After I got distracted by Crash Bandicoot (in a really good way), it was finally time to start up Grandia. This is one of my favorite PlayStation RPGs, after the Final Fantasy series. Actually, I’d probably put it above Final Fantasy VIII in many areas.

Grandia - Title ScreenEvery time I see this screen, I can hear the music in my head.

Grandia was originally released on the Sega Saturn, I believe, which I never owned or even saw in real life. It got re-released on the PlayStation two years later, and one year later, I bought it. Since I bought all of my PlayStation games in Germany, this one was in German to. However, the voice acting remained English throughout most of the game, with the exception of the animated sequences.

Voice acting?

Yup, this game had voice acting. It was one of the rare PlayStation JRPGs that had it. It wasn’t very good voice acting, but I didn’t know better back then so I loved every word of it. These days, I still love it, but mostly for nostalgia’s sake.

The Beginning

The game starts in Parm, a town on the shore of the old continent. The main protagonist Justin and his little friend Sue are playing with some kids. Well, they’re dueling, actually. The kid, called Gantz, issued a challenge to Justin – to find four legendary treasures. If Justin fails to do this before dusk, Sue will have to  marry Gantz, which she doesn’t like at all.

Grandia - Justin Getting HitIf he lived in the modern times of the real world, Justin would probably be a nerd.

I basically had to scour through the city to try to find the four items, but there was no real time limit.  Sue got the apron (Legendary Armor) and then the two of them got the iron pot and the pot lid (Warrior’s Helm and the Shield of Light). After a while, I also got the wooden sword (Spirit Sword).

Obviously, these are kids we’re talking about here, which is something I love about the game – it does not take itself seriously even for a moment. Another thing I love is the coffee joke. Apparently, in the world of Grandia, coffee is what alcohol is in the real world, and more. Kids hate the stuff and “only adults can appreciate the taste of it”. If you drink too much of it, you get drunk or something. There are people who constantly drink to much, people who drink in secret, etc. Coffee is bad, basically.

Marma Road

After the events in Parm, Justin went to visit the local museum, where the curator gave him back his spirit stone. The spirit stone is something Justin’s dad left him, so he gave it to the curator so he could test it. He didn’t discover anything other than that the stone is harder than diamond.

After a short talk, the curator gave Justin and Sue a pass to a local archaeological dig at the Sult Ruins. To get there, I had to walk the Marna road.  Before that, though,  it was time for dinner with mom.

Meal Time

This is another great thing about the game. At the end of each day, or when the party is supposed to take a break, determined by the story, everyone gathers around the table or the camp fire and talks about the day. It really adds charm to the game.

Grandia - Meal TimeWhenever it’s time to take a break, everyone sits to have a meal together.

Anyway, I got to Marna road and explored the area entirely. I didn’t find much, other than some gold and herbs, but I gained a few levels, which means I finally did some battling. The great things just keep coming, so here’s another one.

No Random Battles

Yup. There are no random battles in Grandia. Monsters do randomly appear on the map, but you see them at all times, so you decide when to attack and when to avoid them. Of course, if you keep avoiding them, you’ll probably end up ambushed, but it’s still your choice. If you’re good, you can even ambush them.

Grandia - Rah Rah CheerThe Rah-Rah Cheer has voice acting to, same as almost every other move. Also, the Rah-Rah Cheer is awesome.

There’s also movement and placement in battle, which sort of reminds me of Chrono Trigger from the SNES era. Depending on your placement and the placement of enemies, it absolutely matters which actions you pick. You can hit multiple enemies at once, avoid getting hit yourself, or even counter or cancel an enemies attack.

Marna Road Explored

Eventually, I explored the entire area and gained a level or two. Mostly I’ve been fighting bugs, spiders and some sort of centipede enemy. While doing this, I refreshed my memory about the various moves and mechanics available. I got to the Sult Ruins and saved my game.