Please note that there are indirect spoilers here, particularly when it comes to who the boss is of any battle. Also note that this walkthrough will not touch on the visual novel parts of the game, as I believe those parts are best left to discover for yourself. (This is SRPG Academy after all, not Visual Novel Academy!) The aim of this walkthrough is to help prevent silly mistakes during battles, and to offer some general strategies for them.
Sakura Wars’ first battle is unsurprisingly its easiest and most straightforward battle. If you’re a newbie to SRPGs, then I recommend listening to Maria explain things. She does a pretty good job of covering the basics. For veterans to the genre though, I’d recommend skipping her short little tutorial and figuring things out for yourself. Mechanically, the game is like Tactics Ogre in that moving and attacking are two separate actions, and that once you confirm your move, there’s no taking it back. You can take two actions per battle: attack/special, move, and defend/rest/heal. However, you can’t do the same type of action twice. So for instance, I can’t do an attack and then use a special in the same turn because they’re both classified as “attack” actions.
The objective of this battle is simply to defeat Satan. While you’re at it though, you may as well get a feel for the game, its controls, and importantly, your units. Here’s a short breakdown of the units. Do note that, depending on their mood, they may gain increased stats. Thus, their statistics may vary depending on the choices you make throughout the visual novel sections of the game. Anyway, let’s talk about the units themselves:
- Ogami (white) is your main guy. If he dies, it’s game over, so keep him alive at all costs! He’s a melee unit with decent statistics. His special is a super-powered 1-range attack. What makes him (imo) the best unit in the game is his unique ability to “cover” any one of the girls. Use it on the girl of your choice and then she will be immune to all damage. This can work up to 8 times per battle. What makes this even better is that, if a boss uses an AoE which affects Ogami and his covered girl, then not only will she avoid damage, but Ogami will avoid damage as well! Abusing this is one of the best strategies in the game because of how understandably overpowered invincibility is.
- Sakura (pink) is a melee unit with a linear ranged special attack. As far as I’ve tested, this ranged special has infinite range and affects all units in its trajectory. Later in the game, when your characters get their “promotions,” her special upgrades into a three tile-wide beam. It’s without a doubt the most potent special in the game and can singlehandedly wipe out an entire enemy squadron.
- Maria (grey) is a ranged unit who can attack from 1-5 tiles away. However, her range is strictly linear, which is important to keep in mind. (You’ll later get a unit with 4 range but a more flexible nonlinear trajectory.) Maria’s special attack, like her regular attack, is a linear 1-5 ranged attack. Unlike her regular attack, it fires in a cross-shaped AoE. In case you’re familiar with Tactics Ogre spellcasting, or with Blaze/Freeze 2/3 from the Shining Force games, then that’s basically what you’ve got. Maria’s overall quite useful for safely attacking enemies.
- Sumire (purple) is a melee unit who can attack from 1-2 tiles away. Notably, her attacks will pierce up to 2 units in front of her, similarly to how lances work in Tactics Ogre. Sumire’s special is akin to Blizzard from Langrisser: it’s a self-centered AoE which affects all enemies within 3 tiles of her. When she “promotes,” this AoE is upgraded, although I forget what exactly the final value is. I think it’s 4, but I’m not sure. This AoE is a contender for best special in the game, although I typically found Sakura’s better due to its sheer range and ease of use. My experience is also tainted by me always having Sakura in “high spirits” while Sumire was usually in a “terrible mood.” Your mileage may vary, of course.
New unit alert: Kohran Li kabooms her way into battle! She has 4 range, and fortunately for her, it’s not strictly linear like Maria’s is. (Meaning, she can attack diagonally and whatever, as long as it’s within 4 squares). Also worth noting is that her basic attack have a cross-shaped AoE to them, just like Maria’s special. Her tradeoff is that her attacks don’t tend to deal as much raw damage as Maria’s do. Kohran’s special has only 2 range and is unfortunately not an AoE. Strangely, it’s one of the best single-target attacks in the game, especially once she “promotes.” Overall, I found Kohran to be a thoroughly likable character, but a weird unit to use: her basic stuff is weak AoEs, while her special is a low-range, very powerful single-target attack.
Watch out for the cannons (pictured, right next to Sumire). Like Sakura’s special, they have linear, infinite range. Over time, they can deal quite a bit of damage to you. You can preemptively destroy them using some well-placed missiles from Kohran; she’s your only party member who can ignore elevation.
Once you’re at the top of the hill, just turtle up by the steam (it heals you if you stand on it), take a few potshots at the Shadow, and then eventually, the main body (named “Samurai”) will show up. This is the real boss of the map. I like to call it the “clone.” You’ll want to defeat it as soon as possible because if you don’t, then it’ll make a beeline for the tower and then give you a game over. It spawns in the bottom-right hand of the map, and will head to the upper left hand corner.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to defeat. The main thing is you just need to know ahead of time NOT to approach it from the upper right.
With 3 battles total, this is the longest episode in the game! Our first one is a straightforward “reach the destination” objective. Simply moving anyone across the bridge will clear the map (see picture below). We have a new unit though, so let’s talk about her for a little bit. Kanna is basically a watered down Ogami. Her attack range and special are identical to his, with the only principal difference between the two being that Kanna can’t protect her allies on the battlefield. She’s arguably the most straightforward unit in the game. This doesn’t mean she’s bad – simplicity is often a good thing – but it does mean she’s somewhat limited. At her best, she’s an excellent boss-killer; at her worst, she can’t catch up to the enemy and ends up being rather useless.
The second battle is another “reach the destination” map. To get there, you must first fight your way through hordes of enemies. Fortunately, there’s a narrow bridge here which makes for an ideal shooting range for Sakura’s special. See picture below. Unfortunately, Maria is not playable for this map; she’s a non-playable NPC here! Your objective is to have Ogami land adjacent to Maria, so go ahead and do that. (Actually, it might be possible to win this scenario by moving someone else adjacent to her. I wouldn’t know because I didn’t get a chance to try.)
Finally, our third battle for episode 3 is thankfully the shortest one. Simply defeat Setsuna to win. Setsuna might be a tad annoying because he has a tendency to run away, but he shouldn’t be too difficult. Try to surround him and then destroy him.
This episode is divided into two “battles,” although the extent to which the first is really a battle is debatable. For our first “battle,” it’s you and Sakura trying to sequester Iris and talk some sense into her. I believe the way to end this is to have Ogami and Sakura surround her on either side. That’s what I did. Once you do that, I would recommend selecting “persuade her.” I’m not sure what happens if you select “scold her,” nor do I want to find out!
Once that’s all done though, congratulations: your squad is complete! Iris joins your party for real now as your last party member. She’s a pretty interesting unit, albeit not a very useful one later on in the game. The most interesting thing about her (in my opinion) is that she can teleport. The analogy I’d draw is to the “Warp Boots” in the Tactics Ogre games. She’s still limited by her mobility stat, but she can ignore terrain; walls and obstacles which block your other units are of no consequence to Iris-chan, due to her Magic Loli Teleportation Powers™. She’s also your main healer. Her special acts as a full heal to all allies within 3 squares of her. Lastly, her basic attack affects all enemies within 2 squares of her and deals light damage. Overall, quite a unique unit who certainly pulls her weight for most of the game. I don’t find that her niche is especially great in this game though, considering that A) every character already has 2 restores per battle and B) Ogami can just prevent damage entirely up to 8 times per battle. Sakura Wars is a game where damage is king, and Iris sadly isn’t great in this regard.
For our real battle, the boss is Rasetsu, AKA “Literally Hitler.” He’s behind a closed gate, and the only way to open that gate is to send Iris to activate a valve that only she can reach (due to her Magic Loli Teleportation Powers™). It can be kind of time consuming. I recommend that you send Iris alone, have Ogami protect her, and then send everyone else in Rasetsu’s direction so that they can immediately start attacking him once the gate opens. At some point, Rasetsu will ask you which girl is most precious to you. He will then take whoever you picked, and teleport that girl right next to him.
I’ve heard it through the grapevine that it’s possible to have Kanna solo him, so this could indeed be a viable strategy. If you decide to go this route, then make sure your Kanna is in High Spirits beforehand, and also make sure to cover her with Ogami, so as to prevent her from taking any damage. Then, just have her rest + attack every turn, using specials whenever possible.
I don’t think this battle is particularly noteworthy. Most of the entertainment from this episode comes from the haunted house and all of the weird antics between Sumire and Kanna, so perhaps the devs decided “meh, let’s just make this an easy, straightforward battle.” Your boss is Miroku and you start off with Sumire/Kanna/Ogami separated from the other characters. My preferred strategy is to reunite them ASAP.
The only thing to keep in mind is that the enemy loves their ranged units. Between the blue Cannon units and the rocket launchers, they can very realistically one-round one of your units before you can retaliate. Just be careful of this and slowly make your way to Miroku before knocking her out.
This battle is definitely in the running for “most tedious battle in the game,” and would probably win that distinction if not for Episode 9. Here, you’re fighting Miroku again. To reach her, you must first open some doors. To open those doors, you need to hit some switches. To hit those switches, you need to defeat some enemies. See picture below for the first switch. This opens the door which is trapping your other party members (Kanna, Maria, Iris, Sumire, Kohran).
Then, kill the enemies in this room. Your second switch is located here:
After this, expect to spend many turns walking, walking, walking, and walking to Miroku. Once you get to her, she’s not too difficult. It’s worth noting that Iris is actually not trapped at all, due to Magic Loli Teleportation Powers™. So it is possible to send Iris over preemptively and start beating up on Miroku before anyone else can reach her. It’s not exactly recommended, but I guess you can do it because… why not?
We’ve got three battles awaiting us. The first of them is straightforward, if a bit on the long side. Your objective is to just… well, the in-game dialogue should sufficiently explain your objective, so what the hell are you reading this for? The only thing I should mention is that, prior to this battle, you’ll have a choice of which girls to bring with you. You can only bring three, while the other three are left behind. Sakura is a must because of her overpowered special, but for your other two, it’s a tossup. I like the idea of KK (Kohran, Kanna) because of the massive single-target damage you can potentially deal. Maria and Sumire aren’t bad choices either. But if there’s one unit you should leave behind, it’d definitely be Iris. You do not need her heals; you need damage.
Anyway, once you make it through the first of these battles, it’s time to fight the almighty FINAL BOSS: TENKAI! Unleash everything you got on him. Don’t worry about depleting your special bars; this is the final battle against Mr. I’m-Most-Definitely-The-Final-Boss, right?
…Okay, he’s not actually the final boss, and that wasn’t even the final showdown with him. You have to fight him again, right after. But my advice still stands! You may as well use up all your specials now, because you’ll just regain it all for this next battle anyway.
For your final battle of episode 7, you’ll get the rest of your girls back. Hooray! Remember to use Ogami to cover the girl of your choice, remember to use your specials, and remember to use Iris to heal up if necessary. This is a really easy fight. Once you finish, watch some satisfying cutscenes and then switch out for disc 2!
First and only thing you should do for this battle is to move everyone towards this gate (see screenshot). Do NOT waste your specials. Go for a few long-ranged attacks with Maria and Kohran; this should be enough to trigger the dialogue telling you to evacuate the area. Iris should have the easiest time evacuating due to her Magic Loli Teleportation Powers™.
After you’ve evacuated, part 2 of the battle should begin. At this point, let loose. Kill everything; they’re much easier now. There’s not much to say here other than that this is your last battle with your Koubu. After this, a series of events happens which results in your Koubu being replaced by the more potent Jinbu. This upgrade effectively functions as a “promotion.” Sakura’s and Sumire’s specials will notably now have a greater area of effect. And yes, you will need these upgrades because the final handful of battles in this game can be quite challenging.
Not this next battle though.
Don’t let his monstrous HP bar fool you – Boar is a pushover. You have little to no risk of dying from his attacks, and his minions are nuisances at most. Enjoy this while it lasts, though; the next episode has the most difficult battle in the game and the most annoying one.
Battle number 1 is in my opinion the most annoying one in the game, and that would be because of the boss: Shika the Deer… which redundantly means “Deer the Deer,” sort of like how the Indian film “Enthiran The Robot” means “Robot The Robot.” But before we talk about Deer, we need to first talk about what not to do with regards to Deer’s minions.
If any of the enemies reaches the theater, then it’s curtains for you. Don’t be an idiot like me and let this happen; kill any and all Kouma that are getting close to the theater (it’s in the center of the map). Make sure you take care of them, while also destroying the Kouma generators in each corner of the map. There are 4 total and they function sort of like those monster generators in the Gauntlet games. Once you destroy all of these, Deer will go on the offensive and oh my god is he annoying.
He has the ability to move, attack, and move after that. Basically, Fire Emblem Canto. What makes him so annoying is that his mobility stat is ridiculous, so he’ll inevitably end up escaping your grasp by the end of the turn. Your only way of damaging him will therefore be ranged units, unless you do some serious AI manipulation. Either way, it’s gonna take awhile to kill him. This isn’t a hard battle by any means; it’s just tedious and annoying. It’s my least favorite part of the game… but that being said, if this is the worst that the game has to offer, then it’s still a damn solid game. Let’s move on and talk about the second battle of episode 9. It’s probably the most difficult one and can easily catch you off guard if you’re not careful.
This battle is quite long (by Sakura Wars standards). Be VERY careful as you approach the boss (Shou the Butterfly).
Yeah, one blow from Shou can easily one shot your units. Ogami can just barely survive, but if you’re not careful, then one of the Shock Towers nearby will finish him off, thereby forcing you to redo the entire battle. Probably the best approach to this one is to send in one girl to absorb Shou’s specials, protect your girl with Ogami, and then go in with the rest of your units. From there on, it’s not too bad. My main problem with this battle is just that Shou can easily catch you off guard, since there aren’t any other enemies in the game who deal as much damage as he does… and that includes the final boss. Fortunately for you, if you’re reading this, then you’ll know in advance to stay vigilant!
Once again, we have three battles. These are some of the easiest ones in the game though. I’ll just let this next screenshot speak for itself.
There’s nothing I need to say about the second battle because even an addled chimpanzee on crack could finish it. Probably. I will talk a little bit about the final battle in the game though.
Satan’s HP bar may seem intimidating at first, but consider two factors: A) he doesn’t really do that much damage and B) it’s seven of you versus one of him. Sure, he can summon reinforcements, but it’s only 3 at a time, and they’re child’s play anyway. His AoEs can deal moderate damage, but it’s nothing you can’t easily heal back with Restores + Iris. Additionally, Ogami can make a girl of your choice invulnerable, so there’s really no need to worry. I do have to say that Tactics Ogre GBA had a far more challenging final fight. This game sort of paved the way for that one though.
Anyway, you can do it. If you made it through episode 9, then this should be no problem for you. Deliver unto Satan a beating of biblical proportions, and then sit back and enjoy the ending. It’ll vary depending on which girl likes you the most. Enjoy!