Humanity has evolved...and thus humanity may perish. Two people are granted the ability to aid the lord in the creation of the world a second time...or perhaps rebuild it. The winding roads of life are decaying once more. Does this mark destruction or possibly further evolution? Only time will tell...and this era has become the time to pass judgment...and thus, the story begins. You assume the role of a radiant young beauty known as Myra, who is the heroine of this game. She is under the care of the kind lady Irene...but much is shrouded in mystery since Myra doesn't even know who she is! How did she get there? How does she know Irene? Why is she such a gifted fighter? Isn't it rather strange how someone who merely awakes in an ordinary place like Olga Town cannot help but stand out due to the magnificence of her apparel and her unusual weapon, the "Whip String"?
Some of your questions will be rewarded with answers when you soon meet a fortuneteller who hints at possibly knowing Myra's origins...but one thing is certain; The key to Myra's dormant powers and origin lies with a very mysterious character named Leon. "Commander of the Wind" is one of many things that this enigmatic man is referred as. Trained in the ways of the dual-swords technique (being capable of skillfully using a sword in each hand), his ability with the sword on the battlefield is as diverse as it is awe-inspiring. However, he is always on the go. Surely there is more than meets the eye? Energy Breaker's story revolves around dreams and the depths of one's consciousness, but it also draws a lot of its elements from life, death, and rebirth...and the plot will unfold as you explore the island of Zamuria. The game also talks a lot about science and God which may have a lot to do with why the game wasn't released stateside. It's such a pity too...because Energy Breaker is a remarkable game with a lot to offer and it's also good to play with a protagonist who isn't a preteen or such with exaggerated special powers. Neverland, the people responsible for the Lufia games (Estpolis in Japan), took a chance with this unique strategy-RPG.
The visuals will definitely remind some of the Lufia games but this time around, heroes and demons possess excellent animation with nearly every attack. The environments look lovely and the spells are simply breathtaking and shows the SNES in all its glory. When I learned Myra's first ability, "Shot", I was expecting some generic wave or ball to fly out. Instead, she takes a stance (with a chat bubble meaning she is chanting the spell) and it starts raining. She then throws her arms in the air and then quickly drops them down to the ground causing a thunderbolt to devastate her foe! While it simply looked gorgeous, the thing that impressed me was the preparation of the entire attack. The game also boasts an impressive number of BGMs (all titled) and the composition of the majority of them are incredible. With transitions like "fade in" and "fade out" as well as various other effects, the music has an impressive amount of variety and style. A few are a bit repetitive, but they are necessary for certain situations and most of the music is masterfully done. The sound test gives you over 50 (YES, OVER 50!) tunes to listen to...outstanding...simply outstanding. It seems as if Neverland put a lot of thought and consideration into the game design and it shows.
On the surface, the game seems overly complex and too complicated. For these reasons (and others I'm quite sure), the game wasn't received too well and fan translations (finished ones) don't seem likely in the near future. If you understand the basic commands, the game is pretty easy to use and very innovative. The game has an absurd amount of interaction. You can search nearly ANYTHING to find items all over the place. Finding lots of items was also cool in games like Lufia so why wouldn't they do it here too? You can talk to people, but you can also choose your "mood" when talking to people. You can talk casually, angrily, or gently (though it doesn't do too much). You can also give items to people when the time is appropriate and inquire about certain important topics. While the game is a strategy-RPG, you have free movement in towns and you can enter houses and shops like traditional RPGs. You have a limited amount of space at the start of the game, but your inventory space gets better and allows you to carry more of those useful goodies. You must find these items because your LP (life points) doesn't increase at level-ups and there are many stat items around. You can listen to BGMs anytime you want and use features such as turning off animations, turning off your "face" (status portrait), etc.
Next, you have "Energy", which is very important. You have "PP" and you gain one PP point per level (you also have items to raise it). There are four elements: Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth...and each element has two grids of positive and negative (light and dark). Here is the most confusing part...to learn abilities, you must allocate the appropriate PP to the right elements. What no one mentions is that there are SCROLLS that tell you how much you need to learn the moves! Convenient, right!? Of course, you have to buy them or find them, but it's simple really. For example, at level 2, you can learn a healing spell by putting the PP point you get towards water and put all Myra's PP on the "positive" side of Water. "Positive" is the TOP of the grid while "Negative" is the bottom. Even if you have the right amount of PP on the right parts of the grid, to LEARN the skill, you must enter a fight and the character will randomly learn the skill while doing actions. It sounds bad, but they usually learn the skill immediately. You have "balance" points that you use when you move, attack, or use items. Different actions cost different balance points and you can move or attack more than once or twice if you have enough points.
There are skills that characters share and there are skills unique to different characters. While Myra and Runaldo (your second character) both have "Shot", they do them differently. There are a number of skills for attack and support. You have a character called "Gulliver", a robot who doesn't fight at all. He is meant to get in the way of enemies and protect characters. The game has plenty of items, weapons, armor, and a fair number of abilities to acquire. While the game is fairly easy in some parts of the game, the game does attempt to be moderately challenging, especially near the end (you must also finish fights within a # of turns). The game has over 70 (yes, OVER 70!) different battle stages and you can train by wandering around older areas that you fought at before. Overall, the game has an interesting story, excellent graphics, great sound, and some very interesting gameplay mechanics. The game isn't the most challenging, but with all of its other outstanding characteristics, Energy Breaker is still a marvelous game and one of Neverland's greatest games that gets forgotten due to poor coverage and the Lufia titles. I wish they would make an English sequel, but it would probably never happen.
- Written by Bel Cain The Eternal -