bomba's House Of Flancakes

Posted on Apr 24th 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (bombatomba)
Posted under SNES games, Inindo, 7th Saga, Way of the Ninja, Oda Nobunaga


So, I've got this aunt who is super cool, and as long as I have known her she has been a gamer.  I credit her not only with truly introducing me to the love of console gaming (while stoking my future love for PC gaming), but especially with helping me out of my "Budget Wall" funk of the early nineties.  This is what we are here for today; reliving that special period between 1993 and 1995, when in her amazing generosity, Cool Aunt dumped a generous amount of games and gaming magazines on an otherwise broke teenager.  This is the Cool Aunt Chronicles.




I really wasn't smart about making game purchase decisions back then.  Left to my own way, I would have no doubt transitioned from buying cheap "throwaway" games on the NES to cheap "throwaway" games on the SNES (and beyond), perhaps picking up some diamonds in the rough, while all the time looking longingly at those expensive gaming horizons I could never truly explore, all because I was too busy buying crap that was cheap.  This is where Cool Aunt comes into the picture.  See, Cool Aunt bought pretty much everything, and I certainly mean everything.  But that is okay, as she was pretty much able to enjoy everything, and what she couldn't she put into a paper box she kept in her gameroom, and when I came to visit (she took care of my grandparents), she would hand it to me and watch my face light up.

7th Saga was not the first (or second) game I pulled from that fabled paperbox, but it is the first that comes to mind when I think back to those times.  While I am not sure when she gave me this game, I imagine it was late in 1993, possibly around late November at our family Thanksgiving dinner.  I am sad to say that like all previous games Cool Aunt had given to me (save perhaps Drakkhen), I no longer own this game, though mysteriously I still have the box and manual.


*Original scan from Atariguide.com, accessed from Gamesdatabase.org*

To those not in the know, 7th Saga is a Enix-published RPG, following a group of seven characters (though you only control one) as they quest for seven runes that will allow them to become of the heir of the ruler of world.  But instead of working together, they are all individual characters with their own motivations and personalities, so that at times throughout the game you can confront and come in conflict with some of the characters.  You can also recruit another of the characters to accompany and help you, and there is a bit of strategy in that as well (due to the previously mentioned personalities, as well as abilities).  In my opinion, this is one of the most interesting aspects of the game, and might even warrant a play for the RPG die-hards out there because of that.  But, there is just one little problem:  This game is devilishly hard; serving up Wizardry levels of difficulty[/i] with absolutely no mercy, in my opinion.  And the game just doesn't let up, not for a minute, even with grinding you will be fearing for your character's life (or lives if you get a partner) with every battle.  The only concession the devs offer is a crystal in the top right corner of the screen, so that you can see the crazy amount of enemies (represented as white dots) converge on you for another beatdown.

And this is the part where I checked out of 7th Saga.  I think I spent around ten hours playing it, and during this time I did very little outside of grinding for levels and confronting one measly boss.  In that respect it reminded me very much of the first Dragon Warrior title, which I wasn't a big fan of at all (though I have since softened).  I wanted to like it, especially since this time marked a slow period of RPGs on the SNES (at least as far as I was concerned), but the more time I put into it, the more the game seemed to fight against me.  There just didn't seem to be a moment where I felt safe exploring the world, even after multiple hours of grinding (oftentimes immediately healing and saving after each battle), and while the story premise certainly intrigued me, it wasn't enough to carry me to the end of the game.  Certainly not when I had several other games that Cool Aunt had gifted me, with one being a Zelda-like game (at least that is what Cool Aunt said).

Despite my current (and rather crowded) schedule, I managed to spend a little bit of time reliving my past with 7th Saga, and while I was able to become interested in it again (story only, I think), there is no way I could justify plunking down 35+ hours on such a grindfest.  There might be some out there who do want to experience this game, though, and to those of you that do, I wish you a sincere, "good journey."   

Overall, prices aren't too bad on the auction sites (~$20 USD), but I implore caution, as cheap clones of 7th Saga can be found on certain Chinese websites for a pittance, so maybe look towards a trusted collector or friend rather than the popular auction site.

Now we move smoothly into Inindo, the second game in this Twofer.  The box cover is quite good and the manual is large and helpful, but I didn't get any of those things, just the cart.  Not much to go with there, but onwards and upwards.

Unlike with 7th Saga, I was not immediately drawn to Inindo, for several reasons.  The first was the name of the publisher, that being Koei.  See, I knew all about Koei, as I had mistakenly rented one of their NES games back in the day (Genghis Khan maybe), thinking it was an RPG, then almost immediately returning it as it didn't come with a manual.  But, when I was done squeezing water from the rock that is 7th Saga, I did eventually pick up and play Inindo.

Predictably (given the developer), the game is set in the mid-16th century in Japan, and Oda Nobunaga is super busy trying to conquer Japan so he can unit it under his rule, and on the way he decides to destroy the Iga ninja clan, of which you happen to be a member of, or at least a former member, as it is destroyed before your very eyes!  You have sworn vengeance on Nobunaga, and will not rest until you see your ninja clan avenged!


*Video from 10min Gamplay on YouTube*[/b]

My first surprise was that Inindo was not an obtuse strategy game, rather a traditional overhead, turn-based RPG.  This would have been an amazing moment for if it wasn't for the assault of God-awful graphics, sound effects.  The music isn't too bad, but certainly not up to par for the SNES.  Of course, these days I find that sort of thing charming, but back then I was still flying high on the belief that SNES games were supposed to be superior to the NES (and everything else).  Inindo flies in the face of that prejudice, as it clearly doesn't give a flying monkey-butt what expectations were out there, and sallies forth with chin high.  The one positive thing is that once your ears have finished bleeding from the shrill sound effects, your eyes have to the fact this is NOT an NES game, and your hands heal from pounding on the controller because button presses are so delayed, Inindo puts on quite a show.

My second surprise was that the game is very deep.  Clearly Koei went ignored graphic and sound fidelity to focus on gameplay.  The world of Inindo is packed with characters, many of which you are able to recruit (for a total of three), but some will not.  See, each of the characters has their own motivations and goals, and if you happen to cross them they will attack, sometimes in groups of their own.  And you can kill them.

Despite the teasing tone I have in this section of the article, I really do recommend Inindo, despite the glaring warts I mentioned.  After my disappointment at 7th Saga (and a few others), Inindo was a very refreshing game to play.  Prices for the game appear fairly stable, with loose cart clocking in around $20 USD, with CIB copies averaging around $50 USD.  All in all, I would highly recommend getting the manual, or at least downloading a scan from the internet.  Trust me, it will likely save you hours of wandering around aimlessly, especially if you don't like reading online FAQs and walkthroughs.

Thanks for reading!


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Comments
 
I absolutely loved 7th Saga as a teenager!  At the time, I felt it fit right in with my tastes of Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior games.  I'm pretty sure any game that had traditional "treasure chests" simply ignited my imagination.  What's strange is the fact that I don't remember anything about it being "difficult".  I only learned about that later, via the Internet.  I remember playing through (not 100% certain that means that I completed it) with each of the seven characters and being in awe at the variety of stories told.  One of the most memorable things for me about the game is its music.  For whatever reason, it stands out very clearly in my mind for its style and melodies.  I still listen to it regularly!  I have not replayed the game since my youth, but it will always have a special place in my heart!
 
Wow, I never knew about Inindo.  This right up my alley.  I'll have to look for this one.

As for 7th Saga, I have this one coming in the may, complete minus the box.  You happen to want to get rid of the box?
 
I owned 7th Saga as a kid, and I always remember kind of liking the game even though I doubt I would have the patience for it now. I was actually able to get pretty far in it back in the day, although I never was able to beat it. Maybe I'll revisit it someday, but it's not particularly high on my backlog.
 
@neostryder:  Kind of funny, but since writing this article (mid-late last year) I have had a lot of SNES RPG players say the same thing about 7th Saga.  Part of me wants to put it down to nostalgia, but I feel like I need to give this game another chance.  Also, I am cuing up the tunes now Smiley

@shaggy: Glad to spread the Inindo love, as I think a lot of potential fans have been put off by the rep of the dev and the back of the box, which kind of makes it look like a strat game.  As for the 7th Saga box, if you don't mind waiting a bit I will be getting rid of it.

@Disposed Hero: Thanks for the memories, and also for commenting!
 
@bombatomba:  Absolutely, let me know when.

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So I'm an odd ball. So I am usually the last to post on a blog/forum. So I only post about weird games on weird platforms. So I have a strange relationship with commas and parenthesis. So what? Hey, at least you don't have to car pool with me to work, right? So have a heart, eat a blueberry, and don't forget to drop the empties in the box on the way out. I get deposit on those.
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