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Breath of Fire is a series that, in my mind, hated the earlier games the farther you played the series.  In the first game, you’re Ryu the last of clan of Dragons, with a portentous scar who’s trying to avenge his lost family via fighting another clan.  You soon pick up a winged princess, Nina, who’s spunky enough to risk her life trying to fight her enemies.  The rest of the game is gathering elemental keys and fighting your way to face down against a goddess.

Breath of Fire's Nina is a fast mage using rapier weapons. (1993 JP, 1994 US)

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Idea no Hi is called a kusoge online.  It’s not that surprising, really.  The game came out in 1994, but the graphics are definitely pretty rough for the era.  There’s muttering online that Shouei System (the publisher) or Office Koukan (the developer) had troubles during the development.  The artist and main story writer was Koji Aihara who’s pretty well known for doing comedic comics that often have sort of an adult dark humor to them.  Enemy designs often are comedic, and there are some pretty goofy elements in the game.

Demoku is an early villian in the game. Here, he's summoning a wiggling circle of hearts to confuse the party.

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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.

A pig king and a dragon thing are fought.

An awkward "damages" isn't the worst part of the translation.

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Mahoujin Guru Guru is a comedic series, as best I can tell.  The game came out on the SNES in 1995 from Enix.  It’s more or less a roguelike.  You’ve got a set of towers of magic, and your two characters climb them to the top to face a boss.

The mage claps her hands.

During the game, the boy is an uncontrolled defender of the mage.

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With older games, a common complaint is that the graphics are dated.  Usually this is followed up with “It’s just too ugly.”  Problem is, I think a lot of people don’t know what to expect graphically for various systems.  For example, Dragon Quest VI was a graphical showcase of the day, but people have said that it’s unusably ugly.   Now, you can say, for example, that you hate the Dragon Ball Z esque art style of the sprite work.   You could say that the spritework doesn’t match the tone of the game.  However, most people criticizing retro game graphics do it from the perspective of the game not being – say – Halo without any understanding of what a good or bad game looked like in the era.

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Laplace is a curious game.  It came out on the TurboDuo in 1993, and then the SNES in 1995.  There was a MSX version in 1989, but I haven’t seen much information about it.  I believe there’s a side story game called the Sword of Paracelsus on the PC98 that came out in 1994.  There’s some stuff in the SNES game pointing to missing areas or planned quests that were never finished.

As the game goes, it’s an unusual attempt at a horror game.  The game is set in the 1920s, and you’re playing an investigator trying to find out what’s going on in a mysterious mansion.  The intro dramatically warns you that Benedict Weathertop’s plan must be stopped.

You're not the first investigators trying to stop the evil.

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Last Bible 3

Last Bible 3 will probably never be fan translated.  It has masses and masses of tiny text, and as a Megami Tensei spinoff, it has a negotiation system that would make for lots of hard to translate dialogue.  Megami Tensei games tend to allow you to negotiate with “demons” which are basically the monsters you fight in the game.  Most of the conversations amount to the demon being a personality type, and asking you a set of questions from a data bank.  So, say, an “old” demon would like being respected, and a bully wouldn’t like meek and mild conversation.

Why might the game be interesting?  It’s fairly easy for a Megami Tensei game, and it avoids the dizzying pseudo 3D corridor wandering that pops up in other SNES Megami Tensei series games.  The world is brightly colored and features many SNES graphical tricks.

A cheerful town on a hill.

Ciel, the hero, looks around a colorful hillside town.

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Verne World

Verne World sounds like the plot to an 80’s movie caper.  Your characters are trapped in a theme park, and the robots have gone mad. It’s published by Banpresto and developed by Dual in 1995.

Fighting Shark Fin Turtles.

Note the high HP.

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The Opening Steps

A happy yellow jewel.

I was thinking of Breath of Fire II and Breath of Fire I. The opening areas are actually similar and about equally difficult, but I always felt that the second game felt more powerless.

"Be strong . . . . you'll bring peace to the world."

The hero of Breath of Fire with Sara.

Why is that? (Mild plot spoilers past the cut.)
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