Langrisser 2 / Der Langrisser - Genesis / PC-FX / Playstation / Saturn / PC (1994)


Japanese Cover

Japanese PC-FX Cover


Langrisser 2 (Mega Drive)

Langrisser 2 came shortly after the success of the original and was initially released for the Mega Drive. The game opens as an army of intruders invade a small village in search of a game named Riana. Her childhood pal Hein isn't too happy about this, and after enlisting the help of his friend Elwin, the son of Redin from the first game, to protect her from evil. But what does this army want to do with this girl? How does this tie in with the empire of Rayguard and their quest for the holy sword? And who is that sinister looking doppelganger of Riana? The cast of Langrisser 2 is quite a bit larger than before, and features a few faces from the original.

Characters:

Elwin
The hero of the game, son of Redin.

Riana
A young woman that the imperial army is desperately after for some reason.

Sheri
This knight leads a squadron of fairies - which, despite sounding a little lame, leads your first airborne units.

Hein
Hein, as you can probably tell, is a dorky little mage. Fairly useless in combat, but he's the first person to use magic.

Leon
Initially an enemy, Leon will become one of your greatest allies if you join the imperial cause (in Der Langrisser, anyway.)

Imelda
Fighting next to hotties like the warrior Imelda is one of the perks of joining the imperial side.

Rana
Pretty obviously Riana's twin sister, she's initially part of the evil side. Whether she falls to the light or the dark depends upon your actions.

The graphics in the Mega Drive version are definitely quite enhanced over the original, featuring super-deformed soldiers in the battle and much nicer portraits that look closer to Urushihara's drawings. The music is once again excellent, in spite of the weakness of the system's sound chip. There are also a few new units, including a summoner to bring various beasts to fight on your side. Other than the aesthetic enhancements and the increased difficulty, Langrisser 2 doesn't change much from the original, although it really didn't need too.

Despite the number of ports of Langrisser 2, the only "true" version is the Mega Drive one. Masaya later ported the game to the Super Famicom and PC-FX, dubbing the game "Der Langrisser". In addition to the enhanced graphics, the balance was greatly altered so that less characters were on the field at the same time, eliminating much of the clutter. Your characters initial statistics are also determined by answering a series of questions, much like Ogre Battle, - this has since become standard for the series. And while the plot is pretty similar, the maps are entirely different. The PC-FX, being on a CD, benefits from animated cutscenes and voices, although the only major difference is a "hard" mode after beating the game that has a completely rewritten script. According to those who understand it, it's quite humorous. All of the versions feature a cameo by the Choaniki characters in a hidden stage, the Muscle Shrine - while the ambiguous strongmen from Masaya's shooter series are quite difficult, beating them will yield one of the most powerful summons in the game.

However, the biggest addition to Der Langrisser is the ability to choose several paths to the end of the game, allying with different factions or electing to fight against them all. Each results in a different ending, and the number of possible scenarios are huge. The difference is substantial - there are around twenty five or so scenarios in the original Langrisser 2, while the four different paths in Der Langrisser add up to over seventy five. Sometimes they're just small variations, but it leads to incredible amount of replay value, with different characters and ending.

The Playstation and Saturn versions, despite being named "Langrisser 2," are really ports of "Der Langrisser". The graphics in the Playstation port are nearly identical to the Super Famicom version, other than some redrawn portraits. Once again, the Saturn version looks a bit cleaner and redraws some of the tiles to look a little nicer (especially evident in the battle scenes) but the overall improvements are minor. The Saturn also has slightly superior music over the Playstation. Both have full motion video cutscenes that are far more plentiful (and higher quality) than the ones in the first Langrisser.

MP3s

Battle 1 (Mega Drive)
Battle 1 (Super Famicom)
Battle 1 (PSOne)
Battle 1 (Saturn)

Langrisser 2 (Mega Drive)

Langrisser 2 (Mega Drive)

Langrisser 2 (Mega Drive)

Langrisser 2 (Mega Drive)

Langrisser 2 (Saturn)

Langrisser 2 (Saturn)

Langrisser 2 (Saturn)

Langrisser 2 (Saturn)

Langrisser 2 (Saturn)

Langrisser 2 (Saturn)

Screenshot Comparisons - Overhead

Mega Drive

Super Famicom

Playstation

Saturn

Screenshot Comparisons - Portraits

Mega Drive

Super Famicom

Playstation

Saturn

Screenshot Comparisons - Battle

Mega Drive

Super Famicom

Playstation

Saturn

Langrisser 3 - Saturn / PC / Playstation 2 (1996)


Saturn Cover

Artwork

Langrisser 3

Masaya decided to reinvent the wheel for Langrisser's first 32-bit outing. The result was met with disapproval by fans everywhere, although the changes aren't necessarily terrible. Instead of commanding each unit on the battlefield, you're only given control over the generals. After setting a destination for your general, your characters and the enemies move simultaneously. When they collide, the screen zooms into the battlefield, where you can give specific commands to each squad member, or just let the computer take over. You're then treated to a pseudo-3D rendition of the battle. I say "treated" rather sarcastically, because the graphics in these segments are godawful. The sprite based characters are too pixellated, and the battlefield contains almost no detail, just sparse, low-res textures. The camera can't keep up either, darting over the battlefield almost randomly, and the framerate varies greatly depending on the action. The action is pretty frantic, and it's fun to see your generals unleash their special attacks and send hordes of soldiers fly to their deaths. It seems like Masaya wanted to imitate the grand-scale mini-wars found in Sega's Dragon Force games, but they just didn't know how to do it right.

Like all Langrisser games, there are tons of characters on the battlefield, and these battle segments slow things down even more than previous installments. They can be turned off, which removes much the micromanagement strategy that you needn't worry about most of the time anyway. But since the game is so streamlined, and so much of the game out of your control, it really feels like you're removed from the battle. The basics are still mostly the same, except the class system has been overhauled. You never promote characters, but instead you can assign them different classes at the beginning of each battle. Naturally, the more levels they gain, the wider the possibilities.

Langrisser 3 is actually a prequel to the first two games, as it details the creation of the first Langrisser sword, and the origins of the Descendents of Light.

Characters:

Dyhalto
Forefather to Redin and Elwin, Dyhalto has a golden mane that would put any Akira Toriyama character to shame.

Ruin
One of Dyhalto's best friends, and a decent fighter early on.

Tialiss
Your typical girly mage character, who happens to have an extraordinarily thin neck. Her father is killed early on, so she joins with Dyhalto. Her kawaii voice makes me want to punch someone.

Rifani
Rifani travels with her loser compatriot Pierre, and gets ambushed by enemy soldiers before Dyhalto helps them out.

Luna
Luna is a steadfast warrior - the only way to impress her is by fighting your battles efficiently.

Frea
Princess Frea actually fights against you, but you can still bag her if you play your cards right.

Sophia
A priestess at the Shrine of Light, which is a job that apparently does not require much in the way of clothing. At least the other girls kinda sorta wear armor.

Langrisser 3 also introduces a love system similar to the Sakura Taisen games - depending on what you say and do to your female compatriots, their feelings will change about you. At the finale, you'll end up together with the one you've impressed the most. While the multiple paths of Der Langrisser are gone, there are still two major endings depending on various choices you've made throughout the game.

The music is also a bit lacking, both in instrumentation and composition. There's a wide variety of songs, at least. It's just another one of those factors that, like the rest of the game, just isn't quite up to par with the rest of the series. Once you get used to the overhauled system, it's still plenty of fun - it seems like an unnecessary attempt to simplify things, and the end result is a bit awkward. Langrisser 3 is the only game of the series to be denied multiple ports - other than an odd PC release in Korea, it only came out on the Saturn. A limited edition comes with a hologram cover and a small fanbook featuring interviews with the voice actors, but nothing terribly exciting. It was also re-released for the Playstation 2, although barely upgraded. Oddly enough, some of more scantily clad female characters were given more clothing.

Langrisser 3

Langrisser 3

Langrisser 3

Langrisser 3

Langrisser 3

Langrisser 3

Langrisser 3

Langrisser 3

Langrisser 3

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