Japan, and the towns you visit are actual towns roughly in their correct places.
The world map
The gameplay is standard RPG, with only a couple of unique aspects. The battles show your characters on the bottom with animations for their attacks (the damage is written in kanji instead of arabic numerals like usual).
Fudo vs. a monster
The game begins in Shumon Fort. Lightning hits the town, and Fudo is called to a nearby tower, where she meets Rakan (someone serving under Jugon). She's able to power up to level 50 and defeat him, but then returns to normal.
Fudo vs. Rakan
Shumon Fort is destroyed, and Fudo has to flee to Tosa village. There she meets up with Mikage and Tokoyo.
Tokoyo, the swordsman


Mikage, also a swordsman
Saizo has also escaped to Tosa, but he's dying. He tells us that we need to get to the capital (Heian/Kyoto) to meet the Emperor. This is probably Emperor Kameyama; he'll abdicate this year in favor of the 7 year old Go-Uda. We need to make sure that the tower nearby is activated so that when Khan attacks again, Japan can call the kamikaze to defeat him. We're also supposed to find five Spirit Rings, but the purpose of that is not clear yet.

In a nearby shrine, Fudo meets Jugon himself. 
Jugon

He wipes the floor with our heroes, but Saizo appears and sacrifices his life to save them. They wake up on the mainland, in Dewa Sanzan. In order to reach Kyoto we'll have to go south through the Echigo pass, but they won't let us go past without the Green Ring.
Fudo and Dewa Sanzan
In the mountains Fudo receives a key to a dungeon which contains the ring. There we fight the first actual boss.
Gashima
Fudo has a power of being able to use these "shikifu" items to call out various spirits. As she levels up she can use more of them at once, calling out different things. Using a few of these plus Tokoyo's sword techniques made quick work of the boss, and I was on my way to Kyoto.


The random encounter rate is fairly high, but the battles go quickly. A lot of enemies flee, for some reason.

At the capital we learn that we have to find the Tensho Ryubu book to call forth the tower. This involves going to the Road to Yomi (Hades), and there are a few fetch quests necessary to open up the road. Once in there, there are a bunch of annoying enemies that cast instant death spells, but the dungeon's not very long. Once we find the book, it's time to go back to the capital to call forth the tower.
The Shuko Tower
At the top of the Shuko Tower, we try to activate it, but Rakaku appears. He's the brother of Rakan who Fudo killed in the opening sequence, and he's back for revenge. Before we can actually fight him, though, a mysterious girl's spirit appears. We're knocked out of the tower and the tower is destroyed. Now what will we do against Khan? The only solution is to go see the Shogun in Kamakura.



In Kamakura, we find that the Shogun is with Meisa, the mysterious spirit girl that saved us in the tower. She came from China, but has lost her memories due to an accident on the boat. The Shogun wants us to go to the Kasumi Clan and get their help.
Meisa's spirit again
That's where I am. This game doesn't seem very long, and so far it's not bad. There's nothing about it that especially stands out, but I'm grateful just to be able to play an average game at this point.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Game 14 - Song Master Review

Story/Characters: Overall the story is not bad for this period, although by even later SNES standards it's not very good (or even compared to FF4). The twist partway through comes out of nowhere but is all right, and the conclusion is acceptable. It could have used a little more dialogue and some more believable development in the "romance", but I guess this is 1992.
 
World: The world is mostly standard fantasy. My biggest issue is that the whole "song" theme has virtually no effect on anything. It's just a skin over a standard magic system, seemingly without even a slight attempt to introduce any music or song-based elements. The song guilds might as well be magic guilds. Perhaps I'm being overly critical because Ar Tonelico II is one of my favorite PS2 games, but they could have at least tried.

Game Flow: Most of the flow problems stem from the very slow battle system. I soon began to run from any fight that had more than 2 enemies because it just took so damn long to fight anything higher than that.


The biggest problem with progression through the game is the parts where you have to backtrack to previous towns. In the earlier parts of the game this involves walking through these long paths with random encounters every few steps. The game isn't that long but the tedious battle system and this annoying backtracking make most of the time you spend in the game wasted.

But the game is quite easy overall. The buff spells are overpowered, and the 3-note ultimate spells you get later kill almost anything in 1 or 2 hits other than bosses. The last bosses do barely any damage.

This game is very similar to Light Fantasy in that overall the game is not that bad but it's torpedoed by a horrible battle system. This game doesn't have the severe balance problems of LF, though.



System: The battle system presents an illusion of complexity because it looks like it incorporates tactical RPG elements, but it really doesn't. There are only two rows and it's just like the front and back ranks of any other game (where you place on the horizontal row makes no difference). You can attack any enemy on the board.


Everything else about the system is standard RPG. Instead of giving you a more powerful healing spell you just get the ability to use the basic healing spell at power level 2 (and then 3), but that's basically the same as having separate spells.

 
Side Quests/Optional Content: The instruction manual mentions jobs you can take at rumor houses in towns. There is one in the first town (retrieving a pendant from a cave and then beating a spirit that has taken over a guy in town), but that's it. I assume they intended to have more of these but ran out of development time. There are rumor houses in each town but they just give rumors, no jobs.

Interface: Overall this isn't that bad compared to other games in this period. There's a unified command button and the menus are easy to navigate. You still can't see equipment stats -- I don't understand why so many developers were so slow to add this.

Graphics/Sound: You would think given the title of the game that the music would be good, but it's just normal music. Using songs in battle (i.e. spells) doesn't change the music.

The graphics are average as well.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Game 14 - Song Master Part 2 (Final)

The two best things I can say about this game is that it's short, and there aren't any chokepoints where you have to grind to get past a dungeon or boss. But it reminds me of Light Fantasy in a number of ways, and that's not a good thing.

I found another site where someone has reviews of almost all the Super Famicom RPGs. He has them divided into sections based on their quality. One of the sections is "9 Kusoge gods" (named after the egypt gods from Jojo part 3). I've already played five of them: Maka Maka, Villgust, Cyber Knight, Light Fantasy, and Song Master. I'll be skipping another one (Burai), so that leaves only three remaining.

Anyway, here's how the rest of the game went.

After meeting the fairy queen, we headed to Lancafan where we heard about King Eric fighting thieves, and about a thief city Dorfas. There's an annoying part here where you have to talk to a guy three times before he'll tell you how to proceed -- the manual mentions doing that but nobody else says more than 1 thing. Anyway, after that we learn that we need to order Griffon's Tear at the bar at the next full moon. That's not for a while so let's go look for Ferion in another town.

This sequence is mostly useless, but we do meet an important person, Selena, the daughter of King Coleman.
She's on the left
She joins the team and then suddenly she and Yuri are in love, with no buildup for that at all. King Coleman is the target of a failed assassination, and we have to find the assassin. It turns out to be a black panther, who is a transformed human.
Catwoman
The panther gets away, but we find a crest from the thieves' town. Since we're already going there, that's very convenient! Also, it's full moon time, so we get a guy named Sam to lead us to Dorfas, the hidden city of thieves.

In Dorfas we meet Jack again, who no longer has Yuri's circlet -- he had to give it to Eleus, the leader, because he failed to get the Red Orb from the goblins. A knight named Ragnas is trying to get the orbs, but since Jack doesn't like him, he rejoins you to fight them. Sam also turns on the guild, forcing Ragnas to run away and we fight a transformed version of Eleus. Oh also Sam is really King Eric.
The conspirator thieves
One annoying thing about this game is the travel; you're constantly having to walk back and forth through these passes and roads that have nothing but tons of random encounters. The battle system is so slow that I started running from any fights with more than 2 enemies.

If I summarize the entire plot this entry will be too long (if you're interested, read the GameFAQs walkthrough which has a full summary). Basically the empire of Clouador is trying to collect the orbs to revive Achal, the evil god. We finally find Ferion who joins up after Clouador burns down the village he's in. We try and fail to save several of the orbs, and eventually end up visiting Ellus Noah to find the truth behind Yuri's origin. Along the way, El Ran is old and dying, so we take him to the elf village so he can do a transmigration ritual to get a new body. It turns out this will be his 4th body, and it gets more dangerous each time -- he should do the other ritual that sends his spirit on to the next world, but he's determined to try again. So we leave him in Tir na Nog.
The party at this point
The fights aren't very hard except for a few bosses that can use spells that hit everyone and do enormous damage. The only way to beat those bosses is just to hope they don't use it more than once. As is typical with kusoge there are no easily available revive items, although there is a Resurrection spell.


At Ellus Noah, Yuri is told that he needs to go to the Tiamat, and that the circlet he has is proof he's descended from the Excelion.

What is the Tiamat?
Tiamat
A spaceship. I don't know if the writers were influenced by their obvious like for the Pern series, but this kind of sci-fi/fantasy mix is pretty common in RPGs (Shen Nung over at Inconsolable just finished a 1987 RPG that had the same thing). Yuri goes alone to Tiamat and finds robots who call him "master" and say he's a "Matrix". Now the backstory is revealed, which I will quote from the GameFAQs walkthrough:

A long time ago, humans colonized space and created the Galactic Empire.
However, the Empire would not last forever. When it seemed the end was drawing
near, the emperor, Alan Zeigfried, began a final project. His goal was to a new
race of humans, free from outside influences. Emperor Alan entrusted the protect
to 6 people, including his successor, Julian Zeigfried. Julian and hid group
picked a planet named Avalon and began terraforming it so that it could support
life. Avalon was eventually filled with new lifeforms, starting with bacteria,
and evolving plants, animals, and eventually new humans, elves and dwarves.

When the project was coming to an end, its creators were fated to die out.
However, one of them, Achal, refused to accept this, and tried to use the
project to make himself emperor. He used Avalon to create evil lifeforms, which
he used as soldiers in his rebellion. However, he was defeated, and fled back to
Avalon. Soon after this, Emperor Alan died, and the Galactic Empire
disintegrated.

Julian and the others returned to Avalon to prevent Achal from regaining power.
In a war known as the First Jihad, Julian joined forces with the people of
Avalon to fight Achal. During this war, he gave the Holy Song to King Cain.
Although there were many casualties, Achal was eventually defeated.

Not wanting to accept defeat, Achal abandoned his physical body, and implanted
his consciousness in Avalon's control system. However, Julian had anticipated
this and was able to trap him in the system. Although trapped, Achal was not
dead, and could presumably be revived. To prevent this, Julian created another
system to keep Achal from escaping, using clones of himself as keys to its
activation. The people who carried the key were called Matrixes. Whenever there
was a danger of Achal returning, the system would create a new Matrix to stop
him.

This time, however, Achal managed to use Zenon to take over the system before
the new Matrix could be activated, and steal the Matrix for himself. That Matrix
was Ragnas. In response to this, the system created yet another Matrix, namely
you. However, your home was destroyed in a war, and you disappeared right after
you were created. The system then awoke Hilda, in order to find you and Ragnas.
Unfortunately, Ragnas has already turned to the dark side, but you still have
the power to defeat Achal.
 
Hilda, another Matrix, telling Yuri the above story
Our goal for the rest of the game then is to stop Zenon, and defeat Achal. Yuri now has a different picture and icon since he has remembered his true backstory:
Song Master?
Yuri and the team meet Ragnas in the next dungeon. The fights in this part are nice because they give a lot of XP and you can beat them easily with the strong spells everyone has now (a full 3-note water pillar does ~4500 to everyone).

Yuri tries to convince Ragnas he's being used, but Ragnas doesn't care. Fortunately he's an easy boss as usual, but then Nimmens (the hero with one eye in the above screenshot) and Lamia (the black panther from earlier) kill each other while Ragnas uses the distraction to get away. What's more, the Forn ship has been activated. We go back to the Tiamat and start fighting the Forn with lasers, but the Tiamat's not an attack ship, so it doesn't work.
I couldn't get a shot of the actual laser beams
So what do we do? Ram Tiamat into Forn!
BOOM
This opens a way to get into Forn and defeat Zenon and Achan. This is the final party:
Yuri, Shion, Selena, Arthur (a priest), and Hilda (the other Matrix)
Zenon and Achal are similar in that they take almost no damage from anything. There are a few tricks to beating them: first, use poison darts since they can be poisoned. Second, use Burning repeatedly on the fighters until it says their attack is maxed; now they'll do good damage. Third, use the "pavlov" items to do 1003. The attacks of the bosses barely hurt my guys (I got more hurt in the random fights in Forn), so overall it wasn't hard.
Zenon (poisoned)
After Zenon is defeated, Ragnas decides he can control Achal for his own purposes, but Achal doesn't like that idea and strikes him down.
Achal (50,000 HP)
Once Achal is defeated, he tries to possess Ragnas as a last resort, and tries to kill Yuri, but Selena jumps in to block it.
Selena!
It's too late to save her.
Yuri and Selena
Yuri attacks Achal, and Ragnas' spirit rejects Achal's possession of him, so Achal is defeated. Unfortunately Forn is self-destructing and the heroes can't escape. El Ran to the rescue!
The transmigration worked
So the heroes have won, but Selena is dead...unless Yuri can use the holy song of Auran to make a miracle happen.
Yes, it works.
And that's the end.
Screw you
So this game sucks pretty bad. It's not quite at the level of Fist of the North Star or Light Fantasy, but it's close. By the way, what happened to the side quests at the rumor places? They're mentioned in the instruction manual but there was only one, in the first town. Maybe they ran out of development time.

Review to follow, then it's on to Benkei Gaiden after skipping Final Fantasy V.