Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

It Came From Japan! Treasure of the Rudras

4:00 PM on 11.01.2012 // Allistair Pinsof

Square's last 16-bit epic

Squaresoft was second only to Nintendo in the 16-bit era when it came to influence and a strong track record. From the genre-defining Secret of Mana to the crowd-pleaser Chrono Trigger, Square had a knack for telling a great fantasy story, wrapping it around the best visuals the Super Nintendo could put out, and making it accessible to an audience outside Japan. There isn’t a weak link in the company’s Super Nintendo catalog -- but, then again, we got less than half the games it published in Japan.

Treasure of the Rudras may not be as significant a loss as some anticipated sequels (Secret of Mana 2, Final Fantasy V) or an entire trilogy (Romancing SaGa), but it’s an interesting game to examine. Made by what can only be considered Square’s B-team (or was it C?), Rudras was the last game Square developed for the SNES. Rudras is Square’s most eccentric developers trying to make a traditional RPG, resulting in one of the studio’s most innovative but flawed games.

Treasure of the Rudras [Rudra no Hiho] (Super Famicom)
Developer: Squaresoft
Released: April 5, 1996
Current value: $30 - 80

Fan translation: Yes
For fans of: Final Fantasy, Romancing SaGa, Breath of Fire

With 100+ employees and millions being funneled into its next-gen Final Fantasy, Square needed something to give fans while they waited for the reason to buy a PlayStation. Treasure of the Rudras brought together key members of the Final Fantasy Mystic Quest and Romancing SaGa teams to make another RPG that borrowed heavily from the Final Fantasy template but not without mixing things up.

For a developer that often gets lambasted for making games too linear, Rudras is pretty open and experimental in its approach to combat and story. Upon starting a new game, you’ll be told a fairly generic background tale about how the world is destroyed and recreated by the gods every 4,000 years. It’s happened to the reptiles, giants, merfolk, danans, and now it’s going to happen to the human race in 15 days. Oh man, that's us!

Here’s where things get interesting: You get to pick which of the three main narratives you want to start first. Each story follows a different character with a different party on a separate part of the world. Sion is a young soldier who wants to prove his strength to his father, a king. Riza is a priestess who leaves home to find her mother and determine her destiny. Surlent, whose story is the most interesting of the three, is the disciple of a prophet and seeks artifacts that will save the world.

Regardless of who you pick at the beginning, you’ll be able to change to another character's story whenever you load your game. To be clear, these are not recycled; these are three completely unique campaigns wrapped up into one game (and a final unlockable chapter that I won’t spoil here). You can choose to play one at a time, but part of what makes Rudras so special is the player’s ability to constantly jump from one plot line to the next. Since the game is divided into 15 chapters (for 15 days), I found myself changing after three-to-five days with one character.

When you play this way, the game feels a lot like the HBO series Game of Thrones. The distant city one character talks about is the starting kingdom of another character. You’ll see locations and enemies in a new context, as you learn from a new perspective on the other side of the map. Things can get really warped when the stories are out of sync and yet you see travelers from another story in your periphery, essentially breaking the game's own timeline. The stories themselves aren’t very good, but the way they compliment each other and the freedom given to the player makes up for this.

If the approach to storytelling sounds overwhelming, you may have more than a slight problem with combat. There is a Wizard of Earthsea vibe in the Rudras’ fiction and art direction, but this is especially true in the magic which focuses on words. Linguistics geeks will eat up Rudras' Mantra system which replaces spells learned and bought in town with words, prefixes, and suffixes that you gather from people, enemies, and chests.

At any time, the player can inscribe new spells to their repertoire by writing them down. You can cheat and copy powerful spells from a guide online or you can write down random words and hope to get lucky. If you play the game as intended, you’ll thoroughly explore towns to learn new words to use. Here’s an example of how the system works. Perhaps you start with the healing spell “Lef”.  If you add a “na” at the end to get “Lefna” you acquire a healing spell that targets all members. Now you can take that suffix and apply it other spells with mixed results. Soon, you’ll decode a made-up language and feel like a word wizard.

Here’s the problem with this system: It’s too easy to miss something important. Rudras is already a horribly balanced RPG, one ripe with weak enemy mobs and overpowered bosses. You’ll constantly worry that you missed a word or combination. Even at the start of the game, it’s essential that you have powerful spells at your disposal. A lot of times, the only way to get these spells is by talking to people in town (and, even then, you may need to talk to them multiple times). This takes away a lot of enjoyment from the system. The game would have been much better if it were consistent with how players received these words. I would prefer if word elements were given for leveling up, leaving it to the player to figure out the combinations -- but still giving players the confidence that they already have all that they need to get the job done.

After the audio/visual tour-de-force of Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, and Super Mario RPG, it’s hard not to have high expectations for a SquareSoft game that followed them and essentially served as the developer’s farewell to the system. Expect your expectations to be crushed, because Rudras is a budget game that few notable Square employees touched. The music and graphics are a significant step back. There are elements of Final Fantasy VI and Seiken Densetsu 3 in the mix, but the lack of detail and recycled assets make Rudras sound and look like second rate Square. That’s not to say it’s bad, though. Some of the music -- done by Mystic Quest’s Ryuji Sasai -- is great and the visuals will make 16-bit gamers nostalgic. Just don’t expect it to be on par with late-Square. Think Final Fantasy V instead, and you won’t be so far off.

A lot of Western gamers romanticize Square’s SNES years and mourn all the games that never came out West. I have only touched the tip of the iceberg with Treasure of the Rudras, but it hasn’t exactly made me excited to play the rest of Square’s Japan-only SNES output. Rudras is game with interesting systems, but it lacks the polish, balance, and strong art direction that defined Square’s early years. If you are open-minded and ready for a challenge, Rudras may be exactly the Square game you wanted but never got. Or, it may be the Square game you never knew Square were capable of putting out -- and I don’t mean this in a complementary way.

Did you worship Square during the 16-bit years?

Have you played any Square imports?

Do non-traditional magic systems turn you away or attract you to RPGs?

Allistair Pinsof,
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidAllistair

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Mission complete![IMG][/IMG]
Serethyn avatarSerethyn
Black Friday slowly seems to creep its way onto Continental Europe, but I'm not complaining! I managed to get my grubby little paws on a new physical copy of The Wonderful 101 for €20! Thanks, America!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Since I missed yesterday, I am going to do something a little different today. Are there any questions you would like to ask me for a change? If so, please feel free. I may add a second Community Question later today, as well.
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Isn't PES 2016 Free-to-Play model just the demo with extra crap thrown in?
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Damn Gumo, you cold as fuck. [img][/img]
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
While partially responsible for one of the biggest jokes in the metal, Cold Lake by Celtic Frost, Curt Bryant is doing the soundtrack to the game Slain!. I'm digging the shitty garage band vibe.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
How is the Lightening thread STILL GETTING COMMENTS!?!?!? P.S. I am trying to make Chex Mix, but we lost my special recipe I custom designed. sucks man.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Got a deal on a Surface Pro 3 model that I wanted. Now I just need a deal on a PS TV in Canada and I'm golden.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
If you in the UK, don't have a PS4 and don't mind buying used/display goods there's a few reconditioned PS4 (12 month warranty) on amazon for £199.
SirDavies avatarSirDavies
my dilemma this black friday is a PS4 for bloodborne and little else or like half the games on my steam wishlist. I know in my heart which one I'm going to pick.
El Dango avatarEl Dango
"You had all the lasagna you could ever eat, yet you kept going!" "This isn't about the lasagna anymore, Jon, and I didn't come this far just to quit! Tonight, I'm making sure my name will go down in history!"
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Got DeSu2 Break Record from GS' Black Friday sale ($29.99). Love the Arrange CD. It's been far too long since I heard Meguro do something that wasn't tied to Persona. Also grabbed an extra copy of Freedom Wars since they were $5.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Haven't been around a few days. Getting over a cold and working on a review for Superbeat: Xonic on Vita. Starting to feel better, I think / hope.
inspavo avatarinspavo
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
So I'm almost done with my first play through of Undertale and... It's okay. It's in no way bad (and I'm enjoying it more than Fallout 4 which in also playing) but feel... It was overhyped I suppose? Not sure really... Maybe a second play though will help
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Sometimes I wonder why I care. To simply have more vitriol and misery as my reward, to suffer ingrates and fools. That in all I do I'm never afforded the same respect or kindness. Let it be then, and let pain follow. I'm done with this shit.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I was telling this dead baby joke at dinner tonight, and this lady I don't recognize says, "I'm sorry. That joke isn't funny to me, I have two dead children." At this point, I went over my options in my head and settled with telling her the joke twice.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I really wish the slowpokes at Microsoft would add Forza Horizon to Xbox One backwards compatibility.... It's my favorite racing game. And the soundtrack is honestly flawless.
Parismio avatarParismio
Some green tea and Mario Kart w/ family is a great way to end the day.
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
Honestly, Broforce might be my GOTY. It's really fucking amazing.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -