Today in Retro Gaming: Kartia (PS1)

Kartia (or Rebus if you're in Japan)

Today in retro gaming, we celebrate the release of Kartia: The Word of Fate on the Playstation with a beautiful full-page magazine ad from back in the day.  Released in the US on July 31, 1998, Kartia is one of those games which slipped through the cracks of the RPG market in the wake of Final Fantasy VII fever and only later found its place in gaming history.

What happens when you mix the artistic sensibilities of illustrator Yoshitaka Amano, most famous for his Final Fantasy character portraits, with the game design work of Revelations: Persona producer Kouji Okada to create a brand new type of strategy/RPG hybrid?  I wouldn’t be asking the question if it wasn’t relevant–you get Kartia, a game that gets its name from the tarot-inspired magical themes driving the story.  Taking the best parts of Persona’s demon fusion and mixing it with liberal doses of Tactics Ogre-inspired battlefield strategy, Kartia offers two separate character storylines with vastly different outcomes, giving plenty of replay value for your gaming dollar.

Unfortunately Kartia hit US and UK shores at the worst possible time: right before Square unleashed the eighth installment of Final Fantasy on English-speaking audiences (a matter of a few days in the UK).  Anticipation for the largest Final Fantasy ever had been running high for a year.  There was no way Kartia, with its single-disc format and virtually unknown publisher Atlus, could compete.  And thus, despite glowing reviews from the gaming press of the day, Kartia vanished into obscurity.  Ah, what might have been…

All tears and gnashing of teeth aside, here’s the promised ad.  Would it have been enough to distract you from Final Fantasy 8?

Kartia (or Rebus if you're in Japan)

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