Triple Feature of The Living Dead or… Resident Evil Gaiden, Resident Evil GBC & Biohazard NES

This one is kinda late, yet still at the right moment. You may have heard that Capcom announced a new Resident Evil game. An asynchronous 4 vs 1 multiplayer game. That’s, great? I don’t know, but this gives me the perfect timing to speak about a few abysmal RE Games. One that was officially released, one that has been canceled and a bootleg. They have two things in common; they are in 2D and have been released for Nintendo Consoles. So, let’s start with…

He looks like I feel in the morning.

RE Gaiden was released in 2001 for the Game Boy Color. You play (for the first time in the series) as Barry Burton. This time the game takes place on a cruise ship, predating RE Dead Aim and Revelations 1. So, what’s the flavour, besides the excepted gameplay, zombies and Umbrella? Leon S. Kennedy goes missing and you have to find him. The gameplay is the same as the other games up to RE 4: Kill monsters, find items, solve riddles and so on, which works as it should. Except the combat system, which is at the same time the biggest difference weakness of the game.

It looks… ok, I guess?
Resident Undertale, the (un)friendly game where noanybody has to die.

It’s strange to say, but it’s almost like in Undertale, only it sucks. The monsters walk slowly towards you and you have to press the A button to attack, when your “bar” is at the enemy. You know, just like in Undertale, but without any bullet hell elements and a resemblance of fun. The battles itself are tedious and you’re guaranteed to lose a lot of ammo just by not hitting the enemy. Granted, zombies and the like have always been bullet sponges, but it felt satisfying to blow them to pieces. The music is also pretty bad and forgettable. The game itself is playable, but not very enjoyable. But enough of that, let’s move on to…

It even has the voice. You know what I mean.

Yes, this is a thing. Or was supposed to be a thing. The game was announced in 1999 and developed by HotGen Studios. Capcom canceled the game after it was almost finished and we got Gaiden instead. In 2012 two prototypes have been sold at an online auction and since then the roms can be found here. Actually, there is not a lot to say about this one. It’s the first Resident Evil. On the Game Boy Color. From a technical standpoint this is kinda impressing and probably only one of two games (Alone in the Dark 4) who pulled this stunt off.

Indeed, Captain Obvious.

But, seriously, it’s not worth playing. Granted, it literally plays exactly the same as it would on the PlayStation, but it is an inferior version. This is more of a curiosity, nice to have and look at out of its sheer weirdness factor, but if you really want to play RE on the go, just get a PSP/Nintendo DS/Switch/Raspberry Pi or whatever. And the music sucks too. So, let’s race to the finish line of today’s things that should not be…

Quite straightforward.

Romhacks and homebrew games are great. And sometimes downright stupid or unnecessary. Like this one. Made by Chinese developer Waixing and released in 2003, this is probably the ugliest version of RE you can find. It’s the first game, but it looks and plays even worse than RE Gaiden. Actually, the combat system has been directly ripped from the GBC game. Granted, this was probably easier than to rebuild the original combat system from the PS1, but if this was possible in a canceled GBC Port of the first game… just saying. On the other hand, I guess it was probably very hard and difficult to bring this to the Game Boy, even though HotGen Studios was sponsored by Capcom, so how could a Chinese NES bootleg game developer pull of the same stunt? Actually, I don’t know and I don’t want to know. The fact that this game exists is just…weird. And I like that. The game is bad, that’s out of the question, but it’s of the “So bad it’s ok” type.

Credit where credit is due, the pixel opening is not bad.
It looks ok, but be glad that you won’t hear the music.

I guess, there is nothing more to say about this games. If you want to try them out (for whatever reason): RE Gaiden can be brought on eBay or Amazon, for the prototype click here and here for the bootleg.

In his house at Brooklyn Mario lies dreaming or: Super Mario in Call of Cthulhu

Some things are never meant to be. Like pineapple on pizza, according to the internet (which is utter BS, it tastes awesome). So, let me ask you a question: Do you think that combining Super Mario World with Lovecrafts Cthulhu Mythos will work out? Well, the surprising answer is, yes. So, without further ado, welcome to the weird world of romhacking, this time with:

This is your mind on…whatever you’re preferring.

Call of Cthulhu on the SNES is a 2012 romhack by Yashum. In the game you play as Mario, who is trapped in a nightmare. To wake up he has to make his way through the cursed and impossible city of R’Lyeh, the home of one of horrors most iconic monsters.

Every level begins with a little segment like this. Yes, they are creepy.

The gameplay itself is the same as Super Mario World, you have a time limit and have to get to the end of the level. What makes this romhack so special are an almost complete graphical overhaul, new music, thick atmosphere and a few gameplay enhancements.

As I said the games’ graphics have been completely overhauled. You’ll still see some of the classic SMW enemies, but their appearance is slightly off. During the game you make your way from the shores of R’Lyeh into the heart of the island. And the further you get, the more surreal the world becomes.

Speaking of creepy…

One of the strongest points of the game are the new music and the atmosphere. The cursed city itself looks phenomenal and is nice to look at. The atmosphere itself is spooky and foreboding, just what you’d except from a romhack of this kind. The music, which has been replaced by tracks from, among other games(?), Twilight Princess fits the scenario.

Among the changes to the gameplay itself are things like: alien geometry, in terms of that the ground (or to be more specific the platforms on which you jump) moves at the same time that you move. Block puzzles. Changing between fore- and background like in Wario Land for the Virtual Boy. And a mirror dimension/are. But I’m going to stop at this point about the additions, CoC is a pretty small hack and I don’t want to spoil anymore than I already did. One more thing: make sure to collect the Dragon Coins (Gaunt Symbols in this case).

Soundgarden intensifies…

There is one flaw, that can be overlooked on an emulator but would probably be gamebreaking, if you play the game on real hardware. Technically the entire game takes place in one giant level with different zones. Can you guess what this means? Yes, die and you have to do everything from the beginning. So you basically have and should play the game with savestates. To it’s credit, the game tells you in the beginning.

ALWAYS WATCHING

So, what is left to say: Call of Cthulhu is a game that should not work but yet it does. With a short length and great, moody atmosphere this is one of the better and also more obscure hacks for a +20 years old game. Unfortunately I cannot give you a link to the patch, because Yashum requested it to be removed from SMW Central. However, there are prepatched versions of the game, which you should find in 10-15 minutes of search engine abuse.

Conkers High Rule Tail… ba dum tss

Terrible pun and title aside, do you remember The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past? Chances are, yes, you do. Do you remember Conker’s Bad Fur Day? I think you do.

But do you also remember The Legend of Zelda: Parallel Worlds? You know, the though as nails romhack that was released in 2006? Maybe, depends onhow deep you’re into romhacking and fangames, but chances are that you know, especially if you’re reading this. Then it is probably nothing new for you that the people (sePh, Puzzledude and Euclid among others) behind the game worked on a pseudosequel (headed by sePh) for a couple of years. This game was (afaik) originally planned as a direct sequel to PW, but slowly changed into a completely different game, which only uses the ALttP Engine and (more or less) nothing else.

The “adult” Zelda we always wanted! Sort of.

But before I get to the game: I haven’t finished CHRT yet, this is more an impression than a full review, you’ve been warned.

On the technical site High Rule Tail is phenomenal. Every sprite has been changed and with the development of MSU-1 the game has a completely new soundtrack, ranging from custom tracks to, lets say, the Mansion Theme from Resident Evil or Peachs Castle from Super Mario 64. However, some of the new music is pretty annoying (looking at you, World 1…) but nothing is perfect. The menu and HUD has also been completely reworked and has been given a few quality of live improvements, like switching your items on the fly by pressing the L/R Button. This is a very small change, but a welcome one, so you only need to go to the menu to look at the mapscreen.

Like Bad Fur Day, you’re traveling through different worlds heavily inspired (or ripped?) and/or parodying from different videogames. And they are weird, especially in the context of playing a SNES Game. For example, the first Dungeon (after the tutorial) is a subway station housed in a Playstation 1, Number 2 is a Zora Casino and Number 3 is the Spencer Mansion from Resident Evil.

This kinda speaks for itself.
Believe it or not, this is a better Resident Evil than the GBC Port, Gaiden or Number 6.

The plot itself is a weird mix/crossover/IDontKnow between Zelda, Conker, Assassins Creed and Doctor Who. You start the game as “YOURNAME” in an Abstergo Industries Facility and… if you played AC/seen the movie/read about the series, you probably know whats happening next. Genetic memories, old worlds, blablabla. Soon it gets pretty clear that you’re a descendant of Conker (how this works is anyones guess, but whatever) and you also meet The Doctor (Number 10 to be exact, all fanboys/girls may start yelling and screaming in pure bliss at this point, but please keep it down), who is kinda the driving force behind the plot. Long story short: Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Stuff, Tardis Exploded, rift between Dimensions, Doctor sad. To close the rift 10 tasks you with getting the three pieces of the Triforce and also the Rings of Power from Lord of the Rings… I told you its a weird game.

A certain part of me wants this to be canon, the other part just shakes his head.

The gameplay itself is nothing new, if you ever played older Zelda Games you know whats coming. A few things have been changed, for example the first item you find is the grappling hook, you only get your “sword” in one of the first dungeons. Overall it’s very familiar and plays as well as you’d except from a LttP Romhack. No Dungeon looks like the other and has a unique feel to it. The dungeon design itself is spot on, not to hard and not to easy. Of course it will help if you have played Zelda before, but I guess you won’t have any troubles if this is your (unlikely) first entry in the series.

Just as before, Peachs Castle is the HUB World.

So far I didn’t found any bugs or the like, the game itself is 100 % playable. But it is not perfect, because nothing really is. One of my biggest pet peeves is the humor. It comes of as pretty inmature and childish, which in itself is not such a bad thing, more a matter of personal taste. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the humor, but this may change in the future.

But how do you play the game, you may ask? Well, for patching you’ll need the files from Zeldix for the patch itself and the MSU-1 files. I recommend using them, or you will only hear the standard ALttP music which, at least in this case, is a downgrade. The game itself can be played on an emulator or on real SNES Hardware, but for this you’ll need an everdrive cart, which can be quite expensive. However, you can also use a raspberry pi to play the game on the big screen. I use Recalbox (Dragon Blaze) and everything works flawlessly, just remember to follow this Tutorial to set the game up. In recalbox change the metafiles for the game to: Emulator = libreto, Core = snes9x and you’re good to go.

Conclussion: Conkers High Rule Tail is a great Zelda game with hit or miss humor and very good gameplay. Come for the jokes, stay for the gameplay. I’d recommend it.

Due Vendetta or Rockman 4: – Infinity

Last night was a blast! After +10 years I was finally able to see one of my most favourite bands ever live on stage, The Protomen! I’m still kinda hyper, but this is not a music blog (even though you should totally check out there music), You may know that their music is inspired by Capcoms Megaman Series, so, that brings me to…

Rockman 4: – Infinity is a pretty complex romhack of Megaman 4 (1991) by Japanese modder Puresabe and was released in 2016 in english. The basic premise and gameplay is still the same. You know, evil scientist, 8 new Robot Masters, Rush Jet, Doctor Light, MEGAMAN!

But there have been quite a few big changes. Actually, – Infinity is more of a reimagining/new game like, for example Conker’s High Rule Tail (more on this one later). All the levels and movesets of the Robot Masters have been changed and revamped, deep knowledge of the original game will only take you this far. The original music has also been changed. Like I said, “The same, but different”. But is it any good?

So far I’d say yes. And here’s why.

Guess who’s stage this is… Hint, he’s “dead”.

Among the new movesets and level layouts two of the biggest changes are a save system and “effects”. This is still a NES Megaman and it definitely feels this way. And not having to write down passwords is a huge quality of life change. Especially because the game is pretty hard.

The effects will give you certain positive or negative traits, like reversed controls, berserker (autofire) and hopping (always jumping). There are a few other effects in the game, but they all come down to the same thing; split second decision making and coming up with a new strategy on the fly. On one hand this opens up the game in a few interesting ways, on the other hand this can become quite frustrating.

Guess what happens if you move.

The levels itself have been, as I said before, completely redesigned and feel a little more fitting for the bosses. As an example, Pharao Mans stage in MM4 starts in a desert area and leads you into underground ruins. – Infinity’s level is set in a Pyramid. Ring Mans stage is more reminiscent of a futuristic city or laboratory and has also been enhanced with a change from day to night.

Fly me to the moon.

The robot masters feel like completely new enemies. The move faster, attack harder and, after bringing their energy down to a certain level, gain a new “mode” of attacks, desperation. They get a little addition to their movesets, move even quicker and are more brutal. They are a new, welcoming change to the core gameplay. But that’s not all that has been changed. The Megabuster has a new animation, there are new enemies, new music and, at least I had this in one level, a new HUD.

New HUD. New old miniboss. A field of view effect.

As I said before, – Infinity feels more like a reimagining of the original Megaman 4. Numerous big and small changes deliver a new, at times harder challenge. If you’re a fan of the original game you should check this one out. The original game was rereleased for all mayor consoles and the PC. For the patch just visit romhacking.net. Also, coming back to one of my favourite bands ever (as posted above) check out their music and tour dates, you’re going to have a good time.

Mother 1 or EAGLELAND FUCK YEAH!!!

Do I have your attention? Yes? Good, you can go now.

Welcome to the house of fun

Jokes aside, Mother is weird. Very weird. Broken down it is an late 80s RPG in the same vain as Dragon Quest. Only in strange.

So lets get to funny and interesting parts of the game: The setting is a thinly veiled, strange version of America. You fight against: snakes, wild dogs, hippies, giant robots and aliens. You travel through idylic villages and towns, climb mountains, cross deserts and drive a tank (for a short while).

The plot itself is set in the late 1980s but doesn’t start there. The story beginns in the early 1900s. A young couple, George and Maria, suddenly disappear. A few years later George reappears but there is no sign of his wife, she remains missing. The playable sections of the game center around Ninten and his ragtag band of friends/companions. Strange things are happening all over the country. Inanimate object spring to life and attack everything left and right, the dead walk the earth and very soon you’ll stumble upon a strange realm called Magicant. There you get tasked by the current regent Queen Mary to collect eight specific melodies. Why? You’ll know soon enough.

The playable characters itself are rather bland/generic and dont have a lot of characterisation. At least that’s what I felt while playing. Sure, they all have reasons for joining Ninten on his quest that are explicitly told, but besides that there is not much to talk about. One exception is Teddy, who joins the party for a short while, but even there is not much to say.

The battlesystem is basically the same as in Dragon Quest. You won’t see your characters, only the (charmingly drawn) enemies and your attacks.

He looks harmless, but looks are deciving

So, what exactly makes the game so special, why does it have such a large cult following? I’d say, because of the charming and carefree atmosphere, great music, humor & lots, lots of surreal elements. And also a pretty hard switch into (more or less) cosmic horror during the final part of the game. The game itself is over 25 years old, so I guess this isn’t really a spoiler, but…well…spoilers. You’ve been warned.

Ia, Ia…

At the end you’re confronted with an alien being called Giegue/Gigas. A being that was raised by the grandparents of Ninten (after they were abducted from earth in the early 1900s) and has now returned to conquer the Planet. It is an almost invincible, cosmic “abomination” that cannot be hurt by classical options like spells or attacks. No, what you have to do is… sing. The same melodies that you’ve collected during the game are the song, that Nintens Grandmother sang to the infant alien beast. Of course, you also have to survive the battle, which is easier said than done. This almost pacifistic final battle is, especially for the time the game was released, a big subversion of classic final bosses in videogames.

You’ll definitely notice that Mother is an old game, but it hasn’t aged that badly. Parts of the game can still be a chore, but I’d say that this is a problem of most pre90s RPGs. Yet it is incredible charming and nice to look at.

If this unnerves you…good

So, where and how can you play it? Mother has only been released in the west on the Wii-U. Besides that there is of course the japanese Famicon game and a port for the GBA (MOTHER 1+2), but it’s basically the original game with a few quality of life changes.

But, as I nether own a Wii-U or speak japanese, I decided to play the fanmade 25th Anniversary Edition of Earthbound Zero, which in and itself is a romhack/modification of the english prototype-rom. Another reason was/is, that I don’t like the artstyle of the original Mother, which has been completely redrawn in the 25th Anniversary.

NES/GBA
25th Anniversary Patch

So, long story short: It’s a good, quite weird game with quirky humor, surreal elements and suprisingly uncomfortable sequences in the end.

However, if you don’t play the 25th Anniversary Edition or the GBA Port, prepare for a game that’s harder than it should be. You can get the 25th Anniversary Patch on romhacking.net or at the starmen forum.

Nintendo uses direct… It’s super effective

There’s a lot of things, both positive and negative, that can be said about the Switch. One of these things is “It prints money, how does it do that?”.

Stop taking my money!

Well, the last Nintendo Direct may give a good answer to this questions. So, for my 2 1/2 readers, my personal (niche) highlights:

Remember: just because it looks cute it may not be…

I have to admit, I never owned a Wii-U and was never the biggest Fan of the Fire Emblem Series. But I do like Persona and especially Shin Megami Tensei. And from what I’ve heard and seen, Tokyo Mirage is a great combination of two very different franchises. The extended version for the Switch will be released on January 17th next year.

Rip and tear in glorious 64 Bit.

I’m just going to quote Terry Pratchett at this point: “Over the centuries, mankind has tried many ways of combating the forces of evil… prayer, fasting, good works and so on. Up until Doom, no one seemed to have thought about the double-barrel shotgun. Eat leaden death, demon…” Doom 64 will be released on November 22th.

It seems we’ll get away a second time without getting sued by Mr. Lynch, isn’t that right, Zack?

Deadly Premontion was a brilliant game and a technical clusterfuck at the same time. Yet it is still one of the best games I ever played. For those who don’t know, think Twin Peaks, except it’s not. And probably no one was excepting a sequel for the Switch. Original director Swery65 confirmed on Twitter, that he will write and direct the sequel to his cult classic. DP 2 will be released sometime next year and the first game will be available on the Switch…today. Time to get some coffee, cigarettes and donuts.

Prepare to die in 16 Bit.

The leak a few months ago was true. As of tomorrow several SNES Games will be releases for the Switch, among them Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Super Mario World and A Link to the Past. Nice.

You’re gonna have a bad time…

Sans in Smash Bros. Ultimate, also with a Megalovania Remix. This is great. Only “con” is, that it’s just a Mii-Costume, but hey, could be worse. Sans can be purchased as of today.

For the full direct check it out on YouTube. All screenshots were taken from the Nintendo Direct.

What are your highlights from the Direct?

Laplace’s Demon or Super Cthulhu

What’s better for the first real post than to talk about an (more or less) obscure (SNES) RPG that’s heavily based/inspired by the writings of H.P. Lovecraft? Cookies, yes, but we don’t have any. Also, I haven’t finished the game, this is more of an impression than a full review.

Do you dare to challenge…

First let’s get the more or less boring facts out of the way: The game was developed by Group SNE and released in 1987 for the NEC PC-8801 and the PC-9801. Ports for the MSX, Sharp X68000, TurboGrafx-CD and the SNES were released in 1989, 1990, 1993 and 1995. The game itself never came out outside of Japan, but thanks to the translation team at Aeon-Genesis the SNES Version can be played in English. Hurray for that.

We all know where this is going sooner or later. But at least it’s not Innsmouth.

Laplace’s Demon is set in the fictional town of Arkham Newcam, Massachusets during the 1920s. Strange things are happening at Weathertop Mansion, people are disappearing and monsters roam the halls of the estate. You play as a young man/woman, which can either be a Dilettante, Medium, Detective, Scientist or Journalist. You set out to solve the riddle of the Mansion and to uncover the cosmic dread hidden in the depths of the estate. So far so good, this is more or less the setup for almost every Lovecraftian Videogame.

Good question.
Whatever it is, it could lead to insanity, death and alcoholism. Figure the right order out by yourself.

The gameplay itself is a mix of dungeon crawling and survival horror, think Resident Evil meets Dragon Quest… Or Sweet Home, even though I cannot say a lot about this game. After recruiting your party in the nearby pub (where you can also get subquests for bitterly needed cash and experience) you can explore the mansion at your leasure. Even though the actual gameplay is nothing more than “fight monsters, find items, don’t die” it is kinda fun, but (at least by today’s standards) pretty slow, but I guess this can be excepted from a game that was releases over 20 years ago. The monster sprites do show their age, but I think they are quite charming. The character portraits of the cast fall into the same category, somewhere between late 80s – early 90s anime.

Funfact: If you run you can only see what’s next to your party.
In all its 16 bit glory.

The game itself shines in terms of atmosphere. The mansion is foreboding and the music (maybe with the exception of the battle theme) fits the scenarios and isn’t annoying. I’d say this is the biggest strength of the game.

He looks like what you’d except.

On the negative side you could argue that most sprites aren’t as detailed as they could be, the game itself looks a little bland, but it’s not like it’s ugly to look at. And, like I said before, the battles have a slow pace and tend to last longer than they should. Especially because it feels like almost every attack hits the air instead of the enemy. Also, the only way to really make some money in the game is by ether playing as Journalist or recruiting one into your party. You can shoot photos of the enemies and sell them in the hotel. This is kinda hit or miss, but a novel and different system in an RPG.

Doors Gone Wild, 20th Century Edition.

So far I played the game for a couple of hours and defeated the first miniboss. But do I recommend the game? Yes. It looks and feels dated and has a rather sluggish pace, but if you’re into old school JRPGs and Lovecraftian Horror you may like this game.