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.
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?
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

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

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!
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.
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.


  1. It's weird. Everything I read and see here makes it look like a pretty neat game. What went wrong? The story actually sounds interesting, especially the backstory. The graphics are okay. There even are huge, flying fortresses fighting each other, for Glob's sake.
    Is it just the combat system? The pacing? Balancing? Don't get me wrong, I believe you when you say it sucks to play. It just seems to have too much actual effort put into it to be in the same league as those abysmal licensed or just plain uninspired crap games. Like, with some different design decisions it could have been a legitimately good game. It's kinda tragic.
    Anyway, thanks as always for documenting this for us westerners whose Japanese sucks too much to play these games ourselves. Even though that might be a good thing in some cases...

    1. >Is it just the combat system? The pacing? Balancing?

      All of those. It reminds me of Light Fantasy in that the game overall has some interesting ideas and promise, but just torpedoes it with a slow, messy, poorly balanced battle system and a high random encounter rate. Every time they wanted me to revisit a previous town I just wanted to throw my controller because it meant going back through the same featureless "road" fighting a random encounter every few steps.

  2. It's great to finally learn what this game was about. I guess this was a learning experience for the devs - but it paid off, because they did go to make the two great Aretha games, which'll be up on your list later.

    Never would have guessed to see spaceships in this game haha. Good luck with Benkei Gaiden.