11 JapanOnly RPGs We Wish Were Translated

center_img Marvelous: Another Treasure IslandEiji Aonuma has been the man Nintendo picked to helm the Legend of Zelda franchise since 1998, but the game in which he showed his action-RPG bonafides has never been translated for the West. Marvelous: Another Treasure Island is a SNES RPG released in 1996 and developed by Nintendo R&D 2. In it, you control a trio of young lads who travel to a mysterious island where a pirate has stashed his treasure. It combines Zelda-esque combat and exploration with first-person puzzles and mini-games to create something very different than its inspiration. Marvelous was actually on track for an English release and even got a preview in Nintendo Power before being cancelled. Mother 3Probably the Holy Grail of Japanese RPGs, the sequel to SNES classic Earthbound took twelve years to develop, eventually being released on the Game Boy Advance. Producer Shigesato Itoi had already staked his claim as the master of using RPG systems to explore unique terrain, and the third game in the series carries on his themes of humanity’s tendency to work against their own better natures. The game also boasts a unique musical battle system, in which players can time their attacks to the beat of a foe’s heart to score extra hits. There’s an unofficial translation of this one floating around, but it’s insane that Nintendo hasn’t listened to demand and brought it here officially.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Lunatic Dawn IIIArtdink is one of the more idiosyncratic developers in Japan, responsible for bizarre games about battling construction machinery and rampaging dominoes, so when they turned their attention to the role-playing genre things were pretty strange. The Lunatic Dawn games turn JRPG tradition on their heads – instead of sprawling narratives, they’re non-linear adventures where you wander a fantasy landscape taking quests from townspeople, battling monsters in vaguely Diablo-esque action and dodging traps. The visuals are pretty bland, but we’re just interested in seeing what such a non-traditional game would play like. The Black OnyxThis one is notable primarily for historical reasons – MSX game The Black Onyx was one of the first role-playing games produced for the Japanese market, developed by a transplanted team of developers led by Dutch designer Henk Rogers. In it, you assemble a five-person party to invade a tower to retrieve the titular gem. Some of the most notable tropes of the genre got their start here, including the use of color bars to display your party’s hit points instead of numbers. The game is presented in a sort of weird mix of English and Japanese so it’s semi-playable by monoglot audiences, but we’d be interested in delving into a full translation. If you’re a gaming geek, you know that there are two main schools of electronic role-playing games. The Western tradition emphasizes player choice and customizability, letting you choose the “role” you want to play as you move through the world. In Japan, though, RPGs stick to a more prescribed narrative, putting you in control of pre-determined characters with less agency in exchange for more in-depth emotional storytelling. Both approaches are great – and have made for great games – but the Japanese style is a little tougher to localize. For every RPG classic like the Final Fantasy series that makes it over here, there are tons that just never meet a translator.What follows is our wishlist of Japan-only role-playing games that we’d kill for somebody to officially translate to English and put out over here.Mark of the MermaidWhile I dig traditional sword & sorcery RPGs, some of my favorite games in the genre are the ones that blend it with other ideas. That’s why I’m so interested in Mark of the Mermaid, an untranslated PS1 game that incorporates survival horror into the mix. When a plane crashes on a deserted island, the survivors have to deal with a cult that engages in ritual sacrifice and corpse desecration. With a grid-based tactical battle system that has the unique twist of making it only possible for armed characters to kill foes and multiple endings, this one has been on my translation wishlist for quite some time.Lagrange PointKonami isn’t a publisher known for role-playing outside of the tremendous Suikoden series, but back in the 8-bit era, they released an entry into the genre that we’ve always wanted to try. Lagrange Point is a futuristic adventure in the Phantasy Star mode where you play a young soldier sent to investigate the disappearance of the staff of a trio of space stations at the Lagrange Point between Earth and the Sun where objects maintain their position between the two. It’s got a ton of unique mechanics – robot characters can rust, humans and cyborgs are affected by their emotional states in battle, and weapons can be fused and modified to create a sizable number of armaments. It’s primitive by today’s standards but still seems really cool.last_img

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