Showing posts with label Arcana for Super NES print ad (1992). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arcana for Super NES print ad (1992). Show all posts

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Arcana for Super NES (1992)

Arcana for Super NES advertisement
Original ad published in the March 1992 edition of GamePro

Historical Background

Dungeon-crawling fans were very well served upon the release of Nintendo's SNES. You had Drakkhen (1991) and the Might and Magic series. It was no surprise that Arcana (1992), by HAL Laboratory, followed the lead of those two and added some superb orchestral music and nice graphics. 

All of these 3-D dungeon games, of course, come from the PC world. The great ancestor of the all, at least in modern video game times, is the seminal Dungeon Master (1987), for D.O.S. All the established RPG tropes of Dungeons and Dragons were digitally ported to that well known series. Up until this year Phantasy Star (1987) for the Sega Master System, was the best implementation of the first-person dungeon crawl for home consoles. (Sega's game also featured impressive artwork)

Arcana is most remembered today for its very hard difficulty level. It's a game that entices the player with atmospheric music and colorful graphics, yet underneath those production elements lies a somewhat frustrating dungeon-crawl. One reviewer notes the obvious resemblance to Sega's Shinning in the Darkness (1991), for Genesis, but opines that Arcana is a much more polished video game. 

JRPG's were just starting to gain any traction in North America. Arcana and its cousins were better suited for the US market. That was the social and financial convention of the time. Hal Laboratory was know outside of Japan for The Adventure Lolo series of games, which hit the NES in 1989. Later, they developed Earthbound and Kirby franchises, published by Nintendo. 

Graphical Analysis

Well, at least the advert is different. It's not everyday that you see a young witch with cleavage in a family oriented magazine. All the traditional RPG bases are covered with the graphic art: the sword, the cards, fire, and some king of danger that emanates from the woman's pout. At the bottom you see actual game screens, always a plus. 

It's not a bad attempt by any standard. It's just very...ordinary.  I would have preferred that the main figure of the advert be moved to either the right or left third of the page to achieve a more dramatic effect. That way the copy would appear lighter, less cramped. The fire-laden background is too garish. Maybe white would have been better?

Arcana for Super NES print ad copy:

The future of the kingdom
is in the cards…and in your hands… 
Somewhere in the temple of Balnia a passageway to the other side has been opened. Vile creatures of all kinds have been recruited by the corrupt magician Galneon to help him reincarnate the wicked Queen Rimsala. The Region of Evil seems assured. Only one brave warrior stands in his way. Last of the mystical Cardmaster sect, the untrained Rooks must use what little he knows of the ancient art to thwart the conspiracy and restore his tiny kingdom of Elemen to its previous glory. OnlyRooks holds the key that will unravel Galneon’s plan. 
arcana Ar-ka-ne [L, fr.neut of arcanas secret, fr arcere to enclose, defend] 1. Mysterious knowledgde known only to a select few. 2. Ancient rites and spiritual powers understood only by initiates. 3. The secrets of the Cardmasters, nos fast disappearing. 4. The exciting new RPG from HAL America.