How-To-Play: SA-ZI-RI

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By wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

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11-11-2016, 10:37

Man. So I just got a copy of this game off of eBay, and have been trying DESPERATELY to beat the first stage, but to no avail.

What's interesting, though, is that I'm a Japanese-speaker, so I've been attempting to play this game using the techniques outlined in the manual and via online Japanese-language walkthroughs, and it's been getting me NOWHERE.

The game is supposed to proceed very differently than what you've written here -- namely, the ? or - key feature you've listed is not actually detailed in the manual or in any Japanese-language walkthroughs I've found at all (I suspect that may actually be a cheat!). The way the game is supposed to proceed is:

- First part of each stage: Find and collect all the screws, then find the door to the shelter and jump into it. If you've found all the screws, you'll move on to the second half of the stage; if you haven't, the shelter will turn you away, and you'll have to go through the loop again to get any screws you missed.

- Second part of each stage: Find the boss. This is done by questioning monsters in RPG mode (they'll sometimes give you clues), and also by jumping into shelter doors to get information from the inhabitants of those shelters. Finding the boss usually involves figuring out where to jump or be standing, and also what time of day to do that.

The problem is, the clues I've gotten for stage 1-2 are proving all too cryptic for me to figure out -- they talk about a stone wall on the other side of a big tree, and also talk about the devil's time being 1 A.M. The guys in the one shelter also say something about an energy spike at 9 in the morning, and the other shelter just always turns me away -- they say they're closed, and I just missed the energy shield going down, no matter what time I jump into the door.

It's very frustrating, because I really like the idea of a platformer where you have to engage enemies in RPG mode and charm them in order to gather crucial intel to find the boss of a stage, but the clues are just too damned cryptic! Or maybe I haven't talked to the right monsters, I dunno...

Either way, when looking for some help online, I came upon this topic, and the info contained here sounds like it'll help me move on if I'm ever in a pinch -- so thank you very much, Mr. Hassink, for writing all this up!

Ideally, though, I'd love to know how to complete each stage legitimately, without relying on the cheat (?) key, so if anyone has played around with this game and has any idea how to get through any of the stages normally, I'd be very curious to hear what you did. And if I figure anything out myself, too, I'll be sure to let you know.

Sorry for necro-posting, but I assume that's not a problem, since I am contributing new info!

-Tom

P.S. In RPG mode, the second option is not "insult," but rather "extort" -- basically, beg for the monster to give you an item! Also, for some reason, monster responses in this game when they're not willing to help you are weirdly sexual in nature -- they'll often tell you to go pleasure yourself, or say that if you're going to try to win their affection with compliments, they might as well strip for you. They also sometimes call you a slut. This is a very, very weird game! Wink

EDIT: OK, I've checked another Japanese walkthrough site, and this is what it's saying you need to do to complete each stage:

First, you need to gather all the screws, no matter what -- you can't beat ANY stage without first gathering all the screws.

Then, for each individual stage:

Stage 1-1: Enter the shelter.
Stage 1-2: Get to the end-point of the stage when the clock is around 1am. (Not sure how accurate you need to get with this -- clearly, more accurate than I was in my attempts!)

Stage 2-1: Enter the shelter.
Stage 2-2: Get to the end-point of the stage when dawn breaks (around 6:50am).

Stage 3-1: Enter the information facility.
Stage 3-2: Get to the end-point of the stage right around noon.

Stage 4-1: Enter the space-ship.
Stage 4-2: Find signs of medical supplies, then at the end-point of the stage, remove your feet from the ground (jump).

Stage 5-1: Enter the research institute.
Stage 5-2: Cut off the energy supply at the computer terminal around the stage's mid-point, then just make it to the end-point.

Stage 6-1: Examine the cold sleep unit.
Stage 6-2: Open the message box, then get to the stage's end-point around 4am.

Stage 7-1: Examine the powered-on monitor.
Stage 7-2: Just get to the end of the stage (no special conditions).

Stage 8: Last boss floor.

I haven't tested this yet, but I got this info from this site -- which appears to be specifically referring to the PC-88 version, not the MSX version, but I think the conditions are the same in both. http://www.8-bits.info/gamelist/PC88/tips/contents/tipCnt_a8...

EDIT2: OK, I finally managed to beat stage 1 using this method! The one thing the Japanese walkthrough doesn't tell you is that if there are shelters in a stage, you absolutely *must* visit every one of them, or else the stage will loop even if you reach it at the correct time. So since stage 1-2 has two shelters, you have to make sure you hit both of them AND gather all the screws, then exit off the right side of the stage when the clock is at or slightly after 1am, at which point the boss battle will trigger INSTEAD of the stage loop.

-Tom

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5578)

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11-11-2016, 20:28

I did a how to play. On phone now, but it's here. Smile

https://www.msx.org/forum/msx-talk/software-and-gaming/how-p...

By wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

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11-11-2016, 22:08

That's what I'm responding to, actually! Your how-to isn't entirely accurate -- it seems to be relying on undocumented cheat keys, and skips over the necessity of making use of time of day, collecting screws, using RPG mode to gather clues, etc. Check out my full post for details!

-Tom

By JohnHassink

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12-11-2016, 01:20

Oh my, I didn't even notice this was the same topic, because of being on the aforementioned phone. oO
I never knew a lot of what you're explaining here, but the most baffling to me is that the "?" is actually a cheat key.
I literally thought that finding the "Force Unit" in every 2nd part of each stage was the goal every time, but I did always wonder why the screws are counted if they didn't seem to matter anyway.
A lot of the fine nuances and actual meanings of things just went over my head, as my knowledge of the Japanese language is extremely basic (one might say, from a toddler's to junior/elementary school level at best).
Thank you very much for all this wonderful, interesting info. It's really weird for me to find out that one of my favorite MSX2 games of all time is actually a lot harder than I always thought, and that I have actually been cheating my way through it all those (25+) years, as I still like to 'beat' it every now and then.

I wrote that how-to-play a few years ago. In the meantime, I acquired an original copy of the game. It came with 3 sheets in French and 4 sheets in English.
Indeed, the translated manual mentions the importance of the "Joint Screws", but also that of the "Force Unit". Have you experienced this last one to be essential to beat a stage as well?

By the way, the translations of the RPG Mode here go like this:
1) Watch - You see the enemy, and what he is doing
2) Squeeze - You use this when the enemy might have items, etc
3) Flattery - You may use this when the enemy might have important hints
4) Challenge - You attack the enemy with ESP power (cf. ATTACK and WEAPONS)
5) Exit - You go back to command mode

I guess the Japanese manual has more pages? Any more info on this game is very welcome.
I still don't know what to say. It's quite something to find this out after all this time. Smile

P.S. this page might be of interest. I don't think it presents any new info, but at least you can look at the intro and ending of the PC-88 version and listen to great versions of the music.

By wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

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12-11-2016, 03:32

I actually have the same version as you, I think, with manuals in French and English. Which is... weird. I still don't really understand where these manuals came from or why they exist -- something about the game being considered for release in the West?

Regarding the Force Unit, I think it's basically another item like the screws, where you have to collect it in order to move on to the next stage? It's a little unclear, though -- the walkthrough site I linked describes it as follows:

転送システムなどに設置されているザップ・バリアをエスケープできる。これを取ってないとステージ中のある位置に飛ばされてしまう。

"Allows you to escape the zap barrier installed in transporter systems. If you don't get this, you'll instead be transported to a set location somewhere in the middle of the stage."

What that means, I couldn't say! But it sounds to me like the takeaway is, "it's important, so get it." Wink

I'm actually really fascinated by the ? key cheat you found -- do you know where you first heard of that from? I'm wondering if it's some sort of official secondary function of the Force Unit, designed to help make the stages a little easier if people are having trouble with them... or if it really is a cheat! Either way, it's really fascinating to me. I love learning all the little intricacies of games like this!

-Tom

By JohnHassink

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12-11-2016, 09:56

wyrdwad wrote:

I actually have the same version as you, I think, with manuals in French and English. Which is... weird. I still don't really understand where these manuals came from or why they exist -- something about the game being considered for release in the West?

I don't think this game was ever 'officially' brought abroad, or even has been considered to be, so I'm afraid it's probably just a Western importer that ditched the original manual and replaced it with this. I think this happened with more imported games for some obscure reason. Some of the originals I own still have the original Japanese manual aside usually a translated little sheet, but with others it's sadly missing.

wyrdwad wrote:

What that means, I couldn't say! But it sounds to me like the takeaway is, "it's important, so get it." Wink

So, even if you get to the end-point of the stage at the right time, you won't be allowed to exit it if you don't have the Force Unit? Did you try?

wyrdwad wrote:

I'm actually really fascinated by the ? key cheat you found -- do you know where you first heard of that from?

IIRC it was mentioned in some MSX magazine. Probably a Dutch or Flemish one.

P.S. I know the main plot of the game and roughly how the story progresses, but as you actually understand everything that's been said in the little 'cutscenes' and stuff, are there finer nuances and details in the story that you liked, or am I overestimating it a bit?

By wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

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12-11-2016, 12:52

Sad to hear that's all it is, manual-wise -- most of the boxed Japanese games I've purchased so far have their original manuals, though a few are missing the manual altogether (containing just the box and the game). This is the only one I've seen so far that's replaced it with English and French manuals, so I was hoping there was something special about it!

The story seems pretty bog standard, honestly -- the more fascinating elements are the conversations with monsters, due to how weirdly sexual they are, and all the weird accents and speech quirks the different monsters have. This game is tonally all over the place, which I kind of love. Wink

And no, I haven't tried exiting the stage without the Force Unit. Honestly, I was just glad to beat the stage at all -- because I wasn't 100% sure what the exact triggers were to beat stage 1-2, even after reading that Japanese walkthrough, I'm embarrassed to say just how many tries it took before I could make the stage 1 boss appear!

I'll experiment a little as I continue, though, and let you know what I come up with -- though I'm not necessarily going to continue right away, as this is one of several games I'm playing right now (still working through the end of War of the Dead). But it's an intriguing title, to be sure, so I'll make some time for it sometime soon!

-Tom

By JohnHassink

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12-11-2016, 18:17

Too bad that the story isn't that interesting; I found the premise of what the actual 'evil' is quite original (an enemy which manifests itself as your biggest fears by getting inside your mind, right?).

So, War of the Dead? Well, good luck, I guess. Smile
http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/wotd/wotd.htm
The sequel is way more doable, and, albeit a bit flawed and subpar in some sections, has a pretty decent story and an aptly creepy atmosphere. I found the first one cool in its own right, but still too frustrating to even attempt to finish.

By wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

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12-11-2016, 22:10

JohnHassink wrote:

Too bad that the story isn't that interesting; I found the premise of what the actual 'evil' is quite original (an enemy which manifests itself as your biggest fears by getting inside your mind, right?).

So, War of the Dead? Well, good luck, I guess. Smile
http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/wotd/wotd.htm
The sequel is way more doable, and, albeit a bit flawed and subpar in some sections, has a pretty decent story and an aptly creepy atmosphere. I found the first one cool in its own right, but still too frustrating to even attempt to finish.

I'm actually really enjoying the first one! You may notice a few changes in that HG101 article since the last time you read it, as the writer made some errors that I submitted corrections for -- seems to be a habit I'm developing! Heheheh.

It's a very flawed game, but there actually are level-ups when you win something like 30 fights -- they fully heal you and increase your max HP by 5 each time -- and because there's an infinite supply of ammo at the drug store, you're able to use the shotgun freely as long as you leave yourself enough time and resources to get back there and restock afterward. You also CAN run from battles by pushing against the left side of the screen (the HG101 article initially claimed you couldn't) -- though it's random chance every second whether or not you're able to run successfully, so you will often end up taking a lot of damage while trying to run until the game decides it'll finally let you, which is admittedly pretty annoying. (Also, there are some set battles that always trigger when you walk over certain tiles, and those can't be run from at all.)

The biggest issue I have with it, honestly, is the obtuseness of the game's event flags, as there's often no real rhyme or reason as to why speaking with a certain person in one part of the map will trigger a new event with someone else on the other side. This wasn't too big an issue at first, but as you get closer to the end of the game, it becomes almost insurmountable. Fortunately, I found a Japanese walkthrough -- or rather, a complete transcript of all the dialogue in the game, in the order it appears if you play the game the way the developers intended, which sort of serves as a surrogate walkthrough:

http://www.geocities.jp/war_of_the_dead/siryou1kaiwa.html

So I've made a list of who to talk to and in what order from now until the end, saving me the headache of trying to figure out an arbitrary progression of events. And that's made the game fun again, as I actually quite like the battles, and the story is positively fantastic -- VERY MUCH ahead of its time.

I played a little bit of the sequel long before I won my eBay auction for the first game on cartridge, and I dismissed it at the time because of all the seemingly arbitrary things I had to do to trigger the continuation of the story... but now that I'm used to that from the first one (which started off nowhere near as bad as what I played of the second game, but ended up much worse), I'm pretty sure I'll be able to deal with that no problem, and I'm looking forward to giving it another try after I beat WotD1.

-Tom

By Vampier

Prophet (2385)

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12-11-2016, 23:37

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