Brain Lord, Super Nintendo

Brain Lord is a strangely-titled, obscure Japanese action RPG developed by Produce! and published by Enix for the Super Nintendo in 1994. The game was officially translated into English and released in North America, but was never released in Europe.

If I had to liken Brain Lord to anything I would say that it resembles the earlier Zelda games, because combat is real-time and the main character can also also jump. In fact: jumping is an important part of the gameplay, which is usually not the case in JRPGs such as this.

In Brain Lord you take on the role of a young adventurer who sets out to find his missing father, who earlier had set out to confront a dragon that had been terrorising their village, but had never returned.

Much of the game takes place inside dungeons, with a scrolling overworld linking them together. The main protagonist can use various different weapons but begins the game with a basic sword, and who can also use ‘Jades’ – jewels with fairies inside them that, when used, will follow him around and perform tasks, such as healing, lighting dark areas, defending, or firing long range attacks. You can even name the fairies, which is a neat Pokémon-like touch. These fairies are very useful and also give the game a unique flavour. You can have two fairies active at the same time, and must manually put them back into their jewels if you want to get a different one out. You can also level them up so that they become more powerful.

Brain Lord is a fairly decent action adventure game, with a balance between puzzle-solving and combat, cute, colourful graphics and a reasonable amount of detail. The difficulty curve gradually increases as you play and becomes more challenging over time. There are also occasional boss battles (and sub-boss battles) to win to progress the story.

One thing I don’t like about Brain Lord is the music, which is mostly pseudo funk that is pretty tuneless and doesn’t really fit with the type of game this is. Personally, I would’ve preferred a more atmospheric soundtrack.

Brain Lord is a game worth tracking down and playing now, though. It’s free of the constraints of a turn-based RPG and will reward those who value dexterous skill-based play over stat-based level-grinding.

More: Brain Lord on Wikipedia

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