Written by: Warren C. Bennett
Treasure Hunter G is one of those RPG’s I’ve heard about for years but have never played. The year was 1996 and the burgeoning internet filled with rumors of a new Square game. Treasure Hunter G became known to me through magazines and early websites, with whispers of the story hastily pasted with low-rez jpgs on cut-into-many-frames websites. The world didn’t know about Treasure Hunter G, but a few game journalists and JRPG fans on the internet did. They knew that this treasure would probably never come across the pond, despite the loud outcries of role playing fans. The 16-bit era was dying and the new systems were on the horizon, dashing any hopes that this game would be officially translated.
Why did many want to play this?
This game represents the end of an Era, the last game from Square on a Nintendo system for before jumping over to Sony’s Playstation. It is also one of the last games that to use the old Square design philosophy, focusing on game content and story over graphics. This is before cinematic and cutting edge visuals became the focus with Final Fantasy VII, leading Square to evolve into the company it is today. Treasure Hunter G speaks of an era long past, one that is only kept alive through independent companies and loyal fans. This game is a relic of a time when console RPGs were a niche, a well-guarded secret that only loyalists knew about. Japanese RPGs were much desired by console RPG enthusiasts and this game was on the top of many lists. Luckily, those that don’t speak or read Japanese can now play Treasure Hunter G, due to the work of many great fan translators.
How does the game play?
This is a fairly typical role-playing game of the late SNES era. The player controls the brothers Red and Blue as they explore the land, trying their best to fight an inadvertently released baddie. They meet villagers, grow their party, and fight many battles. The battles are turn based and on a grid, making it the battles feel more like a tactics game than a traditional Square product. Each action during a battle requires a certain number of action points. These increase as the game progresses, letting a character use more abilities during combat.
The visual style reminds me of Super Mario RPG and other late era SNES/Super Famicom games. The entire game is from a top down point of view, with the combat only being separated out by a grid. The characters are brightly colored and look a bit prerendered, though the increased resolution of modern TVs and monitors make them look a bit pixellated and jaggy. I actually adore the look and wish new games were presented in this late 16-bit era retro style.
Treasure Hunting with Allahweh
Next week the Game Travel portion of this series will start. Jessica “Allahweh” Brown will begin her journey through this once Japanese only game. Join her as she shares her experience in stepping out in to the world of treasure hunters for the first time.