the World Pt. 2
|February 24th, 2012
02/24- 12:00PM EST
Happy Vita launch week! Nothing really
RPG-related at launch, but my word do many
PSP games just look amazing on the system's
Hunter Freedom Unite and Lunar Silver
Star Harmony look spectacular.
Anyway, on to the letters!
Yes, it is time once again for me to espouse
upon another branch of the Megami Tensei
franchise, acting like I'm some kind
of expert even though I've played two games
so far. This time it's another sub-series
that has long been neglected, the Last Bible
games, most of which were for the original
Game Boy. Things are going to be a little
different in this letter. For starters,
there are five games, but there is little
information on all of them, so you won't
have to read an overly long email. Also,
unlike the other games I talked about, the
Bible game was actually released
here in North America. I imagine that it's
really obscure, so I can probably talk about
it despite that.
two games have you played?
Anyone, I'm very interested in
more of this series' history and
I'm sure many readers are too.
Have at it!
So anyway, the first game, Megami Tensei
Gaiden: Last Bible was released for
the Game Boy in Japan in 1992. In 1994, it
was ported over to the Sega Game Gear. Years
later, a Game Boy Color version would be
made in 1999, this one released in North
America as Revelations: The Demon Slayer,
being the second ever MegaTen
game to be released here (the first being
the spin-off title Jack Bros. for the
Virtual Boy of all things). This game, like
others in the sub-series takes place in a
fantasy world rather than the modern,
near-future, and post apocalyptic settings
of most of the other MegaTen
titles. It does feature ancient/mythological
cities like Harappa and Atlantis. It
apparently plays much like a Dragon Quest
game, and curiously calls its demons "majuu"
(monsters) rather than "akuma"
(demons/devils). This might possibly be in
the Japanese version, considering the
American title is "Revelations: The Demon Slayer."
It does, however, still involve the
recruitment of these creatures into the
party by negotiating with them, and many
demons are in the game as well. Despite the
title of "Last
Bible," it seems the only thing the
game has that is connected to Christianity
is Lucifer as the main antagonist. The plot
involves people with the power of Gaia (the
planet, I guess?) in order to stop evil Gaia
(with Lucifer somehow involved). What I find
especially interesting is that the title is
actually called "Megami Tensei Gaiden"
rather than "Shin Megami Tensei Gaiden",
something related to just "Megami"
or just "Tensei,"
like most other games in the franchise. Save
for Famicom remake, the original two games
seemed to have been forgotten once Shin Megami
Tensei came on the scenes, and yes,
did come out after the first SMT.
I think I had originally only
heard of the Game Boy Color
version, so I thought it was
some strange attempt at cashing
in on the Pokémon
craze. Obviously it came
out well before then, so it
sounds like a pretty interesting
game, though the title is
As long as I'm on the subject of titles,
here's an interesting fact I recently
learned. The original title of the first Persona
game was Megami
Ibunroku: Persona. "Megami
Ibunroku" translates to something
Tales of the Goddess" or "Strange Tales
of the Goddess." Once Persona 2:
Innocent Sin was released, the "Megami
Ibunroku" title was dropped and
stayed that way. However the title was
revived for a more recent game: the original
title of Devil
Survivor was Megami Ibunroku: Devil
Survivor. While it doesn't mean the games
are related, I think it's really neat that
title is sometimes used to designate a brand
new branch in the franchise.
is a pretty interesting factoid.
Wasn't the first Persona
called Revelations: Persona
when it was originally
released in the US? I
can't recall which game was the
first to actually use the Shin
Megami Tensei name in
the US. Was it Eternal
Punishment or did that
not happen until Nocturne?
So yeah, back to Last Bible, the second
Bible II was released for the
original Game Boy in 1993 and re-released
for the Game Boy Color also in 1999. It is
virtually identical to the first game,
except the graphics look a little better.
The world is still fantasy-based and it
involves some kid who comes from the demon
kingdom and whose birth heralds the coming
of a great evil. You know, standard RPG
stuff. The next game, Another Bible
was released for the Game Boy (no Color
upgrade this time in 1995. It's curiously a
strategy RPG much like the Majin Tensei
games. It's cutesy art style seems to make
it more aimed at children. There not much
else I can say (or that I can find, though
according to one player, the movements are
sluggish), but there is a fan translation
out there if you search in the right places.
will have to take a look for
this fan translation. I imagine
these games would probably be
pretty disappointing to a lot of
given that the unique setting is
often what draws people to them.
Next up is the Game Gear exclusive title Last Bible
Special, also released in 1995.
Unlike the other games in the sub-series, it
plays a lot more like a classic MegaTen
game with its first-person dungeons. It
eschews the medieval fantasy setting for one
that looks like the Near-East during
Biblical times, actually matching its title.
It sports some decent graphics for the
system, but otherwise, there isn't much else
to say. The last game in the sub-series, Last Bible III
was actually released for the Super Famicom
rather than a handheld, also released in
1995. It seems 1995 was a busy year, though
Atlus themselves didn't develop these three
games: Multimedia Intelligence Transfer made
Bible and Last Bible III while Sega
Bible Special. Anyway LBIII
once again has a somewhat different setting
than the other games, that being a steam
punk fantasy world. Once again, we seem to
have a generic plot involving a boy growing
in the demon world who sets out to fulfill
an ancient prophesy. The battle system is
also a simple turn-based affair. Other than
the 16-bit graphics, the only major changes
are in negotiations and monster/demon
designs. While negotiating with demons,
there is a gauge that lets you see if you
are answering the creature's questions
favorably or not. The demon designs are also
just plain bizarre when they're not generic.
I'd really like to know what was going
through the mind of the guy who made up that
spotted green dog with an old man's head.
more and more like the Last
Bible offshoot is rather the
ugly duckling of SMT's
many sub-series. The near-east
setting does sound somewhat
neat, but in general these sound
like generic RPGs with the only
difference being some demon
So yes, that was the Last Bible
sub-series. It's probably not hard to see
why this branch of MegaTen got forgotten to
time. They don't appear to be a bad set of
games, but aside from demon recruitment,
they don't seem to have much to distinguish
them from other RPGs. Still, it is
noteworthy that at least one of these games
actually made it over here. Next time I will
be exploring Atlus's lighter and softer side
Children games. Until then, I need
to train some more before I take on a mother
of a fight in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange
wonder how many people even
played the one Last
Bible game that did
make it over here. Anyway,
though it would have been
interesting to play some of
these, I think we can safely
safe that this is no big loss.
Maybe Atlus will put them into
some kind of collection some day
and translate that, but it
doesn't sound like these games
were even popular in Japan. I
look forward to hearing about
the Devil Children games,
good luck in Strange
Platinum is your basic Pokémon
game, except the evil leader is such a
misanthrope that he is willing to destroy
the universe and remake it in his
image. He's hired Team Galactic and
convinced them that they can visit the
stars, which makes Cyrus the Jim Jones of
world. He gets stopped by being dragged to
equivalent of hell, and after you beat him
and force him to stay there, you proceed to
I guess the original game's plot
was pretty wacky, but this just
seems way out there. Oh well, it
is a kid's game at its heart, so
I'm not quite sure what I expect
from the plot. Please tell me
the Hades Pokémon
is named Hadesmon!
Or in recipe form: Take one basic Pokémon
plot (stop evil team, collect 8 badges, beat
the Elite 4 and catch 'em all). Add 2 cups
misanthropic cult leader, one tablespoon of
delusion of deity and two handfuls of
blasphemy. Bake at 450 degrees for 2 years
after the Diamond
essentially, aside from the
basic structure of Pokémon,
they also have the game plot
down to a formula? I suppose I
shouldn't be surprised. It would
be cool if they could do
something interesting with plot
in one of the games.
... you know, when I describe it that way,
and consider that Black and White's
evil boss is actually WORSE (basically
running PETA, and heavily implied that he's
killed 13 kids - how else do you get to
"N"), we're getting near SMT
territory on these plotlines.
I've played a bit of Black
and the plot seems even more
inane than any other game in the
series. Perhaps even their story
formula is starting to falter?
We'll see what they come up with
for the next game.
Also, a question - how did Persona 3
not get an AO rating, a couple of segments
on cable news or at least an angry email
from a former Miami lawyer? You summon
demons (Strike 1!) by shooting yourself in
the head (Strike 2!) and in between, you
attempt to score with girls and maybe guys
of questionable age (STRIKE 3!). Was it
because Atlus published the
game, or something else?
to be fair, we are talking about
a series where "demons" includes
things like Angels and Norse
Gods, so I don't think that
aspect is too bad. The shooting
yourself in the head aspect does
surprise me. Even as a niche
game, you'd think someone would
have gotten angry about that. I
don't really have a good answer.
Atlus is a niche publisher, but
it isn't exactly unknown,
3 did well. I'm just
going to call luck on this one.
Perhaps if a certain Miami
lawyer hadn't been so busy with
other games he might have
discovered this one?
I mean, we've even had two other
versions of the game since the
original release. I should
probably just stop before
someone finds this column and
raises a stink shouldn't I?
Why do you think the subtle morality system
found in Quest
for Glory 2 and beyond for the
Paladin sub plot was never adopted by more
games? It allows for real roleplaying
separate of a reward system and is never
overtly mentioned unlike modern RPGs that
all now seem to have a morality system but
one that is so obvious that all you have to
do is pick either the blue option or the red
would say it's a simple matter
of pandering to your audience. I
think for the most part,
subtlety is often lost on many
people, so developers keep
things more straightforward.
Granted we aren't talking about
first person shooters, so we
expect a bit more, but still.
Perhaps Sierra's developers just
had more respect for their
audience? Now, these blue and
red options can often be quite
compelling, but there are
certainly a ton of games that
would do much better with a
subtle approach. I'm sure
someone will try it eventually,
but there is no doubt it is long
Drew Karpyshyn (head writer for bioware) has
left the company (probably to pursue life as
a novelist) is the sky falling or will
things be okay considering he was never
really involved with dragon age
and he's passed the torch on mass effect
in favour of moving to texas to write
content for TOR?
I think everything is going to be
fine. BioWare has been so well-run
that it really should be able to
weather to loss of a top writer. I'm
not saying there wont be some game
that suffers in some way due to his
absence. Like you say though, when
he wasn't even really involved in
what I thought was a finely written
game in Dragon Age, the
sky is certainly not falling.
Perhaps just the opposite will
happen, maybe there's a new head
writer waiting in the wings who will
be even better?
That's it for this week, time for me to go
catch some hockey games!
See you next week!
About the Host
What I can't wait for:
1. Mass Effect 3
2. Tales of Graces F
3. Ys IV Vita
4. Grand Knights History
5. Disgaea 3 Vita
On my Playlist:
1. Final Fantasy XIII-2 soundtrack
2. Ys Seven soundtrack
3. Dragon Quarter Soundtrack
1. With Tales Studio no longer a separate
entity, what will this mean for the series?
2. Why do you think Mega Man Legends was never a
big commercial hit?
3. What franchise needs an RPG?
4. What RPGs do you NOT want to see get an HD
5. Will Western developers ever return to expand
beyond typical fantasy and sci-fi settings?