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Old School Games: Disgaea & other Nippon Ichi games


Final Fantasy Tactics was my favorite thing to do for the longest time. I could easily play it for days at a time, even after finishing it I could return to it and try out different strategies, then later in high school I spoke with a guy who was way into the statistics and we began a discussion about Calculators and so math, yes, actual math, entered into playing that game. A demo disc for Vagrant Story contained a game called "Front Mission 3," which was Final Fantasy Tactics with robots. More or less. Before that even I had a computer RPG on my genesis that I managed to beat without the internet or the game manual guide (which I assume my half brother may have somewhere or was thrown away) called Buck Rodgers Countdown to Doomsday. Maybe one of my favorite strategy games ever, Buck Rodgers let me design my own team of dudes and in the later parts of the game travel half the solar system at my own pace and do stuff my own way. Another game I had some experience with was Ghengis Khan on nintendo. The actual wars let you maneuver your characters around in grids, with numbers for your attack strength and mobility if my memory serves. Certain dynasty warriors are like that and Nobunaga's Ambition type games. Essentially the most basic and necessary elements of strategy role playing are moving like chess pieces, having statistics, and fighting against the computer. That was all I wanted and it made me happy. Then a couple weeks ago I bought a game called Disgaea.

My price: 19.99 "new"

I don't know why I put off buying this game. Maybe it's that I knew I could get lost into it. That its the type of thing that if I'm not careful, it can consume me. I finally thought "It's only twenty dollars. I should buy this." As you may know I've been getting into PS2 games that I missed, mostly Atlus RPGs, not knowing anything about Disgaea or Nippon Itichi, I started this up and now I'm ten hours into it according to the save file. Not counting times I've died after fighting so deep into an optional random dungeon. Essentially this game is everything I want in an RPG. It's got a storyline that I can follow, demon prince is awoken from the "netherworld" by a demon girl and they set out to conquer the rest of the netherworld. His father having died, has left a seat of power open that the prince thinks is rightfully his. Along the way I've met characters like Flonne, a naive angel "assassin" who seems to have walked out of the big eyed super girl animes, Prinnies, zombie penguins who contain the souls of evil humans and must work out their debts in the netherworld, and Mid-boss, his name isn't actually mid-boss. He was some other demonic guy who wanted to rule everything and your character gets tired of his nonsense and decides to call him that. I'm usually not into anime stuff, but this is actually funny. It all clicks even more when you play the game. I could care less about storylines, but this one actually has my attention.

Now the gameplay. I know you liked Final Fantasy Tactics. We all did. This is like that, but crazy. You've grids to move on. You've height to worry about. You've statistics for attacks, movement, speed, magic, all that usual stuff. Instead of being able to switch jobs, that I know of, you recruit your other party members and assign jobs to them such as mage or cleric. Then it gets crazy. You can actually lift up other characters and throw them at each other. Then even more crazy as I found out from letting the game sit on the title screen and it showing me gameplay, you can actually lift more than one character at a time. So picture a ton of squished anime warriors all standing on each other, then being tossed around. It's quite silly to see and actually can have advantages. Prinnies actually explode when you throw them. After each battle you have to pay to heal your characters and buy them new equipment. You actually level up the stores as well. Then you've got a thing called the "item world." It's a random dungeon that is inside your items. Going ten floors deep levels up your items making them more powerful.

Less than a week ago, I had a discussion with some of my internet acquaintances. They told me that I should buy Disgaea 2 that it was "rare" and that the price the gamestore had it listed for was great. Talks then shifted to the company who made Disgaea at which point I realize that this is only part of a series. That there are many games like this. And I had to have them all.

Makai Kingdom
My Price: 14.99

In this game you play, a bad ass freaking overlord. Okay, so that's who the "main character" is, but he doesn't keep his regular overlord form for long. In a strange and I'm not exactly sure on how they went series of events at the start of the game, you play as a ruler of a netherworld (not unlike the one in Disgaea) but in an alternate dimension, or something, and then you're turned into a book and mocked by other overlords as you try and rebuild you own hellish realm back. One character in particular you meet I have to mention. He's introduced and it says "in many worlds, he is the final boss." Then this guy speaks, with a very flamboyant male voice. He's a four armed demonic boss character who has two other characters attached to him. In a more subtle way, I got a tank called "Gear Metal LEX," which seems a little too solidly similar to another game to have just been a random thing. To say that this is complicated is an understatement. To say its hilarious is an understatement. The further I get the more I get into it. It's starting to be about the only thing I want to play. And I highly, highly recommend you pick

Now the gameplay. As if Disgea wasn't crazy enough, Makai Kingdom laughs at Disgea. In fact, Disgea seems well organized. Not only do you recruit characters from items, any item that you lay around your netherworld, but you can also bring buildings into battle. Information I have seems to suggest vehicles also come into play later in the game. I really don't know what to say. Movement is a little different from most strategy RPGs I've played. A grid is still somewhat in place, but you move in circles and have attack radiuses that don't come out blocks. Throwing and lifting are back, and you can throw enemies (or allies) off of the edge of the battlefield. If conditions are met in battle, sometimes random conditions like destroying a rock, extra tiles appear out of nowhere and add to the battlefield more enemies and area to play in. Yes, complicated. If you've no idea what I'm talking about I'm sure you're scratching your head. This one is a little more hardcore. The payoff I've had from soaking time into it has been nonstop entertainment from the storyline and the gameplay. I'm just so into leveling up my characters. I've a main character who seems to kick everyone's face in, but every other character seems to hate living. I have to revive my whole party after every battle it seems. I don't know what's wrong. We'll see how it goes when I get more time to soak into it.

Soul Nomad
My Price: 19.99

This one you're a warrior who has a cowgirl (no, actually a moo cow not like a cowboy) friend who is also a warrior, and your guy gets a magic sword possessed by a crazy powerful evil. He shares his soul with you, with the intent of taking you over to rule the world. Giant world destroyers ravaged the world once before, of which this evil power ruled over, and you've been tasked to go defeat what's left of them.

Ever play a game called Tactics Ogre? This feels a lot like Tactics Ogre. You recruit different types of soldiers to put into squads, then put them against other squads. Rock paper scissors rules are in effect, I think. Arrows beat something, magic beats something, that sort of stuff. It's all hard to take in. It was the same thing in Tactics Ogre on super nintendo, you design a group of warriors together from whatever classes you had, then sent them out into battle like in the typical strategy RPG. If memory of the game serves correct. [Trip to gamefaqs] Ogre Battle, that was the name of it. I looked it up and that's the game. Very similar style. Wikipedia claims that the guy who made Ogre Battle (and its SEQUEL Tactics Ogre, don't know how I got all this confused) went on to make Final Fantasy Tactics. Interesting to see how everything seems connected. Soul Nomad plays like them. You make a squad of your allies, mixing and matching for the best effects. My all magic squad does lots of damage, but has no defense. So it takes some planning and every squad needs a healer, sometimes two.

Anyway onto the gameplay. As I said, you develop your squads of archers, mages, healers, or whatever else then go battle away. Every fight shows a side view (like previous game La Pucelle) and can be really interesting to watch at times. Depending on where you place a character they'll do a different attack. For example, the main character attacks with his sword in the front row, but in the middle he uses it to shoot what I assume is a laser out. I know. Or rather don't know. Another interesting thing is the way healers work. I can't not put healers into my groups. My main hero has two healers and everyone else has one. I'm not that far into the game, maybe ten to twelve hours, but I'm starting to get more options. Now let me talk about Gig eddicts. They let you do wacky things in battle using a bit of Gig (the sword demon)'s energy. What's even stranger is that you can use them out of battle as well, such as trying to steal from a shop. I tried and failed and am now out several thousand dollars. In fact, it's over nine thousand.

I'm almost certain this is a game I saw years ago, when it was first out maybe, someone said that the scene at the start where your female friend picks a weapon, eventually she picks every weapon if you keep playing new game+ through and through. One of the attacks with gig seems very familiar to me too, like I've seen it before. X-play, the television game review program seems to have reviewed it. I would assume I saw it there, where they seem to have not liked Soul Nomad at all. All these games feel like they just missed being major releases that everyone could find out about. Soul Nomad is easily reccomended. I'm enjoying the the storyline and characters, and much like every other game in this series you can skip cutscenes if you find them boring. I love that.

La Pucelle
My Price: 5.99

In my haste to buy up all these games, La Pucelle was the one that stood out the most. The sound of the name seems rather feminine doesn't it? I can't help but laugh saying it. Over and over I'll say it just ot laugh. I can after all, pronounce it. This was the first one of these games released and I probably should have played it first, but not knowing it was out there at all thanks to the gaming press, I'll write my thoughts on it. Unlike other games you can walk around on a town map. While the other games feature areas similar to a town, none have actually been a town. At least, far as I've played them. Also things seem a lot brighter colored in this one. The tone doesn't seem as dark or crazy as the other games. I'm having a rough time with it actually. Cutscenes remind of Makai Kingdom and Soul Nomad's style. You see the characters up close with character portraits showing you whose talking on the bottom side of the screen. The premise in this game is that you're working for a church as a demon hunter. There was some mention of zombies. I'm 28 minutes in, and I can't figure out where to go or what to do. This is not good. I've talked to everyone in the town. I'm about to consult a FAQ to figure out where to go and what to do. Maybe I'm stupid and missing something obvious. Okay, so I missed talking to ONE character over in the Orphanage and now can proceed with things. I'm stupid.

Battles are rather interesting, now that I'm in them. Like Soul Nomad, when you attack you go to a side view of the characters. Considering Soul Nomad came after this, I guess I should say that "like la pucelle" in that part of this. Maybe I should leave all this in just so you can see the process I write stuff. Oh yeah, battle. Anyway battles! Combo attacks, dark portals, purification, dogs and cats living together. It's all a bit much to take in all at once. So let's go slow.

Phantom Brave
My Price: 9.99

After having one special ordered, I got my copy of Phantom Brave. After nearly a month of just sitting here unplayed, I finally found the time for it. The storyline here starts with a battle scene with the sprites sideviewed like in Makai and everyone is killed. A child escapes and a ghost warrior protects her on an island. For work they run around killing other monsters and poltergeists.

Your army is made up off recruited ghosts, whom can only last on a battlefield a certain amount of turns. Once their out of time, they vanish to whatever item they were put into. The battle system is a little more slippery than Makai, and uses the same circle movement grid. One thing different from the others is that each character takes a single turn, instead of commanding them all at once. So far the storyline has me traveling islands and clearing out enemies, but whenever someone realizes my main character talks to phantoms they freak out on her.

Disgaea 2 & 3

Not yet. I have 2 and will be picking up 3 as soon as I get a Playstation 3. More so than the Yakuza series and even Metal Gear, Disgaea 3 may be the deciding factor in picking up the console. From what I understand, 3 has downloadable content that brings in characters previous games like Mid-boss. Everytime that guy shows up I just laugh and laugh. Even more crazy is that you can bring in ones from the other games inj Well that's it other than some tie-in titles like the PSP Prinny game. Which I will pick up at some point I'm sure. If you like strategy RPG games like this, you can always try Fire Emblem, Front Mission, or so many others.
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About randombullseyeone of us since 5:44 PM on 07.05.2008

"I am hoping that I can be known as a great writer and actor some day, rather than a sex symbol." - Words of wisdom from the deity Steven Seagal

"Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose." - Alan Moore from Watchmen

My own writing reflects the opinion of every corporation, company, individual, monsters, and gods. Also, cocks!

Coming soon as an actual book you can buy The Bonerquest. Hopefully you'll buy a copy when I'm done with it.

Will you accept The Bonerquest?

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is the best game ever.

Read fun articles Josh (Charlie) wrote for Tomopop or Nukezilla! Professionalism! Also I did some news for Destructoid. Sort of a real writer!

Check out Josh Hayes, a name Charlie uses for journalism on the internet so that he can say silly personal things without the fear of them being exposed openly. That and to hide from people he knew who he don't want to find him, not no way, not no how.

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Old School Games articles are pretty much worth reading. They say write what you know.

X-Com UFO Defense

Zelda 2

X-Men Mutant Apocalypse

Dragon Warrior III

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

Final Fantasy 3 (Final Fantasy VI)

Way of the Samurai

Nick Arcade

We Love Katamari

Ninja Gaiden

Toejam & Earl

River City Ransom

Mega Man X

Pokemon Red/Blue

Yakuza series

Operation Darkness


X-Men 2: Clone Wars

Sweet Home

Legend of Dragoon

Clock Tower

Mystal Ninja/Ganabre Goemon series

Onimusha Warlords

Rockin' Kats


Spawn games

God Hand

Blood Will Tell

Super Godzilla


Animal Platformers

Robot Alchemic Drive (R.A.D.)

Buck Rodgers Countdown to Doomsday

Darkwing Duck

Shin Megami Tensei games (Persona, Devil Summoner, Devil Survivor)

Jurassic Park 2

Disgaea & other Nippon Ichi Games (Phantom Brave, Makai Kingdom, La Pucelle Tactics, Soul Nomad)

Twisted Tales of Spike Mcfang

Resident Evil

Legend of Kage

Lost Vikings

Devil May Cry

Comix Zone

X- Men

Threads of Fate

Mutant League Football

Mega Man 7

Castlevania 2

Sonic 2

Dragon Warrior 2

Donkey Kong Country

Spider-man & X-Men Arcades revenge




Splatterhouse 2

Elevator Action

Mega Man 6

Mega Man 5

Dig Dug

Mega Man 4

Mega Man 3

Mega Man 2

Rock Roll Racing


Mega Man

Beat Em Ups PART 6: Future

Beat Em Ups PART 5: Playstation 2/Xbox/Gamecube

Beat Em Ups PART 4: Playstation/Saturn

Beat Em Ups PART 3: Sega Genesis Super Nintendo

Beat Em Ups PART 2: Nintendo

Beat Em Ups PART 1: Arcade

Smash TV

Ghosts & Goblins


Werewolf Last Warrior


Dragon Warrior


Rolling Thunder

Splatterhouse 3

Doom Troopers

Demons Crest

Primal Rage

Zero Wing


G. I. Joe


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