Dun Darach is the 1985 sequel (actually prequel) to Tir Na Nog, written by Greg Follis and Roy Carter and again featuring the expressive Cuchulainn – the long-haired man who is not afraid to walk around with his shirt off…
This is the first game in the Lufia series – developed by Neverland and published by Taito in 1993 for the Super Nintendo.
Lufia and the Fortress of Doom is a cute and colourful Japanese Role-Playing game with Zelda-style presentation and turn-based combat.
Trees, trees, and more trees! That’s what you get when you explore the ancient island kingdom of Arborea. And with a name like that it is no surprise.
Crystals of Arborea is a real-time, first-person, tile-based, party-driven RPG with combat, exploration, and day/night scenes where the colours cycle to give you a nice atmospheric setting.
Crystals of Arborea is the predecessor to the Ishar series of games. It’s a first-person, tile-based RPG, with a character-based party system and turn-based combat.
I was going to add a Final Fantasy game to our Super Nintendo special this week, but – you know what? – Final Fantasy on the SNES is messy, because of all the US and Japanese title discrepancies, so… Instead I’m going to pick this: probably my favourite turn-based level-grinder on the Super Nintendo – Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals.
I’ve always liked Taito‘s Lufia series, but this Super Nintendo sequel is arguably the best game in the entire series. The presentation is just so precise and slick. The combat is brilliant and the boss battles are fantastic.
The player’s party supports up to four characters and one ‘Capsule Monster’ – basically a captured monster that fights for you and can evolve as you go. Combat is turn-based, as is movement when inside a dungeon (useful for avoiding unwanted combat).
And – as is usual in Lufia games – the Ancient Cave is a 99-level, randomly-generated side quest, that can be taken on as an additional challenge.
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals is actually a prequel to its predecessor, taking place 99 years before Lufia and the Fortress of Doom, but it improves upon it in many ways.
Both games, in my humble opinion, are among the very best RPGs on the SNES – and it had a lot of them!
Resident Evil Zero is a prequel to the first Resident Evil game and originally came out on the Nintendo GameCube in 2002.
It is the fifth major instalment in the Resident Evil series. The game uses the older ‘pre-rendered’ style of backgrounds, but is much darker and more serious than the first Resident Evil.
In Resident Evil Zero you control Rebecca Chambers and Billy Coen, both of whom are trapped on a zombie-infested train.
When together, the computer AI controls the second character, and when apart, you can switch between them to control either character. Of course, what this means is that one of them could be being attacked and you’d have to notice, then swap characters to attend to it. Which creates a lot of tension (and schizophrenia!).
Graphically, Resident Evil Zero is mixed bag. While the backdrops are much more atmospheric (and darker) than usual, the lighting and shading is a little murky overall. The colour palette is also very muted.
Gameplay wise: Resident Evil Zero is very good, but the developers were too tight with inventory space. Item juggling in this game can become a real chore as there are no storage crates to put them into, as per other Resident Evil games. This definitely ramps up the challenge too.
Baten Kaitos Origins is a prequel to Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, but released after the first game, by Namco in 2006.
In many respects Origins IS a better game than its predecessor: the interface and button-press timings are better. The story and dialogue are better (I love the way the game inter-cuts between different storylines). The voice acting is a damn sight better than the first game! The level of detail and finesse is higher. The boss battles are more spectacular. It’s arguably more varied…
But somehow Baten Kaitos Origins doesn’t quite resonate as strongly as Eternal Wings does. Maybe that is because the battle system – again based on cards, and a magic called Magnus – isn’t quite as intuitive (or as visually exciting) as in the first game.
Baten Kaitos Origins is still a wonderful game in its own right though. Well worth an investment of time. Particularly if you love party-based level-grinders, or are looking for the best GameCube games of all time. I’d put both Baten Kaitos games in my top 25.