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Popful Mail

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Released: 1994

Genre: RPG

Format reviewed: Sega CD/Mega CD

Publisher: Working Designs

Developer: Falcom

Submitted by: Scott Reed

I'll try to contain myself…


I failed. Apologies.

Popful Mail is not a complex Action/RPG by any standards. Which is probably why I took to it so easily. Being side-on and not top down helped as well. And while the graphics are detailed and have a nice style to them, they're not mind boggling either.

What puts Popful Mail on my Video Game Adoration List (which isn't too long let me tell you) is it's delightfully contrary nature. It just doesn't want to do anything the other RPGs wanna do.

Side-on for one. There is no grand evil. In fact the first grand evil turns out to be a rather bumbling wizard who becomes your best friend. The world is not on the brink of destruction. It's quite pleasant and the inhabitants are amiable. Your main character is not androgynous and the chosen one. She's an unsuccessful bounty hunter. Really unsuccessful. There is no party of valiant warriors, you switch between one of three hapless main characters. It's like every Square-Enix cliché doesn’t exist in Mail's world.

And that is why I hold it in such high regard. The music's good too. I'm not often one to comment on music because I usually play with the sound down (Rez, Guitar Hero etc being exceptions) but I only have this on ROM and it’s not too short, so I play it with the headphones in. Sega-16.com informs me it's not Redbook Audio though.

Hmm. Sega-16.com also informs me that there’s over 2 hours of speech. Which is a good chunk of overall play time. Sometimes funny, sometimes camp, sometimes sardonic, always great, the speech helps the game no end. And Mail is just so likable. Due not in some part to her dialogue.

Mail is that breath of fresh air that the 2D RPG world needs. And there’s FMV too! Oh wait, this is a Sega CD game. Well there is…