I’m almost at the end of the first half of 1994, so I’ll make another list of games from July to September of that year, with the ones I’ll be playing in bold.
Slapstick – Released in English as Robotrek.
Sansara Naga 2 – Sequel to an NES game.
Sword World SFC 2 – I enjoyed the first one so I hope this is a worthy sequel.
Dragon Knight III (PCE) – This is Knights of Xentar. I doubt I will play the whole game but I want to do at least one post for contrast with CRPG Addict’s coverage of KoX.
Tenshi no Uta: Prayer of the White Wings – The first two games for PCE were OK, but not great. We’ll see how this does.
ZOOL’s Dream Journey – This isn’t even close to an ARPG; I don’t know why it’s on my list.
Kishin Korinden Oni
Popful Mail (PCE) – Not sure if I will play the whole thing since I’m already doing the SFC version. They’re very different, though.
Cyber Knight II – I hope this is much better than the awful CK1.
Super Drakkhen — Released in English.
Mother 2 – Despite being released as Earthbound, this is too famous for me to skip. I’ve never played it
Live a Live – I’ve heard good things about this game for years.
Wizap! King of Darkness
Down the World
Xak III (PCE) – The last in this series of ARPGs.
Megami Tengoku (PCE)
Some interesting titles coming up! I don't suppose that "ZOOL" game is related to the SNES platformer of a similar name?
It's that game. I have no idea how it got on my list — at one point I had found a list of RPGs that was far too loose with the "Action RPG" category, using that term for any game with even the slightest element that could be considered adventure or RPG related. Maybe that's where I got it from.
Huh. If it really is the same game I played as a kid, I have no idea how anyone could mis-categorize it as an ARPG. Anyway, looking forward to those upcoming titles. 🙂
I've just finished watching a plythrough of Samsara Naga 2. I've found it kind of dull. The major part of the game all I've seen is the character just walking through simple, lifeless passages and chambers that looked almost the same all the time. There's seldom overworld exploration, so to speak.
And regarding Tenshi no Uta, I played its fantranslation some months ago and the game started ok, but later the plot got reduced to a fetch quest bore-fest a la: "go get 4 or 5 magical artifacts" (I don't even remember what kind of artifacts they were, you find some kind of scholar who asks you to retrieve them for him and the game turns into a "get the airship, go to X dungeon and get the X artifact, go to Y dungeon and get the Y artifact, rinse and repeat") and then you go to the final dungeon and the game ends. I found it compelling enough to reach the ending, but in my opinion it wasn't as enjoyable as TM Zero, Last Bible III or G-O-D.
I'm intrigued about Down the World, though. The game looks interesting and even reminds me a little of Granhistoria graphically.
Cyber Knight II is a bunch better, mainly cus it has more of a narrative to follow, yet still keeps its openish structure – a strength of the first game, I felt, for what it's worth. You get a 'home planet' where command room staff tell you of goings on on various planets after plot events and you can take their advice, tool up and head out, which is a lot better than CK1's alien spaceport I honestly had to write down stuff at so I didn't have to keep going back there. You get on foot battles as well as mecha battles this time, with their own equipment – all of this is well shown off in the opening section. Fighting soldiers with hand grenades and machineguns, or occasionally having to take down a mech with such, gives a nice sense of size out of the mech and is used well. The battle system feels a ton faster and far more userfriendly to boot – it helps the translation patch was less character-limited than CK1's so you get more of an idea what stuff does, though I know this blog is mostly focused on playing as-is.
It's not a Metal Max game but CK2's 'nonlinear but roaded' approach felt fun to explore and you're not running into battles just about everywhere either – usually only if plot warrants an area being enemy infested. Early 'space is your world map' stuff is fascinating and often opens up a ton as the game goes on, not -quite- rpgs but Arsys's Star Cruiser I+II also did this well.
Live a Live (!!) and Earthbound will no doubt be the best games in this selection. Sword World 2 could be a sleeper hit. Wizap – with its kickass music – will be interesting, although despite its good base concept it felt too restricted and difficult for me to consider fun. I've finished Kishin Korinden Oni and I can recommend it despite some battle-related and pacing annoyances.
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A second vote for Earthbound. I've played that and the fan translation of Mother 3 and, storywise, they are probably the only JRPGs whose story still resonates with me.
Also I'm excited to see the playthrough for Live a live (life?) as I've heard a lot about it and will be interesting to see how it plays. https://www.romhacking.net/translations/381/ has the fan translation if anyone wants to play along in english…