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• Treasure Hunter G

developed by Sting, published by Squaresoft/1996.05.24
1 Player/Cartridge/Super Famicom, Wii (Virtual Console)

Treasure Hunter G was developed by Sting and was the last game Squaresoft published on the Super Famicom. Like so many RPGs from that era, Treasure Hunter G was never released outside of Japan, which is a shame since this one is quite good.  Luckily some hardworking fans have since translated it in full for all to enjoy. Like Sting’s newer offerings Riviera and Yggdra Union, strategy will be the key to victory in Treasure Hunter G, which features 3D rendered characters.

Storyline & Characters

Red and Blue’s father Brown is a crazy treasure hunter who is always leaving for months at a time to go on expeditions. One day, Red and Blue decide to go out looking for him. Game progression is linear and there are no side quests. Along the way, the two brothers meet up with magical girl Rain and her pet monkey Ponga, and face a sinister enemy who threatens their world. There are many memorable scenes, including helping your whale friend with his sore tail and exploring pyramids. Character development is somewhat limited, but you will grow to like the characters as you hunt down 7 OPARTS (Out of Place Artifacts) and solve the mystery of the frozen fairies. Whenever you stay at an inn, there’s a good chance you will see a new scene play out between the characters, even if it’s usually just some funny dialogue.

Graphics & Music

The visuals are a mix of hand drawn backgrounds with some computer rendered characters and enemies. While the 3d characters don’t animate quite as smoothly as the ones in Donkey Kong Country, they do look nice. Every enemy is animated and there are plenty of cool spell effects. The field screens are similar to Chrono Trigger’s, with teeny tiny characters – but here the over world is displayed in mode 7 so you get a nice 3d effect.

The music in the game was composed by many different people, but you will recognize the work of Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata. Generally speaking, the music is good but not in the same league as its contemporaries.

Tactical Battles

What separates Treasure Hunter G from other 16-bit RPGs is its battle system. Most comparable to the battles in Arc the Lad or Breath of Fire Dragon Quarter, players use action points to move and perform attacks, cast spells, or use items. Characters can move and attack in eight directions, and spells have an area effect (similar to many strategy-RPGs). Some weapons allow you to attack enemies up to two spaces away, while others require you to attack on a diagonal. You can also toss items at enemies or allies. Winning requires more strategy than in other RPGs with an emphasis on a unit’s position. There are no random encounters so there are less fights than typical RPGs (even less than Chrono Trigger) but because the battles are more involved, they take longer to complete and are a blast to play. Enemies don’t respawn, so once they’re gone you can explore an area freely.

On The Down Side…

One of the issues that keeps coming up is item management: each character has his/her own inventory, and when that gets full you have to drop items to make room. Since the inventory isn’t shared across all four characters, and is limited compared to most RPGs, equipping/unequipping items is a real pain.  Adding insult to injury, it’s not always clear whether a weapon/armor is better than what you have already equipped. Buying anything in the game can also be a pain, since stores only stock one at a time, forcing you to exit and enter the store to respawn the item you want. These are relatively small problems but do make the game more frustrating to play than it needed to be.

Final Thoughts

The game progresses at a decent clip, so you won’t have to do much (if any) level grinding, the objectives are almost always clear, and save points are spaced evenly. The game clocks in at a brisk 20 hour quest, making it a short but sweet treasure hunting adventure. It’s unfortunate that there wasn’t a sequel, what with the great battle system, and hints in the ending; chances are you will be left wanting more.

Quick Run Down

PROs:

  • Pretty unique battle system
  • Good presentation
  • Good sense of humor
  • Frogs!

CONs:

  • Limited inventory leads to head aches
  • Stores only stock 1 of each item at a time

One Sentence Review: A solid strategy-based RPG that has a fun sense of humor.

One Word Review: Solid.

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