Leading lords and ladies of Langrisser I, II, and III
Langrisser is a series of Turn-Based Strategy games by NCS that is mostly Japan-only. The main series of Langrisser games is made up of five installments, many of which have been ported and updated a bewildering number of times. From a gameplay perspective, Langrisser is similar to games like Fire Emblem, but what sets Langrisser apart is its sense of scale. In a typical Turn-Based Strategy game, the player commands around twelve fighters per battle, while in Langrisser, there are hundreds of soldiers on the player's side alone, organized into battalions which are led by more powerful commanders. While ordinary soldiers fight in groups, commanders can single-handedly mow down scores of enemies in a single turn.The main series games are set in a Medieval European Fantasy world, and most take place on a continent called El Sallia (later games introduce a second continent). El Sallia's history is not so much a series of conflicts as one long knock-down, drag-out war where everyone is fighting everyone else. Constantly. To make matters worse, there's an ongoing feud between the dark god, Chaos, and the goddess of light, Lushiris. Starting with Der Langrisser, the remake of Langrisser 2, the many of the games feature multiple story paths which allow the hero to ally with each of the factions. Der Langrisser was especially good at making all the different groups seem sympathetic. Langrisser 3 adds Relationship Values and Romance Sidequests to the mix as well, which reappear in all the games to follow.Titles in the Langrisser series:
Langrisser - Sega Mega Drive (1991). Released in English under the title Warsong in 1992. Also released on PC Engine, PlayStation, Saturn, Win9x and Win Me/2000/Xp.
Langrisser II - Mega Drive (1994). Received an Updated Re-release titled Der Langrisser on Super Famicom, which became the basis for versions on PC-FX, Playstation, Saturn and Win9x. Also there is a Win Me/2000/Xp version based on the original Langrisser II.
Langrisser Millennium WS: The Last Century - Bandai Wonderswan (2000)
The development team behind the earlier installments split from NCS in 1996 to form Career Soft. Career Soft remained involved with subsequent installments until 1998, when they began to develop the Growlanser series for Atlus. As the subtitle ofLangrisser Vsuggests, the series concluded right around the time Sega abandoned the Sega Saturn. NCS went on to produce the Millenniumspinoff series without the input of the main series development team.So far, only 3 out 5 of the games have been translated into English. In 1992, Treco released Langrisser stateside under the title of Warsong, and a fan-made translation of the PC version exists. There is also a fan-made translation of the SNES remake of Langrisser II, Der Langrisser. Langrisser IV was translated in 2001.
This series provides examples of:
Anti-Grinding: Certain mechanics are in place to prevent the player from getting max level with all their characters. The most notable is that there is only a limited number of exp you can earn per map; the amount of exp per map is heavily calculated. Characters only earn experience from killing enemies, so this mitigates the exp gained from from chipping an enemy's health down.
The only loophole to this rule are Healers. Healers gain experience from healing people, so they are completely exempt to the rule. Even characters with low level healing spells can exploit this loophole.
Blob Monster: The slimes that show up in the fourth mission in Langrisser, which are resistant to physical attacks. You're not actually trying to beat them...you just need to stay alive long enough for them to retreat. They are, however, weak against fire, which is used by Chris' guardsmen when she and Sir Thorne come to rescue you at the halfway point.
Decapitated Army: Killing an enemy leader will cause the rest of the units under his squad to die as well. However, doing so will steal any possible experience the player can gain from killing the other units. On the other hand, killing individual units will take longer, as they benefit a number of stat boosts so long as they stay under their leader's area of influence.
Elite Tweak: This game has a lot of these. One of the biggest is how you can start Elwin off as a Warlock, which requires only a tiny fraction of the experience that other classes need to level up, allowing you to get your first class change near the beginning of the second scenario.
Further compounded by the fact that one of the quiz paths leading to Warlock allows Elwin to start with obscenely high stats (31 AT - 21 DF). Considering that Der Langrisser is about the easiest game ever made, it's really just a wee bit silly.
Most characters' class development paths have "best practices" that are usually easiest to determine by reading a guide. However, the games always feature a couple of Runestones which allows a character to reset their class to the very first class change, turning useless final classes (such as High Master or Ninja Master) awesome via carrying over their skills unto another class and turning it into a hybrid (bow-using Dragon Lord for instance).
Emotionless Girl: Lambda, one of the heroines from Langrisser V, starts out as this.
The Evil Prince: Paul. He becomes the reoccurring villain Böser by the end of 3.
Faction-Specific Endings: Present in Der Langrisser, Langrisser III, and Langrisser IV depending on who the party allies with.
Fantastic Racism: Everyone treats the Demon Tribe as if they were Always Chaotic Evil when that is simply untrue. Some of them were subjected to More than Mind Control by Böser, but for the most part they only supported Chaos because everyone else treated them like crap. This actually makes the Light path seem really horrific if you think about it, as it implies the continued marginalization and possible genocide of an entire race just because Lushiris never liked them and they have funny ears.
Also, the lunar Crimzonians towards all land dwellers, demons and humans alike.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Rachel, one of the heroines from Langrisser IV, is said to have extraordinary magic power, which Gizlof later uses to power his superweapon. However, in terms of gameplay, she is mostly relegated to being the party healer.
Green-Eyed Monster: Angelina is secretly jealous of her sister Shelfanil, who is beloved by everyone for her kind nature.
Half-Human Hybrid: Sonia in Der Langrisser is half-demon, causing her to be driven from her home village. Landius is half-lunarian.
Heart Is an Awesome Power: Langrisser gains power from the amount of faith it gathers from the people around it; the more people traveling with the hero, the stronger it will be. In comparison Alhazard feeds upon its wielder's ambitions and desires. Depending on the man, it can achieve just as much.
Heroic Lineage: Throughout the series, the protagonist is one of the "Descendants of Light" who have the capacity to wield the Sword of Plot Advancement, Langrisser. This is subverted with Landius, the hero of Langrisser IV.
Humongous Mecha: In one of the paths in Langrisser IV, Gizlof brings this out in the final stage as a hidden card against the heroes. Destroying it nets you a bad ending since it is piloted by Rachel.
Magitek: Although the first two games shy away from the mention of magitek, magitek features prominently in both the series' backstory and end. In the backstory an ancient world war was fought between the natives of Gaia, and the lunar race of Crimzo, using flying battleships and weapons so powerful that, in the end, struck the red moon into a new orbit. The games are set in an era where this history has become mostly forgotten, barely hinted about by the other characters until the last game.
Oddball in the Series: Langrisser III introduces new gameplay mechanics, but most of them get rolled back in the games that follow.
Omnicidal Neutral: The games that have plot branches include an "independent" path in which the protagonists take on the world...and kill everyone who gets in the way.
One-Hit-Point Wonder: The Mooks under you all only have one hit point each (with a couple of exceptions), which is part of what makes the hero characters...
One-Man Army: Every hero under your control will probably kill at least a hundred enemy soldiers over the course of the game. Yes, even that healer/caster in your back line.
Plant Person: (Langrisser V) Female lead Lambda has the ability to communicate with plants.
Player Personality Quiz: A tradition started by Der Langrisser. Affects the main character's starting class and stats (although your starting class is overridden by your first promotion, which always turns Elwin into a warrior type.) This is expanded in later games to affect the main's entire class tree.
Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Staple gameplay mechanic. Langrisser I uses soldiers > archers > cavalry > soldiers. Langrisser II and the games that follow switch to soldiers > spearmen > cavalry > soldiers.
That's No Moon: The blue moon Pelia is actually an space station from the Gaian-Crimzonian war.
Too Dumb to Live: Those who have played Langrisser IV should know that the King of Caconsis is a colossal idiot who gets himself (and his country by default) into trouble at every possible moment. It is a miracle that 1. his two daughters do not take after him at all and 2. the whole country has not been run to ground.
Beware the Nice Ones: Hein is just the cute plucky sidekick, right? Except that his two best class-change paths lead to him becoming either a wizard on the level of Jessica or Eggbert, or the game's foremost Magic Knight, with access to healing spells, support magic, an awesome summon, and a formidable sword attack.
Bittersweet Ending: The Light Path almost isn't this, but then the Fridge Horror regarding the Demon Tribe's fate sets in. The Independent Path is more straightforward: it ends with Elwin having unified El Sallia under his banner, saved the Demon Tribe from eons of persecution, freed the world from the manipulations of Lushiris and Chaos, and finally brought about an era of peace. However, he's had to kill many good people to do it and lost the woman he loves because he killed the goddess she worships. The ending is probably the happiest on the global scale, but it's tragic on a personal level for Elwin and those he cares about.
Black and Gray Morality: The Goddess of Light is a racist, The Empire is a bunch of ruthless conquerors, the Demon Tribe are led by a psychotic monster, and even if you avoid all of these, you're still a backstabbing Lu Bu who racks up a massive body count in the name of peace and justice.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Liana on the Chaos path. Brainwashed into serving Boser, and liking every moment of it. Also on the Independent path. Brainwashed by Lushiris into fighting Elwin.
Broken Aesop: Done intentionally here, where the only path that isn't racist still involves the unification of the continent through force of arms.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Independent path requires you to backstab every faction you work with. Betraying the Empire, in particular, is portrayed as something done solely for your own power rather than for the good of everyone.
The problem being that every path shift seems to shift Elwin's personality dramatically and instantly.
Order Versus Chaos: The premise behind the story, at least in theory; the Empire doesn't care about the struggle between Lushiris and Chaos except as it affects their interests, and Independent Elwin wants them both taken down.
The Starscream: Elwin towards the Kaiser in Independent and Chaos paths.