Subject: The Minstrel (Romancing SaGa) Discussion: Would you like to hear a song? Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:04 am
The Minstrel is a mysterious traveling bard from Square-Enix's Romancing SaGa series. In the first Romancing SaGa for Super Famicom and its remake, Romancing SaGa Minstrel Song for PS2, he is revealed to be the creator god Elore, taking human form to guide the heroes on their quest as both an advisor and party member. In Romancing SaGa 2, he is not playable himself, but tracking him down and gathering his instruments is necessary to play a song to wake the Iris people and defeat Wagnas. In Romancing SaGa 3, he is once again playable, a very useful party member who leaves when you seal your first Abyss Gate. In all games where he's playable, he has balanced stat growths and can use all weapons and magic schools effectively, making him a useful jack-of-all-trades early on but reducing his effectiveness in the middle and late game.
So, why a minor character like the Minstrel? The Romancing SaGa series is incredibly nonlinear, and that extends to your party members. In Romancing SaGa 1, 3, and Minstrel Song there are 8 different central protagonists, each with a different tale, and none can really be called the "main" character. In 2 it's even worse, as you control a whole succession of emperors and empresses, each one selected by the player. The Minstrel is not a main character in any game, but as a recurring figure he's become something of a series mascot. In addition, the character Lute from the not-quite-sequel SaGa Frontier is a clear reference to the Minstrel, being a wandering bard whose quest is by far the most nonlinear and undirected in the game.
As for gameplay, the balanced Minstrel would be best suited by using all sorts of weapons from the series for his A attacks. Shortswords, longswords, greatswords, rapiers, katanas, polearms, lances, hand axes, battleaxes, clubs, bows, martial arts... you could even sneak in guns, which never appeared in Romancing SaGa but were quite prominent in SaGa Frontier. There's a lot of possibilities, and as Romancing SaGa allows you to equip multiple weapons and use different ones each round, having the Minstrel switch between weapons for each attack would be entirely accurate to the source material. They also have a wide variety of special techniques, almost replacing attack magic as it appears in other RPGs and relegating Romancing SaGa magic to (extremely powerful) buffs and debuffs. In addition, there's plenty of fun to be had with the series' "Spark" system, where new techniques are learned mid-battle, represented by a lightbulb appearing over the character's head.
So why have a Romancing SaGa character at all? Simply put, Romancing SaGa is representative of niche RPGs as a genre. With its deep setting, obscure mechanics, and small cult following in the West (Romancing SaGa 2 doesn't even have a translation patch yet, though it is one of my favorite games), it also stands for the Live-A-Lives and Metal Maxes of the world, tragically overlooked Japan-only RPGs that capture the hearts of those who play them.
Now, as for a moveset:
Neutral Special - Speed of Sound Sword/Whirlwind The Minstrel slices his blade overhead, creating a wave of green energy that quickly strikes foes in front of him. A fairly basic projectile. Rarely, however, a lightbulb will appear over the Minstrel's head, and this will instead become Whirlwind. With this technique, he slices his blade in an upward motion, creating a tornado in front of him. This tornado covers a fair amount of vertical distance, and very slowly moves forward while staying put, creating an easy spot for the Minstrel to launch foes into. If it hits an opponent, they take several hits and are launched straight up.
Side Special - Rock Splitter The Minstrel drives his club into the ground with such force that it tears up the earth in front of him. A fissure opens up in front of the Minstrel when this move is used, dealing damage to anyone standing within about 5 character lengths in front of him. This fissure opens up all at once, rather than cracking open in bits - that is to say, if enemies stood all across the length of the fissure, they'd all be hit at once. In the air, this move is simply a very powerful spike.
Up Special - Blade Roll The Minstrel holds a battleaxe out to his side and twirls around, building up deadly momentum. Think Donkey Kong's up special with the speed of Link's - allowing impressive horizontal mobility on both the ground and in the air, and quickly at that. He can even easily move back and forth multiple times during the move's duration, allowing him to sweep the area clean - especially powerful on Final Destination. Vertical mobility in the air, however, is almost nonexistent.
Down Special - Evasion One interesting implementation of Romancing SaGa's Spark system is evasions. When an enemy uses certain attacks on the hero, there is a small chance they will Spark an evasion. When this happens, not only is the move dodged completely, the character learns the evasion and can always avoid the same move in the future. Naturally, this comes with a drawback - in addition to the low chance of an evade sparking to begin with, it shares the limited equip list with regular techs, so equipping an evasion means you'll have one less slot to use on a tech. Therefore, it's generally best to only equip 1 or 2 evasions for particularly troublesome moves. In Smash, this would work as a counter, but a unique one - when the counter is successful, a lightbulb goes off over the Minstrel's head as he remains completely unaffected by the move, and any subsequent attempts to hit him with the same move will lead to them simply passing through him. However, you can only have 3 evasions at a time. If you use the down special again after already having evasions to 3 different moves, you will clear your evade list, rendering you vulnerable to all moves and allowing you to use the counter to spark 3 more evasions. All evasions are lost when the Minstrel is KO'd, forcing him to start from a blank slate again.
Final Smash - Benediction Rarely, in Romancing SaGa Minstrel Song, one of the setting's various gods would assist the party during battle. This required specific circumstances and a high level of favor with that god, but had suitably powerful effects. The one most suited for a final smash is Wrath of Yucomb, a lightning storm created by Yucomb, god of storms and the seas. This takes the form of various somewhat powerful lightning bolts striking all over the arena, followed by a large, massively powerful lightning bolt striking the Minstrel's position.
Many of his normals are based on specific moves from the series, so those have been noted and specified:
Jab Combo - A punch, a kick, and a series of rapid jabs with a rapier.
Forward Tilt (Blunt Strike) - A slap with the broad side of a greatsword. Weak damage and knockback, but high hitstun.
Up Tilt - Twirls a club over his head. There's a sweetspot at the end of the club that spikes, so it's a powerful tool for edgeguarding.
Down Tilt (Leg Sweep) - Sweeps the legs with a spear. Trips.
Neutral Aerial - Sex kick.
Forward Aerial - Chops down with a hand axe. Has a spike sweetspot.
Back Aerial (Rude Sword) - Does a swipe behind himself with a scimitar. High KO power.
Up Aerial - Slowly swings a battleaxe overhead in an arc. Massively powerful, but slow and has tons of landing lag.
Down Aerial (Drop Cut) - Holds a greatsword in front of him and drops to the ground (think Cloud's iconic Braver). Completely vulnerable from behind, but the sword has massive launching power.
Forward Smash (Triple Star) - Thrusts rapier forward 3 times with great force. Each thrust creates a shockwave with a bit of range, but these are weak and only useful for keeping opponents away. The rapier strikes themselves have great KO potential.
Up Smash (Capoeira Kick) - Kicks straight up into the air, using an arm and the other leg to balance himself, launching opponents upwards at an angle. More powerful at the front.
Down Smash - Twirls around with a longsword, knocking enemies away. Not useful for KOs, but good for keeping pressure off.
Dash Attack (Two Step Cut) - Strikes twice in rapid succession with a shortsword while slowing to a stop. Good launching power but high ending lag.
Grab - Just grabs the opponent, with his hands. Low range, even as a dash grab.
Pummel - Knees the opponent in the chest.
Forward Throw (Random Arrow) - Tosses the opponent away, and follows up by pulling out a bow and launching around 20 arrows very quickly in the general direction of the opponent. These aren't very powerful, but they have a wide spread and can hurt other opponents unlucky enough to be caught in its range.
Back Throw - (Scattered Petals) - Steps back for a moment, then rushes forward while drawing a katana. The opponent is stunned for a moment as cherry blossom petals fall in a straight line (matching the katana's movement), then the opponent is launched backwards as he resheathes the katana.
Up Throw (Air Throw) - Simply tosses the opponent into the air. Deceptively high launch power, can act as a kill throw.
Down Throw - (Triple Hit) - Slams the opponent into the ground, then hits them 3 times with a mace, the last one launching them away weakly. Great damage.
Victory Theme: 0:00 to 0:03
Last edited by Kzinssie on Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:53 pm; edited 4 times in total
Subject: Re: The Minstrel (Romancing SaGa) Discussion: Would you like to hear a song? Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:34 am
Lego Shaq wrote:
Fire Emblem's got tons of protagonists in each game and it's constantly changing, we've still got Marth.
True, but Marth has the unmistakable role of The Main Character Of The First Game, while Romancing SaGa doesn't even have one main character of the first game (it has 8 ). Think of Minstrel like the Black Mage of Romancing SaGa - not a main character at any point, but always there in the background.
Adding normals to the OP. No damage percentages since I don't know those intimately enough to balance them well. Almost all of them have some sort of gimmick, sweetspot, and/or downside, so knowing which moves do what is crucial to using the Minstrel effectively, much like knowing your techs' effects is crucial in Romancing SaGa.
Subject: Re: The Minstrel (Romancing SaGa) Discussion: Would you like to hear a song?
The Minstrel (Romancing SaGa) Discussion: Would you like to hear a song?