Well, what do we have here? If it isn't Popful Mail, one of Falcom's most well known Action-RPGs, and it's on SNES!? Yes, believe it, because it's true. There are four versions of this game. One was made for Japanese PCs (PC 98), another for
PC-Engine CD/Turbo CD (Very expensive), yet another was made for Sega CD (perhaps the most commonly known version), and the SNES/SFC version. It is said that the SNES version is often inferior to all others simply because it isn't up to par with the other existing versions of this game. In all honesty, I don't think that much of Falcom these days, but this always seemed like one
of the better games Falcom has made, regardless of which version it is. It also happens to be the cheapest version of the game (I've never seen the PC 98 version, so I'll exclude it)
and it's interesting to see the differences between this version, the U.S. Sega CD version (which I'll be mentioning throughout this review), and the PC-Engine version. I also happen
to be a sucker of cool boxart, which I feel the SNES game has, so what is the SNES version like anyway?
Well, the graphics have significantly cleaner color usage and the sound quality is better IMO (Just because something is on a CD, don't think it will always have better sound) than the SCD
version. I can't speak for the PC-Engine (or PC 98) version, because while I have the money for them, it doesn't seem feasible for me to acquire them at this time.
The animation is simple, like a great deal of Falcom games, though the U.S. SCD version has pretty nice animation (at least the protagonists anyway). The SNES version's animation could have
been better. There are high quality anime stills and detailed backdrops which is still nice, so I guess the graphics are decent enough. The sound actually sounds better to me for the most part (though it lacks the Working
Designs touch). I have no complaints.
The story of this game seems significantly different to all the other versions of this game. In the SNES game, the villain seems to be called "Material" (Materiaru), while in the silly and hilarious SCD
version, Working Designs simply called him "Muttonhead". The SNES game has a boy called "Blacky", while in the SCD game, he is called "Slick" (aka The Slickster). There are few other
story differences in the SNES game too, but I won't give them away. The gameplay is a bit different as well. The SNES game feels more like your typical Ys title, particularly YsIII, since characters have more standard forms of attack (Such as a downward stab with
Mail in midair as well as attacking directly above her). To add to this, much like YsIII, the enemies don't recoil when hit in the SNES game. They just keep coming, though they are easier to deal with. Tatt also has
different spells that function differently too. One such spell is a green orb that bounces off of walls. The challenge varies, though I found most of the game to be easy. All in all, I think that the SNES version is pretty
decent. If I had to choose between all the versions, this game probably ties with the Sega CD version, and I would rank the SNES game above the SCD Working Designs game if it wasn't so darn funny!
- Written by Vyse the determined -