Tecmo brought this game out in 1993 in Japan, and 1995 in the US. This game is a prime example of not understanding the language making the game more interesting. The game itself has a pretty bad English translation, and the sprite work definitely isn’t more amazing in the Japanese version. Still, there’s some confusing sprite changes that give it a bit of mystery.
As for the plot, the actual plot of the game is pretty simple. Problem is, it’s so poorly translated that reading between the lines makes it feel like there’s more depth than there probably actually exists. For example, your party are Aqutallions. The four children are all adopted kids with psychic powers and strange temples that wait for them. Once you’re awakened, you’re a Pennon. If you win your test at the temple, you’re a Banalet, and when they’re all together, you’re an Aqutallion. The children gather together other children that are from other towns. You can find a mad scientist who’s doing experiments on children, and most adults in the game are corrupt or useless.
You’re helped by one team of adults. They’re the Kustera – a fated team of adults who work beside the Aqutallions. Most of them have implications of being outcasts or having feelings of dissatisfaction with how the world works. For example, David is a wandering warrior who people describe as “strange” and who is looking for the hero to work with him. Ben’s an alcoholic priest, who is only drawn out of his drinking by the party.
Alas, the kids versus adults plot is mostly non-existent or implied. The Kustera have maybe a line or two of back story that’s usually incomprehensible. The graphics are simplistic, and the music is bloopy and grating. The actual plot mostly involves fetch quests or dungeon crawls to get to bosses leading to another fetch quest.
For example, Cody is a potential Aqutallion. However, he’s kidnapped from his home by evil. They turn him into a lion and were going to show him off at a circus, but the party works their way to him. However, the evil general flees with him. On the way to trace the general, you have to get a mustache that can turn a man back from being a gold statue. (This makes as little sense as it seems.) By “swinging” the mustache, Kaja’s turned back to normal. Well, when you find the lion, he’s been turned to gold. Kaja turns him back to a lion, and then your holy crests at your home town are enough to turn him into a human again.
The world map is huge and there’s a pretty large floating continent. There’s four vehicles, not counting uncontrollable ones. You can auto battle, and turn off battle animations to speed up battles. You can see weapons in said battle animation. This is pretty ambitious, but the execution is so poor that it’s unpleasant to play. Really, if the game was faster and less repetitively fetch quest filled, it probably would be pretty interesting.
And now the mystery. The sprites for the dad were changed in the game. Since there’s some mysterious mentions of the evil boss (Homncruse / Homunculus ) is torturing the father, it could have been changed because it looked iffy in a later scene. It could be that the father looks too much like a young woman with pigtails.
All in all, Aqutallion is still an awful game, and I’m sure the changed text is absolutely no more exciting than the translation. Still, the language barrier makes the changes curious.