Suikoden Tactics (released as Rhapsodia in Japan) is a tactical turn-based role-playing game. It is set during the same timeframe as Suikoden IV and focuses on the Kooluk Empire and the origin of the Rune Cannons. The game was developed by the same team that did Suikoden IV.
Soon after the release of Suikoden IV (Genso Suikoden IV in Japan), plans for a tactical Suikoden game were unveiled by Konami, resulting in the announcement of Rhapsodia (Suikoden Tactics in North America and Europe), a tactical RPG set three years after the events of Suikoden IV. Released in 2005 in Japan and North America and in 2006 in Europe, the game was reasonably well received although it did recieve some mixed reviews among fans and critics. The game is the first and currently only Tactical RPG of the Suikoden series. The soundtrack was developed by Norikazu Miura, who would go on to compose for the Suikoden V OST, and the story and character designs were done by Junko Kawano, the character designer for Suikoden, and writer and character designer for Suikoden IV.
Suikoden Tactics is the first Strategy Role Playing Game in the Suikoden franchise. It combines elements from other games of the genre along with the major gameplay elements of the Suikoden series. Players control units and move them on a grid based map to battle enemy units. Victory conditions range from defeating all enemies, to defeating specific story related characters, protecting units for certain number of rounds and various other objectives. An interesting element of the game is that units can be permanently killed in the game, with only a handful of story characters immune to permanent death. This makes careful troop deployment and and sound strategy and customization more important than some games of the same genre. One feature unique to the game are elemental fields, where using certain spells or even the movement of elemental spirits on the map, leave a color coded path. Each unit has an affinity to one of the games five elements and standing in certain fields will grant certain bonuses or cause certain handicaps. For example, Kyril is fire elemental, if he stands in a grid that's had its element changed to fire, he will get bonuses to his attack and defense, strengthen any fire elemental attacks he posseses, and regain a small percentage of health every round he remains on the field. If he stands in an elemental field of his opposing element of water, he gets penalties to his success rate of attacks, water elemental attacks will do far greater damage to him, and he'll lose a certain percentage of health every round. This creates a new dynamic to battles where players will wish to control the field to weaken oppoinents and strengthen their own units.
Traveling through the world is done through the flow of story and a menu screen. Players have the option to go into Caravan mode where they can equip their party with items and gear, or spend points to teach and raise a units skill level. The player can also save, load, and change game settings in this mode and can rest which will allow a day to progress and sometimes activate special scenes with certain characters in the party.
Towns are progressed through a menu screen and give the player the option to visit various shops to acquire items and gear or buy and equip runes. The player also has the option to listen to gossip from various people in town which will give clues to progress the story, open up new missions, or even meet and recruit new characters. The Quest Guild is also available in towns which hand out various missions for the player to build their party and gain potch and rewards to bolster the units. Some missions will also lead to the recruitment of new characters.
Players can customize their characters much like the numbered entries of the series, by equipping them with gear, tempering their weapons with Blacksmiths, and equipping runes. The game also brings back a new version of Suikoden III's skill system. Where characters can purchase various skills that raise their aptitude with magic, movement, or the number of time they attack. Skills are locked to certain ranks until the player achieves certain conditions to allow them to purchase the next rank. Skill points are not handed out individually, instead they are put into a party pool which allows the player to even rank up skills for characters who don't participate in battle or have only recently been recruited. There's also the Good Will and Rest system.
Players can equip various runes but they have been slightly altered for the gamplay genre change. Skill Runes, like the Falcon Rune or Kyril's Swallow Rune now have various attacks and effect instead of the simple one skill, and they are now subject to the game's MP system meaning they can't be used indefinetly. Several runes have made a return from previous installments of the series and have been adapted to the SRPG gameplay. Players can also recruit various new units through missions, gossip menu, or the course of the story, most of whom are returning characters from Suikoden IV. These characters can still engage intheir Unite Attacks, though the game alters how these are acquired. In battle the units have th option to talk to each other in mid-battle. These conversations will often raise Good Will between units which will open up defensive and offensive bonuses when the units are near each other, some units will unlock Unite Attacks through talking.
The game begins several years before the start of Suikoden IV and follows the exploits of Walter, a Scarlet Moon Officer, and his team trying to uncover the secret of the Rune Cannons and their connection to a mysterious monster race known as Fishmen. Tracking one down in Razril, the team meet up with a noble son and his friend who spotted the elusive creature in the back alleys of town. The creature was too weak but mentioned a pirate before it died. Walter continues to travel with his son and team around the Island Nations looking for clues. He came upon Middleport where Rune Cannons are manufactured to seek information from its leader Reinbach II, but he is turned away by his ward Sigurd. Reinbach II orders Sigurd to have the team disposed of when they leave. Walter meets Hervey who agrees to take him to meet Steele, the infamous pirate who owns a powerful Rune Cannon, in exchange for money and getting help to take Steele down. Hervey and the group are attacked by Sigurd and the Middleport fleet when they leave but before the battle can be decided, the group is attacked by Steele who quickly cripples their ships. Walter is saved by the untimely arrival of Edgar, Brandeau, and Kika who have been fighting with Steele for some time to gain dominance. Edgar feels that Steele has become too much of a threat to the pirate trade and decided to head out with Brandeau and Peck to deal with him once and for all. Walter begs Edgar to let him come along so he can get the Rune Cannon and Edgar eventually relents. Walter leaves his companion Yohn and Seneca to watch over his son Kyril while he's gone but Kyril sneaks away to join his father.
Angered Walter reluctantly lets Kyril stay as long as he doesn't try to get too involved. Edgar and Brandeau find Steele and quickly route his men, allowing Walter to finally see a Rune Cannon up close but the Rune Cannon is activated by Steele and transforms Walter into a mindless fishman that tries to attck Kyril when he gets too close. Andarc is forced to kill him, traumatizing Kyril. Enraged, Edgar and Brandeau assualt Steele while Peck dismantles the rune cannon. Steele is routed but then reveals he posseses the Rune of Punishment which he uses to destroy the ship and murder Edgar and his crew. Brandeau loses his eye and tries to help Edgar but he's too far gone. Steele is consumed by the True Rune which passes to Brandeau as his final curse, which forces Brandeau to go into self exile, partly out of guilt for letting Edgar die, but also to prevent the True Rune from passing onto anyone he cares about. Peck also survives but is horribly disfigured, he decided to join Brandeau in his exile but not before both of them return Edgar's body to the Pirate's Nest. Kyril and Andarc are both badly injured but survive the battle as well, Andarc finally succumbs to the grief of losing Walter and vows to follow and protect Kyril.
The story picks up three years after the events of Suikoden IV, and follows Kyril, continuning his father's investigations into Rune Cannons, the primary naval weapon during Suikoden IV that had since been abandoned due to its terrifying power. This investigation eventually leads Kyril and his party to the Kooluk Empire, under the orders of Island Nations Federation Chairman, Lino En Kuldes. In Kooluk, many plots are brewing involving rebellion, insurrection and expansion. Further complicating things are Scarlet Moon agents, who have their own priorities regarding Kooluk and the Rune Cannons.
Soundtrack and Mini-CDEdit
Suikoden Tactics' OST was composed and arranged by newcomer Norikazu Miura who would go onto to compose the soundtrack for Suikoden V. The opening theme of the game, "Another World" was performed by yoshiko. In the U.S. release of the game, a mini-soundtrack CD was bundled with the game which contained selected tracks from the game along with remixes of tracks from previous games. The CD also included a preview track from the upcoming Suikoden V soundtracks called "Castle of Dawn".
|1||– Norikazu Miura||Another World||0:32|
|2||– Norikazu Miura||The Beginning Of The Battle||1:37|
|3||– Norikazu Miura||Studying The Battle||1:13|
|4||– Norikazu Miura||Offense And Defense On The Great Plains||2:02|
|5||– Norikazu Miura||A Place To Rest During The Journey||1:18|
|6||– Norikazu Miura||Quest Guild||1:06|
|7||– Norikazu Miura & Miki Higashino||Theme Of A Moonlit Night (I & II)||2:08|
|8||– Norikazu Miura & Konami Kukeiha Club||Theme Of Narcissism (I-IV)||1:17|
|9||– Norikazu Miura & Konami Kukeiha Club||Theme Of The Beginning (I, II, IV)||2:12|
|10||– Norikazu Miura & Miki Higashino||Rescue Drama (I & II)||2:02|
|11||– Norikazu Miura, Michiru Yamane, Keiko Fukami & Masahiko Kimura||Frigid Land (III)||2:02|
|12||– Norikazu Miura, Michiru Yamane, Masahiko Kimura & Coba||The Base (IV)||2:10|
|13||– Norikazu Miura||Castle Of Dawn (V)||
Official Countdown IllustrationEdit