Langrisser 4 - Playstation / Saturn (1997)


Cover Artwork

Artwork

Langrisser 4 (Saturn)

After fans were disappointed in the deviation with Langrisser 3, Masaya returned to its classic formula for the fourth installment. Langrisser 4 begins with a simple rebellion - the lord has taken a unsettling interesting in the small town of Gotaal, and raises the tax rate, intentionally sparking an outrage. The game begins with the heroes, Landius and Ricky, fleeing for their lives as their town is wrecked for their obstinence. They watch helpless as their friend, Rachel, is stolen away. In the midst of running, they become entangled in a neighboring battle between the Kingdom Caconsis and the Regenburg Federation. The plotline is far removed from the first three games, although it does tie together with Langrisser 5.

Characters:

Landius
The hero of Langrisser 4, Landius was orphaned at a young age. Taken in by a neighboring family, he grows up with Ricky and Rachel in a peaceful village.

Ricky
Landis's friend refers to him as "aniue", a very respectful term for "big brother", although they aren't related. Ricky looks like a refugee from a CLAMP manga, and is fairly useless until he's leveled up. He also carries a torch for Shelfaniel.

Rachel
Rachel also refers to Landis as her "oniichan" or "big brother", although it's meant to be more cutesy than out of respect. Per usual Langrisser protocol, Rachel is whisked away at the beginning of the game and needs to be rescued. Rachel is your stereotypical healer.

Angelina
A young princess, Angelina is a tough warrior who fights on a flying horse and is protected by fairies. Her and her sister travel along with a strategist named Wheeler - who is a total wuss, but you never get to control him anyway.

Shelfaniel
Angelina's twin sister, Shelfaniel is the primary magic user in Langrisser 4. That jester's outfit is more ridiculous than it is cute.

McClaine

McClain runs into Landis and Ricky as they;re escaping at the beginning of the game, and lends a hand to a worthy cause. He's actually a cyborg (?!?!) who's lost his memory, and wants to unleash vengeance upon the person who turned him into such a monster.

Once again, your decisions influence which girl you'll nab at the end of the game. There are also three different paths through the game depending on your alignment, which is determined in by various actions you take in battle. The paths aren't as drastically different as they are in Der Langrisser, but it still allows for a bit of replay value.

New to Langrisser 4 is the "judgement" system. Instead of each unit's turn coming around in the same order, its speed determines how often it can move. If this sounds confusing, it just means that faster characters get more turns than slower characters. Additionally, spells take varying amounts of time to cast, which can also offset the turn order. It tends to get a little bit confusing when the soldiers move faster than their general, which makes it hard to keep them together. It doesn't seem like a big deal at first, although it does subtly alter the overall strategy.

While the graphics still aren't great, they've still improved over the prior installments. The awful battle scenes from Langrisser 3 have been scrapped in place of the classic fights, although they take an awful long time to load up on the Saturn version - they're actually disabled by default, popping up only for important scuffles. While it's not a huge revolution, it is a superb refinement, and is regarded by many as the best of the series.

Langrisser 4 for the Saturn also had a special edition package which comes in a nice little cardboard box. In addition a fan book similar to Langrisser 3's, included are three little pins of Rachel, Shelfaniel and the logo. It's nothing extravagant, but it's usually not much more expensive than the regular edition. Also keep your eyes open for the Anikis, who show up again.

After both Langrisser 4 and 5 had been released on the Saturn, Masaya bundled them both together and released them for the Playstation, dubbing them "Final Edition". A lot has changed the port - the biggest is that Langrisser 4 now uses Langrisser 5's battle system. In addition to the half-step character movement, this also means that soldiers move at the same time as your commanders, and you can move after attacking. Additionally, the number of units each commander can have has been expanded, and you can mix and match unit types. For the most part, this makes the Playstation version a bit easier than before. The graphics are mostly the same - battle sequences load much faster than the Saturn version, although they're letterboxed and missing the cool flame life meter effect. And once again, the music also sounds relatively crappy in comparison. Since the Final Edition is hard to come by, you're probably best sticking with the Saturn version, unless you really love Langrisser 5's battle system.

MP3s (Saturn version)

Battle 1
Battle 2

Langrisser 4 (Saturn)

Langrisser 4 (Saturn)

Langrisser 4 (Saturn)

Langrisser 4 (Saturn)

Langrisser 4 (Saturn)

Langrisser 4 (Saturn)

Langrisser 4 (Saturn)

Langrisser 4 (Saturn)

Langrisser 4 (Playstation)

Screenshot Comparisons

Saturn

PSOne

Langrisser 5: The End of a Legend - Playstation/Saturn (1998)


Cover Artwork

Artwork

Langrisser 5

The last true Langrisser game, the fifth installment picks up shortly before the conclusion of the fourth game. Sigma and Lambda are two cyborgs who awaken from their slumber, only to find that their underground home is under attack. After regrouping, the two begin their journey to find their creator, Gizarof, one of the villains from the previous game. Their goal is simply to find out why the frilly evil overlord Rainforce wants them dead. Of course, they get entangled in greater battles, most of which involve Langrisser 4's cast. There are only six playable generals in Langrisser 5, which is a little on the slim side.

Characters:

Sigma
The hero, Sigma carries a blank, cold stare. As this might suggest, he's not very personable and doesn't talk much, but he does look damn cool.

Lamba
Sigma's partner (and maybe more, if you play your cards right) has the same problem expressing emotions that Sigma does. She's your magic user.

Alfred
Most of the Langrisser games need a dork companion, so that's why Alfred's here. He eventually morphs from a whiny little bastard to a proud knight.

Brenda
Brenda is a a strong knight who takes an interest in Sigma's and Lambda's cause, and eventually helps them out.

Clarette
A rather flaky pegasus knight who, like Alfred, eventually matures as the story progresses.

The battle and movement system gets a complete overhaul in Langrisser 5. Instead of each character moving a whole square, you can take half-steps, giving greater control over your positioning. While it allows you to attack diagonally, it's also rather difficult to precisely position your units. As a result, the interface just feels rather clunky. The Judgment system from Langrisser 4 is back, although this time, your general and troops will move at the same time, which makes it much easier to keep everyone together. Additionally, it is possible to move, attack, then move again in the same turn. This allows for a lot of hit-and-run tactics, allowing your troops to get close to the enemy then retreat back into the healing range of the general. On the other side of the coin, if you move too far, your unit won't be able to attack at all. While it provides an interesting change of strategy, it's a little frustrating to be able to move next to an enemy unit, but not be able to attack them, considering to gameplay flow of practically every single SRPG ever made.

The character sprites have gotten even larger, although the graphics still aren't anything spectacular. However, several cutscenes feature large, gorgeous portraits. Naturally, the female characters are introduced with a leering shot at their legs, which slowly scrolls up past their bust and eventually up to their face. The music is also pretty strange, having developed an even stronger electronic feel.

While arguably not as good as its predecessor (the general consensus seems to be that battle system is a little funky, a sentiment that I agree with), Langrisser 5 is still a fine way to bring the series to a close.

The PSOne port, as usual, has slightly weaker music, but is otherwise pretty much the same as the Saturn version. It also offers a difficulty select, which should put to rest any complaints about the Saturn one being too easy.

MP3s (Saturn version)

Sigma 066
Brenda
Splendid Commander

Langrisser 5

Langrisser 5

Langrisser 5

Langrisser 5

Langrisser 5

Langrisser 5

Langrisser 5

Langrisser 5

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