Cyber Knight (サイバーナイト)
Released on 10/30/1992, published by Tonkin House
I can't say I'm happy to see Tonkin House's name pop up again. So far their contributions to the SNES are Ys III (a bad port of a bad game) and Light Fantasy (the worst RPG for the system so far). This is a port of a game that was originally released for the PC Engine (Turbo Grafx). I've said that I can skip a game if it's a port, but that's mostly to avoid bad/lazy/downgrade ports. In this case the game was extensively retooled and a lot of material was added, so it seems worth playing.
According to the manual and the box, this was an attempt to create a "Hard SF" RPG. They do seem to have put a lot of thought into this, since the system is different from other RPGs in a lot of ways that make the game more realistic. I've only played the game for 4 hours so far so I don't have a lot of progress, but it will take a while to explain how the game works, so maybe that's OK. (It also makes me glad I decided to buy a hard copy so that I could get the instruction book!)
The setup for the game is that in 2352, the ship Swordfish was attacked by pirates while on a mission. They had to use a hyperwarp jump of some sort to escape, but that left them stranded far away from Earth. Most of the crew is dead, and the ship is too damaged to make a long jump back to Earth. The main character is the person who has to sub in for the dead captain. Aside from him, there are only 23 survivors, 5 of which can pilot the Battle Modules (mechs).
|Kurisu, our main character|
- Combat (helps them fight better)
- Mechanic (recover more EP from a repair)
- Medic (recover more LP from a heal)
- Science (greater chance of recovering Neo Parts from defeated enemies)
|The other characters|
- Bridge (take off/land, or go to a different solar system or planet)
- Lab (analyze Neo Parts)
- Medic (restore LP, save game)
- Lounge (switch party, see party stats)
- Hanger (leave ship, assign weapons to Battle Modules, repair Modules)
|Kurisu's Module, the Lex|
The Bridge lets you jump to different places, and scan planets to see if there's anything worth visiting.
Once you've identified a place to go, it's time to leave the ship.
|Farworld, the first place|
|Kurisu, Killy, and Shine vs. four enemies|
|Shine taking damage in the Winner|
However, there is one huge, huge problem -- the random encounter rate. This is a common issue with older console games, but it's especially tedious in a game like this where each combat takes some time. I actually think the strategic combat in this game is well designed and interesting, but when every 3 steps has a fight, it saps my will to play the game. This is partly why I made so little progress this week -- as I said, I've instituted a new rule where the first week I play each game, I will not make use of any emulator features or walkthroughs. Starting on Tuesday I can use the speedup key to get through battles faster, but until then it's rough. And it's sad to see such a promising system torpedoed by a ridiculous encounter rate.
|Kurisu hitting all enemies with a machine gun|
The tedium was worse for me because I kept messing up and had to visit the Europa 4 times. I was supposed to go to the Bridge and try to jump, and learn that I need to take Vindo to the Europa because he's the mechanic. I didn't do that, so the first time I didn't have him and had to go back. Then I had to leave because I got too wounded, then I tried to switch out a character and accidentally left Vindo behind, then finally I got the Coil to fix the jump drive.
Once I recovered the Jump drive I was able to visit another place on the same world and defeat a robot boss, who was apparently masterminding the berserk robots on this planet.
|Rakshasa, the first boss|