Dual Orb 2 is an RPG by I'Max, released for the Super Nintendo in Japan in 1994. The game has since remained in Japan and never received an official North American release. However, in December 2002, a fan-based English translation was released by Nightcrawler's Translation Corporation. Thanks to them we can play this great classic in English!
Normally, fan translation projects consist of a group of people. But for Dual Orb 2's translation, it was pretty much just Nightcrawler and his translator. This project was a long journey of hard work. It was a labor of love for them to give us this translation. We owe them a great deal!
You might also be wondering, “What about Dual Orb 1?” The first Dual Orb was also released for the Super Nintendo. It does not have an English translation. I have screenshots from Dual Orb 1 here.
Two scientists have led the world into a prosperous utopia of advanced technology and science. Their quest for knowledge led them to an orb of infinite power. One of the scientists got consumed by greed and wanted to take over the world with the orb's power. The other scientist managed to defeat the evil scientist at the darkest hour of his wrath. The world was left in ruin, but humanity survived and continued to prosper. All that was left from the days of old is a handful of ruins. Decades later, an evil, power-hungry empire managed to revive the evil scientist. What will become of the present-day world now that he has returned? The fate of humanity is left in the hands of a child born from... the heavens?
Dual Orb II focuses on Aleth, a mysterious boy found by the High Priest of Garade when he was just a baby. His best friend, Lagnus, is the prince of Garade and his partner in swordplay. Aleth and Lagnus soon venture into a forbidden dungeon where they discover a “goddess” with no memory. After being scolded for violating the temple, Lagnus and Aleth are informed by a messenger, Cassius, that the nation of Kardosa is invading Garade. Together the four of them go to Garade. Once there Lagnus witnesses his father being killed and starts to turn into a world of darkness. Aleth must now find out the intentions of Kardosa, Learn who Serra really is, and stop Lagnus from plunging into a fate of hate and revenge.
Dual Orb 2 is a traditional turn-based RPG. What stands out is the weapon system, which is pretty unique! There aren't that many equipable weapons in Dual Orb 2. Each character can only equip maybe two or three different weapons throughout the whole game. The game adds an extra layer of depth with a weapon upgrade system. Weapons have levels and can be upgraded to higher levels to increase their power.
Rather than going to weapon shops as you would in a normal RPG, in Dual Orb you need to go to a town's blacksmith. For a fee, blacksmiths can upgrade your weapon. And weapon upgrades are rather pricey. When you upgrade a weapon up to level 20, it turns into a super weapon with its own special attack! It's a neat weapon system that makes the attacks of your characters interesting.
When it comes to figuring out what to do next, Dual Orb 2 makes it easy for you. If it's not clear enough in the normal dialogue (or you forgot), just go to the Pub and talk to everyone. They'll tell you what to do next. Yeah, I'm serious - that's all you need to do. Everything in Dual Orb 2 revolves around the Pubs. However, if you really need a walkthrough, then go to the Dual Orb 2 section at Gamefaqs.
As you play Dual Orb 2, you will notice many similarities to Final Fantasy 6 and other RPGs. The sprite style is similar, some graphics are similar, some parts of songs are similar, and some aspects of the storyline are similar. For example, here's Garade's banner. It has a striking resemblance to FF6's imperial banner of Vector. There's also how both Gau (from FF6) and Najiri (from Dual Orb 2) are both beast boys with green hair. There's an area with river rapids similar to FF6's Lethe River. And many other similarities.
I don't consider these similarities a bad thing. I'm glad Dual Orb 2 did this. It gives me such a feeling of nostalgia since Final Fantasy 6 is one of my most favorite RPGs.
When I post something on social media (a video or GIF) about Dual Orb 2, I normally see comments with people questioning if this is really a Super Nintendo game because it looks like an early PlayStation 1 game. The stunning battle graphics are what stand out the most with Dual Orb 2. It's some of the best graphics I've seen on the Super Nintendo! The diagonal perspective is nostalgic of Breath of Fire's battles.
As impressive as the battle graphics are, the game falls short on battle animations. They feel simplistic and uninspired, much like the battle animations in Magic Knight Rayearth. The variety of enemies you encounter are hilarious. In one cave, you battle against laptop computers and 4-wheeler Jeeps! Hahah, one of the programmers must've held a grudge against his computer for crashing on him.
Dual Orb 2's soundtrack is excellent. The battle theme is catchy. The cave theme is beautiful. The one thing I hate is that the game has a high encounter rate and doesn't continue the position of the music when you finish the battle. So with the cave theme, for example, you can't fully appreciate the song because you're always listening to the first few seconds of it. The story is good, too. It gets emotional, and pretty dark. Expect plenty of twists to keep things interesting. And don't expect an easy ride - Dual Orb 2 gets hard! Most of the boss battles are brutal.
Overall, Dual Orb 2 is a great, well-rounded game. I highly recommend it!