Haja no Fuuin review
Excruciatingly Irritating RPG
Oh, look; an old-school RPG. Too bad it’s nothing amazing.
Miracle Warriors: Seal Of The Dark Lord is one of the first console RPGs to be released. Alongside Dragon Warrior for the NES, Miracle Warriors pretty much set the pavement for RPGs to come. Unfortunately, where Dragon Warrior succeeds, Miracle Warriors fails, for Miracle Warriors isn’t a spectacular game. Dragon Warrior got where its at because of its sheer simplicity while still proving to be a good game, while Miracle Warriors got where its at because it didn’t give a rat’s ass and only made a bit of the game simple and good while the rest is either stupid or awkward. In other words, just because its old school doesn’t mean it’s exempt from copious amounts of criticism.
1,000 years ago, a mighty story arose to keep this game from being a basic dungeon crawler.
1,000 years ago, a Sheppard by the name of Iason accidently unleashed the dark lord Terarin. Alongside some monks and training, he sealed the dark lord back into the resealed Pandora passage. Unfortunately, she managed to escape 1,000 years afterwards, and now you and 3 heroes – who must be revived – have to reseal the Pandora passage to reseal the dark lord.
It sounds pretty good, if cliche by today’s standards. Another thing by today’s standards that didn’t age too well is the fact that it doesn’t really advance. This isn’t a platformer Sega; this is an RPG. They always involve a long and arduous journey or two and grinding and dungeon crawling gets very monotonous after a while. Stories usually keep playing. But then again, there wasn’t a whole lot you could ask or go for in 1988, so I’ll let it slide a bit.
Well, it brings me back to the past...
Basically, what you’re doing is you move around the world map to get to towns. Towns allow you to buy items, repair equipment, heal and even give you some hints... for a price. Amongst that, when you walk around on the world map or in dungeons when you get to them, you can run into enemies and sometimes merchants. At the end of each dungeon (or thereabouts), you fight a boss. Rinse, lather and repeat until all are conquered. Sounds like how a typical mid 80’s console RPG would play out, huh? But the point is to get certain items in dungeons to revive the 3 other warriors needed to reseal the dark lord.
The saving process is a bit of a weird one. As opposed to just pressing the 1 button and going down to save, you have to go to quit, THEN save. Nothing too huge, but just feels weird. Oh well, at least you can save anywhere, as opposed to only being able to save when you get to the castle.
Which one am I again?
The layout for the overworld is a joke! Half of the screen has the environment and map, while the other half is just stats which take up a bit too much room. You’d expect something like Dragon Warrior, where you just move around a world map that takes up the entire screen, with a little miniature you. But no, Sega doesn’t think like Enix did. They decided to just mess up the layout. If this was a website, casual internet surfers would be turned off – I feel for them. What the hell happened here?
To truly know how bombardingly batshit annoying this layout can get sometimes, imagine if you’re going to a dungeon. Now, you get somewhat vague instructions as to where to go, and because the graph of the map is 5x5 pixels, you might get lost, especially after a few enemy fights. In the dungeon, you have very limited sight, and it’s extremely easy to get lost while looking for the booty or whatever. Now, after completing said dungeon and needing to get to town to repair weapons and whatnot, and odds are, you would’ve forgotten where town is... better get pen and paper out, kids!
Collecting fangs proves valor in battle.
Just like in any RPG, you have to fight monsters via random encounters either on the world map or in dungeons. It has a standard sort of system; input command (like attack or run), you attack, then monster attacks, keep going until one dies. That's... pretty much the gist of it. There isn't really anything beyond inputting a command and hoping they die before you.
The system feels simplistic, but it at least feels nice, so it isn't too much of a bother. Killing enemies rewards you either money..err, I mean "Guilders" or fangs, or both if you kill certain enemies. Fangs can be sold for 50 Guilders a piece, and Guilders are used to buy herbs, equipment or stay in an inn.
Equipment is a bit flimsy.
As well as items and a room in an inn to restore health, you can also buy equipment in towns. You know, usual sort of stuff in RPGs. Unfortunately, with each use, it starts to break a little, and you know what that means? It means you better haul ass back to town to have it forged so that it doesn't break, which means you have to retreat from enemies, and sometimes, you'll be surrounded, so that's impossible, and then you may end up dying. Worst case scenario: You're well away from a town, your sword is about to break, and the enemies surround you like flies to the fire; what do you reckon is going to happen? Unless you're lucky enough to be doing some damage unarmed, you're up shit creek at this point.
Mano a mano with 3 cheerleaders rotating between rounds.
This is the biggest gripe I have with the game. Imagine it: You have 4 party members. Logic would dictate that they'd all attack or use spells. However, Sega forgot that, and programmed it so that only one person in your party can do something. Seriously, what the hell? It made sense in Dragon Warrior... because you only had 1 guy the whole way through. In Miracle Warriors however, it makes NO sense. Shouldn't Sega be able to find a way to make it so that all party members fight? Oh well, at least you get more HP for battle. Always counts for something...
Looks nice, ignoring one thing.
Aside from the disastrous layout, the graphics are good. The landscapes you manage to see are fairly colorful and detailed, and the enemy sprites; same as the landscapes, but better, even though they’re not animated (but that’s no big deal). Unfortunately, the graphics aren’t really something big to discuss... unless we’re involving that crappy overworld layout...
Layout makes me want to smash a bro. The music, thankfully, doesn’t.
When you turn the game on, immediately, you think “the music’s gonna be catchy”. You’re right, my friend. The music is pretty catchy. While this is far from a good game, the soundtrack is definitely a high point. To this day since I was a lad, I still can’t get most of the tunes out of my head. The battle tune definitely makes me feel like killing trolls, and the overworld tune prevents me from smashing the game in a fit of rage. Of course, sound effects aren’t anything special... actually, is there an 8-bit game where the sound effects are special? I guess Super Mario Brothers, but that’s it without becoming annoying or just... weird (see: Alex Kidd In Miracle World).
Oh, it aged well... Well into mediocrity, that is!
Miracle Warriors: Seal Of The Dark Lord is nothing short of an average RPG with some problems that really plague it and stop it from being a classic like Phantasy Star and Final Fantasy. If the problems were fixed, it’d be a classic and possibly even a series that WON’T degenerate into an online action RPG. You’d be hoping Enix would have some ample competition against Sega... I mean, Nintendo did. Unfortunately, Enix slept easily, since their RPG was at least enjoyable. This isn’t. Do the math; only get this if you’re really into RPGs, particularly ones focused on dungeon crawling.
Won’t be as complicated as the layout, I promise:
Not much advancement in the story, but the beginning and end are pretty swell.
Manages to get a decent amount of standard RPG things right, though only attacking with 1 party member is just stupid, and exploration is a pain in the rear end due to a sort of awkward view. Then there's little things like a weird way to save (well, it's weird at first anyway), limited combat and having to constantly keep your weapons up to snuff (especially when you fight heaps and you’re far from town) that are a bit on the annoying side.
Not much to bugger up here. There's a bit of a problem with movement unless you're pushing HARD onto the d-pad and hold it. Everything else holds up finely.
Some colorful landscapes and whatnot are nice to look at, but the way that the main screen is laid out is just... It could've been much better.
Nothing too special, though the tunes are pretty catchy.
The overworld layout, the fact that only one ally attacks at a time and constantly getting lost for no reason... this is probably one of the more irritating RPGs. It's barely playable without completely losing your temper.