Adding to the list of Nintendo games that never got localized is The Frog For Whom The Bell Tolls or Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru (カエルの為に鐘は鳴る) as it’s known in Japan.
Released for the original Game Boy in 1992 and developed by Intelligent Systems, The Frog For Whom The Bell Tolls is a Zelda-like adventure game that predates Link’s Awakening. In fact, the engine used for this game would go on to be used in the development of Link’s Awakening. The story involves a young prince who, after hearing that the princess of a neighbouring kingdom has been kidnapped, goes out to rescue her only to be turned into a frog.
The game plays similar to Zelda with a few key differences. Like Zelda, there is overhead view gameplay when traversing the overworld, however, dungeons are presented in a 2D sidescrolling perspective with platforming elements. Unlike Zelda, all battles are automated and turn-based with the winner being determined based on stats. You can improve your stats by finding certain items and power-ups in the overworld which are required to get past certain parts in the game. The prince later gains the ability to transform between a frog, human, and snake as they please which is used to solve puzzles in the game’s overworld and many dungeons. Each form affects movement in the overworld and combat abilities adding some strategy in how to overcome certain obstacles.
Although never localized, characters from the game would go on to make cameo appearances in other games such as in Smash Bros. Brawl as a sticker and in Smash Bros. 4 in the form of an assist trophy. The professor character in the game would even go on to be featured as a minor character in Wario Land 4. Because of the game’s quality and significance in Nintendo history, fans have created an English translation patch that can be played on an emulator or flashcart. Great effort has been put into making a quality fan translation so definitely check it out if you can!