The Let's Play Archive


by The White Dragon & Azure_Horizon

Part 37: Reading Rather than Seeing

Chapter 5: Reading Rather than Seeing

yes you do know us, we washed dishes for you, asshole


The Dragon Knights have this cool mural thing goin' on in their castle.


Liukan, who you all already know we need for this sequence, is an odd character.

If there were such a thing as a Caster Tank in Suikoden, which there isn't, it would be Liukan. His weapon has Rod strength, he has the physical strength of a mage, as well as the Robe armor type, but he can use a goddamn shield. On the other hand, he also has the magic stat of someone who can use a shield. He is depressingly bad, but what can you do, and I can only imagine that his being able to use a shield is either a hanger-on from a time when shields might've prompted characters to "cover" critical allies like in Final Fantasy, or someone just fucked up when setting up Liukan's equipment list.


yeeaaaaahhhhh we used to grow some moonlight weed in chico, i grew it inside of my mini-fridge that i never plugged in

We also pick up a Knight Statue somewhere. Very fancy.

thrash looks like a monstrous nightmare

"what the hell, it's so bullshit that we have to fight these filler bosses everywhere we go"

Alen and Grenseal are absolutely amazing allies to bring alone anywhere, because you'll probably also have Flik as well and once they run out of MP, you can just have them do their Unite attack and do thousands and thousands of damage to a single target.

yeah, i can see windy being into that kinda stuff

The Wizard likes the crescent moon because it looks nice when you embroider it on clothes. The Witch likes the eclipse because she thinks it gives her power. Both the beast and the lover like the full moon best because its light is invigorating like a nighttime sun. But the storyteller, the storyteller's favorite is the half-moon. This is because it looks like a taco.

No, you can't open the menu as Futch. Though I'm not sure what you would gain from it anyway.

noooooo blaaaaaack

but what do dragons smell like? this sounds like the sort of question we could get answered at the bioware forums

Y'know, Suikoden 1 will always remind me of my early days in boarding school. I got Suikoden 1 as a parting gift from one of my best bros in the world when I went away, and yes I know it sounds rather silly but I'd borrow my friend's PSX--you know, the portable ones with the tiiiiiiiiiny attachable screen--and I'd play the Suikoden on it, and I'd feel better when I was especially homesick or sad or whatever.

Then one weekend night, I got the incredibly rare opportunity to play it on the RELATIVELY BIG COMMUNAL LOUNGE TV (well, incredibly rare for a freshman, at least, but I would throw my seniority around almost every goddamn night my last year there and me and three of my buddies would play Crystal Chronicles on it while the underclassmen moaned and groaned and had to watch American Idol on the shitty black and white one in the corner from the 70s). I was playing through the Dragon Knights sequence when the head dorm advisor was doing the rounds and saw what was on the television. Even if it might've been terribly uninteresting to him, he at least tried to engage in conversation about what was going on, so we discussed Suikoden for a bit.

Lookin' back on it, I mean at the time we would talk shit and give him trouble, but now that I'm older I can look back and know that he was a truly good person. He was a GIGANTICALLY HUGE guy--I mean we of the D&D-playing ilk didn't joke about him being Conan the Barbarian for nothing--and broke up a fight between two big 300-pound students one afternoon by lifting them up by the scruff one hand each. If you tried to pull something, he made sure you did the time for it, but really it was just tough love and all that sort of thing. Tried his best to make sure the students under his supervision weren't getting into bad shit, and the guy even rolled the d20s with us once just to see what we were up to was all about. Heart of gold, that fella.




Haven't we fought like three or four major battles to this point and won? Wouldn't that require some kind of solid rank and file and training in the first place?

You know, I don't think I'll ever understand Suikoden's geography. But this is probably for the best.

Griffith is the best character


It's not like the army battles are difficult at all, but, y'know. I consider it "going for a high score" doing an army battle with as few casualties as possible. The enemy using a Bow Attack ruins this, of course, but still.

So what you do when your Thieves fuck up is you use the Dragon Knights, since them failing (used against a Bow attack) doesn't count against your army's number. They kill 25% of the enemy's total troop, I believe, so of course it's best to use them early.


That is Juppo's weapon, by the way. No, I think it's unintentional and they just mean "a gear made of metal," because he does throw a gear for his attack.

I like how Fuma's shuriken is giant and red. He must really love that color.

While this dungeon isn't very hard, and while it's not THAT long of a walk, the fact that you can't Escape Talisman out of this area is a pain in the ass. Paired with the fact that you have to walk all the way back on a separate occasion if you want to recruit Vansan, it's really kind of a pain.

Oh also just as a quick aside since we're on the topic, Krin and Stallion both come with Escape Talismans that never get consumed. However, they lose the infinite flag if you put them in storage or give them to another character since they're not specifically separate items from normal store-bought Escape Talismans.


While most of the moonlight night theme scenes are very touching,

this one is far and away my favorite one in the entire game. No, I lie. This is my favorite exchange in the entire series.


Tai Ho is a bro


Suikoden 1 and 2 definitely the best battle transitions ever. Seamless, almost instantaneous, no break in anything. Considering Suikoden has normalized EXP and how fast your levels plateau in these two games, I'm actually kind of surprised they didn't go for something a bit fancier. It's the later games that need instant battle transitions so desperately.

I also brought along Team Kill Fucking Everything, which consists of Pesmerga, Clive, Crowley, and Rubi. Rubi doesn't look like it, but he has a fucking godly Magic stat. Like, as good as Crowley, the mega mage. I'm pretty sure they both get five charges of fourth-level spells once they hit the high 50s/early 60s in level.

Why use them now and not later? Well, everyone knows I really like to do things that fuck with the game's scripting.


Oh I guess I also brought them along because you want a party with a good amount of MP since you're forced to marathon Sonya Shulen afterwards without a chance to restore your precious MP, and both bosses have kind of a lot of HP.


We now see that Sanchez has been giving us wine to keep our senses toward him hazy

They really went crazy with the alternate sprites at this point in the game.


So apparently in the Sega Saturn version, when Gremio gets revived, you get some mildly creepy scenes where he's kinda wandering through a monochrome purgatory or something like that. I wouldn't know, this is stuff you can read on the Suikosource.

That's kind of why I'm hesitant to cover those things, since they're so readily available elsewhere and because I can't show them off firsthand. I mean Suikoden 1 is one of my favorite games ever and all, even more than Suikoden 2 (but not quite so much as FF9, Mother 3, or Lost Odyssey), but playing it in a language I can't competently read is rather pushing it.

My dog barks a whole fuckin' lot but he doesn't know how to howl. The other big dog we have doesn't know how to bark at all, but he howls like a motherfucker.

When you first see Yuber, it's like, "who the fuck is this guy?"

And then you play Suikoden 3 and you see Yuber, it's like, "who the fuck is this guy?" I'm glad they finally gave him a larger role, but I don't like how absolutely nothing is explained about him.


And at long last, I get a screenshot of the map circle flashing. Oh, this is kind of exciting. It must mean something good is going to happen.


So we open with the Dragons, doing 5000 damage.

Then we do a Magic Attack, doing something like another 5000 damage, and follow up with a second Magic Attack that does 4000.

Then it's like, "Magic? Pfft."

Clive looks kinda like Arthur's big brother from Disney's Sword in the Stone

And after doing a significant amount of damage,

Oh. Shit.

Like I said, Bow Attacks ruin perfect scores. You can fight Charges and Magic with zero casualties, but you have to Charge on Bow attacks, and that means you'll lose some folks.

(Also, Mathiu's power-up works as such: your Charge Attack gets a bonus as long as you use the units in the order he lists. I think it's always the same order)


--wait, what

... I



So what was that thing that I was gonna do? Well, I know the generals show up to talk to Barbarosa after the final battle, but what happens when you bring them along to it? Special text, perhaps?

Oh but first

""Well, well, it's Meg. And you're all right, I see. Say, who is this?
Wh-who is it!? Meg! It's not your husband, is it?

"Friend? What!? Did you say leader of the Liberation Army!?"
"So you're finally back, Meg."

"Meg, it's no use talking to you."
"Good luck, Meg."

Things are changing all over the Imperial Captiol area.

Also, it's this line here that leads me to believe that this NPC who, earlier in the game, says something like, "It's all because of that bum Gre--oh excuse me, I wasn't saying anything," isn't talking about Gremio. She's talking about Grady, but the original script would probably read, "グレ--" since Gremio and Grady use the same calligraphic mora for their first syllable, and without thinking contextually, the translators probably just went "Gre--" without considering the governor's name.

"You're trying to deceive me again, woman. I swore I would find you, and I'll never give up until I do.
So I can kill you with my own hands.

Hmm, this definitely couldn't be leading up to a notoriously troublesome quest that I've never really had trouble with

Sarady is exactly the same as it always is. Nobody has alternate text boxes. News does not reach the mountain town ever.


So final showdown etc etc

I'm really not sure the significance of this heckler here.

Anyway, we fight the Golden Hydra with Sonya and Kwanda in our party, which is a pain in the ass because they suck,

but eventually, it goes down.

Our reward?


Although, amusingly enough, it ignores the existence of the other two generals as if you had executed/never recruited them in the first place.

This is another one of my favorite lines. It sounds like a legitimate "fuck y'all bring it on" thing someone would actually say.

As a kid, I thought, "is he dead? No, he's Mathiu! He's my bro! He couldn't be! Yes, yes, he's just resting now."




Suikoden 1 was done by an extremely limited team. And that makes it even more fantastic.

As I was watching the credit roll this time, I realized something:

No, not Lylics--well, yes, Lylics, but something else.

The names that appear in the credits for the Avetuneiro Antes Lance Mao choir members are not the names of hired professional vocalists.

Upon further analysis of the rest of the credited designers, it looks like they basically rounded up the programming, scenario, and art teams, and told them to sing the words to the melody Miki Higashino composed.

These people, these folks right here? They're basically the entire Suikoden 1 staff. The entire staff for this whole game. And it's a very feasible argument that this game is far superior to most triple-A-developed new games released today. This game designed by a group of folks numbering small enough that you can fit them in an apartment bedroom. Compare to almost anything with over two hundred staff members.

There's a lot you can do with simplicity. You don't need FMV and HD models. Smaller, more independent studios that grasp this concept can do a lot with very little, especially because they're small enough groups that they can communicate so well and so often that they become close enough that they can get together in the end and sing the game's ending song like a liberation army that finally toppled the great foe.

Staff rolls sometimes tell a much bigger story than you might think at first glance.

But as for this story,

I think we can safely say that we've reached the end.