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Final Fantasy-less title: Earthbound

Totally Square-free developer: HAL Laboratory

Why you should ignore Celes and play this: Utter nonsense. That's one thing you'll find in abundance, possibly in greater supply here than any other RPG to claw its way out of Japan. Instead of swords and spidery dungeons, you're tasked with saving a modern-day Earth from a time-hopping dictator-monster. Your weapons? Yo-yos and Baseball bats. Your party? Standard kids who would be content watching Pokemon reruns on Cartoon Network.

Even the battles bucked RPG staples, most notably the Final Fantasy tradition of "random enemy encounter every five seconds." Instead, it used a very Chrono Trigger-esque method where you could actually see the enemies on the screen and choose to fight them head on or sneak up from behind for an extra hit or two. Later on, you could just walk over a weaker enemy and kill it. All the other RPG stuff (hit points, ability points, inventory and the like) was handled in a similar manner, with rolling dials representing your life and Western food acting as healing items. It was an RPG for the rest of us. Too bad its quirky nature and disappointing graphics kept it from mainstream success, a UK release or even a Virtual Console nod.

Sad, because it has one of the creepiest final battles in RPG history. Unsettling dialogue, moody music and a disturbingly malevolent villain (about three minutes into the video) make it markedly more imposing than Kefka's angelic form.

"You cannot grasp the true form of Giygas' attack!"

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4 comments

  • Link1335 - October 6, 2008 5:40 a.m.

    I am totally in love with The Legend of Dragoon. It boasts of a well in-depth epic story and a great cast of characters that compliment each other well. If you can find this gem anywhere, pick it up and give it a shot. Definitely a refreshing battle system with pretty good graphics (for it's day).
  • Kefsquall - September 11, 2008 3:08 a.m.

    Dragon Force and Alundra II was also very good RPG's, but Panzer Dragoon Saga is magnific. Greetings Gamesradar for the feature.
  • Nessrox - September 9, 2008 1:20 a.m.

    If you haven't played EarthBound or Skiees of Aracdia you need to go to e-bay and get it RIGHT NOW
  • AnonymouZ - May 22, 2009 10:21 a.m.

    They all sound good. But just 5 of this games and that'd be about 365 days of my life poured into them. Without counting all the other "trendier" games that you'd want to play... i'd say... yes... when im older and can actually afford $200 videogames xD

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