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A Place Among the Greats: Legion Saga

The Legion Saga series is special to me.

And that's positive special; not "special needs" special.

I first started RPG Maker in the 2000 era, and at this time, the Legion Saga series was the king of GamingW. I can't stress just how highly anticipated its third instalment was. The second instalment reigned supreme.

But what of the first? Well, it was special in its own way; not for its use of the RM2K battle system; not for its graphics, but for what it awakened in the imaginations of RM2K users- particularly newbies like I was. This game deserves a place among the greats.

Legion Saga follows prince Durane of the kingdom of Meluvet. While on a quest to recruit the services of a well-known assassin, Durane finds himself under arrest by his own kingdom, who claim he is the rebel leader Ridman. He then finds himself rescued by the same rebellion and assumes command of the army.

Okay, let's get the negatives out of the way.

The graphics in this game are pretty ordinary. By virtue of them being RTP, they've aged pretty well for a RM2K game, and like all RTP games, there's a good sense of consistency. There are some moments of stupidity, like enemy charsets turning into blue globs when attacked, but it's nice to see graphics that look like they all come from the same source. Don't expect to be amazed visually, though. Outside of a couple of towns, there are no maps that really blow you away with clever design and even your own castle looks pretty unimpressive. This game does, in some places, also commit the unpardonable sin of making maps with large amounts of negative space. I wish I could palm this off as a product of its time, but even games from that time had better map designs.

The combat is also fairly meh. Outside of choosing your party, there's no real customisation that feels like it make a tangible difference. Each character has their own set of skills and you don't get ANY say in how their abilities progress. There is some fun to be had in the rock/paper/scissors duelling and war systems, but these are few and far between and you end up feeling like that fish on Finding Nemo who's waiting for bubbles to come out of the treasure chest.

You know what I mean, right?


Thankfully, the meat of Legion Saga isn't in its battle system. It’s in its character recruitment system. There are characters to recruit to your army all over the games admittedly small world. These may join you in battle, or just assist in running your castle. Either way, it gives you an excellent incentive to explore the game and find out just where everyone is.

These characters are also well written. Each one feels like it has a distinct personality and story so that recruiting each one become similar to inviting a friend to come and play. Not all of them can be used in battle, sadly, but each one brings a new benefit to your army.

The music in Legion Saga comes from a range of games, but it's far better composed than the honestly cringeworthy stuff coming out of the RTP. I know of only one game to use RTP music well and honestly, it's a rare skill.

The most important thing about Legion Saga, though, is what it represents to 2K/3 users. This game is good fun, yet it’s good fun without large, complicated systems. No custom battle system, no hand-drawn graphics, just good execution of what is available at a base level. It shows just how accessible the maker is- even today. Sure, the next two in the series would try and innovate further, but this game takes the newbie, holds their face against the screen and says “doing it THIS well is THIS easy”.

Legion Saga is a game that anyone new to the maker should play. It gets a place among the greats, and a score of four out of five bubbles in the treasure chest.