Format reviewed: PlayStation
Submitted by: Anthony Booth
An early PS1 RPG, Popolocrois Story is a fine game that sadly the English-speaking gaming community never got to play. Yes, there's the recent PSP port, but it's quite butchered compared to the original game.
The plot is pretty complex, with many sub-plots, most of which were cut from the PSP port for some reason. The game starts with a mad inventor called Gami Gami Devil launching a full-scale assault on the kingdom of Popolocrois and stealing the Crown of Wisdom, so Prince Pietro goes on a quest with several other misfits to recover the crown and put Gami Gami in his place. Believe it or not, this is only a sub-plot.
The gameplay is like a much harder version of Final Fantasy Tactics, however to appease for the difficulty, there's a surprisingly well-done gimmick- the Guts meter. Each character has a meter that slowly drains with each attack they land. The lower the meter, they weaker they get. However the meter can be restored by skipping turns and this can also be done to pull off charged attacks that do more damage than a critical hit.
The music is simple but memorable. While there are some annoying tunes (Guilda's theme, ugh), the many battle and town themes outnumber the bad ones. The voice-acting is well-done, and the language barrier shouldn't prove too much of a problem for non-Japanese gamers. Over-all, this game is excellent and I recommend it to anyone who likes RPGs. You'll have to import it and have a Japanese PS1 to run it, but it'll be more than worth it.