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Rudra no Hihou

Publisher: Squaresoft Developer: Squaresoft
Reviewer: Veritron Released: 1995
Gameplay: 89% Control: 95%
Graphics: 85% Sound/Music: 75%
Story: 81% Overall: 85%


Rudra no Hihou is a great SquareSoft RPG that, to my knowledge, was never translated into anything but Japanese, which is quite understandable. You see, Rudora no Hihou (or Rudra's Treasure, as it is uncommonly known as in English) pretty much requires Japanese, for the magic system makes no sense without it. Instead of most RPGs where you get spells by leveling up/buying them in stores/learning them from enemies, you create your own spells by typing in Japanese words in katakana and watching the result. Which is a shame, for it makes a full translation of this game utterly impossible.

Rudra's Treasure uses a sort of "words of power" magic system. If you type in "igu", you get a fire spell; type in "iguna", it hits all enemies; "iguna-tsu", it powers up and hits all enemies. The game attempts to interpret every single random thing you type in. Therefore, there are approximately 307,759,840,206 different spells that one can cast.

However, just typing in random garbage won't give you a good spell. If you follow the rules set by the game, your spells become more powerful, more efficient. A minor problem with this game is that you can only store a limited number of spells in your inventory, and with all of the choices, it gets harder and harder to choose which ones to keep and which to get rid of.

To keep the gameplay balanced, even if you type in "tsunami" or any of the other ungodly powerful spells you may create, the MP costs make them too difficult to use, wasting all of your valuable mp in one shot.

The game does assist you in spell creation, though. Townspeople gossip about spells in the pub, monsters cast spells you can jot down and type in later, witches give some out freely; all in all, the system works well. Unfortunately for us, Katakana has many, many more letters than English. The English representations sometimes take 2 or 3 letters to represent one in Katakana, and there lies one of the many major obstacles in localization: the spells in Katakana can only be 6 letters long (yes, "igunati-su" is 6 characters long in katakana.) Think of the problems inherent in changing this to English. It's mind-boggling.

Apart from the magic system, Rudra is a old-school 2-D RPG, resembling Final Fantasy greatly. There is nothing remarkable in the slightest about Rudra's gameplay, other than the magic system.

Graphically, though, Rudra is quite solid. The in-battle graphics seem to have more of an edge to them than those of the Final Fantasy Series, and the map graphics are superior to those of every RPG before Final Fantasy 6. They aren't remarkable, though, just better than most RPGs of the time.

The story is rather standard. The world ends in 16 days, and you have to do some weird stuff involving tournaments and killing monsters and Rudras to save it. Nothing remarkable, except that there are three main characters, and the game makes you play through each of their scenarios before it ends.

What's really cool is you get to choose which scenario you want to play each time you reload your save, so when you get bored of the fighter, you can start playing as the mage. There are also plenty of supporting characters to help out, so you never stay alone for very long.

A good feature of this game is that whenever you do something right, the time of day changes. There's no real time limit in Rudra; for some strange reason, time stops completely until you do something, then the sun goes down. Cool.

The sound works. There aren't any really memorable tunes, and the battle sounds weren't that great, but it doesn't interfere. It's like elevator music: you really don't notice that it's there.

The controls are identical to those of any other RPG. The game is entirely turn-based, and you can dash in towns. The only problem is typing in the spells. That takes a little work, because the characters are all too small. However, I haven't had any major problems with the controls so far.

Overall, this game is a solid RPG, but only those who have more than a cursory knowledge of Japanese can play it without a dictionary and a look-up table. If you only can read English, it's not the brightest idea in the world to import this. If you can make do with FAQs and look-up tables and the like it really is quite fun. I heartily recommend you give it a look, if only for the sole purpose of solidifying your knowledge of arcane RPG trivia.

Veritron

Words of power are what make up the spell system in this Square title.

The devistating Tsunami spell.







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