I’ve always had some level of curiosity towards retro Japanese games that were never localized, especially those by major developers before they got big. It’s hard to think of a more household name than Nintendo. After all, a lot of Nintendo’s major series have started back on the NES and are still going strong to this day. I mean, Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, no context needed.
But not every classic Nintendo title went on to get tons of sequels and get milked into oblivion. Kid Icarus got one Gameboy sequel and then a reboot decades laterbefore fading into obscurity again despite the reboot being very successful. Punch-Out got a SNES sequel that no one cared about, and then a Wii reboot decades later that flopped. StarTropics got one sequel then nothing. But at least these games were localized (except for StarTropics which was made in the US and not released in Japan).
A lot of us who live outside of Japan don’t realize just how important the Dragon Quest series is to gaming. So many of us are bound to have at least one JRPG among our favorites of all time, yet ultimately aren’t familiar with the series that put this genre on the map. I’ve often thought of what it must be like to discuss the differences in gaming culture with a gamer from Japan, about the differences in popularity and what games that we never got in our respective countries.
Dragon Quest III is to the Dragon Quest series what Final Fantasy VII is to the Final Fantasy series. It’s the one that damn near every thinks of when they hear the name of the series. I finally got the chance to play through Dragon Quest III for myself a few months ago through its Switch port, and even thirty years after its release, it still kicks some serious ass! Read more
Yeah I kinda fell out of the habit of making Amazing VGM Pieces haven’t I? The last one I did was for The Dark Colossus Destroys All from NieR, and that was back in October. Perhaps I should capitalize on the game I just reviewed then? Dragon Quest II it is! Particularly I would like to go with the two world map themes and their variations. The first of these tracks is titled “Distant Journey” (Also sometimes referred to as “A Lonely Youth”), plays on the world map with an incomplete party, and is thus the first one you here.
Dragon Quest II is often glossed over when discussing the legacy of the series. While Dragon Quest I is noteworthy for being the first game in the series and Dragon Quest III is noteworthy for being motherfucking Dragon Quest III, Dragon Quest II just seems to be known as “that one that’s really really hard and comes between Dragon Quest I and III.” I often see people act as if Dragon Quest II is completely unremarkable and that is just not the case.
Dragon Quest II is a pretty badass game when you get right down to it. I should note that I have not played the NES original this time around and am thus only familiar with it from a lets play I saw years ago and from what I’ve looked up about it. From what I can gather the later versions definitely seem more polished and well structured, that is unless you are playing and English fan translation of the super famicom version that is. Read more
Given the niche of people who read my stuff, I am sure most of you are aware of the impact the Dragon Quest series has on JRPGs as a whole. There is a strange sense of disconnect when thinking about how popular the series is in Japan when comparing its overseas releases. While the series is moderately popular in the west, the Dragon Quest series is pretty much mainstream in Japan. Today I am going to look at the game that started it all.
Prior to about a month ago, I have never played the first three Dragon Quest games (and still have not played the third as I am writing this). I beat the first Dragon Quest a few weeks ago and am very close to completing Dragon Quest 2. For the sake of context, the version I played through was the SNES version but I played a bit of the NES version until my emulator went kaput and made me lose all my progress. I plan to briefly talk about each version though and this piece is meant as a critique of the game overall. Read more
Recently I decided to play through the original Metroid on a whim. I have a specific set of games I want to play through but I always tend to deviate from that schedule eventually. The reason why I decided to was because I have actually never played the first Metroid before this. I have played through Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, and Metroid Fusion before but not the original. Granted I could have just played the remake Metroid: Zero Mission for the GBA but I wanted to see how the series started. I wanted to play through the first Metroid just so I can ask, has it held up?
The answer to that the original Metroid does in fact pass the test of time, but it does so with a C minus. I did have fun with Metroid but there was a lot of shit that really interfered with that and will be difficult to go back to. Nonetheless there is still quite a bit that puts this game ahead of mediocre clones like Legends of the Universe – Starcore even with the game’s age. Read more
With the release of Earthbound Beginnings on the Wii U e-shop, Nintendo of America has corrected a 26 year old mistake on their part. Earthbound Beginnings is the prequel to Earthbound on the SNES that was not originally released in Japan. The game was originally intended to be localized but was canceled despite the localization having already been fully completed. Until now the translated version of Earthbound Beginnings (which was otherwise known as Earthbound Zero) could only be played via emulation or a reproduction cart. Nintendo just now released the translated version for the Wii U e-shop making it available more easily and legally.
Earthbound Beginnings is different from its successor in plenty of ways and is mostly an inferior game, but this is usually to be expected in terms of sequels. Even if one were to hold Earthbound Beginnings to the standards of a lot of modern day games it still handles things far more competently than most and is an amazing game on its own. Read more
Ghosts ‘n Goblins was always infamous for being one of the hardest games ever made. That statement is pretty much 100% accurate, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is so difficult that it is only on the border of how difficult a game can be while still being playable. One should note that I am using the word “difficult” and not “challenging.” The reason I say this is because being challenging is generally a good thing as it implies that a game brings you up to its own level by being demanding and through its design.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins, on the other hand, is just difficult in the sense that it is very patience trying and unfun. Before I hear the parade of apologists proclaiming “git gud” I should make it clear that I did beat this game twice, and yes I am counting it as twice regardless of that stunt they pulled the first time. Ghosts ‘n Goblins may be beatable, but it isn’t exactly an enjoyable game to play. Most players will be having far more frustration than fun and beating it serves no purpose other than bragging rights. Read more
Ah Deadly Towers, I just posted my review of it last month. While I may enjoy it, it’s clear that most people don’t. It’s not hard to see why given the myriad of problems with it but that’s not what we’re here to talk about. I am pretty sure that most gamers have likely thought of how they would make their own game if they had the resources available, ideas are much more common than action after all. I’ve certainly had plenty of projects in mind and have even began writing the script for some, but it’s unlikely you’ll get to actually see me developing a game any time soon. I have way too little resources or experience to do so at this point in my life so I’ll just bounce off ideas like anyone else.
The point of this article is to imagine what a remastered version of Deadly Towers would look like if it were made today. I’m going to at least keep it within the realm of what an indie studio could create today and not imagine it with AAA production values because that’s far less likely to happen. Read more
Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! it’s a plane! It’s….
And she’s here to say that one of the most reviled NES games of all time is… actually pretty damn good. Yes, I fucking said it! Seanbaby is a fucking hack! Do you wanna fight about it? Well I hope not because I’m not willing to pay travel expenses to challenge random strangers to fights over video games. Also I have weak girly HRT muscles.
Anyway yes, I not only enjoyed this game but I think it is among one of the most underrated games on the system AND showed a lot of innovation and creativity for its time. I just want to remind everyone that this game was originally released in 1986, only about 9 months after Zelda 1.
That is not to say that Deadly Towers does not have some terrible design decisions or oversights, but I have yet to see many who give credit to many of the game’s stronger points in favor of placing it on the same tier of trash as licensed LJN shit. There is no reason for this to have been rated as the worst NES game above shit like Action 52, The Uncanny X-Men, or just about any licensed movie tie in. At the very least, Deadly Towers is overhated. Read more