Rare PSone Classic Vanguard Bandits Storms PSN Tomorrow

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Rare PSone Classic Vanguard Bandits Storms PSN Tomorrow

When talk turns to classic strategy RPGs, most players immediately think of Tactics Ogre, Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics. These games could hold one’s interest for hours upon hours. Battles would be so intense and challenging that players needed to constantly find ways – no matter how small – to eke out an advantage that could be the difference between sweet victory or shameful defeat. Tomorrow, MonkeyPaw Games will revive the now-rare Vanguard Bandits on PSN and with it, resurrect the glory days of classic strategy RPGs.

Originally published as Epica Stella by Human Entertainment in Japan, Vanguard Bandits was released by legendary publisher Working Designs in North America. The PSone game was loaded with content: 60 different missions, three branching storylines, crazy plot twists and dialogue on the Ruin Branch, five endings and path-crossing narratives. Vanguard Bandits kept gamers glued to their screens for marathon gameplay sessions.

Vanguard Bandits (PSN)Vanguard Bandits (PSN)Vanguard Bandits (PSN)Vanguard Bandits (PSN)

The game is played from an isometric camera view similar to most games within the SRPG genre. But the 3D battle animations were fresh additions to an already robust adventure. Every attack or defense action brings up a dramatic close-up of the fight, each complete with energizing music and charismatic dialogue. Working Designs included fan-friendly options, such as being able to bypass these sequences and speeding up the overall battle for players that like speed runs.

Similar to another classic strategy RPG called Front Mission, players must take control of entire mecha squadrons which consist of ATACs, or All Terrain Armored Combatants, robotic armor that is controlled by gemstones. These ATACs battle in vast environments, each with differing levels of terrain which gave the player advantages or disadvantages on the battlefield. Working Designs added an assist feature that increases your attack power if you have friends nearby. If you manage to surround an enemy before attacking, your pimp-hand will be stronger than you can imagine, laying down some impressive damage, sometimes taking out that enemy with one round of combat. But the inverse is also true, so players have to think ahead or else they’ll end up surrounded by enemies thirsting for blood in a juiced-up robo-alliance.

Vanguard Bandits (PSN)Vanguard Bandits (PSN)

Vanguard Bandits isn’t just one of the rarest PSone games ever (a sealed copy can set you back more than $200), it’s also a game that feeds to the strengths of the genre, namely a deadly combination of gameplay challenge, thought provoking strategy, and extremely high replay value.

Vanguard Bandits is a huge game and even three different playthroughs might not be enough for some hardcore gamers. MonkeyPaw Games also plans to release a free licensed PDF of the original 200+ page Working Designs strategy guide for download at www.monkeypawgames.com. Gamers who remember the golden days of strategy RPGs should pick up Vanguard Bandits in the Classics section on the PlayStation Network. For $9.99, you’ll be in strategy RPG heaven. Show your support, follow us on Twitter, and look for more hidden gems to gradually come from MonkeyPaw Games.

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17 Author Replies

  • You put this game in the same category as Fire Emblem?

    ….now on my radar and will seriously consider picking this up tomorrow.

  • Do you plan to bring out more Working Design games out on PSN?

    • We work pretty closely with Working Designs’ Victor Ireland so we can definitely respond with a resounding YES. Don’t forget that Arc the Lad and Alundra are also on the PSone Classics Store as well! We ask that people who request certain games or franchises to do so on our Twitter – http://twitter.com/monkeypawgames

  • Wow this is awesome news, can’t wait to pick up the game! Too bad I just recently spent a couple weeks scanning, and retouching my old VB guide into a PDF. Really like that you guys are doing that though, the WD guides are some of the best and funniest guides I’ve ever read, and offering it as a free download is incredibly generous. Maybe someday in the future we’ll see the mammoth Arc the Lad I & II guide…? Annnnnd maybe even (in my dreams) the unreleased Arc the Lad III guide……? Either way, you guys are awesome, thanks so much for bringing all these games to PSN. Hopefully one day we’ll see Lunar & Lunar 2.

  • I always liked G-Police on the PS1 and think it would be a great title to bring back and revive with HD graphics for the PS3.

    Published by Psygnosis in 1997 and inspired by Blade Runner it was a very ambitious title for the limited power of the system at the time. It could be amazing re-done with the power of the PS3!

    It was an amazing game and should be brought up-to-date! Pleez?

  • PSone classics not storming PSN tomorrow: Die Hard Trilogy, MDK, Return Fire, Soul Blade, Tenchu

  • How is it that we have to go back to PS1 games to get a title like this?

    Where, besides Japan of course and just this year to boot, is a giant robot strategy for the PD3?

  • Hey, I’ve got some suggestions for more Working Designs’ goodness!
    How about Thunder Force V and Elemental Gearbolt?
    For the PS2 Classics, Growlanser Generations would get some juicy sales too.
    And what if you guys could bring us some Sega Saturn Classics? I’d pay 15 bucks for Albert Odyssey, Dragon Force and Shining Wisdom! Easy $45 there!
    Speaking of Dragon Force, Vanguard Bandits uses the same fonts. :D

    • Definitely noted! Lots of people love our shooters so that could be a possibility!

    • To follow up on your question about Elemental Gearbolt, unfortunately, since it’s a light gun game, it will be really difficult because there’s no emulation support for PS1 light guns on PS3. Sony would have to make some sort of change to PS1 emulation of these titles so it would support Move to emulate a PSOne light gun, which would then
      allow all of them to be on PSN. If Sony fixes the emulation to support light guns, Elemental Gearbolt would move to the top of the list to do. Until then, it’s only a dream. It’s a fantastic game, probably the best light gun game ever, so don’t give up hope!

  • I loved Working Designs. They really went all-out with having special packages for the games. The strategy guides were great too. (Lunar 2’s was amazing).

    Thanks for bringing VB to PSN, please continue in bringing more Working Designs games to PSN : )

  • You brought Chrono Cross last week and then I heard about the ESRB rating for Vanguard Bandits. This weekend I heard it was going to come to PSN tomorrow and I just about died. Two of my favorite games of all time (even though I got to a point where I will never win in Vanguard Bandits before I had to stop playing).

    Definitely buying! Can’t wait to play Vanguard Bandits again!

  • Any word on the file size? My PspGo is down to 6/32gb!

  • My ps1 copy just went down in value.

  • What a way to really show the potential and power of the PS3 by bashing it w/old p.o.s. games….

  • More like this please, Sony!

    Square and Enix’s games are great, but they’re so popular and so common that everyone above a certain age has played them. It was underrated gems like Vanguard Bandits that made the PS1 the runaway success that it was.

    Ray, will MonkeyPaw be getting its paws on any other Working Designs properties, or perhaps other unheralded PS1 greats for those of us with more discerning tastes? :)

    • See my answer above. We’re fans of plenty of Working Designs’ titles, so a lot of those titles are definitely on our radar.

  • With Eric Lempels ill concieved announcement a week ago This game won’t be getting nearly as much attention as you think. I suppose the same trolls will suddenly appear in a bid to silence critics but they will fail. This isn’t going away.

  • That’s gotta suck for somebody who paid $60 for this game on Ebay. Video games are a terrible investment strategy.

  • Yea, at one time they were a wonderful investment. However, this generation brought back alot of games as downloadables which both sucked and was very nice. There will still always be a market for the original discs as long as they are with the manual and cases.


  • Strategy games are always so difficult without guides and from what I’ve read this ones difficulty may be a notch higher than most. The price makes it hard to blindly pick this up unlike Alundra & the Arc games. I still need to get around to actually playing those…

    • Vanguard Bandits features 3 branching storylines, which can dictate some of the challenge the game has. It’s not overly difficult however. The free guide by Working Designs is great because it really gives you everything you need to get 100% in the game.

  • PROTIP: Being available on download changes nothing, since the value depends on the physical condition of the product. Or do you really believe some dude’s gonna pay hundreds of dollars just to play it, with no intention of keeping the game after finishing it as a collector would?

  • Is this a straight emulation, or did they translate the binary and do some value-add like trophies or higher quality audio?

    • There’s a few subtle changes, such as the ability to now skip the battle animation cutscenes for those speed freaks. However, nothing that really changes the essence of the game.

  • If these PSone games ever get trophies I’ll buy everyone!
    I have so many in my backlog already though.

  • hey ray,say hi to vic ireland for me.that dude was truly a visionary in his time with the sega cd.please tell him that i read his posts on neogaf even though i’m not a member of that forum.hope to see him post on here someday.

    working designs forever! :)

  • i think this is great but maybe psn should add tomb raider chroincles just saying :) thanks anyways

  • How about that Suikoden II?

  • This game may be worth a look, However, if your going to be brining back ps1/2 games, why not Everquest Online Adventures or Final Fantasy XII considering the later of the 2 was only for the older PS2 with the hard drive, which lets face it are getting a little hard to find still working these days, and since both are subscription based, your pretty much guarenteed to make some cash off them

  • Maybe next we can get all Cosmic Fantasy games, in all their uncensored glory, and now all of them in English?

  • @ ont_male_77 I think you meant Final Fantasy XI

    How about looking into Beyond the Beyond, love that game reminds me so much of Shining Force and Eternal Eyes oh and Suikoden II is such an awesome game for the life of me I don’t understand why it still ain’t up on psn.

  • Oh yeah and Brigandine too. Would love to see that on psn!

  • Thank you Sony. VB is great game.

  • About Suikoden II… it is considered by many to be one of the best RPG on the PS1. I was a huge fan of the first installment and the sequel surpassed it in every single way. What I personally enjoyed the most was the epic story and stellar soundtrack (especially the opening theme) and let’s not forget Luca Blight which is on par with Kefka and Sephiroth as a memorable villain.

    Because of Suikoden which has been on PSN for quite some time (almost 3 years?!) and the ridiculous price going around for the sequel (>100$ in decent condition), I sincerely hope we get to see Suikoden II on PSN at some point…

  • This game has definitely sparked my interest with your comparison to Fire Emblem.

    Due to the rarity of it, this also gives me hope for Suikoden II!!!! I purchased the first Suikoden and rated it high to further show support for the series so I can see the sequel on the PSone Classics list sometime soon. I’d rather not pay $80-$100 for a physical copy off Ebay or Amazon.

  • As far as I know, Suikoden II is still Konami property, so it would have to come from them.

    If I had an under the radar suggestion, it would be TG16’s Cadash, since we have TG16 classics on PSN now. :) Great side-scrolling RPG from a great era in gaming.

  • Thanks for the feedback Ray, it means something to gamers to get their questions answered.

    So for working designs, any chance for the Lunar series?

    • Always a chance for everything if there’s enough support for it. So definitely check out these games and help us convince Working Designs bring more of their titles over!

  • Definitely gonna pick this game up tomorrow. I can guarantee that. Keep up the good work, and keep bringing the games MonkeyPaw! I’ll keep buying them.

    • Thanks so much Mister-Nep. Lots of great games and announcements on the way, so keep tabs on us. Old school is the new school.

  • @20 …. Translate the binary? Thats uhhh not how it works.

  • @Vinland_Krauser the exception being, of course, Final Fantasy VII. Used copies have been slowly dropping like mad in the last few years. Most of the other games truly of note here have definitely been keeping their prices, if only dropping by a few dollars on average.

  • Holy crap! I’ve been wanting to play this game for ages! I can’t wait. I hope more Working Designs games come out. I loved Working Designs.

  • Awesome, it is always good news to see more turn-based RPGs making their way to the PSN. As others have said, it is really sad that these days the only way to play that genre is to relive older classics or buy a handheld :(

    I’ve seen a lot of posts about Suikoden II … I’d love to play that game! I’ve heard so many great things about it, but can’t spend the premium price to get my hands on a physical copy. If you can somehow get Konami to let you put it up on PSN you would get tens of thousands of instant sales… maybe even hundreds of thousands.

    • As with the motto as we mention to a lot of our fans, if there’s enough support for a game or series, we’ll do our best to grab those licenses and make these titles happen. Of course, the support comes from buying our games and being active in our social communities like Twitter. So keep the conversation going and let us know what floats your boat!

  • cant wait to get Elemental Gearbolt from the PSN Store!

  • PROTIP: The Vedocorban ATAC is an enormously overpowered unit for the early to midgame, but its usefulness declines once the Sharkings appear since it’s made of wet paper and Sharkings almost never miss. So don’t let Andrew/Cecilia (depending on route) do all the killing, however tempting it may be. You want tank units to be leveled up too.

    Also, if you want to go the Empire route, you need to level Bastion up to 8 by, I think, the third or fourth battle. Just a heads up. Most players miss that because it’s HARD to gain that many levels, but the trick is to ignore everyone else’s levels since you will lose them in the Empire path anyway, getting a different team instead.

    There’s a third path, but for that one you will need to wait until you clear the game once.

  • Whenever I hear Working designs Lunar Silver Star Story Complete and Eternal Blue Complete come to mind. Man would I live to see Working Designs release both of those classics. Wishful thinking I know but would really love to see those <3

  • What about the Valis games? There was talk about Gaijin Works getting the rights to the Sunsoft games (which supposedly included the Wolf Team stuff aka. Valis) a while back, then after blaster master on Wii VC… nothing else came from it. Two of the games are already on the jPSN, so it shouldn’t be a problem right?

    Also seconding Suikoden II, if Konami can’t be bothered…

  • This is one of my top 5 PS1 games of all time. It is so good and I am glad they are bringing it to PSN.

    And they are putting the strategy guide up for free on their site. It was not only a good guide but hilarious to read. I can’t wait. I am more excited for this than Square Enix’s entire winter of rpg’s..

  • @41 I would like to see them too but it might be tough with Lunar being remade for the PSP a while back. I think enough time has passed that it won’t effect any sales of the game…I mean FFT: war of the lion came out and then they re-released the FFT classic.

    Although to be honest, owning a digital copy of the two lunar collection games doesn’t do justice to the wonderful packaging that Working Designs did with those games.

    • Very true. Hardcore game collectors still have that special piece of history. Working Designs packaging was just awesome given the amount of detail and exclusive pack-ins you got!

  • @44 Yeah the packaging and everything that came packaged in with those games was beautiful wasn’t it <3

  • BTW, for those downloading the game today, don’t forget that we’ll have a free 200+ page full-color digital strategy guide for Vanguard Bandits available on our website at http://www.monkeypawgames.com. Trust us, this guide will bring back lots of memories. It’s all you need other than the game.

  • hey there, im a UK gamer, and i was wondering about a few things…
    Firstly, hows Arc the Lad coming? im hoping that we get the english version sometime soon :D
    Secondly, is there any chance of getting Suikoden 1 and 2 released on the UK/EU playstation store? please :D

    • Thanks for your patience on the EU PlayStation English version of Arc the Lad. Sony is diligently working on the emulation and we heard it was being fast-tracked. That said, the emulations typically take more than a few months because of all the QA testing that is involved in bringing a game from PSone to the PS3. So we hope to have word for you soon but still nothing has been confirmed. We’ll keep you update via our website and the SCEE blog. Thanks again for your continued patience and support.

    • And as for Suikoden, we have been having on-going discussions with Konami about that series but I woudn’t get your hopes up too high. We try hard and never give up but Suikoden/Konami are a tough nut to crack.

  • Thanks everyone for all the questions. We’re more than happy to answer them for you the best we could.

    But without further ado, let me give you guys the link to download your free Vanguard Bandits strategy guide. You can download the free, digital strategy guide (Originally from Working Designs!) here:



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