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Name: Romance wa Ken no Kagayagi 2 (80.00% in 3 votes)
Type: RPG
Platform: WINDOWS
Company: F&C
Release date: 1999
Reviewed by: Lamuness

Ugh....have been waiting for 4 whole years for this game since they announce the game's production back in 1996/1997. And finally the sequel to the infamous Romance wa Ken no Kagayagi (some of you might know it as The Last Crusader as subtitle) came out at right at xmas eve of 1999. And then it took me 2 whole months just to finish the game once!

And one thing, although Romance1 is an H-RPG. Read this twice: Romance 2 is NOT H.

The sequel takes place 1-2 years after what happened in Romance1, where we have Rune, the hero of Romance1, married Princess Cecil and ruled the kingdom of Barran. The hero of the story this time is Keith, owner of a restaurant in Barran. However, in fact at night he goes out as a "good" thief to steal stuff from people who morally doesn't deserves it, a la Robin Hood. Keith' father, known as Shadow Blade, was the legendary "robin hood" 10 years ago, and one of Shadow Blade's goals of life is to uncover the secret of the Tower of Daidalos. Now, it's Keith' job to complete his father's goals. One night, at one of the high-class mansions in Barran, a girl named Ellfacia prays at the balcony "I pray to you, please bring me a angel to save me." Just then, Keith, who flies out on his glider to do his robin hood job, crash-landed to the girl's room, and right at Ellfacia's chest...

"Are you an angel?" "err...." "My wish has come true!" "err..."

Ellfacia explained that her precious gem "Silver Rainbow" was lost. Keith, seeing how innocent and cute this "flower in the greenhouse" girl is, agrees to look for the gem. However, this gem actually lies the secret to the Tower of Daidalos...

The game is split into 5 chapters. The first chapter involves you doing jobs as a mercenary and you will meet 8 other heroines of the game. The other chapters involve doing more jobs but gradually uncover more secrets about the Tower of Daidalos. At one time you can only have up to 5 girls (or a couple of hidden sub-characters) in your party, and only 3 of them can join you in battles. And of course each girl has an ending, so expect a total of 10 endings in this game, which means the replay value of Romance2 is quite high. What makes things more complicated is that when you take jobs, sometimes you have a number of them to choose from, and that depends on which girl(s) is in your party, and which girl(s) is *not*. Therefore, Romance2 offers a really fluid and flexible storyline for you to explore, which *highly* increases the game's replay value and its fun factor.

The game involves you going from town to town, dungeon to dungeon to complete your tasks. Some of them are battle-less and some of them require some insane dungeon exploring. Like Romance1, enemies roam aimlessly everywhere and you only engage into battles if you touch them, and battles take place in turn-based grid system. When you win a battle, you get $$ and EXP. What made Romance1 famous is prolly it's customizable EXP growth system. The EXP you get doesn't go into your characters, rather it's accumulated. At anytime in the game, you can use your stocked EXP to raise any attributes of any character, and the level of growth depends on each character's background. For example, a fighter will take less EXP to raise attack power but more to raise intelligence. Once you reach the required EXP you will level up and this is how magic users learn new spells.

Towns play a major role in Romance2 besides doing your jobs. The alchemy store can enhance your weapon abilities. In Romance2, a short sword is no better than a silver sword in terms of attack power. Rather, the difference between them is their ability of install magic items to them. Throughout the game, when you defeat bosses, you will get a magic item where you can bring to the alchemy store to merge with your weapon. These items not only gives you special battle effects, but for certain characters, sword skills, tackle skills and bow/arrow skills too. These skills can be executed in battles when your moral level reaches a certain point. A second important use of towns is the girl impression system. Just like girls we see everyday, the girls in your party will freak out when you bring them to the present store and seeing them eyeballing the stuff they like. As you can guess, you can buy presents for girls to raise their impression. However, there are certain items a particular girl will like and not like, and these will be hinted when you talk to them at the present store. Note that if you keep giving her the same present her impression will go down. If you choose to send a present to someone outside your party, the present store offers a convenient Fedex service and they can deliver the present to the girl you specify.

I must say the system/engine of Romance2 is pretty darn well thought-out, and I love it The game itself is pretty long because of the various length of jobs you have to do, and the complex permutations of events that happen, plus some of the most complicated dungeons I have ever seen in my entire life (good or bad, u'd be the judge). The first couple of chapters are a bit too easy (almost invincible) if you spend the time to level up. However, by Chapter 5 even if you stats are maxed out you can start crying because battles get much much harder (for non-level-uppers, cry harder). However, as a RPG and assuming that you just do stuff as you progress, the difficulty level is pretty balanced. Ya, a la FairyTale style, if you finished the game, you can access to F&C's secret webpage where you get a wallpaper present. This time, however, I must say the wallpapers are much better than the ones in Twinkle Revue because this time they have original sketches of the characters.

The graphics are done by our good 'ol Nakamura Takeshi, who is responsible for the character design of Pia Carrot 2 and With You. The girls definitely look cute in this game, and their funny dialogue with Keith (too many sukebe/ii proportion lines) makes the game much more fun. Sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what they are implying. Map graphics, on the other hand......I must say that they are slightly on the disappointing side. They look rather low color to me, and doesn't really conform to today's standard if compared to other recent bishoujyo RPGs. However, at least animations are smooth even if you are running a rather low-speed computer. The music is quite nice, although I wish that I can use the music CD that came with the limited edition of the game into the game itself. However, one definite disappointment is that Romance2 has NO VOICE ACTING!!! It's pretty shocking and disappointing at first, but realizing the complexity of storyline and how complicated the dialogues will be (and is), I guess it's "understandable." Another thing....NO CG MODE. what?! ya, no cg mode!! kill me!!! Finally, the girl endings or rather, impression calculation, is quite off when you go to the ending. My first play is going after Rina and I did all the love events with her, but I got an ending with Lyuliker (who is the second in line and as a note, I NEVER gave Lyuliker a *single* present). Pissed, I removed Lyuliker from the group for the final chapter, then I get Janet. More pissed, I removed ALL THE GIRLS from the party except Rina, then I got a plain Keith ending! What's this?! Seems like things can screw up on you big time if all your girls in your party reach max impression...

Romance wa Ken no Kagayagi 2 is definitely the longest and most flexible bishoujyo RPG I have ever played. The engine/system is pretty well designed with a high permutation of events and a awfully high replay value. The cute bishoujyo graphics (although not H) and the funny dialogue and love events makes the game definitely more enjoyable. If you want a highly-replayable RPG with cute girls fighting with you, and don't mind too much about the fact that it has no H content in it, and that you are not too demanding on game graphics, definitely play this game. Romance1 fans like Kyubi, needless to say, get this game immediately.

PS is it worth the 4-year wait? Sadly I must say "no" considering that it has no voice acting and the low color game graphics there is definitely a feel of "incompleteness". However, still worth playing as a game!

PROS: Everything you like in Romance1 is back! Gorgeously cute girls, too many sukebe dialogues, customizable level up growth system, insanely flexible events, a well thought-out game system/engine, 9 girls you can go after, fun, fun, fun.

CONS: No CG Mode, no voice acting, low color map graphics, endings does not truely reflect the girls' impression levels when multiple girls meet ending requirements.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO: Kyubi-baka, Romance1 fans, people who want a lengthy and high replay value RPG with cute bishoujyo's but don't mind it's nonH, people who place more emphasis on gameplay than stimulating graphics in RPGs.
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