Continuing its archeology work, Nippon Ichi Software returns at the end of summer with a third volume of Prinny Presents NIS Classics, a series of compilations aimed at (re)discovering the most emblematic titles of the developer based in Gifu. With this time on the program Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure and (especially?) La Pucelle: Ragnarok, the player is this time invited to venture into the foundations of what later gave the Disgaea series.
This review of Prinny Presents NIS Classics Vol. 3 was made on a version provided by the publisher.
Main track of this compilation, The Maid: Ragnarok is in fact the PSP port (including some new features including dubbing and an additional scenario) of The Maid: Tacticsreleased in Japan in January 2002, a year before the very first Disgaea. Close in time, the two games are also close in their gameplay with turn-based battles on a sort of virtual checkerboard. Among the subtleties proposed, we can note the notion of “group” which means that if we attack an enemy surrounded by allies, it is the entire opposing group which will have the possibility of counter-attacking even if the blow does not have them. not all affected. Conversely, attacking with partners next to you will cause all our fighters to attack the target, without the co-attackers losing their turn. A Purifacation system is also part of the game, this one allowing to recover in its team of the opposing fighters but also to create chain reactions reminiscent of the Geo Effects system present in Disgaea.
If officially nothing connects them, difficult not to see in Disgaea a spiritual heir of The Maid knowing that in addition the two series share several music, sound effects, or even interfaces. The only real difference that is obvious is the change of view during the attacks, this one switching to a 2D representation seen from the profile. But apart from this specific point, lovers of Disgaea will be on generally familiar ground and surprises will thus be limited. As for the difficulty, that of The Maid is not as progressive as that of its spiritual successor and offers nice walls of difficulty very quickly at the start of the game.
Next to this big piece, Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure could almost be seen as a “bonus” game. Released in 1998 on PS One, this friendly RPG was unreleased in the West for a long time before appearing on Nintendo DS in 2009. An atypical title presented as being a “musical RPG”, the game is dotted with sung sequences giving it musical comedy airs. The result is a slightly outdated side but which fits perfectly with the clearly childish atmosphere with its story of Prince Charming on a postage stamp. But as often with Nippon Ichi Software, it’s not for the scenario that we like their games but especially for their cheeky side and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is fully in line with this line by being filled with humor, to the point of being able to be considered a parody of a fairy tale.
In terms of gameplay, we are faced with a very, very basic RPG offering fights that are just as basic and taking place on a checkerboard of a handful of squares. With great ease, Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure offers so to speak no challenge in Normal difficulty mode and the 7/8 hours necessary to reach the final boss will be a real health journey for regulars of the genre. The clashes do not require any tactical preparation and we are content to chain the attacks without even worrying about trying the special moves that we unlock little by little. Uninteresting, the (random) fights will however follow one another at a fairly steady pace in the dungeons while these are a horror of game-design. Without a map, the player must indeed go through tunnels that are strictly identical and filled with branches, requiring them to grope their way while testing each branch. A rather painful process when you are cut every X steps by fights and you come to the end of a dead end after 3 floors and a dozen intersections explored from start to finish.
A nice dive into the origins of Disgaea
The pleasure of seeing La Pucelle: Ragnarok on the big screen
Dungeons in Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure which loses its VF
With Prinny Presents NIS Classics Vol. 3, Nippon Ichi Software offers us a very pleasant dive into the origins of the Disgaea series with Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure and La Pucelle: Ragnarok. Too bad however that Rhapsody is only available in English while its Nintendo DS port from more than 10 years ago has been fully translated into French.