A Not-So-Short Short List of Non-Projects

May 14th, 2013

 

Seinarukana heroines have nothing to do with anything.

So I guess this is part one of my "find something to post on Mondays through Wednesdays" quest for the remaining six or so weeks of the season. I considered talking about all the different textual formats of scripts I’ve worked with to highlight all the different ways the most simple of things can turn out to be woefully overcomplicated, but that began boring me just thinking about it, let alone before writing anything. Instead, I think I’ll just post my personal short list of things that I’d love to see translated that I’ve been keeping for years with a few annotations. Not that it necessarily has much effect on what I do end up translating. Kamidori just began since the tools sort of got dropped into my lap while I was still playing it. Kind of similar to Duel Savior’s revival too. Seinarukana I obviously did not go looking for either.

So here’s the short list I’ve been keeping along with some brief added comments. This also took me about 5 times longer than covering some dull show, so harumph. Of course, since I also have a contrary streak a mile long, simply stating any of these is a good reason I’ll now never touch them.

  

Dragon’s Nest
Lazy ‘dragon’ has to build a respectable nest and become a good lover or his fiancee will kill him on their wedding night.
Genre: Adventure
Gameplay: SLG
Length: Short/Medium (~25-30k lines)
Pros: Tongue-in-cheek, uniquish gameplay, porn is hilariawful
Cons: Bad learning curve, poorly balanced mechanics, RNG abusey, rapey
Hacking: Some (tools for extraction, but not in a usable form and formatting issues)
Difficulty: Low/Medium (images mostly)

The second closest to Dungeon Keeper that Japan’s probably going to come. Demonion being the closest. Like most Softhouse Chara games, it’s tongue in cheek, great setting, characters can be up and down though. The biggest issue with it though is just that the heroes invading your dungeon are a little too controlled by the RNG which can mean both frustration and savescumming as all your carefully raised monsters/defenders can be slaughtered by some just bad luck. A somewhat obtuse engine doesn’t help either. It does have some of the most amusing sex scenes I’ve ever read since the protagonist views it as a chore (male dragons are lust-cursed in the setting) and gets easily distracted by whatever random thought may come into his head.

  

Prism Ark
Kid transfers into knight school where the lost princess supposedly attends. War’s about to break out.
Genre: Comedy/Adventure
Gameplay: RPG
Length: Medium/long (~60k lines)
Pros: Silly, cute, story, non-Hyaweh chars
Cons: Repetitive/shallow gameplay, collectathon, some routes pretty bad, Hyaweh is lame/dense
Hacking: Some (all?) scripts dumped,  reassembler/graphical tools/better script dump needed
Difficulty: Low/Medium (fantasy and sci-fi language/BS concepts tossed around, sequel to a bad game)

Great characters for the most part, beautiful engine with all kinds of nic little touches like animated stand images and animated little chibi pseudo CGs, decent RPG, but with six routes (seven if you include the added one in the PS2 version), and being forced to play through every little battle every route, it gets tedious and grindy very quickly after the first playthrough. The last quarter of the game is also a lot weaker than the rest, especially on certain routes. Amusingly, it doesn’t work on 64 bit OSes unless you have the 2.0 edition, which is quite a rare find since it was only released as part of a fan package.

  

SRWOG MnF:Exceed
Sequel to previous. Random adventures around world nexuses with a bunch of Namco/Bandai characters.
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Gameplay: RPG
Length: Short (likely ~10,000 lines based on prequel)
Pros: Gameplay, chars
Cons: The entire litany of console game issues, story likely utter nonsense again
Hacking: None (abandoned project is useless, just straight up hex editing text replacement, but script is compressed (LZSS?))
Difficulty: Low/medium (technobabble, character/game/world history, images)

I haven’t actally played much of this, but I’ve loved this kind of engine ever since Valkyrie Profile on the PSX. While the first game did have a number of big faults, it did so many little things right that usually bug me in games and Atlus did an excellent job on the localization. I’ve always wanted to try working on a console game at some point, and this would be my top pick. Of course, hacking these things tends to be a nightmare far beyond PC games, to say nothing of testing and other limitations.

 

Miracle Party/Mysterious Gensokyo Etc
Sanae/Reimu go on various magical adventures.
Genre: Fantasy
Gameplay: Roguelike
Length: Short (?? lines, but extensive gameplay translation needed)
Pros: Gameplay, cute, short
Cons: Testing/editing nightmare, new versions released constantly, story/chars minimal at best
Hacking: None (Rudimentary string replacer for earlier game in series is all)
Difficulty: Low

Roguelikes and I have an odd relationship. I love the idea of them, but can’t usually stand playing them for more than a week or two. I adore how good this series (which is now up to about 8 iterations) looks though and I doubt the actual story part of it requires extensive translation. It’d probably be a neat side project assuming the story text really isn’t that bad, especially if I run short on time. Hacking will probably be a nightmare though.

  

Amatsukaze
Ninja doing ninja things with his three ninja sidekicks. Assassinations, killing, magical princesses, political wrangling, etc.
Genre: Japanese History/Action
Gameplay: RPS-based CCG
Length: Medium/long (~50k lines)
Pros: Awesome presentation, style, writing
Cons: Rape-heavy, meh gameplay, fairly dark for the most part
Hacking: Fully hacked (kiri2)
Difficulty: Extreme (MASSIVE number of images, archaic and dense language, lots of very unpleasant porn)

The gameplay is sufficient at best, but I absolutely love both the prose and presentation. While the art in general is quite a bit worse than Prism Ark’s, they do a ton of great stuff with sprite movement, animated backgrounds, etc, as well as just great writing. The issue there is that it’s also incredibly florid and dense, and that’s not even getting into the image editing, which is a Herculean task on its own. Those screenshots are also just quick mockups I did way back for Kamidori’s release. There’s no project, and I’d expect someone to start with the pseudo-prequel, Dea Ex Machina, anyway, but I think the style and presentation works a lot better here than in Dea Ex, not to mention its main gameplay being rather tedious stat management of a high tech sex toy developer (including but not limited to robot tigers and scorpions).

  

Wizard’s Climber
Girl begs mage to teach her magic, but he’ll only take her as his full apprentice if she can win an competition in three years.
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Gamplay: Stat management/SLG
Length: Short/Medium (~35k lines)
Pros: Tongue-in-cheek, Princess Maker-esque gameplay with more dungeons/combat
Cons: Little direction in game, little story, fairly easy yet over-complicated mechanics
Hacking: Partial (tools exist, but not in a particularly usable format)
Difficulty: Low

Basically Princess Maker as made by Softhouse Chara. All of their usual silliness and charm, plus your standard "have sex to gain magic" silliness. It’s a great game for people who like navigating spreadsheets to look at numbers, but it is a lot easier than it should be and the interface is kind of a mess. Its sex doesn’t have the (un)intentional amusement of Dragon’s above.

 

Looking Up Into the Cloudy Sky
‘Dragon tamer’ finds a young dragon girl and agrees to take her in and train/raise her
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Gameplay: Action (Tales-esque)
Length: Medium (~30kish lines?)
Pros: Gameplay, Cute
Cons: Story is pretty damn bad, especially late game
Hacking: Nada
Difficulty: Low

Just as Softhouse Chara is to making a lot of silly little SLGs, Studio e.go/Debonosu makes more action oriented games. Well, and roguelikes, but they also have a Recettear clone, a shmup, and two or three other platformers/action RPGs. This is their Tales clone though which has even had a PSP release. Unfortunately, also like SHChara, their engines lack a lot of refinement that could make them really fun. They also don’t have nearly the talent (and I say that loosely) of SHChara’s writer. I do love Tales games for the most part though. The gimmick here is that depending on choices in the first part of the game, the heroine will grow up as different character archetypes, but it really is just a gimmick. Another issue is that Debonosu’s games really dislike English OSes more than most games and can be touchy to get working at times.

Other Stuff 
Beat Blades Haruka‘s fun and short, but at least half of it (probably more) is just porn and half of that is of the exceptionally unpleasant variety. Magic a Ride is a pretty neat Klonoa clone with above average writing, excellent male and female leads (it’s essentially linear), and decently funny from what I’ve played but everything I’ve heard is that the story never finds its legs and the stages can become very long and trying. Princess Witches/Twinkle Crusaders are both fun, but their technical assets (number of CGs, route stuff, etc) as well as the gameplay are somewhat painful. Ignition made Material Brave playable and a worthy successor to Duel Savior on the gameplay and presentation fronts, but the writing remains awful. And just to head this off… I’m not a big fan of Eushully’s RPGs in general, even less of most of the rest. Baldr Force/Sky also certainly deserve to be translated, but I’m not a huge fan of the Baldr engine in general and I think I’ve made my distaste for amnesia storylines known well enough.

Aaand this took hours more than a couple paragraphs of snarky comments. No wonder I stopped writing these kinds of things. Maybe next week I’ll down some schnapps before I get started doing anything. Oh yeah, and I’ve got people to take to the airport Thursday morning, so DS2/Valvrave will be an hour or two late.

Posted in Games | 26 Comments »

26 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • pannya says:

    SanCha plox

  • Aroduc says:

    Better hackers than you have declared it annoyingly difficult for the lack of payoff.

  • marvelous stan says:

    I don’t know how you climb a wizard, but I want to find out!

  • Eric says:

    I know you don’t really care for the sex scenes in these games, so what would be your thoughts on doing an all-ages version of a game?

  • Aroduc says:

    Besides BMW, Galaxy Angel 1-3, TWINS, TWAIN, and DS Destiny?

  • Adam says:

    Man, Endless Frontier was my favourite game for the DS (I can’t play past the first couple chapters of Valkyrie Profile because I kept comparing it to EF).
    Super disappointed we never got the sequel and you really can’t count on Super Robot Wars games getting fan translated…

  • Anonymous says:

    Just going to throw in my vote (and donation, if you choose to set that up) behind either Wizard’s Climber or Looking Up Into The Cloudy Sky.

  • fate1122 says:

    Could you do Demonion? how is that?

  • fate1122 says:

    Also what about buldar sky?

  • fate1122 says:

    Also the women look hot in Demonion, why not do that one instead of dragons nest if its a better dungeon keeper with better women?

  • nightshadow2239 says:

    Oh wow, this post was awfully upfront about things. I love your thoughts and comments, but wheres the usual subtle Aroduc?

  • JCA says:

    Maybe it’s too rapey?

  • Embok says:

    I will probably not read any of these except *maybe* Amatsukaze and I still haven’t even translated the VN I learned the language to translate, but this is still an interesting post of a kind I wouldn’t mind seeing more of.

    The dragon girl gimmick seems cool as a concept but you make it sound like they never really do anything neat with it. Lame.

    …oh actually it looks like Amatsukaze is related to Gears of Dragoon. Yeah, I’ll probably read it then since I have GoD and generally dislike doing stuff out of order.

  • CerealGuns says:

    I loved Endless Frontier so much I ended up playing Exceed even though I didn’t understand a word of it. The gameplay, music and ridiculously over the top attacks made it worthwhile even while being utterly incomprehensible.

  • gdgd says:

    If you are going to work on one of the “Fushigi no Gensokyo” games before Miracle Party, just translate CHRONICLE.
    Not only it is the first story arc games remade as one, but the gameplay is a lot better than the older ones.

  • Rz says:

    Nah. The rapey on Himegari twice more worse than on Demonion.

  • Afrosquirrel says:

    Please give Valkyrie Profile another shot. Being quite a bit older, its battle system is a step back, but the story is certainly worth it!

  • WED says:

    He didn’t do Himegari either.

  • Eab1990 says:

    Should do Twinkle Crusaders anyway. :(

  • Mesousa2877 says:

    So…still gonna plan on blogging Venture Brothers?

  • Aroduc says:

    We’ll see. I wasn’t a fan of the first half of the last season, or really any time it starts getting itself too wrapped up in its own mythos and trying to be deep and serious (although part of it was also the nonstop pedophile jokes), but it got more or less back to form in the second half. Probably due to a much-needed return of Brock.

  • Selius says:

    i want to see mugen no frontier exceed translated so badly that i would actually contribute money for it.

    that’s all i gotta say.

  • Hana says:

    Is Romanesque dropped or do you plan to return to it later?

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s dead Jim.

  • Anonymous says:

    What about the Battle Goddess series? I mean I know 1 and 2 are kinda dated, but I believe the other 2 are prequels, possibly use a similar engine to Kamidori and are quite good.

  • ark noir says:

    keep up the good work in blogging game(especially SRW) as this is more interesting than anime.You should do another blogging site for games time permitting and double it up with your forum…..and bloody put up a paypal link.