With Just Breed I finished 1992 on my list. This also finishes the Famicom as a system.
I’m going to start doing “game of the year” for each year. 1990 is obviously Fire Emblem since it’s the only game. 1991 is a bit harder; I’m going to say Langrisser. There’s a problem with this because I played the 1993 PC Engine port, but I believe that even if I had played the original Mega Drive version I still would have put it in first — the only other contender is Lady Phantom, and from what I’ve seen of the MD Langrisser it seems better.
For 1992 I choose Just Breed. I know Shining Force 1 is beloved, but I feel like it’s still just a bit too primitive in its system to win — I wouldn’t be surprised if SF2 is the winner for 1993, though.
The games I played for 1992 were Fire Emblem Gaiden, Shining Force, Little Master 2, Shining Force Gaiden, Vixen 357, Macross: Eternal Love Song, and Just Breed.
The big development in SRPGs this year was the introduction of RPG-style towns. 1991’s Burai Densetsu had this in embryo, but it really shows up in FE Gaiden and Shining Force, and again in Just Breed. This represents a further emphasis on the RPG part of the SRPG. There still is not much RPG-style exploration, and one thing that still has not appeared in any games is multiple scenario paths. This will first appear in 1993’s Super Robot Taisen 3.
Although this use of RPG towns was common in 1992, it did not become a standard element — there will still be plenty of games after this that do not use any kind of transition between the battles (other than story).
Another RPG element that is becoming a stronger presence is equipment. Shining Force and Just Breed allow for 3 or 4 pieces of equipment, more than any of the 1991 games.
1993 will bring the entry of the Super Famicom, and the last of the PC Engine games. Of all the games I have on my list for 1993, I think only the last one, the PCE game “Sword Master”, is relatively unknown to English players.
The next two weeks I will make two posts on Wednesday for Albert Odyssey and Ogre Battle, two game I’ve already played on my other SFC blog, then I’ll start Shining Force Gaiden II after that.