SNES Fan Translations Collection

The days of 16 bit wonder was a different time. I grew up in Europe with imports from US. Everything was fine, until I found out about Japan exclusives, sealed away by language barrier.

The emulation scene started in the 90s to bring those titles over to us by translating them with hard work; at times taking years to finish individual projects. These are essentially Romhacks, but with a focus on localization. And as such, they come in a patch format.

My focus in this article are English translations of SNES games released in Japan only. A few got remakes or official English releases on other systems at a later time, such as Seiken Densetsu 3 or Final Fantasy 5. I felt like to include them anyway for historical reasons. What I do not list are other languages, re-translations from English or any mod doing notable gameplay alterations. The list comprise genres other than RPGs as well. Sometimes a game fits barely into a single category or at any at all. You might not agree with my decisions. If that is not a deal breaker to you, then enjoy exploring and try out some new stuff. Have fun!

16×16 table from Final Fantasy 5; emulationzone.org

Following topics are covered:

  • How to play a Fan Translation
  • Archive – A snapshot of all discussed translations
  • 50 Translations:
    • 9 Turn based RPG
    • 7 Action-Adventure/RPG
    • 11 Strategy/Tactic-RPG
    • 4 Act-Adventure Platformer
    • 8 Platformer
    • 4 Puzzle and Logic
    • 7 Other
  • Honorable mentions and additional links

Important: I do not link to or offer ROM files for download. Please do not ask me about ROMs.

How to play a Fan Translation

At this point I recommend you to visit my previous article about Romhacks in general, which includes a simple how to tutorial. Translations are nothing else than Romhacks, so the same procedure applies. And its not hard either. Just open up the application, choose both files and create the new ROM with the translation applied. More on that in the article SNES Mods and Romhacks. Then you should be able to play the translated game on most emulators. Read the notes from the patch for special requirements or known bugs, if you experience problems.

Archive – A snapshot of all discussed Translations

I have collected almost all translations in this article into a single downloadable package, including PDF conversion from the webpages or download sites of the source material. This is for archival reason and serves as a backup. Some projects are still under heavy development, so I recommend you to check their websites for any possible new version.

Note: No Roms included, only patch files and documents.

🎁 Download all Translations in a single package (~28 MB)

50 Translations

Fan Translations

Translations in context of the emulation scene are modifications of existing games, basically Romhacks with a focus on localizing ingame text to another language – usually from Japanese to English. These are made by fans and hobbyists to make games playable and understandable for those who don‘t speak Japanese or any other specific language. To be on the legal side, only patch files are provided. In order to play them, you have to know how to patch.

Turn based RPG

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Another Story

2019 Bishoujo Senshi Translations, mteam, vivify93
DownloadWiki
Genre: JRPG
Alternate title: Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon: Another Story

Based on the anime series Sailor Moon S, but with a new story. Interestingly the characters can perform combo-attacks like in CT, otherwise very standard stuff.

Dragon Ball Z: Super Saiya Densetsu

2016 Klepto Software
DownloadWiki
Genre: JRPG
Alternate title: Dragon Ball Z: Legend of the Super Saiyan

Based on the famous anime and the NES games. World structure is an open world and the battle system essentially a card game.

Dragon Quest 5

2001 byuu
DownloadWiki
Genre: JRPG
Alternate title: Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride

Has an interesting mechanic to tame some monsters for adding them to the team and the whole Story is divided into different time periods.

Dragon Quest 6

2001 NoPrgress
DownloadWiki
Genre: JRPG
Alternate title: Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation

Story and gameplay are typical for the series. The job class system makes a return and the setting is divided into real and dream worlds.

Final Fantasy 5

1998 RPGe
DownloadWikiSteam
Genre: JRPG
Alternate title: –

Traditional FF game with the main gameplay feature element of the complex job system. Official translation came out on other systems.

Metal Max Returns

2007 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: JRPG
Alternate title: –

Remake of an open world post-apocalyptic NES RPG. Tanks are a major part of the game and can be created and customized.

Romancing SaGa 3

2000 Mana Sword
DownloadWikiSteam
Genre: JRPG
Alternate title: –

Starts off by choosing one of main eight characters, ton of others to hire and an non linear open world design structure. Focus is more on world exploration and less of story.

RPG Tsukuru 2

1998 KanjiHack Translations
DownloadWikiSteam
Genre: JRPG / Game Creation
Alternate title: RPG Maker 2

A full editor for creation of whole new genre typical turn based JRPGs. One of the earliest versions of the program, which later became popular on PC.

Shin Megami Tensei 2

2004 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: 3D Maze RPG
Alternate title: –

Oldschool dungeon crawler like Eye of the Beholder, with a demonic setting and atmosphere. New allied demons can be created by fusing them.

Action-Adventure/RPG

Alcahest

2014 KingMike’s Translations
Download+DownloadWiki
Genre: Action Adventure
Alternate title: –

Like an arcade game with stages, continues and a password system, but with RPG elements. Focus is on dungeon crawling and fast combat.

Front Mission: Gun Hazard

2004 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: Action RPG
Alternate title: –

Stages are side scrolling shooter like Cybernator, but with heavy focus on story, cut-scenes and RPG elements, such as job system and customization.

Ganpuru: Gunman’s Proof

2002 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: Action Adventure
Alternate title: Gunple: Gunman’s Proof

Zelda with guns and a strange mix of wild west theme with sci-fi elements. The emphasis is on combat like a shooter, less of puzzles.

Marvelous: Mouhitotsu no Takarajima

2018 DackR
DownloadWiki
Genre: Action RPG
Alternate title: Marvelous: Another Treasure Island

A pirate themed Act/Adventure with the Zelda engine by Nintendo. The twist is, that 3 different characters can be controlled and switched to.

Seiken Densetsu 3

2000 LNF Translations, Neill Corlett, SoM2Freak
DownloadWikiSteam
Genre: Action RPG
Alternate titles: Secret of Mana 2, Trials of Mana

At game start a team can be chosen freely and the leaders background story will be played first. Finally 2017 an official translation is released on other systems.

Star Ocean

2003 DeJap Translations
DownloadWiki
Genre: Action RPG
Alternate title: –

Impressive graphics and voice acting for the system. Battles are random separate screens, but real time action. Made by same developers of the Tales of-series.

Tales of Phantasia

2001 DeJap Translations
DownloadWiki
Genre: Action RPG
Alternate title: –

Has random battles, but an unique side scrolling real time combat system with special attacks. The presentation is just phenomenal on the console.
Note: A critical analysis about this translation.

Strategy/Tactic-RPG

Bahamut Lagoon

2002 DeJap Translations, Neill Corlett, Tomato
DownloadWiki
Genre: RPG / Strategy
Alternate title: –

A unique blend of grid based fields, but the combat itself is traditional turn based. Also the dragon concept adds an interesting twist.

Chaos Seed: Fuusui Kairouki

2014 Dynamic-Designs
DownloadWiki
Genre: Strategy / Action RPG / Building
Alternate title: Chaos Seed: Feng Shui Chronicles

A very unique blend of action RPG combat and a strategy mode for resource management of the cave.

Der Langrisser

2012 byuu, D
DownloadWikiSteam
Genre: RPG / Strategy
Alternate title: Langrisser 2

Actually a remake from Mega Drives Langrisser 2. Control an army on a grid based battle field like in Advance Wars, but with RPG elements.

Energy Breaker

2012 Disnesquick
DownloadWiki
Genre: JRPG / Tactical
Alternate title: –

From the makers of Lufia comes a combination between traditional JRPG exploration and a complex, deep tactics style isometric combat.

Fire Emblem: Geneology of the Holy War

2016 bookofholsety
DownloadWiki
Genre: RPG / Strategy
Alternate title: Fire Emblem 4

Greater focus in story and character development than previous entries and is split in two generations. Introduces the romance and weapons triangle.

Fire Emblem: Thracia 776

2019 Cirosan
DownloadWiki
Genre: RPG / Strategy
Alternate title: Fire Emblem 5

Story is set between the generations of Geonology of Holy War. Same grid based battle concept as previous entry and probably the hardest in the series.

Live A Live

2008 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: Tactical RPG
Alternate title: –

Game is divided into several vastly different chapters and can be played at any order. Overall a very short and interesting play.

Monstania

2001 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: RPG / Roguelike
Alternate title: –

Isometric view of field with semi-realtime combat similar to a rogue like. Enemies move only if you move. Known for it’s short play through.

Super Famicom Wars

2018 Optiroc
DownloadWiki
Genre: Strategy
Alternate title: –

Turn based 1vs1 military strategy game. Goal is to make money, build an army, capture buildings and destroy the enemy team. Plays like Advance Wars.

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

2010 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: Tactical RPG
Alternate title: –

Feels and looks like Final Fantasy Tactics, a turn based tactical RPG. It has strong focus on deep combat system and a branching storyline.

Treasure Hunter G

2004 Metalhawk’s Translations, obsolete translation
DownloadWiki
Genre: Tactical RPG
Alternate title: –

Plays like an actual traditional JRPG like with towns and castles, but the battles are grid based strategy with action points.

Act-Adventure Platformer

Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shougun Magginesu

2020 DDSTranslation
DownloadWiki
Genre: Platformer / Act-Adventure
Alternate title: Go for it! Goemon 2: The Strange General McGuinness, Mystical Ninja 2

Finally Mystical Ninja 2!! A mixture of two genres, stages are platformer an towns are like an Act/Adventure. Game is filled with lots of crazy Japanese stuff and mini games.

Ganbare Goemon 3: Shishi Juurokubee no Karakuri Manjigatame

2020 DDSTranslation
DownloadWiki
Genre: Platformer / Act-Adventure
Alternate title: Go for it! Goemon 3: The Mecha Leg Hold of Jurokube Shishi, Mystical Ninja 3

And finally Mystical Ninja 3!! Same concept and premise as their predecessors. Crazy Japanese stuff and an unusual genre mixture.

Holy Umbrella: Dondera no Mubou!!

2009 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: Platformer / Act-Adventure
Alternate title: Holy Umbrella: Dondera’s Wild!!

Similar mix like Mystical Ninja, but more focus on RPG elements. Stages are side scrolling action, while towns consist of top down view and NPC talks.

Magical Pop’n

2003 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: Action Platformer / Metroidvania
Alternate title: –

Very cute and colorful side-scrolling platformer with metroidvania elements, but with stages like in a jump & run.

Platformer

Donald Duck no Mahou no Boushi

2016 gorgyrip
DownloadWiki
Genre: Jump & Run / Other
Alternate title: Donald Duck and the Magical Hat

First half starts off as a mix of freely selectable bonus games. Later on the stages become more traditional platformer.

DoReMi Fantasy: Milon no DokiDoki Daibouken

2019 RPGONE
DownloadWiki
Genre: Jump & Run
Alternate title: Do-Re-Mi Fantasy: Milon’s Quest

An easy, colorful and cute classic platformer. Playing further surprisingly shows more interesting level ideas and power ups.

Hamelin no Violin Hiki

2001 J2e Translations
DownloadWiki
Genre: Platformer
Alternate title: Violinist of Hameln

Based on an anime. The adorable AI controlled companion can be transformed into other forms, to make through the stages.

Majuu Ou

2005 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: Action Platformer
Alternate title: King of Demons

Imagine Castlevania guns, sums it pretty much up. Beating a boss allows for switching the demonic form of the hero, with varied skills.

Mickey to Donald: Magical Adventure 3

2019 RPGONE
DownloadWiki
Genre: Jump & Run
Alternate title: Mickey & Donald: Magical Quest 3

Plays like its predecessor with, including 2-player co-op and battery save. Otherwise nothing spectacular new, but a beautiful experience.

Kishin Douji Zenki: Battle Raiden

2016 Dynamic-Designs
DownloadWiki
Genre: Action Platformer
Alternate title: Demon Child Zenki: Battle Raiden

Based on an manga and by the same guys who made Hagane. An average side scrolling action game without innovation, but fun to play.

The Great Battle 5

2018 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: Action Platformer / Shooter
Alternate title: –

A badass wild west themed action game. Stages split between 2D platformer and third person shooting gallery, similar to Wild Guns.

Umihara Kawase

2007 satsu
DownloadWikiSteam
Genre: Platformer
Alternate title: –

The special feature here is the grappling hook and its physics based behavior. Swing, climb and find a way to the exit in each stage.

Puzzle and Logic

Cu-On-Pa SFC

2001 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: Puzzle
Alternate title: Endorfun

The player controls a colored cube and rotates on a field with colors. Rolling over with the right combination will kill them. Nice presentation.

Kirby no Kirakira Kizzu

2019 TheDanaAddams
DownloadWiki
Genre: Match Block
Alternate title: Kirby’s Sparkling Kids, Kirby’s Super Star Stacker

Put the stars between matching animal blocks to make them disappear. Game is a remake from game boy title and adds a story mode.

Sutte Hakkun

2017 Raccoon Sam
DownloadWiki
Genre: Puzzle Platformer
Alternate title: –

An unique puzzle game concept, where each block can take a color by inhaling one and exhale to another. Every color have its own behavior.

Wrecking Crew ’98

2017 ShadowOne333
DownloadWiki
Genre: Action Puzzle / Match Block
Alternate title: –

A competitive match block like puzzle game with the platform controls and mechanics from the original. Btw the original NES game is included as well.

Other

Clock Tower

2001 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: Click & Point Adventure
Alternate title: –

Atmospheric slow paced survival horror, where the player is constantly hunted by a scissorman. Totally awesome graphics and animations!

Kaite Tsukutte Asoberu Dezaemon

2000 Aeon Genesis
DownloadWiki
Genre: Shoot’em Up / Game Creation
Alternate title: Dezaemon

An editor to create your own vertical shmup game, beyond a standard level editor, including a graphics editor and music composer!

Radical Dreamers: Nusumenai Houseki

2005 Demiforce
DownloadWiki
Genre: Visual Novel
Alternate title: Radical Dreamers: Le Trésor Interdit

Links the story of Chrono Trigger and Cross, but alters the gameplay. Very text heavy and choices are limited. Where its shine is the atmosphere and writing.

Sanrio World Smash Ball!

1999 Suicidal Translations
DownloadWiki
Genre: Action Sports
Alternate title: –

Competitive sports game with characters from Sanrio. Gameplay is sort of tennis combined with Arkanoid, like Windjammers in vertical format.

Super F1 Circus 2

2018 MrRichard999
DownloadWiki
Genre: 3D Racing
Alternate title: –

Formula 1 racing simulation in 3D perspective like F-Zero. The car can be configured and racing feels fast and fluid.

Undercover Cops

2019 RPGONE
DownloadWiki
Genre: Beat’em Up brawler
Alternate title: –

Pretty good port from the arcade version, responsive, full of details and ton of weapons. Sadly no 2 player mode.

Wonder Project J: Kikai no Shonen Pino

2001 WakdHacks
DownloadWiki
Genre: Point & click / Simulation
Alternate title: Wonder Project J: Mechanical Boy Pino

A raising like simulation with a point & click adventure like interface. Goal is to teach and command the AI, so he becomes more human like.

Konnichiwa | こんにちは。

I barely scratched the surface of this topic, but scratched a lot. Many great translations are left out, because otherwise the list would have been flooded. Also, you might want to play a game in your native language other than English. It can be worth checking out, if such a “special” version is available at Romhacking.net.

Here are some honorable mentions, which didn’t make it into the list or are recommended by the community:

  • Ball Bullet Gun: Survival Game Simulation: Japanese version of real paintball game. Turn based strategy game with an added field of view for each character.
  • Dai-3-Ji Super Robot Taisen/Super Robot Wars 3: Grid based strategy battle with a robot army and it has a branching storyline.
  • Front Mission: Linear tactical oriented strategy RPG with customizable mechs. The first game in the series.
  • G.O.D.: Mezameyo to Yobu Koe ga Kikoe/G.O.D.: Heed the Call to Awaken: Turn based JRPG with a story and humor inspired by Earthbound.
  • Rudra no Hihou/Treasure of the Rudras: Turn based JRPG with an innovative magic system; create new spells by combining words. But has a bad translation font.
  • Shin Kidou Senki Gundam W: Endless Duel/Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Duel: 1v1 fighting game like SF2, but with mechs based on the anime series. Plays and looks suprisingly well.
  • Tengai Makyou Zero/Far East of Eden Zero: Anime styled traditinoal turn based JRPG. The real time clock of the console will be utilized to trigger events based on real time and day.
  • The Great Battle 4: Side scrolling platform run and gun action game similar to it’s successor.

Have a look at these websites for more content and information:

Comparison between official version and the fan translation of Seiken Densetsu 3
Interview and commentary by an romhacker/translator
13 Best Japan-only Super Famicom Games – SNESdrunk

2 Comments

    1. That’s definitely an interesting game I overlooked. I know the fighting game spin off Far East of Eden: Kabuki Klash, didn’t know the RPG series existed and wouldn’t have known it by the Tengai title. Thanks for pointing to at.

      Like

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