Pool of Radiance (NES)

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Pool of Radiance
Pool of Radiance - NES - USA.jpg
Platform: NES
Year: 1991
Developer: Marionette
Buy: Amazon
For other games in the series, see Dungeons & Dragons.

Pool of Radiance is an RPG computer game, originally developed by Strategic Simulations and published by TSR for various home computers, before landing on the NES in 1991, courtesy of developer Marionette and publisher FCI/Pony Canyon. Marionette had previously localized the game in Japan for the PC-9801.

The game is quite large in scope for early RPGs, and does a good job of translating the rules of AD&D into a video game. For some reason the team that ported the game to the NES thought that a brown background would look good for most of the game. Luckily, the music department upped the ante and gave the game some atmosphere. Your team of adventurers must clear the city of Phlan from monsters and then search for the legendary Pool of Radiance. Combat is turn-based, offering you plenty of time to plan ahead, but there is an unfortunately large amount of combat. There is also a rather small amount of gold early in the game which makes equipment and leveling up a bit slow. All-in-all, the game offers many hours of adequate adventure.

While the Nintendo version is a great port, it has several things missing from the computer ports; you can't customize your character's portrait, spells like "Bless" have been replaced with "Empower" (due to Nintendo of America's censorship policy), not being able to gamble in the city taverns, slightly subpar graphics, only one save feature (the computer featured ten) and the random caves that can be found in the computer versions were removed. Though the Nintendo version has some advantages of its own; there's no copy protection so you don't have to pull out the instruction manual to hear what people are saying, the game has a better difficulty than the computer versions, gold as your only form of currency (in the computer versions, you had electrum, copper, silver, gold and platinum), most throwable items such as arrows and darts are infinite, and the addition of in-game music really helped the game's atmosphere.


Pool of Radiance - NES - Title.png

The title screen.

Pool of Radiance - NES - Combat.png

In combat.

Pool of Radiance - NES - New Phlan.png

Walking around New Phlan, the civilized area.

Pool of Radiance - NES - Dungeon Theme 1.png

The Slums, the uncivilized area of Phlan.

Pool of Radiance - NES - Wilderness.png

The wilderness.

Pool of Radiance - NES - Game Over.png

Game Over.


Pool of Radiance has a large soundtrack for the NES era. Because Pony Canyon published the game, they chose one of their musicians signed to their record label, Seiji Toda, to compose the game's music, and he did a good job composing the numerous tracks. None of the music is particularly memorable, but the music is very cohesive through the game, fitting to the action on the screen. When you're walking around the civilized and safe area of Phlan, the music sounds happy and upbeat. When you're in a dungeon, or other place where there's enemies, the music is suspenseful, and when you encounter an enemy, or what could be an enemy if you don't make the right decisions, the music sounds scary. When you're fighting Tyranthraxus, the song is an action-packed scary-sounding song. There is also an unused song. It sounds like it was a possible in-game theme when you're in a certain shop or temple, but it also sounds like it was used just to test the audio driver of the game to make sure it was working correctly. It could have also been used in the random caves in the wilderness in the computer versions that was taken out of the NES version. The main menu is also silent, so it could have been used there as well. Seiji Toda also composed the music for Ultima: Quest of the Avatar (NES). In addition, half of this game's soundtrack was previously used in the PC-9801 version of the game.

Seiji says he wrote the music in Music Macro Language. Hironari Tadokoro programmed the game's sound driver. Yoshiyuki Ishii only coded the music into the game.


# Title Composer Length Listen Download
01 Intro Seiji Toda 1:40
02 New Phlan Seiji Toda 1:49
03 City Hall Seiji Toda 0:47
04 Inn Seiji Toda 0:51
05 Shop Seiji Toda 1:00
06 Tavern Seiji Toda 0:54
07 Temple Seiji Toda 1:12
08 Training Fanfare Seiji Toda 0:02
09 Training Hall Seiji Toda 0:56
10 Dungeon 1 Seiji Toda 1:36
11 Dungeon 2 Seiji Toda 2:25
12 Dungeon 3 Seiji Toda 1:48
13 Gypsy Seiji Toda 0:36
14 Wilderness Seiji Toda 1:44
15 Diogenes Seiji Toda 1:54
16 Valhingen Graveyard Seiji Toda 1:13
17 Yarashi's Pyramid Seiji Toda 1:46
18 Stojanow Gate Seiji Toda 1:37
19 Tyranthraxus Seiji Toda 1:32
20 Encounter Seiji Toda 1:05
21 Battle Begins Seiji Toda 0:02
22 Combat Seiji Toda 1:32
23 Tyranthraxus Combat Seiji Toda 1:22
24 Victory Fanfare Seiji Toda 0:01
25 Victory Seiji Toda 0:56
26 Game Over Seiji Toda 0:29
27 Ending Seiji Toda 2:34
28 Unknown Seiji Toda 1:33


(Source: USA 1 USA 2 USA 3, Japan 1, Japan 2, Japan 3)

The credits in the USA version give the real names of everybody involved with the sound except for Hironari Tadokoro, who goes by "H. Tadokoro". The Japanese version contains the names in hiragana and gives Hironari's full name, and he was also later credited with his real name in Phantom Fighter (NES). Hironari created the audio driver and Yoshiyuki programmed it into the game.

The PC-9801 version of the game also credits Toda on the back of the game's packaging.

Game Rip




NSF.png VGM.png

Download 6 KB

Ripping NES music is a very arduous process that is beyond the scope of this site.

The VGZ files were logged by opening the NSF in a modified version of NEZPlay. Then the files were trimmed to loop properly. The VGZ rip has yet to be uploaded to the site.


  Japan.svg   Japan
Pool of Radiance - FC.JPG
Title: プール・オブ・レイディアンス (Pool of Radiance)
Platform: Famicom
Released: 1991-06-28
Publisher: Pony Canyon, Inc.
  USA.svg   USA
Pool of Radiance - NES - USA.jpg
Title: Pool of Radiance
Platform: NES
Released: 1992-04-??
Publisher: Fujisankei Communications International, Inc.