Welcome to this week’s, “Sequel, Spin Off, Start Over or Stay Dead?”Â Each week we’re going to look at a dormant franchise that was once pretty popular, but for some reason has disappeared into the sands of time. Diehard GameFAN staffers will have four options for what they want to have happen to the series and you can see them in the title of this piece. For a little more detailed description see below:
Sequel – A direct sequel to the franchise. This means if it used sprites and was in 2-D, that’s how you want the next game to be as well. This might involve putting the game on a handheld system instead of a console, but it keeps the nostalgia and classic feel alive.
Spin Off – This is where you take the characters or a specific character is a totally different direction from the established franchise. Examples include Luigi’s Mansion, Hey You, Pikachu!, Shadow Hearts (From Koudelka), and so on.
Start Over – This is a reimagining of the series from the ground up. Perhaps it’s time to bring the series into 3-D. Perhaps you want a totally different control scheme or to throw away the old continuity. In a nutshell, this is taking the brand name from the old series and that’s about it. Everything else is new and re-envisioned.
Stay Dead – This is pretty obvious. This is a toxic franchise that you don’t want to see return in any way shape or form. Let the dead rest.
Although Falcom is best known for its Ys series, they were once best known for a series known as Dragon Slayer. This series started on the PC in 1984 and would continue until 1995 with the fourteenth and final game, The Legend of Xanadu II. Although most of these games never made it stateside several did including Dragon Slayer IV which NES fans might remember as Legacy of the Wizard then Faxanadu a few months later. Two other Dragon Slayer games made it to the US in Sorcerian for the PC and Dragon Slayer: The Legacy of Heroes for the Turbografx CD. Sadly the other ten games in the series never made it out of Japan save for fan translations but perhaps even sadder is that since the series has been shelved for a decade and a half, most current gamers have neither played nor heard of the Dragon Slayer series. The best there has been in English is the Legacy of Heroes series, which is no longer considered a direct link to the rest of the Dragon Slayer series, but still continues to this day, This week, three Diehard GameFAN staffers discuss whether or not there is still life in a Falcom franchise other than Ys
Chris Bowen – Sequel
No one I know has heard of any of the Dragon Slayer games;. Hell, I even think Lucard’s iffy on them. Most people DO recognize Faxanadu, the NES game that’s a part of the series, but after that, memories and experiences are iffy. So the question is twofold: 1) Do you want another Faxanadu, and 2) do you like the Ys games (the Xanadu/Legend of Xanadu games were all made by Falcom)? If your answer to those questions are “yes”, you want a new sequel to Xanadu.
I want a new sequel to Xanadu.
Personally, while the Ys series has changed, I’d say it’s changed for the better of the years; I like the work they put into Ark of Napishtim, and think Oath in Felghana is one of the best games – on any system – of the past decade. RPG fans don’t know what they’re missing, and I think with XSEED doing their best Working Designs impression – and a decent one at that – a new Xanadu game would do very well, at least very well in the Americas, or at least well by JRPG standards.
Guy Desmarais – Stay Dead
Sure, I will pass that judgment despite having only played the NES spin-off Faxanadu. I still own the game, and decided to play it again in order to verify if my memories were correct, and it turns out they were. The game has a nice setting, some innovative (for the time) concepts such as the life bar in a platformer, and decent graphics. However, it controls like crap. There’s also the fact that I, a lifelong platformer fan who can have a good time with pretty much any game as long as I have to jump over something, did not enjoy the experience.
I have never played the Ys games, and thus I cannot judge the series by these entries. Maybe they are fantastic games in their own right, but as a platformer, the series sucks. So let it stay dead.
Alex Lucard -Stay Dead
Look, I love Falcom. I do. But I really hate the Dragon Slayer series. They have awful plots, horrible characters and some god awful gameplay. Legacy of the Wizard sucked and Faxanadu is one of the worst games I have ever played on the NES. I remember hating that game so much and just the thought of it makes me want to let loose as string of profanity. Honestly, this was the first game I can honestly say I ever hated and it was the worst parts of both RPGs and plat formers combined into one giant waste of money. Hell, have you played the Legacy of Heroes games on the PSP? Craptastic! That’s what the series has become and the hilarious thing is that most gamers consider it to be an improvement over the other Dragon Slayer titles. This is a series that is tainted with suck in every way.
Now that’s not to say that every Dragon Slayer game was terrible. I rather enjoyed Sorcerian and still have a copy of it for my PC, even if I haven’t played it in years. Still, that is the only game I can stand and Falcom was smart to let this series die a horrible, horrible death. Now let us never speak of this foul series again.
Stay Dead: 2
Start Over: 0
Well even here at Diehard GameFAN we have very few staffers that are familiar with the Dragon Slayer series. Two of us that are hated our experiences with it while one of us really enjoyed it. The majority views that the Dragon Slayer series was far from Falcom’s greatest moments. If there are any readers that loved or loathed this series in all its forms, by all means we’d love to hear your stories about Dragon Slayer and its many spin-offs and sequels. Next week we’ll be looking at one of Sega’s most beloved franchises…even if they never were smart enough to bring it over to North America themselves and we had to rely on Working Designs to do it for them. See you then!