Forum > Gaming Discussion > Glorious Japanese games that have been translated by glorious Japanese speakers
Glorious Japanese games that have been translated by glorious Japanese speakers
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Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:28:41
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Over the past few days I've been kind of messing around with my Xperia Play, checking out some of the emulators for older consoles and seeing how they worked. Most older console games don't hold my interest these days, particularly if I've already played them before, but it got me thinking back to when I found a translated copy of Seiken Densetsu 3 (aka Secret of Mana 2). That is without question one of my favorite games of all time and had it not been for a few dedicated gamers who knew how to do some programming and translate Japanese into English, I'd never have had a chance to play it. I used to be obsessed with monitoring translation groups, but I've since let them all fall off my radar. But I've decided to go back and take a look at what projects have been fiinished and what games are worth playing. So here's a list of the Japanese games that fangroups have translated that I've played, or am currently playing. I'll also update this thread as I play more.

Edited: Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:29:25
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Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:37:09
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Seiken Densetsu 3

The was the game that actually got me interested in translation projects. The game is so ridiculously ahead of its time it could make your head spin. It's the Secret of Mana formula, made slightly non-linear and injected with steriods. You pick 3 out of 6 available characters. One is your main character who the story will focus around, and the other two will have more limited roles storywise, but still offer unique interactions with your main character. The 3 remaining characters will be encountered throughout the journey, but you won't be able to control or play with them. Additionally each character has their own combat abilities - healers, mages, fighters, hybrids. etc. So right off the bat you can see just how much replay the game has.  But it gets taken even a step further with a nice class system. Each character is able to change classes by choosing "light" or "dark" at two separate points in the game, and ultimately each character can end up as one of 4 final classes. And most of those classes are fairly different than the others. So yes, tons of replay in this game. Sure it's been done to some extent these days, but in the mid 90's??  Hardly.

Anyway this is a game I HIGHLY HIGHLY reccommend you check out if you get the chance. Nearly 20 years after it's initial release S-E doesn't seem to be in a hurry to rerelease it, so it's up to you to track it down.

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Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:45:15
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Dragon Quest Monsters 3: Caravan Heart

The DQM series didn't take as long of a break as most people thought. The GBA installment never made it over to Western audiences though, and honestly it was probably for the best. Caravan Heart was the attempt to link DQ7 into the rest of the series and to make a long story short, Prince Keifer somehow gets warped into the world of DQ2 and the story then begins. Monster taming really isn't the thing here. This is really more of a strategy game in fact. Basically you form a caravan, and eventually it will be made up of 3 teams/wagons. Each wagon will have its own team made up of monsters and humans who want to join you. You then have to balance each wagon with the right types of characters and what order each of the characters will fight. So instead of going into a turn based battle with 3 or 4 characters, you actually go in with an army. Neat idea, but it didn't work so well and the story was weak even by Dragon Quest standards.

This is one time where Enix probably made the right choice by leaving the game in Japan. Even as a huge DQ fan, I couldn't make myself finish the game, even though I probably had a few hours to go.

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Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:55:07
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Mother 3

Ooooooh my god..... Mother 3 (aka Earthbound 2)...... This game is so ridiculously good. I wasn't a huge fan of Earthbound and didn't have a ton of interest in this game, but when a Destructoid reviewer listed it as one of his top 3 games of the 2000's, it got my attention. I figured this was just another reviewer trying to get some attention by throwing in a surprise/controversial inclusion, but that was not the case. The game is legitimately that good. It's a jRPG that isn't grounded in the traditional idea, but doesn't exactly discard them. Kind of tough to explain but rest assured it does everything near perfectly. The story is top notch with lots of humor, pathos, and touching moments. The pace of the story is right where it needs to be too so that you can soak in everything, but you're never a point where you feel like you're just killing time. Plus it has that quirky sense of humor that made so many people love (or hate) Earthbound, but unlike it's predecessor it never feels stupid or quirky for the sake of being quirky. It's strange, but it never feels inappropriate or out of place.

I can't recommend this game enough. Like that Destructoid reviewer, I consider this one of the top 10 games of the last decade, and even place it on my top 20 best games ever list. THAT is how highly I regard this game.

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Sun, 22 Apr 2012 22:01:00
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Mother

The original Mother or Earthbound Zero as it has been renamed by the first group that translated it is a tougher sell than Mother 3. The story of how it originally got translated is probably more interesting than the game. Apparently Nintendo of America had the game fully translated and ready for released, and even produced 3 prototype copies to show it off, but ultimately in the first of many boneheaded decisions, decided not to release it. Then around 2001 one of those prototype cartridges came up for auction. It was bought for around $300 and then dumped into a ROM. The title screen was still changed, and then voila.... Earthbound Zero. As far as the game.... well it's an 8 bit RPG. It has that famous quirky style, but really this is just a dated RPG. Fun fact #2 it was actually translated a second time by another group as part of the Mother 1+2 GBA cartridge. Not sure why they bothered though.

Anyway I'd pass on it unless you're a diehard Earthbound fan and want to see where it all started.

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Sun, 22 Apr 2012 22:07:23
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Bahamut Lagoon

I just tried his game out for the first time today, and I'm very impressed. It's a hybrid strategy/jRPG. You have board where you move characters around, and some battling takes place on them, but during particular battles it'll turn into one round of a turn based jRPG. It's a good mix and it works well together. Story seems fairly standard, but I'm so early on it in, it's too early to really comment on. The only real complaint is that the translation isn't actually finished. The story is done and all of the dialogue has been turned into English so that's good. However some of the menus still have some problems, and for a game like this it's a critical problem. I think if you take some time you can figure it out though, but you really have to pay attention to what you're doing.  Unfortunately the translation group walked away from the project years ago and admitted that the menus are so difficult to do that they'd likely never get to them. After almost 10 years its safe to say they never will.

I'm very impressed with the game so far, and would love to recommend it, but I just don't see this game being playable for hours and hours. Not sure if S-E ever got to the DS remake or if they will ever bring it to the West but its our loss if they skip it again. The game seems extremely good.

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Sun, 22 Apr 2012 22:10:22
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You know I am going to have to Plus each and every one of these posts. These are all the games I've been watching for years, hoping they would eventually make their way over to the US, or at least to the Virtual Console.



Edited: Sun, 22 Apr 2012 22:10:58
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Sun, 22 Apr 2012 22:13:34
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I'll be adding a lot more. I've made a list of games I'm going to try out to see how good they are as well as how well the translations were done. I've played others over the years, lots of really crappy NES games that didn't make it out of Japan, and generally if they didn't make it to the West there was a good reason for it. I still have flashbacks to how bad the NES Transformers game was.

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Tue, 24 Apr 2012 06:40:09
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I've heard of these, but I'm way out of my league in this thread. Interesting reading though.


Twitter
: @gameunderphil

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Wed, 25 Apr 2012 02:52:49
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Romancing SaGa 3

The SaGa series has always been one with ups and downs for me. I loved Final Fantasy Legend 2 and was pretty impressed overall with SaGa Frontier. The others that made their way to the West were pretty awful. All that said I still wanted to check this out as it has a fantastic story and a pretty good reputation in Japan. Based on what I've played so far I do like it. It feels like a 16 bit version of SaGa Frontier with a more cohesive story. However it may come at a cost. The translation is awful. It's like someone just used an online translator and copied and pasted the script in it. We're talking RE 1 or abreath of Fire 2 bad... actually it's worse. Still the game seems fun enough to keep me going.

So if you don't mind a translation that came out of a highschool textbook, check this on out.

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Wed, 25 Apr 2012 03:05:54
robio said:
The translation is awful. It's like someone just used an online translator and copied and pasted the script in it. We're talking RE 1 or abreath of Fire 2 bad... actually it's worse.

So if you don't mind a translation that came out of a highschool textbook, check this on out.

That just makes it all the more appealing.

By the way why aren't you including links to these translations?

Edited: Wed, 25 Apr 2012 03:07:36
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere  
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst  
Are full of passionate intensity.
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Wed, 25 Apr 2012 03:13:55

Foolz I will do that in the near future. I'm using my tablet at the moment though and copying links is a tremendous pain. Most aren't too hard to find though.

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Thu, 26 Apr 2012 01:05:55
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As per Foolz' request here's some spots that offer the patched games.

Romancing Saga 3 - http://www.fantasyanime.com/saga/rs3downloads.htm  - great game, but remember this translation is just about as bad as they come.

Mother 3 - http://mother3.fobby.net/  - This is the site that did the translation for Mother 3. They offer the translation here, but it's not pre-patched so you'll have to find the rom elsewhere.

The others are available elsewhere, but you have to go to somewhat questionable sites, and I'm not utterly comfortable linking to them. However if anyone wants a copy of anything I mentioned just message me and I'll help you out.

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Thu, 26 Apr 2012 11:03:24

Years ago I was interested in Bahamut Lagoon and Secret of Mana sequels.

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Thu, 03 May 2012 23:31:57

I wanted to give one last word on Romancing SaGa 3. The game is flat out awesome, but god its so hard. Tough to describe it, but its essentially Saga Frontier with a much tighter overall story. The characters in this game are more connected to one another rather than just strangers who by chance run into one another thanks to a common story that's playing out in all 7 characters' individual plots. Doubtful I'll finish it anytime soon, but I'm glad I finally play it.

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