When you think about the first entry in the Castlevania/Dracula series, you probably think about two things: The incredible atmosphere and the high level of difficulty. Neither of these things change when you go from any of the western versions to the Japanese one, though some qualities of the Japanese version alter the difficulty slightly. A common point of frustration in the Western versions of the game is that you can’t save your game at all, unless you’re playing on one of those fancy emulators. But how would it change Castlevania’s difficulty if you could save your progress each time you got a game over?
It was the right time for the Hokuto no Ken franchise to be made into a video game: The manga and anime series had been popular for 2-3 years already. You could that Hokuto no Ken was made to be a video game since it involves copious amounts of violence. For those unfamiliar with the story, Our hero Kenshiro travels throughout the a post apocalyptic world overrun by gangs to find his kidnapped fiancee Yuria, utilizing his Hokuto Shinken to pummel enemies with fists and feet. This usually results in them gruesomely exploding from the pressure point manipulation that Hokuto Shinken is based around. If this wasn’t begging to be made into a side-scrolling beat-em-up, what was?
While not the very first Dragon Ball console game (that honor goes to an extraordinarily expensive Dragon Ball title on the Super Cassette Vision), this was the first on a console with a significant install base. There was never any doubt that the Dragon Ball franchise would spin-off into the world of home video games: The manga began its run in 1984, and the TV animation in 1986. This game covers the first major story arc in the Dragon Ball series, which involves Son Goku and friends gathering the Dragon Balls, foiling the plans of Emperor Pilaf, and finally summoning the wish-granting dragon Shen Long. For those not familiar with the progression of the Dragon Ball series, it wasn’t always the action heavy Dragon Ball Z in which a single fight could span over the course of a dozen episodes. The series started as a much more fun loving story of Goku and friends going on actual adventures, and meeting an assortment of wacky characters. Shen Long no Nazo is centered around this period of the series.