Makai Kingdom: Chronicles of the Sacred Tome

Makai Kingdom: Chronicles of the Sacred Tome

The strategy RPG genre is often thought of as one of videogaming's dark and dusty side streets, where people lurk for a reason that nobody on the cobbles of action and driving beyond truly understands any more.

Videogaming's closest equivalent to chess, strategy RPGs look simple on the surface but have vast, complex, number-crunching underbellies. They addict players into agonising and obsessing for hours over the hit-points and manoeuvres of tiny sprites: weighing each of the precious character's moves with a care and precision scarcely seen elsewhere.

But not really on our TVs. But for a few fringe titles like Future Tactics, and Nintendo's burgeoning interest in transferring its successes to the Cube, it's rare that we get them on things like the PS2. Where once our TVs were abuzz with the likes of Shining Force (SEGA), Ogre Battle (Atlus) and their ilk, modern gamers have been enticed away by the promise of bigger, bolder and better graphics, wooed by the FMV sequences of 32-bit RPGs and then caught up in the relentless, vacuous quest for realism. As have the devs, who left the visually ageing simplicity of these wide, expansive math puzzles to embrace polygons and third-person cameras. Where SRPGs used to thrive on 8- and 16-bit home formats (and 32- if you count Square's efforts, which we'd be foolish not to), they now seem to enjoy the best of us on Nintendo's handhelds.

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Makai Kingdom due in Europe

Disgaea fans take note!

Koei plans to continue its admirable policy of releasing Nippon Ichi's delightful role-playing games in Europe by publishing Makai Kingdom: Chronicle of the Sacred Tome for PS2 on October 28th.