And so began the story of the wanderer, the vagrant story…



Overview
Another Squaresoft classic in the Ps1 era, that showcased a “hero with a thousand faces”, a story of political intrigue, and gameplay that featured c-c-c-c-c-c-combobreaker!!!!!!! 

Haha, of course I’m kidding about the combo breaker part. This game did however feature lots of attacks & skills that you could chain together into “combos”, and that my friends, was quite nice indeed. :)

For me I’d have to categorize this game as the ultimate dungeon crawler. It has many components that make it stand out, that other dungeon crawlers before it just didn’t implement. I myself was never a fan of the dungeon crawl type rpgs, and I think the main reason was because most of them didn’t have a better then average storyline. That is if one even existed at all.

So lets see what marks this solo dungeon crawler a step above the rest.

Story

Story

Taken directly from the manual:

In a most heinous crime, the manor of Duke Bardorba of Valendia Kingdom was seized by a cult of religious fanatics known as Mullenkamp. Although several innocents were murdered, news of the incident was suppressed, and Sydney Losstarot, the leader of Mullenkamp, has not been seen since.

Duke Bardorba was away during the seizure of the manor and escaped the atrocities. Yet one week later, an unknown assailant took the duke’s life. Riskbreaker Ashley Riot, a member of the Valendia Knights of the Peace (VKP) entrusted with breaking the cultists’ hold on the manor, was named as a suspect at a meeting of Parliament. He disappeared shortly after the accusation.

During the week between the incident and the duke’s assassination, suspected assassin Ashley made a peculiar trip to a city lost to memory… The deserted city of Lea Monde.

Lea Monde, now a shell of its former glory, housed more than 5,000 people during the Golden Age. Its prosperity ended 25 years ago when a powerful earthquake struck the city.

High tidal waters rushed in to fill the rift in the earth left by earthquake, cutting the city off from the outside world. Above the waters, the land shifted and twisted, losing much of its former shape. Beneath the city, where monks had once worked the stone into chambers and passageways, the vast, labyrinthine tomb became home for the souls of the dead.

The player will experience the crucial week during Ashley’s visit to Lea Monde.

What happened in the haunted city? Did Ashley really assassinate the duke? Only the player, as Ashley, will be able to uncover the truth.

The very beginning intro that most people miss, actually covers the conversation had between Ashley and the leaders of the Valendia Knights of the Peace. They already know that the Duke has been plotting and scheming behind the scenes, but as a precaution and to keep the Duke thinking they don’t know more then that should, the leaders of the VKP send our hero, Ashley Riot to the Duke’s Manor to handle business.

About 1min 37secs in is the VKP meeting:

Afterwards Ashley has some words with his partner, Callo Merlose that make him look like a straight baddass. The real fun begins when we get to meet two of the main antagonists to the story: Guildenstern of the Order of the Crimson Blade, and Sydney the leader of Mullenkamp.

Vagrant Story-2nd Intro

(wait…is Ashley wearing assless chaps in this video? -_-)

Our hero is then led to Lea Monde, “the city of catacombs”. I must admit the story even with just having looked at the introduction still intrigues me to this day. I remember though, back in the day when I was first playing it how complex everything was: political espionage, a duke who only cares for his grandson, a buried city full of secrets & power unimaginable. All that stuff was totally over my head. Hehe of course now the main thing I notice is that the damn video game politicians & leaders are as corrupt as some of the ones in real life. Crazy isn’t it? :)

I really don’t know why Square-Enix doesn’t make more games like this now-a-days. :(

Anyways, besides keeping up with the story, and the subtle, and sometimes even notorious slap you in your face and make you say mama, plot devices don’t keep you busy thinking…I’m sure all of the micro managing will!

Gameplay

Gameplay

The first thing you’ll notice in this game, (besides the really grainy graphics ~yay for Ps1!~), is how the story is told. I really liked how they made it look kind of like a comic book. With the chat bubbles next to the characters faces. The absence of FMVs is perfectly fine since the game portrayed it’s own style.

I really like this storytelling style.

The next thing that I’ll touch up on is the battle system. This is one of Square’s better action type rpgs. The good thing is that even though its a dungeon crawler, you don’t move 1 freaking tile at a time like some of the older “rogue” type rpgs. You can move basically wherever the hell you want, as long as you’re fast enough. However the bad part about this is so can a majority of the enemies!

How long do you think this Rogue game took to beat moving 1 dot at a time?

The battle system itself is pretty fast paced as long as you can press your attack button fast enough. You’ll also notice that when the wire grid pops up you can target different parts of your enemies’ body. This allowed you to cripple them or even place different debilitating status effects on them, making for some semi realistic battle. I myself always like to hit enemies in the arms a lot, so they did less damage to me. Or even hit them in the legs so they moved slower then I’d just skip away, turn around and crossbow them to death! :D

Don’t worry though, the game isn’t as simple as that. Eventually you’ll start finding spells/skills in treasure chests, and from bosses and you’ll be able to chain multiple moves together. These moves are called battle and defensive abilities. You can also learn new moves as you do combos to enemies, so I’d definitely suggest getting the hang of comboing your moves. It’s one of your keys to actually making it through Lea Monde.

Just don’t think you’re gonna be walking around performing 999 chain combos. The Risk status unfortunately will hold you back. The good thing is that the higher it rises the higher your critical strike chance is, but this also means that as it rises your chance to hit plummets. Damn you Square!

Bite his freaking head off!

Now down to the true micro-managing. The damn equipment! In this game you’ll find a lot and I mean a lot of different types of swords, shields, armor, items. The list is pretty big. The equipment portion of that will either be stuff that’s already put together, or parts of things, that you’ll have to put together yourself. This is good and bad. It’s really bad if you don’t like that type of meticulous attention to detail. However it works in your favor since not all enemies can be beaten by your initial starting equipment.

A good example of this is when you’re fighting armored enemies. Well if you use your initial fandango which is considered an “edged” type weapon the damage is laughable. However if you roll up to those mofos with a piercing type, or even a bashing type weapon then heads will roll…you’ll definitely know when it’s time to find a workshop to configure a new weapon for a new area when the enemies change from the previous area. Combine this things with the ability to use spells/skills, and even add attributes to weapons, and the games difficulty has just skyrocketed. If you actually think that is difficult, that is. ;)

You really need to keep up with your equipment...well at least you can see what you're equipping in this game, if you only count your weapon and shield...

Extra Info

  • Check every single freaking room, and treasure chest you find. You will not regret it.
  • If you get to a new area and the enemies you’re fighting are whupping you’re arse, either try changing weapons or make a new one to beat them faster. Or even go backwards and level a little bit. (Yes grinding sucks)
  • You will not be able to get to every room in the first playthrough because this game was made to make you play again….heh you even get some more storyline if you do!
  • This game is hard.

As always feel free to come here and leave comments, on how great this game is or even ask questions…lol although I know that some of the info at Gamefaqs can answer more then I can.
I can however at least provide the game manual for you.
Also this game is for Playstation 1.

So all in all, I’d say this game will definitely keep you busy for a long time in just the storyline, and gameplay elements. I’m sure there are some things I’ve missed but that’s why you need to play it. Eventually you’ll be able to see how all all of the following characters connect plot-wise:

They are all connected... :o

Image Gallery
This image gallery contains screenshots, & art for Vagrant Story on the Playstation 1. Enjoy :)
Note: Once you click an image, you can use the navigation bar, or the Left or Right arrow keys to move through images on that page.

Videos

Vagrant Story-A little bit of gameplay
Vagrant Story ~More quick gameplay w/ Dullahan boss fight~
Vagrant Story Boss: GIANT ENEMY CRAB! by Heintax

Words from Z
So if you’re looking for this game you actually have a few options:

  • First off if you have a Playstation 3 make sure you support our developers and check the Playstation Network (PSN) as they might have it.
  • Or you could always check Amazon if you’re somewhat of a collector like myself. (Man those prices are high…)

So what are you waiting for? Have you played it yet?


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