Sorcerer Hunters R: Part One

Bakuretsu Hunter R is, I believe, the second Sorcerer Hunters game to come out for the Sega Saturn, following the imaginatively-titled Bakuretsu Hunter (which I have, but haven’t been able to emulate – no Saturn, no problem~ – but seems to be a fairly uninspiring… puzzle game, maybe? Even the manual doesn’t really make it clear). Released on the 8th of August 1997, it’s a rather charming RPG focusing on events from the middle of the manga. As far as RPGs (or any games, really) go, it is quite startlingly linear – the only battles within the game are story-based plot battles and aside from some very minor variations that don’t really amount to anything in particular, no two playthroughs are going to be stunningly different from one another.

However, as mentioned, it is nonetheless quite a charming game, of-interest to fans to be able to see manga events portrayed in a slightly different fashion, with voice acting and everything…! Since the anime deviated from the manga so wildly so early on, despite the linearity of the game, it is nonetheless quite a pleasant little opportunity to explore.

These posts were originally on my now-defunct website, so, if they seem familiar somehow then that would be why. Still, the picture links broke fairly early on, so this is my effort towards putting all those back online with commentary and pictures all in one place HURRAH. Please enjoy :>

Part one: In which Eden and Facade are not quite what they’ve cracked up to be, Sacher and his gang have nothing better to do, Marron’s attacks are slightly underwhelming although not as underwhelming as Tira’s healing skills, the game can’t decide if it’s trying to be the anime or the manga AND the Teito Corporation holds a secret monopoly over Facade. Fun stuff!


It all starts in Carrot’s bedroom, which also houses Marron normally, but he’s not here at the moment. Carrot wakes up fresh for the new day and decides it’d be good to get a bit of girlchasing done, but… before he can even leave the room, Dota appears and tells him that Mama wants to see everybody! Obviously, Dota can’t tell everyone about this herself, and so it is now up to you (us? me?) as Carrot to go tell everybody about this job that we don’t know what it is yet.

We don’t get a lot of focus on it in the anime (and maybe a little more in the manga, but like… a little more) but I always thought Eden would be a little… brighter, somehow? Those bedrooms seem so sparse, and the furniture seems rather random, too. “Niisan, I do so love this green table! Please let us put it in our bedroom!”… how on earth did they get that through the door?!… But anyway…

First stop is Gateau’s room, where Marron also is FOR SOME REASON. You can rather tell it’s Gateau’s room, can’t you? At least he’s managed to personalise his space a bit. Anyway, he’s telling Marron to look at him, but Marron doesn’t seem too keen on this. But dude, Gateau has Marron in his bedroom. Did he drag him in? Is this foreplay? Did Marron just follow him in to keep him quiet for a few seconds? So many questions.

As a side-note, I love the little animated cursor of Dota we have, there. It becomes quite quickly apparent that the text-display and voices are not quite in-sync with one another, but of course, there’s no way to change that (and the music is pretty loud compared to the voices but there’s nothing to be done there, either). That is, someone could be like “I like cheese, and it’s Thursday today. You have to be careful on a Wednesday because of the dragons” and the text will still be on about Thursday while the voice is on about dragons because you haven’t moved from it going on about cheese yet. In any case, the game starts as it means to go on, subtext ahoy etc.

Gateau is rather displeased at his precious time with Marron being disturbed. Carrot however manages to keep calm about this, and Marron seems rather happy to be disturbed if it’s Carrot doing the disturbing… so they join up with Carrot and it’s time to visit the Misu sisters, which I didn’t get a screenshot of. Going to the Misu sisters’ room, Chocolat thinks that you’ve come to see her and throws herself at you, naturally. Tira gets angry, Carrot tells them about the upcoming mission. They also join the group and with that, it’s time to go and see Big Mama to find out what this job actually is.

The building to the left of the picture is where all the bedrooms are, apparently. I find this rather surprising and totally at odds to even what the later FMVs tell us, let alone what the manga or anime might say (or not, to be fair) on where the Sorcerer Hunters stay when they’re not traversing the Continent… but in any case, for the game, this is where they live, apparently. The building to the right has a large clump of hay outside it, for some reason. To the north is the great hall of Eden where Big Mama herself awaits! Let’s not keep her waiting.

This is the entrance to where Big Mama is. Seems like the main church is separate entirely to the living quarters, huh? Well, for various reasons I wouldn’t take this game as being the truth written in stone or anything, charming as it is. So the main church is here and literally just half a minute down the path is another church. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS TOO MANY CHURCHES ON SPOONER.

Visiting Big Mama shows us that being chibi with that amount of hair actually makes you look like a tentacle monster. Also: chibified Haz Knights. How cute is that? I want to see under the armor, I want to see chibi sprites of Shiffon and Kahlua and Cinnamon…! Sadly they don’t show up (and neither does Monbran, which had been something I’d been hoping for when I first played but y’know, I think that’s too obscure for these game designers. Plus the fact I think he’s supposed to be dead, but ssh) though. Well, Milphey does, later. Anyway, Big Mama says that apparently there are some Sorcerer Hunters Killers on the loose zomg! Yes, those Sorcerer Hunters killers. Not telling us where they are or anything though, we’ve got to go traverse Facade for that.

You’ll have to forgive the funky glitchy handlebar moustaches everybody has in these screenshots – I’m assuming that if one were playing on an actual Saturn in actual fact then this wouldn’t happen, but as it is, we’re emulating and it’s not as if the Saturn has had as much emulatorial (is… that a word?) focus put on it as some consoles, soooo we should just be glad that the game works at all, really. The other Saturn game I mentioned, the one just called Bakuretsu Hunter, would play the opening part and then hang at a black screen, which is how I never found out what sort of a game it is (I suspect visual novel/minigame, although the graphics in it are directly ripped from the TV series and pretty atrocious to boot, so it doesn’t really feel like much is missed not being able to get that game to work)

This is actually, embarrassingly, the part of the game I had most trouble with (once I got past this bit I blasted through the rest of the game in one sitting)… see, Facade is huge map-wise and this slows down Carrot’s moving speed (and the first time I played this game I was on a pretty weak computer, so doing anything took a long time, let alone wandering around massive graphics-intensive maps). Facade also has a large amount of houses and buildings and people, and all I knew Big Mama had said was to look in Facade for clues of the whereabouts of the enemy, which doesn’t help.

Here is Qui aka Kiwi, who technically shouldn’t be here since this is a volume four chapter and he was in volume two but hey, that doesn’t matter, some of the chapters get mixed up anyway. Audrey is in the room next door, for the sake of detail. At first, Kiwi doesn’t know anything; what you have to do is go talk to the fellow in the house next door, he says something about Kiwi, you go back and talk to him and he says – which I didn’t work out until I attacked his text with a Japanese dictionary – that he saw some suspicious people in the church, and something about the wall on the left side. A clue? Hmm! Oh, and Kiwi, for his few lines, is voiced. And why not?

Why is there a Stella Church not five minutes down the road from the main branch of the church for the whole Continent!? Oh well. Doesn’t this church look prettier than the main branch, too? More churchy. Oh well, can’t be helped. This was where Kiwi said to go, right? Suspicious people sneaking around… I wonder who they could be? (Note: They so totally won’t be the Sorcerer Hunters Killers) (Additional note: I lie.)

It seems that Sacher and his Sorcerer Hunters Killers have been knocking around this branch of the Stella Church since Kiwi saw them the night before because, you know, they probably didn’t have anything better to do. “There’ll be Sorcerer Hunters in the church, right?” “Are you sure we’ve got the right church?” “Of course we do! How many churches do you even think there are around here?!”… Despite only being a short walk away from Eden, Big Mama and everything else important, they decided to stay around here waiting for you to find them rather than launch a sudden attack. And why not?

Anyway. SACHER!!!!! SCREAMS.

Chocolat transforms into her manga outfit, because this is the computer game and she can do that if she wants to dammit. Despite keeping the backgrounds, half the animation and even the music from the TV series. It just seems like they had a rather peculiar budget, that’s all.

Despite being faced by the man she knew as father and about to transform, Tira still decides to look sexy/drunk. I wasn’t able to get the shot that proves that she really doesn’t wear anything underneath that red cape of hers, I’m sorry. It moves too quickly.

Tira’s transformation is even more stylistically bizarre than Chocolat’s. Chocolat’s, to be fair, does seem generally entirely animated for the games (I say games since they used exactly the same transformation clips for the other Saturn game too); Tira’s sort of steals bits from the TV series, adds bits in, takes bits out… but anyway, we have more fanservice and naked flesh and bondage outfit than the TV series, so I guess that’s the main thing to notice. Probably what they wanted to do on the TV series but weren’t allowed to at the time? Looking it up more recently, I noticed that the TV series ran (on whichever channel) at 6pm-6.30pm. Doesn’t most anime air in the late-night blocks, now? If the series was on now, I feel like it might be one of those.

starts thinking about if they ever remade the anime to follow the manga closer

cries thinking about awesome things that will never exist

OMG! BATTLE AGAINST SACHER. BEWARE OF SPIKES. No, wait, this is the manga continuity… and I want to know why Carrot has less HP than even Marron or Tira. That’s just odd.

Battles are less in the game for the purpose of fighting or experience-gaining and more for plot purposes, as previously mentioned. There are only set battles – no random encounters or anything. You don’t have or get items or anything and so you don’t have anything like that to heal with in battle but Tira does, however, have Gaia magic to heal with. Yay!

Sadly, for all of her Apricot-flashbacks, she is not very good at it. Okay so the only one with damage had been Gateau, but he’d only been damaged to three points of health and the Gaia magic only healed two of those points, which is kind of… when enemies are throwing punches that take off like ten or twenty HP per turn, Tira healing two or three per turn isn’t really going to help. It’s better just to defend if your health is getting low – defending restores health (more than Tira’s magic, even – more like seven or ten HP per turn) and then because you’re defending, the enemy’ll hit for way less anyway… which is a slightly odd gameplay mechanic, but there we are.

For what it’s worth, Marron has his expected summon attacks. Suzaku, here…

Suzaku turning the screen red, showing off the attack a little more.

POWER OF THE PHOENIX, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

Byakko…

…and Seiryuu! That’s it for Marron’s attacks, no idea nor reason given why he is not in possession of Genbu. I don’t remember, off-hand, his powers in the anime… I don’t think they were specifically named, were they? He used ofuda a lot, if I remember right. I remember him using Suzaku in the manga and in the Playstation visual novel game he uses Byakko and it makes for an interesting departure – I just mention it because of the novel in which Marron FACES HIS EASTERN-MAGIC-USING RIVAL!!!!! and, in that battle, Marron uses Suzaku and Monbran uses Seiryuu in a way that sort of suggests that Eastern Magic users might each have some sort of ‘speciality’ – Marron using Suzaku with the power of fire, Monbran using Seiryuu with the power of water, perhaps other Eastern Magic users held the powers of Byakko and Genbu and it’s just that we never got to hear about them…? Marron being able to use more than one summoned power in this fashion seems to be a talent peculiar to the videogames, albeit one cross-platform and cross-developer, so I’m not sure if it’s Actually A Thing or just something that made sense, which wouldn’t be too outlandish since, you know, it does make sense. I’m just pondering, that’s all. Not much really seems to get explained about the particulars in the series, so I’m always a bit curious…

As for these three summon powers, Marron actually says “SUZAKU KAEN GOKU!”, “IKE BYAKKO!” (and presumably something for Seiryuu I didn’t catch or note down) before unleashing them, which is a nice little touch. That said, for being the main/only dedicated magic-user on your party, his attacks are not that powerful. Social commentary on learned magic vs. natural/otherwise-imbued magic? Who knows.

Having been damaged a little, it seems like an appropriate time to call on Tira for some healin’. …Or you could just not bother, either way.

You can’t hurt Sacher or Ecl– Dene– Nata de Coco in this battle, so you just have to focus on the other Sorcerer Hunters Killers until they fall, at which point Carrot transforms. As you can see, he’s in Generic Beast Form – remember the early manga chapters, talking about the twelve animal spirits Carrot had inside him, and how he’d transform differently depending on what sort of magic hit him (or however that worked)? Yeah, shame even the manga forgot about that one after a while.

Another point to mention is that Carrot’s transformation is lifted wholesale from the television series, despite the fact that his tanktop is brown in the series and green in the manga/all sprite instances of the game. There are other little manga/anime inconstistencies like this, such as Tira and Chocolat’s eyes being red for the manga and Chocolat’s being very blue in the anime cutscenes, and don’t even get me started on Milphey’s hair (although to be fair, it is uniformly green in this game, similar to the TV series. And blue in the Mahjong Special game. And purple in the manga and OAVs. My personal headcanon is that Milphey dyes his hair a lot, we just never get to see it since the manga is in black and white the majority of the time). It’s like they got the anime team to directly animate manga scenes while forgetting to detail them in on any of the little design differences between the two.

Anyway. Shock! Drama! Plot! How does transformed!Carrot fit in the basement of a downtown church? Who knows!

Sacher does his feather attack from the manga, while exclaiming “Mu!” for reasons beyond the comprehension of we mortals.

Milphey appears. Yay Milphey! He suggests we all GTFO, which is a pretty decent plan if you ask me.

Sacher says Milphey’s name ~in a meaningful fashion~ (or something).

Everybody seems none the worse for wear after facing off against Sacher F. Torte, so that’s good times. Nevermind that we ran away leaving him in the basement of a church about a minute down the road, it’ll probably be fine. Probably. The other Haz Knights seem to have vanished (maybe to take care of that Sacher-basement problem, who knows), but I do like the sunlight shining on the floor like that (although it has nothing really to do with anything).

Big Mama suggests/orders the group to go to Mount St. Hordic YAY Mount St. Hordic~

Before heading off to Hordic and leaving Facade for good (no really, we don’t come back here at any point during the rest of the game), it is worth mentioning the completely meaningless city streets; you can wander around here and talk to NPCs, but all that matters plot-wise is the house with Kiwi in and the church where you find Sacher. There are shops and houses all around here, but you can’t go into any of them or buy anything. It’s window-dressing, I suppose, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s a little… do you think they planned on making this a larger game, at some point? Facade is definitely a very detailed settlement, for all the things you don’t get to do there. Further areas just dispense entirely with the idea of having wide open areas to explore, window-dressing or not. Precursor to Final Fantasy XIII?

Also of note is the Teito Corporation, who must hold some monopoly in Facade because they own everything. That shop in the above screengrab, the pub/cafe/restaurant here, a library, the weaponry and armory (not that you need either – or indeed any – of these things)… the first thing that comes to mind is Taito, the Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble people, but they don’t have anything to do with this game nor does it seem to relate to any actual organisation in or out of canon (or at least, to any known company who worked on the game), so… ??? It is the one true mystery of this game.

Doesn’t matter though since we’re leaving Facade and not coming back, so WHATEVER.

Next part: We arrive at Mount St. Hordic! It is guarded by an Obnoxious Minigame. Yay!

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