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Radia Senki, in Japan, is called Chronicle of the Radia War in North America. This action rpg was released on the Famicom back in 1991, but it's held up decently over the years.
The game starts off with a pretty cool cut scene—someone named Gadiss is chasing some mysterious person via an airship of some kind. Then, Gadiss unleashes his firepower, striking the fleeing airship’s wing, and down goes the ship….
Then, you wake up in the middle of the forest, and some guy thinks you’re a bandit, but monsters show up from out of nowhere, and the two of you team up in order to survive. Upon victory, the mage introduces himself as Darus, but you…you don’t know who you are.
You then travel to the town of Elfas to learn that something sinister is afoot. An evil wizard from a foreign country is slowly taking over the world. This wizard appears to be working for Gadiss, who wants to unite the world…under his reign, of course. In order to accomplish his goals, he needs a princess, and he needs you, the mysterious, amnesiac hero.
For an old school NES rpg, this game is really something. The story line is pretty good—not overly complex or convoluted, and although it is a bit clichéd, there is a twist at the end that I won’t spoil.
Chronicle of the Radia War does some pretty good work with their 8-bit engine. There’s nothing overly visually stimulating, but in the burning town, Bandora, you get to see these flames whip and crackle while traipsing through a maze of baddies. Other than that, the towns and dungeons do vary in their color schemes and designs. The cut scenes are also nifty!
The music throughout the game is really good. It may not be memorable, but it definitely fits the scenarios and circumstances, and there are plenty of tunes; I always enjoy versatile music in a game.
Finally, the controls are great. I know what you’re thinking: the controls of an rpg? Yes, because when you fight, it’s in real time, not a turn based system. While walking around, the screen centers, and some bad guys appear. You can then give your teammates orders, or you can let them run free; I just let them run free. They know what they’re doing.
While you control yourself, the others will usually break off to fight the other enemies, and a few of your companions will be long range fighters.
There are some “where the Hell do I go”, or “what the Hell do I do” kinds of moments throughout. Usually, you can access your menu and select advice. One of your companions will tell you something useful, but sometimes it can fall on deaf ears.
For instance, during one portion of the game, my companion told me I needed to go north of Selfone prairies, or something to that effect, and I was thinking to myself: where the Hell is Selfone prairies? So I had to basically go back to the beginning of the game and walk my way through each dungeon, forest, town, etc., until I saw that I was in a place called Selfone prairies. Um…then, I went north.
As always, the townsfolk are utterly useless with phrases like: I will master the sword! Yeah, congratu-fucking-lations, but I wanted to know where the prairies were.
Anyway, there are a few “puzzles”, too, though puzzles is a strong word. There’s one place with three entrances, and the clue is, like, first draw the sword. What does that even mean? I walked in and out of those damned doors for an hour before I gave up, decided life was too short, and looked at a walk through.
Yeah, it meant to take the right door first, come out from the left one, go back in the left one, come back out from the right one, and finally go through the middle one. What does that have to with drawing a sword? I don’t know, but one explanation given was that a warrior draws the sword with his right hand, so that’s why you go right first. Well, okay, but if the sword is drawn with the right hand, it’s probably on the left side of the warrior’s hips, right? I don’t know….
At any rate, these are minor complaints that detract nothing from the game. Chronicle of the Radia War is truly a great addition to the NES library…if you know where to get it. If you don’t, you can always buy a Famicom copy from Amazon, and then download the rom.
In my final analysis, I have to give Chronicle of the Radia War a B+. It’s just not quite an A game. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it per se`, but I never really had the yearning desire to pop that thing in and play it; I just kinda’ played it because it was there, and I wanted to finish what I started. I thoroughly enjoyed the game, and I think you will, too.
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