This week’s Rom Hack Roundup has two excellent and innovative RPGs for the SNES. Last week, we looked at Square’s lost 90s output and today we look at two of Enix’s greatest works that never made it to North America. These two companies were console RPG mammoths in Japan and they created some of the most beautiful and engrossing games on the SNES.
Although these games never came out on the SNES in North America, some dedicated Rom hackers have translated the script so you can play them without learning Japanese. Read on and check them out!
You can follow our IPS patching tutorial to learn how to modify your legally-obtained backup copy of the original ROM.
Release Date: 1996
Try If You Like: Final Phantasy , Chrono Trigger
Star Ocean has a more sci-fi basis than most of the more medieval SNES RPGs making it feel a bit like Chrono Trigger. It is, in fact, the start of quite a long series of Star Ocean games. The story centers around a starship captain and his crew who are exploring a medieval planet and encounter three friends searching for a cure for a disease that is afflicting their village. By the end, the story involves time travel, intergalactic battles and a few great twists. The semi-realtime battle system is way ahead of its time.
The game is so massive that a special compression chip was developed to allow the game enough storage for graphics and voices, including a fully voice acted intro. Although the game eventually came out for PSP in 2008, playing the original 20 year old ROM on the SNES is an unreal experience. The graphic quality and scope of the game are unbelievable.
Release Date: 1995
Try If You Like: Illusion of Gaia, Secret of Mana, Legend of Zelda
Terranigma is loosely related to Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia. The three are tied together by similar themes of creation and rebirth of the world. One of the greatest things about this game is its non-standard beginning. While most games begin with some minor character heading out into a massive populated world, Terranigma begins with our hero in the last village in the underworld, an inverted sphere world on the inside of the planet. When everyone is frozen after the hero opens a forbidden door, he must travel out into a desolate, dead planet and restore it.
The isolation in the first part of the game is reminiscent of Metroid. Some may recall a “coming soon” feature in a 1990s Nintendo Power about the possible coming of Terranigma to America. The picture of the lone hero exploring the twisted inverted, desolate world caught my eye. Sadly though, the game never made it the USA, although it was translated to English and released in Europe. This is because Enix was shutting down their US branch at the time the game came out. This does mean that you don’t need to patch a ROM to play it.
The real-time combat system and huge dungeons will remind players of Secret of Mana and Legend of Zelda. And don’t worry, the isolation does not last forever. You’ll have to play it to find out what happens. The music is also quite memorable, the underworld theme and the tower dungeon themes are especially amazing. The baffling, percussion-less tower dungeon theme is one of the most erie songs on the SNES.