Monday, March 09, 2015

Another Year of the GameBoy: Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru

I know most folks have known about this early-1990s GameBoy title for ages now, but I was completely aware of its existence until an English fan translation of it was released a couple of years ago.

In case this is the first you've heard of it, it's a Japan-only game that's often referred to as The Frog For Whom the Bell Tolls or For the Frog the Bell Tolls and that plays (in a way) like a bastardized, black-and-white take on Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

That's because, like Nintendo's weirdo follow-up to the original Zelda title, Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru is an adventure that features both overhead and side-scrolling segments.

The main thing that keeps this GameBoy cart from feeling like a lame copy-and-paste job is that battles in the bird's-eye-view portions are hands-off affairs--as in, when the protagonist, Prince Sablé, bumps into an enemy, the fighting begins and ends (behind a cloud of dust, even) without any input from the player.

Don't worry if that sounds about as appealing as watching paint dry, as it's actually pretty adorable--and even kind of enjoyable.

Anyway, with all of that out the way, let's get to the "meat" of this particular post--which is the photos I snapped of my acquired-sometime-ago copy of For the Frog the Bell Tolls.


Boy, that illustration that serves as the centerpiece of this game's box art is a beauty, isn't it? I kind of wish it took up the entirety of the front side of the packaging, though. At least it's still pretty enticing even in its current state.


Moving to Kaeru no Tame's instruction manual, it's quite a looker, too. I love how the page showcased in the snapshot above combines a look at the game's map with a few of its (main?) characters.


The page above, on the other hand, gives me serious Kid Icarus vibes--which, of course, is a very good thing.


I have to say, I'm not entirely sure why I'm sharing this photo of For the Frog the Bell Tolls' cartridge. After all, its label art isn't all that different from what's found on the front of the game's box.

Oh, well, you really can't have too many photos of such lovely Japanese pick-ups, can you?

So, have any of you played this one? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Do you like its odd gameplay, or do you wish it were a bit more interactive (à la the Zelda series)? Also, what do you think of this title's obsession with food-inspired names?

See also: previous 'Year of the GameBoy' posts

14 comments:

TheGameroomBlitz said...

Ha ha! Wow, this kid totally popped up as a trophy in Super Smash Bros the other day. I thought he looked familiar!

TheGameroomBlitz said...

Also, Professor Butthead looks like the guy you throw around a lot in Wario Land 4.

thegaygamer.com said...

Oh, yeah, I forgot a trophy of the protagonist was included in SSB!

thegaygamer.com said...

Hmmm, it's been a while since I've played a WarioWare game, Jess, so I'm going to have to consult the Googles for this one...

Justin Difazzio said...

This guy is in the new Smash as an assist trophy. It's nice to get a peek at the game that he comes from.

thegaygamer.com said...

Ah, glad to hear you got some enjoyment--as well as a bit of education--out of this post, Justin ^^

finchiekins said...

I played through it last summer! It's nothing super deep, but i found it to be enjoyable from beginning to end.

thegaygamer.com said...

Oh, yeah, it's definitely not "deep," but I still thought it was cute and fun--what I've played of it, I mean. (Maybe three or four hours?)

Hyper Emerson said...

This game has an endearing and fun-to-explore world. I'll never forget how cool the presentation of the final battle is.

thegaygamer.com said...

Oh, really, HE? I've yet to get that far. Hmmm, I guess I'll just add what you said here to the reasons I have to get back to this game PRONTO!

RetroKingSimon said...

I've heard of this one but never played it, I always assumed I wouldn't be able to due to language issues :| Looks great though.

thegaygamer.com said...

Actually, Simon, as I stated early on in this write-up, am English fan translation has been available for ages. In fact, you very likely can find ROMs that have already been patched with it, if you do a bit of digging!

RetroKingSimon said...

Yeah I know, I just mean that's why I hadn't given it a try earlier. I really should at some point, it looks great. Great instruction book too :)

thegaygamer.com said...

Ah, OK. I didn't get that from your first comment. Anyway, you should give the English translation a try at some point. It's well worth it, IMO!