I surprisingly loved A Tear of Vermillion, but the next game, The Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch was just underwhelming in comparison. Well, since Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch is actually Legend of Heroes III and released before A Tear of Vermillion, this is probably more like playing the second game before the first and then complaining about how the first game is inferior.
In the Gagharv timeline, Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch takes place 56 years after A Tear of Vermillion, in a land beyond the Gagharv that divides the world into three. A certain magic-user who joined the party in Vermillion makes a return here as an eccentric yet mysterious old man living in the protagonists’ village.
In the village of Ragpick, there is a tradition where those who come of age have to take the Silver Dagger and travel across the continent to visit five shrines representing different elements in a specific order. Jurio and Chris are the first in a while to set off on this pilgrimage, and the shrines show them ominous images. Meanwhile, disasters strike the lands they visit, all seemingly predicted by a travelling silver-haired witch twenty years ago. The two, joined by various others, unravel the mystery of the witch’s prophecies and attempt to prevent the incoming disasters, all during their coming-of-age journey.
The battle system is the same as A Tear of Vermillion, so it’s still the same old boring combat that is best played while watching TV. I think this game is actually easier, considering how I never got a game over. At the very least Vermillion had a nice final boss that actually kicked my ass on the first try and dealt lots of damage and had different stages to it for more variety. This game’s final boss barely scratched me, its strongest spell wasn’t really threatening, and there was only one form. Talk about un-final-boss-like.
The story didn’t feel as engaging as a Tear of Vermillion, and I didn’t get attached to the side characters at all. I like Jurio and Chris, but what makes the Legend of Heroes games awesome are the memorable side characters that help you out so this game is lacking. I can’t help but believe that if the English script wasn’t so dull, I would have actually felt something during the story. There also aren’t as many emotional moments, and confrontations with the enemy did not feel as epic or intense.
Speaking of the translation, it got better in Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch. Okay, it’s still a dull script that doesn’t begin to compare with what XSeed did with Trails in the Sky (or with any other professional translations that come out nowadays), but at least it has less errors and a higher number of comprehensible lines this time around. No more “NAME was SPELLNAME mastered.”
Graphics are exactly the same as A Tear of Vermillion, so expect similar 2D sprites. There are a lot less interesting environments though, as you spend the majority of your time on the streets rather than in dungeons, and aside from the final dungeon and a select few, they’re all caves. Yeah, I’d say Vermillion had the better visuals because their shrine dungeons looked pretty decent.
Overall, I’d say that A Tear of Vermillion is definitely the better game in every department but translation, but Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch was still worth a play because it reveals more about the world of the Gagharv trilogy. Thankfully, it’s also a pretty short game so even if it is not that engaging, at least it was over quickly. Next up is Song of the Ocean, and knowing Falcom, it’s probably gonna have a more refined system. I won’t be finishing it any time soon though, since my copy of Conception: Ore no Kodomo o Unde Kure! has arrived and I’ll be juggling two games at once.