Super Nintendo, NES & GameBoy tomfoolery;

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Up from (Super) Obscurity

I have weird (aka, terrible) taste in video games. I know this will come as a shock to my regular reader(s), but it's true. Let's just look at my Super Nintendo collection for the moment: my Killer Instinct cartridge? It's been in my SNES only once.
But my cherished copy of Street Combat? Won it dozens of times!
And when it comes to RPGs, I'm similarly out of touch: I've gotten further in Drakkhen than Breath of Fire II. In fact, I've only played BoF II once; when I couldn't figure out how to save and pressed the "reset" button to check if staying at the inn actually saved it (for the record, it does not), I don't think I can stand sitting through the 20 minutes of 'introductory' movies and tutorial levels required before I can start doing some damn level-grinding.
Um, no thanks, Breath of Fire 2: God can't have my 18 STR fighter!
The Quest for a Nice Character-Creating, Level-Grinding RPG!
So basically, all I want from a SNES RPG is:
  1. the ability to generate my own characters
  2. level them up in turn-based combat
That doesn't sound too rare, does it? Well, it's rarer than you think! The JRPG necessity of telling the exact same story again and again* was just starting to get its stranglehold on the console market.
*: heroes try to save world, in so doing they play right into the villian's hand and he destroys the world, lots of long speeches are unspooled, then the final boss mutates into 3 different forms while you fight him.
However, there ARE a handful of non-story-based RPGs available for your Super Nintendo...let's take a look at one of them and see if it measures up:
This is the game that's famous for it's "1st person walking-around perspective" and "that weird giant cat head sticking out of the ground that you fight in all the screenshots." But does it measure up to my exacting standards?
Create Characters:
Well, you HAVE to take one of each of the 4 classes (effectively Fighter, Thief, Wizard and Cleric); but you can choose the gender of each character, and that sometimes changes the name of the character class! Also you can distribute 5 randomly-rolled numbers amongst your 5 stats; so, not too bad.
Turn-Based Combat:
Unfortunately, not so much: when combat starts, everyone starts running around swatting at the enemy. You can 'pause' it to change each character's disposition (fight, avoid, cast this spell or that spell, etc), and you can take active control of one character (to have them move towards the enemy or away), but there's nary a turn-based menu to be seen.
Drakken: not up to my exacting standards for crappy level-grinding RPGs!
Join us next time while I try to find another SNES RPG that I feel like playing!
— carlmarksguy, 2012-09-14
Might I recommend the original Dragon Warrior on the NES? It's not exactly Super, but it lets you name your character and has turn-based combat. Even better, it's also available on the Game Boy Color!
Yeah, I got the original DW a year or so ago, but it didn't have enough variety to keep me engaged. I found the SNES RPG that has everything I want -- but I want to make fun of a few more non-story-based but "real time combat" SNES RPGs before I reveal what it is! Ironically cuz of my game, I'm playing more video games than usual, so I have less time for this video game site :P
A bit excessive on the story front for your tastes, I expect, but you could do worse than play Dragon Warrior 3. Except for your fixed hero(ine), you create your entire party of characters. It even has an SNES version (only released in Japan so you'll have to use an emulator with a translation patch), but the GBC version has all the SNES content. Thinking of doing worse...turn on Final Fantasy 2, then go southwest from the starting town. It's even better than going southwest from the starting town in Dragon Warrior!
Thanks for the suggestion, DWIII sounds interesting! I bet I'd have to pay through the nose for it though (like most of the most-revered RPGs), so I'm unlikely to buy a copy :) whereas more obscure/rejected ones like Drakkhen? $10!
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