Friday, June 4, 2010

Clueless Gaijin Gaming: High Grenadier

This week, I take a muddled, Japanese-impaired look at one of Telenet/Renovation Game's strategy titles for the PC Engine -- High Grenadier:

No, it's not a dark Vietnam-era military drama (that would be Strung-Out Fragger.)  It's a science-fiction military strategy game, and even though it was released in 1991, it feels like a HuCard design with CD music added in at the last minute.  The game itself would easily have fit on a cartridge -- there's not much in the way of animation, no voice-overs, and the action takes place primarily on a single map screen with dense Japanese submenus that this clueless foreigner was unable to penetrate.

Here's what I was able to figure out before consigning High Grenadier to the unplayable shelf...

It's clearly a battle of our Red forces against the enemy Yellows:

There are various personalities on our team, characterized by statistics I was unable to comprehend and names I was unable to recognize or pronounce:

Consequently, my orders were random and likely nonsensical:

I did poke around long enough to initiate a series of very brief, minimally-animated and generally unsuccessful battles with the enemy:

And I witnessed some story-related animations as my forces prepared for battle, then triumphed or retreated:

And that, as far as I could discover, seems to be the extent of what this game has to offer to the clumsy American.  The object, I presume, is to engulf the yellow points on the map and win hearts and resources to the red side.  The manual doesn't show off any features I was unable to encounter on my own, but the labels and messages are entirely in Japanese, making it very difficult to tell what I was doing or what's actually going on in the game.

Even translated into English, High Grenadier wouldn't be a tremendously exciting strategy game -- it no doubt has depth and complexity I was unable to fathom, but the interface is clunky and the battles perfunctory.  There are certainly better choices available for the Western PC Engine gamer.

As is often the case, this is not one I can recommend for the casual import gamer.  But if the reader is interested, it may be available for purchase, on the occasions when it's in stock, at this affiliate link.

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