The Ancient Jomon Pokemon-Adjacent game for SNES no one talks about.

With how intensely the Pokemon fandom studies the prototype assets from around this time, I find it somewhat surprising that there‘s not more talk of this game, or even a fan translation yet, especially with how hip the Haniwa and Dogus of the Jomon period have become with the kids since the days you couldn’t even find info of those terracotta dudes online. This one‘s been silent for years.

Just popping in to spread awareness of Game Freak’s best original post-pokemon creation. I have a copy that I spent way too much to get with a photocopied manual and a damaged box…

hmm, how is it pokemon-adjacent aside from game freak being the developer? mechanically it seems totally different!

it is very odd for ANY game freak game to go untranslated though.

I am off the perhaps unpopular opinion that game freak isn't actually that good and had one good idea that they never fully capitalized on :o

I also think drill dozer is their best post-pokemon creation!


Okay here‘s how it’s Pokemon adjacent, exactly:

  • - It was developed adjacent and released in1997, which was between RGB and YGSC, one year before US launch of Pokemon multimedia franchise.
  • - It has monsters, little critters, and little buddies that look like pokeymans, but in ancient times
  • - Outside of the platforming ARPG segments, the overworld design is identical to a 16-bit pokemon overworld, what would later be echoed in RSE
  • Now, "good" is subjective but I do totally agree that Game Freak was more of an average, off-beat games company before the programming prodigy Satoru Iwata-san (rest his dear soul) came through to reshape their product. Like a second rate Treasure, Pulseman stands alone. Their graphics were always sweet IMHO.
    Pokemon **definitely became too big a machine that would then swallow three companies whole and get totally out of control.** And seeing the proto assets you could imagine if it had released as a less refined product, it would have been more on par with the clones that would later surface like Robopon. But I like the weird, post-apoc setting and darker tones that bled into the first games. It's the Star Wars prequels effect, 100%. A lot of game franchises have the Star Wars disease.

    English fan translation came out several days ago.

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    [I played a good first chunk of the game over on Twitch this week](, years after having tried the game in Japanese. And it's just as fun, unique, and sadly overlooked as ever. This really feels like the fusion of previously divergent design paradigms that Game Freak had been working towards (Tajiri's puzzle/stat-heavy experimenting vs. Sugimori's love for action and platforming). Sadly, like Mario & Wario before it, Masuda's soundtrack is something of a weak link--solid and fitting, but unremarkable. I wish Go Ichinose had done the soundtrack, but maybe he was too busy as one of the game's co-designers.

    Bushi Seiryuuden's story is on the simple, straightforward side, but it's well-paced and does some interesting things with JRPG tropes and especially Japanese creation mythology. The game's deities are dead ringers for Izanagi and Izanami, and its monsters might as well be primordial yokai (including your unlikely companion Woku).


    I can't believe I missed this. I was just looking at a week ago.

    It just goes to show how this was released with little fanfare.

    Hopefully it makes it way to romhacking dot net and finally gets the recognition it deserves!

    The initial release is on RH, thankfully. DDS Translations had a massive spat and break-up with the site's community a while back (par for the course with DDS…), but the patches still get submitted.

    It's really bothersome how many patches, translations, hacks etc. are bottnecked to niche communities, when RHDN is trying to unify them all under one easily accessible portal. The drama in the scene(s) never ceases to amaze me.

    Case in point: the animosity in the FFVIII hacking scene re: The Reunion vs. Satsuki‘s overhauls vs. 7th Heaven and New Threat. It’s incredible how, after all this time and effort and talent poured into the games, there‘s just no way for a definitive all-in-one patch or mod manager to happen. It’s not even that bad in longer-lived hacking scenes like those for Morrowind or even classic Doom.

    Re: DDS, though, a lot of the problem stems from that hacker being an alt-right chud who predictably shows his ass. I wish he wasn't by far the most active SNES hacker since his regular translator, Tom, clearly doesn't share those politics and even worked with Near on Bahamut Lagoon recently.

    Thing is, none of this shows in Bushi's patch at all. It's been excellent to read and use so far, and the game's definitely heavier on story than any Game Freak game of that vintage, so it's much appreciated.

    Yeah, I'd like to avoid that whole can of worms.

    Wow, thanks so much for posting this! I had no idea this was a thing but I’m super excited to check it out.

    Yeah, there's no end to the drama and volatility in the romhacking community. Centralization has massive drawbacks as seen in cases where hacks have disappeared forever because no one mirrored them away from RHDN.

    I'll be playing through Bushi Seiryuuden every Thursday until completion, so feel free to stop by. The major draw for me rn is how much fun I have optimizing each fight in order to collect magatama (the macguffin needed to reach endgame). It's tempting to call the game a rogue-lite because of its you-move-they-move system, but it plays more like a cross between a stat-heavy action platformer and a tactics strategy game. So much of the game's intricacy comes from its pre-built combat puzzles, an approach I rarely see elsewhere. And you can easily skip battles since they're visible a la Lufia II. (Not to mention, some of the dungeon puzzles and platforming are Lufia-esque, albeit simpler and rarely based around tools.)

    Yeah, actually the best thing is, and there's probably many archivists taking care to collect every hack from every source over there!