Originally Posted by Onegai:
Official Title(s): Bahamut Lagoon
Copyright: © 1996
Original Platform: SNES
Genre(s): Fantasy, RPG, Strategy
After the kingdom of Kahna is attacked and defeated by the Granbelos Empire and princess Yoyo is taken prisoner, the world of Oreles is left very bleak. Now Byuu, former captain of the Kahna Dragon Squad along with Matelite of the Kahna Royal guard decide to form a rebel force to overthrow the Granbelos Empire. And thus begins our adventure.
Storyline: 4/5 – The storyline is maybe a little clichéd as far as basic elements and plot devices go. This does not stop Bahamut Lagoon from being quite an immersing little epic that does have a few very welcome twists and turns as well as a rather original setting.
Characters: 5/5 – I’ve never played a game from this generation that has so many uniquely defined playable characters (Beat ‘em Ups aside). The best part is that they managed to flesh all these characters out to the extent that the player gets to know them all intimately as the game progresses.
Gameplay: 4/5 – The gameplay is brilliant combination of RPG and Turn-based Strategy combining the typical J-RPG turn-based combat sequences with turn-based Strategy fields. It sounds strange but it works. That’s just the combat aspect though. There’s a whole other side to this game which involves the careful feeding of a squad of dragons you must raise. How you feed them determines their growth and evolution which affects their stats and abilities. This can ultimately determine your success or failure in combat. It’s perhaps daunting to the amateur gamers out there but to the fans of the Strategy and RPG genre it’s a dream come true. The game’s downside is that it’s extremely linear and in essence could be described as “A bunch of cut-scenes with gameplay in-between” since it offers no real exploration. Whilst I don’t have a problem with this at all, many gamers out there would.
Graphics: 4/5 – The graphics are overall very pleasing. Although the characters’ field sprites lack the Final Fantasy definition, they are smoother and better proportioned. (FF used the chibi-look from 1 through 6). The battle sprites on the other hand are very nice and the battle animations are really impressive. As for the cut-scene graphics, some of them are nothing short of stunning.
Soundtrack: 3.5/5 – The soundtrack is really great. There’s not a single annoying piece on the game’s play list and the music fits perfectly into every scene. But there is one tiny shortcoming and that’s the lack of variety. There simply aren’t that many discernibly different compositions on the soundtrack. I do say “quality over quantity” but within reason.
Replayability: 3/5 – The game has only one element of replayability to it and that’s the dragons. Because they grow and evolve differently based on what you feed them, you may get curious, like I did, and replay once or twice for experimentation’s sake. Apart from this, you’ll likely not have a strong compulsion to replay because it’s, as I mentioned earlier, a rather daunting game to wade through.
Overall Enjoyment: 5/5 – This is one of the hardest games to critique accurately. In spite of its linear nature, lengthy cut-scenes and lack of replayability, Bahamut Lagoon is in a league of its own. It was one of my favourite gaming experiences because of its sheer uniqueness in all areas. If you enjoy the RPG or Strategy genre, this game is definitely a must play, even if it is just once.
Key: 5.Excellent 4.Good 3.So-so 2.Poor 1.Awful 0. Terrifyingly bad
Bahamut Lagoon was never officially released outside Japan (Like so many other good titles). The best hope of playing it is to download a translated ROM and use an emulator to play it (Unless you can read Japanese).