SNES

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Certain games suffer from non-obvious problems.  I’ve noticed this when I was trying to replay Lufia to talk about it.  Lufia’s a game that I played as a child, and it’s a game that becomes less annoying the more familiar you are with the way it plays.  Unfortunately, the game starts with a clever “final boss” type scenario with a high level party.  This quickly shows an unwieldy encounter rate, the fact that attacks do not swap targets upon an enemy’s death, and a awkward translation for your masses of spells.  A lot of these issues aren’t really obvious unless you’re playing the game, and frankly the game is really not that bad.  However, the issues are significant, especially when trying to restart the game.

The plus sign battle system is clever, and the large enemy graphics are striking in Lufia: Fortress of Doom (Taito, 1993.)

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Brain Lord

Brain Lord was created by Produce and published by Enix in 1994.  While the translation is clunky, and the graphics unremarkable for a SNES game, it is an action RPG with some novel features.

The Japanese cover for BrainLord is such a change from the in game art. I believe the artist is Sachiko Kamimura, who did work for Heroic Legend of Arslan, this game, and other art.

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Since four towns have been accessed in Paladin’s Quest, I think it might be interesting to compare the art for them.

The Magic School in Paladin's Quest is the first town you see in the game.

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While playing the game today, I grabbed some screenshots of the battle backgrounds.  I think they’re a good example of how the colorwork and sprite work in the game creates a unique flavor when playing it.

Geometric crystals tower over the battlefield in the plains.

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Starting next week, I’ll be orchestrating playing through as much of Paladin’s Quest as friends can manage. Probably will be starting after 5 on weekdays.  If anyone is interested in joining in, contact scarf4chou on AIM or comment here to contact me.  There’ll be a group chat so we can run through a speedrun esque strategy for the game, discussion of plot, and I’ll grab some images to post here.

The Japanese game cover and manual for Lennus / Paladin's Quest.

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Arcana is a 3D dungeon exploration RPG on the SNES.  It was published by HAL Laboratory in 1992 in Japan, and a few months later in the US.

The healer's tent is in front of the hero and his initial card spirit.

The gimmick of the game is that you are a card master.  You use sort of summons embodied by various cards to fight evil.  However, in a world almost ruined by war, you may be the final card master alive.  The game depicts everything as cards.  Enemies are cards and show weaknesses in the color choices.  Characters approach the hero as cards.

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Paladin’s Quest came out in the US in 1993 and the Japanese version came out in 1992.  Its art style is pretty unique on the SNES.

Last Battle, Illusion of Gaia, and Breath of Fire II all have schools early on in their games. Paladin's Quest does as well.

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Final Fantasy III has a fairly extensive remake.  The original game had 4 nameless characters.  The remake gave them names and switched around the starting areas to introduce them.  Job classes in the game were changed so that the original first job class (Onion Knight) was only available through a quest using online messages to friends.  Graphically, the game went from 2D NES sprite work to 3D DS graphics.  Gameplay systems were tweaked as well.  Before, you earned CP points that you would spend on changing jobs.  Now you gained levels in each job class, and had a certain number of battles where your new job class acted like a lower level one when you changed classes.  Companion characters helped out in battle as well in the remake and would occasionally cast magic or heal.

In the introduction to the DS remake, Luneth falls down a hole and discovers a mysterious crystal.

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Maka Maka

Maka Maka was developed by Office Koukan and published by Sigma Enterprises.  It’s infamously terrible.  Of course you can’t entirely blame development, since due to bankruptcy, it was published without bug testing.  These bugs range from the unsurprising memory overflow bugs to a bug that results in unreadable end credits.  It came out in 1992.

The town graphics are plain, but there's worse out there. The hero looks very annoyed.

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Last Battle

Last Battle has two developers, Atelier Double and Powwow.  The publisher was Teichiku.  It came out in 1994 on the SNES.  At first, it seems like a grindingly familiar RPG.  You start the game in a school.  Illusion of Gaia starts off in a school.  Paladin’s Quest starts out in a school.  Even the cover looks conventional.  In this case, your hero poses dramatically with a party of people.  Much like most SNES rpgs based off of D&D, there’s a dwarven looking character, a mageish looking young woman, and a knightlike guy.

The hero's the lad in green on the cover.

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