Handheld Underground

Vast Fame multicarts dumped!

posted by taizou @ 2016-09-05 00:56:39 Dumps

So, recently I added support for a multicart mapper to my Game Boy emulator hhugboy. You may be wondering at this point (unless you've been following me on Twitter, or read the emulator readme, where I kinda gave the game away) - why? THIS is why:

Yin Ban Zhongwen RPG Zhanlüe + Dongzuo + Yizhi 12 in 1 (銀版中文RPG戰略+動作+益智12in1)

that's right - 12 whole games from Vast Fame! This cart was the source of my Shi Kong Xing Shou and Xin Feng Shen Bang dumps, but I recently figured out how to dump the whole thing (with the help of a custom-built cable and a modified version of Brian Provinciano's gblinkdl software).

The multicart mapper and menu (featuring music stolen from Megami Tensei Gaiden: Last Bible) don't seem to have been created by Vast Fame, and certainly aren't specific to their carts, having shown up on numerous generic multis too. Presumably these carts were produced towards the end of Vast Fame's life, and as far as I know they were only released in Taiwan.

Most of these games have been dumped in some form by now, but there's one kinda-new one, Digimon Pocket; it's similar to the previously dumped Chong Wu Xiao Jing Ling (aka Pokemon Ruby) but with new maps and obviously Digimonified. Its intro and map screen also features music obviously nowhere near Vast Fame's usual standards, not sure what's up with that. It gets better once you get into the game though. There are also two interesting variations here - Zook Hero 2, the original version of the game released elsewhere as "Rockman DX3", and an alternate version of Soul Falchion with a different title screen and Super Fighter 2001's soundtrack.

And then there are the mono games, about which - if you know your unlicensed GB stuff - you may be thinking "weren't those by Gowin?" Well, yes they were released by Gowin, but they were developed in the early 90s by staff involved with the whole Gamtec/Chuanpu melange from which Vast Fame would later emerge. It looks like they shopped them around a few publishers before finding Gowin; the Gowin releases contain (mostly) unused logos for Syntek Ltd, and Top Secret here has an unused copyright to Sonling (Songtly) and Jumbo, the same duo credited for the Mega Drive version of Fire Dragon. The versions on this cart all seem to be earlier revisions than those released by Gowin, with some featuring severe bugs.

ROM: Yin Ban Zhongwen RPG Zhanlve + Dongzuo + Yizhi 12 in 1 (Unl).zip

But that's not all! Would you believe there's something even bigger out there..

Shishang Chaoqiang RPG + Gedou + Yizhi Ban Zuhe Ka 18 in 1 (史上超強RPG+格鬥+益智版組合卡18in1)

Yep, they released an even bigger multicart, adding the first Zook game (the original version!), both installments of their Richman series, a couple more RPGs, the Harry Potter 2/3 reskin Qi Tian Da Sheng, and one more mono game. This isn't quite their entire library - they made at least one Pokemon and two Digimon games that aren't present on either cart (in addition to Digimon Pocket, which is only on the 12 in 1), and their earlier fighting games Super Fighter S, Queen Fighter 2000 and Super Fighter 2001 Alpha are missing too. Presumably copyright is the reason for Digimon, Pokemon and Super Fighter's absence; but Queen Fighter is if anything less ripoff-y than Soul Falchion, so I'm not sure why that didn't make the cut. But even with those few missing, it's a damn fine selection of games from the GB's best unlicensed developer.

Big thanks to Shamboozle for lending me this one!

ROM: Shishang Chaoqiang RPG + Gedou + Yizhi Ban Zuhe Ka 18 in 1 (Unl).zip

36 in 1 (SL36-0032)

This one is perhaps less interesting, it's just a generic multicart; it has (fairly common, buggy) Chinese translations of Pokemon Gold and Silver, plus a selection of 34 mono games. But it helped me understand more about the mapper, including how it handles banked SRAM (like Pokemon's) and MBC1/MBC5 incompatibilities (which affect Rolan's Curse and other mono games), so it was useful in its way. It's also kinda interesting in that it was released by "SL", a company that published several of Vast Fame's games in Mainland China.

ROM: 36 in 1 (SL36-0032) (Unl).zip

Split games

Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking, it's all well and good that I can play these on your weird emulator, but what if I want to play them on something that can record videos or that runs on my phone or my Bingoo A420 or whatever? Don't worry, I got you covered~

So these are separate versions of any game (or variant thereof) not previously released, with header fixes where necessary; most of the games using SRAM don't have the correct header values to allow them to save in most emulators.

Colour:

For completeness, here are links to the five other colour games, which were previously ripped from multicarts by me:
Sheng Shou Wu Yu, Xin Feng Shen Bang & Shi Kong Xing Shou, E Mo Dao, Qi Tian Da Sheng.

Mono:

And that's it! Six years after Shi Kong Xing Shou, we finally have Vast Fame multicarts completely dumped and emulated!

18 Comments

Comments

1posted by taizou @ 2016-09-05 01:17:21

oh yeah and I haven't updated my dumping project page with these ones yet because it's tedious and I'm going to bed

2posted by Anonymous @ 2016-09-05 04:21:54

First, thanks for the dumps, and second, Zook Hero 1 needs to be translated, you, who dumped the rom, you could make an translation tool for it? I can translate based on the english version.

3posted by taizou @ 2016-09-05 08:44:05

I'd rather try to figure out the protection on the actual English release tbh. If you really want to translate this version it should be possible with standard romhacking tools though.

4posted by Shamboozle @ 2016-09-05 13:04:46

Digimon Pocket's music is the same three tracks from Shui Hu Shen Shou that Digital Monsters 3 used, and it's a shame since both SHSS and Digimon Pocket's original soundtracks are really good (and the former's quite large; they easily could've had actual battle themes for this version.) I'm curious if this one's an older revision between that, slight changes and a missing NPC character.

5posted by Anonymous @ 2016-09-05 20:47:44

Taizou, you could send me the rom with protection, will not try to figure out the protection, just to get the texts and codes to be able to put in the rom without protection. I believe this will help me a lot to translate the rom.

Take a look:
http://i.imgur.com/5baIRKp.png

I am not able to follow up with the translation because you need to change other codes besides the texts pointers.

6posted by El vato @ 2016-09-08 06:25:38

Nice work! Can't wait to try these out!

7posted by tymime @ 2016-09-12 22:44:34

Nice. Maybe someday the English versions of some of these will see the light of day.

8posted by taizou @ 2016-09-13 14:03:24

I think the only one with a 100% confirmed English version is Zook Hero Z. I've seen boxes for potential English versions of Digimon Pocket (as 'Digimon Adventure Pocket') and Zook Hero 2 (as 'Rockman Zero') as well, but it's probably fairly unlikely that stuff like their original RPGs or the Richman games were ever released in English.

9posted by ? @ 2016-09-18 06:22:02

Hey, speaking of Vast Fame, I apparently found this on Google. Not sure if anyone has posted this or pointed it out, but....

http://datagovtw.com/company.php?id=16884040

It's in Chinese, but apparently it's company data on Vast Fame. Even though it disbanded, the data's still there on this website. From there, we know that it was established sometime in April 2, 1999, but had its disbanding sometime at around January 2, 2004. Its company registration authority is the Taichung City government (though TCRF already noted somewhere that Vast Fame resided in Dali City). And its whole headquarters is a single rented office room in a building somewhere.
And under the "所營事業資料" section it has "F119010 : electronic materials, wholesale trade. F219010 : electronic materials retail. F118010 : IT software wholesale trade. F218010 : Retail software information. F113050 : Transactional equipment wholesale industry. F213030 : Transactional equipment retail." I don't know if I'm translating this right or know much about Taiwanese business law, but I tried my best in interpreting as much as I can.

And I managed to find Vast Fame's former headquarters just by using the information provided by copying and pasting "臺中市大里區新里里大里路六二號一樓" on Google Maps. Here is the result, you can even use Google Streetview on the thing for a better look: https://www.google.com/maps?q=%E8%87%BA%E4%B8%AD%E5%B8%82%E5%A4%A7%E9%87%8C%E5%8D%80%E6%96%B0%E9%87%8C%E9%87%8C%E5%A4%A7%E9%87%8C%E8%B7%AF%E5%85%AD%E4%BA%8C%E8%99%9F%E4%B8%80%E6%A8%93&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiY_5-8lJjPAhUM34MKHR18D-0Q_AUICCgB . The address translates to "No. 62, Dali Rd, Dali District
Taichung City, Taiwan 412" in English.

I hope this is as much help to you, Taizou and other Vast Fame fans looking to find more info on them.

10posted by taizou @ 2016-09-26 01:19:57

thanks for the info, questionmark person!

11posted by ? @ 2016-09-28 18:16:52

Sadly, that information has been known for years:

https://fcgamer.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/harpooning-a-whale-vast-fames-zook-hero-2/

"Armed with only the company’s address and a fat wallet, I would later pay a taxi driver to take me to the former site of Vast Fame. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when the cab driver pulled into a residential area chalk full of apartments. After snooping around the area and confirming the address, I came to realize that Vast Fame’s company must have been headquartered in a small apartment of sorts, which suggests the size of the company itself. Not one to give up though, I went to a nearby convenience store and grabbed a couple of beers, before checking out a small game shop that had been around back in the day."

Nice to know that people aren't reading my blog. :(

Either way, seeing screenshots of these games bring back good memories of three or four years ago. I used to play these games all the time, on a beat up Game Boy Color machine. Sadly, these days I am usually busking rather than gaming, and thus my games just sit sadly in the drawer.

On another note, I am on some Vast Fame leads, as one of my friends has a contact that is "close" with them.

12posted by taizou @ 2016-09-29 11:02:26

haha well I read your blog (which is great btw) and I did already know about that stuff, but I don't want to discourage people coming here with useful info. Makes a change from "when will you dump X" you know.

13posted by fcgamer @ 2016-10-01 20:09:58

Interestingly enough, I had visited my girlfriend's area tonight, and we happened to walk right by where the old Vast Fame company used to be. It was evening though, so no pictures this time ;) My girlfriend had then seen the shop I had stopped by four or five years back, and mentioned it to me, and I recounted the story how the shop keeper had no idea about Vast Fame, despite selling gaming products. Hahaha, really makes you wonder.

14posted by taizou @ 2016-10-11 21:40:38

Yeah, it seems like their fame was never all that vast, even on their home turf, sadly. At least they've now gained some kind of late recognition among the (admittedly small) group of people interested in weirdo unlicensed games though.

15posted by El vato @ 2016-12-02 00:35:43

Got any cheats for zook hero?

16posted by taizou @ 2016-12-07 23:45:47

yes i do!
in both address/value and gameshark/action replay format:

FFD2=14 / 0114D2FF - max health
FFE0=09 / 0109E0FF - max lives
FFDE=09 / 0109DEFF - max H-tanks
FFDF=09 / 0109DFFF - max S-tanks
FFB9=01 / 0101B9FF - have boots upgrade
FFBA=01 / 0101BAFF - have blaster upgrade
FFBB=01 / 0101BBFF - have armour upgrade
FFBC=01 / 0101BCFF - have helmet upgrade
FFB7=xx / 01xxB7FF (where xx is a number between 00 and 06, anything higher will crash the game) - change selected weapon

17posted by taizou @ 2016-12-08 00:16:39

oh on the subject of zook z, i noticed the header in this version is "ROOK" whereas in every standalone version i've seen it's "ZOCK2000 V FAME"
in both cases they managed to mix up Rock and Zook, but in different ways each time..

18posted by sbdtrockmans @ 2017-01-18 15:12:38

Thanks for taizou's post. I always try to find Zook Hero Z recent years. For this game, it's one of my best memories GBC game when I'm in high school. Now I finally find it on your page. Many thanks for your working on this~~~