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Suikoden is a RPG set in a mediaeval fantasy world, where you are cast as the spoilt son of the ruler over the Scarlet Moon Empire. As trouble looms on the borders of the Empire, you are drafted into the Imperial Army where the plot unfolds that you see that your fathers corrupt reign through the eyes of his subjects and that the beloved Empire is in fact run in a barbaric and sadistic way, with the citizens receiving harsh and brutal treatment. Whose side should you take? Stay loyal to your corrupt leader or betray your father and take charge of a band of rebels who will rise against the Empire. Suikoden is a game about responsibilities and decision making but handled in an easy going way, with a touch of humor and charm. The game is structured into a series of sub quests which gather into the overall picture. You must guide your character around the various locations, conversing with people and examining objects, while not forgetting to equip yourself with armor and weapons, as in Suikoden, there is a hell of a lot fighting to partake in. Your band of rebels can hold up to six members, with each having their individual strength, speed and skill, which grows with each excursion into battle. You will find that the groups make-up will constantly change as new friends join or old acquaintances are re-enlisted. With the 180 potential recruits you will meet throughout the course of the game, you will discover that their ability and trades will help you to decide whether to enlist them or not as you will meet engineers, merchants, artists, gamblers, librarians and minstrels, with companions resting in your castle until required. Suikodens world is colossal, featuring many towns, cities, castles and dungeons and when you are confronted by a monster or a group of bandits, the screen will dissolve and you will be whisked away to a combat screen where you will have to decide if you will fight, flee or bribe the enemy. You may select to battle one on one or army upon army, and if you wish to fight, then you will give each of your troops an order of when and how to fight, defend or cast a spell as the battles are all turnbased. Once each member has completed their orders, the cycle begins again until one side is victorious.
Apart from the fighting scenes, Suikoden is no great looker and could easily be mistaken for a 16 bit RPG, but the thousands of possible stories and massive gameplay will undoubtedly convert many to trade their bomber jackets in for an Anorak