Foreword: Okay so nothing really fancy here; it’s a doujin game by Cheris Soft that I happened to randomly pick up one day and go “Hmm, seems interesting. Let’s give it a run”. As some of you know, I play quite a bit of doujin games solely because of the fact that doujin games are often created by those who actually enjoy the RPG+story infused genre, and actually fucking KNOW how to first write a story (unlike the idiots who write the same school-life bullshit and sell it as a galge), but also design a game revolving around said story.
Now I’m not here to give exclusively praises for this title, but I still want to point out that it’s been MUCH more worthwhile spending roughly 20-30 hours for this doujin game and reading its story than playing cheap charage like my last review.
For those who are actually interested in playing this game:
I’m uploading a save for Year 1 Day 1 where you have Max Funds, Troops, and Food. I highly recommend you view the prologue by clicking start on the main screen, then moving onto using my save file IF you’re not the type to want to spend hours mindlessly clicking to gather resources for battles. The choice is yours.
(Download, change file format into .dat and place in your savedata folder inside the game folder)
Title: ロストファントム (Lost Phantom)
Producers: Cheris Soft (Link to their HP: Warning [18+])
Synopsis: It is now the decade of 1660, and the Greaus Kingdom has been ruling over El Titania with justice and equality. One day, however, a huge earthquake shakes the lands and a suspicious masked man is spotted unconscious on the beach. The leader of a squad named “Trish” is assigned to investigate this man, who is literally butt-naked except for a suspicious mask he’s wearing. Strangely enough, this mask won’t come off physically, and the Commander (who is also Trish’s Father) gives this strange masked man his own armor as soon as he meets him.
This is the beginning of the adventure of Ash, and his conquest with Trish and other comrades. Ash himself has no memories of who he is and why he’s wearing this strange mask, but agrees to assist Trish fend off strange bandits that starts to attack the kingdom.
On the way, he will slowly encounter new comrades, and later on find out who he really is.
Story Length: Moderately Long (~30 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Comments: So the length of the game stems mostly from the collection of money, food, and troops, while the story contributes a hefty amount as well. The reader is given quite a good feel of how you pretty much have to “work your way to to the top” with this game, by negotiating with various towns or recruiting troops in bars or gathering food.
Story — 7/10
Gameplay — 6/10
Character and Setting — 6/10
Rating Comments: So I’ve divided up the ratings into three things as shown above: Story, Gameplay, and Character/Setting. Story rating is mostly based on the text scenario that the game presented, which was quite fulfilling in quantity because outside of interactive movement or battles, everything else within that 30 hours of gameplay was story. In fact, the game does a very good job of presenting various viewpoints of antagonists (after first playthrough) and other characters. Plot Twists is what this game specializes, as while it’s not so obvious in the beginning of the game, the ending portions involve a lot of “Revealing of the Truth” that the reader may not have suspected previously. The mere presence of these “plot twists” which was NOT something that came out suddenly from nowhere, was a great boost to the story rating.
The humor was placed very well, but could have been better as comical moments appear even in the most serious portions of the game. However, I’d like to remind everyone once again that this is a doujin game. Endings for each character can be improved, as well as the protagonist himself. While he was colorful and extremely powerful, he lacked a lot of interaction with the heroines overall.
Gameplay will be specifically discussed later, but this score represents how well the interactive-portion of the game was designed.
Character/Setting is very similar to how I rate commercial visual novels/galge normally. Despite having no voices for these characters and having static face-only sprites, the mere variations in facial expressions allowed for a very descriptive and interesting character interaction throughout the game. I do admit, however, that the lack of Voice Acting (which would have been difficult since there are “names” that you can customize in game) did make this score suffer greatly.
I actually appreciate the non-modern settings a lot, mostly because in my years of reviewing, the ones with a modern-day setting tries to make things all too realistic and include typical and non-original characters. Simply changing the setting a bit forces writers to stray away from the “normal teenager who suddenly gets popular” setting so prevalent in shitty games.
Characters: Due to how the game focuses primarily on the female characters, I’ll go through them exclusively.
The first to interact with Ash, she is the one who finds him butt-naked on the shores with nothing but a mysterious helmet on with no idea who he is. “Ash” is actually the name that she gives him, and according to her, means “someone who is suspicious and worthless”, perhaps like with “ashes” in the English language.
Nonetheless, both her and her father is greatly startled when they see Ash’s display of swordsplay, and start to wonder who they are. Trish herself, while treating Ash very coldly at first, starts to warm up to him slowly to even attain the jealousy of Boban, a cowardly noble with a crush on her.
Trish apparently decided to walk the path of a swordsman (swordswoman?) after some event. She is shown to train vigorously because of this promise with someone special who is now dead, and lives to his memory.
As with any stereotypical princess, Rucina is very beautiful and kind, earning the respect of everyone including her personal bodyguard, Leon. Instead of princess-like duties, Rucina seems to prefer gardening of flowers, and lives very humbly with her father, King Greaus who is currently critically ill.
As the last of the royal bloodline, Rucina is heavily protected and sheltered, but with the continuous attacks from demons and other countries, Greaus decides to entrust her with Trish’s squad later in the game.
One thing I’d like to mention is that Rucina has some sort of relation to TWO of the heroines. (That’s a huge spoiler in itself, so no more for you bucko)
Yar har fiddly dee, being a pirate is all right with me! Do what you want cause a pirate is free. You are a pirate!
Jokes aside, Noah is just that; a pirate. She sails the seas and attacks boats that are involved in the “Slave Trade” to set the captives free, but after she attacks Boban, Trish and Ash receive a request to bring this haughty pirate down.
After her defeat, Noah is punished and almost executed, but ultimately saved by Ash and Trish, who take her into their crew. In return for joining them, Noah asks the two for their help, to defeat a certain pirate who betrayed her father, the Pirate King, and killed him.
“Slave Trade” is a very secretive, black-market transaction handled by the richest of the rich purely for their own selfish pleasures. Roneri is a dark-elf who also became a victim for this evil, just as Ash and Trish infiltrate this area to investigate. Using a badass trap, Ash forces the hand of someone to allow this elf to be free, and in return, Roneri joins the crew.
Roneri is actually a required character; not recruiting her before fighting the boss in the same Chapter forces a Game Over and she also becomes extremely useful both in combat and the main storyline. In addition, Elf + Maid. What more can you want?
Ninja is what you might call Natsume, a girl who has a strange and firm dedication to a strange pot that’s currently in the hands of Dominion, a very wealthy merchant. She sells her combat capabilities to this merchant with the promise for this pot to be returned, but as Trish and Ash knock out their enemies one-by-one, Natsume ends up failing to obtain possession of this pot every time.
Later, Natsume personally bows her head to the group, asking for their help to obtain this mysterious pot that she needs at all costs
Ignore the muscle man behind her (that’s her brother apparently). Laika is one of the 3 Great Mages of the Seernaz Kingdom far from the Greaus Kingdom, where the people practice all forms of magic. Laika herself is very friendly and quickly befriends the members of the Trish squad when visiting the Greaus Kingdom, and even makes a promise to treat the team in return when they visit the Seernaz area.
However, as the Seernaz Kingdom suddenly declare war with Greaus, Laika is forced to fight with her own friend. Upon defeat, both Laika and her older brother join the team to defeat the greater evil at hand.
Sorry for the spoiler. Nyarancy is the red cat that Ash and Trish find in the prologue and have Chloe nurse back to health. Apparently, this cat is capable of human speech and assists the group from the very beginning portions of the game.
The game takes its time slowly revealing this character to have some form of motive unknown to the player until she reveals it pretty much at the end. By then, Nyarancy is very useful to the group in combat, as she does have the highest possible “武” stat aside from Ash.
So there’s two parts of the gameplay: Movement, and Battles. Movement is pretty self-explanatory since all the “moves” involve the passing of one day. One thing to watch out for is Stamina located on the bottom right corner, since if you run out of stamina, you’ll be stuck for 10 days. The rainbow-colored mat is a special item you can obtain in the later portion of the game to return to your Headquarters (circled), and the red arrows are just another “path” that I forgot to unlock as I took this screenshot.
The game does force a Game Over if you cannot clear the entire storyline within 15 “years” of the game, which is actually more than enough time if you think about it.
This would be an example of one of the battles. Up to 5 characters can be selected for battle, each with a different skill that may help overturn the game in the player’s favor. The “Headquarter” HP is denoted at the top with a blue bar that turns pink as it is damaged. This is pretty much the most important thing as even if you are superior to the opponent in every way, if your HQ is destroyed, you pretty much lose the entire battle. (Note: There are “rape scenes” opened in certain battles if you lose). Later portions of the game introduce enemies taking out over 1/2 of this HP with one attack, which is really fucking cheap in my opinion :(
It is damaged also normally through “Attack HQ” button available if enough enemies are in “retreat” mode.
Each of the 5 characters has their own HP and stats:
HP: Basically how many soldiers the unit contains. If this falls to 0, the unit is in “retreat” and cannot perform any actions for 3 turns. You pretty much need to use this to your own advantage and keep most your enemy units in “retreat” so you receive the least possible damage.
武: Basically your attack power, roughly translates into 100 damage per 1 stat, but depends on the enemy’s defense as well. Ash obtains a certain weapon that raises this to over 90 (~9000 damage) at the end of the game. Bad. Ass.
☐ not rekt ☑ rekt
守: Defensive Stat. 3 levels possible, and each level halves the PHYSICAL SKILL attacks received (has less of an effect on normal attacks), aka, 1x damage at level 1, 0.5x damage at level 2, 0.25x damage at level 3
速: Speed Stat which really only is used for avoiding attacks. Seems that level 3 grants roughly a 15-20% avoidability, which is really useful
知: Intelligence Stat which affects the MAGIC SKILL attacks received. Since magic in this game is much more powerful, this stat is crucial to have. Like the Defensive stat, it halves the magic damage for each level.
Gameplay Comments: This is quite a unique form of gameplay, really, and the game does a good job challenging the player with various enemy AI or tricks (enemy attacks HQ directly) or even bullshit scenarios (Start out with 15% of HQ HP (?!?!?!!?!)). What I may have wanted to see are more variability in terms of terrain, similar to how it is in Advance Wars, because in reality, this game wasn’t really much of a strategy game; it was more collect resources, defeat enemy, rinse and repeat. All the strategy existent was how you needed to continuously attack the unit that can attack the player HQ and was pretty much it.
Conclusion: In conclusion, this game was a great find due to the unique gameplay supported with a very detailed and climactic storyline. I can definitely agree that the ending portion of the game was lacking in terms of story, and the game has flaws of its own, I would recommend Lost Phantom to anyone who wants to play a game with a bit of strategy elements along with a story that boasts its plot-twist elements.
CG is actually very lacking (Kinda obvious to why since this IS a doujin game), but the music gave me quite the eargasm. If there’s one thing I’m confident about, it’s that you’ll appreciate the music.