I’ve completed 1994! That’s the longest year; the Super Famicom now enters a slow decline. 1995 still has a fair number of games. 1996 has noticeably fewer games, although there are a good number of high quality ones. 1997 is where you really see most of the companies abandoning the platform, leaving just a few games to trickle out until 2000(!) when the system finally dies.
There are no new RPGs in January, perhaps because of the post-Christmas lull. Here are all the games I picked up identified as RPGs in various sources. The ones I will play are in bold. (See this list for links to the SRPG posts.
- Majin Tensei II – SRPG, already played on my other blog.
- Estopolis Denki II (i.e. Lufia II) – I’m looking forward to this. I’ve started it twice in the past but not played past the first few hours.
- Farland Story – crappy SRPG.
- Front Mission – SRPG
- Nage Libre – I had initially missed this on my SRPG playthroughs. After I play Estopolis Denki II I will do Nage Libre on my other blog.
- Eternal Firena
- Last Bible III – I have played the first two for the Game Boy; they were OK but nothing special.
- Chrono Trigger – Great game but I’ve already played it plenty of times. Interesting to see it occur here. I think of this as a very late SNES release, but when I reach here I will be at 72 out of 130 games so it’s just a bit over the middle.
- Love Quest
- Nekketsu Tairiku Burning Heroes
- Super Robot Taisen 4 – SRPG
- Dragon Ball Z: Super Goku-Den, Totsugeki Hen – This does not really look like an RPG to me, although it has RPG elements. It also looks to me like it relies heavily on knowing the story of the manga. There’s also a translation patch.
- Kyuuyaku Megami Tensei — this is a remake of the NES Megami Tensei games. I played it some years ago and have no desire to replay it. It really shows its age; most of the game is just exploring empty, featureless dungeons.
- RPG School Super Dante – This is just a creation kit, not a game.
- Dragon Knight and Graffiti (PCE) – One of the seven remaining PCE games. It’s a remake of the original Dragon Knight; I probably won’t finish it.
One interesting detail is how few RPGs got translations after this point. I think this was partly because the US was quicker to abandon the SNES than Japan. With my tentative list of games, I have 61 games left to play. Of these 61, only four came out in English: Lufia II, Chrono Trigger, Terranigma (only in Europe), and Super Mario RPG. These are all strong games to be sure, but I feel that in the last years of the SFC, more good games got left in Japan than in the earlier period.
Great Blog, enjoy reading it very much. Especially when you cover more obscure games like Jungle Wars, Shin Momotarou Densetsu or Heracles no Eikou.
1995 was IMO the last great year for Sfc birthening many classics and fan favorites.
I am wondering, if you could give your opinion on games you skipped reviewing in detail (all three Final Fantasy's, first Estpolis and the upcoming Chrono Trigger). Would make a nice complementation to your blog.
As for your comment: I think they skipped the translations due to the exorbitant cartridge costs. If you take Japan, the 1995 Rpgs are all very expensive due to large ROM sizes. Additionally the English script demands even higher capacity. It was a sad time for RPG fans in the west indeed.
That's a good idea — maybe I'll do that the next time I have an open week where I'm playing an SRPG so don't have a post for here.
I'd guess the translations from JP <-> ENG have always been difficult just due to the sheer language difficulty/differences, not to mention the cartridge costs and much less interest in the genre back then in the West. It's a moot point now, which is why just about anything gets localized, except for the most obscure titles. Here in Europe the first big JRPG was FF7, until its release the genre had been all but ignored here.
Also, it's curious to see the gap between the Nintendo consoles (FC/SFC – loads of Japanese exclusives) and Sega consoles (SMS/MD – very few JRPGs without localization) at the time, except for Sega Saturn. Sony was a mixed bag as far as localization goes; I believe their consoles had lots of weird, experimental games and tons of VNs, but not quite as many RPGs as Nintendo.
Pretty funny that Chrono Trigger which is one of the best games of all time, possibly the best JRPG ever made just drops in 1995 surrounded by a bunch of games stuck using DQII's design base from 1987. I can't even say Square was ahead of it's time back then, they were just ahead of almost everyone else because almost everyone else was lagging behind so much.
Maybe you've gone into it before here, but it is interesting to me how long Japan stuck with the SFC. It seems there's just a cultural difference where America went crazy for the early polygon look while Japan had more appreciation for pixel art for whatever reason. Or maybe this was just a matter of production costs, that more niche Japan-only games could be produced in 16-bit while 3D games required an international release to justify their cost?
I remember thinking FF7's backgrounds were awesome upon release but even at the time I hated the low-poly look of the characters, much preferred the sprites of FF6 and thought they better conveyed emotion. But I guess I was the oddball.
This console transition is perhaps the most extreme of all console transitions because it marked an overnight decline in genres that had been really prominent only a year or two earlier: 2D platformers, brawlers, and fighting games. JRPGs might be the only genre that was pretty big in the 16-bit era and then continued to grow to reach what most consider their apogee in the following one.
Yeah I've mentioned that once or twice — it's still amazing to me that the last Super Famicom game came out in 2000, 6 months after the release of the Playstation 2.
I think in general Japan is slower to abandon popular consoles than we are. There were also Playstation and Playstation 2 games that were released very late, when the successor consoles had already been out for years.
I think Esparks might be a Zelda clone (i.e. action-adventure, not rpg) but you shouldn't take my word on it — I haven't played the game properly. I think I fell asleep by the time I got out of the starting village.
It looks to me like it does have XP and levels and so should qualify, but we'll see when I get there.
Can't wait for you to Nekketsu Tairiku Burning Heroes.
I tried the game with the fan-translation, and there's a couple of unexplained mechanic in the game. I looked through the translation readme, reviews and no one seems to mention anything about it. The only walkthrough on gamefaq only describes where to go next.
Maybe the game is easy enough that nobody cares but for me I want to know about the mechanic when i play game. Too bad I can't don't know japanese to read the manual. So here I am, hoping you would cover that for me.
Mainly about "formation", why does some of them change my character's attack animation and how does it affect combat. What are the letter indicator means beside each of the formation, and what are the "color" mean in each character's stats.