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a game by HAL Laboratory
Genre: Adventure/RPG
Platform: SNESSNES
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 4 reviews
User Rating: 7.3/10 - 3 votes
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See also: RPGs, Games Like Mystic Messenger
Arcana Poster
View all 14 Arcana Screenshots

To date, Super NES RPG games have been few and far between. Arcana by HAL America is one of the first in an RPG wave that's heading your way this year.

Pick a Card, Any Card

This one-player, role-play adventure begins in the land of Elemen, where the evil wizard Galneon is recruiting monsters to help him resurrect the Empress Rimsala. In her former life, Rimsala was dealt a bad hand by a band of mages known as the Card Masters. There's only one Card Master left. His name is Rooks and guess what? That's right. Get ready to cut the cards, 'cause as Rooks you've got to use your Card Master wiles to stop Rimsala once and for all.

Arcana is broken up into five sections called Chapters. Each Chapter takes place in a different area, ranging from underground dungeons to forests and temples. Your task in each Chapter is simple -- search until you find the right item or person that enables you to advance to the next chapter. Unlike many RPGs, you don't have to find a succession of items in a specific order in Arcana. You just have to survive until you stumble across the key to closing the chapter.

ProTip: Explore each area thoroughly for special items. Once you've completed a Chapter, you can't go back to the previous locations in that Chapter in search of more goodies.

Constant Combat

Combat's a part of most RPGs, but it's more than just a part of Arcana. You'll find you spend much more time hacking and slashing away at all sorts of monsters than you do in most RPGs. The monsters, which all look like cards, range from the old standbys (Skeletons and Goblins), to some exotic new creatures (Gurgeons and Sauropods).

During combat, always attack magic-using enemies first.

Fortunately, you're not asked to battle on your own. Rooks is accompanied by five other companions over the course of the game. Although, only two join his party at any one time. In addition, Rooks can seek help from four special spirit entities during different phases of the game -- Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water.

Rooks and his party gain strength via a traditional RPG point system. The more monsters they fight and defeat, the stronger they grow. To beat the bad guys, they must use different weapons and magic spells. Rooks can even buy special magical Spell Cards. The party assembles their weaponry by buying them at stores or finding items during their quest.

  • Keep the Spirit Cards at the back of the party and use them to cast attack spells.
  • Check out the color of an enemy's card to determine its elemental type. The colors are: Blue (Water), Green (Earth), Red (Fire), and Yellow (Wind). A Gray card means an enemy without an elemental type.

What You See is What You Get

Unlike most current SNES RPGs (e.g. Lagoon and Final Fantasy II) which use an overhead-view perspective, Arcana uses a first-person, 3-D perspective that shows your surroundings through your party's eyes.

The game's graphics are a mixed bag, with beautiful location graphics (such as those you encounter when walking through a dungeon). Too bad the enemy "cards" aren't large enough to show off their cool animation. Sound-wise the game is superb. Unforgettably cool tunes are gonna' get stuck in your brain.

Deal Me In

Arcana has no puzzle-solving and is heavy on combat compared to most RPGs. There aren't any secret rooms, hidden items, or other fancy RPG frills -- just lots of areas to explore and hordes of monsters to slaughter. If that's what you look for in an RPG, make sure Arcana deals you in!

Download Arcana


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Pentium II (or equivalent) 266MHz (500MHz recommended), RAM: 64MB (128MB recommended), DirectX v8.0a or later must be installed

Game Reviews

  • HAL Laboatory/Super Nes

The future of the kingdom is in the cards... and in your hands ...

Somewhere in the temple of Balnia a passageway to the other side has been opened. Vile creatures of all kinds have been recruited by the corrupt magician Galneon to help him reincarnate the wicked Queen Rimsala. The Region of Evil seems assured. Only one brave warrior stands in his way. Last of the mystical Cardmaster sect, the untrained Rooks must use what little he knows of the ancient art to thwart the conspiracy and restore his tiny kingdom of Elemen to its previous glory. Only Rooks holds the key that will unravel Galneon's plan.

Would be card magicians, Arcana's the game for you. This intensive role-play revolves around the ancient art of the Cards. For centuries, the Card Masters have used their magic to protect the people of Galnia from Empress Rimsala's evil forces. However, as time wore on and Rimsala was eventually overthrown, the art of the Cards slowly died off. Alas, Rimsala's up to her evil tricks again. She's caused an uprising in the land. You play Rook, one of the last remaining Cand disciples. Your knowledge of the Cands has faded. Without this card magic, victory is impossible. You must rekindle your faded knowledge, rally a band of followers, and set out to destroy Rimsala once and for all.

In the 1992 release, by HAL Laboratory, Arcana - the ancient land of Elemen is in political unrest as the kingdom turns into a bloody civil war. In this action packed RPG, a young protagonist and last card master by the name of Rook sets off to prevent the awakening of Rimsala – an evil Empress who is imprisoned for over 10 years. This challenging and often difficult game assumes a first person perspective as dungeons and the game’s town, navigate from a viewpoint of the characters. The protagonist characters display in the perimeter of the screen while enemies are in the center. While the battles lack intense graphics and the character’s animations are limited to only five frames, the player is free to move forward, backward, up and down. During the game, each character is a card and if a character dies, it results in a “torn” card. In the game, Rooks- who is a highly treasured resource in the game - holds several vital battling techniques such as fleeing battle, using magical card spells, and switching Elemental spirits. This 8-megabit, single player cartridge is sure to challenge all of your battling skills.

Snapshots and Media

SNES/Super Nintendo/Super Famicom Screenshots