A few months ago, GungHo released six import PSOne games that were previously Japan-only. You could download them via PSN and you can read my reviews of them here. Now they’ve done it again with six more PSOne Japan classics downloadable on PSN. How well do they stack up against the first batch? Read on to find out!
One thing I will mention first is that all of these games are in Japanese. They didn’t localize them or anything. That was OK in the last batch, since most of the games were ‘import friendly’ and didn’t use a lot of text so they were easy to figure out. But this group includes text heavy RPGs, strategy games, and more. So I can really only recommend these titles if you know how to read Japanese. And since I don’t, my reviews of each of these titles won’t be very informative. Maybe if GungHo put guides on their Web site or something? You’d think that if one were going to release Japanese titles in the US, they’d either at least provide a starter guide or make sure the games were more import friendly. But oh well, let’s look at the games in this batch anyway.
Oz no Mahoutsukai: “Another World” RungRung
This is a charming looking; cartoony RPG based on the Wizard of Oz stories. But it’s not the first time the classic book series and movie has been adapted into a video game! On the Super Nintendo, there was a 2-D platformer based on the Oz movie, but I hear it wasn’t very good. Later on the Nintendo DS, there was an RPG based on the property, and I reviewed it here. It’s always interesting to see how Japan depicts the Wizard of Oz story, since we’re probably used to how it was portrayed in the classic movie. Toto in this PSOne game, for instance, looks like a blob!
Anyway, in this game, the intro shows an evil wizard taking all the color out of Oz. When you start the game, Dorothy and Toto are inside a house and get snatched away by a tornado. After landing in Oz, Dorothy steps outside and presumably talks to the Good Witch and her fairy friend (no squished Wicked Witch under the house to be found). When you walk to the next screen, you notice that all the color has gone, and in the center of the field is a blue crystal you can’t do anything with. But after going back into your house, a magical talking pot appears. You can put items into this pot and mix them up to make new ones.
When you are outside and press the triangle button, a little shockwave will emit from Dorothy and you can use that like a radar to find hidden items. You can only do that a certain number of times, though, and then Dorothy will have to go back to her house for a rest in the bed. After searching and mixing a few items, I made what looked like a bucket of blue paint, which I then used on the crystal. It disappeared and everything turned back to color. I was then able to move onto the next screen and talk to the Scarecrow in a corn field. The next screen was another black and white field with a crystal in the middle. But I stopped after that because I didn’t feel like finding and mixing more items.
It wasn’t too hard to figure out the basics, but I’ve played Japanese games before so I’m used to stumbling my way around. I’m not sure if this game has any RPG battles or not or if it’s just an item mixing kind of game. But it sure does look charming and it’s a shame it was never released in English because I think I would’ve enjoyed playing it. It reminds me of other classic PSOne games I loved, like Tomba 2, Brave Fencer Musashi, Threads of Fate, and more.
Trump Shiyouko! Fukkoku-ban
This is a collection of card games. The Poker and Blackjack games are actually in English, so they’re pretty easy to figure out. Most of the other card games are four player ones, and some I could figure out (one is just a memory matching game), but others I had no idea what was going on. In typical Japanese fashion, the icons representing other players are weird cartoony head things. The backgrounds are all taken from famous paintings and the music is public domain classical songs. If you enjoy card games and are familiar with a wide variety of them and are good at catching on to rules just by playing, you might enjoy this one anyway.
Mahjong Uranai Fortuna “Tsuki no Megami Tachi”
It’s a Mahjong game, but unfortunately it’s that four player kind of mahjong game that I have no idea how to play. When you start, you enter your name and birthday, and then you pick the other three players via a selection of anime styled girls. From the menu it looks like there’s two ways to play, a save and loading screen, and a gallery you can view if you can unlock anything. And that’s all I could tell.
Favorite Dear “Enkan no Monogatari”
Even though I don’t know a lick of Japanese, I’ve imported enough games to know that ‘Monogatari’ is used in many a Japanese game title. It can translate to mean ‘story, tale, adventure, or legend.’ Unfortunately, I can’t tell what kind of game this is. It starts out looking like an RPG with a typical anime intro. Then you choose a name for yourself and talk to various sexy anime ladies with angel wings or skimpy cat suits. You can view a map and sometimes go to what looks like a shop, but I can’t figure out what you’re supposed to do other than that.
First Queen IV
At first glance this looks like a game right up my alley. 16-bit style graphics with short, squishy RPG looking sprite characters and 2-D overhead backgrounds. You can walk around a castle and talk to people, and then go to a world map with all sorts of other characters on board game like spaces. But I can’t figure out what you’re supposed to do after that. I’ve seen videos of battles, though, and they look pretty chaotic with bunches of characters moving around on screen. Not sure if it’s action based or strategy based.
And finally we come to a genre of games that’s quite prevalent in Japan but somewhat frowned upon in the US. We’re talking dating simulations. I’ve never played one of these kinds of games before, but the title sounds vaguely familiar for some reason. Supposedly by picking the right things to say in dialogue trees, you can get a girl in the game to like you. Yeah doesn’t sound too much fun to me either. And since everything’s in Japanese it made it pointless for me to play for very long. Dating in real life is hard enough as it is! Ha ha!
All these games except for the dating sim and the strategy RPGs have the Japan equivalent of an E rating, but I really can’t recommend any of these titles unless your kids can read Japanese. Maybe if you or your kids are trying to learn a new language, these games might help a little.