News Article

Remake Request: Princess Crown

Posted by Damien McFerran

We explain why this 2D classic needs another shot at glory

In the first of a new series of features, we take a look at a game that is badly in need of a remake on a Nintendo system. Princess Crown might sound like the kind of game you’d expect your little sister to play, but it’s actually the first release from the team that would eventually become known as Vanillaware - the studio established by designer George Kamitani and a bunch of other former Atlus employees. Vanillaware would gain worldwide recognition for Odin Sphere and Muramasa: The Demon Blade, but Princess Crown is arguably where it all began - and showcases all of the company's best qualities.

Originally released on the Japanese Sega Saturn in 1997, Princess Crown is best described as an action RPG, but with a strong emphasis on action. You control the young Princess Gradriel, who must venture out from the comfort of her childhood castle to save her beloved kingdom from certain doom. The action is viewed from a side-on perspective, and the game world is comprised of towns, cities and dungeons joined by linear pathways. These roads must be traversed in real-time, and it’s here you’ll encounter the vast majority of Princess Crown’s enemies.

When a combat situation occurs, the game switches to a Street Fighter-style arrangement. You can move and attack just as you would in a one-on-one fighter, and it’s even possible to perform evasive moves and special attacks. Enemies drop items which range from restorative food to offensive projectiles and spell-casting gems, and it’s even possible to ‘grow’ and cook special items - a mechanic which would be drastically expanded in spiritual sequel Odin Sphere. Furthermore, success in combat earns you experience points, allowing you to boost Gradriel's attack power and health.

It would be remiss of us to discuss Princess Crown without mentioning the obvious beauty of its hand-drawn graphics. Released at a time when the Saturn was paying dearly in the west for its support of 2D over 3D, the game has ironically aged much better than its 3D contemporaries. Everything looks positively gorgeous, from the detailed backgrounds to the wonderfully animated characters. The music - provided by Metal Slug composer Toshikazu Tanaka - is perfectly suited to the fantasy theme.

Playing through the game as Gradriel takes many hours, and once you’ve finished her story additional characters are unlocked. These quests are shorter than the main one, but the way in which they intertwine with Gradriel’s tale is wonderful. Sadly, the lack of an English version means that you’ll have to rely on fan-made translations to understand exactly what is actually going on, but thankfully the use of colour-coded text means you can see when you’ve triggered a story event even if you can’t read Japanese. While you’ll be missing out on a lot, it’s just about possible to play the game to completion without reading or understanding a single word.

Hopes of an English version were raised when the game was announced for the Sony PlayStation Portable in 2004, but sadly that edition shared the same fate as the Saturn one and never made it out of its native Japan. Given the recent surge of interest in 2D titles, the time is ripe for an enhanced remake on a platform like the 3DS or Wii U eShop - especially as Vanillaware's troubled Dragon’s Crown (described by Kamitani as a direct sequel to Princess Crown) is due for publication in 2013. It’s a long shot, but we’d personally love to playing through this classic all over again - and in English, too.

Would you like to see Princess Crown get the remake treatment? (133 votes)

Yes, it looks amazing!

77%

Nope, not my kind of game at all

  4%

Not really bothered either way

19%

Please login to vote in this poll.

Thanks to Hardcore Gaming 101 for providing the screenshots used in this feature.

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User Comments (29)

CanisWolfred

#1

CanisWolfred said:

What's this? An article requesting a remake of an obscure game I nearly love? and I agree with it?! Dreams do come true!

But yes, this is a pretty good game. It could definitely do with a remake, though. Better graphics and some refinements here and there would be lovely. Sadly, the PSP port sold poorly, IIRC. I doubt it would happen, but I suppose I could hold out some hope, since the original creators seem to really care for it. And if it does, I hope it makes it over hear. I'd love to know what the story was going on about...

Spoony_Tech

#2

Spoony_Tech said:

That game is that old and looks that good!! Sign me up for some of that. Looks amazing to me and if it plays as good as it looks could be great fun!

DarkCoolEdge

#3

DarkCoolEdge said:

I prefer a new game by Vanillaware. I'm not against remakes but there shouldn't be a lot of them.

ajcismo

#4

ajcismo said:

Never heard of it, looks and sounds pretty cool though. The combat system sounds like the Sub-Zero game for the N64 with its side-scrolling with one-on-one fighting style.

Blizzaga

#10

Blizzaga said:

Can I play as the smoking hot witch in the very bottom picture? Yes please! :D

(Oh wait, that's Dragon's Crown.)

SetupDisk

#11

SetupDisk said:

Atlus, look at how beautiful Rayman Legends is on Wii U. Put it on the e-shop as well.

cornishlee

#12

cornishlee said:

Well, I would say that Dragon's Crown is now very much on my radar after reading this but wait - clicking on the link says it's coming out on PS! Damn you Nintendo Life!

ouroborous

#13

ouroborous said:

Sweet, looks and sounds alot like Code of Princess.
Was just digging through some old Saturn stuff to see what I might have missed, will have to give this one a try.

shonenjump86

#14

shonenjump86 said:

Never heard of this game until now. I wouldn't mind checking it out, looks pretty good for its time.

sweetiepiejonus

#15

sweetiepiejonus said:

This game is on a short list of titles I would be happy to see remade before I get a Simon's Quest remake.

Another Saturn gem I would love is Dragon Force. Though I'm not holding my breath for any of these to ever materialize.

fantasypower999

#18

fantasypower999 said:

Im still waiting for Dragon's Crown since 2011. I love golden axe type of games, especially with sexy mages.

Doma

#19

Doma said:

@cornishlee You're in EU so that's a good thing. Do you need a reminder of Code of Princess' current status?
Sony doesn't inexplicably block people from making foreign purchases.

WoottWinds

#21

WoottWinds said:

Made me very happy to see this article, I've always wanted to play Princess Crown. Would love to see it get remade, or maybe have it packed in with Dragon's Crown or something.

LeasTwanteD

#22

LeasTwanteD said:

Looks ace.
Think i'd rather see a version as close to the original as possibe though. But if a remake is the only way to go for this one i'd gladly take it.

EpicBlaze

#23

EpicBlaze said:

I would totally get this. You know.... when they decide to make an remake.
Yesssssss

Retro_on_theGo

#24

Retro_on_theGo said:

Looks really cool. I'd be happy with a remake. Maybe Nintendolife might actually convince the developers to with this. lol

DaemonSword

#25

DaemonSword said:

Looks cool, but I'm still waiting for some c64 and amiga games to be remade, or for Blast Corps and Eternal Darkness to be remade.

3DSLUIGI

#26

3DSLUIGI said:

This is the kind of game I can see myself getting wrapped into for hours. Can't believe I neard heard of this game on the SEGA SATURN in 1997. The gameplay sounds good, and to me, the story is a bit interesting. Not often that I hear of a princess going out to save her kingdom, but yeah. If anything, if a company like this Vanillaware can get this game remade, I'd like to see it on the Wii U eShop. I just can't see it on the 3DS eShop probably because it may be too big for that kind of memory and space. But all in all, I'm in for a game like this. ;)

kurtasbestos

#27

kurtasbestos said:

I can't believe I never heard of this game before, either, especially considering how much money I put over the years into both domestic and import games for my Saturn. I mean Saturns (at one point I had three). Well, living in Japan and all... I might just have to start looking around for the original.

Millenia

#29

Millenia said:

I imported this a few months ago. A remake is unnecessary, however a port in English would be good. It's basically perfect as is.

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