Emerald Dragon is a Japan-only RPG that was developed by Alfa System and published by MediaWorks for the Super Nintendo in 1995. It was given an English fan translation (by Translation Corporation) in 2014, which is great because it is an excellent game!
The game features characters and locations based on Zoroastrian mythology and is a story about dragons and humans featuring turn-based combat.
You play a young dragon tribe youth called Atrushan who is sent down to the land of Ishbahn to help a human girl (called Tamryn) who was raised and nurtured by these dragons and eventually returned to live among her own people. Upon arriving in Ishbahn (in human form) Atrushan discovers that it is under attack by the evil forces of Tiridates and has been put under a curse. Atrushan’s quest is to stop Tiridates and lift the curse, which he must do by finding the five “Emerald Graces” – powerful dragon-based treasures that have been hidden throughout the land – and to eventually resurrect the greatest of all dragons, the Emerald Dragon, which it is said will perform a miracle and stop the evil.
Emerald Dragon features a scrolling top-down view of Ishbahn as you explore the various locations, and battles are overhead and a mixture of random and event-based and take place on a single screen with the information of up to five party members depicted on the left-hand side of the combat area. As you issue commands to the individual members of the party during combat a blue bar at the top of the screen depletes, and when it completely empties the turn ends and the enemy takes a turn. This continues until one of the sides is defeated. Defeating enemies awards your party members with experience points, and these are used to level them up.
As Atrushan collects the Emerald Graces his powers grow stronger, awarding him a variety of new dragon-based attacks. These transform him into a dragon when they are used and unleash powerful attacks on his enemies, usually at the cost of some of his own health.
The presentation in Emerald Dragon is top notch, with beautiful landscapes, buildings, cut sequences, and character designs/animations. Sound too is also excellent, with sampled voices used for when the characters are hurt or cast spells, and evocative and atmospheric music that is featured throughout. Most importantly the gameplay is highly absorbing, with engaging combat and a decent storyline with a number of surprising plot twists.
I was pleasantly surprised by Emerald Dragon and enjoyed playing it immensely. To the point where I found myself unable to stop playing until I’d completed it. The English translation is superb and the game even made me laugh out loud on occasion. It even features some humorous outtakes from the game after the final credits have rolled, which is interesting and unusual.
If you’re a fan of SNES RPGs then I’d say that Emerald Dragon is well worth tracking down and playing.