Handheld Underground

hhugboy v1.1.1 release

posted by taizou @ 2016-09-04 20:43:11 hhugboy

a small update - this fixes the Li Cheng release Sanguozhi Wudai, which had issues with dialogue boxes not appearing, and also adds support for the Korean-only collection cart Bomberman Selection, which features colourised version of Bomber Boy and Bomberman GB, the latter with a (pretty bad) English translation not seen anywhere else.

get it here!


hhugboy v1.1 release!

posted by taizou @ 2016-08-30 01:19:05 hhugboy

hey I made a new version of hhugboy again! This one adds support for a certain type of multicart with menus that look like this:

and that play music from Megami Tensei Gaiden: Last Bible, aka Revelations: The Demon Slayer. I've taken to calling these "Last Bible multicarts" for this reason, given that I have no other unique identifier to refer to them by.

Most notably, this type of cart was used by a certain vastly famous unlicensed developer for a series of multicarts containing their own games.

🐯 But wait! None of these carts are dumped yet?

🦁 ooh you'll just have to wait and see won't you

There are also a few smaller fixes, incuding savestates in Sintax games, and a bunch of refactoring was done in the mapper code which hopefully hasn't broken anything but will make it way easier to add new mappers in future.

I've also moved the project to GitHub from BitBucket - the repo on BitBucket will no longer be updated & I will probably make it private later to avoid confusion.

You can find the new version here!



posted by taizou @ 2016-06-26 22:51:37 Dumps

YES! After a ton of work which I probably will write a blog post on at some point - Vast Fame GBA games are HERE!

To cut a long story short - these games are copy protected and can't be fully dumped using normal equipment/software, but I was able to dump them by observing the protection's initialisation routine in No$GBA, replicating it on a real GBA and dumping the ROM through the GBA itself using an Xboo cable (super thanks to Robyn for that suggestion!). But even with the games dumped, there's a bunch of other protection in place, which I implemented in endrift's excellent GBA emulator mGBA. So these dumps are now supported in mGBA nightly builds from 2016-06-26 onwards!

Unlike my previous GBC releases, I have NOT (yet?) prepared a version of these games with the copy protection hacked out. I may or may not do that later, but don't hold your breath too much. This means these dumps will not work on any emulator that does not implement Vast Fame's protection (i.e. any emulator other than mGBA, as of this writing) and they also will not work on flash carts.

Zook Man ZX4 / Luke Ren ZX4 路克人ZX4

After that one, uhm, underwhelming semi-unofficial entry by Sintax, Zook is back for reals! You may know this game better as Rockman & Crystal; this is the Taiwanese release. For those unfamiliar with Zook, it's a series of Mega Man clones, and this one takes most of its inspiration from the X series. And I like it a lot! Okay it obviously was rushed (spoilers? there's no unique last boss, only a boss rush, and the Zero-ish dude from the first stage never shows up again) and jacks a lot of graphics from elsewhere, but they nailed the controls really well, and there's plenty of variety. And the music is p cool as usual for Vast Fame.

Zook Man ZX4 (Luke Ren ZX4) (Unlicensed, Chinese).zip

Juezhan Sanguo 決戰三國

An interesting strategy RPG based on the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. Haven't played too much of this one, but its copy protection is implemented slightly differently from the others.

Juezhan Sanguo (Unlicensed, Chinese).zip

Digimon Rury / Digimon Ruby

The famous(?) RPG with barely-comprehensible dialogue. A dump of this game is already available, but it comes from a later reprint with the copy protection hacked out. This is the original! It's the proper size (hacked dump is 32MB, the game is really 8MB) and may be less buggy (e.g. the hacked dump crashes and resets on the ending screen) but I haven't tested it thoroughly so can't confirm that.

Digimon Ruby (Digimon Rury) (Unlicensed, English).zip

There are several other Vast Fame GBA games which remain undumped, though - these are the known ones:

If you have any of these games and would like them to be dumped, please contact me! Email, Twitter, or just leave a comment here.

(For Digimon Sapphire - if you bought it brand new from a Chinese reseller from the late 2000s onwards, and it goes to a black screen after completing a level, it's probably not the original version I'm looking for. But if you're not sure, let me know and I'll help you figure it out.)


hhugboy 1.0.5 release

posted by taizou @ 2016-01-03 23:07:51 hhugboy

yeah three years later, here's another version of this thing. with a bunch of minor changes no one will care about yay

get it @ here


The Return of Li Cheng 2015 (pt1)

posted by taizou @ 2015-09-20 20:52:17 Dumps

Got a few more dumps of Li Cheng releases of various games today - including a couple hopefully people will find interesting.

It's kind of a shame that I can only bring you these bad title hacks instead of the original releases of the games, but.. maybe someday!

Chao Jinhua Shuma Baolong - Zuanshi Ban (超進化 数码暴龙-钻石版) (CBA012)

Okay so this first one is just Digimon D3 again. Please try to contain your excitement.

raw: Chao Jinhua Shuma Baolong - Zuanshi Ban (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA012) [Raw Dump].zip
fixed: Chao Jinhua Shuma Baolong - Zuanshi Ban (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA012) [Fixed].zip

Taikong Zhanshi - Jingdian Ban (太空战士经典版) (CBA063)

Now here's something new, and something that could have been great in the right hands - an attempted port of the Mega Drive game Barver Battle Saga: Taikong Zhanshi. Sadly this port is garbage, and I don't say that lightly.

It's developed by the same "Tian Cai Xiao Zi" team as a bunch of other dubious RPGs, but even by their standards it's a bit of a mess. AFAIK there was also a version published by Sintax with different graphics, which I don't have to hand right now, but I really hope it looks better than this version.

Oh and the music (all three tracks of it) seems to be stolen, bizarrely, from "Pocket Voice 2.0", a voice recorder cartridge by Bung; but one of the tracks was also used in ROM intros by the release group Paradox (where it's credited to "Blackbox"), so its true origins remain mysterious for now..

raw: Taikong Zhanshi - Jingdian Ban (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA063) [Raw Dump].zip
fixed: Taikong Zhanshi - Jingdian Ban (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA063) [Fixed].zip

Xin Shediao Yingxiong Chuan (新射雕英雄传) (CBA090)

Another Tian Cai Xiao Zi game, based on the novel Legend of the Condor Heroes. This one is much better made than the previous, but it does suffer from a very unfortunate bug which causes the music (stolen from Telefang this time) to mess up horribly when the text printing sound effect plays. This has been confirmed to happen on the real cart - it may have been introduced by the Li Cheng release though.

Interestingly, not only does this game open with a Sintax logo (several TCXZ games were originally released by Sintax in China) but I received it in the original Sintax box (bearing the same title without the "Xin"), despite the cart inside being 100% Li Cheng. I'm not sure if this is evidence of cooperation between the two companies though - or if it was just a case of the seller mixing and matching the box and cart for the same game.

raw: Xin Shediao Yingxiong Chuan (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA090) [Raw Dump].zip
fixed: Xin Shediao Yingxiong Chuan (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA090) [Fixed].zip

Xin Guangming Yu Hei'an 2 - Zhushen De Yichan (光明與黑暗2-諸神的遺產) (CBA095)

..And here's another Tian Cai Xiao Zi RPG, falling somewhere in between the previous two in terms of production values (and thankfully without the sound bug). Allegedly it's based on Sega's Shining series somehow, but I'm not particularly familiar with those games so I have no idea if it's ripping off any particular entry.

raw: Xin Guangming Yu Hei'an 2 - Zhushen De Yichan (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA095) [Raw Dump].zip
fixed: Xin Guangming Yu Hei'an 2 - Zhushen De Yichan (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA095) [Fixed].zip

Tezhong Budui (特种部队) / Teshu Budui 2001 (特殊部队2001) (CBA100)

Just Metal Slug 2001 - which has been dumped for a long-ass time - with a different title screen. Still, it's a fun enough game, for what it is. Li Cheng didn't bother protecting this one at all, so even the raw dump works fine in any emulator - my fix just tweaks the header to remove the SRAM it never uses.

Incidentally the title on the box/cart differs slightly from the one on the title screen, hence the two titles here. both of them roughly translate to "Special Forces" though.

raw: Tezhong Budui (Teshu Budui 2001) (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA100) [Raw Dump].zip
header fix: Tezhong Budui (Teshu Budui 2001) (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA100) [Header Fix].zip

Taikong Zhanshi DX3 - Zuizhong Huanxian (太空战士DX3-最终幻想) (CBA145)

this is an interesting one! It's a (bad) title hack of a game originally known as "Final Fantaxy IX", a heavily FF9-based beat 'em up/RPG hybrid. The original version was released by "TD Software", but it seems to have been developed by the same team (possibly BBD) behind Sintax's early stuff. and much like their other early beat 'em ups, it's very well-made if a bit repetitive.

raw: Taikong Zhanshi DX3 - Zuizhong Huanxiang (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA145) [Raw Dump].zip
fixed: Taikong Zhanshi DX3 - Zuizhong Huanxiang (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA145) [Fixed].zip

Tezhong Budui 2 - Jidi (特种部队2-基地) / Teshu Budui 2 - Jidi (特殊部队2-基地) (CBA146)

and now: the game better known as Terrifying 911, aka Too Soon: the video game. originally released (and developed?) by Hitek, on the market at least by June 2002, using actual footage of an attack that killed thousands less than a year previous. bad taste? i'll say.

but underneath all that, there's a surprisingly faithful port of Metal Slug 1. Compared to other unlicensed Metal Slug games it's in a whole different league - just about everything is here, the original levels, weapon upgrades, bosses, prisoners to rescue, and even the Metal Slug itself have been retained.

And yet this was (as far as I know) Hitek's only action game - the rest of their output on the Game Boy consisted mostly of RPGs, strategy games, board games and the like. I believe it was also their only game released in English, but this is the Chinese version (and naturally a shoddy title hack thereof).

raw: Tezhong Budui 2 - Jidi (Teshu Budui 2 - Jidi) (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA146) [Raw Dump].zip
fixed: Tezhong Budui 2 - Jidi (Teshu Budui 2 - Jidi) (Unlicensed, Chinese) (CBA146) [Fixed].zip

[finally, just to note that I am aware my previous fixed version of of Gangdan Wuyu 2 crashes after level 2 and may have other issues - I'm looking into it!]