Vandal Hearts (ヴァンダルハーツ) is a turn-based tactical role-playing video game developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo for the PlayStation and later ported to the Sega Saturn by Konami Computer Entertainment Nagoya. The PlayStation version was distributed in Japan, North America, and Europe. The Saturn version was only released in Japan. There was also a Microsoft Windows version developed and released in South Korea.
Thousands of years ago, the holy man known to history as Toroah the Messiah traveled far and wide across the continent of Sostegaria, spreading his teachings throughout the land. After his death, his descendants and heirs assumed absolute political power over the region, forming the basis of the Holy Ashah Dynasty and ruling through a combination of religious doctrine and military power for millennia. The kings and queens of the Holy Ashah Dynasty, however, did not always rule wisely or justly, and, as time passed, the citizenry began to resent the power of their leaders.
Fifteen years ago, this growing discontent found its ultimate expression in the person of Arris the Sage, who united the desperate and resentful anti-royal factions throughout Sostegaria and shaped them into a powerful guerrilla army. Under the cunning leadership of Arris, this Liberation Army managed to outwit and outmaneuver the Royal Army, and finally smashed through to the palace of the Ashah Dynasty itself, and burnt it to the ground.
With the monarchy dissolved, the rebels establish a ruling council founded on the principles of democracy and popular sovereignty. From the ashes of the Holy Ashah Empire emerges the Republic of Ishtaria. The leaders of the revolution naturally assumed leadership positions within the new republic: all, that is, except for Arris himself, who suddenly disappeared and has not been seen of, nor heard of, ever since.
Today, the fledgling republic is in increasingly dire straits: the autocratic Minister of Defense, Hel Spites, and his elite anti-terrorism squad, the Crimson Guard, are using ever-increasing force to stamp out the last vestiges of resistance to Ishtarian rule, while they allow outlaws to roam the countryside and pirates to sail the seas. Meanwhile, Ash Lambert and his colleagues at the third battalion of the Ishtarian Security Forces begin to suspect a conspiracy at the highest levels of government. Ash's attempts to draw attention to the situation, though, only draw the ire of the conspirators themselves, leaving only Ash and his allies to foil their plans and restore order to the nation.
In Chapter 1, we meet Ash, Diego and Clint, who are posing as merchants. A group of thieves comes to rob them, only to find out that Ash is a member of the Security Forces. Ash, Diego and Clint dispatch Zoot Gach and his thieves. Despite Diego wanting to end Zoot's life at that point, the three companions head back to the capital Shumeria. Ash reports on what they found in the valley to their boss, Clive Beckett. Clive wants to know more when the meeting is interrupted by a citizen reporting a riot in the Dover District. This is a slum where the former nobles who lived the rich life under the Ashah Dynasty still live. Diego, Ash and Clint assault a church, and meet up with Kane, the leader of Hel Spite's elite Crimson Guard. Ash and Kane trade some words, and the three beat back the monsters that appear and head to the church. There, they meet up with Count Claymore, who instigated the riot in the first place. Kane shows back up and arrests Claymore, simultaneously killing the remaining nobles in cold blood. Clive shows up as Ash is ready duel Kane, and cools the two off. The next day, a mysterious man by the name of Dolf shows up at Clive's office with a mission. Three months before, General Magnus Dunbar left for Gilbaris Island on a secret mission. He and his companions disappeared, and are presumed dead. Ash is to find out what happened to the general and report back to Dolf. Ash leaves with Clint and Diego, most think they are on leave because of what happened in the Dover District. As they pass through the ruins of the Ashah Dynasty's castle, they run afoul of some clay golems created by Eleni Dunbar, the daughter of General Magnus. She and her manservant Huxley Hobbes join up with Ash. They also run into some brigands guarding a bridge, where another archer named Kira also joins the band. When the make the port to take them to GIlbaris Island, Grog Drinkwater refuses on account of Hassan the Pirate, who killed Grog's sailors and brother. Ash and his companions go to the desert to kill a sand creature that is stopping overland trade with a neighboring nation. Once they slay the beast, Ash confronts Grog, saying that "drinking won't bring back the dead." Grog joins the party and they confront Hassan. After whipping the pirates, they find out that Hassan is actually Grog's brother, and that the life of piracy "killed" the man who was Grog's brother. The party then travels to Gilbaris Island after burying Hassan at sea.