SquareEnix is fast approaching the point where they will have release more re-release retro content than new games this side of the millennium, but when a company has such a vast and genre-defining back catalog it’s hard to argue against seeing some of their titles getting a lavish remake. Adventures of Mana is in fact the second remake of the originally titled ‘Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden’ (also known as ‘Mystic Quest’ and ‘Final Fantasy Adventure’ outside Japan) after the less than successful ‘Sword of Mana’ version on the Game Boy Advance, and this version easily trumps it’s last-gen equivalent on all fronts by staying closer to the source material.
The first instalment into the Oasis series of RPGs, The Story of Thor (known in America as ‘Beyond Oasis’) was a late release for the Mega Drive that some consider to be Sega’s answer to the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series.
For those of us from Europe this game will always be known confusingly as ‘Final Fantasy Mystic Quest’, and for others in America its ‘Final Fantasy Adventure’, however in truth this game is at its best using its Japanese title ‘Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden’ marking it as the first entry into the massively popular ‘Mana’ series.
The last game in the Wonder Boy series sees it dropping the ‘Boy’ and focussing instead on a female protagonist named Asha. Luckily the ‘Monster World’ title still very much applies and the game manages to pay fitting tribute to the legacy of the series whilst doing a few of its own things.
The Sega Megadrive didn’t have a massive amount of RPGs available to its users. In fact once you’d completed the Phantasy Star and Shining Force series you’d be hard pressed to find another genuinely brilliant franchise. This is where the Monster World series steps in, bringing with it a rarer take on the concept of an RPG, the RPG/Platformer fusion.
A word of caution, this game opens with a fairly harsh sequence in which a large ugly man attempts (and fails) to rape a new inmate in their prisoner of war camp. It’s horribly written, cliche and akin to some of the worst prison dramas you will ever see. The language used is foul and visceral and a jeering crowd of onlookers don’t help the matter. If you can stomach this as a scene setting exercise and move past it you will find that nothing else in the game is even remotely as nasty. If you can’t then I would suggest that this is not the game for you.