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.

First of all, you can’t really grind in the game for experience.  This eliminates the kind of death spiral that can pop up in action RPGS where you are not strong enough to kill anything and can’t get enough money to heal or improve your armor.  Money can still purchase items and equipment and you can use fighting to improve your familiars.

The Crimson Jade looks more like a little floating imp. It shoots fireballs.

These familiars (called fairies in the game) provide various bonuses and gain experience from blue crystals dropped by enemies.  For the most part, there’s only three fairies that are really useful.  One provides healing, another provides light for dark dungeons, and the last one is some form of attacking fairy.  You can only have two fairies active at a time.

The sword is not your only weapon type in the game. Note the generous radius of the swing.

You also have comparatively little health in Brain Lord.  You gain hearts in dungeons which add a crystal to your health meter, but some enemies may take off two per hit.  Shields can absorb damage, and healing items or fountains aren’t that uncommon. Still, this game is not like, say, Exile where you can quickly gain a massive health bar.

Pushing this rock north one space will trigger the switch. That's my Crimson Jade fairy next to the hero.

The puzzles are tolerable. There’s the standard rock pushing / ball rolling type of puzzle as well as jumping puzzles.  Late in the game, it can get fustrating to play, but that’s not that uncommon in this genre of game.

I believe Barness here is a priest. The translation may be trying to remove religious references, or it may just be awkward. There's a fair amount of awkward text in the first town.

All in all, the game is kind of bland.  There’s a sort of weird feeling like Traysia to it.  You’re entering a small town, surrounded by encroaching monsters.  You have a team of other people who are working on a similar goal.  Mostly, you spend the game exploring large areas, fighting monsters and solving puzzles.  This makes the game world feel more shallow since most of the plot elements are merely pointing you to the new area to fight monsters or checkpoints before you can unlock a new area to fight monsters.

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