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Sunday, 30 January 2011

Saga 2 translated.

For those of you not fans of Squares also ran RPG series, Crimson Nocturnal Hacking Group have released Saga 2 Goddess of Destiny in English.  So far I'm tracking down a rom file that won't crash out when patched or booted up in an emulator but when I do rest assured that I'll be linking to the place were you'll get it. 

For those unaware, the SaGa series started out on Gameboy as the unloved spin off  of Final Fantasy.  Both Secret of Mana and the SaGa series were released as Final Fantasy Legend 1-3 and Final Fantasy Adventure in the west.  The Second version (which Square have remade along with 3) is the best of a hard bunch.  You'll regularly be forced down to 1Hp through random battles and confront punishing boss battles (Apollo in particular is a bitch unless you kit everyone out with lasers and cure wands).

Weapons eventually dull and become useless through battle, skills will not be randomly learnt through battle here unlike their main console brethren, and though abandoned in SaGa Frontier for PS1 you'll fight with a party of monsters and  robots along with mystics and humans.

Square have decided to release the third Gameboy SaGa remake this month and there are currently no plans to release either officially in English.  Though to be fair the third game has no real overarching story like 2  (its main claim to fame was that the graphics looked a bit like Final Fantasy spin off Mystic Quest but on Gameboy) and Akitoshi Kawasu played no role in the development of it.  Here's hoping that they decide to add a plot and several upgrades to the gameplay, though its not as rubbish as the original is definitely playing second fiddle to the mighty 2nd SaGa.

In other news we found that PacLand for the PC Engine can be controlled normally by pressing select on the title screen.   Oh and scan of the week with return soon, as we have a brand new scanner (as soon as we find a USB Lead for it).

Sunday, 23 January 2011

88th postage insanity.

Actually make that not insanity but more like a round up of a load of old tosh. 

PS3 games could get serial code.  Secondhand Market fucked?.

Sony has only itself to blame for all this, and if this does make it out from the credible  rumour stage to market, then its not really going to stop piracy.  Pirates will always find away to crack and spread games and that.  DRM doesn't work on PCs and it won't work on PS3.  All this will do is alienate the existing users of legitimate games who will put in the codes and bend over to get shafted leaving the pirates to play with their DRMless copies scot free.

Even worse cutting down the preowned section is foolish.  Although DLC cuts into this, preowned is an ideal place to pick up games you might have missed first time round or heavily discounted classics (except Nintendo's own they apparently still want £30 for all Mario DS games).   Today we got from game, Breath of Fire 5 for £5 and Final Fantasy 4 warriors of light for the princely sum of £10.  All preowned. 

Childrens Film Foundation.

This is something we've been wanting to find for ages.  We had these weird racial memories of them showing short feature films at the end of CBBC during the late 80's.  Odd things like an Eskimo that survived on sugar and what I thought was Wilfrid Brambell ('Arrrold) as a ghost with his head under his arm (wasn't though, though in retrospect it had the late, great, Ronnie Barker as a villain in it).  

Browsing through one of the many offshoots of Chriddof on youtube we stumbled upon an old VHS rip from the  CBBC Broom Cupboard.   Containing presenter  Andi Peters, Edd the Duck and Wilson the butler, they introduced the film Zoo Robbery, and as soon as the opening credits appeared I knew just where the eskimo was from.  They don't have clips of this sadly but they do have shots of the Ghost film with Bernard Cribbins and Terry from Terry and June.

Its called Ghost of a chance and we'll put a link up here.

That is all.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Kuru Kuru Twinkle Onegai Ohoshisama.

My obsession in finding this out stems from a small picture in the only copy of Koro Koro comic I own.

Purchased from Lewisham bootsale and comprising of several oddities in itself, (not least a Mole Mania manga and some maze contest for Fushigi no Dungeon) Koro Koro comprises several strips based on established brands such as Pokemon, Mini4WD and Mario 64.   Its the same size and weight as a small brick.  Were not kidding, you can still purchase it from  places like the Japan center up town and the like.  Its one of these give aways that the pic is from (a puzzle game in which from the picture looks like your battling some sort of crab), for ages my Japanese was poor enough miss out the title, but a recent look through with 1337er skills brought up the name.  Kuru Kuru Twinkle Onegai Ohoshisama.

Snesorama gave us the proper links for downloading and we fired up EPSXE for perusal once we grabbed the iso.

First problem, sound isn't the greatest on this, in fact its not supported at all leaving just the sound effects (and just noise if you use the default plugin rather then Eternals SPU  plug in).

Second problem. Theres quite a bit of text to wade through including a scrolly menu system, and a big intro (thats skippable).  However we've put together a menu translation that will help you out in this case.

Main menu.
おはなし Story mode. Take on twelve signs of the zodiac for items
ずーうと One player mode
セーブ Save
ロード Load
せつめい Config screen (controller)
つくる Construction kit  use おわり to exit here if you visit here by mistake.
ぱずる Puzzle mode.  You have one move to clear the screen and can play as any of the weirdos from story mode.
たたかえ Battle mode 2P only.

Hitting ずーうと (1p Mode will get you a mass of difficulty settings and afterward special attacks to pick through).
They range from まあまあ very easy Level 1 to 達人 expert mode Level 80, its just a case of flicking through and picking you level and then special attack.

Gameplay explanation.

OK, this is the real meat of the article.  You control a 2x2 cursor on screen.  Pressing X will flip it horizontally and pressing Circle will flip it vertically (Triangle has your special attack).  The aim of the game is to create lines of three gems in a row (or an L shape that works too) that disappear and create chains if there are blocks that can make three below you.
You'll get a whole row falling instead of the odd pair and its game over if it reaches the top of the screen.

Hampering your efforts are garbage blocks which look like breezeblocks.  Unlike any other game where making three the same will eliminate them, you have to make a line of them just like in Tetris. Unlike Tetris, when they drop they will clear everything  under them leaving you with extra space to work with.

Story mode works the same except you get x shaped garbage blocks to work with, and a selection of weird versions of zodiac characters, including the aforementioned crab creature and what looks like Chouanikis Adol and Samson further on.

In conclusion, the game is actually good, the different buttons used to flip become second nature over a while and it provides some tense moments for you especially if you concentrate on clearing blocks rather then watch the top of the screen.   Not quite sure why this didn't get a Midas Game release toward the end of the PS1s life as its the perfect fodder for a budget compilation.  Anyway our over all score is
Kuru Kuru Twinkle Onegai Ohoshisama
Tomy Inc.
Developer Tomcat
Released 1996.

Edit here are some screenshots.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Half rice and Half chips.

So the snookers back on, long time viewers will know I have a love for the beautiful game and a chance throwaway mark on BBC Breakfast bought up a real oddity. 

Chinese player Ding Jun Hui is set to have his own cartoon show in his native china.

I'll say it again, Ding Jun Hui is getting his own show based sort of on him growing up as a shy lad in china and discovering snooker aged nine.   Its called Dragonball 1# and has sod all in relation to Akira Toriyamas take on the Monkey legends.  In fact if the picture behind it is accurate it looks an awful lot like Digimon but with more baize action.  We couldn't zoom in on the back illustration but if its accurate looks like it'll have a badger headed lion in it (but probably won't).

This would never happen  in the UK sadly, there was never a Saturday morning cartoon involving Alex Higgins (although simply imagining him in the title role of 8Ace strip would be mostly accurate).
Going Live was a lot better off knowing that there wasn't a show involving an animated Jimmy White getting into scrapes and failing to win the Embassy world championships.  The less said about Steve Davis or Terry Griffiths as a lead character the better.

In unrelated news we've been playing mostly obscure PS1 puzzle games, but we've taken time out of our busy schedule to poke around Taito's PC Engine output. 

Taito's out put seemed to convert many of their more obscure arcade games to the system.  A cursory look around Gamefaqs brings up this not incomplete list. 
Bonze's Adventure.
Don Doko Don,
Parasol Stars,
Liquid Kids.

Its only with the PC Engine CD that we veer into more familiar territory.
Rainbow Islands.
New Zeland Story
Space Invaders (Published by NEC Interchannel and brought out in 1995)
It seems that Taito treated the PC Engine as something as a test bed, most of these games never really got released on anything but PC Engine. (and those that weren't had a patchy conversion rate, C64 Parasol Stars is now lost, and Liquid Kids for Amiga showed up only recently).

A lot of these only became well known through the Taito Legends Compilation series, which brought together most of Taito's arcade output.  Anyway normal service tomorrow we'll be looking at Kuru Kuru Twinke Onegai Ohoshisama by Tomy.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Marchen Maze links.

Rather than amend the above post we'll just drop these links in here.

Marchen Maze strategy guide
Marchen Maze write up.  Still nothing concrete on the western arcade version as of yet.

Yet more PC Engine stuff.

We've had more of a chance to play around with Ootake now, more specifically refinding something I saw from my childhood.

But first the usual reminiscence.

We may have told you about a place called Trading World that used to be in Bexleyheath in the early to mid nineties. It was a collection of small stalls and shops selling all manner of items. They had a few game stands there one that specialized in Amiga stuff (they had Mario baiting german platformer, Great Giana Sisters running at one time), and one dedicated to Console games with load of import games. Of the three games I remember them doing one was Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts on the SNES(or its Super Fami incarnation Chomakaimura to be exact). The others were early hori shmup, Cyberlip for Neo-Geo and Marchen Maze which looked fucking impressive to my 12 year old eyes more used to the brown tinged hues of a C64.

Recently remembering this was a PC Engine game, we downloaded it and booted it up in Ootake. It still looks the part, even if the intro is entirely in Japanese, you can easily work out its based on Alice in Wonderland. Its by Namcot long before their change over to Namco and is based on an arcade game of the same name. Available for the Sharp X68000 also, its a middling vertical scrolling platformer, shooting game, complete with unsual enemies such as Tweedledum and a Mushroom smoking a fag (though we always thought it was the caterpillar which had the nicotine addiction in the original book). The premise is to make it to the end of the level and take down the boss Queen of Hearts.

The first level is Okashi land (i'e Sweetyland) and many of the enemies will try and push you over the edge in which case you lose one of you lives represented by a balloon. Make it to the end and you'll fight a boss, in this case an absolute git of a wizard who'll kill you stone dead in seconds flat.

We've yet to find if was localised for western systems, apparently its called Alice In Wonderland in western arcades and has an isometric viewpoint which the PC Engine lacks. We'll need to check if the X68000 does the same, but in any case the same can be said its barely average.

Anyway we don't have a scan of Marchen Maze but we do have a shoddy little ad from GameStuff.

Hullo Buster are you looking for a good time dearie.
Buster Bunny from Tiny Toons encounters (judging from the picutre) a Shemale Prostitute called Targa and offers 'her' his arse. And by arse we mean games. Apparently you can call for 'specials' too, we shudder to think what that could be.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Happy new Year.

Great tidings be upon ye.  We're still going through the best and worst of the old year so no scans for awhile yet.

We'll finish up music with.

Best Ambient of the year.
Massively slowed Justin Bieber.  Obviously we're not going to give him the oxygen of publicity but damn you have to give him credit for remaining high pitched when massively pitched down.  Even if that means he remains a castrato his whole adult life.

Mix of the year.  Optimo (Espacio) Fabric 52
Spanning from 70's cuban latin arrangements to, Levon Vincent's acid revival track Love Technique, this is pretty top work, face it if you can't see the joins where one track begins and another ends then thats one hot mix.

Finally not that anyone cares and it isn't music related but it seems someone has seriously started hacking the PS3, Sony's also ran Blue Ray Player and sometime games console.  

Apparently, as a project to reinsert linux back into the console, the "1337 dudez" at Fail0verflow have managed to gain some control over low level stuff inside.  Whether linux works or not at the moment is moot but surely its the gateway to better homebrew emulation and of course pirate stuff.  Not that we care pirate wise seeing as its region free already, (possibly the only remotely sensible thing they did with the PS3 in the first place).  I wonder if they'll port PCSX2 (and do what Sony couldn't i.e proper PS2 emulation) if it gets wider usability from the modding community.