About Treasure of the Rudras

History


Japanese box front


Japanese box back

The Initial Release

Treasure of the Rudras is a traditional RPG by Squaresoft, release for the Super Nintendo in Japan in 1996. Its Japanese name is Rudora no Hihou (or Rudra no Hihou). It was Squaresoft's last RPG released for the Super Nintendo. As such, the game could be mistaken for a PlayStation 1 RPG, as it was an example of Squaresoft's highest peak of skill at making 16-bit RPGs.

You have 15 days to save the world! The story is divided into three major scenarios, each with a different main character: the soldier Sion, the priestess Riza, and the archaeologist Surlent. You're free to play the scenarios in any order, and may even leave one storyline to follow that of another character for a time. The actions of the characters in one location and time may affect the others, as well, both in the general story and in gameplay. For example, if one group of characters leaves a sacred relic somewhere, another character may come and find it on a later day in their part of the game. Pretty cool, huh? After completing all three scenarios, you must take on a fourth, featuring the roving thief Dune and the heroes from the previous three chapters in their final confrontation with the game's major villains.

The English Fan Translation

Naturally, a game of this caliber that never officially left Japan received a fan-based English translation for us to enjoy. In 2006, Aeon Genesis Translations was the group who released the complete English fan translation. Treasure of the Rudras' English translation had a tough journey, having to survive the politics of the classic gaming/emulation scene.

Let's rewind to 1998. At this time, video game emulation and fan translated video games were growing in popularity. Word quickly spread of all the awesome Squaresoft RPGs that were never released in North America. Us gamers pushed for an English translation for each one.

Unfortunately, Treasure of the Rudras attracted a bad reputation. For some reason, English/Japanese bilingual RPG fans who had played the game went around spreading the word that the storyline was terrible. Additionally, people were judging the game at face value, spreading the word that it was overrated.

Hence, Treasure of the Rudras became the black sheep among the untranslated RPGs. This negative reputation kept translation groups away from it. To make matters worse, the few ROM hackers who did try translating Treasure of the Rudras couldn't figure out how to crack its complex mantra system. For years, Treasure of the Rudras was pushed aside and ignored. Those who brought up the game in emulation communities were ridiculed for showing interest in 'yet another overrated Squaresoft RPG'.

Thankfully, Gideon Zhi of Aeon Genesis Translations took up the mantle. He cracked the mantra system and gave us a quality English translation. The game's unfair negative reputation was wiped away. After people took the time to play it, everyone realized “Hey, this game is actually pretty good!” Treasure of the Rudras was one of the last of the great Squaresoft RPGs that we were patiently waiting to be fan translated. I believe Live-A-Live was the last one (released in 2008 by AGTP).

The Story

Long ago, when the world was yet blanketed in chaos, it is said the Heavens gave the order to the chaos. That the Heavens bestowed great power upon the Earth and brought unto it prosperity. Life on Earth was born. Those with great intelligence, the holy race of the Danans. Controlling the seas, the Mermaids. Proud, but arrogant, the Reptiles. And possessing incredible strength, the Giants.

However, they did not have Heaven's favor. And, in time, they disappeared. Then, the Heavens gave birth once again. Life, 'tis said, flourished anew.

(View the full prelude sequence movie toward the right. It includes the sequence before and after the title screen. Expand it to fullscreen.)

Battle System

Casting a Mantra Casting a Mantra

The Mantra System

The game features a magic system where you can create magic spells by entering words up to six characters. You have complete freedom to create any spell you want! Right in the beginning, you could equip yourself with the game's strongest spells - although you wouldn't have enough MP for them, ha! You could even create spells with dirty words and profanity. It's a neat, unique magic system. Most spells aren't useful, though. There's an underlying framework behind it. Of which, I explain in detail in the Mantra Guide.

Tips & Strategy

Unlike other RPGs, having the proper element-aligned weapons/armor/accessories is very important in Treasure of the Rudras. It can dramatically affect your outcome in boss battles. Make sure to save before boss battles so you can start over with the proper equipment. The reason why is because you won't know what element a boss attacks with until you confront them (unless you look through a walkthrough beforehand).

You'll easily last through most of the game if you always have at least one screen full of general elemental mantras (the mantra list is made up of four screens). I have the general mantras listed in my mantra guide. Although tempting, don't bother trying to use strong mantras at the beginning of the game. They'll needlessly suck away your MP. Neither would your characters have the stats for strong spells to cause devastating damage. You should gradually add stronger mantras as you progress through the game.

And take your time! Despite the game ending in “15 days”, days pass by only when you accomplish specific events.

My Opinion

This is one high-quality game. As I mentioned in About the Game, this was Squaresoft's last game for the SNES, so it's an example of when their skills at 16-bit RPGs were at their peak. The graphics and animation are gorgeous. The battles are fully animated and littered with small details. Every character has unique animations for attacking and casting spells. Treasure of the Rudras' highlight is the awesome boss battles. You'll see some of the most visually impressive RPG bosses in this game than any other SNES game. Squaresoft even somehow 'hacked' the SNES to utilize an aliased, higher resolution font.

The battle system wasn't the only innovative feature. Following the story is so cool! You won't find another RPG where you can switch between three different characters/parties for three different adventures and perspectives on the story. The soundtrack is excellent as well; most of the songs are catchy.

My only complaint is that some points in the game are repetitive. You go through a dungeon, fight a boss, go through a dungeon, fight a boss, etc. Overall, Treasure of the Rudras is excellent. I highly recommend it. Don't play it expecting it to be exactly like, say, Final Fantasy 6. Its mantra system makes it a very different game (I mean that in a good way).