Energy Breaker is an isometric, tactical, turn-based RPG, developed by Neverland and published exclusively for the Super Nintendo by Taito in 1996. It was only ever released in Japan but does have an English fan translation patch available for it, which makes it playable to Western audiences.
The story revolves around a young girl, called Myra (but who you can re-name), who has lost her memory and is having dreams warning her that she must act to avert some sort of catastrophe. After visiting a fortune teller Myra is then drawn into a conflict between four mysterious Dark Generals who are seeking the power of four magical jewels in order to take over the island of Zamuria that she inhabits.
Energy Breaker combines gameplay from traditional Japanese Role-Playing Games and tactical strategy games and mixes exploration with dungeon-crawling and turn-based combat. Myra can choose an emotion when talking to NPCs, and battle mechanics revolve around a ‘balance’ component. Balance is required to perform most actions, and special attacks are are learned by using a “Grimoire” before battle. These are equipped according to an energy system consisting of four types: red (fire), yellow (earth), blue (water), and green (wind). An energy type can be increased once per level, up to a maximum of eight. Before they can be used, special skills require the character to meet a specific level for each of the four energy types, which means having to adjust them throughout the game.
Battles happen at set points during the story, rather than randomly, and each has a pre-set layout and conditions that must be met to achieve victory (such as defeating a boss; defeating all enemies; winning within a set number of rounds, or reaching a specific location on the landscape).
Energy Breaker takes place within the same game world as Taito‘s famous Lufia series, and does have some cameo appearances from the Lufia games, as well as some items, terminology and conventions from that series.
Energy Breaker is another obscure Japanese RPG on the Super Nintendo that is well worth seeking out, patching and playing. It has appealing graphics, excellent music, and decent gameplay and is still worth playing today. It’s another great ‘hidden gem’ on the Super Nintendo, brought to a wider audience with an excellent translation patch.