Saturday, July 2, 2011

Canon Game Review: Suikoden I

After playing Suikoden 2 last month (and reviewing it right here), I decided to go back and play the original, Suikoden 1. Released in 1995 and developed and produced by Konami. Suikoden I follows the story of the son of the great general Teo McDohl. After Teo leaves to take care of a rebellion against Emperor Barbarossa, who is under the spell of an evil sorceress named Windy.  Tir and his friends begin performing tasks for the empire, and what a group of friends they are. Most of them are servants hired to serve the hero, including Gremio, who looks at the hero as his own son, Cleo, and Pahn, who likes to complain about how hungry he is. The hero has also befriended a mischievous kid named Ted, but there's more to Ted than meets the eye. After a few incidents went against the hero and his friend, they eventually find themselves fighting for the rebellion against the empire, the one the hero's father fights to protect. Obviously, this will cause problems for the family down the road.

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Although Suikoden has a lot of similarities to Suikoden 2, there are a few differences that make Suikoden an inferior game. Probably the most infuriating difference is that you don't have an option to put items aside for the group. Instead of a 'community' bag, so to speak, to put items in, you have to give it to someone in your party. Each person gets 10 slots, but since armor takes up four or five slots, you don't have a whole lot of room for medicine and hidden objects and such. There were many times throughout the game that I'd have to drop something valuable in order to get something else, something that didn't happen too much in Suikoden 2. Yes, it's a minor difference, but it is still quite annoying. Also, each player only gets one rune slot in Suikoden 1 instead of the multiple rune slots available for characters on Suikoden 2. This makes assigning runes critical, as you don't want to waste a super powerful rune on someone with low magic skill.

Like every other Suikoden game, you must collect the 108 stars of destiny to get the super duper happy ending. Most of the 108 stars also can help you in battle, with each ones having different strengths and weaknesses. Some are just there to provide support during war battles against the Imperial Army, and some are there so they can open shops in your castle and provide you with a one stop shop for all your wartime needs. Some of the characters you have to go out on your own and search for, while others are forced upon you whether you like it or not. In the case of Krin, I didn't like it all, but that's another story. Anyway, like Suikoden 2, characters are group in three fighting ranges, short range (S), mid range (M) and long range (L). Short range fighters can only fight in the front row of your six man party, while the other two can fight wherever they darn well please. Since nearly half the characters seem to be short range fighters, this somewhat limits the use of a lot of quality fighters. Plus, since the front row is attacked constantly, you'd better make sure that whoever's up front has strong defense skills. Also, there will be times where you (the hero) must duel one on one with another character, and there are also a few Advance Wars style battles here as well. These basically work as a rock-paper-scissors game, where charge beats bow, bow beats magic, and magic beats charge. As long as you know which attack is coming (and with the Ninja ability, you can find out what the enemy is going to do), these are rather easy battles to win.

The graphics and the artwork in Suikoden have some strong and weak points. The strong points being that, despite being in 2-D, the towns and other areas are drawn with great detail, and the animations of the characters in battle are rather smooth. However, the drawings of most of the characters aren't always well done. For example, Mathiu has his eyes closed at all times, and Marco just looks plain goofy. But, graphics aren't everything, and the compelling story more than makes up for what shortcomings the graphics may of had. Also, the audio is nicely done on this game, with a score that is both catchy and adds an 'epic' feel to many of the proceedings. Although Suikoden has a lot of dialogue and a enthralling script, there are some points where it gets repetitive, as most characters will just say the same thing over and over again once they join your army and enter the castle. In Suikoden 2, at least that was some variety in the characters' and townspeople's dialogue depending on the situation.

Overall, Suikoden is a rather enjoyable game that has something to offer for every RPG fan out there. Yes, the game has a few flaws, and there are Super Nintendo games that have superior graphics, but overall the story, the variety of characters, and all the different twists and turns should keep the average gamer entertained from beginning to end. Overall, I'd give it an 8 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about Suikoden or this review in general, then feel free to leave a comment. Also, if you have an idea for a future review, then send me an e-mail at

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