Grandia is a turn-base Japanese role playing game with a timing-based battle system developed by Game Arts that premiered on the Sega Saturn in Japan on December 18, 1997. The title was later ported to the PlayStation in 1999 where it was localized for North America by Sony Computer Entertainment America on October 26th. Grandia would be followed by a sequel called Grandia II in 2000 for the Sega Dreamcast along with many other sequels, spin-offs and ports for various platforms.
Grandia's story focuses on Justin, a teenage boy who aspires to become an adventurer like his father and grandfather before him. In the beginning the game focuses on Justin's father (who died years before the beginning of the story) Justin's father accomplished great things on his travels, he mostly discovered different speccies on the old continent . Hailing from a fairly small port town, known as "Parm," Justin wants nothing more than to explore new places and become the greatest adventurer in the world. Even though Justin is well liked in his hometown, most people don't take him seriously and they don't believe that he will ever become a famous adventurer, Justin however is stubborn and eventually pursues his dreams. Justin's travels begins with a visit at the local museum, at the museum the curator tells Justin about an ancient civilization, and how Justin's "spirit stone" (a gift from Justin's father) is a link to that civilization . The curator tells Justin to go to the Sult Ruins, which will give him some answers and he hand over a letter that will allow Justin to enter the ruins to learn about the "Angelo" civilization and their history. However Justin encounters the military who has made the ruins into an excavation site. Justin sneaks into the center of the ruins, where he learns something that encourages him to leave Parm and search for more information.
That something is told to young Justin by Liete, a young woman who he finds in the Sult ruins. She tells Justin to start his new adventure by traveling to the New World. Justin, decides to take the boat to the New World and begin his adventure alone, afraid to tell his Mother so she won't stop him and not to have the burden to protect his young friend Sue. During his travels to the New World, Justin discovers a few things, Sue can not be stopped by being left behind. Sue is caught by the ships crew as a stowaway. After working as part of the crew so Sue would not be fed to the fishes of the ocean, the adventures meet Feena, a true adventurer. A woman with beautiful green hair and many adventurer stories. Shortly after meeting Feena, they are attacked by a Ghost ship and have to join forces with the fierce warrior in order to save their lives and the lives of the people on their ship.
Once the trio arrive in New Parm, Feena offers for them to visit her at her home north of town after they have finished their business in town but she will not be able to join them, though Feena has fought ghosts and other horrible monsters, there is something more sinister and foul in the town that she doesn't dare step foot in. Justin and Sue discover why Feena avoids the town when Justin tries to apply to be an adventurer. The Adventurers society new president Pakon, is an arrogant, selfish brat who is very selective in who he lets into the society. Pakon has delusions that his love for Feena is shared by her as well and goes over the line by kidnapping her in an attempt to marry him. Justin and Sue come to Feenas rescue and stop the wedding which results in Feena losing her Adventure license and banning Justin for life. With his head held high, Justin explains to Feena that nobody tells the wind where it can go and that is what a true adventurer is. Feena, Sue and Justin leave New Parn in search of treasure, glory and adventure.
The group travel North to Misty forest where they discover the Dom ruins, after avoiding death traps and monsters they reach their destination where Liete returns and explains to the party that they need to continue to travel to the end of the world for they will see that there is no such thing as the end of the world. After leaving the ruins they discover a young humanoid creature with a horn on its head and tail injured. They take the creature back to Feena's hut. Feena tells Justin that there is an herb that will help save the creatures life in the mountains. After finding the herb they create the medicine and apply it to the wounds. Knowing that they have done all that they can they go to sleep only to wake in the morning with the creature gone. They hear strange music coming from outside and find the creature playing an instrument. The creature hands them a nut to eat but before they can eat the food they are surrounded by the Garlyle Forces, the creature and the party are taken away as prisoners.
At the Garlyle base after a failed escape attempt, Justin is talked to by Leen who hints that if he could escape again his best course of action would be to steal the military train. Leen walks away and drops the key inside the prison cell allowing Justin to escape once again and free his friends. Justin explains how dumb Leen was for dropping the Key and explaining how to escape. Before leaving they locate the creature and free him as well. After freeing him, he gives the nuts to the party once again. After eating the nuts they find that it allows them to communicate with "Rem" and he explains to them that he is from the village of Luc that is hidden away by Mist so that no one from the outside can find it. He left the village to see the outside world when he was attacked by the Garlyle Forces. The group escapes the facility by hijacking the military train and head for Rems Village.
Grandia's game world is displayed in 3D with a rotatable camera, although all characters show up as 2D sprites on the world. In this way, the game resembles some other games of its era, such as Xenogears. Although the camera did not cause very many issues generally, it occasionally would cause the player's view to be obstructed.
Enemies in the game always appeared in the field. Like in most traditional RPGs of its type, touching an enemy would take the player away from the field and the characters would enter a battle screen.
There is a world map in Grandia, but the player does not travel across it in the normal vein of traditional RPGs. Instead, the areas on the map are merely shown as different points which can be selected to travel to. Usually, one of the points between major towns will be a wilderness area which must be traversed by the player.
Although Grandia's characters and story are generally well-liked by the series' fans, the game is most widely recognized for its battle system. Unlike the most popular timing-based RPG battle system used in the Final Fantasy games, Grandia's system placed all the characters and enemies on one bar. All characters' icons moved toward the right side of the bar. When halfway down the bar, the player would then be able to choose a command for the character. After this, there would be a short "Wait" time in which the character would prepare to attack. Upon reaching the end of the bar, the character would perform the action given to them.
Aside from normal attacks (in which the character would strike twice), the player could also choose to use a Critical Attack. This would allow the player to use one attack with a chance of stunning an enemy if they were in the "Wait" position on the timing bar. The use of the timing in the battle system was what set Grandia's battle system apart. Players also have the options of Defending and using Skills or Magic. While different Skills are given to individual characters based on their weapon and Magic statistics, most Magic skills could be taught to nearly any character (although some of the strongest spells could only be acquired by certain team members).
In most RPG's you level you characters up but in the Grandia universe you not only level up your character but each time you use your magic or weapons as well they will gain levels. By leveling up certain weapons and magic you can combine them to create even greater damaging abilities. An example of this would be to level up your whip with Feena once it reaches a certain level along with leveling fire, you will be able to do an attack that uses both to damage your foes.
Justin - Justin, age 14, lives with his mother Lilly in the town of Parm in the Old World. Enthralled by ancient civilizations, Justin is always daydreaming about going on adventures. He cherishes his Spirit Stone, a memento of his late adventurer father. He is a hot-blooded youth, full of drive and energy, but simple and good-natured If he has a fault, it's that he acts rashly without thinking things through. Justin, more then anything strives to become an adventure like his Father and his Fathers Father and so on. Justin is able to use swords, axes and maces and has the ability to learn magic spells with the use of "Mana-eggs".
Sue - Sue, age 8, is Justin's childhood friend. Since losing bother her parents, she is being raised by her aunt and uncle. Precocious and energetic, Sue always tries to act like an adult, though her non-stop chatter sometimes gets on Justin's nerves. She intends to be Justin's guardian when she grows up. Throughout the game along with her pet "Puffy", thought by many to be a ribbon in her hair, she is willing to follow Justin through his tough adventures and provide comic relief with almost every conversation with NPC's. Sue uses Maces, Arrows and Missiles to dispatch her enemies.
Puffy - Puffy is a mysterious creature that Justin's father discovered on one of his trips. Though he has wings, Puffy can't fly very high. He usually ride on Sue's head, which suits him just fine, since Sue is his favorite human. Puffy can understand human speech, but no one knows what he thinks of it all. The only he ever is "Puff Puff". Sue often uses Puffy when casting spells or attacking enemies.
Feena - Feena, age 15, is an adventuress living in New Parm in the New World. A master of knives and whips, she is the most able member of the adventures Society of the New World. Popular Feena is bright, beautiful and active. There are many who after meeting Feena can not help but fall in love with her. One such fellow is the President of the Adventurers Society who will stop at nothing to make her his.
Guido - Guido, age unknown, is a Mogay traveling salesman, Guido has profound knowledge of history, which you'd never expect from his extremely cute looks. Guido's weapons of choice are the sword,knife and bow.
Gadwin - Gadwin, age 38, Gadwin, is a masterful warrior whom Justin meets on his adventure. A man of few words, Gadwin does not say much about himself but his sword-fighting skills speak for him. They have a deadly power that can only be obtained through many years of study. Gadwin, though a tough and strong warrior is very wise and philosophical.
Milda - Milda, age 19, A well-built warrior from Laine, Milda would rather fight with her body than her brain. She is quite deadly with a sword, axe or mace. At first Milda has disfavor and detests Rapp but after spending time with the young warrior they become great friends.
Rapp - Rapp, age 15 , A hot-blooded youth from the village of Cafu Rapp is courageous and strong but has never learned manners. Due to the loss of his parents he acts out but nobody can deny that he is brave and a master with the a knife or shuriken.
Rem - Rem, age unknown, is a humanoid from the village of Luc. The villagers never leave their protected home in fear of the outsiders. Rem sets off on his own and is attacked by the Garyle forces. Justin and his crew save the young boys life and in return he provides them with a nut that allows them to communicate with the creature. Rem has a horn at the top of his head and a tail. Up until the moment Justin helps save the boy he has never seen anyone with a tail and is excited to meet Rem's villagers.
Colonel Mullen - Colonel Mullen, age 23, is a soldier in the Garlyle Forces, a private army. A talented leader who is popular among the common soldiers, he leads a division carrying out secret military operations. His father is General Baal, supreme commander of the Forces. Mullen is also the heart throb to his three sergeants Nana, Saki and Mio.
General Baal - General Baal, age 43, is the supreme commander of the Garlyle Forces, the private security forces of the Joule Foundation which was the major developer of the town of Parm. Recently General Ball has begun to distance himself from the Foundation and forge ahead with his own secret activities.
Leen - Lean, age 15, is serving as aide-de-camp to Colonel Mullen, Leen's un-soldierly kindness and attractive looks have endeared her the common soldiers. By participating in secret operations, Leen has acquired a special place within the military. Leen is also the sister of the adventurer Feena.
Pakon - Pakon, age unknown, is the president of the Adventurers Society. He took the mantle after his father passed away. Pakon is a selfish, arrogant and whiny man who uses his power to make the Society a more selective group. His love obsession with the great adventurer Feena has even brought him to more foul deeds of kidnapping her in attempt to make her marry him.
Java - Java, age really old, is a retired adventurer, Jave has become an oddball old man living near the abandoned Leck Mines. If you question hiim, he'll tell you he's still an active adventurer. With his help Justin's first adventures begin.
Lilly - Lilly, age 32, is Justin's mom Lilly manages the Seagull Restaurant in the town of Parm. With a frank and straightforward personality she is quick to chide Justin every time he gets in some sort of mischief but she understand him well. Before Lilly gave birth to Justin she has her own past that few know of but the ones who do knew that fear that she would bestow on anyone who would travel by ship.
Liete - Liete, age unknown, is a mystical young woman whom Justin meets in the Sult ruins. She is shrouded in mystery. With her wisdom and skill, it is unclear whether she is an apparition born of the power of the ancient civilization or an actual living person. She is however, the guide that sends Justin to the knew world in search of adventure.
Grandia's soundtrack remains among fans one of the most praised aspects of the game. It was composed by Noriyuki Iwadare and was his first time recording with a full orchestra. The soundtrack was released by King Records as two separate compilations. The first was released December 22nd, 1997 and features all orchestral songs in the game as well most notable synth-based songs. The remaining songs were released in a second compilation on June 26, 1998.
Grandia Original Soundtracks
Total length: 97:41
CD1: Orchestra Side
- "Theme of Grandia" (4:41)
- "The Sandy Beach of Gumbo" (5:45)
- "Delightful Adventure" (3:44)
- "Farewell to Sue" (3:04)
- "Castle of Dreams" (3:35)
- "Colonel Mullen" (3:57)
- "The Beautiful Women of Alent" (4:28)
- "Ghost Ship" (4:29)
- "The Edge of the World" (4:20)
- "Approaching Crisis" (3:18)
- "Leen's Love Theme" 5:04
CD2: Synthesizer Side
- "Prelude" (1:14)
- "Town of Parm" (3:32)
- "Lilly of the Seagull Restaurant" (2:59)
- "Sult Ruins" (3:51)
- "New Parm - Frontier of Our Hearts" (3:51)
- "Dom Ruins" (4:25)
- "Duel with Gadwin" (3:32)
- "Dight Village" (3:46)
- "Prayers of Gumbo" (2:16)
- "Twin Towers" (6:00)
- "Cafu Village" (3:41)
- "Zil Padon" (4:29)
- "Snow Village Laine" (4:20)
- "Stand and Rise! Justin" (3:20)
Grandia Original Soundtracks II
Total length: 114:14
- "Off Runs Sue" (0:33)
- "Justin Hits the Scene" (2:36)
- "Angel Culture" (5:20)
- "Deck Swabbing" (1:35)
- "Inside Sult Ruins" (3:31)
- "Battle 1" (2:12)
- "Victory" (1:29)
- "A Misty Sea of Forests" (1:41)
- "Gaia's Egg" (0:30)
- "The Airship Launches" (0:43)
- "Gaia Fuka" (0:22)
- "The Destruction of Jilpadon" (0:38)
- "Leen vs Gaia" (1:10)
- "Gaia Grows" (1:22)
- "At Dinner" (1:41)
- "Inside Domu Ruins" (2:23)
- "Four Volley Rounds of Tension" (5:54)
- "Dungeon 1" (6:42)
- "New Parm Church" (3:50)
- "Complete Victory" (1:06)
- "Village of Ruku" (4:38)
- "Cheering Gamba" (0:11)
- "Cheering Gamba Ver.2" (0:12)
- "Three Sisters" (3:21)
- "Dungeon 2" (4:10)
- "New Parm Sake Bar" (1:45)
- "Parm Harbor" (3:04)
- "Inside Twin Tower 1" (3:23)
- "Battle 2" (3:45)
- "Unknown Sky Dimension" (4:13)
- "Galaiel" (4:57)
- "Farewell" (4:25)
- "Underground Ruins" (5:10)
- "Short Loop 1" (3:41)
- "Short Loop 2" (2:39)
- "Inside Twin Tower 2" (3:17)
- "Battle 3" (4:13)
- "The Cursed Tower" (4:08)
- "Assault" (3:56)
- "Aiming for a New World" (1:41)
- "Adventure's Society" (2:04)