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Mystic Ark


Mystic Ark

During the Lean Years of the mid-to-late 90s, Mystic Ark would have plugged a strange, lonely hole in the Super Nintendo lineup. This little number, developed by Produce and published by then-Squareless Enix, starts with a plague of mysterious, spinning tiles turning people across several worlds into wooden figurines. Who's collecting these figurines and storing them in an isolated mansion? The quest to find out throws the player on a quest to find some mystic whatsits called Arks.

Along the way, the player meets feuding crews of pirate cats, visits towns made of living watermelon, and eventually has some pretty tough battles in a land of fairy tales. There are lots of puzzles of the block-pushing and coin-flipping variety, but brain lords aren't the only audience. There are plenty of horrific monster sprites to inspire Perler bead art, trucker caps, the works. Since combat is frequent and familiar, and Mystic Ark's an Enix game that isn't Dragon Quest, it's unlikely it would have been a huge hit, but it could have been one of those games that speaks deep truth to a small group of fans and Etsy creators. - Zach Welhouse


Sergeant Frog RPG


Sergeant Frog RPG

Back in 2010, in one of Michael Baker's Japandemonium columns, he introduced readers to the Sergeant Frog RPG being developed by Tales Studio. Generally games based on anime tend to be pish and often feel like cash grabs. Color me surprised when Baker then reviewed the game years later and gave it a 4.5/5. There's something to be said about games based on anime being cash grabs, but the more I read and saw on the game, the more I realized I wanted it in English.

While the show has been translated into English by Funimation, Sergeant Frog never really took flight in North America. Having watched the show now and seeing the cheeky slice of life humour in action, it makes me all the more sad that we didnft get this game. Can you image the Keroro cast in RPG tropes? It feels like a perfect match! Love the Tales combat system, but with a toadily unique twist? Yes please to this crazy game.

Plus, we all know Kululu would make a terrifying wizard. He's the one you actually have to watch out for in terms of world domination. - Sam Marchello


Mother 3


Mother 3

The West has often gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to the Mother/EarthBound series. North Americans almost got the very first game for the NES, but it was shelved despite having a nearly-complete translated prototype. Sure. EarthBound was released, but as for its sequel, well, it looked like the original version of Mother 3 would be launched in North America as "EarthBound 64," but in the end no country would see that form of the game. We missed out on the Game Boy Advance port of Mother 1 + 2 as well as Mother 3, whose development moved to the GBA. This isn't even mentioning Europe's lack of any Mother games until very recently. Fans of the series have begged and pleaded for Mother 3's release for about a decade, but so far to no avail. It seems, though, that the tide may finally be turning in our favor. EarthBound was not only eventually released on the Wii U Virtual Console in 2013, but even the original Mother, officially titled EarthBound Beginnings in the West, finally became available as well. Whether or not we will actually see Mother 3 released remains to be seen, though fans remain hopeful.

It isn't just the fact that Mother 3 is the long-awaited sequel to a cult classic SNES game or that western EarthBound releases have been turbulent at best. Mother 3 is a fantastic game, and my personal favorite of the three Mother titles. The story is very good, with a strong focus on characters. There are also some very interesting surprises for anyone familiar with EarthBound. Much like its predecessors, Mother 3 has plenty of charming quirks and whimsy. It's also, however, a shade or two darker than the first and second games ever were. The graphics are deceptively simple with quite an attention to detail. Even the battle system is more engaging with it rhythm-based combo system. Mother 3 improves upon the SNES game in just about every way. It makes it all the more a shame that we never got an official release. Rumors constantly abound, so perhaps the latest whisperings will turn out to be true. We will just have to wait and see. - Cassandra Ramos


Gyrozetter


Gyrozetter

Super High-Speed Transforming Gyrozetter - The Wings of Albaros is an RPG based on a children's cartoon, and if the title wasn't a clue to this fact, then the premise will assure that it is very much silly fun for Saturday mornings. In the near future, all driving is done by AI, which means that 5th graders can legally "drive" them. To complicate matters, an alien race of robots is bent on conquering humanity, and the only hope are transforming robot cars and the kids they depend on for some reason...destiny I guess. The setting and story add up to perhaps one of the most anime things ever, and that can be pretty awesome. The gameplay I've seen has looked like a generic JRPG, but not in the worst sense of that phrase, and the transformation element seems to have no bearing on gameplay beyond being a super sweet 'sprint' button and a separate mini game for racing. However, the mechanical designs are from a dream team of Gundam, Macross, and other mecha anime alumni that keeps everything looking like really cool toys.

Okay I admit it, I only wanted this thing to get in touch with my inner seven-year-old and have cool robots that turn into cars and drive around beating up bad guys for a while. - Scott Wachter



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