Ten Years Later: War of the Dead

Ordinarily, I wouldn't post something like this, but this is a bit of an accomplishment for me.

Ten years ago, I bought a PC Engine game called Shiryou Sensen: War of the Dead, one of the first horror-themed ACTION-RPGs.  I'd played it on a PC Engine emulator a few times, and felt it was worth owning.

It's a frustrating game, with event triggers that don't always trigger, an annoyingly long password system, and a feature/bug that prevents levelling up past a certain point (by killing you).  Frustrating, to be sure, but the game is also a lot of fun and has a fairly intricate plot.

I've been playing the game off-and-on for the past ten years, constantly going over my notes, re-translating things I got wrong, and trying to piece together an interesting story.  Thankfully, much of the game is in Hiragana and Katakana, so I wasn't stuck trying to decipher complex Kanji.  Despite being functionally illiterate when it comes to Japanese, I got by.

I decided to play War of the Dead over my Christmas break, starting from the beginning and using my notes as a guide.  Rather than dig my PC Engine Duo-R out of the basement, I used an emulator instead: the demo version of Magic Engine .98 for Mac OS 9, which I downloaded onto Nadia.

The timed-demo version only allows for five minutes of play before timing out, but the authors themselves suggested a workaround: save your game in the emulator and reload.  This gives you another five minutes of play, and you can repeat the process indefinitely.

And so, I played through Shiryou Sensen: War of the Dead this weekend, in successive four-and-a-half minute chunks.  Going by my notes and not using a walkthrough.

This morning, not half-an-hour ago, I finally beat the game.

Not much of an ending, a little blurb about the main character, Lyla Alphons, and a cute picture of Lyla and support orphan Carol suggesting they all lived happily ever after.

Still, after ten years, it was worth it.

Now, onto something else... I never did finish Ys II...


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