Final Fantasy 5 Four Job Fiesta

So, I haven’t been able to pump out SNES reviews as quickly as I would have liked. I started on Final Fantasy IV (SNES Final Fantasy II) and just couldn’t get into it. I’ll try again in the future but…I have a hard time getting past the terrible translation. I may try to play through the GBA version via the GCN GBA Player so I don’t have to look at a small screen.

I am, however, going to start on Final Fantasy V. It’s a game I’ve never played and it seems really interesting. It made it’s debut in 1992 on the Super Famicom but was not released in the U.S. on the SNES. So, technically, a SNES game, I’m counting it. Final Fantasy V eventually made it’s way to the U.S. on the PS Final Fantasy Anthology (which I owned but never played, the load times are insane) and then later the GBA.

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ActRaiser Review

ActRaiser Box Cover

– I changed the battery on this board, it wasn’t saving anymore. Changing the battery was terrifying, I was convinced the battery was going to explode if the solder got too hot.
– The ‘b’ button is to confirm selection, and ‘y’ is to cancel. I guess that makes sense, the rightmost button is used to confirm, left to cancel, but why not ‘a’ to confirm, ‘b’ (“back”) to cancel?
– You’re playing a god and some evil guy has sealed your powers.
– In order to restore your powers, you have to play through a platforming level and beat a boss.
– Once you beat the boss, you go into a sim mode and build a town. Your townspeople ask you to do stuff like burn bushes so they can build houses. They need a god’s help to burn bushes to build houses.
– Flying around the overworld makes great use of Mode 7

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Super Castlevania IV Review

Super Castlevania IV Box Cover

– The controls don’t always feel tight.
– The jumping physics seem odd, even in the SNES era. Can change directions but still feels stiff.
– No battery, game uses a password system. 4×4 grid, composed of holy water, axes, hearts and empty spaces. I’m going to store the codes as I go, here’s one:

w e e e
a w e h
e w e a
e h e e

[a = axe, e = empty, h = heart, w = holy water]

– The music is fantastic and easily the best part of the game.
– Boss can sometimes be super easy, you can kill them so fast you don’t even see all of their moves.
– There is frequent slowdown even when a lot isn’t happening on screen.
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SNES Repro – Secret of Mana 2

Secret of Mana 2
Secret of Mana 2 (Seiken Densetsu 3) Japanese cover art.

Secret of Mana 2 (Seiken Densetsu 3) was the first reproduction I purchased and has really drawn me into the whole reproduction world. I’m a huge fan of the original Secret of Mana, it’s a terrific action RPG that was released by Square in 1993. At the time the sequel never made it to the U.S and we wouldn’t see a new game in the Mana series until Legend of Mana on the Playstation (which, in my opinion, was not nearly on the same level as Secret of Mana).

That all changed in 2000 when, thanks to a fan translation, the English-speaking world was able to enjoy a game that, I think, very much improves on the original and is one of the finest games to grace the SNES.

As a side note, to clarify the U.S. vs. Japanese naming conventions… The first game in the series was called Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden in Japan, while it was called Final Fantasy Adventure in the U.S. So, the numbering is off by one for the other release (Secret of Mana/Seiken Densetsu 2, Secret of Mana 2/Seiken Densetsu 3). Square just loved screwing with this stuff in the SNES era.

The game starts with you choosing three out of six possible characters to play as which you’ll control throughout the course of the game. This aspect offers some nice replayability, you’ll only see the storyline from these characters perspective. As with Secret of Mana, while the player controls one of the characters, the computer handles the other two. You can give the computer controller very general commands about how to handle themselves (if they should use abilities, which enemies they should target), which is a nice addition over the original.

Also new is the level up system. As you characters gain levels you’ll be able to customize which of their statistics to increase (strength, vitality, luck, etc.). Additionally, when they hit level 18 (and have a special item), you’ll be given the option to choose either a light or a dark class upgrade. Each variant offers unique skills and is another way to further customize your characters. This branching choice happens again at level 38, so each character can ultimately be one of four different variants (light light, light dark, dark light, dark dark). It’s a really cool system that adds even more to the replayability of the game.

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SNES Repro – Treasure of the Rudras

Treasure of the Rudras' Japanese Box Art
Treasure of the Rudras’ Japanese Box Art

Lately I’ve been into purchasing reproduction SNES carts on eBay or through 3rd party sites like Timewalk Games. “What in the hell are reproduction SNES carts” you’re probably asking. Well, basically, these individuals/companies are creating physical SNES cartridges that play either a) games only ever officially released in Japan with English translation patches applied to them or b) fan-made hack of existing games. Super Metroid Redesign is an example of a fan hack to make the game more difficult (apparently Super Metroid hacking is HUGE).

I’m a little more interested in the English translations of games that were never released in the U.S. There’s just a ton of great SNES-era games that never made it here, and I’m intrigued by the fact that now, roughly 20 years later, people are releasing physical reproductions of these games. It’s super niche, but there’s certainly a market for it. Also, the allure of not knowing for sure what I’m getting is kind of awesome.

One of the latest repros I purchased, through eBay is Treasure of the Rudras (Rudra no Hihō, a.k.a. Treasure of Rudra). Originally released in 1996 by Square, it’s an RPG were you combine words to make your own mantras (spells). You can create awesome sounding mantras like “pefaongnujin” or “bulvugnuegod” (those are actual mantras you could create). Mantras are generally broken down into three parts; there is an element core (lightning, dark), combined with prefixes and suffixes which can modify the power, how many enemies the spell targets (single or multiple), or add additional status effects like poison. You can also learn unique spells from enemies while playing through the game.

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I Think the Site is No Longer Hacked

After a traditionally long absence I’ve decided to randomly start posting on Awesome Radical Gaming again. Because, why not? I was inspired by Will Smith, long story. I think I also fixed the very much hacked RSS feed. I don’t understand how it is that WordPress always gets hacked. The plugins? I don’t know, or care, but it’s a major pain in the ass every single time. Going forward I’m going to use Github for revisioning and backup the site regularly so this kind of thing won’t happen again (or if it does, I can easily restore it).

Other then that I really have nothing exciting to say, except that you should check out this video for Chroma Squad, a manager game with japanese-style super heroes. From the people that brought us Knights of Pen and Paper.

You should also know that I’ve become much more obsessed with board games lately, mostly due to Kickstarter. And that I’ve been collecting SNES Rom hack carts, or Japanese ROMs that were patched with English translations, then put onto a cart. It’s the shady underworld of SNES collecting.

Virtual Console Update – Harvest Moon (SNES)

I totally missed this update…Harvest Moon games are pretty radical, and I always wanted to get the SNES version. Unfortunately, it was always impossible to find or over priced…but not anymore. The older Harvest Moon games were the best. The first one I got was for the N64, and I like that one way better then the GCN one I have.

And don’t think that milking cows and planting crops isn’t fun, it really is.

Virtual Console Monday: 11/26/07


Double Dribble, Vegas Stakes, and Ecco Jr. I think I only played Ecco Jr. (I got scared playing it, fear of deep water), so I can’t say if the other two are awesome and/or radical. What I do remember is seeing Vegas Stakes in bargain bins everywhere…you couldn’t escape it. The image of that box is burned into my brain:
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