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 II, 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 III 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 - Mega Drive (1991). Released in English under the title Warsong in 1992. Also released on the PC Engine CD-ROM2 System, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Windows (both Win9x and 98/ME/2000/XP), and NTT DoCoMo FOMA900i and 901i.
- Langrisser II - Mega Drive (1994). Received an Updated Re-release titled Der Langrisser on Super Famicom and Der Langrisser FX on PC-FX, which became the basis for versions on PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and Win9x. There is also a Windows 98/ME/2000/XP version based on the original Langrisser II, and a remake for PlayStation 4, PC, and Nintendo Switch that includes the original Langrisser.
- Langrisser III - Sega Saturn (1996). Also released on Windows 98/ME/2000/XP and PlayStation 2.
- Langrisser IV - Sega Saturn (1997). Also released on PlayStation.
- Langrisser V: The End of Legend - Saturn (1998). Also released on PlayStation.
- Langrisser Millennium - Sega Dreamcast (1999). Also released on Windows 98/ME/2000/XP.
- Langrisser Millennium WS: The Last Century - Wonderswan (2000)
- Langrisser Re:Incarnation -Tensei- - Nintendo 3DS (2015)
- Langrisser Mobile - Windows, Android, iOS (January 22, 2019)
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 of Langrisser V suggests, the series originally concluded right around the time Sega abandoned the Sega Saturn. NCS went on to produce the Millennium spinoff series without the input of the main series development team.
So far, only four games have been translated into English. In 1992, Treco officially released the original Mega Drive version of Langrisser stateside under the title of Warsong, and a fan-made delocalization exists. There are also fan-made translations for the Windows 98/ME/2000/XP version of Langrisser, the original Mega Drive version of Langrisser II, its Super Famicom remake Der Langrisser, and the PlayStation version of Langrisser IV. In 2016, Aksys Games officially released Langrisser Re:Incarnation -Tensei- internationally. The latest in the series is a mobile Langrisser game, which released internationally, and is a direct continuation of the original five games.
On March 10 2020, NIS America released the Langrisser I & II remake for Nintendo Switch, PC, and PlayStation 4 outside Japan. In addition to updated music and art (with the old styles still available), it greatly expanded the content of the first game, adding new playable characters and more branching narratives when all prior releases had a linear story.
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 XP you can earn per map; the amount of XP per map is heavily calculated. Characters only earn experience from killing enemies, so this mitigates the XP gained 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.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Just like another famous TurnBasedStrategy series out there.
- Bleached Underpants: The series' character designs are by noted ecchi and hentai artist Satoshi Urushihara, who also worked on later series Growlanser. The man is fond of reusing his character designs in his more adult art.
- Blob Monster: A reoccurring enemy type, with one prominent example: 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.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Happens a lot in the series. One can even call it a trademark.
- Chris in Langrisser I (Chapter 17 of the original/"A" Route).
- Lana in Langrisser II.
- Flare in Langrisser III.
- Rachel in Langrisser IV.
- Costume Porn: The character designs. Costumes are lavish, hair is over-the-top, and considering that Satoshi Urushihara is the man behind them, porn is an ideal word for it.
- Crossover: In IV, V, and Mobile, the Cho Aniki cast show up as trainers that can be fought to boost unit stats. In Der Langrisser, they appear as bosses in a hidden map, but they overcharge their power and self-destruct after a set number of turns.
- 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 from a number of stat boosts so long as they stay under their leader's area of influence.
- Dub Name Change: Ubiquitous in Warsong.
- Occurs in the mobile title as well, due to many characters coming from titles that were never sold internationally.
- Elite Tweak: The games have a lot of these. One of the biggest is how you can start Elwin off as a Warlock in Der Langrisser, 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).
- Faction-Specific Endings: Present in Der Langrisser, Langrisser III, Langrisser IV, -Tensei- and both parts of Langrisser I & II 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.
- Half-Human Hybrid:
- Sonia in Der Langrisser is half-demon, causing her to be driven from her home village.
- From IV, Landius is half-lunarian.
- Matthew, the protagonist of the mobile title, also has demon blood in him in addition to lunarian, as Landius' descendant.
- 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.
- Light Is Not Good/Dark Is Not Evil: Games that let the protagonist side with the Demon Tribe (or as an Independent conqueror) often have sympathetic demon allies that the Descendants of Light could willingly slay.
- 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.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Langrisser sword. Its name is German for "lung ripper".
- 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.
- Player Personality Quiz: A tradition started by Der Langrisser. It affects the main character's starting class and stats, although your starting class is sometimes overridden by your first promotion (such as in Der Langrisser, which always turns Elwin into a warrior type). This is expanded in later games to affect the main's entire class tree.
- Really 700 Years Old: Jessica, in all incarnations.
- All the Crimzonians in 5, having landed around the time of Der Langrisser.
- Also Heine as of 4.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: The Langrisser.
- Tactical RockPaperScissors: 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.
- Wave-Motion Gun: The Gal Shok class cannons.
The original game / Warsong provides examples of:
- Big Damn Heroes: In Scenario 4, Chris and Thorn lead magical troops to come to save Ledin's party from Blob Monsters that are highly resistant to physical attacks.
- Black Knight: Lance, recurring foe and the Empire's most notable warrior, is always wearing dark (though sometimes depicted as more blue than black) armor with gold trim.
- Crutch Character: Volkov. His units can mow down any enemy troop while only suffering minimal casualties (even in the case of type mismatches). He also gets a Plotline Death at the end of Chapter 5.
- Killed Offscreen: Ledin's father, King Illzach; after Ledin escapes from the castle siege in Scenario 1, he's informed of his death later on after reuniting with Narm.
- Red Shirt: The Civilians being protected by Chris in Scenario 2 have zero attack power, and are rather swiftly killed off by the roving barbarians on the map.
Der Langrisser provides examples of:
- 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 is led by a psychotic monster, and even if you avoid all of these, you're still a backstabber 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.
- 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. Each betrayal also shifts Elwin's personality dramatically and instantly, rather than have him try to justify his actions to his former allies.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The character's troop's color indicates their allegiance:
- Blue for main characters (Elwin, Hein, Rohga)
- White for Light-path characters (Sherry, Keith, Lester and etc)
- Green for Imperial characters (Leon, Imelda, Vargas, Egbert and etc)
- Red for Chaos-path characters (Dark Lana, Sonia, Est, Ost and etc)
- And in battle, your side has blue command ranges, the enemy has red, and NPC non-hostiles have green.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In the Independent path, you get to kill Lushiris, who is a goddess. It's not even very hard, since by that point in the game you'll be insanely powerful yourself.
- You can do the same with Chaos in one of the Light endings, though it's Eggbert who finishes him off.
- '80s Hair: Sonia. She also has a headband, making her look even more like Olivia Newton-John.
- Gray-and-Grey Morality: Light vs. the Empire vs. Independent. Chaos is the "black."
- Hazy Feel Turn: Light to Imperial. Even more so, Light to Independent taken as a whole.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: Necessary for the Independent path, as you must first ally with and then betray all three other factions.
- Hero Antagonist: Depending on which side you take, though most of the NPCs count. Leon is among the noblest of the characters, despite fighting for The Empire. Meanwhile, Sonia, Est and Ost are only fighting for Bozer because he's the only one fighting to save the Demon Tribe (except possibly Elwin). And if you turn against the Light, nearly all of the Light heroes are good people fighting for a goddess who is good toward humans - monsters need not apply.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Independent Elwin. He's gone through a lot of messy Character Development that has left him murderously cynical of all the factions' goals and methods, and now he's fighting so that everyone in El Sallia can finally live in peace.
- Large and in Charge: Lushiris is much larger than a human, though this is only shown in battle scenes.
- 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.
- Übermensch: Elwin in the Independent Path.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: The empire's heroes are trying to conquer the continent in order to create a continent without constant war.
- Villain Protagonist: Elwin in the Chaos Path has abandoned any pretense of fighting for El Sallia, and is only in the war for his own power.
- Worthy Opponent: Leon, and to a lesser extent, Vargas. Elwin can become this as well if he sides with the Empire; even after he betrays the light side, Cherie is fully (and rightly) confident that the civilians she's guarding can evacuate in full view of Leon and Elwin's forces without being attacked.
Langrisser III provides examples of:
- The Evil Prince: Paul. He becomes the reoccurring villain Böser by the end.
- Oddball in the Series: Langrisser III introduces new gameplay mechanics, but most of them get rolled back in the games that follow.
Langrisser IV and V (which share a setting) provide examples of:
- Beleaguered Assistant: General Wiler to the King of Caconsis.
- Cyborg: McLaine, one of the characters from Langrisser IV, is converted to this due to Gizlof's experiments.
- Emotionless Girl: Lambda, one of the heroines from Langrisser V, starts out as this.
- A Father to His Men: General Valk and General Lanford in Langrisser IV.
- 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.
- Godhood Seeker: Gizlof's main goal in Langrisser IV.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Angelina is secretly jealous of her sister Shelfanil, who is beloved by everyone for her kind nature.
- Humongous Mecha: In one of the paths in Langrisser IV, Gizlof brings one out in the final stage as a hidden card against the heroes. Destroying it nets you a bad ending, since it is piloted by a brainwashed Rachel.
- Mad Scientist: Gizlof.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: This happens to General Valk and General Lanford in Langrisser IV.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In one route of IV, Gizlov's faction has the king of Caconsis assassinated, hoping to throw the protagonists' country into disarray, not realizing that the king is a profound idiot whose incompetence has only been holding the protagonists back.
- Not Blood Siblings: (Langrisser IV) One of the hero's potential love interests is his adoptive sister.
- Plant Person: In Langrisser V, female lead Lambda has the ability to communicate with plants.
- Polar Opposite Twins: (Langrisser IV) The Tomboy and Girly Girl twin princesses - Shelfaniel is a White Magician Girl and Angelina is an Action Girl.
- 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.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: The King of Caconsis and his hot daughters Shelfanil and Angelina.
Langrisser Re:Incarnation -Tensei- provides examples of:
- Department of Redundancy Department: The game's title literally means "Langrisser Reincarnation Reincarnation."
- Super-Deformed: Units turn into chibi 3D models when engaging in battle.
Langrisser Mobile provides examples of:
- Beach Episode: The event that made Feraquea a playable character centered around Hein setting one up on a deserted isle, which just so happened to be where Feraquea was establishing her base.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall:
- In side-stories and when new modes are unlocked, the characters sometimes make jokes about being in a game; for example, when unlocking player-vs-player fights, Amelda is glad it's her turn to give a tutorial.
- Amelda flat out says Estelle and Joshua are from the game Trails in the Sky after meeting them.
- Crossover: There have been numerous crossover events since launch, which includes Guest Fighters that could only be recruited during those times, such as Bracers and Ouroborous Enforcers from The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, three ladies from the original Sakura Wars, and the main male protagonists (plus the Toguro bros.) of Yu Yu Hakusho.
- Doomed Hometown: In Chapter Eleven, despite General Bodamicus' promises, troops from the Hebril Empire raze the heroes' village and the team needs to help evacuate the survivors.
- Level-Up at Intimacy 5: You can Bond with units by giving them gifts, which unlocks new battles, voice clips, and permanent stat boosts (though the latter also requires secondary objectives be met, such as obtaining a specific class, or completing a specific battle with a different character they have a connection with).
- Play Every Day: The game has a stamina meter for selecting stages that refills over time, as well as daily missions that reward players with additional experience points and chances to summon heroes.
- "Rashomon"-Style: Cherie's Bonds missions are a retelling of Der Langrisser from her faulty perspective, such as replacing a lecherous old man with an octopus.
- Shout-Out: In the English translation, Hein claims that the sky cracking when the player unlocks the Dimensional Trials is "according to keikaku".
- What If?: Some special events take this approach, with the most notable being one in which Elwin becomes an overlord, as it introduced two new units (a Young version of Jessica after a recent death and reincarnation, and Emilia, Vargas' daughter who's now leading a rebellion).