Friday, April 05, 2013

Five PC Engine games I'm going to (attempt to) play once I've learned enough Japanese

Could it be said that I'm getting ahead of myself here? Yes, it could. The fact is, though, that the possibility (slim as it may be) that I may someday learn enough Japanese to play any of the following PC Engine games is what's driving my studies at the moment, so I'm OK with this "getting ahead of myself" business.

So, which previously inaccessible (well, except for in the case of one of the games below) am I itching to stumble my way through, Japanese-to-English dictionary in hand, at some point in the future? Read on to find out.

1. Laplace no Ma--I'm including this Human-developed Super CD-ROM title here for one reason and one reason only: it's one of the few horror-themed dungeon-crawlers I've come across. Considering it's a CD-based game, I'm guessing it's stuffed full of kanji (the most difficult of Japan's alphabets), which would make things quite a bit trickier, but I don't care. That said, let's see if I'm still this cavalier if and when I find myself staring at its title screen.

2. Madou Monogatari--To be completely honest, I'd already own this Arcade CD-ROM title--lack of Japanese knowledge be damned--if it weren't for one little thing: it's sky-high price. It's supposed to be a pretty great game, though, and it's surely an adorable one, so maybe I'll reward myself for reaching a particularly daunting educational milestone by picking up a copy (assuming I can find one).

3. Necromancer--I've heard that this HuCard-based RPG is a bit rough around the edges and features far too many random battles, but I've long wanted to give it a go anyway because of its dark theme and because of its H.R. Giger-inspired box art (which can be seen here).

4. Pro Tennis World Court--A weird choice, no? Especially since I could play the English version of this game (known as World Court Tennis) whenever I want. The thing is, that iteration's localization is absolutely atrocious, while its Japanese counterpart is supposed to feature lots of "loony, in-jokey dialogue," so I'd really like to experience the game as it was originally intended.

5. Tengai Makyo II: Manji Maru--True story: I bought a copy of this game all the way back when I was in high school, when I still owned a TurboGrafx-16 system (along with the bulky CD-ROM attachment, thank you very much) and obsessed about grand Japanese RPGs such as this one. Sadly, GameFAQs was but a twinkle on someone's eye at the time, so I barely put a dent in it before raising the proverbial white flag. Like the other CD-based games mentioned here, this one is chock-full of kanji, so it's likely to continue to stump me for some time to come, but I'll give it my best all the same.

Honorable mentions: Dragon Knight II and III, Record of Lodoss War, Seiya Monogatari: Anearth Fantasy Stories and War of the Dead.

Note: the Laplace no Ma, Madou Monogatari and Necromancer screenshots above were taken from and

Thursday, April 04, 2013

From the Dept. of Duh: the Shin Megami Tensei PlayStation ports have beautiful box art

While reading through the NeoGAF discussion thread devoted to the announcement of Shin Megami Tensei IV's impending North American release, I came across this post--which featured the box art that was created for the PlayStation ports of Shin Megami Tensei I, II and If.

Although I knew before encountering the aforementioned post that these games had been released for the PlayStation, I don't believe I'd previously seen the gorgeous pieces of cover art that Atlus created for them.

Here, for instance, is the Shin Megami Tensei port's box art:

Beautiful, no? And here is the art that graced covers of the Shin Megami Tensei II PlayStation re-release:

Last, but far from least, here's Shin Megami Tensei If's wondrous box art:

Is it wrong that I now want to learn enough Japanese to justify the purchase of all three of these never-officially-released-in-English PlayStation games?

See also: previous blog posts about awesome box art

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Acquisition #150: Ore no Ryouri (PlayStation)

True story: I've been a bit obsessed with this PlayStation-based cooking game since I first heard about it shortly after its Japanese release in 1999.

Despite my interest in it, though, I've yet to play it. Oh, I've attempted to play it via emulation a few times in the past, but for whatever reason none of the PlayStation emulators I've used recognize my controller's analog sticks--which are required to play Ore no Ryouri's Order Up!-esque, restaurant-based mini-games.

Given the above, you might find it strange that I recently decided to pick up a complete-in-case copy of this Japan-only game--a number of photos of which can be seen below.

The fact is, I've been thinking of buying either a Japanese PSone or PS2 system for ages, so picking up a copy of Ore no Ryouri--especially a rather cheap one--didn't seem all that weird to me.

In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to busy myself by taking in the beauty that is Ore no Ryouri's disc label (above), which makes the CD appear as if it's a bowl of delicious ramen.

Just as cool, in my opinion, is the image that sits behind the disc tray--which looks like a bowl of ramen that's (nearly) been wiped clean.

Although I won't be able to share my impressions of Ore no Ryouri for at least a short while, interested parties can go to the Twin Dreams blog to read more about it in the interim.

See also: previous 'Acquisition #123' posts

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Am I a bad person if I buy Shin Megami Tensei IV and not Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers?

The thing is, I originally planned to buy both of these Atlus-made RPGs.

That was before the Great 3DS Game Flood of 2013 occurred, though--a rather long-lasting flood that's already swept Etrian Odyssey IV, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon and Touch Detective: Funghi's Big Breed into my path and will soon add Animal Crossing: New Leaf to the growing pile of rubble at my feet.

Because I've only sunk a few hours into Fire Emblem: Awakening and Touch Detective: Funghi's Big Breed and I've yet to even stick Etrian Odyssey IV or Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon into my 3DS, I've decided to pass on Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, which will be released throughout North America on April 16, for the time being.

I won't be passing on the just-announced-for-North-American-release Shin Megami Tensei IV, though--despite the fact that publisher Atlus USA will be shipping it sometime this summer (apparently with a premium-sized price tag attached to it).

Full disclosure: I've never played a mainline Shin Megami Tensei title (as opposed to spin-offs like the Persona games), so I'm a bit nervous that I'll be thrown into the deep end with this release, but I'm going to give it the old college try anyway.

Are any of you similarly stoked by this announcement? If so, have you played any of the previous entries in the series, or will this be your first time at the Shin Megami Tensei rodeo, too?


How on earth did I miss 7th Dragon 2020-II's announcement?

Seriously, how did I miss Sega's announcement that it would be releasing a sequel to 7th Dragon 2020 (itself a follow-up to the awesome-looking DS game, 7th Dragon) this spring?

Oh, well, there's nothing I can do about that. And, really, all that matters is that I know about it now.

As for why I'm so happy I've finally discovered this Imageepoch-developed PSP title: it features idols that are able to unleash some of the most fabulous attacks I've ever seen in an RPG.

Don't believe me? Check out this video:

7th Dragon 2020-II is due out in Japan on April 18, by the way. Since the previous installments in this series failed to see release outside the Land of the Rising Sun, I have to imagine this one will suffer the same fate.

Which is understandable to a degree, of course--the PSP hasn't been a viable system in western markets for years, after all--I can't help but be a bit disappointed by it all the same.


Monday, April 01, 2013

And April's 'Bye-Bye, Backlog' selection is ...

... Super Mario Sunshine for the GameCube.

Yep, I'm going to jump back into this "Bye-Bye, Backlog" project that was rather unceremoniously placed on the back burner in March.

I should warn you, though, that it may get pushed to the background again in the future, as I've definitely learned over the last few months that this isn't really the way I like to game.

What I mean is that I prefer to play games without any pressure. I choose games that interest me and then I play them until I'm not longer interested in them--even if that means quitting before I've seen the end credits.

A project like this pushes me to play a specific game as much as possible each week--which, in a way, is a good thing, but which also is a bad thing, as some weeks I just don't feel like playing the game I'd committed to earlier.

All that said, I'm going to give this project my best shot from here on out.

Getting back to this month's selection, Super Mario Sunshine: I have to admit that I'm a bit baffled by the fact that I've yet to play this GameCube platformer.

After all, I have tremendously fond memories of playing through Super Mario 64 as a teen (and again as a college student). Also, I had a similarly heartwarming experience with the Super Mario Galaxy titles that were released for the Wii in 2007 and 2010, respectively.

Of course, I was pretty late to the GameCube party--I only picked up the lunchbox-like system after it had plummeted in price to $99--so maybe my lack of interest in this three-dimensional Mario adventure shouldn't be so surprising after all?

Regardless, I'm looking forward to acquainting myself with this title's uniquely tropical setting (or so I've heard) as well as Mario's oddly named FLUDD device soon.

Have any of you played Super Mario Sunshine at one time or other? If so, what's your opinion of it?