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Elthlead MSX Title Screen


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Before Warsong and the Langrisser series in general, there was Elthlead.

On the continent of Gaia, Böser, the King of the East, is raising an army of dark creatures. King Sieghart of Elthlead, champion of light, must muster his own troops in order to stop him from ruling the world.

After booting up the game, you are given the option to load a previous save. If you don't, you are immediately faced with the world map, where Böser starts moving his troops from his castle to any adjacent province. Once he is done, it is your turn. You first get to buy a unit or two that you can place on your castle. You then move any unit you want to a neighbouring province. After that comes the magic phase, where you can cast spells to give your troops an advantage, like summoning a mighty white dragon that will participate in one fight before disappearing, or hinder those of your AI opponent, even forcibly moving one of his units to another province. The number of magic points available to you depends on the number of ruins you control. Of course, Böser can also cast spells of his own.
This turn order goes on until one of the lords has managed to take the other's castle.

If units from the opposing armies are present in the same province, you are sent to the tactical map, where turned-based combat takes place. Each turn, initiative is given at random, determining who plays first. Each type of unit has a set of statistics for movement, attack power, range and health points. Only the first and last of those are displayed in-game, and solely for your own units. Even the manual is vague about the actual numbers, only giving the units a letter rank.
In combat, units exert a zone of control around them that prevents enemies from escaping. Terrain also plays a role in movement cost, attack, and defence, providing a positive or negative modifier. Flying units ignore terrain and have a general advantage versus ground units, and archers can go on top of walls.

Unlike the later entries in the series, there are no generals or unique heroes. This game is much closer to a traditional wargame than a strategy RPG like the Fire Emblem games, Elthlead predating the first one by a couple of years.


Elthlead MSX Leading an assault across a bridge
Elthlead MSX My White Dragon will melt the snow along with the enemy warriors
Elthlead PC-88 The powerful white dragon is flying into battle on his own while I order my men to cross the bridges and storm the castle. Böser awaits in his throne room with his retinue.
Elthlead MSX Summoning a white dragon for the next battle

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Elthlead Magazine Advertisement

Alternate Titles

  • "Elslid" -- Japanese transliteration
  • "エルスリード" -- Japanese spelling

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Contributed to by Narushima (1184)
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