Monday, October 24, 2011
Anime-inspired video games – Growlanser II: A Sense of Justice (PS2)
Growlanser II: A Sense of Justice
American Publisher: Working Designs
Genre: Strategy RPG
In the fast- paced video game industry, franchises are developed and dropped in the blink of an eye. The strategy RPG genre has seen some interesting franchises, like Final Fantasy Tactics, Valkyria Chronicles, and Shining Force. What is not as well-known is another franchise by RPG developer Chunsoft, known as Growlanser. The series started with the release of the original Growlanser on the PlayStation 1 back in 1999. With six iterations released in Japan (last one in 2007), the franchise has a couple of hallmarks to set it apart from other Japanese RPG’s. The first main hallmark is the unique strategy RPG battle system that is unlike any other Japanese RPG. The second hallmark of the franchise is the gorgeous character designs of Satoshi Urushihara. I will focus on Growlanser II, released in the United States by Working Designs. It was a unique RPG experience that seems to have been forgotten in the footnote of RPG history.
The game was made in the early life over the PS2, so graphically it really does look like a PlayStation 1 game. The game uses sprites for the characters over static nicely-detailed backgrounds. During event sequences, massive sprite portraits of the characters talk and interact with each other. To move in the map, the character moves from one point to another, with no random battles. The soundtrack from Hiroshi Fujioka is one of my favorite aspects of the game. The music is very good; the world map is nice and relaxing. The battle music is one of the strongest parts of the game. There are a variety of battle songs that plays in the background that has a unique theme to them. One of the best songs in entire game is when the song would switch from the calm battle tune to the “frantic” song. It normally plays when the characters are ambushed or would be put in an extremely difficult situation. Once it starts playing it gets your heart beating because it only plays when the cast if put in extremely perilous situations.
Each character has a unique weapon called the “ring weapon” in which they use a ring to create their weapon. Each ring has three slots from level 1-9 (ex: 9-4-4) which means that a character can have a level 9 gem in the first slot, level 4 gem in the last two slots. Each of these gems grant the character a unique ability or trait, for example I put triple attack on Charlone, which means that she can attack three times in one turn. Depending on your decisions, the choice of ring weapon and gems can change the tide of battle.
Growlanser II is a great game if you can look past its dated graphics. It has great character designs that showcase the incredible talent of the artist behind the franchise. The music is wonderful, with the musical cues changing to create one of the most intense strategy RPG experiences. The branching storyline and the dating sim elements add a level of replayability that makes it easy to beat and play again. It is also graced with one of the best battle systems found in any Strategy RPG. If you can find this classic and can get past the dated graphics, you may find that underneath it is an amazing game.