Anime/JPop Song Lyrics
Fan Art Archive
Favorite Fan Fics
Greenbeans' Fan Fics
- Punish Chibi-usa
- Sailor Moon
- Video Games
- - Kartia: The Word of Fate
- - Parasite Eve
- - SaGa Frontier
- - Wild ARMs
- - - Game Tips/Spoilers
The world you'll be adventuring in is called Filgaia. The game begins with the player choosing one of three characters to start with. While each one starts out independently, they'll soon enough come together and battle to save the world they live in.
Jack is a wandering swordsman and treasure hunter (and not a treasure hunter like Locke is a treasure hunter, either ;) His constant companion is Hanpan, a mouse. During one dungeon, you do get to play as Hanpan, which was a lot of fun. He begins the game by searching an ancient tomb, getting caught in a trap and then having to work his way out again. The entire sequence is hilarious, in my opinion.
Rudy is a guy with a mysterious past. He begins the game in the Surf village. When some children become lost in a cave, he goes in after them. He is successful in saving the children, but also in using the feared ARMs. The villagers are so distraught by this that they banish him.
Cecilia is the daughter of the King of Adelhyde. She has spent the last several years studying at Curan Abbey. Her coming of age has arrived and she is summoned back to Adelhyde when a mysterious voice speaks to her. After exploring the Abbey and discovering her fate, she returns to Adelhyde with a destiny to fulfill.
After the three characters are assembled in Adelhyde, some events will happen and they'll come together as a party. Once the event is finished, the credits scroll by. This is not the end of the game. For some reason the credits were put near the beginning of your adventure.
The 'Magic' System
How spells are gained in this game is pretty unique. In dungeons, game events, etc. your party will find an item called Crest Graph. Take the Crest Graph to the magic shop and the person there will bind a spell to the Graph for you for no charge. To begin with, there are 16 white and 16 black spells to be had. You can select any one you want, but the number of spells you have depends on the number of Crests you own. If you aren't using a spell much, you can unbind the Graph and bind a new spell to it. Later on in the game, you can find hidden Magic Guilds that have high-powered versions of many of the spells that you have been using available for binding. Cecelia is the only one who can use true magic, though Rudy and Jack have their own variants on the same theme.
Rudy's 'magic' is the ARMs. He's the only one who can open the chests that hold these powerful guns. In Adelhyde and a few other places, you can pay money to have the ARMs' stats and clip capacity increased. Be prepared to sink a lot of money into this. The ones I've found that are most worth the money are the Rocket Launcher and Wild Bunch. (Note: The Wild Bunch has a very low accuracy rate, 59% at most, so to get the most use out of this weapon using Rudy's Lock On ability is a must). Additional bullet clips for the ARMs can be found in dungeons and randomly received as a battle prize.
Jack's 'magic' is called Fast Draw. Fast Draws are sword techniques that he picks up while exploring. Whenever he gets an idea, he'll stop and usually talk to Hanpan for a moment commenting about whatever it is that triggered it. Being thorough while exploring is a must or you might miss something that will give him an idea. The techniques themselves vary greatly in what they do. One a classic 'Mug', another is a healing technique, while some cause a satisfying amount of damage when used in battle. An item called Secret Sign can be found in dungeons that allows the player to decrease the cost of a single technique by one point per Sign used.
The battles look like a very early version of what would eventually become the battle system for Final Fantasy 7. Your party stands at one end of the field with a camera floating around you and zooming in and out and such. The characters in battle mode are completely super-deformed with the head as large as their body and eyeballs that can be weighted in pounds thing going for them.
The character roles in battle are pretty well defined. Cecilia is your magic person. Rudy is there to take names and Jack is there as a mix of the two. Play up these strengths and compensate for their inherent weaknesses the best that you can.
Another idea that also showed up in Final Fantasy 7 that was presented in Wild ARMs is that of a 'limit' meter. (It's not called that, but that's essentially what it is). The meter is always empty at the beginning of battle and fills some with each round. If the character takes damaged during a round, their meter will fill quicker. The characters have four levels of abilities they can use depending upon how far in the game you are and how full the meter is. The meter can be used for a level one ability (Rudy's Lock On, being an example) or you can hold off and let it continue to fill until you can pull off a higher level ability. (Cecelia's Dual Cast is a very useful lever four ability).
The level two ability for every party member is Summon Guardian. Yep, Wild ARMs has its own summoning [guardian] to kick monster butt when you're down and out. Honestly, though, the summons aren't as prevalent/necessary as they are in the Final Fantasy games. The primary reason for equipping the Runes (as they're called) is for the stat boosts they give. They don't make very powerful summons in most cases, but the stat bonuses are great.
Another unusual aspect of the game is that every character will (eventually) gain a total of four tools at their disposal. Use of the tools is very important for solving the puzzles in the dungeons. For example, Jack's first tool is Hanpan. He can send his friend out to hit switches or retrieve chests that are out of reach. Some of the tools seem fairly silly, like Cecelia having a vase that always pours out water while Jack has a lighter. Some are underrated in their usefulness, like Rudy's radar that shows you the location of treasures if there are any on-screen. Creative tool use is a must to finish the game.
When travelling about the land and in dungeons, which character is the 'leader' of the party at the time makes a difference. This is because you will only be able to use a character's tools while they are in the lead. The sprites themselves are kind of cute, if somewhat dated. They are certainly better looking than SaGa Frontier's. If you run full speed into a wall, they'll bounce off of it with a resounding "THUD!". They do stuff if you stand still for a bit. The game also has a built in screen saver, which was a nice touch, in my opinion.
Wild ARMs is probably one of the best-balanced games I have ever played. You don't need to spend mindless hours wandering about on the overworld gaining levels before you're strong enough to tackle the next dungeon. I've had to spend very little time building levels, and the times I have it was more to gain money than for the experience. (As I mentioned, maintaining Rudy's ARMs is an expensive proposition).
The puzzles in the dungeons range from simplistic to maddening. (I know of at least one person who gave up on Wild ARMs because they couldn't escape Adelhyde Castle, probably one of the most difficult parts of the game). The dungeons aren't really complicated (most of them), but there is a lot of side passages to explore if you want all the goodies. This undoubtably lends to level building being unnecessary; you get into plenty of battles while in the dungeons.
The music is pretty good. I have the CD of it and can listen to it while not playing without it getting on my nerves. There are a fair number of 'chanting' songs, which are kind of soothing while still adding to the mood of the game.
The graphics are dated by today's standards, but were cutting edge when the game came out. The SD-fighting characters are just so cute. It makes you cringe when a monster stabs them or something because SDs were never meant to be stabbed. They almost look like something that would have come out of a UFO catcher machine.
I would recommend buying this game used if you were looking for a good romp down memory lane.
Reviewed October 14th, 1999