Quest 64 (Holy Magic Century Eltale) [N64 – Beta]

Quest 64 (Holy Magic Century Eltale) [N64 – Beta]

Quest 64 (aka Holy Magic Century in PAL regions and Eltale Monsters in Japan) is an RPG developed by the Japanese company Imagineer. It was originally published in 1998, while the Japanese version was released in 1999 and features an extended ending cutscene.

Quest 64 was announced under the title “Crystal Stories” in June 1997. Screenshots of this early beta build feature a capeless, knight-like version of the final protagonist Brian. In August 1997, the game reached the second stage of development and was renamed “Holy Magic Century Eltale” (or simply “Eltale” in Japan). This version was meant to be released on a 96Mbit cartridge (the final game had 128Mbit of data) in December 1997.

The graphics of this second build resembled the released game, but its story was different: As in the final game, it revolved around Spirit Handlers, which are magicians with the ability to control the elements. Unlike Quest 64, however, there were five elements and not four. Half a century before the events of the game, there was an evil Spirits Handler named Larva. He was a priest who served the pope of the Highland, but his spirit-handling skills became too strong and he was excommunicated. Larva then traveled through the world as the Black Spirits Handler and found accounts of the Evils, three kinds of sinister powers which were accidentally created during the first spirit handling experiments. They fed off the Seven Deadly Sins committed by humans, made them do more evil deeds and could even create monsters. Larva eventually freed the Evils and a fierce war ensued. It lasted until the Zeek crystal appeared and equipped three heroes with holy swords, giving the forces of good a deciding advantage. Although peace was restored, Larva managed to escape.

The second build featured three playable protagonists, each with their individual strengths and weaknesses:

quest-64-beta-nina-cozi-characters

Magician (named by the player)
Description: A descendant of an ancient dynasty of sorcerers
Age: 12
Height: 1,50m
Weight: 42kg
Skills/weapons: Magic, staff

Nina
Description: A princess, also a descendant of the Spirit Handlers
Age: 13
Height: 1,55m
Weight: 38kg
Skills/weapons: Defensive and healing magic, bow and arrows

Cozi
Description: A strong and ruthless pirate
Age: 15
Height: 1,70m
Weight: 70kg
Skills/weapons: Fists, sword

The unnamed magician was a descendant of one of the heroes who originally fought against Larva. Together with Nina and Cozi, he was to search for the three holy swords and stop the reemergence of evil. The final build omits most of these plot points and the magician Brian is the only protagonist. Nina probably turned into Princess Flora of Dondoran and Cozi might have become the pirate Kiliac on the Isle of Skye.

As the screenshots show, the early builds had a traditional level-up system as seen in other RPGs. The menu screen had additional options for the cursor, spells, sound effects and a help option. None of the images from the early builds indicate the “elementals” collected, which is otherwise shown in the bottom left corner in the final version. In one of the screens in the gallery below we can even see a removed bubble attack: its graphics were used for King Beigis’ “Large Cutter” look-alike, though no official attack name is known.

This information was taken from previews found in english N64 Magazine (issue 4, 1997), german Nintendo Fun Vision (issue August/September 1997) and german N64 Magazin (issue September 1997). Thanks to Hydrozor and Mario for the contributions!

First beta  build:

imaginerpg6.jpg

Early second beta build:

questa-64-beta-n64-magazin-german-9-1997

Late second build:

quest61.jpg


Other images (first and second builds):


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22 thoughts on “Quest 64 (Holy Magic Century Eltale) [N64 – Beta]

  1. Hydrozor

    I would’ve loved to see that bubble attack implemented. Its graphics were used for King Beigus’ “Large Cutter” look-alike, though no official attack name is known.

    It’s also possible they were slightly reused for Nepty’s Bubble Attack. Same as above for official names.

    Ironically, that screen is not here. Useless rant much?

  2. Hydrozor

    Or not. I’m still looking for that image. Maybe you can figure out how to make that wierd image(amongst the link) appear(that has 4 bubbles with 4 items in it. I think that was a beta version of selecting elements for levelling)

  3. Celine

    Interesting enough in a build pre-release there were available 3 characters to play with.
    Brian ( mage ), Nina ( princess ) and Cozi ( pirate )

  4. Celine

    It is past many years from the last time I’ve played it.
    If I remember right. the princess was a NPC found in the first castle you encounter.
    Can’t remember the pirate.

  5. Hydronix

    Kiliac was interesting. I’m hoping to find data on Quest RPG: Brian’s Journey myself.

    And Nina was probably made into Flora, and Cozi was probably made into Kiliac. They all play a role throughout the game, although not a major one. Flora does nothing of importance besides saying she wants to fight. Kiliac provides you a ship to get the Water Jewel.

    They’re a lot more important in the Game Boy remake, however.

  6. Hydronix

    After looking through the screenshots(that were put up), Cozi has the nearly same design as Kiliac. So I’m 99% sure he was changed into him.

    As for Nina… they look nearly alike. Barely any difference, really.

    Besides that, one might note how Shannon looks amazingly a lot like Impa in Ocarina of Time. Are there any beta shots of Impa and Shannon? This theory does hold a bit more water when you notice they share a lot of similar traits in how they help the hero.(with the obvious difference of what their alligiences are.)

  7. Matt

    It mentions “5 elements” in the original, does anyone know what element #5 was? I didn’t see it in the english part and I can’t read German.

    1. Anonymous

      I wish they had chosen to make this game for the PlayStation instead of the Nintendo 64. The limits of the Nintendo 64 and the cartridge size severely cropped what they were trying to make a lot of elements were half finished, and many spells were left unused…. the game was also rushed. It was created near the end of the Nintendo 64’s popularity. There is supposed to be a level up system. There is not a chance of seeing a level up system in the final game. A lot of characters got unused. the artists and designers had a vision for this game that far exceeded what they are trying to create. The music, and art, and battle sequences are special. You would see what they are trying to do. It is great it has that unique style to it… instead of being a normal platformer…. final fantasy VII is a good example of a game that has a similar art style. But I think they had simply ran out of time… and left us with this unfinished, un-optimized game, on a system that was not powerful enough to run it. If they made this game on the PlayStation and implemented all the content they intended… it could have been wonderful

      1. Anonymous

        Nina Could have been a playable character for the game along with the pirate Cozi but were turned into minor characters named Princess Flora and Kilack respectively

        1. Anonymous

          The bubble attack could have been used in the game but was used instead as King Beigis’ “Large Cutter”.

          1. Irene

            Game has a very clear level up system. It’s just not a traditional one. You level up all your stats and elements. You gain literal in-game experience. You just aren’t told the exact points like in normal games, but it’s very clearly there.

            Flora’s a bit more minor, to be fair. Kiliac actually is the only reason you even get to Isle of Skye and directly notes he’s allowing you on his ship to get there. And is there along with Colleen related to the Nepty stuff. He’s pretty much part of the overall plot, just not super important to it. Both characters play a way bigger role in the Gameboy game, which is most likely what they were intended to be after they scrapped the 3-character system. A lot of changes in the story fit expected stuff from the beta to some degree.

  8. Anonymous

    There are supposed to be 5 elements but one was removed during development and the story is supposed to be about the Spirit Handlers and Larva would be the Black Spirits Handler and would revolve along the three heroes searching to defeat Larva with holy swords to defeat it, but no! The developers decided to axe a lot of this story when they simply realize they are running out of time.

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