March 13, 2012

[Game 016] Miracle Warriors: Seal of the Dark Lord (SMS - 1987)


Huzzah!  Another title for the Sega Master System.  Now Phantasy Star won't feel so lonely.  Miracle Warriors was missed due to Mobygames listing it as an action-RPG.  Thanks to the RPG Consoler for pointing out this discrepancy (among others).

After a prerequisite thousand years of peace, the Five Lands are experiencing a surge in hostile monsters.  The dark lord Terarin, who was thought to be sealed away, has stolen the golden seal and opened up a gateway to the evil dimension.  As a descendant of the legendary Iason (who defeated Terarin in round one), Shen must find and recruit three other special warriors.  Only they will be able to once again banish the dark lord from the realm.  They also need to acquire all the legendary arms that Iason used before.

Exploring is put on hold as Shen is finding himself taking bad beatings from wandering monsters.  Not having any weapons or armour will do that.  After punching a bunch of the local creatures and ripping out their fangs and selling them, Shen is outfitted with a nice suit of armour and shield and armed with the terrifying knife!  Now more confident that he'll last for more than two fights, Shen starts asking around the town of Garia for hints as to the location of his next companion.

Cansth thee hither unto verily...
uh, what's the question again?

Before gaining his companion, however, Shen will be spending some alone time getting trained up.  Exploring is made difficult in two ways.  The first is due to the limited viewing space in the interface.  The map is shown in the same 5x5 grid as the towns are.  This is mitigated somewhat by the sweet cloth map that originally came with the game.  The second way is due to the unorthodox method of handling terrain tiles.  Normally in a RPG, the different terrains serve only to vary the likelihood of an encounter (e.g. plains are low chance; mountains are high chance).  The difficulty of the encounter is usually determined by preset areas.  In Miracle Warriors, the terrains actually feature entirely different sets of creatures.  The difficulty of an encounter is also determined by terrain (for the most part).  Getting into an encounter on a forest or mountain tile early in the game means certain death for Shen (unless he manages to retreat).  Since some crucial locations lie within these tile types, it makes for a tense Shen when he is forced to traverse these harsh turfs.  Most places, though, can be accessed by staying on the open plains and fighting the easier creatures found there.

I think I'll add another 2,000
guilders to my stash.

There are also a good number of caves and monuments to explore as well.  Most are locked and will be visited later when Shen gets whatever he needs to open them.  The few "dungeons" he has been in have yielded a few key items and are host to an array of fantastic creatures the likes of which ye hast ne'er seen before.  A lot of them seem like the parts of three or four different creatures stuck together.

AHHHH, what the hell am I?  Kill me with fire!

Gaining companions is a matter of finding a particular piece of Iason's legendary equipment and then finding the townhouse in which the companion resides.  The first guy, Guy, is just a slightly weaker version of Shen.  Still, you'd think that they'd now be able to double team some monsters.  Maybe even take on some forest creatures.  But no.  These guys are honourable or something and will only fight one at a time.  Essentially Shen has just doubled his hit points, which is still a welcome addition.  After purchasing a ship, Shen and Guy set sail to find the third companion in their quest.  Searching the town of Doris, the gentlemen happen upon her but are needing a piece of Iason's armour in order to get her to join.

Guy, your services are no longer required.

With no real idea of where the armour could be, the two musky men search through all the previous locations they've been to.  This is made much easier with the help of a teleporting feather item.  After defeating the guardian of a cave (that earlier had defeated Shen while he was solo), the armour is theirs and so they claim their third and sexiest companion.  The fourth companion may be tougher to find as the party has found out that he has been transformed into a beast by a black monk.  Geez, I hope the miracle warriors haven't accidentally kill him off already.