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Top 10 topic #20: Most Underrated RPGs of the Retro Era (1985-1999)
08-26-2017, 04:50 PM
Post: #1
Top 10 topic #20: Most Underrated RPGs of the Retro Era (1985-1999)
I chose this era because of mainly this is considered the golden age of gaming. The underrated term is sort of subjective so we can discuss its meaning then adjust our list(s) if needed. Grin I'll say underrated as in these would be so far down on people's cognitive given lists that they are forgotten. In other words, ask someone what their top ## RPGs are and these are not likely to show up until way down their list if even at all. My list, at least some items, are probably predicable to those who know me well enough...

-------------------------------------------

In no particular order, and these are only what I can remember.

1. Soul Blader/Soul Blazer (SFC/SNES) Love
2. The Magic of Scheherazade (Famicom/NES)
3. Ys III: Wanderer's from Ys (SFC/SNES or Super CD/TGCD versions only)
4. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (duh!, SFC/SNES)
5. Elnard/The 7th Saga (SFC/SNES)
6. Romancing SaGa 3 (SFC)
7. Betrayal at Krondor (PC)
8. Sword of Vermilion (MD/Genesis)
9. Romancing SaGa (PS2)
10. SaGa 2/Final Fantasy Legend II (GB)

I cannot begin to tell you how much the western audience missed out on some of the SaGa series, specifically the Super Famicom releases. While I like the PS2 remake of the first Romancing SaGa I feel like it is almost an entirely new game in itself. I know most people have heard of the SaGa / Final Fantasy Legend games but consider that probably not many have actually devoted enough time playing and then beating it. The original game designer designed these SaGa games to have a high enemy encounter rate in order for people on the train/public transport to not feel bored and to have something to do. The result of this in the west particularly was frustration because battles were way too frequent. You need to look past that and play it. Use a GameGenie if you have to but the story and gameplay are brilliant as is obviously the music.

Of the items on my list pay particular attention to Soul Blader and Sword of Vermilion. These two action-RPGs are almost completely forgotten by time. And in Soul Blader's (Blazer) case with such a small North American distribution total meant most people probably never even know it existed until emulation got big 15~20 years ago. The music and gameplay are so very top-notch. Enix had some quality games back then... I got lucky to buy it in 1992/1993 so I was one of the few fortunate ones to experience this awesome game.

If you haven't played the SFC/SNES version of Ys III then do it. It has so much to offer even now. The story, the challenging game play, and of course the music! The other versions are ok but the controls feel a bit more sticky and the music is inferior (duh). The Super CD/TGCD version has good music and such but for some reason the SFC/SNES version just has more charm.

Most of the others are pretty self explanatory except perhaps Betrayal at Krondor because I almost guarantee no one here but me has played or even heard of it. It was an open world RPG similar to Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall only harder and with a steeper learning curve. I actually haven't beaten it, got stuck somewhere and moved on to another game and forgot all about it. Check out youtube for some gameplay videos. It might appeal to the old PC gamer crowd. Grin

Lastly if you haven't played Elnard/The 7th Saga then you should. It also suffers from frequent enemy encounters but not nearly as many as the SaGa games for GameBoy. You want to know the ironic thing? The game is actually harder in the North American release than the Japanese release. Elnard has a progressively better stat growth so you end up being stronger earlier. And as usual Enix publishes a game with a fantastic story that no one in North America saw because of our fixation with all things Final Fantasy...not that this was a bad thing but more of a result. Enix was more popular as a publisher in Japan than North America where Square/Squaresoft took that crown over here. It really is worth playing. If you play on an emulator be sure to apply the Elnard patch so your North American release will have the Elnard stat growth to help make the numerous battles last less time. Or use my EasyType patch... Your choice!

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08-30-2017, 06:08 PM (This post was last modified: 08-30-2017 08:26 PM by ctophil.)
Post: #2
RE: Top 10 topic #20: Most Underrated RPGs of the Retro Era (1985-1999)
Nice topic, JC! This is going to be pretty hard thinking back to all the obscure games that I played. I managed to play a variety of weird and off-the-wall games due to my renting habits. I rented at least one game per week for years. So I had a huge log of games played but not owned. Anyways, here is my list of underrated RPGs.

1. Legend of Legaia (PS One)
2. Willow (NES)
3. StarTropics (NES)
4. The Granstream Saga (PS One)
5. Lagoon (SNES)
6. Albert Odyssey (Saturn)
7. Equinox (SNES)
8. Alundra (PS One)
9. Shadow Madness (PS One)
10. Vandal Hearts (PS One)

As you've noticed, besides the SNES, the PS One was a major RPG console for me during the 1990s. I played RPGs of all kinds on that thing.

I would like to point out that Ys III: Wanderers from Ys and Soul Blazer could of been on my list. But I don't feel they are obscure or underrated enough to be on my Top 10 list. Most of the RPG-playing community know about those two games. And they are indeed top-notch.

Out of my Top 10 list above, I believe that Albert Odyssey, Vandal Hearts, and Lagoon deserve a whole lot more credit than given. Surprisingly, each of those games represent different sub-genres within the RPG genre. Respectively, they are Traditional RPG, Strategy RPG, and Action RPG. All 3 titles are awesome in their own respect. I mean, the story, gameplay, graphics, and music all deserve praise. If you haven't played any one of those games, I suggest you spend some money and time to play them right now. I was surprised myself when I played and beat them back in the day.

I also agree that The Magic of Scheherazade is a cool Action RPG. It would definitely be in my Top 20 Underrated RPG list.
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09-01-2017, 09:07 AM
Post: #3
RE: Top 10 topic #20: Most Underrated RPGs of the Retro Era (1985-1999)
Good list! I played the vast majority of those gems. Grin I actually had Lagoon on my list but then remembered about Elnard/7th Saga.

BTW, did you ever play The Magic of Scheherazade? I haven't yet met someone in my life who has. Sad thing is I cannot remember anything about it. I want a CIB of it as a display piece but I bet it is expensive now...

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09-01-2017, 03:50 PM
Post: #4
RE: Top 10 topic #20: Most Underrated RPGs of the Retro Era (1985-1999)
(09-01-2017 09:07 AM)JCE3000GT Wrote:  Good list! I played the vast majority of those gems. Grin I actually had Lagoon on my list but then remembered about Elnard/7th Saga.

BTW, did you ever play The Magic of Scheherazade? I haven't yet met someone in my life who has. Sad thing is I cannot remember anything about it. I want a CIB of it as a display piece but I bet it is expensive now...

Ya, I did play The Magic of Scheherazade. I rented it when I was a kid and also recently last year. It's an Action RPG and plays similar to Beyond Oasis (Genesis), Zelda (NES), and Willow (in my list). I have a complete-in-box, mint condition copy on my shelf waiting for me to get back into the action and finally beat the game. Hehe. It is worth about $40 - $60 for a complete copy. But it is hard to find though.
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09-02-2017, 09:04 PM
Post: #5
RE: Top 10 topic #20: Most Underrated RPGs of the Retro Era (1985-1999)
(09-01-2017 03:50 PM)ctophil Wrote:  
(09-01-2017 09:07 AM)JCE3000GT Wrote:  Good list! I played the vast majority of those gems. Grin I actually had Lagoon on my list but then remembered about Elnard/7th Saga.

BTW, did you ever play The Magic of Scheherazade? I haven't yet met someone in my life who has. Sad thing is I cannot remember anything about it. I want a CIB of it as a display piece but I bet it is expensive now...

Ya, I did play The Magic of Scheherazade. I rented it when I was a kid and also recently last year. It's an Action RPG and plays similar to Beyond Oasis (Genesis), Zelda (NES), and Willow (in my list). I have a complete-in-box, mint condition copy on my shelf waiting for me to get back into the action and finally beat the game. Hehe. It is worth about $40 - $60 for a complete copy. But it is hard to find though.

Wow, you have a CIB? Nice! Post a pic?

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09-03-2017, 03:18 PM
Post: #6
RE: Top 10 topic #20: Most Underrated RPGs of the Retro Era (1985-1999)
(09-02-2017 09:04 PM)JCE3000GT Wrote:  
(09-01-2017 03:50 PM)ctophil Wrote:  
(09-01-2017 09:07 AM)JCE3000GT Wrote:  Good list! I played the vast majority of those gems. Grin I actually had Lagoon on my list but then remembered about Elnard/7th Saga.

BTW, did you ever play The Magic of Scheherazade? I haven't yet met someone in my life who has. Sad thing is I cannot remember anything about it. I want a CIB of it as a display piece but I bet it is expensive now...

Ya, I did play The Magic of Scheherazade. I rented it when I was a kid and also recently last year. It's an Action RPG and plays similar to Beyond Oasis (Genesis), Zelda (NES), and Willow (in my list). I have a complete-in-box, mint condition copy on my shelf waiting for me to get back into the action and finally beat the game. Hehe. It is worth about $40 - $60 for a complete copy. But it is hard to find though.

Wow, you have a CIB? Nice! Post a pic?

Sure, I posted some pictures below. It is a nice CIB with a box protector. I'm real proud of it. Grin I didn't take out the cart, manual, and stuff inside. I don't like to take out stuff from CIB unless I have to play it. Hehe.


           
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09-03-2017, 04:45 PM
Post: #7
RE: Top 10 topic #20: Most Underrated RPGs of the Retro Era (1985-1999)
(09-03-2017 03:18 PM)ctophil Wrote:  
(09-02-2017 09:04 PM)JCE3000GT Wrote:  
(09-01-2017 03:50 PM)ctophil Wrote:  Ya, I did play The Magic of Scheherazade. I rented it when I was a kid and also recently last year. It's an Action RPG and plays similar to Beyond Oasis (Genesis), Zelda (NES), and Willow (in my list). I have a complete-in-box, mint condition copy on my shelf waiting for me to get back into the action and finally beat the game. Hehe. It is worth about $40 - $60 for a complete copy. But it is hard to find though.

Wow, you have a CIB? Nice! Post a pic?

Sure, I posted some pictures below. It is a nice CIB with a box protector. I'm real proud of it. Grin I didn't take out the cart, manual, and stuff inside. I don't like to take out stuff from CIB unless I have to play it. Hehe.

That is one fantastic looking box art right there. Hopefully I can get it one day. :)

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