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I was surprised when I looked up the publication dates of this game. It came out in June of 1993 in Japan, and was translated and released here in December of 1993.  There are some rough spots in the translation (no worse than other games of that era) and Lufia II is the one that’s infamous for translation issues (glitchy graphics in a specific dungeon and various text issues.)  Lufia & The Fortress of Doom is a polarizing game for me.  I played it as a kid and struggled all the way to the end of the game.

In the introduction, Maxim and Selen have an inspirational speech.

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It’s actually pretty hard to talk about Destiny of an Emperor II, since it’s basically the concepts of the first game with better balance, polish, and other such things.  It came out in 1991 from Capcom, and was never translated into English officially.  However, there’s a pretty nice translation available.  The only complaints I heard about the translation was some non standardized spelling (for example, certain names don’t match the most common translation of a name.)

The art here for the Peach Orchard Oath looks more refined and detailed compared to the previous game. Guan Yu's lost the reddish facial coloring, and his beard is surprisingly short.

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Destiny of an Emperor came out in 1989 in Japan, and was released in the US a year later.  The publisher was Capcom, who didn’t do a lot of RPGs in the era, though they did release Sweet Home in 1989 (a interesting horror RPG.)  Considering that the game came out in 1989, there’s some definitely old school elements to the game, but it does have some interesting ideas.

The introduction to the game shows the Peach Tree Garden oath. Note that Guan Yu (on the left) has a different skin tone compared to Liu Bei (middle) and Zhang Fei (right.)

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More Romancing SaGa

Romancing SaGa was released in 1992 from Square on the SNES.  I actually managed to kill the first boss in Albert’s scenario, so I thought I’d put up some screenshots to give my readers a feel for how the game looks and the issues I’m having.

From top to bottom, this is Albert, his sister, and two guards fighting an enemy in the caves. The 13 damage is from the enemy using a knife.

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Silva Saga II

Silva Saga II is a very pretty SNES game.  It was released by Seta in 1993, and features a number of glitzy graphical effects.  The battle system and plot advancement, however, feels a lot like a more retro style Dragon Quest clone.  A translation was quite recently released for the game, but it’s pretty playable in Japanese, as long as you can figure out where to go.

Note the reflections in the water for the hero. The sprite work in the game does look pretty nice.

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Madara

This NES game came out in 1990 from Konami.  It’s based off of a manga series which was notable for trying to emulate a “Western” style of plot and layout.  The story is fairly simple.  Your hero, Madara, was dismembered by an evil general, and was found in a river by an old man.  He recreated Madara’s limbs with “gadgets” and raised him as his son.  Meanwhile, the missing body parts are held by powerful generals.  When the old man, Tatara, dies, Madara strikes out to regain his true body parts and to end the Moki invasion.

The introduction shows the hero drifting down a river.

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Ys

The first Ys game has subtle differences between the versions.  However, it’s pretty much a defining game for that genre of action RPGs.

The hero, in full equipment, crosses the bridge toward the second town.

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The translation for this game dates back to 2000, and suffers from the occasional line that I don’t think is perfect.  However, I’m curious to talk about this series.  This is another early RPG that came out from Data East in 1989.  The previous game came out in 1987.  The last game in the series was in 1994.

A shot of Athens by day in Herakles 2 shows the hero standing near the harbor. The hero is the man in white.

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I really think SaGa is largely not a crowd pleasing series, but one that is interesting from a theoretical standpoint.  It’s a pity, since people focus on more glitzy unusual RPG systems, like Chrono Cross, instead of the SaGa series.  Then again, the first three SaGa games are Gameboy games, followed up by three SNES games (of which, only one is translated and one has been remade and translated.)  The next game in the series was SaGa Frontier, which was translated, along with the sequel.  Finally, there was Unlimited Saga, which is a trainwreck of a game with fascinating ideas.  Since the SNES games were really where the SaGa series flowered and showed a lot of interesting potential, it feels like the heart of the series was never offered to US players.  For another person’s overview, please try Rorshacma’s article at Hardcore Gaming 101.

The first world map in Final Fantasy Legend is small. Still, you can get lost as you try to find your way around the world.

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Minelvaton Saga

Minelvaton Saga is a prequel to Silva Saga. It was published by Taito in 1987, and had a selling point of a battery backup system.  It also had some pretty nice music, and a system for hiring companions.  It feels a lot like an early RPG, but there are some interesting features.

In this battle, the hero's HP is on the lower left, and the monster HP is on the right, above the picture of the monster. The hero's level is in the top right corner.

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