Friday 27 November 2009

You got your Mario in my Street Fighter II


More fun for me when I inevitably update tORP. A while back I attempted to create some sort of timeline with Street Fighter II pirates but it was horrific to sort out. Lots of similar dumps splattered all over the net in various locations, undocumented and in many cases, unemulated outside of the likes of FCEU or Nestopia. As far as I'm aware nobody has made a decent stab at trying to make sense of these pieces of garbage, but this will certainly help bridge a gap.

Essentially it's Master Fighter III with Mario (and a Little Nemo background) added. It's nothing spectacular, but these sprites were all carried through to Mari Street Fighter III Turbo so there was clearly some sort of underlying relationship going on here.

Along with this dump, yet another Mortal Kombat pirate popped up, this time going under the name of "Mortal Kombat V Pro". The second outing for our good friend Zoo.

I suspect it pre-dates "Mortal Kombat V Turbo 1996" which I've already written about, though strangely this seems to run at 60 frames per second unlike its sibling, making it the better choice.

Isn't piracy just grand?

Friday 20 November 2009

Super Aladdin

I'm having to resort to broken builds of FCEU due to a lack of updates on the Nestopia project. A shame I suppose... Nestopia is probably the best NES emulator out there... but anyway look what popped up recently

It's Aladdin on the NES... again. Back in 1992 the Mega Drive title was a phenomenal success as it was one of the first examples of pairing smooth Disney-like animations with a video game. Though DOS and Amiga ports were understandable, for some crazy reason it was ported to the NES... badly, and released only in Europe. In between then and now, two other NES ports have popped up; the hideous "Aladdin 2" which I've talked about briefly in the past, and "Super Aladdin", which has been around a while apparently but only got my attention recently.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Fedora 11

A Linux review on Blog Squirrel?! Bet you never thought you'd see the day. I didn't think I would see the day in this decade, but once you're blessed with sixteen times more RAM you find you're able to see a lot more... but anyway once upon a time I struggled to run one operating system - now thanks to Sun's VirtualBox-inator 3 and the rise of the Virtual Machines I can run half a dozen at once. We can thank Gordon E. Moore for that.

Friday 13 November 2009

The glitch that stole Christmas

It's safe to say I've worn out Clickteam's "The Games Factory". A follow up to 1994's "Klik 'n' Play", TGF was a reasonably successful game creation tool of the late 90s. In 2001, Multimedia Fusion rolled along, and nowadays MMF2/TGF2 are the ways to go about creating similar applications. TGF is, and has always been, immensely buggy, but somehow I've let myself get by. One such bug is this, which popped up for no particular reason this afternoon:

I can't adjust animation speeds anymore, which pretty much forces me to either upgrade or stop producing garbage for kicks. I've chosen the latter, since MMF's interface isn't half as fun and I'm on a course learning C++ anyway. The SHPDMGWL4 series owes its life to this program, as do many, many other early indie/fangame classics, some of which I may end up releasing for the hell of it (I do have half a decade's worth after all). 13 years is a very long lifespan, and to be honest, it was only really me keeping it alive.

One slight concern was that I was due to make my annual christmas special within the next month. TGF was unlikely to make its way to any future computers of mine, so it would have been abandoned in 2010 regardless, but now all I can give you for christmas is this screenshot:

We're all out of gum.

Thursday 5 November 2009

CD-i emulation in MESS

Your resident Squirrel doesn't have the internet speeds nor the patience to play with 100MB downloads right now, but the Multi Emulator Super System project (MESS) has recently added preliminary Philips CD-i support. It's the second emulator ever to do so, and the first that's fully available to the public for free. A bit of a surprise, since because MESS is ambitiously attempting to emulate every console in existence at once, it tends to lag behind in the emulation scene a bit.

The Philips CD-i is one of the worst consoles ever made. It came at a time where CD-based games were the bees knees, but the equipment to run CD-based games was sub-par. Its creation was the result of Nintendo's demands to create a CD add-on to the Super Nintendo, similar to what Sega's Mega Drive and NEC's TurboGrafX were offering, but the deal was never fully realised. Both Sony and Philips were tasked with the job, Sony's attempt resulting in the long running PlayStation line while Philips resulting in this pile of molten garbage. There are very few decent games for the CD-i - most are haunted with very poor quality FMVs, long loading times and terrible controls due to a terrible controller, not to mention most of its software isn't even targetted at a gaming market.

But there are a few interesting features of this console, such as the dodgy Mario and Zelda titles and various one-hit-wonders. Anyway the point is up until now the only way to emulate this stuff was to dish out €25. Now it's free.

Sunday 1 November 2009

Revenge of Shinobi prototype found

Sega are known for releasing half-assed Mega Drive emulators to the public. You may think it's a fairly new thing, but it actually dates back to the late 90s, just a few years after the emulation scene began. During this time Sega released several "compilation packs" (mostly in America), throwing in a few ROMs and an emulator in the hopes of achieving a few bucks. Sega PC Smash Pack was one of their PC attempts, relying on Steve Snake's first Mega Drive emulator from 1997, KGen.

Do note though, a "good emulator for 1999" tends to suggest that it's a terrible choice today. KGen was considered good because it was the first emulator to have a decent amount of compatible games and Yamaha YM2612 sound emulation, both of which are a standard in all modern emulators, even the ones adopted by Sega.

One of the bundled games in Sega PC Smash Pack was Revenge of Shinobi, a 1989 classic. RoS has been ported to numerous platforms over the years (not to mention it was re-released on the Mega Drive half a dozen times too), but this was its first PC outing. And a strange outing it certainly was.

Turns out for whatever reason instead of using the final US version, whoever created the pack opted for a Japanese prototype, hence the title "The Super Shinobi". Surprisingly, nobody noticed, and in fact the box art actually calls it "Super Shinobi" despite the fact it was NEVER called that in the US.

There was clearly a distinct lack of testing within the walls of Sega of America at the time, because this prototype is surprisingly early. It's missing a lot of music, a couple of bosses and various copyright screens. A level select is enabled by default, and there's a "No death" mode selectable, so not only was it poorly emulated the game wasn't even complete.

Recently the ROM has been extracted and can be run on most emulators. There's probably a load of differences I haven't mentioned, but I'm not a massive fan of the game outside of the music and crazy bosses. Hilarious stuff that something so broken could be released to the public though. Too bad they didn't learn from their mistakes when the Game Boy Advance's Sonic Genesis got put on the shelves.