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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by marurun Tue May 02, 2017 6:58 pm

Xanadu I & II are a dub away from being done. Emerald Dragon is in early phases. A lot depends on the reliability of the hacker involved. Supposedly things will proceed apace in the fall. Rumor is the Xanadu team might do Anearth next. I am hoping someone will pick up Sol Moonarge or something in the Tengai Makyou series soon.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by BoneSnapDeez Tue May 02, 2017 7:48 pm

Sarge wrote:I changed my post a bit. I always knew that the SFC version wasn't considered very good, I just didn't know where the Turbo version stacked up.

EDIT: Okay, so...

Bikkuriman World is just Wonder Boy in Monster Land.
Lady Sword is an eroge dungeon crawler.
Makai Hakkenden: Shada looks like a bad Ys ripoff.
Necromancer isn't finished, unless I'm missing something, and doesn't look particularly impressive.

Surely there's some better stuff for folks to translate! I've heard Illusion City might be pretty good... What other games are out there that would be awesome to see translated?


Illusion City is quite good. That's Mega CD, not PCE CD though. 8)

There are plenty of solid Japan-only RPGs on the PCE that could use a fan translation: the first Cosmic Fantasy, Blood Gear, the first two Dragon Knight games, Mashou Denki La Valeur, the remaining Xak games, Farjius no Jakoutei: Neo Metal Fantasy, Basted, Gensou Tairiku Auleria, Moonlight Lady, Magicoal, the Startling Odyssey games, the first two Tenshi no Uta games, and the entire Tengai Makyou series. Regardless of fan translations, I own or plan on buying all of these and hope to get through most.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by marurun Tue May 02, 2017 8:46 pm

Oh, one of the Startling Odyssey games already has a translation. 2, I think. Forgot about that one.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by BoneSnapDeez Tue May 02, 2017 9:00 pm

1. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
2. Gyromite (NES)
3. Lucy -The Eternity She Wished For- (Steam)
4. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Famicom)
5. Radical Dreamers (SNES)
6. Video Games 1 (TI-99/4A)
7. Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (Famicom)
8. Exile (TurboGrafx CD)
9. Exile: Wicked Phenomenon (TurboGrafx CD)
10. Xak (PC Engine CD, Xak I・II)
11. Xak II (PC Engine CD, Xak I・II)
12. Neutopia (TurboGrafx-16)
13. Captain Silver (Sega Master System)
14. Märchen Veil (Famicom Disk System)
15. Vanguard (Atari 2600)
16. Kangaroo (Atari 2600)
17. Front Line (Atari 2600)
18. Mario Bros. (Atari 2600)
19. Harmonia (Steam)
20. Donkey Kong (Atari 2600)
21. Jungle Hunt (Atari 2600)
22. Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes (TurboGrafx CD)
23. Gorf (Atari 2600)
24. Neutopia II (TurboGrafx-16)
25. Dungeon Magic (PlayStation 2, Taito Legends 2)
26. The Lost Vikings (SNES)
27. Blue's Journey (Wii Virtual Console)
28. Wizard Fire (Wii, Data East Arcade Classics)
29. Super Mario Run (Android)
30. Dragon Warrior II (NES)
31. Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure (GOG.com)
32. Witch & Hero (Nintendo eShop)
33. Phoenix (Atari 2600)
34. Emerald Dragon (Super Famicom)
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In the world of fan-translated Super Famicom RPGs, Emerald Dragon is typically relegated to the "B-list" alongside the likes of Arabian Nights, Lennus II, and various anime games. It's a bit of a shame, as the game is certainly worthy of praise and is likely to be found enjoyable by most 16-bit JRPG connoisseurs.
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First, some history. Emerald Dragon was initially released in 1989 by a developer called Glodia who is also responsible for, well, not much else really. For such an obscure game it sure received a lot of variants - seven, in fact. First came the five computer versions, then console ports to the PC Engine CD and Super Famicom. From what I understand the PCE port is pretty faithful to the computer originals - with some additional CD-ROM-enhanced cutscenes - while the Super Famicom port has been severely altered. Chief among the changes are the fact that the Super Famicom game has simplified dungeons, a world map as opposed to one large congruent world, a lack of sidequests, and an overall "easier" gameplay experience due to an increased item inventory and more health gained upon level-ups.

Despite the alterations, it's still apparent that this game was initially conceived for computers. You can save/load anywhere and the main quest is pleasantly brief (it took me 17 hours).
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In contrast to many old RPGs, the story of Emerald Dragon is actually pretty good! Sure, there are the typical JRPG pitfalls (so many things are explained away by "magic" and there's a nonsensical "twist" towards the end) but the overall plot is quite compelling. A girl named Tamryn is involved in a shipwreck and washes up on an island populated by dragons. She befriends one in particular named Atrushan. As she gets older Tamryn wishes to return to the human realm. Before setting off, in an act of altruistic self-mutilation Atrushan rips off one of his horns and tells Tamryn to blow into it should she find herself in danger. So, I guess dragon horns also function as... musical horns? Well anyway, Tamryn immediately discovers the world is being taken over by a demon army so she summons Atrushan. Since dragons can't survive in the human world he first becomes a sort of human-dragon hybrid like Ryu of Breath of Fire.

And thus begins the quest. Several other characters join Atrushan and Tamryn along the way, floating in and out of the party. Interestingly enough, only the two "leads" gain any experience from battle, as all other playable characters gain levels only when specific events occur. There's a pretty swell posse to be found here - a mixture of warriors, martial artists, and mages. Much of the story is told through character interaction. These guys and gals talk a lot, but it never becomes obtrusive or overwhelming. The L-button can be pushed at any time to initiate a "skit" among party members and there's about a 50% chance of some strange or humorous incident occurring when staying overnight at an inn. There's even some attempted hanky-panky. A lighthearted tone is prevalent throughout, with the occasional dash of romance and tragedy. Kudos to the fan translators for an excellent job. Punctuating the written word is the occasional bit of voice-acting. It's muffled, naturally, but is ultimately a welcome addition. The expected "shouted battle commands" are here, as well as the occasional full sentence or two. There's even an authoritative "EMERALD DRAGON" proclamation on the title screen. Someone on the GameFAQs message boards commented that Emerald Dragon is the closest thing the SNES got to a Lunar game. And while ED isn't quite as dramatic and emotional I'd still reckon that's a pretty good observation.
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Visually, the game's all over the place. First and foremost, the good. There are anime portraits displayed while characters interact, as well as occasional anime stills displayed during the game's more poignant "cutscenes." This artwork is absolutely gorgeous. It's some of the best to grace the SNES, and it's done in that highly nostalgic classic late-80s style reminiscent of Falcom's best offerings. I simply could not stop taking screenshots. On the other hand, the environments are pretty bland. The overworld is like green-brown mush, all towns look identical, and most dungeons are boilerplate caves and castles. Enemy sprites are also small (same size as the characters) and lack much definition and variety. Even the bosses are rather drab - don't expect any Atma Weapon or Lavos type monstrosities.

As for the soundtrack, it's a crying shame I can't find a full rip on YouTube or anywhere else. There's a solid mix of tunes. Plenty of energetic tracks intermingled with slow ethereal pieces that wouldn't sound out of place in Secret of Mana. The composer here is Yasuhiko Fukuda, who's also responsible for the music in a bunch of Bomberman games.
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Emerald Dragon's most striking feature is its battle system, which is unlike anything found in another SNES RPG. It's ostensibly turn-based but ends up feeling like a hybrid of the combat mechanics found in various strategy RPGs, Ultima III, and Ys(!). Every combatant has a "move meter" - moving across the battlefield, attacking, or casting spells will cause this meter to drop and once it hits zero it's time for somebody else to throw down. Atrushan is the only character controlled by the player, everyone else is AI. The AI can't be manipulated in any discernible way, but Atrushan's buddies generally make smart choices. Mages make healing a priority when HP is low and cast buffs otherwise, tanks pummel enemies, and anyone with critically low HP will run and hide. Atrushan attacks enemies by simply walking into them, and the majority of fights can be won by just manipulating the d-pad. It's a turn-based bump system!
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There are a couple of strange aspects contained within this battle system, all of which make most fights (and thus the game itself) rather easy. First, mages have no MP which essentially means they have unlimited MP. Thus, they can always heal, sometimes twice, whenever it's deemed necessary. Furthermore, when Atrushan is active in combat, he can use an entire inventory full of items should he choose. That is, using items does not reduce his move meter. It feels rather glitchy, to be frank, and though it seems to be necessary to exploit this during certain semi-tough boss battles, being able to take advantage of this method throughout the game eliminates all challenge whatsoever. Also - and this is apparently unique to the Super Famicom game - Atrushan can transform into a dragon for one turn and cause mass damage to all enemies. This comes at the expense of much of his own HP, but Tamryn is always there to heal one turn later.

Despite the inherent lack of difficulty, combat is fun as hell. It's fast and fluid and it's an absolute blast to just steamroll enemies. It is possible to be defeated, as the entire party perishes if Atrushan's HP reaches zero, but with a save-nearly-anywhere system it's not possible to ever lose much progress.

There are some Emerald Dragon quirks I feel compelled to mention. The game's economy is all sorts of screwed up. Weapons and armor are expensive as hell. They're typically beyond unaffordable whenever a town is first reached (even with grinding) so later backtracking is required to grab 'em. Not that it's necessary, as Atrushan and Tamryn gain massive stat increases during level-ups, which occur every ten minutes or so. In contrast, healing items are insanely cheap. You know how in a game like Chrono Trigger you'll realize 15 hours in that you can afford 99 of the most basic healing potions (c'mon I'm not the only one who does this)? Well, in Emerald Dragon I was able to buy 99 potions within the first hour.
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This is a super-linear game. To the point where the map screen has a giant arrow pointing where to go next and characters will have "hey we need to go here!" discussions among themselves. Sidequests barely exist, unless you feel compelled to pick up some (unneeded) super-duper equipment. This is done primarily by defeating "bunny girls" in casinos. Said casinos house mini-games, only half of which are feasibly fun and fair. I beat some of the bunnies at their own game, the rest are still out there giggling at my failures.

Equipping weapons and armor works a little differently here in Emerald Dragon. In the menu screen, instead of selecting a character and then selecting gear you instead select the gear and then assign it to a person. And, get this, whenever a character leaves the party s/he automatically drops their gear into your inventory where it can then be given to someone else or sold! Hallelujah!!!
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I felt a little déjà vu while playing this. It's a bit like The Legend of Heroes, another turn-based game that was born on computers and subsequently ported to consoles. Despite the vast differences in character development and combat, both games move along at a decent clip, refuse to overstay their welcomes, and showcase the same sort of cut-and-paste environments. Emerald Dragon is the better game of the two, and I'd certainly classify it as a hidden gem among Super Famicom RPGs. It's not for everyone, but anyone who has both an interest in obscure old JRPGs and anime will find plenty to enjoy. By all accounts I've read, the PC Engine CD port is superior to this one. I hope to get to that someday. Be aware that both console versions of Emerald Dragon are delightfully and mercifully inexpensive. Don't sleep on this one.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by pierrot Tue May 02, 2017 9:44 pm

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Ack wrote:Yeah, but pierrot, you don't like anything.
Hey--. I've been surprised by how many games I've played this year that I actually really liked. Possibly even in equal part to games that I kind of hated. So, touche--.


I don't actually hate FF VI or CT. I just think they're both kind of lame. Earthbound and Illusion of Gaia are two of the worst games I've ever played, though.

You all have forgotten the true spirit of Christmahanakwanzika JRPGs: Suikoden 1-3, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, Dragon Quest VIII, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, Final Fantasy Adventure, Legend of Mana, Threads of Fate, Chrono Cross, Soul Blazer, Light Crusader, Dungeon Explorer III, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Elemental Gimmick Gear, Phantasy Star Online.

I mean--sure-- there are plenty of Japan only releases like Linda Cube, Terra Phantastica, Shin Megami Tensei, Illusion City, Surging Aura, Rent a Hero, Napple Tale, Terranigma, Seiken Densetsu 3, and Dragon Slayer, which are basically perfect in every way imaginable--.

What I'm trying to say is: There's no reason we can't all experience that gripping tension, and fear--with a pocket full of save tokens, and everything to lose--while on the third or fourth loop through BoF: Dragon Quarter--living on a hope and a prayer--to get to the promised land: that 1/4 Dragon Rank. Knowing that one misstep, or a failed run in Kokon Horay could be it for us. Trying to give this emaciated lab experiment a glimpse of the sun, just once--for like, the third or fourth time--and figuring out where it all went wrong for Bosch. We should all be able to experience that.

That and, most of the best JRPGs released in the West were on fifth and sixth gen consoles; In large part because developers started to take more chances with the stories, and mechanics in their games around that time.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Xeogred Tue May 02, 2017 9:49 pm

@Bone: Looks tight. 17 hours is nice. Do the characters move around on that battle screen in a Lunar fashion? The dragon looks like the friendly FF5 dragon. lol

You best not be joking about the Secret of Mana musical comparison.

@pierrot: Not to rile you up more or anything, but I'd be curious on what 5th/6th JRPG's you like a lot?

Earthbound and Illusion of Gaia are two of the worst games I've ever played, though.

lol, I'm not sure I'd go that far there but I won't defend these two at all. I can't get into Earthbound at all, barely even played it. Illusion though... I beat it. I like the graphics, the gameplay, and think it had okay music but nothing comes to mind, but yeah I was pretty underwhelmed by it despite what a lot of people say (not here though). I think it's one of Quintet's worst and I liked Soul Blazer WAY more, despite being the first of that loose trilogy. Terranigma is a bit too experimental and has odd pacing with how ambitious its story is, but the peaks are very high and it was a wonderful experience. But I think Soul Blazer will be the one I like to revisit the most from here on next to Actraiser for Quintet.

But yeah, I mean Secret of Mana's translation is pretty bad, but Illusion of Gaia takes it to another level.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Exhuminator Tue May 02, 2017 9:51 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Don't sleep on this one.

Great review, and sounds like a good breezy JRPG to play. I love it when 16-bit JRPGs are 20 hours or less. Short, sweet, and to the point? Yes please.

--

As for the earlier PCECD Japan-only JRPG discussion. There are so many to choose from:

https://www.gamefaqs.com/turbocd/catego ... g?region=2

Blood Gear would be my number most wanted (thought it's not listed under RPGs on GameFAQs). I couldn't turn Hi-Leg Fantasy down though. And I think Sorcerian for PCECD is likely its best version. But that's just the tip of the sadberg.

Not to mention potential SRPG material:

https://www.gamefaqs.com/turbocd/catego ... y?region=2

And then you've got lots of adventure games:

https://www.gamefaqs.com/turbocd/catego ... e?region=2

The west was ROBBED when it comes to the PCECD library. :cry:
Pierrot wrote:I mean--sure-- there are plenty of Japan only releases like Linda Cube, Terra Phantastica, Shin Megami Tensei, Illusion City, Surging Aura, Rent a Hero, Napple Tale, Terranigma, Seiken Densetsu 3, and Dragon Slayer, which are basically perfect in every way imaginable--.

Terranigma wasn't Japan only (got a UK release), and it's far from "basically perfect".
PLAY KING'S FIELD.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Ack Tue May 02, 2017 9:58 pm

Hey pierrot, have you ever played Azure Dreams on PlayStation? I'm curious what you think/would think about that particular title.
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I have a movie review website now: https://moviereviewsbyamook.com/
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by BoneSnapDeez Tue May 02, 2017 10:08 pm

Xeogred wrote:@Bone: Looks tight. 17 hours is nice. Do the characters move around on that battle screen in a Lunar fashion? The dragon looks like the friendly FF5 dragon. lol

You best not be joking about the Secret of Mana musical comparison.


Yeah there's that Lunar-esque "sliding" motion. Difference is the battle orientation is "vertical" in this game. So you see the backs of the characters' heads, which is kind of a bummer now that I consider it.

The music here is atmospherically similar to Secret of Mana in many areas, though not compositionally similar. If that makes any sense.

And I'm an idiot. The OST is readily available online.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cR9dURj ... uvph_QK5J2

Exhuminator wrote:As for the earlier PCECD Japan-only JRPG discussion. There are so many to choose from:

https://www.gamefaqs.com/turbocd/catego ... g?region=2

Blood Gear would be my number most wanted. I couldn't turn Hi-Leg Fantasy down though. And I think Sorcerian for PCECD is likely its best version. But that's just the tip of the sadberg.

Not to mention potential SRPG material:

https://www.gamefaqs.com/turbocd/catego ... y?region=2

And then you've got lots of adventure games:

https://www.gamefaqs.com/turbocd/catego ... e?region=2

The west was ROBBED when it comes to the PCECD library. :cry:


Mwahahaha I played a bit of Hi-Leg Fantasy in my emulation days. The "gimmick" is obvious but it's ultimately not a bad game. Pretty fun, really. Annoying from a collector's standpoint, I suppose, as it's expensive as hell.

Sorcerian is pretty cool on PCE, from what I've played. I have four versions of the game (soon to be five, damn Falcom obsession) and I can attest to the fact that the DOS version is awesome. Maybe not "the best" but damn good. Again, this is an annoying one from a collecting standpoint. Not because it's expensive but because it was never released on CD-ROM. Five floppies, baby.
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Re: Games Beaten 2017

by Xeogred Tue May 02, 2017 10:26 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:
Xeogred wrote:@Bone: Looks tight. 17 hours is nice. Do the characters move around on that battle screen in a Lunar fashion? The dragon looks like the friendly FF5 dragon. lol

You best not be joking about the Secret of Mana musical comparison.


Yeah there's that Lunar-esque "sliding" motion. Difference is the battle orientation is "vertical" in this game. So you see the backs of the characters' heads, which is kind of a bummer now that I consider it.

The music here is atmospherically similar to Secret of Mana in many areas, though not compositionally similar. If that makes any sense.

And I'm an idiot. The OST is readily available online.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cR9dURj ... uvph_QK5J2


I can hear it. 8)
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