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To those wondering if the American versions battle system had a bug where only 1 character can act per turn: the Japanese version plays the exact say way. I guess that's the way the developers wanted the game to play. Disappointing to say the least.
I had wondered for the past 18 years myself and I'm ashamed I didn't think to just download the Japanese version and try it out. Sometimes the simplest solutions evade us. I have dabbled in java programming enough to know how hard of an endeavor this will be (my mind isn't what it was when I was younger) but I've started researching Genesis hacking to see if I can change the battle system to play like we all think it should. I guess I can only say: check back every now and then to see how it goes, if this is something you're interested in.
Also, I'll probably make a "harder" version of the game as well if I am indeed able to change the battle system. I do worry about how easy the change will make the game.
I wish you the best of luck with it. I know rom hacking in general isn't easy, especially if it requires learning the Motorola 68k processor spec, to implement changes at the assembly layer. I'm very interested in seeing where things go, though!