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VC Alternative, Week Five: Dragon Wars
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Skrybe
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:27 am    Post subject: VC Alternative, Week Five: Dragon Wars Reply with quote

Today's Lost Levels Virtual Console Alternative is the unreleased NES role-playing game, Dragon Wars.



Dragon Wars is a US localization of a Famicom game by the same name from Kemco, which itself was a port of a PC game from Interplay, creators of the Bard's Tale series.



The game is noteworthy in that it doesn't contain any sort of character classes (i.e. Fighter, Mage, etc.) nor do the characters level up in the traditional sense. New characters start with a pool of "skill points", and gain more points as they level up. All characters start off completely generic, and it's up to the player how to best distribute the points. Skill points can be used for direct stat boosts (HP or Intelligence, for example), for combat skills (training in magic or a specific weapon type), or for non-combat skills (lockpicking, swimming, etc.). It's entirely possible to make a single character who can wield huge two-handed weapons, cast the strongest spells, and pick any lock, but making a party where each character is specialized for a specific task or two will make the game move faster than trying to build an army of supermen.

This brings up another point: The gameplay can move at an absolutely glacial pace at times. The game is very non-linear, which can translate into a lot of backtracking. The battle system takes into account the party's distance from the enemy, which slows things down as well, since the first couple rounds of combat are often spent just advancing towards the enemy party.

This particular copy of the game seems to be from relatively early in the localization process. The dialog can get pretty awkward in places, and a couple of references to the Famicom are still present, despite this being a NES prototype.



More importantly, the localization seems to be half-finished. Some areas in the game don't seem to have a script associated with them, which leads to the game spitting out garbage text, or crashing completely in some cases.



For this reason, I imagine that it's impossible to complete the game in this early state. A few areas are completely inaccessable because they crash the game as soon as the player enters. This happens often enough where it would seem one would miss key story items, although I haven't confirmed if this is the case.

That said, the game is complete enough where I was able to put in several hours of gameplay before running into any serious issues. For fans of the genre, it's good for at least a fun time waster. Enjoy the game.


Last edited by Skrybe on Fri Mar 09, 2007 7:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kap
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Enjoy" being a relative term.
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kap
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More like Dragon Chores eh.
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handofg0d



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried real hard. I can't like it.
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ICEknight



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it my emulator's fault, or does every single person in this game move as if they were underwater?
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handofg0d



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's an interesting technique they used to give the characters some motion without actually taking up room for additional animation sprites.
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diamondblast
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ICEknight wrote:
Is it my emulator's fault, or does every single person in this game move as if they were underwater?



ye ,they move a bit funny, but It's kind of relaxing Smile it's not that bad
I mean, I wouldn't play it for hours but it's o.k.


Last edited by diamondblast on Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:03 am; edited 3 times in total
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Mezase Master



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there any story behind this localization? I think this could make a good article.
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TheRedEye
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mezase Master wrote:
Is there any story behind this localization? I think this could make a good article.


Maybe, do you know anyone who worked at Kemco? I don't.
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Mezase Master



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheRedEye wrote:
Mezase Master wrote:
Is there any story behind this localization? I think this could make a good article.


Maybe, do you know anyone who worked at Kemco? I don't.
Well you guys sure seem to find out about some pretty obscure stuff... it's not entirely out of the question. Besides, it had to be uploaded from somewhere.

If this translation were complete I'd get a reproduced cart. Sad
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Dais



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm emailing Rebecca (formerly Bill) Heineman, (sole) programmer of Dragon Wars. Let's cross our fingers and hope she knows something about the NES version.

(I'd love to know more about Kemco from a direct source, though - I specifically want to know what the hell is up with Dragon View, their bizarro sequel to Drakkhen)
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Skrybe
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mezase Master wrote:
Besides, it had to be uploaded from somewhere.

Well, the cartridge was first found at a flea market out in California, if I remember correctly. Kemco was based out of California. DreamTR owns the cartridge at the moment, he let us dump it as part of a trade.

Dais wrote:
I'm emailing Rebecca (formerly Bill) Heineman, (sole) programmer of Dragon Wars.

Hey, good luck with that.
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B00daW
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dais wrote:
I'm emailing Rebecca (formerly Bill) Heineman, (sole) programmer of Dragon Wars. Let's cross our fingers and hope she knows something about the NES version.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebecca_Heineman

http://www.burgerbecky.com/

Well, she seems outgoing and friendly. Hopefully this can be a fruitful interview. Smile
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Dais



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got an answer already!

Rebecca Heineman wrote:
As far as I knew, Interplay held the US and European rights to Dragon Wars for the NES. The game sold so-so in Japan and as a result the plans for a US/ European port of the game was scrapped. I didn't know if they had done any work on an English language version. I wonder if it was a fan made "fansub" of the game.


That seems a bit doubtful, but she's an anime fan.

Anything else I should ask now that we know the lines of communication are open?
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GDRI



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dais wrote:
Anything else I should ask now that we know the lines of communication are open?


According to Digital Press, she did VIC-20 and C64 Chuck Norris Superkicks. I've been interested in the companies that did games for Xonox. Does she know anything about Boone Corporation?

Or I could just ask myself, since this has nothing to do with Dragon Wars...
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burgerbecky



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GDRI wrote:
Dais wrote:
Anything else I should ask now that we know the lines of communication are open?


According to Digital Press, she did VIC-20 and C64 Chuck Norris Superkicks. I've been interested in the companies that did games for Xonox. Does she know anything about Boone Corporation?

Or I could just ask myself, since this has nothing to do with Dragon Wars...


Yes, I know a lot about Boone Corporation.
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GDRI



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

burgerbecky wrote:
Yes, I know a lot about Boone Corporation.


Why, hello there.

I'd be interested in doing an entry about Boone on my Game Developer Research Institute (GDRI) website if it did anything...well, interesting. What was it and what games did it do?

Thanks.
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burgerbecky



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GDRI wrote:
burgerbecky wrote:
Yes, I know a lot about Boone Corporation.


Why, hello there.

I'd be interested in doing an entry about Boone on my Game Developer Research Institute (GDRI) website if it did anything...well, interesting. What was it and what games did it do?

Thanks.


Send me an email and I'll respond. Basically, Boone did some Vic-20 and C64 games in early 1983, including Chuck Norris Super Kicks, Moodies, Demon's Forge and Championship Golf: Pebble Beach. They laid everyone off in October 1983 and most of the programmers got together and formed our own company and called it Interplay Productions (You may have heard of them.) I was one of the founders of Interplay and most of us came from Boone.

Boone then went into office supplies. They are famous for Boone boards and the company was bought by ACCO Brands in 1999.

Interplay... That's another story.
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Mezase Master



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, Interplay made Atomic Bomberman! That game was da bomb!
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GDRI



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who'da thunk one of diamondblast's necro-bumps would have resulted in an actual game maker posting here?
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