Rudra no Hihou (SNES) review
"Rudra no Hihou is a powerful game capable of being one of Squaresoft's best. It'll give you a rare challenge like barely any RPG since has been able to accomplish. It'll give you beautiful graphics, some of the best on the SNES. It'll give you one of the most innovative magic systems ever created. But most of all... It'll give you a hell of a ride from start to finish."
Language is one of mankind's most powerful inventions. A simple phrase can shatter the emotions of the most hard-boiled person. Manipulation through word choice is possible, and even such menial tasks as deciding what game to purchase can be made easier by paying heed to the words strewn through this very website.
In Rudra no Hihou's world, words are even more powerful. Within every spoken word, every mantra that is uttered, lies the power to change the entire world. Each mantra acts as a spell, but unlike your Final Fantasy or your Dragon Quest, they're more than just flashy attacks that consume MP.
They're your creations.
Each mantra is any combination of letters that you add to your spellbook. Each combination of letters that you select has an effect, be it elemental damage, health recovery, or status effects--just like any other magic. With certain prefixes or suffixes the game provides, you can modify the spells to have them target all enemies, create elemental barriers, increase the power of spells, or add other such effects... or you can find your own by trial and error with random letters. The fun of Rudra no Hihou lies in this innovative magic system. You can use game supplied ones like the devastating YOUIG, a flame spell that decimates early enemies, or you can go your own way and make your own spell, with whatever name you want.
I chose to make the spell FIRE BUTT, leaving little doubt to my level of maturity, yet producing the same effect as YOUIG. Such is the beauty of Rudra no Hihou though; any phrase or word you can come up with can be a spell. From character names like LARA CROFT and generic spell names like ICEBLAST, to randomly entering letters until you have something like IFGEAMDNRR, the possibilities are literally endless. It makes the battles fun and exciting, since you feel like you're using YOUR abilities... Not the abilitites the game tells you to use.
These battles are absolutely amazing, too. Graphically, they look like an updated Final Fantasy VI's battles, but if you were to run into them expecting the fights to play out like a typical FF, you'd find yourself a bloody splatter on the floor. Enemies are brutal, and battles are all about the elements. Unlike other RPGs, nearly every piece of equipment you own has an elemental affinity. Enemies use elemental attacks and their own mantras at a constant rate, and if you're wearing the wrong armor, you'll be scrambling to get back to full health before you get slaughtered. There's no such thing as outdated equipment in Rudra no Hihou, since even putting on weaker armor will give you better defenses if it protects against the enemy's element. Add that to the swift, heart-pumping music that plays through these battles and it makes them feel fast-paced and exciting... even if they're just the same turn-based random encounters that grew tired in the NES era. And the monsters you fight that aren't randomly encountered--the bosses--will always give you a run for your money with hard hitting attacks that leave you barely able to keep your HP high enough to survive another blow.
The bosses that you fight are all wrapped up in a long, engaging storyline, as well. While the tale itself is just some generic slop about a god coming to wipe the world out in fifteen days, the presentation is excellent. Rudra no Hihou is not the tale of a single hero and his cohorts. Instead, you play as three seperate main characters, switchable at nearly any time. It has a brilliantly interweaving tale and likable characters such as the swordsman Sion, who wears an eyepatch thanks to getting hit in the face with a magical stone, and the intelligent mage Surlent, who ends up dying and coming back to life by possessing the bodies of two dead men. It's all framed in that fifteen-day system. Each part of the story happens on a certain day... and days don't progress until you complete part of the story. It's an awkward contrast from the fast-paced feeling of the battles, since you can stay at an inn as many times as you want... and still be on day 3.
All things considered though, Rudra no Hihou is a powerful game capable of being one of Squaresoft's best. It'll give you a rare challenge like barely any RPG since has been able to accomplish. It'll give you beautiful graphics, some of the best on the SNES. It'll give you one of the most innovative magic systems ever created.
But most of all... It'll give you a hell of a ride from start to finish.
Staff review by Kyle Stepp (September 14, 2007)
Espiga likes big butts, and cannot lie.
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