Looking for an RPG you probably haven’t played before? Maybe check out Tengai Makyou: Zirai, a 1989 PC-Engine CD-ROM² game that just got a fan translation.
The TurboGrafx 16 was an impressive flop in North America. A console failing is interesting enough, but the fact that it was the localized production of a very popular Japanese console makes it even better. The PC-Engine was huge in Japan. It took a sizeable chunk of Nintendo’s market dominance and outdid the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis in North America) overall. We only saw a small fraction of what the Japanese market got, especially when it comes to the CD attachments.
Tengai Makyou: Zirai is the first in the series, sometimes called Far East of Eden over here because that’s the name it was given on the occasions it came so close to being released Westward. Also, it’s subtitled on the disc and title screen. The series is a trilogy of RPGs that were remade a few times, as well as spin-offs covering other genres.
While I’m not intimately familiar with the series, according to the developers behind the translation, the series is “an elaborate joke based around foreigners’ misperceptions of Japan.” Tengai Makyou: Zirai is a somewhat humorous warping of Japanese folklore. It doesn’t seem to be on the same level as Ganbare Goemon, but it’s not entirely straight-faced, either.
Being on a CD platform, there’s voice acting, cutscenes, and more elaborate animations. More importantly, it kicked off a popular RPG series that we didn’t really see much of over here in the West.
The translation of Tengai Makyou: Zirai is the work of user Supper and TheMajinZenki and can be found over here. If you want more, 1995’s Tengai Makyou Zero on the Super Famicom received a fan translation back in 2017.