Written: 6.23.13 Acquired: 12.12.12 Status: Cart only Price: $45
Pub: Asmik Ace Ent.
Dev: Copya Systems
Ahhh, sequels. You gotta love them. No matter how bad a sequel might be, at least you will always have the original. And in some cases, the sequel is vastly superior to the first game. Guess which category this one fits under? If you said the latter, you are correct. Lennus II is the very little known sequel to SNES RPG Paladin's Quest. PQ had much potential but fell short in a few key areas. Lennus II is definitely an upgrade; it's everything the original should have been. Ready to save the world? We know the Chrono Triggers and Earthbounds but what of this?
THE FIRST LENNUS -- PALADIN'S QUEST
Earlier this month we took a closer look at the first game. It had some pretty cool things going for it, such as the mercenary hire system, its magic skill system and a distinct bizarre out of this world atmosphere. Unfortunately then, the battles were a bit plodding, the control was awkward, and character development was lacking. Nevertheless, it's enough to serve up some quality play for the Super NES RPG fanatic who must beat them all. Thankfully, a Japanese only sequel was released during the summer of '96 under the name of Lennus II. It basically takes everything intriguing about the original, and enhances it all. If you liked Paladin's Quest then you are almost guaranteed to dig the sequel. The following will reveal a lot of late in-game shots, and while I don't necessarily reveal any major spoilers, diehard fans may want to finish Lennus II one time around before reading the rest of this review. But if you don't mind, or have not quite made up your mind yet as to whether you'd be willing to play through this game, by all means read on, my friend ^_^
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES...
Lennus II opens up rather auspiciously. Our hero is awakened in a strange cryptic world, and being heralded by the locals as some sort of "SAVIOR." Everyone is counting on you to retrieve four hidden treasures. This must be done in order to unlock the "Great Union." Hmmmm...
Something just doesn't quite add up...
The question is... what happens after you find all four...
In classic RPG fetch quest fashion...
With great power comes great responsibility [How original -Ed.]
Cracking open those item shells makes a most satisfying sound
Believe it! Makes Lennus II a great pick-up-and-play RPG
Um, I don't know how accurate the English fan translation is but...
... it sure makes for some grins and laughs here and there!
Once again, you can select your mercenaries. Who will you hire?
These are the 8 spells you must master in order to beat the game
Proof that SIZE MATTERS! No puny dinky beds here in Lennus II
The bosses are much improved for the sequel. They are bigger, badder and much more satisfying to kill. Just seeing them drooling for you is quite the sight for sore eyes. Whereas I had some complaints about the boss battles in the first game, I have none here. Copya definitely made up for the first game's shortcomings
None of the bosses will be winning beauty contests anytime soon
You'll meet some strange wacky NPCs along the way
One more treasure down. Getting closer to this "Great Union"
Um, I have no comment on what's going on here. Moving on then
Some basic but fun sequencing sections come into play
I love searching every RPG nook and cranny for far-out items ^_^
Who is this cryptic Zordon wannabe guy, anyhow?!
7 hours in! I love RPGs with ridiculously high HP and money stats
This fellow here is a magic spirit. Defeat him to gain his services!
Igles is a friendly giant. Reminiscent of BoF's big robot machine...
Almost there... just one hidden treasure left to attain...
... but you knew it wouldn't come so easily, didn't chu?
"You did it Steve!"
"Of course. Now what?"
"Place each one in its proper slot... and see"
"You promise nothing bad will happen, yes?"
"Oh but of course..."
"Slide 'em in now..."
Why do I have a rotten feeling about all this...
See, I knew there was something funky about this four hidden treasure thing. Turns out it sure was a sham and farce. You just knew the game couldn't end after securing the four artifacts; it is in fact only just beginning. The Great Union isn't so great after all, now is it?
Dust yo'self off -- the greatest adventure of your life is yet to come
Part of the fun lies in deciding who to recruit. Some are better than others in certain areas. Who will you pick up along the way and invest in? Who will you say goodbye to? Character development is still a little thin but better than PQ
Gotta love how some will try to convince you of their worthiness
It makes me wince just thinking of it. DON'T MESS WITH MYRA!
See that? Myra's 1337...
After finding the four artifacts and unleashing the Great Union, it's up to you to right your wrong by collecting seven seals... hence the game's subtitle Apostles of the Seals. It's classic RPG fetch quest
Lennus II: The Legend of the Seven Stars... I mean... Seals...
[So I guess Steve will hafta find some place else rather, then -Ed.]
Some dodgy lookin' fellas ova there. Look at where the pee goes
Lennus II's fan translation has its fair spot of (subtle) humor. Nice
The slums is one of the more memorable places you will travel to
At my church last year I was in the Easter play as the Blind Man. That was a BLAST to get healed by Jesus and run around the stage screaming "I CAN SEE! I CAN SEE!" This brings back memories!
Speaking of that, Lennus II has a great dose of religious overtones
Along the way there are some quirky tasks to take care of
Haha is that so... WAIT WHAT?!
I don't know about you but in my state libraries are reducing hours drastically and book stores are sadly closing down at a rather alarming rate. There's even talk that one day libraries might go the way of the dinosaur. What a shame that day would be. My childhood was built on library and book store visits. I'll be damned if that day comes! *shakes fist*
Because obviously, people nowadays are lame. M I RITE?!
Zaygos was the bad guy in Paladin's Quest. Very slick reference!
Some deep questions are posed. Maybe there will be answers...
Dude, come on, I don't want to be part of Paranormal Activity 13!
God I love RPGs. It wasn't always this way. It's been well documented that I grew up hating them because I was simply ignorant. I didn't see how a bunch of text and boring slow turn based combat could be so fun. Now, I appreciate the storytelling and the development of characters you've grown attached to. Expect more RPG reviews the rest of this summer on RVG :)
Ha, I love how the translation breaks down the proverbial 4th wall
Harkens you back to Harry Potter a bit, doesn't it?
Oh, always fun to! I love archiving and recommend it to like-minded people. It pays to keep a record of things. And for games like this, there are times where keeping a list of notes will come in handy, so do it!
Keep a notepad nearby handy so you can jog down critical notes
Hmm, usually I pay, but YOU wanna pay? Something ain't right...
I just love this shot. It kind of describes the sea of collectors out there who get their rocks off on amassing a gargantuan collection, but never interested in actually playing their games. Hey, diff strokes for diff folks. Me, it's all about playing and beating the games, one at a time. Nothing to me satisfies in this hobby quite like that, no sir ree!
Everyone's different in how they work. Do what makes you happy
This gorilla of a woman, Goltork, is like a beached whale. If you can help remove her from her dwelling spot you just might get a much needed gift. But the question is, how in tarnation do you lift a 900-pound fatty, hmm?!
Hey where have I seen this before... I swear it feels like deja vu...
Hmmm, interesting. Looks to me like Copya might have jacked an idea from Capcom's Breath of Fire II. In BoF II -> we find an obese woman who can't get up from her bed. I suppose though Capcom shouldn't be surprised... anyone remember Fighter's History?
Perhaps this fat queen and Goltork are related or something...
This reminds me so much of Black Friday. Speaking of which, I am no fan of Black Friday. One of my favorite gaming memories came on Black Friday 2010. Having been a part of the fiasco the year before, I decided to ditch the whole scene in 2010, and instead of shopping with my cousins and the masses, I went home to start up my trek through Terranigma. Best decision I made that entire year...
Only thing missing here is a tent!
Hey, I'll gladly take it. Prayer never hurts. Lord Steve, I like it...
Props to these good folks for making this game playable!
Oooh, another nasty boss guarding one of the seven seals
You could say that for ALL women. Oh, did I say that out loud?
It pays to be helpful and kind. Your good favor sees good returns
Give Goltork the belt you receive from the old man. Another seal!
Oh Lord. Some people just never learn their lessons...
This part is a total flashback to the first game's most difficult section. Thankfully it's a cakewalk, but when I first saw it, chills crept up and down my spine, no kidding
Let's just say I have some baaad memories of the original section
AHHHH! NOOOO! Please, for the love of God, make it go away!
[Yeah, Steve tends to have that charming effect on people -Ed.]
Y'know, I've been called a lot of bad things, but that's a new one
Items and EXP points lie ahead... as well as a world of PAIN...
What's lurking behind that entrance? You don't wanna know
Another thing which I appreciate about this game is that when you level up, stat increases are shown. I don't know why every RPG doesn't do this; it's annoying to click on menu to see how much a character has grown. Here it's all neatly lined up for you
I love RPGs that feature ridiculously high statistics
Wait, eight seals?? I thought there were only seven. Hmmmm...
Lennus II does a splendid job of referencing back to Paladin's Quest here and there. It is not necessary to play through PQ first, though, although it doesn't hurt if you want to know the entire backstory
Castle of Illusions Starring Midia Mouse? No? OK... [*sigh* -Ed.]
This racing bit adds some diversity to the proceedings
Lennus II still has its trademark trippy visuals, only they're significantly improved from the 8-bit looking predecessor. I mean, they're not up to par with some of the heavy hitters that came before this game, but they more than get the job done. I particularly love this bit. The clouds zoom by in the background at a pretty breakneck speed, creating a nice atmospheric scene
I love those Rita Repulsive looking ears back there
Steve is 1337 status. Goes without saying [... in your dreams -Ed.]
Midia's more than just a passing reference; she actually shows up
Place the dragon statues over those red dots. Simple but fun
Awww. Midia was always the sappy kind
Immersing oneself in uncharted water is the key to self discovery
Major deja vu...
Ah there we are. I knew I'd seen this somewhere before
I don't know about you but when it comes to RPGs I have a bit of OCD. I must explore every last nook and cranny so that I don't miss any key items. Don't you hate it when there are multiple routes, you select the first one and it leads to a boss encounter with no returning point? AH! So when you do find the items first on natural instinct, there are few things sweeter or better
What's hiding inside? You hope it's worth the hunt and hassle!
Remember the Runaway Five from Earthbound? Lennus II features its own musical group, and it's up to you to locate their five missing instruments. It's not mandatory, and if you should fail to locate all five, nothing bad happens. It's just a side search for the OCD gamer in all of us
Some of them are stashed away in obscure locations
Ah, the pain of letting go... but the agony of holding on too long
Ha, I love Chest's closing remark. Don't expect a call back, sucka!
Well better get in line, toots. And it's a long line [Yeah, sure -Ed.]
I like the overworld map. You resemble a sort of SD version of yourself. Later in the game you can move around the map by riding that funky looking animal there, or a handy airship
Movement is not as plodding here as it was in Paladin's Quest
I love it when RPGs hit closer to home than you think it might. Comments like this are timeless and universal. Makes you think
Ain't that a cold slice of truth, Nel. Preach it, my brother!
Later on, you can enter a theatre and bear witness to a very well done montage of Lennus' history. Moments like this make an RPG shine and totally sweep you away to a land of wonder and awe
Story telling and building is partly why I love the genre so much
Fan translators having a bit of fun and liberty exploiting no limits
Heh... only you know for sure why. "BIG" being the key word!
You'll find all sorts of weird items throughout your quest
A rather touching and heartfelt moment. Play it to find out...
More cool references to the first game abound later on
Chezni, I thought it was STEVE?! [You're such a gloryhog -Ed.]
Yes, Chezni embarked on a quest. Paladin's Quest [Oh dear -Ed.]
Which way will you enter first? Hope you don't miss any items!
Ugh, this cave bit is pretty tough. Those annoying blue blobs will follow you around, and if enough are tagging along, you will engage them in a fight to the death. Sure they look small and weak on their own, but when they finally combine their little blobs, suddenly you've got a BIG problem on your hands!
[Did you just say BLUE BLOBS? You would know, Steve... -Ed.]
Love this part! Very clever and self-aware is the fan translation
It just changes the whole experience. And you gotta love it. I do!
Ooh, this boss guards not one but two seals. She must be deadly
Unfortunately, some battle zones, like this one, seem to drag on
One last seal left... but a terribly grumpy geezer blocks your path
Lots of diverse locales to explore, including a visit to LENNUS!
Can you make it to the final battle? Can you survive the finale?
Steve offers his sage advice, attempting to set this lost lass right
This guy is HILARIOUS because we all know the type in real life!
[Whoa Steve! I take my "blue blobs" comment back, wow! -Ed.]
[Oh, back to the old Steve we all know and... tolerate -Ed.]
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
Never released in the US, due to the simple fact that Paladin's Quest didn't exactly set the SNES world on fire and that by mid '96 the 16-bit era was all but dead, Lennus II is little known and perhaps even less talked about. Scouring the net, I can count the total number of Lennus II reviews on one hand. But here are some of the comments: "Truly fantastic" and "One of the best sequels ever." While I wouldn't go quite that far, Lennus II is definitely a solid and worthy sequel The unique artistic stylings of the first game return in the sequel
Count on good ol' SUPER PLAY Magazine to deliver the goods
Lennus II is a sensible example of how to do a sequel right. The first game showed potential but ultimately fell short in too many categories. The sequel improves on every aspect, while continuing the storyline and stylings of the predecessor. It is what I call a competent RPG. It doesn't do any one thing in particular to WOW you or blow you away, but it does it all in a quietly competent manner. Visually it is much MUCH improved over the original game, however, it's still a bit lacking in comparison to other genre games that came out by mid '96. The music is pretty good. It's very ambient, which helps to set a striking mood. Most important of all, the game plays much better than the first one did. I enjoyed the experience; it was a lot more polished than Paladin's Quest
Give Lennus II a shot. It's not great, but it's more than worthwhile
So, what stops Lennus II from being superb? Once again the characters never feel fully fleshed out. The mercenaries come and go, some with very minimal development. Also, as like with the first one, I felt the last third dragged a bit. It took me a whoppin' 46 (!!) and a half hours to beat it. While I definitely took my sweet time, it is a longer RPG than most others. On the bright side, the translation is entertaining as ever and there are truly some fun NPCs to interact with. There are also side quests here and there like building your own house and some truly memorable moments like the scene with Jubal and his sordid infamous fate. I loved all the references back to Paladin's Quest, I loved seeing Midia again and I enjoyed collecting all the various spells and building them up in strength. It's a fun simple RPG that does most things just fine, but not any one thing really well. And when you beat Lennus II, you are treated to a nice long 15 minute credit ending. This sees our hero having final quick interactions with several characters and it's a nice way to wrap up the adventure. While it won't rock your world, Lennus II is a solid and competent RPG that thanks to the repro scene, westerners can now enjoy thoroughly. If you're an RPG buff, it's well worth taking the ride. It can get a bit tedious at times, but it's a rock solid example of the genre we lost out on back in the day, until now. And who says the old days were always better? ~_^
Just check out this weird but compelling art. Lennus II is a bizarre world full of religious overtones, big and ugly nasties, spells galore, sacrifices, deceit, exploitation and dear old friends. Not to mention the brilliant feature of being able to save your game at ANY point at ANY time. That means you won't need to locate a blasted inn or statue to save; you can save even anywhere inside a dungeon. You control how long you play any session, instead of being handcuffed to finding a save point. This makes it convenient to play for 10-15 minutes at a time if you have to. You can't say that for very many RPGs!
Not great enough to be worshiped but good enough to be played
That's the life right there my man [Sleep as long as ya like... -Ed.]