This is the next in a series featuring games with prominent female characters, oftentimes the protagonist. Some you’ve heard of, some you haven’t. Some I might write, some might come from others. But they do exist.
You know, the 90s were filled with all sorts of fantasy games. Altered Beast, Golden Axe, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: the Arcade Game, Crossbow, Gauntlet, etc. And I need not say anything about the billion and one JRPGs that have this setting. So you would think that some games that hew more to this aesthetic would have been successful, right?
Unfortunately, some never really get out of their shell – Dahna: Megami Tanjō is just one example.
This game I came across by pure and utter chance: it was 1994, and I was stationed at Naval Station Rota, Spain. One of the good things about that was that we oftentimes got the chance to go to places that you usually don’t get to…like Gibraltar. And for one brief period in Gib (I say brief, because when I went back in 96, just coming back from temporary duty in Bosnia and shortly before I would head off to Japan, the store was gone), I managed to get my hands on a bootleg copy of this game.
And though a bootleg – a pretty good one, too – it was still a damn good game.
And tough. I mean brutal, Nintendo hard and filled with SNK Bosses. Even the easy version is brutal, and don’t take my word for it, watch the video below. Unlike most longplays, they can make it through with one life, maybe two. This guy actually needs to use a continue.
The game’s plot, as detailed in Wikipedia, goes like this:
In ancient times, there lived a wealthy family whose heirs were two daughters: Regine and Dahna. These two sisters were born with a strange magic that could enable them to summon the elements and other impossible things; it was this magic that many within the spiritual underworld lusted after, particularly Regine whose powers grew stronger with age. On Dahna’s seventh birthday, the sisters’ parents were murdered in a violent kidnapping attempt, but the wreckage separated the sisters and Dahna escaped. Dahna hid in secrecy, but eventually took shelter in a nearby village where she honed her magic and combat abilities under the guidance of the village sorcerer Magh. Ten years later, a mysterious invasion force led by an evil sorceress attacked her village and kidnapped Magh, prompting Dahna on her first battle.
Unlike the last game I mentioned, Alisia Dragoon, this one did not suffer cover fail. The reason why is because this game never made it out of Asia. Wikipedia will mention this game was a Japanese exclusive. Not quite true. It also made an appearance in South Korea as well:
And, like Alisia, this game would have a tragic future: not only is the character and game forgotten, IGS itself disappeared into nothingness, with no indicator that they closed, moved, changed names or anything of the like. Nowadays, if you look up IGS, you’ll likely get an unrelated company in Taiwan who makes video slot, gambling and pachinko machines.
Are the rights in public domain? No clue. If so, this is a game I would love to see again. With all the bloody and gruesome games out there like Castlevania, Dante’s Inferno and the like – and if even a game like Rygar can get a new lease on life? Why not Dahna?