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VC Alternative, Week Nine: Makai Island
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Skrybe
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 12:24 am    Post subject: VC Alternative, Week Nine: Makai Island Reply with quote

Today, Lost Levels brings you the unreleased NES game Makai Island.



Makai Island is a localization of an early Capcom effort called Higemaru Makaijima. The game is an overhead action/adventure title that has the player defending himself using the barrels, rocks, and other objects strewn around the map. Early stages are pretty straightforward strings of lesser enemies, leading up to a boss fight. Further into the game, though, more emphasis is put on exploring and item hunting, with just a bit of puzzle solving, giving the gameplay very slight shades of The Legend of Zelda. As the player advances through the game, the story branches to one of two different endings, based on if a set of optional items are found.



Between stages, the player sails around a map screen to find ships that hold the keys to new areas. This is where the game's biggest flaw comes in. The entire ocean area is very nondescript, making it difficult to tell one place from the next, which leads to a LOT of unnecessary wandering. Those intending to take a serious shot at the game may want to consider keeping a copy of this map handy.



Finally, special attention needs to be drawn to the area Hebi Island, which borrows heavily from another, very well-known Capcom title - Ghosts 'n Goblins.



Download Makai Island here.


Last edited by Skrybe on Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kap
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect this is a game most of us would've played the hell out of.
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Skrybe
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A little bit of "Cutting Room Floor" material I just noticed:

Makai Island was programmed by the same guy that did Commando. Just like in Commando, he seems to have left some kind of secret message related to his birthday:

WHAT DAY IS IT?
IT'S MAR 24TH.
IT'S THIS GAME PROGRAMERS BIRTHDAY.


I'm not sure how to activate it, but in Commando, you activate his message by beating the game with 3 lives and 24 grenades remaining. Maybe finishing Makai Island with 324 health left will trigger it?
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handofg0d



Joined: 13 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's pretty fun but the lack of direction at the start of the game leaves you pretty lost, on top of the overwhelmingly stark overworld. If the graphics must remain so nondescript, the player would have greatly benefited from an in-game map, or a grid-like, non-scrolling screen a-la Zelda. But again, the lack of an apparent goal starts you off feeling very lost. After 10 minutes or so I've discovered 2 islands that I cannot access without some sort of gate key (same message for both islands so no way to be sure which key goes to what island) and I've found 2 pirate ships that I've successfully defeated. No keys were obtained, and both ships, boss included, were identical (in very different locations... I think)

So, maybe when I have some more free time I'll take a more serious attempt, because from what I've played it is pretty fun (not the roaming around an open ocean part very lost though)

Is there an english walkthrough out there? (To get me started)
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handofg0d



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also after doing some research myself - As best I can tell, the Japanese title "Higemaru Makaijima" translates into something like [Circle of humility] Hell Island. Makai = hell, and jima = island. The Higemaru is not a very clear translation though.

So even the english title Makai Island is still Hell Island which is probably just too scary for us Americans.


Also, this game looks like it's a port of the Capcom arcade game Pirate Ship Higemaru which, while the cabinet is pretty rare, you can play on the PS2 title Capcom Classics Collection (or MAME, whichever is easier).
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adaml
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had started a walkthrough for this but got caught up on Mermaid Island. Like all things I have good intentions for lately, I just can't seem to find the time or energy to finish.

I made an invincibility code in FCE Ultra and about halfway through Mermaid Island I realized the code was allowing me to walk over the water, which if any of you have played this island, know the key to this island is getting across the water in an almost puzzle like way. I also found what may have been one of the items Skrybe mentioned that may alter your ending in the upper left area of this island, but the name of the item escapes me right now.

At least with this map I may be able to finally beat the game. Once I do that I will feel more comfortable with a walkthrough.
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Pemdawg



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like the article says, using that map iw the best starting point. I have the JP famicom cart, and the manual tells you where to find the first key. There are 2 kinds of enemy pirate ships, moored and sailing. The moored ships hold island keys, and only the ship holding the key to your next island, which you DO have to visit in a specific order, will be in the water. The ship that is constantly moving is a ghost ship, and IIRC has no purpose other than playing as practice.

This game is not quite a port, so much as an adaptation. Like Strider or Bionic Commando for NES, it uses the basic elements of the arcade original to make a more adventure like game.

I have been a fan of Makaijima for years (as Skrybe can attest.) Hopefully in the future I will still write up a walkthrough for this, but at least for the next few weeks I am stuck in an odd work schedule, and will probably only get to play for a few minutes a day (think I might toss NES DS and the maps on my NDS flash cart.)
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mrdomino



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:06 am    Post subject: Re: VC Alternative, Week Nine: Makai Island Reply with quote

Skrybe wrote:
This is where the game's biggest flaw comes in. The entire ocean area is very nondescript, making it difficult to tell one place from the next, which leads to a LOT of unnecessary wandering.


The MSX version actually addresses this problem - it has arrows pointing to where you need to go, which makes things easier.
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shawnphase



Joined: 22 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AWESOME. thanks for putting this out there. just frmo the screenshots almost seems like capcoms response to waiwai world, albeit a bit less comical. either way i'll give it a good ol go, thanks again for hooking this up as always!
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AlabasterGothe



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:43 am    Post subject: Re: VC Alternative, Week Nine: Makai Island Reply with quote

Skrybe wrote:
Finally, special attention needs to be drawn to the area Hebi Island, which borrows heavily from another, very well-known Capcom title - Ghosts 'n Goblins.





Now I'm gonna have to try this out, and to think I was playing the Japanese version last night. Thanks for putting this up also. Cool
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Wonderbutt



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for this, Skrybe.
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Skrybe
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

handofg0d wrote:
It's pretty fun but the lack of direction at the start of the game leaves you pretty lost

Yeah, the whole key hunting deal was done very poorly. Ports of the game on other systems tried to correct this, like in the MSX version mrdomino mentioned. The first area you have to visit is Cuck Island. The key to the island is found on the far right side of the map.

And Pemdawg, did you get the email I sent you a week or so ago that we'd be releasing this? If you replied, I think my spam filter may have trashed it.

Glad to hear you all enjoy the game!
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Pemdawg



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I did get it, and I replied. Odd, the internets don't ususally eat email. But yeah, I just don't have time for another few weeks to do a good write up on the game. I put it on my DS the other day using NesDS, so I will crank thru it and try to do a walkthrough. No promises. Honestly, the way I got through it the first time, was I just ran all those japanese walkthroughs thru Babelfish, and just mentally translated the processed Engrish.
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handofg0d



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skrybe wrote:
The first area you have to visit is Cuck Island. The key to the island is found on the far right side of the map.


Aha! Thanks... that got the ball rolling for me. Pretty decent title. I probably would have played the hell out of this as a kid. The controls are a bit loose, but nothing too bad by NES standards. Wish it would've come out back then, probably would've done well too.
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iamstillhiro1112



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:43 pm    Post subject: Re: VC Alternative, Week Nine: Makai Island Reply with quote

Some of those look like sprite rips of Ghost N Ghoblins. They didn't even attempt to edit them much.
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Smeg
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reading is FUNdamental!
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GDRI



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In case you're curious, here's a video of the MSX version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezSVzGYp4vs
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neomerge



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmm this seems like a very interesting game. Ill probably check it out. Thanks for releasing it.
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Tongueman



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pemdawg, any progress on the walkthrough? Even the first few islands would be good, as I have a feeling I missed some things while going through the islands.

What's with the cryptic text in the pyramids?

This game doesn't quite have the fun of hunting for secrets that Zelda did, but it is pretty fun.
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Skrybe
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tongueman wrote:
What's with the cryptic text in the pyramids?

You eventually get a sort of Rosetta Stone for that purpose.
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