November 10, 2012

Ancient Biruni Empire

This post contains HUGE SPOILERS, don't read before finishing the games

It is quite common for books, movies and videogames to have all kinds of quite advanced ancient, lost civilizations that somehow get destroyed and become a myth... In the case of Vandal Hearts, that would be the Biruni Empire. The Ancient Biruni Empire is so important to this game that, unlike in the overseas releases where the tittle is just "Vandal Hearts", the original Japanese title is: 

"VANDAL HEARTS ~Ancient Lost Civilization~ " ( ヴァンダルハーツ〜失われた古代文明 )


The actual name of the first game is "VANDAL HEARTS ~Ancient Lost Civilization~", referring to the Lost Biruni Empire. You can find information about the Biruni in the Vandal Hearts Wikia, but here I'm going to talk about it in a different way.

The first game is not complete: hardcore fans probably noticed but it was also officially stated by the creators in a interview. While the Biruni Empire is still pretty important for the plot in the 1st and 3rd games, they just don't explain most of the shit about it... there are moments in which it looks like they will but they finally don't. There are also times when they talk about some Biruni artifact or place that is never mentioned again. Back in the day, it was common for videogames not to explain everything about their fictional worlds, but certainly, in the first Vandal Hearts it was too noticeable that some of this stuff was lacking here and there.

For the first game, you can find -just- a bit more info about the Biruni in the game's official guide and in the japanese instructions booklet, but it still seems like they wanted the game to be longer and to dig more into the Biruni, and they really make the fans curious about it with their illustrations of ruins, the semi robotical dragon in the logo of the game, those android golems you fight at some point of the game, etc. As for the 3rd game, it includes an in-game encyclopedia explaining more about the Biruni... I added said info to the VH Wiki, if you are curious.


There is no mention to the Biruni in "Vandal Hearts II" (this game is located in a different time and place than the other two) In the first game, the Biruni Empire is almost completely lost, to the point that all about it is pretty much considered a myth. The Biruni Empire still exists during the era in which "Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment" -the third game- takes place (1000 years before the first game) and is said to be a place of great mages and scientists, with excelent universities and researching facilities, and foreigners aren't usually allowed into their borders, unless they are excellent students or the likes. Biruni is much older than the Kingdom of Urdu and the Kingdom of Balastrade (former name of the Republic of Ishtaria) and it's very advanced compared to them.

In the third game, the Biruni Empire is located to the northeast of the kingdom of Balastrade. In the first game, the Kingdom of Balastrade just turned into the Republic of Ishtaria, and the Biruni Empire has been long ago lost, considered by many as a myth. Some of its ruins remain to the northeast of Ishtaria.

Map of Biruni ruins and surroundings, as seen in the firs game (Chapter V: 'The Legacy')

Torog mountains and an Idol statue, as seen in the first game (intro video of Chaper V)


Both. At first they seem like some old poweful wizards from ancient times, but little by little you discover heir technology was light-years from that of the other nations. By merging and combining science and magic they created things such as androids, artificial forms of life, inmortality devices and teleporting stations. They also created the Flames of Judgment, the Royal Ring and the Vandal Heart sword.

Some of you may be confused. You won't notice all of this unless you play all 3 games a couple of times. It's quite interesting that they don't just directly state all of this, because it actually leaves places for your own researching, you notice a couple of things and then you start paying more attention to details so you can discover more and more! Replayed many times and still confused? I won't explain everything, it's too long, but the following should open your eyes:

Notice in the pic to he left the silhouette of a phoenix-like creature, symbol of the Biruni, in the chamber where Vandal Heart sleeps (first game). You'll see it several times, even in the intro of the game where the Magic Stone is found by Magnus; also as title cover for chapter 5 (see the picture above); during the first battle in chaper 5 the symbol is on the ground, it's shape formed by stones, and the game grants you an aerial general view so you notice it... it's the first -and last- time they point out this symbol, but you see it all over the game. So, after you notice the symbols, you can easily get to the conslusion that when you see it, it means those ruins, artifacts or whatever are Biruni-made. Ok, but wehre are the machines, you may ask? Well, remember the "magic train" that connects Kerachi and Shumeria? Some characters mention how it wasn't created by nowadays men, it was simply found while digging ruins up. And the android-guardians with buster-arms, blocking your way in Orome lake before reaching Vandal Heart's sealing chamber?

Even though they look a bit like robots, you could argue if Biruni guardians are simply "magic golems" instead of high-tech androids... IF the second and third game didn't clearly show us more robots, a high-tech lab and even a freaking aircraft XD I still find it nice that all of this is hinted so little by so little... I didn't lthat they made it so clear in the third game but it had to finally happend... if you think about it, even the cover of the 1st game -the steam-punk dragon- hinted all of this! Isn't it amazing?