Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Leading lords and ladies of Langrisser I, II, and III

Langrisser is a series of Turn-Based Strategy games that is mostly Japan-only. They were published by NCS and developed by Career Soft, the latter of which went on to make the Growlanser series. The main series of Langrisser games is made up of five installments, many of which have been ported and updated a bewildering number of times. From a gameplay perspective, Langrisser is similar to games like Fire Emblem, but what sets Langrisser apart is its sense of scale. In a typical Turn-Based Strategy game, the player commands around twelve fighters per battle, while in Langrisser, there are hundreds of soldiers on the player's side alone, organized into battalions which are led by more powerful commanders. While ordinary soldiers fight in groups, commanders can single-handedly mow down scores of enemies in a single turn.

The main series games are set in a Medieval European Fantasy world, and most take place on a continent called El Sallia (later games introduce a second continent). El Sallia's history is not so much a series of conflicts as one long knock-down, drag-out war where everyone is fighting everyone else. Constantly. To make matters worse, there's an ongoing feud between the dark god, Chaos, and the goddess of light, Lushiris. Starting with Der Langrisser, the remake of Langrisser 2, the many of the games feature multiple story paths which allow the hero to ally with each of the factions. Der Langrisser was especially good at making all the different groups seem sympathetic. Langrisser 3 adds Relationship Values and Romance Sidequests to the mix as well, which reappear in all the games to follow.

Titles in the Langrisser series:

  • Langrisser - Sega Mega Drive (1991). Released in English under the title Warsong in 1992. Also released on PC Engine, PlayStation, Saturn, Win9x and Win Me/2000/Xp.
  • Langrisser II - Mega Drive (1994). Received an Updated Rerelease titled Der Langrisser on Super Famicom, which became the basis for versions on PC-FX, Playstation, Saturn and Win9x. Also there is a Win Me/2000/Xp version based on the original Langrisser II.
  • Langrisser III - Sega Saturn (1996). Also released on PC and PlayStation 2.
  • Langrisser IV - Saturn (1997). Also released on Playstation.
  • Langrisser V: The End of Legend - Saturn (1998). Also released on Playstation.
  • Langrisser Millennium - Sega Dreamcast (1999).
  • Langrisser Millennium WS: The Last Century - Bandai Wonder Swan (2000).

So far, only a few games have been translated into English. In 1992, Treco released Langrisser stateside under the title of Warsong, and a fan-made translation of the PC version exists. There is also a fan-made translation of the SNES remake of Langrisser II, Der Langrisser, which probably deserves a page of its own. As the subtitle of Langrisser V suggests, the series concluded right around the time Sega abandoned the Sega Saturn. NCS went on to produce the Millenium spinoff series without the input of the main series development team, with unfavorable results.

Tropes used in Langrisser include:

Der Langrisser provides examples of

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Hein is just the cute plucky sidekick, right? Except that his two best class-change paths lead to him becoming either a wizard on the level of Jessica or Eggbert, or the game's foremost Magic Knight, with access to healing spells, support magic, an awesome summon, and a formidable sword attack.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Light Path almost isn't this, but then the Fridge Horror regarding the Demon Tribe's fate sets in. The Independent Path is more straightforward: it ends with Elwin having unified El Sallia under his banner, saved the Demon Tribe from eons of persecution, freed the world from the manipulations of Lushiris and Chaos, and finally brought about an era of peace. However, he's had to kill many good people to do it and lost the woman he loves because he killed the goddess she worships. The ending is probably the happiest on the global scale, but it's tragic on a personal level for Elwin and those he cares about.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The Goddess of Light is a racist, The Empire is a bunch of ruthless conquerors, the Demon Tribe are led by a psychotic monster, and even if you avoid all of these, you're still a backstabbing Lu Bu who racks up a massive body count in the name of peace and justice.
  • Black Knight: Lance.
  • Broken Aesop: Done intentionally here, where the only path that isn't racist still involves the unification of the continent through force of arms.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Independent path requires you to backstab every faction you work with. Betraying the Empire, in particular, is portrayed as something done solely for your own power rather than for the good of everyone.
    • The problem being that every path shift seems to shift Elwin's personality dramatically and instantly.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In the Independent path, you get to kill Lushiris, who is a goddess. It's not even very hard, since by that point in the game, you'll be insanely powerful yourself.
    • You can do the same with Chaos in one of the Light endings, though it's Eggbert who finishes him off.
  • Elite Tweak: This game has a lot of these. One of the biggest is how you can start Elwin off as a Warlock, which requires only a tiny fraction of the experience that other classes need to level up, allowing you to get your first class change near the beginning of the second scenario.
    • Further compounded by the fact that one of the quiz paths leading to Warlock allows Elwin to start with obscenely high stats (31 AT - 21 DF). Considering that Der Langrisser is about the easiest game ever made, it's really just a wee bit silly.
    • Most characters' class development paths have "best practices" that are usually easiest to determine by reading a guide.
  • Fantastic Racism: Everyone treats the Demon Tribe as if they were Exclusively Evil when that is simply untrue. Some of them were subjected to More Than Mind Control by Bozer, but for the most part, they only supported Chaos because everyone else treated them like crap. This actually makes the Light path seem really horrific if you think about it, as it implies the continued marginalization and possible genocide of an entire race just because Lushiris never liked them, and they have funny ears.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: Light to Imperial. Even more so, Light to Independent taken as a whole.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Necessary for the Independent path.
  • Hero Antagonist: Depending on which side you take... well, really, most of the NPCs. Leon is among the noblest of the characters despite fighting for The Empire.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Independent Elwin. He's gone through a lot of messy Character Development that has left him murderously cynical of all the factions' goals and methods, and now he's fighting so that everyone in El Sallia can finally live in peace.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: The motivation for the Empire's heroes.
  • Order Versus Chaos: The premise behind the story, at least in theory; the Empire doesn't care about the struggle between Lushiris and Chaos except as it affects their interests, and Independent Elwin wants them both taken down.
  • The Starscream: Elwin towards the Kaiser in Independent and Chaos paths.
  • Ubermensch: Elwin in the Independent Path.
  • Villain Protagonist: Elwin in the Chaos Path.
  • Worthy Opponent: Leon (and to a lesser extent, Vargas).