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Topics - KAGE-008

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1
Pirated Game Reviews / Shen Mo Da Lu (NES, YS Seven backport) Review
« on: June 20, 2019, 03:16:38 AM »
Shenzhen Jncota Technology is a company that has made several RPGs, based either on 'XuanYuan Sword' novels, or backports of a few titles originally released on later consoles. They are supposedly the developers of the three-parter Final Fantasy IV port for the NES, which by the way is more superior than the one released by SNT (Nanjing).

This game in particular is actually a backport of YS Seven, a title from YS series that was released for the PlayStation Portable, and it was released for the Famicom with KT-1052 label. But taking into account the fact Jncota applied their three-by-three game release structure, 'Shen Mo Da Lu' is one of the title screen hacks of the original backport, which should read KT-1051 on both cart and box.

Jncota has done other backports of games from YS series, such as 'Ark of Napishtim' (KT-1060), 'Oath in Felghana' (KT-1061) and 'Origin: Hugo' (KT-1068). NewRisingSun's copyright sheet mentions other two YS backports done by the aforementioned company, concretely YS II and The Dawn of YS, however those two are undumped as of writing this review.

Now, let's start with the review, explaining every aspect of the game.

Story: 8/10
Almost every part of the original plot has been faithfully transplanted to an 8-bit space, even it has a short intro before you start (all of Jncota's YS backports share this feature). Adol and his party must bring back peace to the world, by collecting all five 'soul stones' from forest, fire and sky places, and then beating the creatures behind those stones.

Music and visual aspects: 9/10
The entirety of the music used in the game is lifted from Ancient YS Vanished: Omen, released for the Famicom in 1988. Most YS fans would recognize those tones even when playing this backport for the first time. However the sound engine isn't 100% implemented, since the music sometimes goes 'crazy' after a bossfight or changing places, especially near the end where the percussion stops playing (this can be fixed by saving and then reloading your progress via regular saves). Graphics are pretty nice for an 8-bit game, plus that some villagers move by themselves, which is a nice touch. One thing that is missing from this game, and their other YS backports have implemented, is the characteristic sound when you open a chest with a special item.

Gameplay: 7/10
The mechanics used is a turn-based battle system, just like in Final Fantasy and other RPG games. Your players start at level 4, needing the use of Adol's healing spell. Then, after leveling up for a while, it becomes a bit easier because of attack spells; later parts of the game require grinding a lot though. You need at least level 35 for both of your players to kill the first boss without letting the enemy attack first (this aspect reminds me of Final Fantasy's 'monsters strike first' feature), and then grind 8 or so more levels for the next boss. Why I say this? Even random encounters tend to use magic spells that can inflict around -100 HP, especially if your characters are not leveled enough. Two of the party characters (Elk and Mustafa) join you for a limited period, I don't recommend equipping them with expensive weapons/armor because you won't get those back, unlike on some SNT games if we count unlicensed stuff only.
You can buy weapons, armor and refill items as well, but for some strange reason those are not cheap, requiring several minutes of battling random encounters to get enough golds for the best equipment.
In the end, my party was leveled 85/85/80/75 respectively. This translates to approximately two and a half hours of levelgrinding if you use Turbo speed (game's original speed is so slow it kills patience for most people). Their other YS games require a level 60-65 Adol (or Hugo in the Origin backport) to kill the last boss with ease.

Replay Value: 7/10
If you don't mind the amount of time consumed by the levelgrinding process, then this can be replayed, as long as you use the Turbo feature. Cannot really imagine what it takes if it's done on a real Famicom or any Chinese clone of it...
Also, if you forgot where to go, it's as follows: from the forest near the starting place, right/upper section -> right/lower section -> left/lower section -> left/upper section -> right/upper section/right (docks), before each of them you need to go back to the monk temple.
Then for the second part: right/lower section -> left/lower section -> left/upper section -> right/docks -> starting place -> inside the temple.

Overall Score: 8/10
This review is a huge improvement to the one I did several years ago. Back then I had a progress with level 55-ish party, which was not enough to beat the final bosses. A while back I made a replay which ended with a 73/73/63/54 party, but with that I was able to finish the game, with the help of refill items. THEND of the review.

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Famicom/NES dumps / Journey to the West II (NRS fix)
« on: April 19, 2019, 01:14:56 AM »
The known dump of 'Journey to the West II' (ES-1034) has a bug which happens if Dendy mode isn't used: it crashes before a boss battle, no matter which level you play.

NewRisingSun made a fix for that by using a patch which enables Dendy mode permanently for the game. Here is the prepatched ROM, confirmed to work properly.

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Famicom/NES dumps / Shui Hu Shen Shou (Waixing), mapper 164 hack
« on: March 23, 2019, 05:50:31 AM »
Since the 'original' mapper 176 version doesn't run on newer builds of FCEUX for some reason, I'm attaching a mapper 164 version of the game.
Courtesy of NewRisingSun.

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Wonderful Wide Web / J2ME Preservation blog
« on: October 15, 2018, 03:59:48 AM »
Recently (around July-August) I started a blog project with the main purpose of preserving Asian J2ME ports of classic games, that were once 'common' but are very rare these days. J2ME was a platform used by feature phones released during the 2000's decade, before Android/iOS started to dominate the mobile market. Some of them retain all the stuff from their respective original counterpart, while others got doctored in terms of levels/story/other stuff due to typical J2ME limitations. At the moment there are a few, each one in separate entries.

For these games you will need KEmulator or, if you have an Android device, J2ME Loader from Play Store. All of them need the emulated screen resolution set to 240x320, I plan on also posting a few that were available for smaller screens only.

Link to my blog project: HERE

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Famicom/NES / Ling Jie Hu Fa: Level 3 crash issue
« on: February 20, 2018, 09:55:38 PM »
I bet most people haven't noticed that in Ling Jie Hu Fa, it crashes right before starting the third level. What is curious is that I confirmed this yesterday by testing the original WXN dump on Nintendulator-NRS. I'm guessing there is some part of the PRG that is either corrupted or protected.

In the meantime, using the code 006B:04 lets you access the fourth (and last) level, but it requires disabling it afterwards to make the enemies appear.

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Game Boy dumps / E Mo Cheng DX (GBC) Dump
« on: February 28, 2015, 01:47:06 PM »
For several years, a cut-down version of the game was dumped as 'Castlevania Emo Demo'. But someone managed to dump the 'full' version, which was elusive until now.

Here's the ROM

Credit where due: byemu (dumper), dcillbleed (ROM provider)

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Discussion Center / Computer specs
« on: June 01, 2014, 10:47:51 PM »
Owning a fancy computer? Post its specs as the title says. :P

Former PC Specs--
Model: Unknown/generic desktop
OS: Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
Processor: Intel Pentium 4 @ 2.80 Ghz
Memory: 1.50 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia Geforce FX 5200 (128MB video memory)
Storage: 160 GB (main), 320 GB (data)
Other features: None

Brand-new PC Specs--
Model: HP ENVY 20 Touchsmart
OS: Windows 8.1 (Standard) 64-bit
Processor: Intel Pentium G870 dual-core @ 3.10 Ghz
Memory: 4GB DDR3 RAM
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics for desktop (Sandy Bridge)
Storage: 1TB integrated, will (NOT) be partitioned
Other features: Full touchscreen

Brand-new Laptop Specs--
Model: ASUS VivoBook X550CA-SI30304R
OS: Windows 8.1 (Standard) 64-bit
Processor: Intel Core i3-3217U @ 1.80 Ghz
Memory: 4GB DDR3 RAM
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 w/ support for HDMI
Storage: 500GB integrated, will not be partitioned
Other features: full touchscreen

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Reference Topics / Alerkina2 and his stupidity
« on: February 12, 2014, 03:41:42 PM »
I knew about this from someone on DA.

Well, what this prick did was just stealing art from other people. And not just that, he spammed lots of wikis and acted very inmature on his (terminated-with-NO-solution-whatsoever to undo it) YT channel. He got banned from DA as well.

I made this thread because this is some very serious news. By the way, he MUST be blocked on BGW too (he goes as alerkina333). Because nobody (yes, NOBODY) likes him and you guys should know.

9
Pirate Talk / Taizou's new site
« on: February 08, 2014, 04:36:02 PM »
Check this out -- http://supermulti.org

From HHUG
 
I've launched a new site today at supermulti.org - It's more or less going to be a blog covering Chinese/Taiwanese unlicensed & original gaming stuff like Handheld Underground was originally intended to be, only with a broader scope (ie not just handhelds) and probably without the ROM and emulation stuff (which I'll still do here, since that's all I've used it for in about a year anyway). have fun![/quote]

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The Community / What happened to the IRC?
« on: January 14, 2014, 01:25:13 PM »
Recently I noticed Stormbit's Web IRC went down, and logged in using Mibbit. Couldn't believe what I noticed: no channel slogan, only YongYong logged in and since then nobody's visiting it. :\

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Pirate Talk / CaH4e3's site down again
« on: January 04, 2014, 11:39:31 AM »
Ok, it's been hours since CaH4e3's site went down. I wonder when it'll be back up...?

12
Discussion Center / Happy New Year 2014!
« on: December 31, 2013, 08:22:11 PM »
Well it's 18:21 here, but yeah, as of now European countries are in 2014 already...

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!  :dance:  :D  :yay:

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Discussion Center / Taking a while off
« on: December 23, 2013, 06:04:43 PM »
Since a lot of issues have come recently and I have to overcome them in a long-term basis, I'm taking a while off. Return is after the new year but don't ask when.

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Discussion Center / Christmas Lists (2013 version)
« on: December 08, 2013, 12:33:27 AM »
I saw a thread like this but it was made in 2010 and didn't want to bump it. So here's the 2013 version of it.

My possible list:
- A new laptop so I'll be using it for college and stuff
- A new wristwatch since my older brother kept asking me to lend him one of mine (got this early lol)
- An 8GB microSD card (maybe)

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2000-present / Blood of Jurassic by Shanghai Paradise
« on: December 06, 2013, 09:04:27 PM »
http://www.nesbbs.com/bbs/thread-23431-1-1.html

The thread contains images of the cart and title screen. It also says it'll be dumped someday so we'll have the chance to give it a try.

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