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Romancing SaGa

Super Nintendo

Game Description:

Romancing SaGa is an early-era SNES RPG released by Square in 1992 and designed by Akitoshi Kawazu, the creator of the SaGa series that originated on the Nintendo Gameboy.

Taking place in the fantasy world of Mardius, the world is revealed to be one where ancient gods warred against each other in the past, with the ultimate god of evil, Saruin, sealed away by the power of ten gemstones. In modern times, each country is now dealing with its own troubles and wars. But the time of Saruin’s return draws near and threatens the existence of all human life.

The player can choose to start the game by selecting one of eight main characters, who each have their own personal storyline that is explored in the game, as well as their own ending. The world is constantly in motion as the player progresses through battles and events, with new locations to find and old locations undergoing changes.

Combat is turn-based with a slight emphasis on party formation. As each character battles, they can learn new weapon techniques and grow in different statistics.

Romancing SaGa was also remade for the Playstation 2 in 2005 as “Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song”. Many of the unfinished or dropped content from this SNES version was included or expanded upon in the remake.

Translation Description:

This is an English translation of Romancing SaGa for the Super Nintendo.

This translation is based on the unfinished English translation by Trans-Dimension.

ROM / ISO Information:

  • Name: Romancing Sa-Ga (Japan) (Rev 1)
  • SHA-1: 6AB826E716869D4065307186A09925DDE7CD488D
  • MD5: 91D84CBB88F28C50F14C8302CFA1DCD1
  • CRC32: 9684526D

Links:

Screenshots:


ROMhacking.net Patch ImagesROMhacking.net Patch ImagesROMhacking.net Patch ImagesROMhacking.net Patch Images

Credits:

Credits
ContributorType of contributionListed credit
Eien Ni HenTranslation
Alex W. JacksonHackingSpecial Thanks
Shujin-RikOriginal Translation
F.H.Original Hacking

User Review Information

A flawed but addictive hidden gem

Reviewed By: melvir23 on 01 Jan 2016

After Romancing SaGa 3, another game in the SaGa series is available for non-Japanese speaking JRPG enthusiasts.

The translation is great, and the version 1.1 of the patch corrects a bug which prevented players from completing some quests (I faced it during my first playthrough with version 1 of the patch, but did not have any problem with version 1.1 and was able to finish the game).

This said, the game itself is a typical JRPG incorporating elements from western RPG in order to give more freedom to the player.

Like Romancing SaGa 3, you choose your hero among 8 available characters and define is orientation (warrior, wizard, etc.). After an introduction specific to each character, you are free to do the quests offered by the game in any order you wish, most of them being unnecessary to finish the game. This allows for players to discover new quests when starting over the game. However, keep in mind that some early quests will become unavailable if you level up too much, which can prove to be frustrating for some players.

This game has also the specificity to have a hidden alignment system, which will influence the way you finish the game (I have yet to try it with a third playthrough), which is in my opinion quite groundbreaking for a game of this time (1992)

The gameplay of the game is definitely raw when compared to its successors:

  • Like Romancing SaGa 2 and 3, the battles are not random, the enemies are visible on the map and will chase you. The main drawback of this game is the astounding number of enemies present on the map. This is compensated by the quickness of the battle, as enemies tend not to have a lot of hit points (but some of them will hit you really hard).
  • The battle formation system allows you to distribute your characters through 3 rows, with the further rows protecting your characters from enemies lacking range but also preventing them from using hand-to-hand weapons. Moreover, you also have to pay attention to the lateral distribution of your characters, as monster attacking you from the sides will disrupt your formation by switching people from the corresponding side to the front.
  • Like other entries in the SaGa series, the progression is not done through leveling up at specific exp points sets. You will instead semi-randomly earn points in the different characteristics of your character. I was unable to find out whether this was influenced by the initial build-up of your character or the nature of your character actions during the battle. I like this system much better than the traditional one with exp point as it makes leveling up much less boring in my eyes.
  • The characters become also more proficient in weapons: they will randomly earn points in a specific weapon by using it during a battle. After earning some points, they can use special techniques. However they will not progress in a weapon type (sword, axe, etc.) but only in the specific weapon they used (iron sword,etc.) and they lose all their weapon level in this weapon if they remove it from their equipment. This is a rather strange mechanic, which is only partially compensated by the fact you will improve much faster by fighting stronger ennemies.
  • The difficulty is quite tricky. Some enemies and bosses will be quite easy while some other will be very hard (the end game bosses are particularly challenging).
  • Surprisingly, the quest system is in my opinion much better than in Romancing SaGa 3. For anybody who has been frustrated like me by this aspect of the latter, the information you need to trigger and complete them are far less elusive in this one. One quest was particularly interesting in my eyes and is everything you search when playing a RPG (I will give no spoil). You would not be able to do this one without the translation.
  • I really liked the presentation of the magic system, which is very similar to what you find in old western RPG.
  • I suspect the original game to contain other bugs, which is the drawback of the open world system.

The medfan setting of the game, although standard, is definitely a strong point in my eyes:

  • The story takes place in the world of Mardias and is about the resurrection of the evil god Saruin, which the player will have to prevent. Nothing new here but this kind of story is always effective.
  • What I liked about the story is that none of the character available at the start is the typical young upstart quitting is village for a rite of passage quest, which is the most overused trope in JRPG
  • You have territories which are clearly defined on the world map. Although the game is light on this, you have an insight on the relationship between the different countries.
  • You also have a pantheon with some gods (other than the big bad Saruin) playing an actual role in the game.
  • The design of the characters is quite strong. I suggest you should search for some artworks, they are worth it.
  • You will feel more involved in some quests based on the character you took at the beginning of the game. For instance, by playing Claudia, the ranger, there was a special feel for some quests in the Bafal empire area. On the other hand, I would have liked a character specific quest towards the end of the game. This was rather missing here to enhance the feeling of character arc fulfillment you get at the ending scene.
  • Based on your current level and what you accomplished, you will trigger new quests in area you already visited. This make for a more lively setting. The final quests in particular have really an apocalyptic feel, you will not know what to do first!
  • The music in the game is quite good, the only drawback is that you will hear your character theme in far too many areas (I had the soft Claudia’s theme on a place with dinosaurs trying to walk on me!). More variety would have been welcome

That said, despite its flaws, I really found the game to be addictive, I even started and completed a second playthrough after being unable to finish a quest because of the bug mentioned earlier and because of bad choices during the character creation, which is not my usual behavior: I often give up a game when I have to start it over.

To sum it up,

Pro:

  • nice and lively setting and appealing characters
  • challenging for some battles, which require some tactics and quests
  • nice music
  • open world, elements coming from western RPG (like the magic system)
  • high replay value especially because of the alignment system

Con:

  • too many enemies on the map
  • the game can be buggy
  • the difficulty level is not well adjusted (some battles are too easy, some very hard)
  • the theme of your main character is played in too many areas
  • the weapon progression system is frustrating

To conclude, I think this game is definitely worth trying, I guess that people will either love it or hate it. I would also like to thank the translation team, I really enjoyed playing this game.

Version 1.1 Recommended - Yes

User Reviews
HeadlineAuthorDateVersionRecommended
A flawed but addictive hidden gemmelvir2301 Jan 20161.1Yes
A Good Translation for a Subpar Gamemagictrufflez09 Sep 20151.0Yes
Talk about open world...break12 Jul 20151.0Yes