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  • ActRaiser and Dragon Warrior III (Enix)

    ActRaiser and Dragon Warrior III Ad


    The above ad for two classic Enix games is from circa 1993. At this time, the NES was seeing some of the most technically impressive releases in its life but even with extra hardware in the cartridges, it was no match for the graphics and sound capabilities of the recently released Super Nintendo.


    ActRaiser was a rather unique game and being released only a few months after the introduction of the Super Nintendo, was one of the earliest games available for it. The game combines the city/world building genre of games like Populous with side-scrolling platform action/adventure. This was one of the best early releases for the Super Nintendo. Not only did it have excellent gameplay but it did a good job showing off new graphics and sound capabilities of the SNES.

    Dragon Warrior III though it was released fairly late in the life of the NES was one of its best selling games ever. Dragon Warrior III is a role-playing game played from an overhead perspective with turn-based combat. As far as RPGs on the Nintendo go, The Dragon Warrior series was second only to the Final Fantasy series in popularity. Although the NES didn’t have the technical capabilities of the new SNES, Dragon Warrior III graphics, sound and music were still well done and it offered many hours of excellent gameplay. Enix (now Square Enix) had a reputation for producing very good games and these are two examples of why that is so.

    Dragon Warrior III

    There was a very limited port of ActRaiser for mobile phones in 2004 and there was a Virtual Console release for the Wii in 2007. There was also a sequel, ActRaiser II, developed for the SNES and released in 1993.

    Dragon Warrior III had several remakes over the years. The first was in 1996 for the Super Famicom though it was never officially released in the U.S. However, a Game Boy Color version based on the Super Famicom remake was released in the U.S. in 2001. It was the largest Game Boy Color game released in the U.S. at 32 Mb. There were other remakes for cell phones and the Wii that were only released in Japan. Most recently, an Android and iOS version was released in 2014.

  • Brandish (Super Nintendo)

    Super NES


    Brandish is an action RPG that was released by KOEI for the Super Nintendo in 1995. It had other contemporary releases, including for the PC Engine CD-ROM2 (TurboGrafx-CD), NEC PC-9801 and FM Towns but these were Japan only releases. The U.S. release was censored due to some revealing costumes and the plot also had significant changes.

    Brandish is played from a top down perspective like many similar action RPGs of the time. I won’t go into the plot but it’s safe to say it is a suitable fantasy storyline for a video game RPG. The sound wasn’t much to speak of and the music was fairly repetitive. Even the graphics were not spectacular but they were good enough not to detract from the game play which is what counts. As far as action RPGs go, it is actually a pretty decent game despite some of the shortcomings it has. It was quite a popular series of games in Japan.

    While several sequels were made, none saw a U.S. release. There was a remake for the PSP titled Brandish: The Dark Revenant that was initially released in Japan in 2009. It was finally released in downloadable form in the U.S. in 2015. To play the original you will need a Super Nintendo and an original cartridge or be willing to emulate. As far as sequels, you will probably have to learn Japanese or perhaps track down a fan translation if there are any. If you like action RPGs of that era then this is one worth playing.

  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Crossroads of Time


    Source: Next Generation – Issue Number 9 – September 1995

    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Crossroads of Time was an action adventure game for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis based on the Star Trek: DS9 TV series. It was released in 1995 which would have been around the third season of the show and still pretty early in the series.


    At the time the game was released, it received pretty mixed reviews. The graphics, sound and general atmosphere were praised for being very good and true to the show. The gameplay on the other hand left a little more to be desired. Action scenes were mostly simplistic, repetitive and the controls somewhat awkward. The rest of the game played more like a puzzle game. Fans of the show will probably get some enjoyment out of it but otherwise it wouldn’t hurt to skip this one.


    If you do seek this game out, the only way you can get it is for the Genesis and Super Nintendo. It hasn’t had any newer releases that I am aware of. Of the two, the Super Nintendo has somewhat better graphics but both are pretty good in this department and the gameplay is more or less the same. I’ve always been a little surprised that there weren’t more console Star Trek games in the age of Next Generation and DS9 but this is one of only a few choices available at the time and none of the others was based on DS9.