Handheld Underground

Sintaxmas 2018!!??

posted by taizou @ 2018-12-25 16:42:44 Dumps

Hey I pulled something together at the last minute because it's CHRISTMAS
Four dumps that have been on the backburner for one reason or another but not anymore. merry everything!!

Shengui Diguo Zhi Emo Cheng (神鬼帝國の惡魔城)

This is the original 2003 release of Sintax's Castlevania game, probably best known through the cut-down demo of a somewhat-revised "DX" version which has been spread around the internet for a long time. Unlike the DX demo, the full game is here, and it's pretty much a Metroidvania-style Castlevania game on the Game Boy Color, which Konami themselves never attempted. In fact, from the small amount of it I've played, I'd say this is better than any of Konami's official Castlevania games for the Game Boy. The soundtrack is taken from Belmont's Revenge, which was a very good call.

Thanks to AprkMk10 for lending me this cart!

The cracked version will run in any emulator, GBX version will run in hhugboy, raw will run in hhugboy and probably in MAME if you configure it right.

GBX: Shengui Diguo Zhi Emo Cheng (Unl) (Chn) [C] [GBX].zip
Cracked: Shengui Diguo Zhi Emo Cheng (Unl) (Chn) [C] [Cracked].zip
Raw: Shengui Diguo Zhi Emo Cheng (Unl) (Chn) [C] [Raw].zip

Chaoji Yinsu Xiaozi II - Super Sonik II (超級音速的小子II)

This is one of Sintax's later low-quality generic platformers, unfortunately. Pick Knuckles, Sonic or Tails and jump around a few uninspired levels shooting at enemies. I don't know how to use the icons along the bottom or the MP gauge, if they're even functional at all. Still, at least the sprites are decent.

Thanks to max6464646464 for lending me this cart!

I have a picture of this one, please enjoy the full glory of "Sonik" the probably-not-legally-distinct-enough hedgehog:

GBX: Chaoji Yinsu Xiaozi II - Super Sonik II (Unl) (Chn) [C] [GBX].zip
Cracked: Chaoji Yinsu Xiaozi II - Super Sonik II (Unl) (Chn) [C] [Cracked].zip
Raw: Chaoji Yinsu Xiaozi II - Super Sonik II (Unl) (Chn) [C] [Raw].zip

Langrsr II / Fantastic Simulated Battle

Here's an interesting one! An English version, for starters, which is rare enough. But an English strategy RPG, too, apparently based on the rarely-officially-localised Langrisser series (which I have never played). But it's actually more readily obviously just a reskin of the unlicensed Fire Emblem GBC game previously published by SKOB, with the Chinese intro text, gameplay, music and map layouts all being identical. All the graphics have been changed and characters and in-game dialogue replaced, though, which I assume results in a confusing mashup of Langrisser and Fire Emblem which probably makes no sense to fans of either series. Fun times in Sintax land!

Thanks to BigFred for this dump! (Which was sent to me so long ago that I can no longer find any of the original messages, so hopefully I haven't missed anything here.. ahem)

The reason I never released this one before is it wasn't quite susceptible to my usual method of cracking Sintax games- unlike 99% of their GBC titles which initialise the protection at the start and then never touch it again, this one actually does it again when you open the menu in battle, meaning the data is encoded in two different ways in different parts of the ROM, which I could never be arsed to unpick. So, for now, I'm only releasing the GBX and raw versions, for use in hhugboy and probably MAME too.

GBX: Langrsr II (Fantastic Simulated Battle) (Unl) (Eng) [C] [GBX].zip
Raw: Langrsr II (Fantastic Simulated Battle) (Unl) (Eng) [C] [Raw].zip

Menghuan Moni Zhan II (夢幻模擬戰II)

The Chinese version of the above game. Basically the same, but in Chinese. Same protection issues too.

GBX: Menghuan Moni Zhan II (Unl) (Chn) [C] [GBX].zip
Raw: Menghuan Moni Zhan II (Unl) (Chn) [C] [Raw].zip

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💀 NIGHT OF THE LIVING JADE 💀

posted by taizou @ 2018-10-31 21:26:53 Dumps

Next up tonight I'm bringing you HORRIFYING dumps related to the SCARIEST BOOtleg of them all ... the infamous HACK of Keitai DenjBOO TeleFANG ...

~POKÉMON JADE VERSION!~ (SCREAMS)

alright I'm not doing that any more but you can read the rest of this post in a spooky voice if you like

First, here's the German version! Thanks to Sanqui for dumping this one!

Yep, for some reason, this game was translated to German. I never really considered Germany a hot market for bootleg products, but I could be wrong, considering none other than Sintax also translated some of their games to German...

It's based on the English version, the dialogue is all translated but most of the menus are not. Also the title screen reads "Vision Jade" which I assume was supposed to say "Version Jade" - interestingly the same mistake Sintax made on some of their German releases.

Unlike the original release of the English version, this one had no protection aside from an incorrectly set header. So the 'header fix' version of the ROM should work on anything. The GBX version will work in hhugboy, the raw will also work in hhugboy if you select MBC3 compatibility mode (available from version 1.2.7 onwards).

GBX: Pokemon Jade Version (Unl) (Ger) [C] [GBX].zip
Header fix: Pokemon Jade Version (Unl) (Ger) [C] [Header fix].zip
Raw: Pokemon Jade Version (Unl) (Ger) [C] [Raw].zip

And now... the English version!

Specifically, the original English version, which came with some simple copy protection. If you've come across a Pokémon Jade/Diamond ROM which didn't let you load a save, chances are it was due to incompletely-removed protection. But I've emulated this protection in hhugboy (since version 1.2.7, again), and now for the first time you should be able to run the protected versions and save/load with impunity. Exciting!

Both of these ROMs will only work in hhugboy, the GBX version will work as-is & the raw will work if you manually select Pokémon Jade/Diamond compatibility mode. I haven't made a deprotected hack for other emulators because I am TIRED and there's already a later copy of the game with that work done which I'm pretty sure has been dumped elsewhere.

GBX: Pokemon Jade Version (Unl) (Eng) [C] [GBX].zip
Raw: Pokemon Jade Version (Unl) (Eng) [C] [Raw].zip

Also if you're interested in these games, check out telefang.net which is a cool community about all things Telefang! Happy Halloween! 🎃

11 Comments

ROCKMAN & CRYSTAL!

posted by taizou @ 2018-09-12 18:44:31 Dumps

Rockman & Crystal is the English version of Vast Fame's genuinely-quite-decent Mega Man X clone and swansong for their Zook series, and it's been something of a holy grail for ROM dumpers for a LONG time. Just over two years ago, I dumped the Chinese-language Taiwanese release, Zook Man ZX4. So the game has been playable for a while, but what has always been missing is its fantastic English dialogue. Until now!

Many many thanks to a tiny fairy for lending me the cartridge!

here's the ROM: Rockman & Crystal (Battle Network Rockman Crystal) (Unl).zip

It works in mGBA 0.5.0 and later, might work in other emulators if they've implemented support for Vast Fame protection in the meantime. I dunno, I'm not the sheriff of emulators

16 Comments

🐼 Super Panda 🐼

posted by taizou @ 2018-09-06 22:48:48 Dumps

Back at it again with a weird GBA cart:

Super Panda! What could this be? I had my suspicions, but...

Yep, it's a NES game running on GBA using the free PocketNES emulator, a common tactic of bootleggers looking to stretch out their lineups. As with many of these carts, it has a newly-added "intro" consisting of two static images that zoom into the screen, then launches straight into the emulator. Note also that for the second of the images they managed to fuck up transparency and make the white areas black - here is what it probably should have looked like.

The game being emulated here is "Panda World", a platformer running on the same engine as the better-known Pocket Monster and equally-poorly-known Super PoPo's Adventure, likely developed by entities related to Gamtec or Super Game. This game has been dumped for a while, so I figured the GBA cart was nothing too special - just a ROM from the internet with a couple of images slapped on the front - and didn't pay too much attention to it.

But then I realised something: the Panda World ROM was only released by Cah4e3 in 2010. That's pretty late for a new mass-produced GBA cart. Not to mention the general condition of the cartridge made it appear much older. So I opened it, and inside found a sticker on the PCB indicating a 2004-2005 date! So this was made well before the ROM became widely available. Not only that, on the back of the PCB was the code "4351-XB"; Panda World was dumped from a multicart with the ID XB-F812. "XB" there is though to stand for "X Boy", a brand name of Unite Lucky Technology. So I believe this is probably a GBA cart produced by the original publishers of Panda World, using their own ROM.

That's already interesting enough for a nerd like me, but you may be wondering if there's really anything different from the existing dump. Well! The version on the multicart apparently had some weak copy protection, which was disabled by Cah4e3 in order to make it run on the common MMC3 mapper. But since PocketNES doesn't support this protection, the ROM they used here is already MMC3, either the original version before the protection was added, or an "official" hack removing it.

Here's the GBA ROM: Super Panda (PocketNES) (Unl).zip

But of course it's a NES game, so we can extract the NES ROM too, we don't have to be restricted to playing it in an emulator-inside-an-emulator:

Once extracted, it seems to work exactly the same as the existing dump. There are differences in the ROM, so there may be in-game differences somewhere, but I haven't verified this either way. (although one large difference is apparently accounted for by the presence of a block of Tengen Tetris graphics in this version, for some reason, almost certainly left in by accident and unused).

Here's the NES ROM: Panda World (Unl) (GBA Rip).zip

So that's it for this .. variation of a panda game. But one final point of intrigue is that the ID of this cartridge is "LC022", probably implying the existence of others in the series - I've never seen any, but is it possible X Boy (or whoever) released other unique games in this line? Maybe Super Popo's Adventure, or other unknown titles? MAYBE. Leave a comment if you know anything!

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Makon Crapstravaganza 2018 Part 2

posted by taizou @ 2018-03-21 00:27:04 Dumps

HEAVEN OR HELL
LET'S ROCK

YEAH THERE'S MORE. Once again these dumps will currently only work in hhugboy v1.2.5 or later, but v1.2.6 is recommended since it fixes a save bug. GBX versions will work automatically, raw dumps require "NT (Makon) new" compatibility mode to be manually selected.

Digimon 02 4

This is the English version of Shuma Baolong 02 4 from the last batch of dumps. It's... in English! cool.

Honestly this is probably one of Makon's better games, for what that's worth - okay you might fall through the floor sometimes, but at least it's mostly controllable and the level design isn't too punishing. Even the sprites are pretty cute!

GBX: Digimon 02 4 (Unl) [C] [GBX].zip
Raw: Digimon 02 4 (Unl) [C] [Raw].zip

Pokémon Diamond (Special Pikachu Edition)

You may already know "Pokémon Diamond" as the bootleg English translation of Telefang: Power Version. This is not that game! This is the "Special Pikachu Edition", a rehash of Super Mario Special 3, with Pikachu and a better colour palette.

Unfortunately, this version also omits the map screen, instead starting you on a level heavy on precision platforming, rendered near-impossible by the poor controls. If you manage to make it through that level via some miracle and/or savestates... there's a block, and you hit it, and an item comes out, and nothing happens. So you can't proceed past level 1. This level was similarly broken in Super Mario Special 3, but given that all levels were selectable from the start, you could at least skip it. Here, they aren't, and you can't!

Now, I dumped a Li Cheng release of this game a while back as Shuma Baobei: Hai Zhi Shen, and for once the Li Cheng version is actually the superior one, because... they fixed that bug! So if you want to actually play the game, that version is the way to go.

GBX: Pokemon Diamond (Special Pikachu Edition) (Unl) [C] [GBX].zip
Raw: Pokemon Diamond (Special Pikachu Edition) (Unl) [C] [Raw].zip

Pokemon Jade (Special Pikachu Edition)

You may already know "Pokémon Jade" as the bootleg English translation of Telefang: Speed Version. This is not that game! This is the "Special Pikachu Edition", a rehash of Sonic Adventure 7/8, with Pikachu and a better colour palette

...hold on, haven't we been here before? Yes, Makon/NT released their own Pokémon Diamond and Jade versions suspiciously close together, almost as if they were trying to cash in on the other Pokémon Diamond and Jade versions...

This game even shares a few more similarities with Diamond: it starts you on by far the hardest level, with lots of precision platforming (one jump is apparently impossible unless you lure one of the Porygons from further back in the stage and bounce off it), and... once again, it's fucking broken and you can't pass stage 1. This time, it just crashes when you touch the sign at the end.

If you want to see the rest of the levels, you can cheat your way around it by setting memory address C27D to a number between 01 and 04 for levels 2 to 5. In hhugboy's simple cheat format that would be C27D=XX or GameShark/Action Replay Pro 01XX7DC2, with XX replaced by the level ID you want to skip to. This will actually work on a real cart with Action Replay, as long as you only flip the switch on and off on the 'start' screen.

Interestingly, this wouldn't be the only time Makon rehashed their Sonic games in Pokémon form. Pokémon Adventure, also known as Pokémon Gold Version 2, uses the same Sonic engine and the same Pikachu sprite as Jade, but features redesigned levels which are quite a bit more forgiving than those found here. Overall Adventure feels like a somewhat-refined iteration on Jade, but... it's dated 2000, a year earlier than Jade's 2001. So Jade is both broken and a step backwards.

GBX: Pokemon Jade Version (Special Pikachu Edition) (Unl) [C] [GBX].zip
Raw: Pokemon Jade Version (Special Pikachu Edition) (Unl) [C] [Raw].zip

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