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Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pool of Radiance (NES)/Regional Differences

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This is a sub-page of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pool of Radiance (NES).


Due to the cultural/business differences between Nintendo of Japan and Nintendo of America at the time, the North American release saw several instances of censorship and more family-friendly alterations of scenarios.

Meat Storeroom

Japan US
Pool of Radiance JPN(NES)-Glitch 1.png Pool of Radiance USA(NES)-Glitch 1.png

In the US version, there is an inconspicuous meat storage room in Valjevo Castle you can go into, which one of your party members will comment on after returning to the main screen. In the Japanese version, everything is explained in one box of text, and the programmers forgot to program the game not to scroll back up to the first-person view when viewing the second message. The Japanese version's message translates to something much more sinister...

In-Game Romaji English

にくを てんじょうから つるしてある。
ランパート「にくの そうこか。ん? こ これは!?
なんと ぶらさがっているのは にんげんの にくだ!

ランパート「肉の倉庫か。ん?こ これは!?

Meat is hanging from the ceiling.
Rampart "This is a meat warehouse. Hm? Wh-what's this!?
Oh my God, the meat that's hanging here is human flesh!

It may be of interest to note that the text about the human flesh is exclusive to the NES version, and is not adapted from the computer versions.

References to Religion and Death

Many religious and death references were also removed for the US version due to NoA wanting to avoid them to avoid controversies. Namely, the spell Bless has been renamed to Empower, and in-game "cutscenes" will refer to people as "expired" rather than dead.

This censorship is inconsistent however, as damaging enemies past 0 will have the game say, "And (enemy name here) is dying." Also, shrines are still called shrines, and there are still clear signs of religious figures in-game, possibly due to said figures being fictional.

Startup Screen

Japan US
Pool of Radiance - Title 1 - Japan.png Pool of Radiance - Title 1 - USA.png
  • The Japanese version has a rounded border around the text, which was removed for the North American release.
  • "LICENSED BY NINTENDO OF AMERICA INC." was (unusually) put on top of all the text. As a result, the rest of the text had to be shifted downwards.
  • "PONYCANYON" in the Japanese version was changed to be two words in the North American version, "PONY CANYON".
  • The Japanese version allows the player to press a button to access the main menu right away. In the North American version, the player must wait a few seconds before starting.

Title Screen

Japan US
Pool of Radiance - Title 2 - Japan.png Pool of Radiance US(NES)-Title Screen.png

Similar to Hillsfar, the Japanese version calls itself a "Computer Product", and the US version calls itself a "Video Game".

Character Names

Similar to other platforms, the game has a few pre-generated characters to choose from. The characters' names are different between regions, rather than being translated; Gwydion is Rampart (ランパート), Felgar is Ganglion (ガングリオン), and Goldleaf is Aspect (アスペクト).

Japan US
Pool of Radiance - FC - Party View.png Pool of Radiance - NES - Party View.png

All the characters in the US version retain the same stats from the Japanese version with the exception of Goldleaf/Aspect, who has a THAC0 of 21 in Japan, and a THAC0 20 in the US.

Kobold Cave Boss Battle

To do:
List the enemies from both versions.

The three-wave boss battle was made easier in the US version. Curiously, it seems to be the only part of the game where the difficulty was changed.

Staff Roll

Careful, you'll lose an eye.
This page or section needs more images.
There's a whole lotta words here, but not enough pictures. Please fix this.
Specifically: Get images for the other differences.
Japan US
Pool of Radiance - FC - Staff Roll 07.png Pool of Radiance - NES - Staff Roll 07.png
Pool of Radiance - FC - Staff Roll 09.png Pool of Radiance - NES - Staff Roll 09.png
Pool of Radiance - FC - Staff Roll 11.png Pool of Radiance - NES - Staff Roll 11.png
Pool of Radiance - FC - Staff Roll 14.png Pool of Radiance - NES - Staff Roll 14.png
Pool of Radiance - FC - Staff Roll 15.png Pool of Radiance - NES - Staff Roll 15.png
  • The Japanese version has staff names written in hiragana. This reveals the full names of some of the developers; Y. Sakaguchi is Yoshiaki Sakaguchi, T. Watanabe is Takatsugu Watanabe, M. Hirashima is Masayuki Hirashima, H. Furuhashi is Hideyuki Furuhashi, and H. Tadokoro is Hironari Tadokoro.
  • The word BY in the Japanese version has been changed to lowercase letters in the US version.
  • The SSI Developers credit comes before the Pony Canyon copyright in the Japanese version. In the US version, the SSI Developers screen comes after the Pony Canyon copyright. Also, the names of the SSI Developers has been changed from all caps in the Japanese version to uppercase and lowercase letters in the US version.

Game Over

Japan US
Pool of Radiance - FC - Game Over Screen.png Pool of Radiance - NES - Game Over Screen.png