Rune Worth - Forgotten Ys-like series from T&E Soft

Discussion in 'General Video Games Discussion' started by Wyrdwad, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,158
    Location:
    Celceta
    Posted about this elsewhere, but felt a little shy about posting it on here, since I don't want to sound like I'm advertising other companies' games or suggesting people play old games in Japanese instead of new ones, etc.

    ...But then I realized, wait a minute, I do that all the damned time! So why stop now? ;)

    As many of you know, I've been obsessively collecting and playing through MSX games for the better part of two years now, and have recently gotten my hands on quite a few complete-in-box MSX2 RPGs on disk -- titles I'd either never heard of before or had only ever heard about in passing, like Emerald Dragon, Last Armageddon, Burai Part One, Lenam: Sword of Legend, etc.

    I picked all of these up almost solely because (1) they were complete-in-box, (2) they were going for relatively decent prices on eBay, and (3) they looked kind of cool from brief YouTube video clips and screenshots, so I figured, ehhh, why not? Neat forgotten gems from obscure developers are part of why I bought my MSX in the first place, and since I can read Japanese, the language barrier isn't an issue, so it only makes sense to add a few of these to my collection.

    Among the titles I've picked up over the last few months is a game from T&E Soft (most well-known as the developer behind the Hydlide games, but DON'T CLICK AWAY! I swear this is better!) called (in translation) "Rune Worth: The Young Noble in Black." I didn't know a whole lot about the game when I bid on it, but it looked like it came with a bunch of neat stuff, and this video certainly made it seem like a promising purchase:



    So, I took a chance on it. And suffice it to say, I'm glad I did!

    The game's bold new feature that the above store demo video advertises is that it's an RPG without experience points -- leveling up occurs by finding and using certain unique items in the game's many dungeons, rewarding you for exploration as opposed to grinding.

    It also features a day/night mechanic that's used to relatively good effect -- stores and churches are open only during the day, bars are open only at night, the NPCs wandering the streets are considerably different and say very different things depending on the time of day, and bandit raids can occur as random battles when traveling from one town to another during the night, encouraging you to do most of your traveling while it's still light outside.

    There are also a lot of other neat little details: spells actually have to be chanted, for example, and you're completely vulnerable to enemy attack while chanting them, with more powerful spells requiring longer chants. Another interesting example that doesn't sound like much, but was pretty cool for the time, is the game's relatively nonlinear nature, where the story can sometimes be progressed out of order or in different ways depending on where you choose to go and what you choose to do. It's mostly fake nonlinearity, as there's usually just one specific flag you're supposed to trigger in order to make the story continue, but it's well-implemented enough that the early parts of the game almost feel like an open-world Ys, which is pretty novel for a game from 1990.

    It helps, too, that the game world is extremely well-developed, with shockingly rich lore behind the kingdoms(/dukedoms/empires/federations) that make up the world of Rune Worth, as well as their histories and cultures. The game came packaged with one of the most beautiful books I've ever seen included with a video game, bound in soft, fuzzy velvet and largely written as a historical/religious text chronicling the world's creation myths and the many gods that supposedly dwell within it in almost excruciating detail. Here's a photo of the book -- imagine that entire cover being fuzzy like a little puppy:

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, this book is one of the reasons every single English-speaker I spoke with who played Rune Worth ultimately gave up on it (in addition to the game being extremely user-unfriendly to non-Japanese-speakers in general): the game has two separate instances where you're asked specific multiple-choice lore questions that you can only answer by looking them up in the included book, and if you don't give the correct answers, you can't continue. I'd say these scenes were included solely for copy-protection purposes, but honestly, both scenes fit in with the story perfectly, so if they were anti-piracy measures, they were quite well-realized.

    What all this comes down to is: I really liked the game. It definitely had some issues, both in terms of gameplay and story, but overall, I found it to be a better Ys-like than even the Xak titles -- and the final dungeon and final boss in particular were just absolutely spectacular. In my online searches for info about the game, I encountered some Japanese fans discussing it and saying that they think of it almost like an unofficial Hydlide 4, but honestly, for as decent as Hydlide 3 is (especially compared to its predecessors), this game absolutely blows it out of the water completely. If this is an unofficial Hydlide 4, then the jump from the previous game to this one is practically exponential.

    I found it rather unfortunate that so few English-speakers had ever played this title to completion, so I decided I was going to do something of a public service. A full fan-translation would've been ideal, but also extremely time-consuming (and probably rather difficult to accomplish programming-wise), so I did the next best thing: I wrote a full walkthrough, complete with (relatively) detailed story summaries of each scene, commentary on game lore and NPC dialogue, etc. Basically, it's a document designed to allow people to play the game even if they can't speak a word of Japanese... provided they don't mind playing "match-the-character" from time to time with Japanese item names and such.

    I only just posted this walkthrough yesterday, and only on the MSX.org forums so far (for evaluation and revision before posting elsewhere), so I have no idea yet just how effective it'll actually be at allowing non-Japanese-speakers to play and enjoy the game -- but if you're interested in giving it a try, Rune Worth really is a pretty awesome little gem, so I don't think you'll regret it!

    The walkthrough can be found here:

    https://www.msx.org/forum/msx-talk/software/rune-worth-full-walkthrough

    Or here, with slightly better formatting:

    http://www.cheatmsx.com/faqs/1039/t-esoft-1989-rune-worth-the-black-clad-young-noble.html

    If you wind up using it to play through the game, I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

    It's also worth noting that this game was released on other platforms too: PC-88 and Sharp X68000 for sure, and apparently PC-98 as part of a compilation? Though that might just be the PC-88 version of the game -- I can't quite tell.

    What I found most surprising, however, is that this game has two sequels! Both are available exclusively for the PC-98, and they look to continue the story, so I'm really intrigued to try them out sometime... but man, finding information on just THIS game was a real ordeal, even in Japanese; finding information on its sequels is nigh impossible, as there's virtually nothing on the whole of the internet about them! (You can buy a compilation that includes all three, however, via Project EGG, which I might just do at some point...)

    So, yeah... that's my Rune Worth saga, in a nutshell! I had a great time with this game, and figured I'd share in case anyone here wanted to have a great time with it too. As one final bonus, I figure I'll leave you with this link to the game's soundtrack, courtesy of the "Music Disk" included in the box. Each song is accompanied by dancing SD sprites, which for some reason include... Batman and the Joker? A pretty goofy way to include a soundtrack with a game, but I appreciate it! The music is well-composed, too, though I wish the synth were a bit better.



    The cooler part of the soundtrack -- the dungeon themes -- can be found around the 23:30 mark, with my favorite dungeon theme beginning just after the 28-minute mark (and my next two favorites playing right afterward!).

    The game's main theme is pretty cool, too. It starts at 1:35.

    Enjoy! ;)

    -Tom
     
    commodorewheeler and Fuepepe like this.
  2. Clessy

    Clessy Member

    Messages:
    985
    What I love about all those old japanese pc games is the damn music and boxes. They're so damn premium. Really wish x68000 collecting wasnt so insanely expensive.
     
  3. Ghaleon

    Ghaleon Active Member

    Messages:
    821
    I just wanna pipe in I just recently discovered a steam Early access game that is polished enough that you wouldn't be able to tell it was otherwise from what I've seen so far that is amazing... it is combat-oriented like Ys, with puzzle-tacular dungeons like Zelda, and a setting much like phantasy star, it's effing sweet. Check out Crosscode if that piques your interest, I DOUBT you'll regret it.


    http://www.cross-code.com/en/home
     
  4. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,158
    Location:
    Celceta
    Wellp... I'm sold! ;) Game looks absolutely stellar. I might just have to check it out this weekend!

    Thanks for the heads-up!

    -Tom
     
  5. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,158
    Location:
    Celceta
    Hmm. Just played through the demo, and I have mixed feelings about the game. I like the melee combat, but the twin-stick shooter vibe doesn't really work for me -- it's interesting, but very uncomfortable for me to use R1 as my attack button (yet impossible for it to be anything else, really, since I need to use the right stick to aim). Is it possible in the current early access version to bind one of the face buttons as an alternate attack button? Like, so I can use either square *or* R1 to attack? And use either X *or* L1 to dodge/block? Because that would feel a lot more natural to me when I'm not throwing balls, since it's more akin to what I'm used to as a dirty console gamer. [​IMG]

    I like the world they've built a lot, though, and the attention to detail is amazing. This was clearly a labor of love, and I think I'd enjoy the town segments more than the dungeons as a result -- this seems like a game that's going to have some really charming and memorable towns in it.

    If nothing else, I am intrigued, and will definitely be adding this to my list to play when it's totally done, if not sooner.

    -Tom
     
  6. joakkar

    joakkar Member

    Messages:
    51
    You can configure your controller however you like on steam itself on big picture mode if that's such a big problem. I haven't used much of it but I do remember you can map all the buttons of a controller separately which means you can switch buttons you think are off from an original configuration.
     
  7. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,158
    Location:
    Celceta
    Can you double up, though? Like, can you map two buttons to perform the same function? A lot of games don't allow that.

    Not a deal-breaker if you can't, but it would definitely be a deal-maker if you can. ;)

    -Tom
     
  8. Ghaleon

    Ghaleon Active Member

    Messages:
    821
    I used a program called 'keytweak' for another game back in the day that let me do that IIRC. But it's keyboard only not controller. So I guess maybe if there's a program that 'translates' controller to keyboard and vice versa you could combine the two? Seems like a pain. I don't understand why you can't use r1 though. Do you have a motor issue with your hand or something?

    Not that having uncustomizeable key bindings is a legitimate complaint. They're fine for me but it is something they should improve now that you mention it.
     
  9. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,158
    Location:
    Celceta
    Personal quirk. It just doesn't "feel right," in a way I can't quite explain. And it does kind of hurt my hand, too, though that could just be the controller I'm using?

    Either way, like I said, it's not a deal-breaker, so I'll probably check out the full game regardless. It really is pretty amazing how much time and effort obviously went into it.

    -Tom
     
  10. Ghaleon

    Ghaleon Active Member

    Messages:
    821
    I meant to say not that having uncustomizeable key bindings is an illegitimate complaint.... Yes I triple-negative sometimes. I don't know why but it just makes more sense to me that way in terms of what I mean to emphasize I guess. It looks like you got what I meant anyway though.

    I hope everyone who tries it loves it though, I'd hate to have someone waste their time. I just quasi-finished the EA myself. I say quasi because the amount of content they have in terms of story is less than amount of content in terms of dungeons/towns/etc. I guess it's this way because there is so much facial expressions and whatnot (more than trails it seems). One part I just have to share it was lol.. was that dude hard-codes two more words into you later on, they are 'how?', and 'why?'. So Lea asks why, and he answers, and she does the child 'why, why, why, why' thing, but you can see her getting more and more smug every time. it's pure gold.
     

Share This Page