The genes of a valkyrie

The turn tri-Ace would take next resulted in one of the more surprising games in its lineup. According to Yamagishi, "During the initial development, online gaming had become popular, and we started the Radiata project as a standalone RPG which plays like an online game."

Though the story of the game centers around a pair of young knights in training - Jack Russell and Ridley Silverlake - the real appeal of Radiata Stories is the town the game's title is drawn from. Radiata is a bustling city filled with people. This wouldn't be that out of the ordinary, except for two things. Each character has a unique personality, and you can recruit 150 of them for your party.

According to Yamagishi, the attempt to create a mock-online game "... was the key ingredient for the game style of the unique characters in the true-to-life routines. The story was composed with the idea of a crucial decision the player must make as a part of the game." Though it's a single-player RPG, Radiata lives and breathes with its world, and it's not quite like anything else. "By creating a seamless blend of storyline progression and real-time flow, two seemingly opposing elements, we gained the ability to compose the two with as little interference as possible," observes Yamagishi.

If you've been paying attention, you'd expect Radiata to offer up another dose of deep-dungeon exploring and action-packed battles. According to Yamagishi, "... we have extensive experience making RPG games with real time elements, [so] we use this knowledge to our advantage." Though the deepest and most rewarding aspect of Radiata Stories' gameplay is the interaction between characters, the game throws you into chaotic battles against enemies at every turn... and, as with Star Ocean, there's one very special one.

Above: Lenneth appears again in Radiata Stories - and this time, she'll come with you

Where tri-Ace treads, Lenneth Valkryie follows. Deep in a dungeon you can only access after you've beaten the game, this warrior bides and waits for a challenger. If you can defeat her, she'll actually join your party; you can team up with her and then take on sorcerer Lezard Valeth, one of the most important characters in the Valkyrie Profile series - watch out for him in both Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth and Valkyrie Profile 2: Slmeria.

All of this flirting with Lenneth wasn't for nothing. While Radiata Stories was in development, tri-Ace had begun another project. Six and a half years after the game was first released, Valkyrie Profile gets its sequel.