USgamer's RPG Podcast Explores How the SNES Changed Some of Our Favorite RPG Franchises

AXE OF THE BLOOD GOD: SNES RPGs, localization hell, and more underrated RPG pitches.

Article by Kat Bailey, .

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

In this week's episode of Axe of the Blood God (download link here), Bob and I embark on a new quest to see how the Super Nintendo changed some of our favorite RPG franchises.

The first franchise we examine is Dragon Quest, which dropped almost entirely out of sight in the U.S. during its Super Nintendo years. We discuss some of the innovations that appeared in the 16-bit years, how Dragon Quest V and VI compared to its successors and predecessors, and whether the SNES was the peak of the series. In future episodes we'll extend that analysis to other popular long-running RPG franchises like Shin Megami Tensei, Seiken Densetsu (Mana), Final Fantasy, Fire Emblem, and (possibly) Super Robot Wars.

In addition to looking back on the SNES, we also delve a bit into Bob's cover story from last week, revisit Dragon Quest X, and discuss another one of your underrated RPG pitches. If you'd like to contribute to the last feature, please send your emails to or send a DM over USgamer's messaging service to kat.bailey. I look forward to your emails!

Next week: Another SNES series, more underrated RPGs, and possibly Deus Ex or Super Robot Wars OG. Stay tuned!

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Show Description

Kat and Bob get together to pay their respects to Manabu Daishima, talk about Dragon Quest X on the NX and how it's still alive (02:50), true tales of localization hell (12:15), how the move to the SNES affected Dragon Quest (26:07), and more pitches for underrated RPGs (49:10).

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!

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Comments 13

  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #1 SatelliteOfLove 2 years ago
    I love dropping this link. It describes with news articles from the time before, during and after the merger what actually happened. In short: wool was pulled over our eyes in the form of an urban legend masquerading as "DID YOU KNOW THAT SMB2 IS ACTUALLY ANOTHER GAME?!?!" trivia.

    Shadow Hearts Covenant (like Baten Kaitos Origin, Dark Cloud 2, Dragon Quest 8, Valkyria Profile 2, and Mana Khemina 1) were some of those "misses" I passed on while wolfing down the smorgasbord of JRPG Goodness Gen 6 had in store for me. Nowadays it's usually above original MSRP or just a disc; yeah, that digital version is lookin' mighty fine.
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #2 Kat.Bailey 2 years ago
  • Avatar for Gloam #3 Gloam 2 years ago
    Hey guys, great episode. Liked the DQ SNES talk. I'm gonna chime in to defend DQ10. I've finished the single player and the first portion of the online game. It's a very good adaptation of the DQ formula to an MMO.

    It's actually fairly progressive in some of its aspects. You can rent your character to other players when offline to gain extra experience and rent other characters if you want to solo the game. There's also a lot of bonuses for teaming up and various items that make it less of a grind. There's a tendency to call DQ a grind but if you follow the town to dungeon route you won't need to grind.

    I played the game for a long time and think it works as a proper DQ and is very good. I would definitely encourage Bob and Kat to try the trial version of the game.

    You'll be pleasantly surprised by how good it actually is. Don't believe everything you hear on the Internet, except this post obviously!Edited August 2016 by Gloam
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  • Avatar for ping33 #4 ping33 2 years ago
    Under appreciated RPGs;
    How about Jean D'arc for psp.
    It's a nifty little SRPG with great mechanics, a decent story and good (for PSP) graphics. It a touch on the easy side which makes it the perfect entry point for someone who is intrigued but intimidated by FFT of Fire Emblem.
    Is playable on vita and on PSN too!
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  • Avatar for manny_c44 #5 manny_c44 2 years ago
    Man I have a feeling Shenmue must have also run up against some monstrous technical requirements for the localization team. I mean how else could it be so bad? How is it possible?
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  • Avatar for manny_c44 #6 manny_c44 2 years ago
    @ping33 Yes! A wonderful recommendation, it also has really great production values that probably scale well to the Vita (I have it on my Vita but haven't got a chance to try it on the system yet).
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  • Avatar for Mr.Spo #7 Mr.Spo 2 years ago
    @Kat.Bailey First time listening and really enjoyed this, I'm moving through most Final Fantasy games starting with the DS version of III, but after I'm done with that series run-through I'm going to go through the Dragon Quests that are available on DS/3DS.

    In terms of overlooked RPGs, I can think of one I've played--Panzer Dragoon Saga, which I adored playing last winter. There are a couple I've been meaning to add to my collection so wondered if you guys had come across them. Silver for DreamCast/Windows, and the early Phantasy Star games. I've got Phantasy Star IV on Steam so will be giving that a blast sometime... Thanks guys!
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  • Avatar for The-Challenger #8 The-Challenger 2 years ago
    Radiant Historia will always be fondly remembered by me.
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  • Avatar for mattcom26 #9 mattcom26 2 years ago
    I would like to suggest Drakkhen -- I mean only cause I want to know more about this game that haunted my childhood dreams. Not an outstanding game but I understand there are some innovations worth mentioning.
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  • Avatar for orient #10 orient 2 years ago
    Always been a fan of the Golden Sun games. They're way too talky - enough to drive you insane in parts - but I like the puzzles outside of battles and the djinn collecting; it's rare a JRPG gives you anything meaningful to do outside of battle and Golden Sun does a great job of it.
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  • Avatar for link6616 #11 link6616 2 years ago
    @Gloam another dqx person! I'd actually say dqx is possibly the most successful MMO adaptation of a series, in that dqx feels like it is actually a dq game first, and an MMO second. Whereas for all I love ffxiv and think it's a better game, it doesn't feel final fantasy with how it plays.
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  • Avatar for vincentgoodwin88 #12 vincentgoodwin88 2 years ago
    I really loved the Dragon Warrior 1&2 and 3 remakes for the Game Boy Color, which were released right around the same time DW7 came out in the US.

    Just thought I'd drop a mention of those, since they always seem to be forgotten. (And hoping against hope that they make it to the 3DS VC, and I could soon have the first nine Dragon Quest games all playable on my 3DS)
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  • Avatar for benjaminlu86 #13 benjaminlu86 2 years ago
    Shadow Hearts: Covenant was such a good game. Thanks for reminding me of it. I can't even remember what possessed me to pick it up since I hadn't heard of it beforehand or played any previous games in the series. It's definitely goofy in all the best ways but it deals with some heavy themes with respect and panache. It was so good, it compelled me to pick up Koudelka and Shadow Hearts 1, the former of which is clunky and both of which are much more Victorian horror than SH:C. I ended up liking SH1 a lot as well even though it didn't have as much goofy RPG-lampshading as SH:C did which is what drew me to the game in the first place. We definitely need to get PS2 Classics for them, as they're all super underrated.
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