Thousand Arms is a Quirky RPG and a Hidden Gem on the PS1

Thousand Arms is a very horny game. It ties in with the overall theme and mechanics of the game. To upgrade your weapons with different elemental powers, you must increase your relationship status with different women.

It is one of the more anime-inspired games that I’ve played. It reminds me of DNA2, Ranma ½, and Trigun, especially with a lead protagonist obsessed with women. Well, he is obsessed with women most of the time unless the plot needs him to be serious for a minute or two.

It feels easy for my liking. Some ideas don’t feel like they were fleshed out as well as they could have been, but overall, it is an excellent RPG that should have gotten a sequel.

TLDR: This Quirky JRPG is one of the Best of the 90s.


The story isn’t anything special. The game has an evil empire that is trying to take over the world by capturing sacred flames. This is a comedic game that has moments where it tries to be serious.

Before getting into the story, I wanted to discuss the fourth wall breaking in the game. It is one of the best parts of Thousand Arms, and it creates some funny moments. Sometimes, the characters talk like they know this is a video game. It is amusing and tones down some of the serious parts.

We start with our main character, Meis, having his country invaded by the Dark Acolytes of the Empire. His family had ruled the country for some time, and Meis was the only survivor of the royal family. He travels to a city and becomes a blacksmith’s apprentice.

This is where we meet Schmidt; he was an apprentice blacksmith until he went all evil and joined the Empire. Schmidt helps the Emperor gather the five sacred flames to create a sword for him.

Meis travels the game’s world, gathering allies and the avatars of the different spirit elements. The women in your party are the important ones. With their help, Meis can enchant your weapons with different elemental powers. This gives your characters spells and improves their attack rating.

It is explained that the Emperor has been around for a long time. The other Light Clan members were hoping he would die of old age. However, he used technology to extend his life indefinitely and is now more of a robot. In fact, most of his henchmen have been robots. In my opinion, it is one of the more interesting parts of the game.

Once you’ve visited all of the sacred flames, you go to fight the Emperor, who has also gathered all of the flames and fled to the moon. You have to go up there to stop him, and if you’ve made it this far into the game, you might as well head up there and kick his ass.  


This is part of the game that needs to be developed more. Combat is the part of the game I like, and the spells are probably the part I don’t like as much. I like the way things are set up, but it still feels like it could be better.

On the battle screens, things are set up like a one-on-one fighting game. It looks similar to some Street Fighter knock-offs from the early to mid-90s. It feels a bit like Capcom vs. SNK or Marvel vs. Capcom in some ways, but not as good as that system.

Instead of being able to swap between your characters easily, it is a bit clunky and a waste of time. You have a party of three, and the largest number of enemies you’ll fight is three. When the lead character in either group is defeated, the next character moves to the front.

Each time I tried to swap out the character in front, I would remove a character entirely from combat. I would’ve thought they would move the back of the line, but that didn’t seem to be the case. This is one of the things I found very annoying.

While the character in the front can do a bunch of things, such as:

  • Attack
  • Defend
  • Spell
  • Summon
  • Special
  • Items
  • Switch Character

The two characters in the back have a more limited set of options. They can Standby where they will either taunt the enemy or cheer the character in front. They can cast spells or use items.

The frontline character and the two characters in the back have their timers. Once an action is selected, time will count down, and the player must press a button to perform the group’s actions.


There are a few things to talk about here. With Thousand Arms, the art style differs depending on what part of the game you look at. The battle scenes, cut scenes, and the on-screen characters look different. It isn’t as glaring as Final Fantasy VII, but noticeable.

Let’s talk about the cut scenes first. Three types are used, typical for this era’s RPGs (the late 90s). In-game graphics are used the most, and they often transition into a comic book style of cut scenes where you see a picture of a new character. Then there is anime cut scenes that I wish were used more often.

The characters on the main screens look like chibi art with exaggerated heads and are more cartoonish.  The characters on the battle screen look a bit more realistic while still being in an anime style.

When the anime influences of the game are shown off (cut scenes and battle screens), the game looks great! The battle screens are closer to 2D fighting games than this era’s RPGs. The enemies look unique to this game, and I like how the spells look. Unfortunately, the dungeons and overworld don’t look as good today as they did in the late 90s.  

On the main screens, things look a bit muddy. This was typical of graphics from this period. Thousand Arms doesn’t look as bad as an N64 game, but it is pixelated and has muted colors. The anime cut scenes look much better than the CGI cut scenes of this era. However, I’m biased toward the art style because I feel that it holds up better than CGI.

The game goes from being too dark in some places to be too bright in others. Rarely does it look normal. Some of this has to do with the locations. It reminds me that these games would look better on a CRT TV than on an HD TV.  

The graphics look good overall, but some parts have minor issues. They never become a hindrance to playing the game. I wish there were more anime cutscenes in the game than there are.

The game uses an isometric camera view when you’re not in combat. It can make it extremely difficult to line your character up to talk with people, open chests, and use the save points. You also can’t move the camera in some places, making it hard to see where you’re going. In other places, the camera spins as you move, which makes it hard to know what direction you’re heading in.  

9/10. A solid game with a ton of humor in it. The only thing that could have been better was the dating. I kept forgetting that it was in the game. The combat is simplistic, but it works well as the focus is more on the story.


  • Excellent story
  • Great cutscenes
  • Guides aren’t needed


  • Dating isn’t as crucial as it could have been
  • Simplistic combat
  • Magic feels underpowered


It has been a while since I played Thousand Arms. I remember playing it in the early 2000s, but I don’t think I got too far into it. I had a lot going on then and didn’t finish many of the games I bought back then.

Returning to in now, I feel I missed out on one of the best RPGs on the PlayStation. Thousand Arms lets you know this is just a game, and you don’t have to take it seriously. Its less-than-serious tone is a welcome change from other RPGs that keep everything serious.

Published by Paul Werkema

Hi! I'm here to share my hobbies with all of you. I love video games and books, so I write about the books that cover video games or are novels about video games.

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