|Platform(s)||PlayStation, PlayStation Network|
|Genre(s)||Tactical role-playing game|
Vanguard Bandits, known in Japan as Epica Stella(エピカ・ステラ), is a tactical role-playing game (RPG) for the PlayStation. The game was developed by Human Entertainment and originally released in Japan on July 30, 1998. It was published in North America by Working Designs.
Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.
Tactical role-playing games are a genre of video game which incorporates elements of traditional role-playing video games with that of tactical games, emphasizing tactics rather than high-level strategy. The format of a tactical RPG video game is much like a traditional tabletop role-playing game in its appearance, pacing and rule structure. Likewise, early tabletop role-playing games are descended from skirmish wargames like Chainmail, which were primarily concerned with combat.
The PlayStation is a home video game console developed and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment. The console was released on 3 December 1994 in Japan, 9 September 1995 in North America, 29 September 1995 in Europe, and 15 November 1995 in Australia. The console was the first of the PlayStation lineup of home video game consoles. It primarily competed with the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn as part of the fifth generation of video game consoles.
Vanguard Bandits is a support-centric strategy RPG featuring tactical combat in a medieval fantasy world in which knights and soldiers pilot mecha . This game takes place on the Continent of Eptina where numerous battles have taken place over territory, goods, and beliefs. In the midst of the conflict archaeologists in the Pharastia Kingdom discovered giant armored mecha that they called ATACs, or All Terrain Armored Combatants, that could be controlled by the thoughts of the pilot seated inside the unit's head. The Kingdom used the power of these ATACs to assume control of the entire continent, and then decided to use them to keep the peace in their new territories. Pharastia soon began to lose control as Coup d'etats and civil wars erupted which left it in a defeated state, with only their standing army remaining.
A knight is a man granted an honorary title of knighthood by a monarch, bishop or other political or religious leader for service to the monarch or a Christian church, especially in a military capacity.
The term mecha may refer to both scientific ideas and science fiction genres that center on giant robots or machines controlled by people. Mechas are typically depicted as humanoid mobile robots.
A coup d'état, also known as a putsch, a golpe, or simply as a coup, means the overthrow of an existing government; typically, this refers to an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a dictator, the military, or a political faction.
Vanguard Bandits is an RPG strategy game played on an isometric grid of squares with representations of all the player and computer controlled ATACs, similar to Final Fantasy Tactics and the Front Mission series by Square. Each character can move around on the grid, attack, and perform support abilities. All actions during that ATACs turn takes up AP (Actions Points), and attacks produce FP (Fatigue Points). If the Fatigue Points reach maximum, the pilot becomes unable to perform any actions until he/she awakens, leaving him/her open to attack. When an ATAC unit attacks or defends from an attack, a detailed three-dimensional battle animation with music is shown over the normal grid. Between each battle is a story cutscene where the characters within the ATACs are represented on a similar grid and can interact and further the story line.
Isometric projection is a method for visually representing three-dimensional objects in two dimensions in technical and engineering drawings. It is an axonometric projection in which the three coordinate axes appear equally foreshortened and the angle between any two of them is 120 degrees.
Final Fantasy Tactics is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Squaresoft for the Sony PlayStation video game console. It is the first game of the Final Fantasy Tactics series and was released in Japan in June 1997 and in the United States in January 1998. The game combines thematic elements of the Final Fantasy video game series with a game engine and battle system unlike those previously seen in the franchise. In contrast to other 32-bit era Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy Tactics uses a 3D, isometric, rotatable playing field, with bitmap sprite characters.
Front Mission is a collection of video games and related media produced by Square, now Square Enix. The series was created by Toshiro Tsuchida and developed by G-Craft, a studio that was later absorbed by Square and existed within Square Enix as Product Development Division-6. Since the release of the original Front Mission in 1995, the series has gone on to encompass several media, including film, manga, novels, radio dramas, mobile phone applications, and toys. While the series is primarily rooted in the turn-based tactical role-playing genre, it has also ventured into other genres such as side-scrolling shooter, real-time strategy (RTS), massive multiplayer online (MMO), and third-person shooter through its spin-offs. The Front Mission video games have achieved moderate success, selling over 3 million units worldwide since the release of Front Mission 5: Scars of the War.
The player progresses through a total of 20 missions in one of three different story lines. Different battles and events happen based on the choices of the character within certain story scenes between battles, a character's level, or the morale of the group. Notably, if Bastion reaches a high enough level by the end of the third mission, he will be faced with the choice of whether to remain with his companions on the Kingdom branch or to chase after the game's villain, ultimately reaching the Empire branch. Each of these branches has two endings, the Kingdom branch depending on the overall morale of the characters and the Empire branch depending on Bastion's relationship with two female characters. And players who have beaten the game once are given the option of switching from the Kingdom branch to the whimsical, pessimistic, non-serious Ruin branch.
Each ATAC has a number of attacks available to it, depending on its weapon and gemstone; many major characters also have one (or more) special attacks not available to other characters in the game. Each attack deals a different amount on damage and has a different chance of hitting the target (affected, of course, by the character's own stats). Most attacks can only be made on adjacent squares; some can hit enemies further away, the Turbulence attack in particular having a range of four squares. Attacks from the side and rear have higher success rates and leave the defender fewer options; thus, flanking is a vital strategy in Vanguard Bandits.
Attacks can be classified into three types:
Additionally, some attacks can cause temporary negative status effects on the victim, such as reduced speed or attack power.
When attacked, the defending ATAC has several options:
If the defending character has the appropriate skill, some enemy attacks can also be parried, resulting in no damage to the defender.
A parry is a fencing bladework maneuver intended to deflect or block an incoming attack.
As well as attacks designed to inflict damage, players can also use special abilities which assist friendly ATACs, such as increasing a stat, recovering HP or reducing FP. One skill, Turn Quake, is designed to be used on enemies; it rotates them in a random direction.
Terrain plays an important role in the game. Moving across difficult terrain such as forests and deserts requires more AP than normal, although not all ATACs suffer equally from this effect (some not at all). Some terrain is completely impassable.
All-Terrain Armored Combatants, or ATACs, are the main fighting force of the various armies in the game; indeed, the entire combat system revolves around them. ATACs are large bipedal, humanoid (though one ATAC is a quadruped) mechs powered by gemstones. Despite their high technological complexity, ATACs still utilize traditional weapons such as swords and spears. However, they can also use special attacks such as fireballs, earthquakes, flying shards of ice and tornadoes, depending on their gemstone.
A humanoid is something that has an appearance resembling a human without actually being one. The earliest recorded use of the term, in 1870, referred to indigenous peoples in areas colonized by Europeans. By the 20th century, the term came to describe fossils which were morphologically similar, but not identical, to those of the human skeleton.
A gemstone is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However, certain rocks and occasionally organic materials that are not minerals are also used for jewelry and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their luster or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone.
A sword is a bladed weapon intended for slashing or thrusting that is longer than a knife or dagger, consisting of a long blade attached to a hilt. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographic region under consideration. The blade can be straight or curved. Thrusting swords have a pointed tip on the blade, and tend to be straighter; slashing swords have a sharpened cutting edge on one or both sides of the blade, and are more likely to be curved. Many swords are designed for both thrusting and slashing.
ATACs that existed before the game takes place are called "Excavated ATACs". These were built by Eptina's original inhabitants and were discovered by archaeologists of the continent's current settlers. These machines became the basis for modern ATACs though none created since have surpassed an Excavated ATAC on the combat field. Each ruler of Eptina possesses an Excavated ATAC.
Vanguard Bandits focuses on the interactions between the nations and individuals on the Continent of Eptina. There are seven different nations that are allied or in conflict:
Prior to its North American release, Vanguard Bandits was titled Detonator Gauntlet by Working Designs. However, Midway forced the company to change it due to its similarity to the Gauntlet series of action-fantasy games.The North American release included a bonus demo disc of Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete for PlayStation.
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