The return of a Japanese cult game title
Once there was a Megadrive action RPG called Rent-a-Hero. And, um, there isn't much more to say about the game, for I have never seen it anywhere. However, I believe it combined a side-view fighting game engine like Streets of Rage, with the RPG elements of a top-down view while exploring and talking to people.
Rent-a-Hero has also made an appearance on the Saturn, as an initially hidden character in Fighters Megamix, the game that joined Virtua Fighter 2 with Fighting Vipers.
At around the same time as the first press conference reports on Shenmue, Dreamcast Magazine (available in Japan) started a feature called 'Rent-a-Hero Returns', because like Shenmue, Rent-a-Hero was developed by people tied to the arcade development team AM2. Rent-a-Hero Returns was not to be taken seriously though, as the feature included information like how the sales of Rent-a-Hero managed to exceed those of the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games as well as showing humourous fan art. However, Rent-a-Hero did genuinely appear on most-wanted lists at about the same time, showing that there was interest in a sequel on the Dreamcast. And there still is interest, as the game has been at the top of Dreamcast Magazine's most-wanted list (of game titles that haven't been announced) for quite a while.
The point of this news update is that recently there have been reports on Rent-a-Hero getting a real announcment regarding a Dreamcast release. Some say it was announced at a comic convention, others say the Japanese press are talking about it. If true, it would be interesting to see how the game is transferred from its 16 bit form to the Dreamcast, like Sonic the Hedgehog and Ecco the Dolphin before it. It will add another RPG to the console's software line-up, and hopefully give us a chance to see what all the fuss is about regarding this bizarre super-hero character!
August 3rd, 1999