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Thread: Opinions on poorly documented imports

  1. #141
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default Otogirisou

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    Otogirisou for the Super Famicom was a game I bought seeing it cold and unlabeled at a store for $2. I was intrigued by the creepy looking mansion on the sticker art, and at that price, it hardly seemed like a risk...

    Well, turns out it was a sound novel, which is basically the same thing as a graphic novel, but with a little more emphasis on the sound effects and music. The game definitely gets it right in that respect, with nice, crisp sounds, pleasant ambient music, and the occasional growl or shriek for good measure.

    You play as a young man who is in a car crash during a thunderstorm with his girlfriend, and desperate for cover, you find yourself in a creepy old mansion. You mostly just read and soak in the ambience, but the text is entirely in Japanese, so ambience may be your only choice. Still, in best Choose Your Own Adventure tradition, you are occasionally presented with a choice to make, which can lead to brief asides or an untimely end. The game does pretty well in delivering nice still portraits to aid your imagination, and goes for broke on the odd jump scare with startling visuals at specific times.

    Whether or not this is for you has more to do with your understanding of the language than anything, but there is some cool atmosphere to soak in with the sound and images. It was popular enough in Japan to get sequels and a remake on PS1, but much of its charm is lost if you can't read it. I kinda like it, but I also get the occasional sleepy night where I enjoy soaking in this sort of thing.

  2. #142
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default Pachio-kun: Maboroshi no Densetsu

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    Not a single day goes by where I don't get at least 0 PMs requesting some conversation about pachinko RPGs. So, for the nobody who asked, and the one person high out of their mind enough to find this one interesting, here's Pachio-kun: Maboroshi no Densetsu!

    Coconuts put out quite a few pachinko or pachinko-themed games, and they had their anthropomorphic pachinko ball mascot, Pachio-kun, star in many of them, including this PC Engine CD game. In this case, you travel about town from gambling parlor to gambling parlor in a setup that feels a little like Casino Kid or Card Fighters Clash, playing pachinko to earn... um, more balls? Like a traditional JRPG, you have your overhead view, and you can talk to other patrons or staff, save, or, when you're ready, walk up to your machine of choice and start to play.

    I'm not going to go too in depth on how to play pachinko. You control by turning a knob, which adjusts the force by which your balls are launched onto the vertical playfield, which is strewn with pins and targets. Your goal is to hit targets to score points, which grants extra balls. Hitting certain targets causes special targets to open briefly, and your goal in this game isto try to drain each machine you can. You can zoom in and scrutinize the pin layout, which is a must if you actually intend to play seriously, in order to find the best launch trajectory to maximize your scoring chances.

    If you for some insane reason want to play this game, the custom pachinko controller is a must. Yeah, you can control it kinda clumsily with the D-pad, but if you do, you're missing the point of playing pachinko seriously enough to play an RPG about it starring a living ball. The spring-loaded lever actually works quite well, and a steady hand can actually help you take some tables down. Fortunately, it is also functional as a standard PC Engine controller, so you can let the friend you like the least use it when you play Dungeon Explorer II.

    There is some fun to be had here, especially with the controller. There is a weird story, too, involving your girlfriend (also a pachinko ball... no ball on human relations here!) getting kidnapped, and the way I've been able to advance it is by completely cleaning out individual machines, but I can't guarantee that that is the trigger and not a specific amount of balls earned. I can't say I'd recommend it to everyone, but if you are a pachinko enthusiast, this controller setup is pretty cool.

    Heh. Balls.
    Last edited by celerystalker; 02-03-2016 at 11:31 PM.

  3. #143
    Peach (Level 3) Koa Zo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celerystalker View Post
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    and the one person high out of their mind enough to find this one interesting, here's Pachio-kun: Maboroshi no Densetsu!
    Ha! I have this one! And no I wasn't high out of my mind when I purchased it. That might've helped though when I tried to play it.
    I've been a controller fetishist for some time, and who could really resist that funky looking PC-Engine controller?!

    iirc that controller is compatible with 2 or 3 other Pachinko games on PCE as well. I've played a little bit, but pachinko just doesn't excite me

  4. #144
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koa Zo View Post
    Ha! I have this one! And no I wasn't high out of my mind when I purchased it. That might've helped though when I tried to play it.
    I've been a controller fetishist for some time, and who could really resist that funky looking PC-Engine controller?!

    iirc that controller is compatible with 2 or 3 other Pachinko games on PCE as well. I've played a little bit, but pachinko just doesn't excite me
    I do seriously dig the controller, and it does work with a few others as well. It's definitely the highlight of the experience.

  5. #145
    Great Puma (Level 12) Steve W's Avatar
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    I just wanted to chime in here and say that I'm really enjoying this thread. It's giving me some interesting games to try out in emulation, and I've even got a couple of those titles already, just randomly picked up in the wild over the years. And your mentioning of your love of the Xanadu series, I was wondering if you had picked up Xanadu Next on the Nokia N-Gage, and what you thought about it.

  6. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
    I just wanted to chime in here and say that I'm really enjoying this thread. It's giving me some interesting games to try out in emulation, and I've even got a couple of those titles already, just randomly picked up in the wild over the years. And your mentioning of your love of the Xanadu series, I was wondering if you had picked up Xanadu Next on the Nokia N-Gage, and what you thought about it.
    Thanks! I do love Xanadu. I haven't played Next yet, as I unfortunately haven't picked up an N-gage yet. I've done Xanadu (the Saturn remake on Falcom Classics vol. 1), Faxanadu, Legend of Xanadu, and Legend of Xanadu 2, and I love all of them, so I hope it at least sort of lives up to its heritage.

  7. #147
    Great Puma (Level 12) Steve W's Avatar
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    I played Xanadu Next briefly, but I don't remember anything about it other than I thought the 3D characters looked good. This was close to the end of the N-Gage's run, and GameStop was selling the games off dirt cheap. I played Xanadu Next briefly and moved on to the other five or six titles I picked up at the same time for something like $2.99 each.

    Looking up screenshots for the N-Gage version, I found out that it was an English port from the Japanese PC version. And that a company is finally going to release a localized English language version of the PC game this upcoming summer, 11 years after its original Japanese release. So it looks like you won't need to get an N-Gage.

    I think it's weird that a Japanese company made a port of their game to a phone that was never released in Japan. And a multi-language European release, too. And they couldn't be bothered with translating the PC version.

  8. #148
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Thanks for the heads up on that PC version. That might be the first PC game I've bought in... sheesh, I don't remember... maybe 15 years? I do love Falcom, though.

  9. #149
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    Default Chou Majin Eiyuuden Wataru: Mazekko Monster 1 & 2

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    I've gone on before about Keith Courage/Wataru games, and these were some of the last ones I tracked down, as it was difficult to discern at the time what they were. Chou Majin Eiyuuden Wataru: Mazekko Monster looked like it might be some sort of Pokémon knock off, so I figured what the hell, I'll give it a spin.

    Well, Mazekko Monster is a little less Pokémon and a lot more Tamagotchi. You begin raising a monster as an egg in a jar. It hatches, and you begin playing, feeding, and nurturing your monster until it grows strong. You can then begin raising other monsters, and cross-breeding them to create new monsters, rinse, and repeat.

    The sequel is more of the same, but with more activities to do with your monsters and new ones to raise. The character portraits are bigger and more detailed, and there are more cameos from the Wataru universe in this one.

    I don't have a ton to say about these two, unfortunately. Virtual pets really aren't my thing, even if they're themed from a property of which I'm rather fond, and it's all the more cumbersome in Japanese. Only a very special combination of Japanese-speaking Wataru and Tamagotchi enthusiast will get a fulfilling experience from these. For me, I'll go back to the other three Wataru games to get my fix.

  10. #150
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    Default Momotaro Katsugeki

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    Time for another Peach Boy game, and this time it's not an RPG or a board game! Momotaro Katsugeki is an action platformer that's less hop 'n bop and more hack and slash. You start on an overworld map like Super Mario 3, and you work your way through lengthly side scrolling levels filled with towns, items, enemies and boss fights in a cartoony style like Goemon or Hammerin' Harry.

    You get three lives with which to complete each stage, though you can continue after dying. You attack with a sword that also shoots a projectile, and killing enemies gives you coins. When you stumble across a town, you can spend your money on items such as health restoratives, invincibility, or new swords that temporarily give you improved strength and range. You select your items from a menu to use whenever you want, though you do lose most of your money each time you die. Clearing large chunks of a stage gives you checkpoints in the form of monk statues from which you continue if you die. There are also bonus huts from time to time such as the quiz challenge, where if you answer five questions in a row correctly, you can get a cool bonus like a free life... but they're all in Japanese.

    The graphics are super bright and colorful, and the music is cheerful as well. The level design quickly becomes super cool, with moving platforms, spikes, gears, ropes, ladders, and all manner of hazards layered over cool backgrounds to create a nice pace and challenge that's focused more on skillful platforming and attacking than anything else. It's a pretty tight package that works really well once you get used to the movement of your character, who takes a second to build a little momentum.

    Momotaro is a good looking and playing game that fits right in with Goemon, Alex Kidd, Hammerin' Harry, and Chiki Chiki Boys, and is one of the few games from the franchise with only a minor language barrier in selecting items to use from your menu and the quiz bonus game, which will not make or break your chances at finishing the game, and it's still at this time pretty inexpensive. The Momotaro games are tough to tell apart, so if you can't tell and it doesn't say Katsugeki, it's vol. 32 in Hudson's PC Engine series. I like it.
    Last edited by celerystalker; 02-13-2016 at 06:58 PM.

  11. #151
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    Default Falcom Classics

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    Whether you like their games or not, you've to to respect the hell out of Falcom. They have been making the games they want to make in the style they like for more than 30 years, and they do not forget their past. Whether it's continuously propogating and remaking Ys games, patchworking a massive franchise like Dragon Slayer into a ton of sequels, only to spin them off into sub-series like Xanadu, Sorcerian, Lord Monarch, or Legend of freaking Heroes, they just keep their kinds of games coming, and spit out the odd Popful Mail or Tombs and Treasures as side projects. Falcom Classics on Sega Saturn is a celebration of three of their early RPGs, redone with beautiful backgrounds and sprites, orchestrated music, and the option to tweak the mechanics to play in a modernized "Saturn Mode" or retain their original PC-88 mechanics. The games they chose to venerate in this collection are Dragon Slayer, Xanadu (Dragon Slayer II), and Ys Book I.

    Dragon Slayer is credited as one of the first Japanese RPGs, and honestly... it's more significant than playable. Even updated for Saturn, the core game here is wandering an overhead maze, collecting power crystals, taking them to your home to level up, and survive long enough to become powerful and slay a dragon. It's easy to die, and a super slow grind, and then it's off to another maze to do the same. It's massively long and tedious, but can get oddly addictive if you get in an old-school zone, just wanting to kill one more dragon... but it's generally speaking a pain in the ass. It did pioneer Falcom's "barrel into your enemies like an idiot and hope for the best" combat, and at least there's no real language barrier, and the Saturn version is merciful enough to allow saving...

    Xanadu, though, is imminently more playable, especially tweaked for Saturn. This one is a side-scrolling adventure that looks more like Romancia or Legacy of the Wizard. The shopkeepers even speak English! In Xanadu, touching an enemy opens up an overhead battle screen, and you fight your enemies Ys-style, or you can use the C button to fire a magic attack once you've powered up your INT stat. You explore Metroid-like until you find a castle or dungeon you want to enter. These play out largely like the labyrinths in the Legend of Zelda, and tend to revolve around finding enough keys to make your way to the boss. Level up and get equipment first, though, because those bosses want to fight. The fights play out on a 2D horizontal plane, and were clearly the inspiration for the superior fights in the later Legend of Xanadu games. It's fun once you get a feel for it, and even your items are displayed in English along with your stats and such, making it a breeze to play, even in Japanese.

    Ys Book I has been on so many systems and has been re-made so many times that it hardly needs an introduction. It does feature the steepest language barrier of the bunch, but everything having icons helps when figuring out your equipment. The new graphics are nice, and the arrangements of the music are pretty cool. Other than that, it's the same old short and sweet Ys Book I you've known forever... and if you haven't, I'd say you've missed out if you like old-school action RPGs.

    The first release (pictured here) also came with a Special CD, which contains some bonus features. These include an Ys Book 1 drama with beautiful art stills to help relate the story, a brief behind the scenes of the voice actors from said drama, a tour of a little Falcom showroom full of stuff you'll just be mad you don't own, and an art gallery slide show. It's neat stuff for a die hard Falcom fan, but completely unnecessary from a gameplay standpoint.

    For me, the prettied up Xanadu is the real gem of the bunch, and is probably the most accessible, playable version available. Dragon Slayer is charming, but a slog, and there are plenty of ways to play Ys in English. If you're a Falcom fan, it's a no brainer, but if you're more just curious about some older games, I'd be a little more cautious. It's a must for a Xanadu fan, though!

  12. #152
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default Falcom Classics II

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    Falcom Classics vol. I presented three of the company's seminal games in Ys Book I, Dragon Slayer, and Xanadu, all prettied up for the Saturn for your revisiting pleasure. They streamlined a few archaic design issues to make them just a hair more playable, and it was pretty successful. So, they felt the opportunity for a series of compilations was present and set loose another pair of Saturnized classics to see how they'd fair. This time, it's Ys Book II and Asteka II.

    Now, Ys has an enormous legacy as it is, and Ys II has had plenty of releases and remakes. This is one of the prettier ones, and is a cool companion piece to the first Falcom Classics release. Book II is considerably longer than Ys I, and it has all of the same graphical tweaks and orchestration as its predecessor. There are plenty of ways to play it in english already, but if you are an Ys superfan, you'll find a lot to like in playing through this deluxe package, even if it is the same old Ys with a nice coat of paint.

    Asteka II, though... now THAT... actually, that's pretty easy to play in english as well. It's the NES cult classic, Tombs and Treasures, now playable on your Saturn! It's a prettied up version of the point & click/RPG hybrid, also offering up reorchestrated music and an oh-so-slightly tweaked interface that displays info on your cursor and displays your inventory on the exploration screens. You search ancient Aztec ruins and solve puzzles. However, this is based on the original PC version, and as such had removed pretty much all of the combat in favor of the story and point and click elements. It's neat to see it get some love, but the game is pretty tough to play in japanese if you don't already know the game like the back of your hand.

    Falcom Classics II is neat to continue your Ys quest if you enjoyed vol. 1, but this is a pair of games you can easily play in english and on other systems. It's tough to recommend to anyone but an enormous Falcom nut, as the games here are hardly the ultimate Falcom experience... I'd have been thrilled for a glossy Legacy of the Wizard or Faxanadu, or even Romancia, but it wasn't in the cards here. Ah, well. At least volume 1 had Xanadu.

  13. #153
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    Default Dragon Slayer Gaiden

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    Continuing in the Falcom vein I've apparently started on this page, Dragon Slayer Gaiden is a Game Boy exclusive spinoff of the original Dragon Slayer... but as there is no real story to Dragon Slayer beyond, um... slaying... dragons..., Dragon Slayer Gaiden is really just a use of the franchise title, which carried some clout in Japan, to market a new action RPG with similar thematic elements. Since most Dragon Slayer sequels are detached as much as mainline Final Fantasies, this is no big swerve.

    Anyhow, Dragon Slayer Gaiden is an overhead action RPG that immediately looks like a Zelda or Final Fantasy Adventure/Seiken Densetsu, which is pretty accurate on the whole. You talk to NPCs in towns, learn about their problems, then truck off to dungeons to kill what ails them. In the overworld, you'll fight monsters much in the style of the original Legend of Zelda, with a sword that protrudes in a direct thrust with a tap of a button. This is worth mentioning, as most Falcom games eschewed button presses in combat in favor of barreling into enemies offset, but as this was made by Epoch in a licensing agreement in which they ported Falcom games to cartridge systems and included Barcode Battler compatability in Dragon Slayer: Legend of Heroes II, it has a unique feel. Perhaps the thing that feels strangest, though, is movement. You move on an invisible grid, one square at a time in a manner that feels like the NES Dragon Warrior games. It's an odd feel for an action RPG, but it works well enough as you get a feel for it, and the game does not force you to take damage just to turn to strike an adjacent enemy.

    Really, the fantasy theme and the way monsters rise from grave stone generators are the only real ties to the actual Dragon Slayer, but Gaiden is still a very playable game on the system of a modest, beatable length and can be solved by english speakers with a little trial and error. The graphucs are pretty par for the time, though its color enhancement by various players is a pretty dull green over everything, so I prefer the black & white. The music is okay but forgettable, and the combat is a little slow and easy.

    Realistically, Dragon Slayer Gaiden is for two kinds of players: die hard action RPG portable fans or Falcom fans, as although it is rather playable and even fun, it doesn't do a whole lot that is truly unique aside from a cool feature where you can choose from 4 character classed with unique abilities (I prefer the fighter) that, while a cool idea, don't really change the structure of the game aside from the bizarre Tanker class.

    If you're a Dragon Slayer fan, go for it. It's a fun little departure for the series. Otherwise, it's likely to collect dust. At least it's not super pricey.
    Last edited by celerystalker; 03-02-2016 at 02:48 PM.

  14. #154
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    Well, started adding some crude screenshots to the posts in this thread. It's gonna be a little random, as it's a lot easier if I do it by system instead of the order they were posted, and there's well over a hundred games gone over in here, so it'll take a few days where I have time, but it's a start. Got Blade of the Darkness, Bokan GoGoGo, Odo Odo Oddity, The Adventures of Robin Lloyd, Dokioki, Azito, and Super Robot Shooting tonight. Hope it adds some fun for anyone who likes this stuff.

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    Great Puma (Level 12) Steve W's Avatar
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    I decided to... acquire... Time Bokan GoGoGo for emulation purposes based on your article (and having enjoyed the Yatterman Night anime that was out recently) and I've got to say, it's pretty confusing and not tremendously good. I found the steering to be pretty awkward. There are something like three other Time Bokan based PS1 games, but my emulator doesn't want to run them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
    I decided to... acquire... Time Bokan GoGoGo for emulation purposes based on your article (and having enjoyed the Yatterman Night anime that was out recently) and I've got to say, it's pretty confusing and not tremendously good. I found the steering to be pretty awkward. There are something like three other Time Bokan based PS1 games, but my emulator doesn't want to run them.
    The thing with Bakan GoGoGo is that in story mode, your vehicle is kinda crappy at first, and by completing races, you get points to spend on upgrading its speed, handling, etc. On top of that, it has more of a rally kind of feel with an emphasis on power sliding and drifting. They simplified it, though, by just having you press R1 to go into a power slide, which works pretty well. Don't know if that'll make it any more enjoyable for you, but I really started to have fun once I got my hands around the controls.

    The best of the Time Bokan games to me is Bokan to Ippatsu. It's a vertical shooter and plays great.

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    I had a question. When I bought Sunsoft Vol. 4 and 5 a few years ago, Metafight, RAF World, and Hebereke all had an annoying "bass" sound to all the music (Ripple Island sounded just fine). Just curious if you experienced that or if they sound just like their FC counterparts?

    Also, great thread! I knew about some of these, but many are ones I've never heard of and sound interesting!

  18. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDCecil View Post
    I had a question. When I bought Sunsoft Vol. 4 and 5 a few years ago, Metafight, RAF World, and Hebereke all had an annoying "bass" sound to all the music (Ripple Island sounded just fine). Just curious if you experienced that or if they sound just like their FC counterparts?
    Is the bass in Hebereke playing wrong notes? I've seen the game do that in certain emulators.

    Quote Originally Posted by DDCecil View Post
    Also, great thread! I knew about some of these, but many are ones I've never heard of and sound interesting!
    Agreed!

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenband View Post
    Is the bass in Hebereke playing wrong notes? I've seen the game do that in certain emulators.
    They were played on an actual Japanese PS1. If I recall, the bass was just really loud, drowning out the rest of the soundtrack!

  20. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDCecil View Post
    I had a question. When I bought Sunsoft Vol. 4 and 5 a few years ago, Metafight, RAF World, and Hebereke all had an annoying "bass" sound to all the music (Ripple Island sounded just fine). Just curious if you experienced that or if they sound just like their FC counterparts?

    Also, great thread! I knew about some of these, but many are ones I've never heard of and sound interesting!
    Thanks! As soon as I can, I'll check up on that music question and compare the NES to the PS1 sound.

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