I'm seriously cheating this week, because this PC Engine game is presented completely in English, even though the game never came out in the US! But the holidays are approaching, so I'm happy to enjoy my luck with Taito's Rastan Saga II for the PC Engine -- I'm not one to look a gift translation in the mouth:
And the English is imperfect enough to be amusing, as the Skyscraper which "soraed into the sky" is taken over by The Wicked Group, which sounds like a marketing firm (the font is rather hard to read, so I'll transcribe the text below):
Transcription: THE "RASTANIA" WAS A SACRED PLACE, IN WHICH THE TEMPLE, "SKYSCRAPER", SORAED INTO THE SKY. IT WAS SAID THAT WHOEVER CONQUER THE "SKYSCRAPER" WOULD RULE THE "RASTANIA". A WICKED GROUP HAS INVADED THE "SKYSCRAPER" AND HAS TRIED TO MAKE IT THEIR OWN. IF THE SITUATION IS LEFT AS IT IS, THE PLACE WOULD EVENTUALLY BE CONTROLLED BY THIS WICKED GROUP. SO, A COURAGEOUS YOUNG MAN HAS RISEN IN REVOLT AGAINST THE WICKED GROUP!
Rastan Saga II did come to US arcades, under the title Nastar Warrior, and was released on the Sega Genesis here as well, but this sequel to Taito's Rastan was not well received on any platform. The main character feels stiff and awkward -- his jumping abilities are limited, and his sword swings awkward at low angles. The enemies are nicely designed skeletons, demons and undead creatures, but their attacks aren't very interesting -- they either creep along and run into Rastan's sword, or they swoop in to make cheap hits before he can bring his weapon to bear.
And the music is just awful -- the coin-op version had better instrumentation, but the melodies have always been repetitive and not the least bit catchy, and the PC Engine version sounds even worse, stuttery, shrill and clangy.
The game does look quite nice, with colorful backdrops and creepy enemies:
But the action is less than enthralling. Even the boss battles are unimaginative and frustrating, as the Big Bads wander back and forth, dealing out plenty of unblockable hits by invading Rastan's personal space, causing steady damage and making it difficult for him to move or counter their attacks:
And the later level designs are similarly frustrating, with spurting flames that damage Rastan no matter how precise his timing or placement. Maybe it would help if his posture didn't suffer from He-Man Syndrome, forcing him to walk in an odd, semi-squatting position:
So, yes, I wish the game were better -- it's a fairly faithful adaptation of the coin-op original, but that's not saying much. I really did try to get better at the game, but my journeys were remarkably consistent -- I usually exhausted my three continues right about here, shortly into the third level:
Still, I'm surprised NEC and Taito never brought this out for the TurboGrafx-16 -- it doesn't look like ANY localization would have been necessary, and even though it's not a great game, it would have looked nice in the ads. NEC missed a lot of opportunities like this -- inexperienced in the US market, they made a lot of bad decisions before giving up.
Our similarly awkward and besieged hero is more persistent, at least:
"I HAVE OPENED A FIRE. NOW I AM DETERMINED TO HOLD MY GROUND AT ANY COST!"
Even if he has bitten off a little more than he can chew:
"YOU WICKED PEOPLE! HOW DID YOU LIKE MY ASSAULT? OH, HERE COME TOUGH ENEMIES!"
Tough enemies indeed. Oh, well. Rastan peace, brave warrior.
If you're interested in importing this game, it may be in stock at this affiliate link.