Far East of Eden
|Far East of Eden|
|Platform of origin||PC Engine|
|Year of inception||1989|
Far East of Eden (天外魔境 Tengai Makyō, lit. "The Devil's Cave Outside Heaven") is a series of role-playing video games released in Japan and Taiwan. The name is a play on the terms "Far East" and "East of Eden". The series was conceived by Oji Hiroi and developed by Red Company, debuting on the PC Engine CD-ROM² System in 1989.
Based on the Japanese folk tale Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari, the series became widely popular in Japan, where it was one of the most popular RPG series during the 16-bit era, along with Enix's Dragon Quest and Squaresoft's Final Fantasy. Its success was partly because the original Tengai Makyou was the first RPG released for the new CD-ROM format, which it utilized to create a bigger game and introduce fully voiced animated cut scenes and CD music to the genre.
Though originally intended to be only three games, it has grown to encompass a number of remakes, gaidens and genre spin-offs across a variety of platforms. Despite its relative popularity in Asian countries, the series is largely unknown in other territories, with only one game released overseas.
The main series is composed of three separate games within the land of 'Jipang' (a fictional feudal Japan using the name given by Italian merchant Marco Polo), each follows a descendant of the 'Fire Clan' and supporting cast in battles against a range of often comical villains. The stories of the games, though primarily of 'fantasy' fare, also attempt to provide commentary on common misconceptions about Japanese culture by Western societies.
The first game Tengai Makyo: Ziria, released for the PC Engine CD-ROM² System in 1989, was notable as the first RPG released on CD-ROM and the first in the genre to feature animated cut scenes and voice acting. The game's plot was also unusual for its feudal Japan setting and its emphasis on humour; the plot and characters were inspired by the Japanese folk tale Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari (with the protagonist's name deliberately misspelled, per the fantastic theme). The music for the game was also composed by the Academy Award winning musician Ryuichi Sakamoto.
The game was previewed in the November 1990 issue of Computer Gaming World. The writer Roe R. Adams (also a co-developer for the Wizardry games) described it as "a truly gigantic game" that "seems to be about the size of 2 or 3 Ultimas put together." He suggested that, if "NEC can handle the mammoth translating job, Ziria could be the game hit of 1991" unless, "of course, Nintendo counters with Zelda III or Dragon Warrior III, and Sega with Phantasy Star III." There were also plans to release the sequel Tengai Makyō II: Manjimaru (1992) in North America, but due to the TurboGrafx-16's failure in that market, no Tengai Makyou games would be released there up until Far East of Eden: Kabuki Klash (1995).
Most players will note that the series also makes reference to another 'creator', Paul Hieronymus Chada, who is presented as a 19th-century Smithsonian sociologist/historian similar to that of Sigmund Freud or Karl Marx. The imagery however is part of a running joke in the series, as P.H. Chada does not exist. He is a fictional 'author' of the stories of the Tengai Makyō series, whose blatant exaggerations of 'Jipang' represent the misconceptions Western societies have held with regard to Japan. 'P.H. Chada' is actually the anagram of 'Prince Hiroi Adachi'.
Games in the series
- Core Games
- Tengai Makyō: Ziria - (PC Engine CD-ROM² - June 30, 1989)
- Tengai Makyō II: Manjimaru - (PC Engine Super CD-ROM² - March 26, 1992)
- Tengai Makyō: Daiyon no Mokushiroku (trans: 'The 4th Apocalypse') - (Sega Saturn - January 14, 1997)
- Tengai Makyō: Daiyon no Mokushiroku (PlayStation Portable - July 13, 2006)
- Tengai Makyō III: Namida (ja:天外魔境III NAMIDA) - (PlayStation 2 - April 14, 2005)
- Other Games
- Tengai Makyō: Fuun Kabukiden - (PC Engine Super CD-ROM² - July 10, 1993)
- Tengai Makyō Zero - (Super Famicom - December 22, 1995)
- Tengai Makyō Shin Den - (ARCADE, NeoGeo - July 28, 1995 (NeoGeo), December 8, 1995 (NeoGeo CD))
- Tengai Makyō: Karakuri Kakutoden - (PC-FX - July 28, 1995)
- Tengai Makyō: Kabuki Ittou Ryoudan - (PC Engine Arcade CD-ROM² - February 24, 1995)
- Oriental Blue: Ao no Tengai - (Game Boy Advance - October 24, 2003)
- Tengai Makyō Mobile - (iPhone)
- Canceled Games
- Tengai Makyō Jiraia Oboro Hen (天外魔境 自来也おぼろ変) (OVA)
The series sold over 2.2 million copies.
- Kalata, Kurt. "Tengai Makyou: Ziria". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
- Adams, Roe R. (November 1990), "Westward Ho! (Toward Japan, That Is): An Overview of the Evolution of CRPGs on Dedicated Game Machines", Computer Gaming World (76), pp. 83–84 ,
In Japan, there are currently 26 CD-ROM based games already available for this machine, including Ys I & II (scheduled for Christmas release in the U.S. on one disk) and a truly gigantic game, Ziria, which seems to be about the size of 2 or 3 Ultimas put together. IF NEC can handle the mammoth translating job, Ziria could be the game hit of 1991 on the game machines (unless, of course, Nintendo counters with Zelda III or Dragon Warrior III, and Sega with Phantasy Star III).
- Tengai Makyō: Jipang Seven cancellation notice
- "あの「天外魔境」シリーズの最新作が，ついに！". 4Gamer.net. Aetas. 2010-09-13. Retrieved 2015-04-24.