Unlucky Hero: Brains over Brawn (But Powerful Magic Helps)

This game features a very interesting, and as far as I know unusual in Kemco games, battle system.  In addition, a major theme in the story tends to support the special features of this battle system.  Before discussing the battle system, I'll give brief notes on the pros and cons of the game.

The good:

there is a restore point prior to most boss battles

restore points disappear after 3 uses, so easy grinding is limited

character attributes are more atomic than in most Kemco games  (that is, instead of a single attribute that measures weakness  against abnormal states, there are similar attributes for confusion, poison, paralysis, skill seal)

"gold" isn't scarce so resources are plentiful

advanced language compared to most Kemco games

interesting alternate ending

teleports within each dungeon

innovative battle system with links to the story

The bad:

the world map lacks labels

the world map paths through the terrain are not well marked

until late in the game you do a lot of walking (no airship, no teleporting) so lots of back and forth

for completists, good luck, as I believe there are missable monsters

the insects (a type of metal monster) are VERY rare

no "attract" or "rare drop" accessory

almost always just upgrade equipment (rarely any trade offs)

stock characters with predictable interactions and a weak story

extremely short post-game with clear data

the tap dancing interface (12 taps to save, 10 taps to escape a battle)

somewhat misleading monster encyclopedia (you obtain "victory" items and/or  "drop" items)

The story revolves around the hero, a mage named Jasper, leading his 3 companions in battles against the minions of the Dark Lord to save the world.  Jasper is an unusual hero, as he is a bookworm who prefers to use intelligent strategies to defeat his enemies, rather than brute force.  The story text and some of the play features support his use of informed tactics, although of course powerful skills are also required.

Instead of potions, seeds, fruits or other consumables that increase character attributes, Jasper and his party "read" skillbooks to obtain these increases.  Leveling up doesn't result in just improving attributes, but also allows the party to "learn" new formations and tactics.  So you see how these mechanics fit the theme of brains versus brawn.  In fact, just as Jasper reads to improve his chances for success, YOU will want to truly read the tome penned by 3beez in the forum if you want to acquire the ultimate weapons.

There are at least 7 formations the party can learn.  Each formation has at least one, and usually 2, powerful tactics that can be employed during the battle (these are in addition to normal attacks and skills).  The tactics are similar to combos in other Kemco games, but can include the entire party.   The formations are also varied and allow the party to quickly change from offense to defense on any turn, as well as shuttle characters between vanguard and rearguard.

You can defeat every monster and boss without using formations or tactics in long battles of attrition in which you consume substantial resources.  However, it is more elegant, and more aligned with the theme of intelligent strategy, if you make judicious use of the formations and tactics to quickly and easily defeat even the toughest monsters.

Except for the dynamic battle mechanics, there is little to enjoy in this game.  It is also unfortunate that the developers missed the opportunity to enhance the monster AI to adapt to your formation changes and thereby create exciting contests.

Although the post-game is probably the shortest of any Kemco game, you will want to complete it to see the alternate ending.

Rating: +2. From 4 votes.
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Posted in Kemco Games, Reviews