Lost in Translation is a blog series that discusses obscure fan-translated ROMs with history on the game and translation process, as well as downloads with the most up to date patches applied.
In this first collection, we’ll be focusing on 3 Square games for the Super Famicom that didn’t make their way out of Japan by traditional means.
With the help of dedicated ROM hackers, these games were translated from Japanese to several other languages and had the opportunity to be experienced by a much wider audience than their original creators would have ever anticipated.
Alcahest is an Action RPG that plays like an arcade style overhead Castlevania on steroids.
In it, you play as Alen, a Conan the Barbarian type who levels up his stats by slaying amazingly detailed looking enemies and bosses through a variety of lush and colorful environments.
In a very rare collaboration, the game is developed by HAL Laboratory, published by Square, and Satoru Iwata is even listed as a producer in the credits.
While the story isn’t the most compelling, the translation work is very solid considering the amount of dialogue and text in the game.
Bahamut Lagoon kind of resembles a lot of the more popular 2D Japanese strategy games like Shining Force or Fire Emblem.
But in this case, it has an interesting mechanic in battle where each character has an additional dragon that can attack alongside them.
This allows for multiple ways to approach the same battle and the ability to attack enemies when you are cornered or too far away to attack with your main character.
The graphics and music are really well done, with clever enemy battle animations that use separate layers and rotation while attacking or getting hit. These little details help emphasize their movements more than traditional static sprites would and it’s cool to see in motion.
This game is pretty dialogue heavy and DeJap and Tomato did an incredible job with all of it. I only found a few spots where Japanese characters would pop up, but it was fairly straightforward to get past them and continue with the game.
Live a Live
Live a Live is one of the more strange entries in the back catalog of retro Square games. It was Directed by Takashi Tokita who worked on Final Fantasy 1 – 4 and would later go on to direct and write Parasite Eve 1.
In it, you have the option to play as one of seven characters with their own storylines that all combine together to lead to an epic final battle.
The music in this game is a beautifully fleshed out use of the Super Famicom’s sound chip and is created by VGM titan, Yoko Shimomura. Who has over the years composed music for classics like Street Fighter II, Final Fight, Front Mission, Super Mario RPG, and many others.
The translation work is extremely well done, with very little spots that were missed and nothing showstopping from what I could tell.