take you a loooong time to finish but is it worth
10, 2005 - The
Legend of Heroes: A Tear Of Vermillion is a huge Japanese
RPG loaded with colorful characters, interesting locations
and rewarding battles. It follows the traditional
RPG path but adds a few interesting twists that manages
to keep you in familiar territory without experiencing
too much déjà vu.
a young child, Avin was separated from his sister
during a raid on his homeland. Raised an orphan during
his childhood, Avin decides it's now time for him
to venture forth in search of his long, lost sister.
quest is similar to every old-school RPG but this
adventure is designed to keep you playing for months
on end. There is some filler in terms of extraneous
side-missions and getting lost while searching for
the next of a series of linear missions. Some translation
problems rear their ugly syntax and keep you from
figuring out what's going on and where it is that
you're supposed to be going. The storyline is very
convoluted as it jumps all over the place throwing
all kinds of back history and names at you. It's all
text-based and makes for a lot of reading - sometimes
a lot of confused reading.
are more than 100 characters in the game and most
of them are incidental. There's no way you're going
to keep track of all of these characters and there's
no incentive to replay the game so you won't be able
to familiarize yourself with them through osmosis.
There is a core party of 14 characters that you'll
become acquainted with and these are the important
Legend of Heroes is one very long game but it would
probably clock in at under 30 hours if the fat were
trimmed. Sometimes the fat is the best part of the
steak but everyone has different tastes. Some may
enjoy this exploring process, especially those that
have a lot of time on their hands while other, like
myself, simply find it annoying considering that the
game is so linear in nature that any display of freedom
is purely artificial.
is turn-based. Using different characters' attributes
combined with weapons and magic you issue your orders
on your turn and watch the battles play out. Enemies
aren't always within reach and at times you'll be
forced to forfeit a turn just to get within attacking
range. Avin favors swords and his pal Mile uses a
boomerang. Magical spells are also a welcome force
and come in two varieties: black and white magic.
White magic is used for healing and black is used
for attacking. You will want to make sure that your
party members are kept as healthy as possible for
combat later in the game.
can be augmented by using a meter that is filled during
battles. Different characters have different special
attacks that you can unleash with the meter. In some
later battles you can have four party members take
part at once. The individual special attacks may differ
but each character is basically as powerful as the
next. If the enemy is sufficiently weakened, any special
attack is likely to finish him off. If all four party
members are in full health their one, combined attack
could be enough to kill the enemy.
pet system allows you to have a cat, dog or rabbit
as a pet. Feed it and nurture it and it will perform
some tasks for you by finding various potions and
health. You can also use them in battle. They act
like modifiers when you summon them into battle. Their
effects are rather pronounced if you know how to use
them properly. The pets can help you with healing
potions in battle and supply you with some rare bits
of magic. You can also make them angry so that they
will throw stones at your enemy and whittle away at
some of their hit points.
some traditional RPGs, you can avoid random battles.
You'll often see groups of monsters in the distance.
The ones that try to avoid you will be of the weaker
variety while the aggressive ones will attempt to
engage you in battle. It's a good idea to avoid the
more powerful monsters until you level-up but you're
not going to be able to do that if you continue to
avoid battles. You are going to have to face some
monsters in an effort to earn experience points. These
points are used to automatically level-up each character
to fulfil their destiny. In other words, you don't
have any control over how they turn out.
characters are colorful and easy to see but they don't
resemble their anime counterparts which appear in
static portraits when engaging in dialog with other
characters. The chubby, compressed sprites look more
like homunculus avatars that stand-in for the main
characters. With so many characters there isn't enough
time to get to know them all to any degree of depth
so most are just one-dimensional. They are charming
but their personalities are rather cliché.
environments, especially the villages, look like model
towns from a miniature train display. They aren't
very realistic nor are they quaint. They just do the
job. For the most part, the production values are
lacking throughout the game. You really have to dig
deep to reveal the charm of this game but if you're
willing to invest a chunk of your immediate future
into it you will definitely want to get to the end
to find out what happened to your sister and your
best friend. It's captivating in an addictive way.
With a save-anywhere feature, this is a portable-friendly