Tag Tamers

Gaming Diary, 13 years later

Release date: August 3, 2000
Price: 3800 yen
Genre/System: Collection RPG, Wonderswan

Day 1

The game starts with a recap of Anode/Cathode Tamer. Essentially the text reads that it all began on New Year’s Eve, 1999, after one digimon, Agumon, appeared on Ryo’s computer. For the sake of Agumon and the Digital World, Ryo faced Millenniumon and saved Taichi and the other Chosen Children. After overcoming many trials (like, say, facing all the villains of the first season with only digimon for company), he defeated Millenniumon and brought peace to the Digital World.

OKAY SO, PRESENT DAY. According to various date stamps in Bokura no Wargame, it’s safe to assume that this is March 4, 2000. First, a word of warning: do not attempt to force this game to adhere to 02’s timeline. Even 02 can’t adhere to 02’s timeline. You’d get better internal consistency from the various Harlock versions than you will from the anime series itself, and at least Harlock fandom doesn’t get its panties in a twist over clashing canons.

Ken called Ryo over to his place because something strange popped up on his computer. Then the screen flashes and it evolves on him. Ryo points out that it’s a digimon, and it evolved. WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon turn up on the screen and Diablomon smacks them. Ryo panics, Ken is confused and wonders if it’s a game, and Ryo stumbles over himself trying to explain this whole Digimon thing. He then paces around Ken’s room trying to figure out what to do. They come to the conclusion to send support e-mails because what the hell else can they do. Wargreymon and MetalGarurumon fuse into Omegamon and Diablomon’s defeated. Taichi thanks everyone profusedly, and then Ryo starts explaining this Digimon thing in detail.

The next day, Ken asks Ryo over because his computer’s being strange again. There’s another digimon who pops out, startles Ryo, and introduces himself as V-mon, who came in place of Agumon. V-mon needs Ryo’s power. Ryo says that he was wondering if Diablomon’s still alive.

They all head off to the Digital World, where Gennai, Piccolomon, and Agumon await. Gennai remarks that Ryo’s gotten bigger (in the 3 months Ryo was gone from the Digital World >_>), Piccolomon says it’s been a while, V-mon cuts in and says they can do greetings later it’s plot time nao. Gennai says that V-mon is as impatient as ever and goes into exposition mode. Long story short, though it was defeated by Omegamon, Diablomon has resurrected and they’re calling upon Ryo once again. V-mon says the other children aren’t coming, but they’ll do well, right? Piccolomon says V-mon is being presumptuous and that Agumon is bringing Taichi and they should wait until then. But V-mon can totally smell victory in the air if he goes with Ryo! Ryo agrees to go because if Taichi can handle it so can he, and Agumon urges him to wait.  Ryo says it’ll be fine, Gennai asks if it really will, and V-mon says they can wait in the house (… while he and Ryo hare off like a couple of idiots). Ken hasn’t said a thing and apparently quietly goes along to sit tight at Gennai’s.

You’re finally allowed to save, and it’s off to take on Diablomon. As that particular scene is deserving of its own post, I’ll close off this one with the following note: The final screenshot is of an area that has taken massive damage between the end of Anode Tamer and the beginning of Tag Tamers. Heavens, what could be so strong?

Day 2

The background music is so cheerful for all that Ryo is trekking through a devastated landscape. The dungeon here is the cave of destruction in the mountain. There are two minor battles and a boss battle that is suspiciously easy.

And then Millenniumon turns up, says that he’d been waiting for this, reveals that he used Diablomon simply as an opening move to lure Ryo to the Digital World, and points out that Ryo and the Chosen Children never openly face each other, and this (presumably fighting Millenniumon) is the only role of this one (presumably Ryo). Thereby establishing a pattern for ironically being the only one who’s actually been honest with Ryo from the start.

Then it’s back to town, where Piccolomon remarks that Agumon is late, Gennai says that despite appearances, Agumon is usually dependable. There’s a flash and Taichi and Agumon finally turn up. At that moment, it’s back to the mountain, where Mille chuckles, says it all goes as he planned from the beginning, and bids them farewell.

Back in town, Taichi and Agumon prepare to head off. The explosion reaches town and there’s another flash as Ryo and V-mon land in town. V-mon is rightly confused and wanders town, eventually running across a knocked-out Piccolomon and a frozen Taichi and Agumon. V-mon can get no response out of them and says it’s like they turned to stone.

Elsewhere, Ken wakes up in a meadow with a Wormmon checking to see if he’s okay. Ken asks if he’s still in the Digital World, asks if Wormmon is a digimon, Wormmon seems to know who Ken is right off, asking if he’s Ken and saying that Chosen Children should go to Gennai’s. Ken says no, Ryo’s the Chosen Child, not him. Wormmon asks if he wasn’t blown there by the strange explosion and Ken asks if Wormmon could show him back to Gennai’s. Wormmon takes Ken through a couple of dungeons which are painfully slow due to Wormmon sucking at fighting, and they soon arrive in town.

In town, Ken and Wormmon come across the Taichi and Agumon statues, and Gennai lying unconscious beside them. Gennai asks what Ken knows, Ken explains (and the text is lazy in that it’s essentially the Japanese version of “WAWAWA” of Peanuts fame; it uses words that denote chatting, like so: かくかくしかじか. I am assuming it’s a review of what Ken experienced after the explosion.) Gennai says that, come to think of it, before they saw the flash of white before them and heard the distant sounds, it did look awfully like a set-up, didn’t it? (No, really?) Gennai thinks that perhaps this may be the mirror site. Ken presses for an explanation. Long exposition short, Digital World ripped in two, elements copied over, Gennai hypothesizes that they won’t be able to meet with Taichi and Ryo. Ken asks if Taichi isn’t really here. Gennai says that Taichi is trapped between worlds. All very well and all, but then Wormmon asks if Ken’s a chosen child. Ken says no, it’s different, he’s not a Chosen Child. Then Ken blames himself for Taichi getting frozen for some reason and Gennai tells him not to be so pessimistic and leads them to the conclusion that Ken’s his own person and shouldn’t compare himself to either Taichi or Ryo. There’s a silly scene where Ken and Wormmon more formally introduce themselves and Gennai says yeah, so that’s how a Chosen Child is born. DON’T TRY TO MAKE SENSE OF THIS OKAY, he’s probably pulling their legs anyway.

So, with that over with, a new digital gate opens up to the next set of dungeons. Gennai explains the system for a bit.

Day 3

Okay, so this isn’t really much of an entry as the game is going into DUNGEONS EVERYWHERE mode. But at least these are interestingly-shaped dungeons. Brave Tamer didn’t even have that.

The new gate opens to the Ocean Continent, which is filled with pyramids that vaguely resemble those you might see in history. Maybe. Gennai says that on the peninsula, a digimon was manipulated towards ill-will and Gennai can feel the evil from it and Ken should beat it.

Oh boy. It’s off to the continent with such creative dungeon names as Ocean Cave, Water Cave, and Black Ship. Clearing the first two will open up the Portable and D-3 Coliseums, which are useless to those of us who do not care for extra toys. Along the way, Ken ends up with a Tokomon and Yukimibotamon, which I really suggest leveling to child levels before hitting up the final dungeon in this area.

In the Black Ship, there’s a Betamon just before the final boss who says that the guy ahead is very cruel and reminds you to save, heal, and make any other preparations. To be fair, he is pretty tough. Especially since it’s Greymon, Devimon, and Devidramon against a trio of child-level digimon, which is decidedly unfair. Patamon is the heaviest hitter in this party, and that is sad. Wormmon’s Nebaneba Net and Plotmon/Protomon/whatever’s Fox Tail and Puppy Howling can be used to make Patamon’s Air Shot do a ridiculous amount of damage. Greymon says “good job”, essentially, and wanders off. Okay then.

Back in town, Gennai urges Ken to look at his new invention, the Reload Machine. This is great in that it allows trading between Ryo and Ken. Gennai says that if you press the switches, for a moment the two mirror sites go back to one. Ken is understandably astonished and asks if that fixes things. Gennai says no, it lasts for a split second and the worlds will immediately split again. Wormmon says that it’s not completely hopeless.  Gennai says that he doesn’t know for sure, but they will synchronize and be able to exchange items and digimon in that moment.

In the other world, Gennai, Wormmon, and Ken appear in Piccolomon’s house, to Ryo’s surprise. Gennai tells him story later, read this letter now. He sends a letter to Piccolomon and they fade out. Piccolomon reads the letter, says it’s clever of Gennai, and prepares to build the Reload Machine. V-mon says that it seems like they’ll have to do things twice, keying the player into the idea that yeah, you’ll have to clear each dungeon with both Ryo and Ken. Ryo verifies this, Piccolomon agrees, and it’s off to do this dungeon area all over again.

Upon clearing the Ocean Cave, File Island shakes and the big tree is restored as the VS Coliseum.

Day 4

Okay, so, we establish from last time that this game is set up as a tag team system. ken goes to clear a dungeon, passes on the stick to Ryo, Ryo goes to clear the same dungeon and moves on to the new one, passes the stick back to Ken, and so on. Also, there are digimental shards in every dungeon. They have to be repaired before the digimentals can be used.

Clearing the Water Cave opens up the D-Terminal Coliseum on Ryo’s side, which is yet another area that’s useless unless you have that toy. These games has a lot of peripherals to go with it and damned if Bandai isn’t going to try to milk all the money it can off of players.

In the Black Ship ver. 2, there’s a cut along the way and we see Greymon talk briefly, saying that he’d already seen this attack in the other world. There’s a flash behind him and he apparently gets possessed or something again and says that he thinks doing the same thing he had before is okay. A friendly dungeon-dwelling Yokomon tells us that maybe doing the same thing (the player) did before may not work. Which is really too bad, because Ryo’s party is more attack-based than Ken’s by default. Ken’s Wormmon/Patamon/Protomon party is much more support-based than Ryo’s V-mon/Hawkmon/Armadimon. Therefore, the enemy party hits a little harder, and Greymon destroys Armadimon’s Knowledge digimental which annoys me because Digmon was the only area-attack digimon I have at the moment.

Anyway, the next dungeon area that opens up is the Mountain Continent, continuing the grand tradition of truly inspired naming schemes. Digitamamon’s Jogress Shop (where you smash digimon together because they won’t evolve unless you do, apparently; friendly reminder that it doesn’t work this way in the show) still isn’t open yet, but dungeon maps can now be bought at Nanimon’s Item Shop. Also, the digimon in the Mountain continent have a nasty habit of destroying digimentals, dishing out status ailments, and are generally annoying. Clearing the first of the Mountain Continent dungeons opens up the Digimon Alcove, which is a place where you can find tablets inscribed with Jogress hints. In the above screencap, it says “XV-mon + Stingmon = Paidramon”.

In the final level of the Mountain Continent, a PetitMeramon warns Ryo that Millenniumon’s minions lie in wait to spring a trap on them just ahead. The boss is MetalGreymon, who says that this force will destroy Ryo. Yeah, that doesn’t last long. When Ryo heads back, Piccolomon says that something about MetalGreymon felt like a trap. But no matter! It’s time to rest and hand things over to Ken.

The going is a bit harder in the Mountain Continent with Ken’s party, largely because none of these digimentals he has lets anyone in his party do area damage. The elecmon in the final cave warns you that the guy you fought before lies ahead, and that he’s stolen a technique from the previous fight. This will be much tougher with Ken’s party.

Interestingly enough, while MetalGreymon uses “omae” for Ryo, he uses “kisama” for Ken; kisama being the really rude form of “you”. It supports the idea that MetalGreymon isn’t actually himself, and establishes a pattern you see throughout the game. If MetalGreymon is actually being controlled by Millenniumon, then it makes sense that he speaks like Millenniumon. He says, basically, he is using your skills, watch!

It’s a tough battle made moreso by him stealing the skills from Ryo’s party, but doable. When Ken defeats MetalGreymon, he says nothing and a new gate opens. Gennai says that Ryo and Ken work well together and praises Ken for his work.

Day 5

The Machine Continent is tough, but not nearly as much as what comes afterwards. Fair warning on the first dungeon: Take the upper path unless you want to run into a group of Ultimates (megas to you dub fans). While this can be useful if you want to add, say, Pinocchimon to your collection, it’s best to avoid these parties until you’re prepared. Clearing the first dungeon opens up Otamamon’s Shop, which sells rare items that you can’t buy unless you play the peripherals.

The final dungeon in this area is the Electro-Base, which also has a lower path to avoid. An Elecmon in the dungeon tells Ken to listen, you can hear the footsteps of the evil black digimon. He’s very strong, and Elecmon warns Ken to be prepared. The boss is Black Wargreymon, who says upon his defeat that this is what he likes to see, your party trembling. It’s a tough battle, but doable. Back in town, Gennai says that terrible digimon live in the Machine Continent, but they were once good digimon who had become corrupted. Then it’s time to reload and it’s off to Ryo’s half of the world. In the Electro-Base, a yokomon warns that the same black digimon is back and has developed a resistance to any skills used before by Ken.

BWG starts off by being rude and using “kisama” for Ryo, saying “Your skills…  It’s already too late!” then something flares up behind him and seems to infect him. He says “Quake! Fear! Be stricken with dread!” Okay. It’s an easier battle with Ryo’s party, and he says nothing when he’s defeated. A new gate opens up, and it’s time for a week’s worth of leveling.

Millenniumon’s continent is tough and the going is grueling and I’ve been playing while marathoning The X-Files and playing Tactics Ogre to keep myself awake. This is an area that can and will wipe you out even when you’re prepared. I had to switch out Ryo’s Aquilamon and Ankylomon for a Mugendramon-to-be and a Pinocchimon-to-be, largely because Megadramon and Jureimon are at higher levels.

Anyway! In the first dungeon, a PetitMeramon says that Mille’s the ringleader and asks that Ryo completely defeat him. The betamon in the next dungeon tells of an item shop in a hidden loft, and the series of digimon in the third dungeon discuss game tips. Why they don’t do it in town, I’ve no idea. In the final dungeon for this area, a betamon asks if Ryo can hear that? Millenniumon’s roar. Then he urges Ryo to go home. Before the battle with Mille, he says that alone, Ryo doesn’t have the power to defeat him; that Ryo will never figure out the key to his power; and that the door will never open.* It’s a tough battle made slightly easier by the use of Flymon’s Deadly Sting. Upon his defeat, a doorway appears in town. It’s not over by a long shot.

Day 6

Once Ryo clears all the dungeons on Millenniumon’s continent, Ken has to follow along and do the same. The Moon-Server on Ken’s side has pieces of the Digimental of Desire, and this is the only place to find it. Please see this entry for translation notes regarding the digimentals. An elecmon in the Moon-Server says that he came at last, that the Millenniumon from earlier is waiting, and wasn’t there another of him (elecmon)? And just being here is making him shiver. Okay.

On the last floor of the Moon-Server, Mille is rude to Ken, using “kisama” to refer to him. “Hmph. Your power is at this level after all. Maybe in a hundred years can you beat me with such power!” The connotation that I didn’t mention in my earlier gaming diary because it’s hella hard to translate is that the word I translated to “level” can also mean “low class”. So, yeah, Mille is treating Ken like crap.

As it turns out, there is a trick to the mystery door in town. Ken has to defeat Millenniumon in exactly the number of turns that Ryo took to defeat him earlier. Formal apology for misinterpretation here. Once Ken’s timing matches Ryo’s, and it may take a few tries, Mille dismisses it as a terrible coincidence. However, it’s still useless. The number engraved on the doors glow, and Gennai urges Ken to rest. The door will not open, so it’s time to reload.

Piccolomon reminds Ryo to make sure he’s ready, because this is the last battle. Any stocking up or polishing off final units has to be done now, on both sides. For me, Ryo’s party is V-mon, Jureimon, and Millenniumon (because I loves me some irony), and Ken’s is Wormmon, Seraphimon, and Angewomon. When Ryo approaches the door, Piccolomon flies in to remind him again to be absolutely sure he’s ready, because this is the door to the world of Millenniumon’s mind and spirit. The door glows and opens, and Ryo and Ken’s spirits are “drawn into the darkness of Millenniumon’s spirit”.

There’s a short walk across a barren landscape to a glowing portal in front of a giant hovering ball the game calls Millenniumon’s castle. There’s a flash as the ball explodes and…

Day 7

When the orb explodes, we go straight to the final battle. To Ryo, Moon-Millenniumon is very polite. “How skillful you are, to arrive here after so great a struggle to block my ambitions. As is expected of you Chosen Children.” Then the screen switches to Ken’s party. “This is my mind’s world. Everything that happens here is constrained in me. That is to say, your [kisama] power is also limited. Heheheh… Come! Challenge me! Even as you tremble in despair!”

It’s a tough series of battles where you have to alternate between parties, but doable. Ken’s party ends the battle, and it is to Ken that Mille addresses his next words: “Hahaha… What is this power, this destructiveness… My… Your (kisama)… This power is… That is…” And he disappears. 

Meanwhile, back in town, Taichi and Agumon become unfrozen and make very cute happy motions. There’s some back-and-forth about them being able to finally move again, and Ryo and Ken and the digimon soon run up to them. Ken asks if they’re safe, right? and Ryo confirms that they saved the Digital World. Taichi thanks them very much and all looks well, right?

Surprise! Millenniumon appears, stage right. A Dark Seed shoots forth from him and Ken screams at them to watch out and runs in to intercept. He gets hit hard and thrown down by the force. Wormmon races to his side, and the others join him a second later. Millenniumon goes full screen and says: “Hahhahha… I cannot die… Your holy power may persist. I too… my dark power too is eternal… Absorbed… spirit…” You can tell he’s addressing Ryo by the use of “omae”. Other notes: Millenniumon makes a mid-sentence shift in self-reference. He goes from “watashi” (formal “I”) to “waga” (super-formal literary “I”). From Moon-Millenniumon on, he will continue using the waga/ware set to refer to himself. As he takes a level up of sorts from a composite digimon to Evil God (), this makes sense. Final note: The last bit was a little hard to translate because it breaks up, but the implication is that one of the spirits will become devoted to/absorbed by…? It’ll become pretty clear later.  Then he disintegrates.

There’s a fade-out and the scene cuts to Gennai’s. Wormmon monologues about how they tried to help Ken, but he’s sorry. It seems Ken has been out for a while. He then wakes up, to everyone’s surprise. Then the screen fades to white as Wormmon monologues some more. “Thus our adventure was over. Through the courage and efforts of Ryo and Ken, all evil vanished. Taichi and Ryo went back to the real world. If something happens to the Digital World, they’ll come back. Ken stayed in this world to rest until the wound he received healed. After a while it healed. However, Ken has changed a bit. The black mass that hit him that time… Ken became cold. But I believe, surely Ken will become gentle again someday… … Ken was injured for our sake. Now I… I will protect Ken… … I believe, someday the three of us might go on an adventure again… … I believe… … … …”

The credits roll, white on black, and then comes an epilogue. This is the only time any of the games gets one. Later, the Kaiser and Wormmon walk up to a cliff overlooking what is probably the Dark Ocean. The Kaiser says, “I have returned to show this world… I am different from Millenniumon… I am… I am… I am the Digimon Kaiser!” He missed a perfectly good opportunity for evil laughter, however. The screen scrolls up to a starry sky and “The End” in English.

As an aside, there is an extra dungeon you can access after the game through a portal where the big doors used to stand. It’s called the Kaiser Room, and exists in a pocket universe version of Odaiba. This game is very clear that the post-game leveling and dungeon crawling is practice only and not part of the real timeline. Gennai says that this is a world in which Ryo can train to become the strongest digimon tamer. All the Kaiser really says is welcome to his dungeon, show him (Ryo’s) overwhelming power, it’ll be fun. However, Ryo never really encounters the Kaiser beyond that voiceover, and the timeline disregards everything after the Dark Ocean scene and moves on to D-1 Tamers.

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