Nostalgia (video game)
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Nostalgia, originally released in Japan as Nostalgio no Kaze (ノスタルジオの風 Nosutarujio no Kaze, lit. "Wind of Nostalgio"), is a role-playing video game developed by Red Entertainment and Matrix Software for the Nintendo DS handheld system. Initially released in November 2008 for Japanese audiences by Tecmo, an English version of the game was officially announced for North America by Ignition Entertainment for an October 2009 release. The game's development was headed by producer Keisuke Kikuchi, with programming and three-dimensional graphics by Matrix Software, who had previously developed Square Enix's Nintendo DS versions of Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV.
Taking place in an alternate reality steampunk version of the 19th century, the game follows Eddie, a London boy and son of a great adventurer as he and his friends travel the world in an airship in search of his missing father. The game features turn-based combat and aerial battles between the player's customizable airship, the Maverick, and enemy airships. The player's party, consisting of Eddie, the street urchin Pad, a witch named Melody and the mysterious Fiona were shown in early trailers to be traveling to such places as New York City, Cairo, Tokyo, Northern Europe and South America.
Nostalgia is a traditional role-playing video game featuring three-dimensional characters and environments. Players control a young London boy named Eddie and his compatriots as they travel across an alternate history 19th-century Earth on a high-powered zeppelin, visiting various locales and raiding ruins in order to uncover the truth about an ancient civilization, as well as find Eddie's lost father. In order to advance the story, players must visit towns and interact with non-player characters to obtains clues on their next destination, as well as traverse dangerous dungeons and environments in order to find hidden treasures. Taking advantage of the Nintendo DS's dual screens, gameplay is featured on one screen while a map of the player's current location is present on the other, which fills as they travel through new areas. While traveling through the game, the player will randomly encounter enemies as they move through dangerous areas, which must be defeated in battle.
Battles in Nostalgia use a turn-based combat system where both characters and enemies acting in an order relative to their "speed" statistic. A Combat Order bar is present in battles that shows which of the player's party members or enemies will act next, with the player selecting a character's command just before their turn. In any given turn, a player may choose to attack an enemy, defend, use an item for beneficial effects, or use special skills unique to each character. In addition to ground battles, a player may also encounter enemies while in their airship, leading to a ship-to-ship combat sequence with unique commands. Players must defeat all of their enemies by attacking them until their hit points are extinguished, which grants each character experience points that go towards gaining levels, thus making them stronger and giving them access to more abilities. The player's party is judged at the end of each battle with a letter grade based on their actions in combat, and is determined by how quickly and flawlessly they have defeated their enemies and may give additional rewards.
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There are five main playable characters in the game:
- Edward "Eddie" Brown - the lone son of famous British adventurer Gilbert Brown is very rich, though not spoiled or selfish. Ironically, Pad calls him a spoiled brat. It is implied he may have feelings for Fiona. When his father disappears during an adventure, Edward becomes an adventurer to find him. His special skill is swordplay.
- Pad Remington - a young man living in London's east end and the son of adventurer Patrick Remington. Separated from his parents at a young age, he learned to survive on his own and looked after the kids of the slum. Initially, he thinks of adventuring as a waste of time until he travels with Eddie. It is heavily implied throughout the game that he may have feelings for Melody. He is reunited with his mother Elisabeth after 15 years of separation. His special skill is firearms.
- Melody Farklight - a young witch who has grown up in her family's isolated Mervielle Village. With no friends her own age, she grew to have a selfish and egotistical personality, though she is shown to care about her friends (especially Pad, for whom she is hinted to have romantic feelings). Her mother, Medea Farklight, gave her life to protect Melody from Hartmann of the Cabal. Her special skill is magic.
- Fiona - a mysterious amnesiac girl saved by adventurer Gilbert Brown from the Ancient father's Cabal. She was known as the princess of the White Order and of Asgard royalty, and was called the "Bearer of the White Wings" before being sealed in Pandora's box for thousands of years. The cabal pursued her as she was the only one capable of touching the tablets the Cabal desperately vies for. Her special skill is miracle (White Magic) (Note:Fiona was a guest character for a short amount of time).
- Gilbert Brown - Eddie's father and a famous British adventurer. He disappeared after saving Fiona from the Cabal and his whereabouts were unknown until his son found him, injured in a battle with the Ancient father's Cabal. Later in the story, he is recovering at the Brown's mansion. His special skill is swordplay and firearms (Note:Gilbert is only playable for a short amount of time, after that, he becomes a guest character).
Guest characters are characters that join the party for a temporary time as guests. Guest characters' equipment cannot be changed nor can they be controlled in battle. They participate in battle with the playable characters and, like them, they take turns attacking enemies.
- Scarlett Fellini - a lone-wolf sky pirate and flies in her deep crimson airship the Esperanza. Her long-lost sister Astell was being controlled by the Cabal and was convinced she was dead until she was reunited with her after defeating her controller Yang Gui. Her special skill is swordplay.
- Carlos - an agent of the royal exploration agency. Carlos appears suddenly and is skilled at investigation, infiltration, and destruction. He is trusted as Director Fogg's right-hand man and because of this, goes along with Fogg's plan, he ends up having a change of heart near the end of the game. His special skill is firearms.
- Magi - a member of the Royal Exploration agency with psychic powers and a past in the Cabal. Born weak, she lives in a wheelchair. She can stop time for a limited period which is how she stunted her own growth, she is actually an old woman in the body of a child, Magi, along with Shirley, are the only two to oppose Fogg. Her special skill is psychic power and also has healing abilities.
- Astell Fellini - a former elite of the Ancient father's Cabal. Her memory erased and manipulated by the Cabal until Scarlett risks her life for her, reuniting the two sisters, she appears to be manipulative but has a kind heart. Her special skill is being able to transform into anyone at will and her weapon is a parasol.
- Yang Gui - an elite of the Ancient father's cabal and is the manipulator of Astell. disguised as a member of the Royal Exploration Agency, she fools Eddie, in truth she has no physical form and can't be attacked. Her special skill is astral projection which is how she can keep her body safe from harm, she also has healing abilities.
The Cabal are a group of elites who are the main antagonists of Nostalgia and are ruled by their leader Terra, they desperately want to obtain the ancient tablets only Fiona is capable of touching which is why the Cabal relentlessly pursue her and use her to get to the tablets and open the gate to Asgard with the tablets.
- Carmine The "Invincible" - an elite of the Cabal and has the power of invincibility; he can instantly cure all damage. He also takes pride in being a knight and is of Italian ancestry, he is the strongest elite of the cabal and lords over his fellow elites. His special skill is swordplay.
- Hartmann the "Silent Guru" - an elite of the Cabal and is the oldest elite. Though a wizard born in Mervielle village, he was banished for abusing his magic and using it to soothe his own desires. He is the killer of Melody's mother and of the village elder and is killed by Melody for revenge. His special skill is magic.
- Roswell the "God's Right Hand" - an elite of the Cabal and the Cabal scientist. Roswell, being a top scientist, often builds weapons for the cabal such as airships and works for the Cabal's technical department. His right arm is mechanical. His special skill is invention.
- Kakyo the "impenetrable" - an elite of the cabal. He manages the Cabal's secret Mt. Fuji base in Japan and is a descendant of samurai. He has the blood of ogres and can literally walk through anything. His special skill is distorting matter and swordplay.
- Terra the "Emperor" - the emperor of the Cabal, his real name is Fredrick. Years ago Terra worked alongside Gilbert and Fogg as an adventurer. He plans to collect the tablets and open the gate to asgard to harness the power of the tower of the sun to destroy the world. His special skill is unknown.
The Royal Exploration Agency is an organization disguised as a museum. The agency pursues the tablets as well but for different reasons, to prevent the Cabal from obtaining them, the agency ends up betraying the protagonists and reveal that they used Eddie to get to the tablets so Julius Fogg can obtain the power of Asgard for himself. The only ones to oppose are Magi and Shirley.
- Julius Fogg - to many, just the Royal Museum's chief curator, but in truth he is the director of the Royal Exploration Agency. He betrays the protagonists to obtain the powers of Asgard for himself by stealing the tablets. He has no special skill.
- Shirley Crawford - a member of the Royal Exploration Agency. She admires Gilbert as her master and honors his work. she will become a great sympathizer to Eddie and, along with Magi, are the only two to oppose Julius Fogg. Her special skill is archaeology.
The Black Order are a trio of gods who waged a war against the White Order (Fiona) and lost, the result left them sealed in Pandora's box for thousands of years along with Fiona and after being released try to exact revenge on Fiona with Metheus stealing the vessel of Terra to return to Asgard and use the Cabal to do so.
- Metheus the "Bearer of the Black Wings" - the king of the Black Order and ancient ruler of the Asgard underworld. Defeated by the White Order, it was sealed in pandora's box for thousands of years and used Terra's body as a vessel to return to asgard and exact its revenge. It has a special hatred for Fiona and its special skill is black magic.
- Frey - the king of swords who was sealed in Pandora's box for thousands of years. He seeks prosperity for the Black Order and tries to exact revenge on Fiona. His special skill is swordplay.
- Freyja - the goddess of death who was sealed in Pandora's box for thousands of years. She has a special hatred for Fiona and tries to kill her. She has the skill of instant death.
Major recurring characters:
- Jim Evans - Gilbert's long time overweight friend and supporter of Eddie. Evans is in search of the world's hidden mysteries and treasures as the deputy chief curator of the Royal Museum.
- Beatrice Fitzgerald - an aristocrat living in London's west end and often gathers information for the protagonists. Beatrice is actually the older sister of Pad's mother Elisabeth, making her Pad's aunt.
Nostalgia was first announced in a July 2008 issue of Japanese magazine Famitsu, where it was revealed that both Matrix Software and Red Entertainment would be teaming with Tecmo to bring the game to players the following November. The game was produced by Tecmo's Keisuke Kikuchi, best known for his work on the company's Fatal Frame series, whose goal was to inject traditional role-playing elements with simple gameplay, aspiring to "make a product that everyone could play.
Project director Naoki Morita of Red Entertainment envisioned the game's historical setting as an alternate 19th century Earth, which was wholly supported by Kikuchi who remarked that "I knew this game had such potential when I saw Mr. Morita's project book - It is an adventure game set in another Earth, offering an enjoyable story that involves various cultures in many diverse locations." Morita originally wanted to produce an alternate history-style role-playing game as far back as 1996, but became sidetracked due to the runaway success of his Sakura Taisen series on the Sega Saturn and shelved the project until work began on the Nintendo DS. Despite the large delay in production, Morita remained confident of his original vision, declaring that "I was confident that no matter how long it took, our designs for [Nostalgia] wouldn't lose their luster."
The staff of Matrix Software were largely responsible for the game's programming, and had previously worked with Square Enix to create the Nintendo DS version of Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV. The music for Nostalgia was composed by Rei Kondoh, Kaori Komuro, and Shinichiro Sato, who were credited alongside their musical unit "T's Music". Tecmo released a special promotional album featuring ten songs from the game to players who pre-ordered the title in Japan, along with an artbook that included design sketches and official artwork.
In December 2008, North American publisher Xseed Games announced that the game was already claimed by another company to be released in the English under the title Nostalgia. The following April, Ignition Entertainment officially announced that they had secured the publishing rights to the title and would be bringing it to North America in September. Shane Bettenhausen, the company's Director of New Business Development, stated that he was "deeply honored" to be given the opportunity to release the game in English, and felt the game would have a place in the current western game market as a unique and original title, stating that "amid a sea of remakes and rehashes, this endearing adventure blazes its own unique path".
Nostalgia received "average" reviews according to video game review aggregator Metacritic. In Japan, Famitsu gave it a score of one eight, one seven, one eight, and one seven, for a total of 30 out of 40.
The game had a modest sales start during its original release in Japan, selling 7,930 copies in its first week.
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