Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Magical Doropie Birthday Megapost

  Today is December 14, and 20 years ago on this exact day, Magical Doropie was released in Japan for the Nintendo Famicom. Magical Doropie was developed by Vic Tokai, a sibling company of TOKAI Inc., a natural gas company. Vic Tokai (Valuable Information & Communication) is a telecommunications company that from 1986 to 1998 made video games for various systems as well as the PC.
  The plot of the game is that Earth has been attacked by the Akudama Empire (Fun fact: Akudama is Japanese for “Bad Guy.” At least Akudama sounds pretty cool...) All of Earth’s weaponry, even the most advanced, are unable to harm the Akudama’s robots. Their only hope is to summon the last remaining witch that hasn’t been sealed away: Doropie. A mercenary named Kagemaru is sent out to recover her staff, and manages to summon Doropie just in the knick of time after being chased and surrounded by the Akudama’s scout robots. It’s up to Doropie to fight against the robotic army and save the Earth from a complete takeover.

  The gameplay is similar to Mega Man, between the abilities, the color changing, the main character’s sprites (not exactly but they do bear a slight resemblance) and even the charge ability. Interestingly, this game came out before Mega Man IV, meaning it came up with the idea of a charge attack first. It isn’t implemented as well as in Mega Man, though, since cancelling the charge halfway won’t launch an attack. It also stops charging if Doropie gets hit or descends to another “section” of the level.
  One thing I like about this game is how the different abilities are used. Rather than like Mega Man where the weapons are primarily meant to outmuscle a foe, here they’re used in the strategic sense, introducing a puzzle element to the traditional run ‘n gun fare. Of course, you’ll spend most of the time using the Ball and Broom abilities more than the others, but still.
  The game’s much harder than a Mega Man title, as the enemies are harder and the level design can work against you. It seems kinda unpolished in some places, as when the screen scrolls downwards you can find yourself guaranteed hit by an enemy or falling into a pit of spikes you couldn’t see beforehand (the beginning of 3-1 is a good example.) Still, it’s a fun game if you stick with it, and could definitely use a sequel that enhances its fine points.

  Speaking of unpolished, Magical Doropie managed to get released into the U.S. as The Krion Conquest.

  Not much was changed. The title was altered, Doropie was redrawn in the intro and renamed Francesca (Kagemaru, the orange-haired mercenary, is unmentioned in The Krion Conquest,) removed the continue ability, which means losing all your lives leads back to the title screen, and the biggest thing: They removed the cutscenes. The cutscenes are considered to be the best thing about the game, done similarly to Ninja Gaiden, featuring gorgeous anime spritework of the characters and events. This leads to the game not having much of a story outside the manual and intro. In fact, the credits just scroll over the final boss’ battlefield.
  Magical Doropie also got released by Genki Mobile in Japan for mobile phones though the Vodafone service on January 14, 2004. It features scaled down graphics, but looks pretty faithful. The game got edited to be much easier, especially since this was on dinky cellphones.
  And now, to celebrate 20 years of Doropie, here’s some neat stuff I found/put together. First off…Another Unused Sprite Examination, since it turned out there wasn't as much there as I originally thought:

  So even the Japanese version had much more in plan (More on this later...) First off, there’s Kagemaru, complete with sprites that mirror Doropie’s. This tells us that he was planned as a playable character. He even has his own hi-tech broom! He just uses Doropie’s life icon, but I put together my own for him for the fun of it (And for something else at the end of this article.)  Next is…An unused character! Again, the sprites say that she was meant to be a playable character, but unlike Kagemaru, she never made it into the final game. She has her own life icon, which is that goofy smiling face similar to the one Doropie makes in 2-1’s cutscene. I don’t have any programming or hacking knowledge, so I’m not sure what else there is with her in the game, like a name or anything. To make life much easier (and because I’m not going to retype “Unused Character” a dozen times) we’ll just nickname her Aiko for now. Also note how she seems to be a cupid-type character of some kind, judging by her broom.
  The other thing is that unfinished Doropie sprite. That’s all the tiles that remain of it, which is why it isn’t complete, but I’m guessing it has to do with the Clone Doropie you fight on the Space Station. Its palette is differently done than the Doropie sprites (hence the coloring from the tile editor, which was set to Doropie’s normal color scheme,) and there’s none else like I could find.

  Aiko sprites and life icon, two of which I put together. Doropie’s cutscene sprites for comparison.

  Kagemaru’s sprite set. His eyes are the same as Doropie’s and Aiko’s, rather than the more blank eyes used in the intro and cutscenes (last minute change?) I think it’s pretty cool how his weapon is the bigass gun from the Japanese box.  Kinda wonder why the U.S. version didn't bring him back?  He would've been more appealing to them if it featured a guy with a giant gun.

  The weird Doropie sprites with her holding the gun. To the right is some tiles I found of I guess Clone Doropie phasing in, which I believe is used in the game. Not all of it seemed to be there, though.  That, or I couldn't find it.  Some of the sprites are stored oddly in their vicinity.

  Tiles from the “Round # Start” screen that’s absent in The Krion Conquest. Notice the “Magical Kid’s” graphics… The game’s Japanese name is Magical Kids Doropie, which certainly explains the two unused character sprites earlier. Again, more was planned for this game than originally led on. Those tiles might still be there, just blackened out, though I’m not fully sure.

Video of Aiko and Kagemaru in action

  Next up, Bootlegs!

  Bootleg Doropie Carts. Interestingly, the game achieved a cult status among Japanese gamers (not too surprising, since it combines everything Japan loves: robots, cute witches, nonsensical action...) so bootlegs are to be expected. The blue one uses art taken from the Japanese version’s box backing. The yellow one features art from something else, though I’m not sure what exactly.

  Japanese gamers could see the similarities to Mega Man, and one person even made a ROM hack of Magical Doropie featuring Mega Man! The palettes and Doropie sprites were altered, but the cutscenes were omitted. It somehow saw a bootleg release. Why do I act surprised?

  Now for images of the Japanese version’s cart, box, etc.

  Magical Doropie wasn’t originally going to be called The Krion Conquest for its U.S. release. It was supposed to be called Francesca’s Wand:

  Francesca looks a bit more “goth” on the title screen. Also that gameplay screenshot features a different level layout than either version. By that I mean there’s more of a slope over to the left. Maybe they were going to edit the levels and make them easier? Or I’m stupid and forgot that it’s actually in the game. Either way. Is it me or is Francesca’s sprite different? Her pose seems a bit different and it looks like she’s wearing black shorts. Is there a better scan out there somewhere? Dammit, this screenshot’s got me curious now!

  Finally, various images and videos by fans, officials, etc.


Following Three by Ryuu Majin


Perfect Run by JokerTH08

Let's Play by DigitalNinja21


(Includes the Kagemaru and Aiko edits, different language variations so far, etc.)

Magical Rockman (Magical Doropie Hack)
Thanks, Pirateman!

  Like the music? Here’s my personal Soundtrack release for the game, featuring some songs that went unused in the final game! Tagged to be a parody of Japanese soundtrack listings (like Mega Man 9).  File names help tell you what the songs are used for.

  That’s all for now! I’m gonna play The Krion Conquest to celebrate even further.

(Note: If there's something here that's yours and you want credit, let me know.  I found some of these things during 2-hour Google searching and forgot where they came from.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Daze Before Christmas - The Prototype

  Here's something new: a prototype cart for the obscure (and ungodly expensive) Daze Before Christmas game for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive.  I've never played this game before, so I'm not sure what's different about it gameplay-wise (refer to video at the end) and I know almost nothing about programming and technical stuff, but I might as well share what I did manage to document.  I was originally going to do a deep investigation to see what's different about it, but I couldn't get the energy or interest to do it.  So here's some useful stuff:

  Ignore the DBZ cart; that was just sent for a new case.  Anyway, the one on the left is Daze Before Christmas and the one on the right is apparently a Karaoke prototype.  It doesn't have any screw holes in the board, so I can't get it into a cartridge.  Even if I removed the screw pegs in an empty cart, it likely wouldn't hold the board in place for insertion (I know this from my Shenzhen Nanjing carts).  Here's a little blurb from my text file scoping up the protos and getting them into a sturdier case:

Daze Before Christmas' board is [2 7/16 inches] (6 4/5 MM) tall and [3 7/8 inches]

(9 7/10 MM) wide. Original Cart is {U.S. Genesis} style and is held with two (2) phillips head screws (+). Board was put into

Sonic 1 cart and fits perfectly. Back of cart has the usual warning on right side

of space, while left side has patent info:

Patents: U.S. Nos. 3,332,466/

4,454,594/4,462,076; Europe No.

80244; Canada No. 1,183,276;

Hong Kong No. 68-4302;

Singapore No. 88-155; Japan

No. 82-205605 (Pending)

Karaoke's board is [4 inches] (10 3/10 MM) wide and [2 inches] (5 3/10 MM) tall.

It doesn't have screw holes on it, making it impossible to put into a regular cart.

Jap MD Carts & US Carts won't fit with it because of the screw notches that go into

the screw holes on the board. Filing the notches would have the board loose, so

this isn't recommended, but was considered.
Lastly, images and scans of the two protos:
Daze Before Christmas

Karaoke Prototype

Video of Daze Before Christmas

That's all for now!  I plan on sending these back to their original owner sometime after the weekend, so if you have any questions, ask me now while I still have them.  EDIT: And they're gone!  I couldn't get the Karaoke game to work at all, even on my MD2 console.  Plus I had these games for like a month or two, which is much longer than I planned and I'm surprised that the guy was so patient, considering that he sent me two prototype games...  BUT!  I do have an image from the original auction, for whatever it's worth:

Exciting.  But hey, at least it wasn't a Sonic 1 Prototype or something.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Qiezei's Unlicensed Game Collection - Part 01

  I have a ton of unlicensed junk, many of which are games that are either unknown or undumped.  For the curious and the collectors, I figured I would start sharing scans of my vast collection of games.  Keep in mind, this is just a portion of all the stuff I have.  Some of these are even games that I haven't made videos of, either because I haven't gotten around to it, or they won't work with the technology I've got at the moment.  For this installment, I'll be showing off most of my Game Boy collection.  I'll add a link to a video of the game if one exists (mainly on my video channel)

-Digimon 02 (Just see Digimon Diamond but with Agumon) - A blue sparkly cartridge of the common Yong Yong title.  Game is in English and actually saves your progress, interestingly enough.
-Final Fantasy IV - Just Final Fantasy Legend 3 in Chinese.
-Digimon Yellow Jade - A Sintax platformer very similar to their Harry Potter platformer.
-Beast Fighter - Sometimes called Base Fighter, it's a game where you control one of five giant monsters in a slow horizontal action game.  It tries to be more like a fighter/beat-em-up, but it doesn't accomplish this very well.  Endings and credits are pretty amusing; The ending shows what the five playable characters (whichever one you're playing as) are doing after ruling the world.  Kuskli catches a cold, Bill (yes, Bill) decides to sunbathe against the pyramids, and Dackla gets stuck in an archway in France.  The credits have a news reporter mentioning little blurbs about each staffer too, like Sunny Chen aspiring to be an idol sensation.  My favorite is Amadeus Wang's: "Likes young girls, and his favorite measurements are 32, 28, and 36."  I think there's mention of what age range he prefers (like 18 to 35), but I forget.
-Super 32-in-1 - Proudly proclaims "Multi-Game with Digimon 2."  It has the same Digimon 2 game as previously mentioned, except it also has some "meh" GB games and maybe like one or two GBC titles.  Also has Super Pika Land on it, which is a game that was originally a hack project (or vice-versa.  Hell if I know.)
-Digimon Amethyst: The Dangerous Journey of Deviloom - A Hack of Donkey Kong 5 which I'll show later (or it's a hack of this.)  Made up plot involving little dinosaur's sister getting kidnapped by some evil guy during a TITFUL storm.  Yes, titful.  Funny how you start as the guy from Bubble Bobble (Bub, I think his name is?) and then you grow into Agumon.
-School Fighter - One of the awesome games by Gowin (AKA Hotkid) for the GBC.  You can control one of the three characters on the cover (including that green guy, the Gua Gua Dragon) and you fight against sports-themed demons.  It plays very well and is a lot of fun.
-Pokemon Adventure - Another Yong Yong bootleg, this time an "upgraded" version of their Sonic games (Sonic 3D Blast 5, Sonic Adventure 7, etc.)  The lack of moving platforms makes this a million times more playable, and isn't too bad as long as you're patient.  This specific copy freezes when it tries to load the dragonfly enemy from Stage 2.
-2003 Crash II Advance - Another Sintax game that uses music from Kandume Monsters like their Ice Age game did.  Has iffy controls.
-16-in-1 Advance Game Color - Just some multi-cart.  I probably won't show most of them unless they have something interesting on them because they're very same-y.
-Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back - I tried getting a video up of this, but my GB Player made it work only once out of about 60 tries.  Grr.  It's another Yong Yong title, hacked as Digimon Pocket and the levels mixed up.  Fun fact: The first boss is Mewtwo, while the others are just enemies from other games (especially from Mega Man).  You can't gain extra hight after bouncing on enemies like in other Yong Yong games (by holding A,) so it can makes things a bit tricky, though fortunately you don't get launched backwards when you get hit.
-Harry Potter 2 - Just the Sintax Harry Potter platformer but with a slightly different intro.  I'll get a video of it up one day.

-Donkey Kong 5: The Journey of Over Time and Space - A port of Super Mario Bros. meant to cash in on Super Mario Bros. Deluxe.  It has sorta-unresponsive controls (mainly for when you're trying to do a running jump or something) and collision detection isn't perfect.  Also: the Ending.
-Super Robot Wars F Final - Based off the Sega Saturn game of the same name.  It's a strategy-RPG made by an unlicensed company named SKOB who did some SNES titles and others.
-Digital Monster 2001 - Some fighting game with dinosaurs by Time Warner Interactive and Probe Entertainment.  Yep, just some title hack.  (EDIT: It's Primal Rage.  Thanks codeman38!)
-Digimon 02 5 - Another ANOTHER version of Yong Yong's platformers that are up to nearly 15 now.  Jesus Christ.
-Digimon Diamond - GUESS.
-Pokemon Perfect Silver 2003 - Title screen hack of some GBC Zoids game.  I was hoping it would be a Sintax game or something, but no.
-Pokemon Diamond (Platformer) - A hack of Yong Yong's Super Mario 3 Special.  It not only removes the stage select, but starts you on Stage 4, which is the one unbeatable level in the game.  Dammit, Yong Yong.
-Pokemon Jade - I'll post a video of this up sometime in the future.  It's a hack of Sonic Adventure 7, which is a hack of Sonic 3D Blast 5, which is a shitty Yong Yong game.  I have two copies of this game, and both crash when you touch the end level sign.  I've been trying to get footage of that, but the moving platforms have a 50-50 chance of actually WORKING, so it's been a pain in the ass.
-Pokemon Diamond (RPG) - Yep, the infamous Telefang hack.  I think Sintax did the Engrish translation of this game.
-Digimon Ruby - A cool RPG by Vast Fame.  This is the Chinese version of the game.
-Pokemon Blue Diamond Advance - Dunno what this is.  It won't work on my GBA...
-Digimon Sapphire - Awesome GBA plaformer by Vast Fame.  I gotta beat this game.
-Pokemon Jade (Again) - See above.  The cart's actually supposed to be neon green, but my scanner picked it up weird.  Only works with a GBA or GBA SP, since it's a scaled-down GBC board.
-Super 32-in-1 - A multi-cart with Sonic 3D Blast 5 on it.  Not much else special otherwise.

The front and back of the manuals for the Yong Yong Diamond/Jade games.  The insides are just half of the English manual for Pokemon Gold/Silver.  Pokemon Diamond has the first half, and Pokemon Jade has the second half, awkwardly explaining the items first over everything else.  There isn't even a table of contents.

-Rockman X4 - A HORRIBLE hack of a horrible game (Rockman 8 by Yong Yong).  Throw in Sonic Adventure 7's palette and you have this sin of nature.  BARF.  (BTW, sorry for the crappy scan of it.  The cart's supposed to be yellow and the label is taken from Rockman X4, the real one.)
-Digital Monster 6 - Low-quality Tamagotchi game.  Nothing special.
-Pokemon Gold Version 2 - Pokemon Adventure again, except it works this time.
-Pokemon Blue - Chinese translation based off of the U.S. version.
-Lufia: Ruins of Lore - Chinese translation.  By the way, don't those overworld sprites look...familiar?
-Metal Gunslinger - Chinese translation of an awesome, yet little-known action game.

-Super Mario 4 - AKA Super Mario Land 4, this is a hack of Crayon Shin-Chan 4 without cutscenes, Mario graphics, and hellish level design.  It's very common in multi-carts.
-Jurassic Boy 2 - Sachen's port of their NES game.  It's actually a pretty decent port technical-wise, but the small-as-hell screen hampers the game.  If you're playing on a monocrome system, Chen's rebound and jump height are lessened since the game seems to program certain stuff differently (so instead of, say: "rebound-move 10 pixels reverse," it's instead: "rebound-move reverse for x seconds."  Features bosses, unlike the NES version.
-Pokemon Ruby - An RPG by Vast Fame based off of their Digital Monsters 3 game.  It's pretty damn good with an excellent soundtrack.
-Digimon 02 (again) - Yep.  I love how they put "Don't Open" stickers on their carts.
-Rocman X (Gold) - Another version of Sachen's Thunder Blast Man, believed to have been outsourced (or stolen) from Yong Yong, as it plays as the Pokemon Adventure equivalent to Rockman 8.  The box and title say Rocman X, but the cart says Rocman X Gold.  Interestingly, I've seen more media/images of the physical copy of this version but only two carts of the TBM version...
-Sachen 4-in-1 Version 9 - Contains Zip Ball, Crazy Burger, Final Mission Deep, and Small Gorilla.  Zip Ball and Crazy Burger are the best games on here.

  Box for Digimon 02.  It basically explains what's in the game's intro.  Notice how there's no screenshots on the box...Bootleggers tend to do this, especially Yong Yong.

  Super Mario 4's Box.  It's a Crayon Shin-Chan hack, with Super Mario Bros. Deluxe's description, and Squirrel King/Super Mario World screenshots...  I doubt Gamtec had anything to do with this.  EDIT: I can't believe I forgot this, but one of the screenshots (the upper-right one) appears to be from a prototype version of Super Mario World.  That level, along with the street level, were from Squirrel King, but they were replaced with the Mario-themed levels in SMW.  I believe the box to SMW has this screenshot as well.  This isn't completely uncommon, as the box for the U.S. Sonic 2 game (Genesis/Mega Drive) and Super Mario 64 (from what I've heard) have prototype screenshots on the back.

  Box, cart and instructions of both Beast Fighter and Street Hero.  Street Hero is the GBC port of Sachen's Street Heroes for the NES.  It's not that bad, really, but it does away with the voice clips, which is the best thing about the game.  Beast Fighter is apparently INTELLIGENT!! and CHALLENGE!!

  Box, manual, and instructions for Jurassic Boy 2 and Rocman X.  I don't know what's with the strange clipart on the back of JB2's box.

  And finally, box and cart scans of three of Gamtec's Mega Drive titles!

  Bomboy didn't come with a box (I'm keeping an eye out for a complete copy) and Magic Girl seems to be a reprint.  I got the game from "ps3gouken" on ebay, who apparently, according to some message board, makes his own unlicensed games.  (Psst!  Hey!  Will you make me a boxed Bomboy game?)  Either way, it's doesn't seem to be an official re-release.  I wonder what PC Doujin game they got that box art from?  It'd be funny if it were from a Touhou game, seeing that they have a few similarities.  Adventurous Boy is apparently extremely rare, so I'm happy to own a copy of it.  Magic Girl and Adventurous Boy are the same as the current ROM dumps.

That's everything!  I'll show off my Famicom and Mega Drive collection in the future, as well as some GB games I missed (such as Pocket Monsters Go! Go!).