I have scoured the net trying to find the actual back story to this game, and have come up short. However, based on conjecture from the cutscenes and what little I’ve found, here is what seems to be going on.
A dragon cult is rising in the land. A young virgin named Lena has a child who is either to be sacrificed or used as a figurehead (as is evident in the cutscene where an expressionless older child sits on a thrown during a cult ceremony; I gather he is a puppet or the clip is a premonition to what Lena’s baby is to become. Lena and her perhaps immaculately conceived child are in a separate, dark chamber).
Lena steals away to the town of Yalem where she puts the infant at the doorstep of a church before herself becoming a spirit. Four people will wander by the baby’s basket. If players push the cry button, the person investigating will adopt him! Depending on a choice between four potential parents, the child will be raised as a swordsman, thief, wizard or monk. The child will grow from 5 years old to 10, then when 15 years old the adventure begins.
I surmise the character is sort of a messiah who is to overthrow the demon taking control.
I’ve seen Seiya Monogatari translated as “A Christmas Tale”, “A Christmas Eve Tale”, and “A Starry Night Story”. It was to be the first act in a three part series, but unfortunately it became the last game Hudson published for their little Engine that could. It’s sad that such a great game slipped into obscurity much like the great system for which it was designed. It really is a showpiece in many ways, try it and you’ll see.
The development team MASTERED the Turbo’s color palette and you will not find better tile work in an RPG on the system. Amazing touches like falling snow, footprints left behind, and the ability to open or look inside practically anything show how much heart went into this production. In battle scenes, characters run towards foes on a multilayered parallax-scrolling field that made me take a step back when I first saw it. I just didn’t expect a Turbo RPG to have such an element. When flipping switches or pulling ropes, you actually see the movement of the levers.
Even though it’s in Japanese, one can tell the voice actors are of the highest quality. You can hear the emotion and inflection in what they’re saying and the recordings are clearly of professional quality. The music is top notch whether it’s the redbook or PCM which takes over in some buildings. Catchy, memorable and classy.
Weapons, items and stats have pictures coinciding to help the Japanese impaired. Many items can only be used by their respective class of warrior and through the 17 areas you’ll eventually have four in your party.
Unique to this RPG is the fact there is no levelling up! Your stats update based on your battle performance, but there is no great and lofty number you have to work toward. In fact this is more about exploration and finding the next path, battles only happen in specific areas and you can see the creature you’re about to get into it with (no random pop up). Also unique is the “Holix” system. Holixes are treasure items that aid magic, power and healing. You have to mix and match Holixes to get the effect you’re looking for.
From the first scene of snow falling on the hilltop church, I fell in love with this game. As long as you “read” everything on shelves and talk to everybody, you shouldn’t hit roadblocks. However, there is a wonderful walkthrough site here. All PC Engine/Turbografx fans should rally behind this wonderful title.
W. Eric Myers