Thousand Arms

Last updated
Thousand Arms
Thousand Arms.jpg
Developer(s) Red Company
Publisher(s) Atlus
Director(s) Hiroyuki Hataike
Producer(s) Makoto Sugiura
Artist(s) Yūya Kusaka
Writer(s) Junki Takegami
Platform(s) PlayStation
  • JP: December 17, 1998
  • NA: October 13, 1999
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single-player

Thousand Arms [lower-alpha 1] is a cross-genre video game developed by Red Company and Atlus, and published by Atlus for the PlayStation in 1998. The game mixes elements of Japanese role-playing video games and dating sim video games.




The game takes place on a "steampunk" type of world. The Dark Acolytes, a mysterious organization of cyborgs and robots, is trying to find the five legendary Sacred Flames, and bring chaos to the World in the process. Meis, a womanizing "Spirit Blacksmith" with the ability to make magical weapons, finds himself chosen to find the flames before the Dark Acolytes do. However, to increase the power of his weapons, Meis must have the help of a woman, and must increase his 'intimacy level' with her by going out on dates. Along his journey, he meets a colorful cast of characters, including girls to date and allies to join his party.



Meis Triumph

The 16-year-old heir to a family of Spirit Blacksmiths, Meis learned from his father how to be a womanizer. Stubborn and lazy, Meis is forced to change his ways against his will, first when the Dark Acolytes force him to leave his comfortable home, and then when the spirits of the Ancient Blacksmiths give him the mission of finding the sacred flames. He is attracted to Sodina, but can't resist hitting on other beautiful women.
In addition to his ability to reforge weapons to increase their power and grant them magical spells or special attacks, Meis can obtain "Elemental Beasts" to use in combat, similar to the "summons" seen in the Final Fantasy games. His weapon is a sword.

Sodina Dawnfried

The younger sister of a great Spirit Blacksmith named Jyabil, Sodina is a beautiful, 15-year-old red-haired girl; however, she's also very brave. After her brother is killed by the Dark Acolytes, she decides to help Meis on his quest. She has feelings for Meis, but finds herself often enraged by his lecherous behaviour. Her weapon of choice is a dagger.

Muza Grifford

A 21-year-old knight and an old friend of Meis, he's brave but not too clever, and tends to freeze when in the presence of pretty girls. He has a very large physique. He later develops feelings for Wyna. His weapon of choice is a claymore, a huge sword that normal people would have a difficult time wielding.

Wyna Grapple

The 17-year-old daughter of the King of the Pirates, Wyna is a boisterous girl who loves fighting; she joins the party just to go on adventures. She wears a bikini as well as an eyepatch, but just for effect, she's not missing any eyes. If you pay attention during dates, you'll see that Wyna's eyepatch changes eyes from time to time. At first she's attracted to Meis because of his strength, but later returns Muza's feelings. Her weapon of choice is a large battle hammer.

Nelsha Stylus

A unique girl whose personality changes when she puts on new outfits, due to the spirits that inhabit them. Nelsha is a shy, 16-year-old nerdy-looking girl who refers to herself in the third person. She dreams of becoming a "Dress Master", a title given to the best clothes designers in the world (similar to Metalia's title of Jewel Master). Her weapon of choice is a magic sewing needle.
In addition, Nelsha can change her costumes in combat, which changes her form completely and gives her different powers.

Kyleen Nelphe

A 16-year-old green-haired female thief who tries to use the party for her own purposes, but ends up befriending and joining them. Her personality is cynical and sarcastic. She seems attracted to Soushi. Her weapon of choice is a rapier, a sword used for fencing.

Soushi Mahoroba

An 18-year-old samurai with a lot of pride, who considers himself a ladykiller as well. His most notable feature is his pink kimono (a garment not usually worn by males). He and Meis can't stand each other at first but eventually come to respect each other. His weapon is a katana called Masamune (a popular name given to katanas in RPGs, named after the blacksmith from feudal Japan).


The game's main antagonist is Medeus, The Dark Emperor. He is the ancient ruler of the Clan of Darkness. He transformed his body into a machine in order to live long enough to find the Holy Flames of the Light, which he believes will allow him to become a god. Schmidt, "The Dark Master", serves under him, along with Jeala, who serves him out of unrequited love. Below them are "The Evil Mecha Five" - five powerful cyborg servants of the Emperor, all named after machine parts or tools. Shaft, Bearing, Ratchet, Wire, and Bolt.

Meis' dates

In addition to the girls on his party, Meis can also date the following women:

Marion, a young inventor and Gadget Master with a childish personality. She lives in the giant train called Mounthand.

Palma Esterte, a priestess obsessed with cleanliness. She can be found in the huge ship called the Langoud.

Kyoka Maharoba, Soushi's sister, a shy and proper Japanese girl who detests her brother's lecherous personality (but is blind to Meis's). She can be found in the town of Boyzby.

Mil Wind, a highly intelligent girl who stalks Meis as a way to research his womanizing personality. She lives in Kant, Meis' hometown. Her name is a pun on "windmill".

Metalia, the "Jewel Master", the oldest of Meis' dates, over 200 years old as said by herself, this woman was a friend of Jyabil's and helps the heroes find the flames. Metalia can be found in the Myscatonia Library.



Combat in Thousand Arms is turn based, with up to three party members to be taken into battle at once. However, only the front character is actually able to physically attack the enemy. The other two characters serve in a supporting role, taunting the enemy and utilizing certain items or spells. The enemies have the same limitations. If necessary, characters can be rotated out such that one of the support characters and the lead character exchange position. Since only one character can engage in direct combat with the enemy at a time, this tends to have the overall effect of slowing down combat when compared to games which allow all or most of the party to be fully involved.

Dating simulation

The key feature in this game which distinguishes it from most other RPGs is its built-in mini-dating simulation. Thousand Arms' dating sim features dating locations in many of its major cities and towns, and a cast of nine women. The dating aspect allows the player to pick dialogue choices. For example, one of Meis' dates asks what he thinks his best trait is during a passionate night out. The player has the choice of several responses, varying from "My eyebrows. I got them from my father." to "My hairy legs." Additionally, the dating occasionally breaks fourth wall, such as when the main character alludes to a night of sex with a female character during a date, she states that "the game isn't rated for that".

The dating aspect also has an actual in-game effect. By successfully wooing each female, her intimacy level can be slowly raised. As this level rises, it grants her the ability to imbue weapons with increasingly powerful spells and skills. This magical forging, which is possible due to Meis' training as a Spirit Blacksmith, relies on the smith having established such positive female relationships.

To date a girl, the player must visit a statue of the Goddess of Love located on each town and choose from the list of currently available girls. He must then take her to a dating spot in the town. The date itself is a conversation where the player must choose from multiple answers to the girls' questions. Getting the wrong answers might actually decrease the intimacy level or end the date early. The Intimacy Level can also be raised or lowered with gifts, and the statues also allow the playing of optional minigames (each girl has a different one.)

Forging weapons

Meis can increase the power and abilities of the weapons of any member of his party. To do this, first he must collect invisible "spirits" which are hidden in various spots. Then he must access a forge; there's usually one on each town. Finally he must select a girl and choose which of the abilities that she can provide that he will give to a particular weapon. This uses up the collected spirits. Note that in addition to spells and power boosts, the girls can also grant special powers to certain weapons.


The game makes use of early CGI to provide limited 3D backgrounds. The character sprites are super deformed. More typical anime style pictures are used during conversations. Cutscenes are done in traditional animation.

The game's music was also released as a soundtrack, packaged alongside the game in some instance, or available for purchase by mail. The disc also included digital artwork, biographies, and character voice acting excerpts when explored on a personal computer. The soundtrack also contained J-pop musician Ayumi Hamasaki's fifth single Depend on You as its opening theme.


Aggregate score
GameRankings 77% [1]
Review scores
AllGame Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [2]
EGM 7/10 [3]
Game Informer 7.75/10 [4]
GameFan 92% [5]
GamePro Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [6]
GameSpot 7.6/10 [7]
IGN 8.5/10 [8]
Next Generation Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [9]
OPM (US) Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [10]
PSM Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [11]

The game received favorable reviews according to the review aggregation website GameRankings. [1]

GameSpot likened it to the Sakura Taisen and Lunar series of video games, praising it for "...the combination of solid RPG questing, graphics, dialogue, dubbing, and ambiance really push this game over the edge from standard to special. Game-playing anime fans will get a big kick out of it, and it is the first real example of a decent dating simulation in the US. Any RPG fans who like amusing situations, animated (in both senses of the word) characters, and challenging gameplay will enjoy this title. [7] IGN said that the game "as a whole is a distinctly anime-type RPG, from its character designs to the visual style to the themes that it explores. Quirky, unique, inventive and charming, it may not be the RPG to speak to the masses, but it will definitely appeal to those immersed in the culture of import gaming and the already converted." [8] AllGame praised it for being "a lot of fun" and "probably one of the most unique RPG/Dating sims out there. There is a really rich story, cool animation and dating!", but conceded that there may not be the biggest audience for such a game, stating "While dating really makes this game a unique experience, it also has limited appeal to hardcore RPG fans. Unless you really want to date and figure out the whole female mystique while bashing in people's skulls, you won't enjoy this game. Too many of the things that hardcore RPG fans find fun are only available through dating and nothing else." [2]

Jeff Lundrigan reviewed the PlayStation version of the game for Next Generation , rating it three stars out of five, and stated that "Well made if breezily inconsequential, Thousand Arms straddles the line between being an enjoyable time-waster and a thoroughly engrossing game – either way, you can't miss." [9]


  1. Japanese: サウザンドアームズ Hepburn: Sauzando Āmuzu

Related Research Articles

<i>Baldurs Gate</i> (series) franchise of role-playing video games

Baldur's Gate is a series of role-playing video games set in the Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting. The game has spawned two series, known as the Bhaalspawn Saga and the Dark Alliance, both taking place mostly within the Western Heartlands, but the Bhaalspawn Saga extends to Amn and Tethyr. The Dark Alliance series was released for consoles and was critically and commercially successful. The Bhaalspawn Saga was critically acclaimed for using pausable realtime gameplay, which is credited with revitalizing the computer role-playing game (CRPG) genre.

<i>Super Mario RPG</i> 1996 action role-playing game

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is an isometric role-playing video game (RPG) developed by Square and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1996. It is the first RPG in the Mario franchise, and the first game in the Mario franchise to allow for gameplay within a 3-D environment, with major elements drawn from Square's RPG franchises and action-based gameplay reminiscent of the Super Mario series.

<i>Ehrgeiz</i> fighting game

Ehrgeiz, fully titled Ehrgeiz: God Bless The Ring, is a 3D fighting video game developed by DreamFactory and published by Namco in 1998 for the arcade platform. It was first ported to the PlayStation and published by Square Co. in 1998, then to Japan's PlayStation Network by Square Enix in 2008.

Dating sims, or romance simulation games, are a video game subgenre of simulation games with romantic elements.

Replay value

Replay value or replayability is a term used to assess a video game's potential for continued play value after its first completion. Factors that influence replay value are the game's extra characters, secrets or alternate endings. The replay value of a game may also be based entirely on the individual's tastes. A player might enjoy repeating a game because of the music, graphics, gameplay or because of product loyalty. Dynamic environments, challenging AI, a wide variety of ways to accomplish tasks, and a rich array of assets could result in a high replay value.

<i>Champions of Norrath</i> 2004 video game

Champions of Norrath: Realms of EverQuest is an action role-playing video game for the PlayStation 2, set in the EverQuest universe. It is playable with one single player or cooperative for up to four players. However, with a Network Adapter, players can take the game online with others and kill others or join to form groups of adventurers. The game uses a re-worked and expanded Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance game engine. A sequel was created called Champions: Return to Arms which was released in February 2005.

<i>Riviera: The Promised Land</i> 2002 role-playing video game

Riviera: The Promised Land is a role-playing video game originally produced in 2002 by Sting Entertainment for WonderSwan Color as the first episode of the Dept. Heaven series of games. The game was later introduced to Nintendo's Game Boy Advance in 2004, which Atlus USA released in North America in 2005. An enhanced remake was released for the PlayStation Portable in November 2006, and was released in July 2007 in North America by Atlus USA. Riviera: The Promised Land became a sleeper hit because of its twist to the RPG standard.

<i>Champions: Return to Arms</i> 2005 video game

Champions: Return to Arms is an action role-playing set in the EverQuest universe. It is the sequel to Champions of Norrath and was developed by Snowblind Studios.

<i>Suikoden</i> (video game) video game

Suikoden is a role-playing video game published by Konami as the first installment of the Suikoden series. Developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo, it was released initially in 1995 for the PlayStation in Japan. A North American release followed one year later, and a mainland European release came the following April. The game was also released for the Sega Saturn in 1998 only in Japan, and for Microsoft Windows in 1998 in Japan.

<i>Valkyrie Profile</i> 1999 video game

Valkyrie Profile is a role-playing video game developed by tri-Ace and published by Enix for the PlayStation. It was released on December 22, 1999 in Japan and on August 29, 2000 in North America. Inspired by Norse mythology, Valkyrie Profile follows the titular valkyrie, Lenneth, as she travels through Midgard, collecting the souls of slain heroes to serve either as einherjar or her personal companions for Ragnarok - the battle to decide the fate of all creation - and trains them by fighting monsters and performing additional quests. As she journeys, she learns more about her original human life, removed from her memory upon becoming a Valkyrie.

<i>Growlanser II: The Sense of Justice</i> 2001 video game

Growlanser II: The Sense of Justice is the second game of the Growlanser series developed by Career Soft. It is the first game of the series to be a Tactical role-playing game, and carries on notable features from the first game such as branching storyline points and multiple endings. Due to the nature of these endings dealing with pairing up different characters, the series is often likened to the dating sim genre. As a direct sequel to the first Growlanser, nearly all of the characters seen in the first game make a returning appearance as both playable and non-playable characters.

Kagu-tsuchi or Kagutsuchi (カグツチ), referred to as Hinokagatsuchi (火之迦具土) in the Kojiki, and Kagutsuchi (軻遇突智) or Homusubi (火産霊) in the Nihon-Shoki, is the god of fire in Japanese mythology.

<i>Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology</i> Japanese role-playing video game

Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology is a Japanese action role-playing game developed by Alfa System and published by Namco Bandai. It is part of the Tales series of video games, more specifically a part of the Tales of the World spin-off series, which heavily emphasizes the crossover appearances of characters from past games in the series. The game was released in 2006 in Asia; July 2007 in North America; and September 2007 in Australia and Europe. The game saw two sequels, Radiant Mythology 2 and Radiant Mythology 3, though neither were released outside Japan, leaving it as the only Tales of the World entry to be translated into English.

<i>Wild Arms XF</i> video game

Wild Arms XF is a game in the Wild Arms series, the first for the PlayStation Portable. The game was unveiled at a Media.Vision fan event on September 2, 2006 and was released in Japan in 2007. A North American version of the game was released on March 11, 2008.

<i>Arc the Lad</i> (video game) 1995 RPG video game

Arc the Lad is a tactical role-playing video game developed by G-Craft and published by Sony Computer Entertainment exclusively for the PlayStation. It was the best-selling Japanese PlayStation game of 1995 with over a million copies sold.

<i>Wild Arms</i> (video game) 1996 role-playing video game

Wild Arms (ワイルドアームズ) is a role-playing video game developed by Japanese company Media.Vision. Originally released in Japan in 1996 for the PlayStation, it was later translated and released in North America in 1997 and Europe in 1998 by Sony Computer Entertainment. It features a fantasy setting and motif and 2D computer graphics for normal gameplay, while battle sequences are rendered in 3D.

<i>Loren the Amazon Princess</i> video game

Loren The Amazon Princess is a Fantasy RPG visual novel by Italian independent studio Winter Wolves. The game was released on April 30, 2012. The game works for the Android, iOS, Linux, Mac OS, Microsoft Windows platforms. The expansion The Castle Of N'mar was released on September 28, 2012. A spin-off titled Tales of Aravorn: Seasons of the Wolf was released on November 15, 2014

<i>Bound by Flame</i> 2014 video game

Bound by Flame is a fantasy-themed action role-playing game that was released on May 9, 2014. Bound by Flame puts the player in the role of a victim of demonic possession, where it is necessary to choose between the evil powers that are offered or rejecting them in favor of developing heroic talents.

<i>MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death</i>

MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death, known as Death Under the Labyrinth in Japan, is a dungeon crawler role-playing video game for the PlayStation Vita developed by Compile Heart and published by Idea Factory. It is the second game in the Makai Ichiban Kan series of games. In MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death, the protagonist Estra must conquer dungeons to save the world from eternal darkness whilst defeating monsters and enemies. The game was released on December 17, 2015 in Japan, and on September 13, 2016 in North America and September 16, 2016 in Europe by Idea Factory International.

<i>Fire Emblem: Three Houses</i> 2019 tactical role-playing video game

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a tactical role-playing game, developed by Intelligent Systems and Koei Tecmo for the Nintendo Switch, and published worldwide by Nintendo on July 26, 2019. It is the sixteenth entry in the Fire Emblem series, and the first one for home consoles since Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, originally released in 2007.


  1. 1 2 "Thousand Arms for PlayStation Reviews". GameRankings. Archived from the original on December 9, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  2. 1 2 White, Jason. "Thousand Arms - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 16, 2014. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  3. "Thousand Arms". Electronic Gaming Monthly . 1999.
  4. McNamara, Andy; Fitzloff, Jay; Reiner, Andrew (November 1999). "Thousand Arms". Game Informer (79). Archived from the original on May 21, 2000. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  5. Van Stone, Matt "Kodomo" (September 10, 1999). "REVIEW for Thousand Arms". GameFan . Archived from the original on May 10, 2000. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  6. The Freshman (1999). "Thousand Arms Review for PlayStation on". GamePro . Archived from the original on February 7, 2005. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  7. 1 2 Nutt, Christian (October 1, 1999). "Thousand Arms Review". GameSpot . Archived from the original on February 26, 2016. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  8. 1 2 Reyes, Francesca (October 15, 1999). "Thousand Arms". IGN . Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  9. 1 2 Lundrigan, Jeff (December 1999). "Finals". Next Generation . Vol. 2 no. 4. Imagine Media. p. 113.
  10. "Thousand Arms". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine . November 1999.
  11. "Review: Thousand Arms". PSM . 1999.