Not every great game that is released in Japan is translated into English. But some of these great games are eventually made available in English, courtesy fan translation patches — game hacks that transform the original Japanese game into a fully playable English version. Most fan translations never get finished, as it takes a lot of time and skill to completely translate a game. When a quality one is finished, it's cause for great celebration. This week marks the completion of not one, not two, but three high profile fan translation patches.
The first of these patches is a translation patch for Persona 2: Innocent Sin. Persona 2's story was divided into two separate games, and the US officially got only the second part, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. Although Eternal Punishment summarized most of the essential information about the first part, it should be fun to find out the details.
The second of this week's patches is for Mother 3. The Mother series may be unfamiliar to most Western gamers by its native title, but the second game was released for the Super Nintendo as Earthbound (whose protagonist, Ness, appears in Super Smash Bros.). Though the gameplay tends toward typical Dragon Quest-style, the plot and setting are anything but standard. The games generally take place in the modern world and parody the RPG genre. Earthbound (Mother 2) is thus far the only one to officially make it Stateside. The original Mother was a Famicom game that Nintendo of America translated, but never released, for the NES. Mother 3, supposedly the best in the series, was also never released in the USA — probably because it was a GBA game released at a time when Nintendo was focusing on the DS in the US. I'm really looking forward to giving Mother 2 a try, as the world needs more parody RPGs. (Earthbound and Okage: Shadow King aren't enough!)
The last of these patches is a translation patch for the Super Famicom game Lennus II. Like Mother, we've gotten a previous game in the series in the US here under a different name, that being Paladin's Quest for Super Nintendo. That title proved something of a misnomer, since the game is completely devoid of any paladins; the hero and heroine are both wizards. I suspect Enix wanted a name that gamers would identify as an RPG. The first game was known for a very cool magic system: instead of having one overall magic stat, you have one stat for each of several fields of magic, and you increase each field through practice. There were also 30 different playable characters (two main characters and 28 mercenaries you could hire at various parts of the game), bizarre pastel-based graphics, and great level design. Despite being a SNES RPG published by Enix, it was pretty obscure — sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who has ever played the thing. I hear the sequel is even better than the first game so I'm really looking forward to playing it in a language I can understand.
These patches are applicable only via emulation, which is a legally gray area. Neither I nor Gamebits nor its affiliated parties offer any endorsements of methods or practices. It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.