In September of 1993, Enix released 7th Saga for the Super NES.

At the time there were really no epic RPGs for the Super NES. Final Fantasy 2 had been released in 1991 and its "sequel" was due out in two years. In addition, Earthbound, another RPG was due out in 1995. Overall, it was a bad time for RPG fans.

Enix was the creators of Dragon Warrior, one of the dominant forces in console RPGs. Unfortunately many of the Enix games stayed in Japan, including Dragon Warrior 5 and Dragon Warrior 6.

When 7th Saga was released many RPG fans went out and bought it with out finding out about it. The game was a completely new type of RPG. The whole engine was different from anything that America has seen.

Game play

The Game play of 7th Saga is similar to a multifaceted jewel. To start with the battle system was done in over the shoulder fighting. The characters create stronger attacks by defending then attacking. The monsters strike out at the players. Overall it is similar to Final Fantasy of the Playstation era only on a system that was not built for three-dimensional graphics. The graphic system of the game was quite interesting for a Super NES game.

The game starts with the player choosing a character. Each character is completely different. There was

After your choice, you are sent off to find the 7 runes. The game is built as a race. Your character may team up with one other character, and can change alliances every so often but the two-person team must race to get the runes. There is a large amount of interaction with the other characters, and there are sometimes battles of strength and strategy that net a large amount of experience.

During the game, the characters must find the 7 runes, and sometimes the main character runs off to fight all the way through a dungeon and ends up not receiving a rune if certain objectives aren’t met such as time limits. The rune will appear in a town that is reachable and held by another of the characters. The characters will then challenge you to a fight for the rune. The fight is as hard as any boss fight in the game.

This brings up the topic of difficulty in The 7th Saga. The game is as difficult as any game that comes to mind. In some games the characters have to level up before major fights, so they revisit areas and walk around for a couple minutes. In the 7th Saga this is required as the game is insanely hard at many points. Almost every dungeon requires at least an hour of prep time, either in buying weapons and armor or working up the characters. The game is unbelievable hard in most aspects creating the hardest game on the Super NES. The game requires at least seventy hours to complete and probably half of them are spent in the process of leveling.

There is also radar when walking around the areas and the monster attacks can be avoided, except if you avoid the monsters you will loose the leveling process and end up having to come back and level up anyways but it does allow a nice change to the game as you don't have to kill every monster if you want to avoid it.

Overall the game play is described as long and hard. I would say the game cheats but it only cheats on levels and it only makes the other characters 3 levels above you.

Some players feel that this game is pointless. The game basically derives from the original Dragon Warrior. Though the leveling system is even slower and more necessary. There is also less discovery then in the Dragon Warrior series. This game does feel a thinner then most RPGs for some players.

Story

The story is not one that sticks in the mind of the players. The full story is that the characters must go out and grab the runes. There is a large amount of talking required though and it does make the game a little more interesting but the story is not too memorable.

The story though is one of the most heavily debated topic revolving around this game. RPGs invariably have excellent stories that involve the game player for hours on end. For 7th Saga, this tradition was broken when Enix focused more on the battling and radar systems. Some people believe the story is completely missing though and this game fails to grab the minds and imagination of those people. Others believe that this game doesn't require the story. Truthfully, this is the greatest failing of the game.

Graphics

7th Saga tried to revolutionize graphics for RPGs. It may have been a pioneer in three-dimensional graphics. Enix took the mode 7 graphic mode and utilized it while producing the battle system. It doesn't have the Super FX chip that the Dirt Trax FX or Starfox had on it. They graphics of 7th Saga are very well made though. They can't compete with Final Fantasy games from the post-Super NES era but it is extremely different look for retro gaming or old-school game fans.

Sound System

This game is not a Final Fantasy game, it reminds me of Dragon Warrior as it is by the same people. Some of the songs are quite memorable. Overall the music is similar to Dragon Warrior, good but nowhere near the quality of Final Fantasy.

Conclusion

Overall the 7th Saga is a well-made game in the same type of series as Dragon Warrior. Fortunately it is harder then most RPGs but it was an incredibly fun game to play.

7th Saga is one of the most debatable games for the Super NES. While hardcore RPG fans loved it at the time, there are now arguments involving the difficulty of the game, the "pointless" battles, the graphics, and the storyline. Surprisingly there was a 7th Saga 2 in Japan but it was never officially translated to English.

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