Namco and the PlayStation have enjoyed something of a symbiotic relationship over the past few years. During the PSX's first delicate months, it was Namco that provided many of the system selling titles; in the time of PSX's market superiority, it was the PlayStation which provided a game-selling system. As the PSX's audience has grown in size, so it has also grown in diversity. Genres that had been pegged as niche earned commercial success; a noteworthy example being RPGs. So it would seem unusual that the decidedly traditional Tales of Destiny would stand as Namco's lone take on the genre for the PSX; enter Khamrai.


   As suggested by the title, a creative spelling of Kamurai, or "The Coming of God", the world of Khamrai is a mystical place. A place where humans and gods live amongst each other, although the relationship between these two is anything but amicable. As such, the world of Khamrai is segregated into the six floating kingdoms of Fire, Giant Earth, Light, Growth, Doom, and Big Sky. In RPG tradition, the name of each floating nation is representative of the idealogy of its people. For example, those of Giant Earth are agriculturalists preferring to live as one with nature, and will do whatever is necessary both to preserve the land and their way of life. Similarly, the people of Light are philsophists and scholars, placing the greatest importance upon the pursuit of knowledge and greater understanding.


   Taking a note from several other titles, this game world is made up of a 3D environment inhabited by 2D characters, the design of which is the handiwork of Haruhio Mikamoto of Macross fame. Known protagonists include:

  • Kagato: Hailing from the kingdom of Dark, Kagato was orphaned, leaving him to be raised by an elderly priest named Obaba. Kagato serves as the title's obligatory capricious teenaged adventurer.
  • Fushi: A member of a noble family of gods from the kingdom of Light, he tends to take his station in life for granted.
  • Syuon: Suffering from a case of wanderlust as well as rather questionable set of ethics, her adventures eventually see her meeting up and joining with Kagato.
  • Sayohime: Another familiar RPG character type, Sayohime is the selfess healer who lives only to aid others.
  • Kiriha: Kihira was also raised and instructed by Obaba, making her foster-sister to Kagato.
  • Yu: Yu carves out a living for himself by hunting down magical beasts.
  • Kazura: This young princess is handy with magic and leads a group of immortals despite her age.
  • Tukikage: The female advisor is knowledgeable in the ways of life thanks to her immortality and stolid nature.
  • Obaba: Despite his old age, Obaba is fully capable of taking care of himself. He has mentoredboth Kagato and Kiriha in his ways.
  • Kujyaku: While he may not be much of a looker, this hunter-for-hire always keeps the safety of the public his top priority, mainly by destroying dangerous monsters.

   While the cast adheres to many RPG traditions, Khamrai is unique in that players are given the choice between lead characters at the outset. Choosing between Kagato and Fushi will presumably make for a different experience, although how unique each storyline will be remains a mystery.

    Also unique is the rather hands-off approach the game's battle system takes. Before going into battle, players must choose a formation strategy and a method of attack; once the battle has ensued, the party members act on their own accord within these guideline. The only direct control possible to make at this point is target selection. Will this prove to be a clever way of handling the often tedious barrage of RPG battles, or a frustrating removal from the action? This is yet to be proven one way or the other, although points are awarded to Namco for trying something so different.

    Whether the title will wind up being a refined representation of its genre or a lesson in insipidity, only time will tell. However, there's a certain level of quality associated with Namco's titles, and it certainly looks that steps are being made to ensure Khamrai meets these expectations.

Preview by Drew Cosner, GIA.
Developer Namco
Publisher Namco
Genre Traditional RPG
Medium CD-ROM (?)
Platform Sony PlayStation
Release Date  2000
Namco announces "The God RPG"
35 screenshots
4 character designs