RPG Legion

Miracle Warriors

Released in 1988, Miracle Warriors was one of the first console RPGs. However unlike other early RPGs (Dragon Warrior, Phantasy Star, Final Fantasy), this game didn't age very well (of course it was never very good to begin with). 1000 years ago Iason opened that Pandora Passage and released the Dark Lord Terarin. Of course Iason was a big hero, so he sealed away Terarin, and guess what? 1000 years later she escaped again.. (surprise!) So now it's up to your character and 3 other heroes to defeat the Dark Lord Terarin again. This idea was semi-original in 1988, but now it's tiresome and boring (oh well).

Gameplay: 4/10

Why did I rate the gameplay so low? Because I didn't like it! Rather than having a full screen 2-D overhead view like any respectable RPG, this game has your overhead view scrunched up into top-right corner taking up less than 1/4 of the screen. Your entire view consists of a 5x5 grid around your character. To makes matter worse, you don't even see you character on the map, all you see is a stupid white cursor showing you where you are.

Aside from having a pathetically small view to see where you are, the game doesn't have anything else to merit a high gameplay rating. It's you standard explore towns and dungeons, while fighting monsters. Nothing wrong with that if done well, but this game doesn't do it very well. It uses a standard menu interface, which decides to be displayed over the map view of all places! It only has a few options so it's nice and simple. A problem I have is that to save you have to select quit from the menu. You don't have to actually quit the game, but you must select quit in order to save.

When you go into towns you can wander around and talk to people and buy stuff, nothing new here, but nothing bad either. The game has a fairly large world to explore with quite a few towns and dungeons. The problem is your view is so limited, that you'll spend forever searching the map for places to go. To make matters worse some of the locations aren't even visible on the map, you must step on the exact right square to enter them (at least the game gives hints to their locations)

In dungeons your view is even more limited by darkness. You might as well be stumbling around with a blindfold on. But the dungeons are fairly large considering the small view, and there is a lot of neat things to find in them. I guess there's really nothing to complain about, although they can be easy to become lost in.

When you enter combat you get to see a picture of the terrain you are in, and a first person view of the monster you're fighting. A major problem I have with combat is the fact that even when you get multiple characters you can still only have one of them attack each turn. So even with 4 characters your entire party still gets only one attack for each attack the monster gets. (What the hell is the point of having multiple characters then?) There are nuts and other items that don't take a turn to use. Against bosses the strategy is: spend time getting nuts, hurl all your nuts the enemy, then finish off what HP they have left. The combat basically has no strategy and is boring.

The game does have one interesting concept, and that is character points. As you defeat evil monsters your rating raises. If you defeat good "monsters," like merchants, your rating decreases. Depending on your rating some places may not let you in, and some people say different things. What's fun is killing tons of merchants and getting a bad rating, then try entering towns.

My main problem in this game is the combat. I still don't understand why you get more than one character if you can only attack with one character per turn. The only thing you gain is more total party HP. Not only that but the combat is too simplistic and not enough choices.

Difficulty: 5/10

The game really isn't too hard. Just level up enough and be sure to collect as many nuts as you can hold. The magical nuts really take away the challenge. All you need to do is throw all your nuts at the bosses, and it usually takes away over half their HP. Some of the puzzles later on can be pretty tricky though. But overall, a fairly easy game as long as you level up enough.

Replayability: 3/10

There really aren't any secrets in the game, or any other reason to start the game over and play again. And personally I didn't like the game enough to play through it again. Maybe for those who like the game it's worth playing again, but not for me.

Story: 7/10

1000 Years ago (Somebody come up with a new number already!!!!!) Iason, a shepherd accidentally unleashed the Dark Lord Terarin. He trained with some monks, and eventually resealed the Pandora passage and put the Dark Lord back where she cam from. That's not the end though (darn), now the Dark Lord Terarin has escaped, and you must revive 3 other heroes from their slumber, and join together to reseal the Pandora Passage and defeat Terarin. Nothing fancy, but considering the age it's a decent story. Too bad, the story never really is advanced much through the game.

Graphics: 8/10

Overall the graphics are pretty well done. The monsters look good (but no animations still!!!!), and the terrain picture showing where your characters are at looks decent. The graphics don't compare to Phantasy Star, but still not bad for an 8-bit game.

My main problem however is how the graphics are laid out. You have your overhead view in the top-right corner of the screen (and it takes up maybe 20% of the screen). Below that you have stats like how much gold you have. In the top-left is a hug picture of the terrain you characters are in. On top of this picture is a picture of each character you have revived as well as some stupid fairy. What the purpose of this area is I don't know. In combat the area switches to a view of the monsters, with the combat menu taking the place of your overhead view. In the bottom left corner is how many HP/XP each character has. (and this is given more room than you overhead view!) If you haven't already noticed I really hate the small overhead view, I probably would have given the game a 7 if it had a normal view like Phantasy Star (Miracle Warriors loses 2 points because of this huge flaw).

Sound: 7/10

Nothing special, but not too bad either. Some of the tunes are kind of catchy. Not much else to say.

Overall Rating: 5/10

My two main problems with the game are the ridiculous screen layout, and the boring simplistic combat. If the game were a little different it probably would have been pretty good. But alas, it's not different. But don't let my review scare you away from the game completely, if you're really bored the game is worth playing through once. Although if you haven't played it, I recommend Phantasy Star instead. (And to think that Phantasy Star was actually released earlier than Miracle Warriors!) My rating: a 5 out of 10