About Bahamut Lagoon

History


Box, cart & manual


Box (large scan)

The Release of Bahamut Lagoon

Bahamut Lagoon was released in Japan for the Super Famicon in 1996. It's a strategy RPG by Squaresoft. This wasn't Square's first jump into the strategy RPG genre. There was Hanjuku Hero (Famicon 1988), Hanjuku Hero sequel (Super Famicon 1992), and Front Mission (Super Famicon 1995). Because of its late 1996 release, Bahamut Lagoon was one of those gems that fell under the radar. This was towards the end of the Super Famicon's lifespan, so Bahamut Lagoon was pushed into the shadow of the 32-bit systems.

DeJap's Fan Translation

Video game emulation first became wildly popular in North America in the early 2000s. At this time, everyone was enjoying such fan translations as Final Fantasy V and Seiken Densetsu 3. People yearned to play more of Squaresoft's gems that never made it outside of Japan. Bahamut Lagoon was one of the big titles on the table that everyone was pushing for a translation.

A sample of DeJap's English fan translation DeJap's translation

The story of Bahamut Lagoon's English fan translation was a rollercoaster. Various translation groups picked up the megaphone and called out, "We'll be the ones to translate it!" However, these translation groups never pulled through. Their either shut down or dropped the project. Everyone's excitement was crushed time and time again.

But yet, one translation group pulled through! Enter DeJap Translations. DeJap already released the popular fan translation for Tales of Phantasia in 2001, so they had a strong fan following and had our faith that Bahamut Lagoon was in good hands. In June of 2002, DeJap released the 100% finished English fan translation of Bahamut Lagoon. This was thanks for the efforts of DeJap's team, Tomato, and Neill Corlett. This website is dedicated to DeJap's fan translation.

The 2020 Fan Translation

The new English fan translation by Near.sh's team The new translation

Fan translations are never perfect and could always use improvement. While we appreciate DeJap's work, there was still much that could've been added and done better. In December 2020, the group at Near.sh released their finished fan translation of Bahamut Lagoon! This project performs a major overhaul on the game.

Firstly, the game was translated by a native English speaker with Japanese fluency far beyond the JLPT N1 (the highest standard in linguistic competence). A great deal of work went into injecting the highest quality font possible. They made use of text colors to distinguish between text, names, headers, quantities, etc. They took legibility so seriously that they went as far as to implement character kerning, expand text fields, and reposition elements on every screen for better UX. They accomplished these feats (and more!) with the accumulated knowledge of the emulation community, who had been studying SNES hardware for the past 20 years. Countless bugs in the original game were corrected. And much more was done! The full list is on their website. It's incredible what they managed to accomplish! Check out these screenshots from it.

Battle System

Squaresoft has combined the strategy/RPG style of Front Mission with the traditional Final Fantasy battle system. Much like Shining Force, you move around your units on an overhead-view battlefield. When you confront an enemy unit, you enter a separate scene and battle the enemy like you typically would in any Final Fantasy title.

Weapons & armor can be equipped by your characters and you can purchase more from the battlefield salesman or the merchants inside your ship. Defeated enemies always leaving behind various items and/or weapons & armor. Any item in your inventory can be fed to your dragons; each item makes them grow in different ways.

Each battle party has their own dragon. You have the option to let them fight whoever they want, fight enemies who are close to you or, not fight at all. A dragon's most powerful element is what it will most likely use in battle. For example, if fire is its strongest element then it'll attack with various fire attacks. If healing is its strongest element then it'll heal any battle unit or dragon with the lowest HP. Each character "job" has attacks that can be executed on a long-distance. If more than one character in a single battle party has the same class, then a single long-distance attack will be stronger and consume the MP of the character(s).

Tips & Strategy

There are several advantages and disadvantages to the selection of characters you decide to have in each battle party. Because of that, there isn't any "wrong" combo. Let's say you have a battle party full of wizards. Their long-distance attacks are quite powerful, but their movement span is small and their low defense requires you to heal them quite often. Replacing some of those wizards with Knights, Heavy Armor or a Healer will help balance things out; but you'll have to wave good-bye to strong long-distance attacks.

On the other hand, using long-distance attacks too often won't benefit you in the long run. Attacking an enemy unit directly grants you double experience and money, plus you gain more weapons/armor/items. It all boils down to what you would rather prefer and what you're willing to sacrifice.

My Opinion

Bahamut Lagoon is awesome! The graphics and animation are gorgeous. The battle system is addicting. I love how battles are detailed to the point that you need to destroy walls so that you can proceed further into the grounds of a castle. You'll have fun manipulating landscapes with the spells in your arsenal. It's so cool how spells can be used outside of enemy encounters as well as in them.

Bahamut Lagoon isn't like Shining Force where characters in your army don't have a personality due to little dialogue. On the contrary, every character in Bahamut Lagoon has tons of dialogue! They even have their own subplots. Between battles, if you take the time to explore the ship and talk to everyone, they'll have something different to say every time. Over time, you feel a sense of connection with every character.

It's funny--if you read the DeJap's translation notes, you'll find how Tomato (one of the game's translators) was disgusted by Yoyo (one of the main characters). He had this to say about her:

"She's just plain stupid, and although that's not a problem in the plot, her dialogue and stuff were so stupidly written I wanna barf. Anyway, I didn't have to try too hard to bring across her ditziness."

There are many possible dragon evolutions in the game. Many of which come out with a whole lot of ugly such as the sprite toward the left. One interesting aspect of the story is one of the supporting characters, Sendak, has a crush on the main character. This scene is one example of the old man's desire for young meat. Lol.

In the decades since the release of DeJap's translation, Bahamut Lagoon remained one of those games that I keep coming back to. Its 'dragon system' offers so many evolution possibilities with the dragons. The game isn't difficult; it's one of those games that are just challenging enough for you to get lost in for hours. The characters and their sprites are so cute. The excellent soundtrack adds to the experience so well. This is a game that I highly recommend to everyone.