Radical Dreamers (Super Nintendo) Review

By Rudy Lavaux 24.08.2013 3

Review for Radical Dreamers on Super Nintendo

It is always a problem when a game is released on a console add-on that very few people owned, let alone remained exclusive to Japan. It gets even worse when that add-on - in this case the broadcast Satellaview - was meant to only download games to rewritable media, not to run games permanently written to a certain type of media like cartridges or disks, the latter being Nintendo's medium of choice for the Famicom Disk System. This makes certain games that people truly wanted to play even more inaccessible - in any "official" way, that is. Then there's also the language barrier to overcome, which in the case of Radical Dreamers is a huge one, considering it's a text adventure. Thankfully, the Internet, coupled with some talented people from rippers to hackers and translators, made it possible for the world to play the game through emulation. Whilst not condoning all aspects of the practice, it has to be admitted that if it wasn't for emulation, such sought after classics would never be available in any affordable way to the masses. Additionally, if Squaresoft - now Square Enix - will not re-release it, then it harms nobody, does it?

For those that don't know yet, the Chrono series - if it can be called a series - is composed of two main entries: the SNES classic Chrono Trigger, since re-released on PlayStation, mobiles, and Nintendo DS - the DS game being the definitive version - and Chrono Cross, only for PlayStation so far. Other minor releases related to Chrono Trigger also made their way onto the Broadcast Satellaview system, but then there's the most significant, not entirely canon entry into the series, that is Radical Dreamers.

For all intents and purposes, Radical Dreamers is basically what served as the basis for the creation of Chrono Cross, mostly for the plot, its loose ties with Chrono Trigger, and - most immediately recognizable - its magnificent soundtrack. More precisely, Chrono Cross took the plot of Radical Dreamers, changed it somewhat and made it into a part of its main story, to a certain degree. However, according to Masato Kato - scenario and script writer for both - the plot threads in Radical Dreamers and the particular part of Chrono Cross that is reminiscent, happen in parallel universes, which means that the plot of one cannot be used to shed light on some events in the other. It was meant originally to tie up some loose ends in a subplot from Chrono Trigger, a loose end that has since then been tidied up further in the Nintendo DS re-release.

Screenshot for Radical Dreamers on Super Nintendo

The plot here focuses on a trio of characters; the first being a young man named Serge (the hero from Chrono Cross), the second is Kid (another main character from Chrono Cross and adoptive daughter of Lucca from Chrono Trigger) and the third is Magil (Magus from Chrono Trigger, who in turn gave birth to the character of Guile in Chrono Cross). This trio is the so-called "Radical Dreamers."

Now, setting aside all these complicated plot intricacies, concentrating on the game at hand reveals something special. The trio has to sneak into Viper Manor, a dangerous and apparently deserted place, full of traps and mysteries. They have to search for an object they are trying to steal from its owner: the frozen flame. This is mostly a text adventure game, accompanied by moody music, with only minor graphic elements, so the whole game truly is about enjoying an incredibly good story with excellent writing within. The English translation patch available sports an impressive level of prose that could pass for that of something taken right out of a good novel. This comparison in writing style to aesthetics was mentioned in the recent review of Crimson Shroud for Nintendo 3DS eShop, and it can be made in reverse here for Radical Dreamers. The details that are not conveyed through graphics and the animations are exquisitely detailed in written form.

Screenshot for Radical Dreamers on Super Nintendo

The interactive side of the game, without which it wouldn't be a game at all, is about choosing what direction to go in and what actions to do at key junctures. Depending on personal choices, the outcome of events may differ. The same thing occurs depending on the order of certain actions taken, too. There are some battles that happen every now and then, in which the player has a limited amount of time to choose what actions to take against the enemies. While no energy bars are directly visible, the game does indeed keep track of Serge's health, and his current state is reflected by what words he chooses to when talking about himself. This health level also influences the story to some extent.

Another level that the game keeps track of - which may affect the ending - is how much Kid is in love with Serge, which is in turn also affected by what Serge chooses to say in certain conversations or what he does in specific situations. The bottom line is that all of these directly influence the outcome of events, and that means it's possible to die in the game before reaching the end.

Screenshot for Radical Dreamers on Super Nintendo

Optional scenarios, some of which are completely insane and make no sense with the main story, can also be unlocked. These may require multiple play-throughs to discover them before they can all be experienced since their requirements are most of the time quite obscure and require doing certain things in a certain order that is hard to figure out alone. Nowadays, thankfully, there's the Internet to help the player with such matters. This means that the most eager players will no doubt want to give the game several play-throughs in order to enjoy them all.

As was stated before, the game is accompanied by ambient music that was, for a good part, directly re-used in Chrono Cross, at the request of Kato-san. The text itself already makes up a good part of the mood of the game, but coupled to the minimalistic yet dark graphics, the music is an indispensable element to the overall atmosphere. Players who worked through Chrono Cross will immediately recognise certain themes, such as the battle music.

Screenshot for Radical Dreamers on Super Nintendo

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

With its excellent atmosphere, Radical Dreamers actually plays very much like a "horror game without gore." Its construction is very poor in terms of actual interactivity, perhaps not making it accessible enough to the most impatient of gamers. However, those with an open mind and willing to give it a chance will most likely be drawn in pretty quickly, especially those Chrono fans out there craving for a new entry in the series. Especially those who haven't played it yet - they would do well to fire up that emulator and give it a try. Masato Kato's apparent displeasure with his own work may well mean that a re-release will always be out of the question, so emulating whatever has now become available on the Internet in a translated form is sadly the only way to go.

Also known as

Radical Dreamers: Nusumenai Houseki

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   

Comments

I started playing this, Mother 3, and Famicom Detective Club a few years ago...but, as usual, ran out of spare time and never went back to them. I really need to find more time!

Great review, Rudy - thanks Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]
Our member of the week

Never tried Famicom Detective Club Smilie. If it's anything like that detective game bu Yuji Horii I remember watching Arino play on Game Center CX, it must be fun, but quite complicated to play XD

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

Good review and very intriguing project - has made me consider looking into Cross more now, though I'm still grinding my way through the latter stages of Trigger - Black Omen, sidequests etc.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

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