Beggar Prince - Sega Genesis review

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Beggar Prince (Genesis 1996/2005)

• Hometown Intro
• Forest
• Overworld and Dungeons

GIF files:
• Introduction
• That's one way into a dungeon

Movies: 3IVX Codec required

Introduction and Title
Skull Mountain Boss
Mountain Top

Music Sample:

Dungeon Music

Comparison Comments


Beggar Prince runs at standard Genesis resolution of 320x240 and fairly standard scroll speed and animation for an RPG. With no more than 32 colors on screen at once, this game technically only displays half of the Genesis' maximum simultaneous color count of 61 colors on screen. However, skilled art design causes each screen to be packed full of details and color gradients not seen in most other RPGs on the system. The main character has a variety of animations, such as cocky expressions to the player, falling asleep, waving his arms when falling, etc.

The title screen (see movie or Gif file) utilizes palette swapping to create time of day changes to a greater effect than I have ever seen done on a 16-bit system. The second dungeon uses dithering to create a pseudo transparency for the darkness very similar to the flashlight scenes in Zelda A link to the Past. It is a shame, however, that the Genesis' hardware shadowing capability wasn't used rather than dithering, but even with A/V outputs coming out of a 32X the dithering doesn't really show up. I had to take emulation shots to be convinced it wasn't the shadow and lighting effect being used.

Magical attacks in battle sequences range from using large sprites (Meteor) to heat wave effects and palette swaps. I have never really been impressed by any magical effect in any 2D RPG, and this game is no different. However, the effects displayed here are superior than that of the Lunar games on the Sega CD, in that they use larger sprites, more animation, and more special effects.

Overall, the graphics are impressive, and definitely demonstrate the added advantage of being a 32 Megabit game cartridge, 8 Megabits larger than Phantasy Star IV. Some comments based on early previews have compared the game to the 1995 SNES release, Chrono Trigger. While it is certainly understandable to want to make this comparison, the two games are so different in graphical presentation that they are actually incomparable. With that said, the graphics of Chrono Trigger contain far more effects, three times the colors on screen in game (six times in overworld scenes), more animation and more expressive characters, and an overall better production quality. If Chrono Trigger and Beggar Prince were the same type of game, Chrono Trigger would flatten the later game in every respect.


Musical scores are catchy and even familiar sounding for the first castle, overworld and dungeon scenes that I have played through so far. Digital voice samples are minimal and limited to grunts and whelps during the combat scenes. Everything is clear and crisp, with no graininess to further sully the Genesis sound chips already underrated reputation. The only gripe I can see here is the menu sounds in combat are particularly high pitched and loud, and have graded on my ears on occasion.


It's an RPG, a genre which I have a hard time finding anything I'd relegate as gameplay in the first place. All scenes are overhead views, and you control your character's up-down-left-right movement, talk to people by pressing an action button, bring up a menu with another, and attack enemies in turned based battles by selecting them (and your actions) with arrows and menus. The menus are sparse, and there is little to no need to manage inventory, at least up to the stage of the game I have gotten to. There is also no weapons customization scheme, the game seems to follow traditional routes of buying or finding a better weapon, rather than tweaking existing ones.

Super Fighter Team has gone out of their way to translate the game in a way that lends it a little bit of pop-culture charm, without the fruitiness of Working Designs translations. Expect to see random Star Wars and Zero Wing references, and a somewhat quirky and cocky main character from the get go. I have no means to compare the translation against the original script, so I can't comment on the authenticity. Considering the amount of text in this game made it overly difficult to play for non-native speakers, Super Fighter Team has certainly done a good job of making the game not only playable but fun to read in English.


Beggar Prince is a decent RPG from the days of yore, when five minute long cutscenes from CGI workstations were not the preferred distraction from the genre's shortcomings. The story carries just enough dialog to propel the player from one point on the map to the next, as well as in and out of the dungeons. To the point in the game I have played, the main character has seen no character development, no moment of crisis, he has simply done whatever the hell he wants, and found himself in an adventure. There could be more dialog later on, but it's looking more like the game focuses on dungeon exploring, leveling up and boss fights than character angst and sappy prime time TV dialog. I'll forgo the recommendation to buy or rent, and simply state that if you wish to see more new releases on the Genesis, you'll pick Beggar Prince up if and when SFT makes any more of them.

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