Retro

Heroine Anthem

An 2D turn-based RPG from 20 years ago

Created on
Day
79/100
Reading Time
4 mins
Word Count
820 approx.

Hello everyone. I want to start a retrospective series that highlights some classic PC games that I’ve enjoyed playing over the previous two decades. If I don’t do it now, I never will. Today, I’m going to share one of my all-time favorites with you: Heroine Anthem 聖女之歌. The first game was launched twenty years ago in 2002.

Keep on writing.

Inspired by Wouter, who created a retro gaming archive called Jefklak's Codex. I wish I could create my own archive someday.

The games are a two-part series, Heroine Anthem: The Elect of Wassernixe 聖女之歌: 人魚的新娘; the original title literally means “The Mermaid’s Bride”. The second one is called Heroine Ahthem II: The Angel of Sarem 聖女之歌: 撒雷母天使. The game’s world was set with a Norse mythology background. I was attracted by the art style, songs and music. You can enjoy the opening theme on its official channel.

When I was researching for the games, I was surprised that the developer Winking Entertainment, formerly known as WindThunder, resurrected the game in 2020. They even have a new official website for the series. I’m glad that I can still have access to the game’s artwork, and media content.

The two games were 2D side-scrolling styles and point-and-click RPGs with a turn-based combat system. The character art was hand-drawn in 2D sprites while the background was pre-rendered 3D to 2D with dynamic special effects. I think the team was inspired and drew inspiration from the game Final Fantasy IX. For the record, WindThunder created another series called Guardian’s Sword with a similar art style in 1998 before FFIX was launched. As some sidenote, the team from WindThunder back then was a group of Taiwanese young adults in their early twenties.

Close-up of the two game packaging boxes
The box size is kind of big, somewhere close to an A4-sized piece of paper; look at the gorgeous cover art on the packaging
Close-up of the backside of the packaging boxes
The backside of the boxes showcases the in-game’s content and system requirements

I used to play a lot of Taiwanese-developed PC games back when I was in secondary school. Many of them are still in my possession. The original packaging were retained by me for over two decades; including manuals, game discs, and soundtracks. Simply put, I adore physical formats.

Both of the games were released with 6 discs. They have a folder printed with matte lamination finishing for holding the disc. At the time, it was a big deal for a game that contained such a large amount of content. I’m not sure if it was CD or DVD format, and I’m not able to check because I don’t have a DVD-ROM anymore. But it doesn’t really matter.

Close-up of the game’s folders and a manual booklet
I liked the design and aesthetics of these folders for the discs, very beautifully made. I love print media.
Close-up of a page from the game’s manual
Before starting the game, user had to install DirectX 8.1 and agree to the license terms that absolutely no one would read

I was very passionate about the game’s art style and music. Those’re the memories that will be baked into my mind forever. The main theme of the game was iconic, and beautifully made. I’d say I was fascinated by the soundtrack and art more than the gameplay. The composers recomposed a track in the year 2014 for the third game. However, the third game never happened.

For the logotypes of the games, it was written in Chinese calligraphy with a touch of feminine. And the English appears to be in the Optima typeface. If there was an artbook, it would be a instant buy for me.

Inside page of the game’s manual
You can tell the art style drew inspiration from Final Fantasy IX
Inside page of the game’s manual
The background was pre-rendered 3D into 2D with some dynamic effects

I wish I had the ability to create my own online archive of my collection of games, movies, and manga. Apparently, I do not have enough content to start with in the first place. My ideas seem too fractured, and I’m unable to visualize them without a concrete direction. I’m also a bit sad that I’m not able to retrieve the in-game screenshots since they're too old and I don’t have a PC to run the games.

The box art of the game Guradian’s Sword II Egria that I mentioned earlier
The game’s UI looks similar to Final Fantasy

I still have a bunch of PC games like these in my collection. If I’ve got the time, I’ll definitely share more of them. I also want to tell you I’m grateful that I have kept the games as my precious treasure.

Until then, I’ll keep on writing. In case anyone could have missed it, I wrote about the Trails series and Ace Attorney a while back. That’s it for now.

This is #Day79 of #100DaysToOffload.

Footnotes

  1. 聖女之歌系列 via Wikipedia. ↩︎
  2. Heroine Anthem Vocal Version ↩︎