The original cover artwork for the game
was truly awe-inspiring.
Beggar Prince was a brand new 32-meg game released in the US for the Sega Genesis by Super Fighter Team in 2006 (it also works on PAL and Japanese Mega Drives). The game was originally programmed for Taiwanese audiences in 1996. It’s going back into production for a limited time in 2016 (yes) and I figured that some people might like to see an honest review of the game. Apparently this game likes to come out every 10 years. I’m not sure why Super Fighter Team is hyping it now instead of closer to the actual production run but whatever.
Unlike your typical ROM patches which just translate the language and that’s it, Beggar Prince was given a full release that includes box, a cartridge that looks like a real Genesis cart with a cartridge lock notch in it (for early Mega Drives with a cartridge lock) and a color instruction manual (very few of these on Sega systems). The box is a plastic clamshell similar to Genesis boxes before Sega of America’s cheap-o cardboard box days, but with a non-textured plastic cover. I would advise handling these boxes with care as the plastic can tear off.
The new 2016 run will come in a cardboard box similar to the quality that you’d find on Super Nintendo games instead of a plastic clamshell. The manual is printed on very high quality paper as well and even smells new. And who hasn’t sniffed a manual of a brand new game at least once? If you haven’t then you deserve to have something horrible happen to you like… like not being able to make the green light at a busy intersection, I dunno. I guess I’m not feeling particularly evil today.
The game will cost $55 plus some shipping and handling (if you want more handling you can pay even more) and has no region protection. Only 600 copies were originally made but the game has had several reprints. With the latest one coming up it will be well over 1,000 copies of the game made but that’s still pretty low in the grand scheme of things.
Like most RPGs, the game opens with a very loooong and drawn-out scene.
Unlike most RPGs, you can actually skip it!
The story involves an asswipe of a prince who is bored with his crappy prince life and wants to get some action on the street. So he sneaks out of his castle and sees some beggar dude who looks similar to himself. I don’t know why nobody in the town ever noticed that this dude looks exactly like the prince. After a bit of lovin’ they accidentally put the others clothes back on. Now everyone thinks the prince is some lowlife beggar but the real beggar is inside the castle pretending to be you! I think this might have something to do with the game’s title, but more research is necessary. The real prince can’t get back into his castle and the world starts to fall apart. Thus begins your mostly-average RPG with annoying random battles, puzzles and stuff like that. Actually Beggar Prince isn’t 100% average. The story is enough to keep you involved, but still it would probably make for a crappy movie. Breaking Bad is more entertaining. So is Aladdin. And Married… with Children. You get the idea.
A typical battle scene with some magic usage. I rarely used
magic because it misses a lot and seemed fairly ineffective.
Beggar Price is decent on most graphical accounts. This is an unlicensed game so the Taiwanese developers didn’t have access to a real Sega development system… and it shows. When the screen starts to fade out, all sprites disappear. The screen scrolls smoothly when going horizontally, but when scrolling vertically it likes to stutter. Some of the screens like the battles can look pretty good, but there isn’t anything that would have blown gamers away even back in 1991. Still, it’s adequate and nothing here looks too offensive or anything. There is a bit of nice line scrolling when the “Amidala” spell is used, so there’s that. The enemy sprites have very little animation, though naturally some have more than others. I swear that the “Cat Soldier” enemies attack you by unrolling their penis at you and the mummies attack you with toilet paper. I am not kidding at all!
That gloriously radiant beam of light in the lower-left will
allow you to save your game… hopefully.
The music is usually below average, but a few of the tunes are almost good! I like the deep bass line that is in part of the boss tune, but the rest of the instruments sound pretty weak. One tune towards the end of the Pyramid is nice and soothing. I was also surprised to hear a bit of stereo here and there! Unfortunately most of the game is in mono. The sound effects are OK and there are quite a few digitized sounds. When you attack an enemy they make a sound like a crow cawing… over and over and over, even the mummies! When you attack a large boss, they respond with something like “Bleccch!!” To be quite honest I usually engaged the fantastic MUTE feature on my advanced stereo system or listened to music from a CD or even a MiniDisc as I played the game.
This scene was confusing. You are supposed to jump off
of the cliff to avoid the boulders. This scene has a lot of slowdown
despite only 5 or 6 rocks being onscreen simultaneously.
The gameplay really isn’t too bad and it honestly can be pretty addicting at times. Unfortunately the game always doesn’t spell out for you what you need to do. There are also a lot of bugs since it was programmed by people just trying to get the game out and making some money instead of making sure they have a finished, polished product. There are places you can get stuck eternally if you don’t have a certain item and there’s nothing you can do but start over from the beginning of the game unless you have a save from earlier on… if your cartridge actually retains the save files, that is (more on this in a bit). There are no typical shops here and no money system.
In order to present something to an “NPC”, you must use it while facing them. So weird! New weapons and armor are automatically equipped. Your character moves around pretty fast which is good, but you’ll get into a battle every 5 or 6 seconds when wandering in a dungeon or whatnot and it becomes EXTREMELY annoying. You’re just trying to solve a puzzle but keep getting interrupted by those damned enemies! Leave me alone I’m trying to solve an ancient riddle here! In fights your character misses A LOT! He seems to miss more and more as he powers up. What the hell? I’ve seen him miss up to 5 times in a row despite the graphics clearly showing a hit.
The battle system is fairly unique and “unique” is always good, right? You have a stamina bar and can continue to attack as long as you have stamina left. This is usually 5 regular attacks. Using magic uses up more stamina. The enemy has a shared stamina bar as well. So if you are ambushed by 6 monsters and all 6 are present when their turn starts, only 5 will attack. If only one is left, it will attack you five times before your turn comes up. You always attack first. It was confusing at first but then became acceptable.
In towns you can find an empty bed which will completely restore your HP and MP. What’s hilarious is that there are random beds with clean sheets and comforters in caves and dungeons as well and your character will just tuck himself in and take a snooze! The game is worth buying just for that. The length of the game is supposedly anywhere between 10 and 20 hours long, but I don’t dare attempt to play through the whole thing. See why in the Wrap Up section below.
Here you must fight the deadly cactus fiend! I feel bad for him.
Imagine living your life as a cactus fiend. People would always
stare at you. You wouldn’t be allowed on airplanes. You couldn’t
even pet a kitten. Poor cactus fiend. No wonder he’s so angry!
While Beggar Prince is a nice game, there are quite a few caveats you should consider. First is that there are many bugs in this game. I have had the game freeze on me for no reason three times randomly. I’ve seen the selection menu get screwed up. The game will not allow you to save or load if you have a 32X. Same with a CDX. It also becomes more buggy if you happen to have a Sega CD attached to your Genesis.
Last and certainly not least the game seems to erase save files randomly. This happened to me at the beginning of the game, I opened the cartridge and the battery was slightly out of place. I re-centered it and all was fine and I played for many more hours over the course of two or three days. Then the next day I turned on my Genesis and could no longer select Continue because the game erased my saves again for no reason, even though the battery was still secure. This is unacceptable. I am not going to play through all of that again just to have my save file erased, which WILL happen again.
I must knock the overall score down due to these caveats. The game is well translated but sloppily programmed. However it should be noted that I have the first release of this game. After people complained about the bugs, some of them were fixed. The game now supposedly saves fine even with a Sega CD and 32X attached. Other bugs in the game are probably still there, like not being able to get out of a certain place because you don’t have a particular item which you needed to bring in with you and things like that. Every thing about the game is below average compared to most other Genesis games with the exception of being able to replace the save battery yourself and the cartridge having Phillips-style screws instead of the usual “gamebit” screws. But if you pick it up do so at your own risk. I do not know if some of the more relentless bugs have been fixed and I can only hope that they have. This may be your last chance to get it… until 2026.