I grew up on Sega.
Don't get me wrong...I loved Nintendo equally back then, but I owned the Sega consoles. However, even with such great RPGs as the Phantasy Star and Shining series, I didn't get into RPGs until the Sega Saturn.
The gateway drug: a little known (and now quite rare) RPG on the Sega Saturn called Albert Odyssey.
It wasn't the prettiest game. In the rising age of 3d graphics, this game still used sprites that the Genesis could easily handle.
The game's beginning was also as cliché as it goes. It starts off with the protagonist, Pike, as a baby who watches his parents slaughtered by a band of orcs. As the orcs turn the attention to the baby, the father's sword, Cirrus (who just happens to be magical and talks) protects the child until he is found and raised by Harpies. All is going good until an evil man on a dragon turns the whole village into stone. Then it becomes the standard revenge story.
Yet, for some reason, this game hooked me.
Perhaps it was the dialogue. Working Designs is known for taking "artistic liberties" with their translations. They threw in inside jokes and pop culture references throughout this seemly serious game.
The one thing this game really had going for it was the soundtrack. I would put it up there with the soundtracks Squaresoft pulls off.
Is this game for everyone?...no. But it was the one that got me into RPGs. read