Suikogaiden, Vol.1 (2000)

[幻想水滸外伝Vol.1 ハルモニアの剣士]

Suikogaiden, Vol.1 (2000)

Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Platform: Playstation

Nash Latkje, an agent of the Harmonia Border Defense Force, investigates rumors of the True Runes, operating behind the scenes of the Dunan Unification War.

As this is a visual novel, there really isn't anything in the way of gameplay. At several points in the story you can make choices and those choice influence various parameters that affect your options and what scenes will be available to you. Multiple playthroughs are required for 100% completion.

If you're a fan of Suikoden II, you're going to appreciate this gaiden that takes you behind the scenes of a lot of the major events of the game and fleshes out several of the characters. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to call our protagonist the Batman of the Suikoden universe. Nash is a smart, resourceful person who despite lacking anything like a True Rune manages to tangle with forces well beyond his own power and still come out of it in one piece. Characters from Suikoden II who get significant expansion are Sierra and Elsa. While I particularly like the Elsa subplot (which greatly expands the Clive subplot many players miss out on entirely), the alternate route with Wakaba is also fun for a second playthrough.

The graphics consist of static backgrounds and a few pieces of character art to represent different conversation states that are highlighted by special frames to illustrate particular scenes. They are about as high quality as you can produce on the PSX. There is also a nice animated intro.

The OP is pretty good and the rest of music is decent enough. There are some incidental sound effects but nothing to write home about.

This is a worthy expansion of the Suikoden mythos with a good lead character and provides a extra development for characters from Suikoden II, ranging from little cameos to entire subplots. Fans of Suikoden II have every reason to play this.

Play It (or should I say 'Read It'?)