- JP release: 27th November 1998
- PAL release: N/A
- NA release: N/A
- Developer: Pack-In-Video
- Publisher: Victor Interactive
- Original Name: Nushi Tsuri 64
- N64 Magazine Score: 56%
Nushi Tsuri is a series of fishing RPGs that were released between 1990 and 2007. A few games have received western releases under the name Legend of the River King on the Game Boy and Game Boy Colour. Some of the later games were called River King in North America, but Harvest Fishing in Europe, to try and market it as a Harvest Moon spin-off (the mainline games of both franchises were made by Marvelous, but River King was first).
While the N64 version of Legend of the River King was marketed for a western release at some point, it ended up getting cancelled, so we’re left with a Japan-only game, which heavily relies on Japanese text. Google Lens is fine for rough translations, but is unfortunately not quite up to the task for specifics like translating fish names and other technical things like baits and lures. Still, I tried out what I could.
The game is presented as a top down 2D RPG and it looks lovely in motion, especially the water. Movement is surprisingly unrestrictive as it seems you can climb up any surface and swim through the water – there is one section where you’re blocked that’s part of a lengthy quest to reach the main objectives. The setting seems to be based on the British countryside (my girlfriend even commented on the look without seeing the red post box or football field), but with Japanese buildings.
The game stars a large family, and you get to choose which one to play as. While most of the game is the same for each, they have their own end goals. The girl I picked wanted to find a rare fish that uses a nest because it’s something her fiancé wanted to see. Along the way, you need to hone your skills by catching fish in order to get better equipment and win tournamnets.
While the game is pretended in a cure and lovely 2D format, it changes completely once you get a bite on your rod. You are presented with a 3D view of the very nicely detailed fish. You need to use the analogue stick to make the fish think that the bait is real (it’s very difficult to figure out the tight motion) and use the a button to reel in. If the rod starts to strain, you’ll feel a rumble and you’ll need to let go until you see enough slack on the line to start reeling in again.
I found the fishing to be very difficult, even after reading tips online, and still struggled with the little indoor fishing that lets you fish as much as you want without using resources. You need to keep your eye on both your supplies and the quality of your rod.
Exploring the areas of the game (that I could access to – I never got the bridge repaired to access the blocked off areas), I did manage to find an old man that talked about the fish my character was after, as he laments that the species is now incredibly rare due to pollution. I did attempt to fish in this area on the off chance that I would find one, but I couldn’t even get bite, even trying lots of different bait.
I imagine that the information needed to figure out what kinds of rods, lures and baits you need to use in different locations is somewhere, but as Google isn’t great at translating those kinds of things, it’s lost on me, so this was kind of the end of my adventure. I did manage to catch a few fish, and you fill out an encyclopaedia with information – and you can make the model of the fish move its mouth by pressing A, so I had fun making it sing along to the tune of the music.
There is also more than just fishing. Wildlife will also attack you, either form you walking into them on the map or random encounters. Everything – seagulls, mice, eagles, cats, starfish – is out to get you, and you have three options: placate them with food, attack them or run away.
On top of catching fish, you also collect bugs and flowers. With bugs, you find them on the map and use your net to start the “battle” phase where you use a net or your bare hands to collect the bugs in a first person view. Cutting flowers is a bit more simple.
Legend of the River King seems like a nice and relaxing game, and it’s a shame that the language barrier makes it difficult to fully play and enjoy. I do really like this kind of RPG where the “combat” is something that isn’t a battle system, such as the handheld Mario Golf and Tennis games.
Even though I couldn’t get very far in the game, I enjoyed the time I spent with it.
It’s almost impossible to get a decent way into it if you’re not even slightly conversant in Japanese, such is the option-heavy nature of the text – but we did have a fair amount of fun once we discovered how to fish.Jes Bickham, N64 Magazine #26
Remake or remaster?
It would be nice to see an English translation of this game – and perhaps a Story of Seasons fishing game.
Official Ways to get the game
There is no official way to get Legend of the River King 64
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