Alongside my formal game reviews, I like to write articles that dig a little deeper into the aspects that make these games so great. To kick things off, I cannot begin discussing Suikoden properly without discussing the characters. In a time when groundbreaking graphics and turn-based goodness was the law of the genre, Konami broke the mold in making their games really about the people within the world rather than having the world itself in the spotlight. Each character within every game has his or her own story, some of them spanning several titles within the series. Watching some of the characters grow or seeing where they came from is perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the series. Most RPGs of Suikoden’s time kept their characters within their own titles and brought in an entirely new cast for each release. Suikoden introduced you to new characters, but Konami always made sure to bring back some old favorites. It was the perfect balance of the old nostalgia meeting a new adventure.
Before I go on, I want to warn my readers that this top ten article will contain heavy spoilers as the aspects of these characters do span several titles and it would be next to impossible to justify my top ten list without going into such details. Many of these characters will have been involved in the Rebellion against the Scarlet Moon Empire of Suikoden 1 and the Dunan Unification war in Suikoden 2. Because I hope to do more upcoming top 10 lists, I tried to keep those who were involved in the Second Firebringer’s War of Suikoden 3 to a minimum. While the characters span several titles and conflicts within the game’s timeline, they can all be recruited in Suikoden 1.
I will also be using official artwork from a variety of games, mostly because the majority of the official art for the original title was an eyesore. That being said, let’s get started with the characters that I personally decided to recruit into the spotlight for this piece.
#10 – Apple
Apple was rarely impressed with Sheena’s attitude during important meetings.
You first encounter Apple in Suikoden1 as an understudy of the tactician, Mathiu. She’s compassionate and wise beyond her years but she has a bit of an attitude when crossed the wrong way. Apple is one of the many characters that you get to watch grow through the span of Suikoden1-3 which stretches several decades. Following the events of Suikoden 1, Apple is forced to seek out a new mentor. However, she honors her original teacher by dedicating much of her time to writing extensively about his accomplishments. Between the events of Suikoden 1 and 2, Apple grows from the role of an understudy to that of the vice-strategist. She is taken in by the strategist Shu during the Dunan Unification Campaign (S2) and plays a key role in the development of several battle strategies.
Following the events of Suikoden 2, Apple travels the world for a time with another recruit, Sheena. She subsequently enters into a marriage that led to a divorce. Konami has not revealed the identity of her ex-husband but many fans believe it was Sheena. Eventually, her separation led her towards a new conflict, perhaps to put her past behind her. Apple found a new comrade in Ceasar Silverberg, a relative of her beloved former mentor, Mathiu. Ceasar and Apple together provided the strategies behind the player during the events of the Second Firebringer War in Suikoden 3. Following those events and the completion of her book, Apple opened up a school in her hometown.
Apple gets a little passionate around the war room.
Through all three games, Apple is a mainstream character and is automatically recruited into the player’s army through the story. She is present through the majority of war meetings and haunts the player’s stronghold. She’s endearing in her own way. She’s the kind of character that becomes a friendly, familiar face. She journeys with the player through the first three games, growing from a shy young girl into an outspoken and clever young woman. She shows great respect for her mentors and compassion for those around her. Apple has a very real sense of accomplishment about her as well. She suffers loss and heartbreak but continues to press forward and work outside of herself to better the lives around her. While largely overlooked by the fan base, the stronghold just wouldn’t be the same without Apple.
#9 – Lorelei
Lorelei doesn’t really do too much to stand out in Suikoden 1, so she’s pretty low on this top 10 list. What makes her worthy of the list in the first place is how she develops through the games. In Suikoden 1 you encounter Lorelei as she searches for information regarding the long-extinct Sindar race. She spends her life exploring the world in search of any information regarding this lost civilization, and through the games, she is discovered to have competition in her endeavors. In a way, she’s like a female Indiana Jones without the witty one-liners and the paralyzing fear of snakes. She even uses a whip in Suikoden 5, so it’s a fun comparison to make.
Lorelei is a pretty solid combatant but she holds stronger warriors in very high regard. In Suikoden 1, she joins the Unification Army under Tir when he proves himself to be a more competent warrior than she is. While she had no real personal interest in the rebellion against the Scarlet Moon Empire, she remained true to her word and served the Unification Army through the conflict. Following the rebellion, she returned to her life’s work of seeking out the Sindar ruins. In Suikoden 2 she is discovered by the new protagonist and recruited in much the same way as she was recruited in the first game. She serves alongside one of her rivals, but the moment the Dunan Unification War is over she races to the next Sindar site in hopes of beating him to them.
She’s seen as young and stubborn, working alongside a man by the name of Zweig. In reality, Lorelei’shelping herself to his research and using him towards her own ends. It’s interesting to see a younger Lorelei and see how much she matured both as a person and a warrior.
#8 – Jeane
Diehard Suikoden fans are thirsty for more information on the Runemistress, Jeane. She appears in every game but doesn’t seem to age in the slightest. She always plays the role of a flirty distraction for the men within the army, regardless of the game, and even makes passes at some of the characters. In the later game, Suikoden 2, a unicorn is actually insulted if you present Jeane to him as a maiden which more than alludes to some…questionable life choices on the part of Jeane.
Regardless of her flaws, Jeane is a character that really very little is known about. In most games, she is a character that you purchase runes from or receive tutorship in magic. She’s useful around the stronghold, and she’s obtained through the main storyline of each installment.
Sadly, Konami doesn’t seem keen on revealing much about this character but they do enjoy dropping hints that are easily missed from game to game that indicate her true nature. In Suikoden 3, when the player takes control of one of the dog recruits (yes, that’s a thing later on), Jeane asks him not to tell anyone about what he sees. This, and her encounter with a certain angry unicorn, implies that animals can see her for what she truly is. Many characters allude to her age and given that she appears in Suikoden 4 as well as all the others, she has to be several centuries old. Fans speculate that she is a true-rune bearer but there isn’t much evidence beyond her longevity. Either way, we love to see a familiar face in the castle.
I was born and raised in a traditional Christian household, educated privately, and brought up with a passion for Christ. The works of CS Lewis and Tolkien were my greatest influences. I aspire to become a published fictional author, hopefully illustrating my own work as well. Christ is the center of my universe and my faith is the lens in which I look through in regards to everything. As far as games go I am swayed best towards fantasy/action/rpg's.
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