By: Patrick Hawes-DeFrias
(SPOILERS may apply)
Frank Goldfinger is from one of my personal favorite JRPG’s, Shadow Hearts: From the New World. Never heard of it? I’m not surprised. Shadow Hearts was a lesser-known JRPG series on the Playstation 2, though it actually started on the PS1 with the game Koudelka, the series’ progenitor. The Shadow Hearts games are a bizarre, but interesting, mismatch of quasi-historical settings, fantasy elements, goofiness, Anime character tropes, and Eldritch/Lovecraftian horror, all wrapped up in a fun and interesting turn-based battle system that utilizes the “Judgement Ring” (a spinning dial which you use good timing to determine hits, misses and critical hits), combos, combo finishers, manipulation of turn order, and so on. It’s weird, really weird. And From the New World is possibly the strangest. How strange is it? Well, you bust Al Capone out of Alcatraz with the help of an anthropomorphic talking cat who is a master of Drunken Fist.
Anyway, back to business. Before We get into Frank’s story, it might be helpful to discuss the setting and introduction of the game itself a bit. The game takes place in the Americas of 1929. Well, a version of them, anyway. Magic is something that certain people know about, there are the aforementioned talking cat-people, and so on. But generally speaking, it’s just Prohibition-Era America spanning from New York, where the game starts, all the way to Brazil in the latter half of the story. The amnesiac hero, Johnny Garland, is running a detective agency. He gets a job from an incredibly sketchy-looking guy named Professor Gilbert, who happens to look like the Penguin from the Batman comics (see below).