Jikuu Yuuden Debias

This game came out in 1987 from Namco (credited as Namcot on the game cover.)  It’s a typical action RPG in the style of Faxanadu with a day / night cycle like Castlevania II.  Gil-Galad worked on a translation with Steve Martin and it was released recently.

In the intro, a schoolboy turns into a soldier in white and then starts the game outside the first town.

As games go, the game feels surprisingly polished.  For example, the average fight with enemies over the night cycle will leave you healed or with very little damage, due to generous amounts of health potions.  You don’t get easily juggled by normal enemies, so it’s fairly easy to fight.  While you can’t attack things in the air easily, the fireballs zipping around the first area don’t tend to do that much damage.  Despite the generous amounts of health potions, you tend to earn about 100 gold per night of fighting.

The yellow outfit is due to the warrior's clothes. Here, you can see a meteor spawning a monster behind the hero, and the size of the sword swing.

Unfortunately, there’s some typical issues.  Your sword has an odd hitbox.  It seems like the tip of the sword is the main damage area, but enemies touching the blade of the sword are not hurt.  This can be a problem when you’re trying to kill fireballs, since they’ll slide past the tip of the sword.  This leaves the hero flailing miserably at the air to try to kill things.  Your jump feels slow and awkward.

Like Faxanadu, this game uses a password system. Houses tend to have large images of the inhabitants much like this one.

Talking to people shows more odd design choices.  You can accidentally attack people.  So, to talk to them without killing them (which would be hitting A), you need to walk up to someone, and be approximately near them.  Then you hit start, and hit A to select talk from the menu.  You can then press up to advance the text quickly, but you need to hit A again to clear the text window.  This means you can accidentally hit someone with your sword when you end a conversation, and when you start it.

I love the subtle use of grey to make Elbos Gate feel ominous compared to the sunny town.

Graphically, the game has large detailed sprites when you’re inside a building.  The town is fairly typical, and the first dungeon has some very moody spritework.  However, the old nemesis of grinding comes into play.  You tend to have one night cycle before talking to the king.  When you talk to the king, you get 200 gold.  The translator suggests you get a crystal, the best weapon from the area (a morning-star,) and the warrior’s clothes.  You get the clothes for free from the restaurant.  The crystal is 300 gold.  The morning-star is 800.  You earn 100 gold per night, and your starting weapon sells for 30 gold.  In other words, you need to spend about eight nights grinding to be able to face the first boss.

All in all, I like the graphics and feel of Jikuu Yuuden Debias.  While I don’t find the gameplay incredibly fun, it is an interesting game, and the game is pretty pleasant to play.  I suspect a remake, retro graphics and all, would be popular with fans of Faxanadu today.  As it is, I suspect some players would find the rough elements to be too unpleasant.

  1. glown’s avatar

    oooh yeah. i grabbed this one when the translation was released and quickly forgot. will have to check it out soon!

  2. Rav’s avatar

    It’s a bit more grindy than I would prefer, but it’s neat. I hope you like it, glown.


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