Axe of the Blood God: Loot Boxes, Ys's VIII's Localization, Secret of Mana Report, FFIX Report #4

PODCAST | Another report begins!

Article by Kat Bailey, .

Axe of the Blood God is our weekly RPG podcast hosted by Kat Bailey and Nadia Oxford. You can find the previous episodes here.

In this week's episode of Axe of the Blood God (download link here), we talk about Ys VIII's localization woes; loot boxes and their relationship to RPGs, and we commence the Secret of Mana Report!

The arrival of the SNES Classic has served as inspiration for me to finally dive into Square's action RPG classic, which I've been playing with my girlfriend. In our first conversation, we talk about the game's opening hours; the combat; memorable moments, and of course, that earsplitting dwarf music. Dear god it's so bad.

Also in this episode: We talk about NISA's localization track record; how loot boxes got their start with free-to-play MMORPGs, and of course, Final Fantasy IX!

Want to share your thoughts on RPGs? Email us at We may read your letter on the show! Keep those Perfect RPG Teams coming, folks!

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Show Description

Kat and Nadia talk about loot boxes and their relationship to RPGs and debate the need to redo Ys VIII's localization before moving into a brand new report: The Secret of Mana Report! Join Kat as she talks about her first experience with the combat, earsplitting dwarf music, sneaky sprites, and RPG co-op gameplay (30:06). Then Nadia updates us on Final Fantasy IX as she officially reaches the end of Disc 1! (47:24).

Music from Axe of the Blood God is courtesy of Lena Chappelle, who has also contributed the themes to Active Time Babble and Roleplayers' Realm. I also use music from the RPG Music Pack over at Check it out!

This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments 13

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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #1 KaiserWarrior A year ago
    "How can they compromise the gameplay to that extent?"

    Because people keep paying them to do it. People complain to high heaven, and then they buy the games anyway.

    It is not enough to not buy GambleBoxes. You need to not buy the game, period. You have to demonstrate that GambleBoxes are not only a bad idea in and of themselves, but that they actively harm the sales of the game as a whole.

    Of course, as you noted, it doesn't matter. Video games are not for us -- by which I mean people that play a lot of video games and care about the medium deeply -- anymore. They're for the general public who are, as you said, inured to this sort of scummy revenue model thanks to F2P mobile games being their gateway games. They'll throw money at it because they only play one or two games a year, so it's worth it to them. This is a rabbit hole there's no coming back from, so prepare yourself for even scummier GambleBox implementations in the near future.

    RE: Treehouse localization vs. NISA localization: Typos, grammatical errors, and things like that are quite a bit different from censoring a game's content. Treehouse doesn't make mistakes in localization, they quite deliberately change the content of the game for different audiences. Whether you're okay with that or not doesn't really have a bearing on comparing that to NISA just outright doing it wrong; you can have problems with NISA just not caring and also have problems with Treehouse's pointed decisions to alter the game.

    Localization doesn't have to be about budget/size. Look at the recent English-language releases of Super Robot Wars; Moon Dwellers and V. The Moon Dwellers localization was their first go at it, and it was atrocious. Readable, but really, really bad. Once it did well, though, they decided to try harder on V, and it definitely shows; the localization for V is vastly improved. Super Robot Wars, as a series, didn't get a substantial jump in budget or team size from MD to V, Banpresto just cared more the second time out.Edited October 2017 by KaiserWarrior
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  • Avatar for scottygrayskull #2 scottygrayskull A year ago
    There's a typo in the direct download link. An extra 'h' at the start.

    Looking forward to the listen!
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #3 riderkicker A year ago
    @KaiserWarrior Aren't the Bandai English games handled by people from Singapore as the company has shifted some of its resources to the area?
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  • Avatar for Drachmalius #4 Drachmalius A year ago
    I am also playing Secret of Mana for the first time...time has not been kind to that game. It's a lot of fun but that UI is very clunky. It's understandable that they are going to do a full remake rather than just a port, it needs a little spit shine in my opinion. As long as they don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #5 KaiserWarrior A year ago
    @riderkicker I believe so, yeah. The idea is that the games aren't being localized for the USA, but for SEA territories that have English as a second language. Still, the quality jump was very large and immediately noticeable.
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #6 Flipsider99 A year ago
    I really think Secret of Mana holds up extremely well. The graphics still look beautiful, the music is still top notch. The story is simplistic but it's almost refreshing in how it lets you get right into the game without too much preamble or distraction, especially as opposed to modern games. The gameplay still feels really good, with charging up the weapons being really fun. I'd still put it near the top of games like it, even including modern games!
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #7 riderkicker A year ago
    I was listening to the Retronauts episode today and Secret of Mana was supposed to be for the Nintendo SNES PlayStation combo, but the system was not like the Sega CD (which improved graphic and sound performance for the Genesis), instead it was geared toward storage. It's amazing Square did what it did to get this game out, though it makes you wonder what quests were cut to fit the SNES cartridge.

    I played some of the Secret of Mana remake during NYCC, I hope Nadia did too. And for once I managed to beat the first boss without taking a hit since the 3D landscape made walking around much easier. I can't believe this is such a roundabout way to stop Westerners from playing Legend of the Holy Sword 3, so that collection better come over chop chop.

    Cool that you beat the dragon of the grotto, I didn't bother though it would've been easier than grinding. On disc two you can fight it again if you buy some reflect rings.
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  • Avatar for Nuclear-Vomit #8 Nuclear-Vomit A year ago
    I can't get that Secret of Mana Dwarf music out of my head! Somehow, I'm starting to like it (mental defense mechanism?).
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  • Avatar for davedalrymple11 #9 davedalrymple11 A year ago
    @Drachmalius I thought the UI was pretty good in Secret of Mana. Buying/selling/equipping armor is a little less convenient than it could be, but otherwise the ring menu is a great way to quickly cast spells, change weapons, or use items without overly disrupting the game for the other players.
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  • Avatar for Jeremiah-Jones #10 Jeremiah-Jones A year ago
    @riderkicker An easy way to beat the Mantis Ant without being hit, is just to run to the top of the screen so you get behind the guy. He'll endlessly try to jump in front of you and not attack. Wait until he hits the ground and attack. He'll never be able to hit you.

    I love Secret of Mana. I played that game so much, that when I played the initial music you hear when walking around in the forest, my Mother said "I remember that music."
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  • Avatar for Jonnyboy407 #11 Jonnyboy407 A year ago
    I didn't care for Vegas either. It's dirty (literally).
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  • Avatar for Iambiz #12 Iambiz A year ago
    I have one comment in regards to your discussion on unwinnable encounters. Use of expendables in such encounters needs to be restricted so that you don't burn through them all in a sisyphean effort to win the battle and then have nothing left for the rest of the game. I had this experience playing the Lunar remake on the PSP and it wouldn't have been such a big deal but for the fact that many of the expendables I used weren't ones you could easily replace (they weren't on sale in shops, only found in dungeon chests).

    It's okay to have unwinnable encounters, but you need to have some sort of plot device (you can't access your satchel, for example) so that we don't use our best items for nothing.Edited October 2017 by Iambiz
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  • Avatar for sketchlayerjosh #13 sketchlayerjosh A year ago
    As someone who played and enjoyed Adventures of Mana for the Vita, I’m feeling cautiously optimistic for the Secret of Mana remake. Adventures was very slapdash, but in a charming way! I’m looking at it like it’s a community theater production of Shakespeare. Yeah, I’ve seen it done with better production values, and, sure, Lady Macbeth just tripped and knocked a wall over, but it’s a new way to experience a classic with its own scrappy charm. Insert Switch port begging here.Edited October 2017 by sketchlayerjosh
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