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Thread: What are some lesser-known 16-bit RPGs and Strategy Games?

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    Default What are some lesser-known 16-bit RPGs and Strategy Games?

    So we all know the Final Fantasies, the Zeldas, the Earthbounds, the Phantasy Stars....

    For some reason fall and spring always kinda make me think of these genres and I kinda wonder what I should go for. The problem is I feel like I've played a lot of what's actually available for both systems (at least insofar as official US releases are concerned). The TurboGrafx would be new ground for me but most of its RPGs are Japan-only. The Genesis, I can't think of any RPGs for it that I don't own. The SNES seems the most likely to have something new.

    And yeah I also said "strategy games" because I kinda got to thinking of those again. I used to love Master of Monsters and I wonder if there's any hex-based games for the SNES.

    I'm open to fan translated projects, which is something I really haven't explored much.

    Anyway, throw something and see what sticks.

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    The only hex grid game for the SNES I can think of was Super Conflict - which was an ok game in its day - didn't offer much challenge though - I suspect it would be rather clunky today.

    There was also Warrior of Rome I on the genesis - it used an offset tile system that was a hex grid - just didn't look like it visually. IIRC if wasn't a terribly good game.

    The Daisenryaku games from Japan used hex grids (or the offset tiles in some of the early games) but the first one of those didn't make it here until the Saturn game "Iron Storm."

    The hex grids didn't really hit until a bit later - we had Dark Wizard for the sega cd (which is an amazing game) and there were some on the PS1 - Brigandine, Allied General, Panzer General, Nectaris , Master of Monsters (which unfortunately blew chunks). There are probably a few others that are escaping me right now.

    Some other SNES rpgs worth a look see are:

    Inindo
    Seventh Saga (people seem to either really like or hate this game - I liked it a lot).
    Brain Lord
    Equinox
    LUfia I & II
    Brandish
    Robotrek
    Big Sky Trooper
    Shadowrun
    Paladin's Quest (not for all tastes - it has more than a few flaws)
    Twisted Tales of Spike McFang
    Addams Family Values (has a few serious flaws but overall a fun game)

    Legend of the mystical ninja is a quirky beat em up/action adventure/rpg mixture which might work for you.

    These are just off the top of my head - there are more I am spacing
    Last edited by Natty Bumppo; 08-17-2019 at 05:32 AM.
    When I come home from a long day in Hell, there's nothing I'd rather reach for than a fire-brewed bottle of Styx Beer. Made from the filthiest waters from our own River Styx. Styx Beer is a third more toxic than any other regular beer. The worst beer - the filthiest beer - the deadliest beer. It's Styx Beer!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Natty Bumppo View Post
    PS1 - Brigandine
    I remember playing that. It's a great game as I recall enjoying it and now I miss it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Natty Bumppo View Post
    Robotrek
    For SFC that would be Slapstick, the one I have & played. I liked the creative aspect of it but in the end, I felt it was a weaker title under the Enix name. It was all right. It had funny moments and dialogue and it's pretty easy to get comfortable with the gameplay. I'm not sure if the game truly has characteristics that make it bad necessarily, or if it is simply my opinion of it that makes me say it's just okay. All the Enix stuff in the SFC era is worth a look, because it stands out from what everyone else was doing in the RPG space. Dark Half is another title, but I have yet to play it so no comment about it as of yet.

    Digressing slightly from the topic of 16-bit, I want to suggest Just Breed for Famicom, and Wachenröder for Saturn. I love both those games, and they're the reason I became willing to explore the SRPG subgenre, leading to Shining Force 1 & 3 appearing in my library. I like them too, though I prefered the battle system & design in Just Breed more. I would like SF even more if there was a way to disable the damn cutscenes for every - single - attack... Brigandine has such an option, and Just Breed simply doesn't have such scenes at all.

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    Well, Lufia II is fantastic, but I don't know if that's as "lesser-known" as you want here (certainly was back in the day when I first played it, but then again, I didn't know of anybody who had heard of Chrono Trigger either). Arcana is a nice little first-person dungeon crawler that doesn't get as much attention as I think it deserves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FoxNtd View Post
    I remember playing that. It's a great game as I recall enjoying it and now I miss it.

    Digressing slightly from the topic of 16-bit, I want to suggest Just Breed for Famicom, and Wachenröder for Saturn. I love both those games, and they're the reason I became willing to explore the SRPG subgenre, leading to Shining Force 1 & 3 appearing in my library. I like them too, though I prefered the battle system & design in Just Breed more. I would like SF even more if there was a way to disable the damn cutscenes for every - single - attack... Brigandine has such an option, and Just Breed simply doesn't have such scenes at all.
    Brigandine is my second favorite PS1 game after Nectaris (which if you haven't tried you might like it).

    I also find cut scenes to be really annoying - at least the ones in the SF games are relatively brief. One game that doesn't have cut scenes but rather really really lengthy dialogue between battles is Vandal Hearts II - fun/interesting the first time, ok the second and just plain painful after that. The game is pretty good (and has some neat mechanics) but has a flawed battle system - between the flawed battle system and lengthy dialogue it makes replays far less enjoyable than they should be.
    Last edited by Natty Bumppo; 08-17-2019 at 09:37 AM.
    When I come home from a long day in Hell, there's nothing I'd rather reach for than a fire-brewed bottle of Styx Beer. Made from the filthiest waters from our own River Styx. Styx Beer is a third more toxic than any other regular beer. The worst beer - the filthiest beer - the deadliest beer. It's Styx Beer!

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    Warrior of Rome is pretty lousy (and the poorly-translated manual straight up lies to you about some crucial game mechanics), but the sequel Warrior of Rome II is a really cool RTS of sorts. Some people loathe it, and it's admittedly quite slow, but I found it addictive once I got into it.

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    Lagoon SNES. Pretty shitty lesser known RPG
    "I used to think my life was a tragedy, but now I realize it's a comedy." - Joker

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    I don't know if it'd be too well known to fit the bill, but since it hasn't been mentioned yet I quite liked Illusion of Gaia on SNES, as far as Zelda-types go. And although it's technically part of the FF series, I always thought Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest was underrated. Easy, for sure, which was the point, but I had a lot of fun with it, and the music is awesome.

    As a side note, happy to see all the Brigandine love; that's one of my favorites. (And if not for the early-3D battle cutscenes, which I usually end up turning off anyway, it could probably pass for a 16-bit game, despite being on PS1.)
    Dan B.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astrosmash View Post

    As a side note, happy to see all the Brigandine love; that's one of my favorites. (And if not for the early-3D battle cutscenes, which I usually end up turning off anyway, it could probably pass for a 16-bit game, despite being on PS1.)
    I made maps for the Brigandine battlefields on excel:


    Click image for larger version. 

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    What can I say - I like game maps a lot!
    Last edited by Natty Bumppo; 08-18-2019 at 04:14 PM.
    When I come home from a long day in Hell, there's nothing I'd rather reach for than a fire-brewed bottle of Styx Beer. Made from the filthiest waters from our own River Styx. Styx Beer is a third more toxic than any other regular beer. The worst beer - the filthiest beer - the deadliest beer. It's Styx Beer!

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    Langrisser/War Song part one for the genesis was the only u.s release,beside part II having a fan translation that's it.While the rest of the series did remain japan exclusive.Interesting enough though langrisser 1&2 got a remake for switch and it's coming to the u.s next year but i don't know if that will give the series more exposure.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTv3-X69Sew

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    Lagoon SNES. Pretty shitty lesser known RPG
    How darest thou besmirch the name of Lagoon!

    Ha, actually I kinda understand where critics are coming from, but its weird... something about that game makes me overlook the toothpick-length sword and enjoy it anyway. Its like, I dunno, I feel like I'm travelling into another era when I play it, its not quite SNES but its too colorful to be NES... I think I have to borrow Happy NErd's analogy of it being like the difference between CDs and vinyl records.

    @Natty.... what exactly do you not like about Master of Monsters PS1? I haven't played much of it (I've spent more time with the Genesis version) but I haven't seen a lot I'd call wrong with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post

    @Natty.... what exactly do you not like about Master of Monsters PS1? I haven't played much of it (I've spent more time with the Genesis version) but I haven't seen a lot I'd call wrong with it.
    I only played it once (which tells you a lot - I usually play the heck out of strategy games) - anyway unlike the original you can move your master out of the castle. And he is extremely overpowered compared to the monsters - you can pretty much march your master around and defeat anything that gets in your way - levelling up all the time - you don't even really need monsters. It soons gets to be like having the Vandelier in Vandal Hearts - there is no challenge whatsoever. And unlike Vandal Hearts it isn't even fun to get there. Supposedly there are a lot of bugs in the game also - Idon't remember hitting any but then again I only played it once and didnt spend any more time playing than I had to to finish it. Maybe it was just an ok game - but it was such a let down given how good the genesis version was.
    When I come home from a long day in Hell, there's nothing I'd rather reach for than a fire-brewed bottle of Styx Beer. Made from the filthiest waters from our own River Styx. Styx Beer is a third more toxic than any other regular beer. The worst beer - the filthiest beer - the deadliest beer. It's Styx Beer!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tron 2.0 View Post
    Langrisser/War Song part one for the genesis was the only u.s release,beside part II having a fan translation that's it.While the rest of the series did remain japan exclusive.Interesting enough though langrisser 1&2 got a remake for switch and it's coming to the u.s next year but i don't know if that will give the series more exposure.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTv3-X69Sew
    One really fun thing you can do with Warsong is stick around in the castle in the first battle (rather than slinking off like a whipped dog like the game wants you to) - you can sometimes actually defeat all of the enemy (a lot of being able to win relies on how well the king's two guards do - which you have no control over). It doesn't change the subsequent gameplay at all other than giving you a bit more money for the second scenario and a bit more experience.
    When I come home from a long day in Hell, there's nothing I'd rather reach for than a fire-brewed bottle of Styx Beer. Made from the filthiest waters from our own River Styx. Styx Beer is a third more toxic than any other regular beer. The worst beer - the filthiest beer - the deadliest beer. It's Styx Beer!

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    Uncharted Waters 2: New Horizons is reallly good. One of my favorites.

    Its both a rpg & strategy game. Id check out the snes version.

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    I like Lagoon, even if it has a boatload of quirks. The best reason to play it is for its great soundtrack. I hear the X68000 version is fan-patched these days, for anyone who wants to see how the game was originally designed. (It was developed to be a Ys-style game, where you bump into enemies with your drawn sword, rather than actively slash. I guess they wanted the game to be more like Zelda on SNES, except they didn't adjust the sword's reach to compensate for the different gameplay.)

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    @Natty - Now that you mention it I think I also discovered the thing about the master leaving. I remember being shocked when I played the Genesis one and saw he couldn't, but I think I wound up liking that better.

    .....

    So I also decided to expand this topic to 8-Bit games as well, since those are kind of a thing I'm into. Actually I've been looking at repro cart sites and stuff keeps popping out at me.

    I'm thinking of trying out "The Glory of Heracles" (the original... which was apparently also the last to get a fan-translation), even tho it apparently uses passwords. There's also a pair of NES games called Deep Dungeon 3 and Deep Dungeon 4.... which kinda makes me wonder where the first two are (I suspect the MSX).

    EDIT: Also, sometimes I can't help chuckling at the title "Just Breed." That should be the name of a Pokemon rom hack.

    I was just telling a friend of mine, it would be awesome if Pokemon were redone to be a Master of Monsters type game.

    DOUBLE EDIT: By the way, what do you (and anyone reading this) think of Ogre Battle? That's a series I keep trying to get into and its a mix of fascinating but at times kind of boring for me. Fascinating because I like what seems to be going on (as well as the music--I'm primarily familiar with the PS1 version) but boring because it feels like there's no real depth and all I really need to do is just tell units "go here."
    Last edited by Edmond Dantes; 08-21-2019 at 09:50 AM.

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    If you haven't tried it you might look at Gemfire. It has some vague rpg elements and is made by KOEI. Unlike most of their strategy games it is very simple - so no wading through screens of menus. The neat thing about it is that you can plow through a game in a night or two - so perfect filler when you don't want to commit to a lot of time. It was available on NES, SNES and Genesis - as far as I know all of the releases were the same.
    When I come home from a long day in Hell, there's nothing I'd rather reach for than a fire-brewed bottle of Styx Beer. Made from the filthiest waters from our own River Styx. Styx Beer is a third more toxic than any other regular beer. The worst beer - the filthiest beer - the deadliest beer. It's Styx Beer!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Natty Bumppo View Post
    [Gemfire] was available on NES, SNES and Genesis - as far as I know all of the releases were the same.
    Well, I recall one difference.... one version, and I can't remember which, had an epic soundtrack, while the others had boring or so-so ones.

    I used to be a bit of a Koei fanboy but surprisingly most of their games I only played once or twice. Like PTO and Operation Europe.. both of which I need to play again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    Well, I recall one difference.... one version, and I can't remember which, had an epic soundtrack, while the others had boring or so-so ones.
    I almost always turn the sound off on games and play cds instead.

    Another 16 bit game worth a look is Super Battleship (SNES and Genesis) - it has the usual battleship game but has 16 (IIRC) scenarios that are puzzle/strategy ones that are pretty fun - unfortunately not much replay value since once you have figured them out that is it.

    There were two strategy games for the SNES (made by the same company) called War 2410 and War 3010. Not great and no hex grids but
    not bad either - although I suspect they might be somewhat clunky today.
    When I come home from a long day in Hell, there's nothing I'd rather reach for than a fire-brewed bottle of Styx Beer. Made from the filthiest waters from our own River Styx. Styx Beer is a third more toxic than any other regular beer. The worst beer - the filthiest beer - the deadliest beer. It's Styx Beer!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Natty Bumppo View Post
    Brigandine is my second favorite PS1 game after Nectaris (which if you haven't tried you might like it).
    It was recently announced that Happinet(owner of Hearty Robin/Brigandine is going to be at TGS. I was like "I'd really love a Brigandine/Brigandine Grand Edition Remastered Collection." A few days later Happinet stated they'd have a new Brigandine at TGS. Let's just just hope it's not a mobile game.

    //

    Similar to Natty Bummp, both Brigandine and the Japanese only remake Brigandine Grand Edition are my two favorite games of all time. Dark Wizard is on the Sega CD and it's a similar game but it's got some pretty massive maps and battles can take a LONG time. It's definitely worth pkaying, but no longer cheap anymore. It's pretty expensive now days.

    Tactics Ogre was my favorite game at one point, still my favorite game after Brigandine, but continued playthroughs of Brigandine pushed it above Tactics Ogre. The game isn't quite as story driven and is more gameplay focused, which is why it likely became my favorite. Now, Tactics Ogre is well known among the more hardcore JRPG fans, not to the level of anything Square Enix(or atleast, everything that was SE because it is owned by SE now.)

    Ogre Battle as well. This one is kind of like your typical JRPG, but has a more real time style of play to it. Like many, almost all Matsuno games, it's got some game breaking issues that may make it unplayable to most people. It kind of forces you to play a specific way to really get the most out of it.

    Lufia 1 was incredibly slow paced trash, but there is one reason to play the first one before playing the amazing second one, and it's for pretty much the same reason as playing Dragon Warrior 1 before Dragon Warrior 3. Unless you already know or you've played the second game first(or third in the case of Dragon Warrior 3) you'll be amazed at what you discover. I'd also say SMT4 is something similar, but confined to a single game, based on the beginning and once you reach around the 10 hour mark. Lufia 2 is an excellent game on its own, a game that I feel is sort of the inspiration to the Wild ARMs series in nearly every single aspect. If you've never played it, it's one of the best JRPGs on the SNES.

    Now, yes, Secret of Evermore is a Squaresoft game, but all you hear all the time is Secret of Mana, Secret of Mana that. Secret of Mana isn't a very good game, and despite Secret of Evermore sometimes being crapped on because it was made by Square USA, the game fixes EVERY ISSUE Secret of Mana has. Secret of Mana is broken piece of sh**. Bosses are impossible without spamming magic, enemy evasion is unbelievably high, enemies trigger a state of invincibility whenever attacked more than once within 10-20 seconds, and charging your weapons are worthless when you take 16 minutes to finish your attack and don't even hit the enemy. Secret of Evermore fixes and has none of these issues. It gets a bit broken once you get the spell Energizer but that's literally the very, very, very, very, can't get any further, very end of the game.

    I'm listing this one because you've mentioned "strategy games." Romance of the Three Kingdoms Wall of Fire is my favorite game in the series. One thing I like is that the fourth game allows any general to do fine with any type of troop. Months in this game also go by quickly. It's easy to set your characters up to do commands and you even can add a pool of funds to a specific operation and then just put the units there. You don't have to worry about so much busy work in this game as opposed to the later games which all about busy work. 7 and 10 are even more about the busy work but they also allow you to play as any character, whether it's a ruler or a free agent. The 12th game in the series takes away all player control and you don't even get to really play the game. It essentially plays itself in nearly every aspect. The plus side though is that this game can be played in multiplayer, characters can play as multiple rulers, you can even create your own ruler and soldiers and start the game in any of the empty areas. Regardless what way you play, this game is a pretty great game. It's not the best game by any means, but it's enjoyable if you can get into it.

    Super Robot Taisen 1 and 2 on the GBA. These games have an excellent story, some of the best in JRPGs, but on top of that they have excellent music, great gameplay, and they are freaking massive games.
    Everything in the above post is opinion unless stated otherwise.

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