Handheld Underground

VAST FAME GBA RETURNS!

posted by taizou @ 2016-10-30 18:22:39 Dumps

So here's a super cool thing - thanks to Shamboozle, we have a new batch of Vast Fame GBA dumps!

As with my previous Vast Fame GBA releases, these will only work in recent versions of mGBA. The two Digimon games work in release versions 0.5.0 and later, but Mo Jie Qi Bing will currently work only in nightly builds from 2016-10-28 onwards, because it uses a previously unemulated feature of the protection system and also isn't picked up by the auto-detection in previous versions.

Mo Jie Qibing (魔戒奇兵)

First up, here's something never dumped in any form before! A top-down shooty-type game loosely based around Lord of the Rings (although outside of the cutscenes you wouldn't really know it).

It uses the engine from Kiki KaiKai Advance (also known as 'Pocky & Rocky with Becky' for its US release), which Vast Fame is rumoured to have obtained legitimately from that game's developers. But overall I found this a more enjoyable experience than Kiki KaiKai, and the graphics and music are IMO better and the environments more varied. They even brought back a version of the raft stage from the (massively superior) SNES Pocky & Rocky, which was not present at all in the GBA game.

Interesting note about this game - its box, which can be seen on Bootleg Games Wiki, bears the number "SLA-001". A number of Vast Fame's Game Boy Color games were published in China under the SL-xxx series, so that would presumably make this the first GBA release from that same publisher.

download - Mo Jie Qibing (Unl).zip

Digimon Sapphire

I dumped a version of this from an unprotected reprint cart ages ago, but that version has Problems - specifically when you finish a level, it will do something wrong; on the real cart it would hang on a black screen, but in emulators it could also just roll the credits or (if you were lucky) proceed to the next level albeit skipping the stage intro screen. But, finally, we now have the original, which works as it should. And it's a genuinely decent platform game which I highly recommend you check out if you haven't played it already.

download - Digimon Sapphire (Unl).zip

Shuma Guaishou - Hongbaoshi Ban (數碼怪獸-紅寶石版)

I've already dumped the English version of this as "Digimon Ruby", and the Chinese title translates to roughly the same thing. Presumably the dialogue in this version makes more sense, although it also has much worse problems with sound channels dropping out than the English version.

download - Shuma Guaishou - Hongbaoshi Ban (Unl).zip

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ROCK THE DRAGON

posted by taizou @ 2016-10-24 00:22:24 Dumps

Today I have not one but TWO games called "Dragon Ball Z 3"! Yeah turns out when you're appropriating someone else's franchise no one really cares if you're using the same name someone else already used.

Dragon Ball Z 3 2002 Fighting

If you haven't already guessed from the name, this one is from Sintax. It's developed by BBD as usual for their early stuff (the BBD copyright is loaded with the title screen graphics but not displayed) and stuffed into a fairly generic looking cart, but it boots up with the usual Sintax "Kwichvu" logo and seems to be running on their mapper.

As with many of the games I've released here recently, this does have another version dumped, which is in Chinese and has a pretty ugly hacked title screen. But this is English and at least an original Sintax release (although maybe not the absolute original version? there are lots of variants of this game floating around)

Interestingly this one uses Sintax's mapper in a slightly unusual way, which didn't work with my earlier implementation in hhugboy - so you'll need v1.1.6 to play the raw dump of this game. While this made things harder for me, it actually makes things much easier for people just looking to hack the game and get it working on a generic cart, which probably explains why there are so many pirate versions out there.

raw: Dragon Ball Z 3 2002 Fighting (Unl).zip
fixed: Dragon Ball Z 3 2002 Fighting (Unl) [Fixed].zip

ALSO - WHOA LAST MINUTE RIDICULOUS DISCOVERY

So it turns out the header of this game controls the language it runs in! I found this out completely accidentally while being a hilarious jokester on twitter - the header of the English version is "DRAGON BALLE" but if you change that "E" to any other character, it runs in Chinese mode! Try it! Game Genie code 411-3FF will change an English ROM to Chinese, while 451-3FF will switch a Chinese ROM to English. (but not the "Dragon Ball Z Fighting 2005" dump, which seems to be hacked from an English version and will crash if you try to switch it to Chinese)

The Chinese title screen in this version is maybe incomplete, showing the title 武鬥會, but it uses completely different artwork (probably the original original, as other versions have this art too). The pre-fight quotes are all in Chinese, and seem to be complete, aside from the occasional miscoloured tile.

Dragon Ball Z 3

Now here's something you don't see very often (unless Pokemon is involved) - a bootleg translation of a Japanese game into English! This is a translation of "Dragon Ball Z: Goku Gekitouden" and appears to come courtesy of the same people who brought you Pokemon Jade and Diamond (the translations of Telefang Speed and Power versions), judging from the font - and the fact that they literally stuffed a chunk of Telefang into the back half of this game's ROM.

As with Jade/Diamond, the translation is generally comprehensible if a little rough in places, although most of the names are wrong and a lot of the dialogue is VERY truncated due to them mostly cramming it into the same space as the Japanese. Despite having doubled the size of the ROM, they didn't use the extra space for text storage - only a bit of new code, translated graphics and font are read from there, leaving the majority of it literally just filled with useless Telefang data.

Despite being a hack of a regular licensed game, it runs on a slightly unusual mapper allowing for half bank switches, which are used when the extended part of the ROM is accessed. I've implemented support for it in hhugboy from version 1.1.5 onwards, BUT hhugboy's Super Game Boy support has problems with this game, resulting in bad colours in various places. So, it's fine if you want to play it in mono mode, but in SGB mode it's going to look a bit weird.

Fortunately for you SGB-lovers, I've also hacked a version to run on other emulators. Unlike my usual Sintax/BBD fixes, this one involved actually overwriting some data (albeit useless banks of Telefang sprites) and modifying a bit of code, so it is very much a hack and not just a rejigged/decrypted version of the original. Note that VBA(-M) also has the same Super Game Boy bug (because hhugboy is derived from GEST, and GEST was derived from the Game Boy portion of VBA), but other emulators should run it just fine.

raw: Dragon Ball Z 3 (Unl).zip
fixed: Dragon Ball Z 3 (Unl) [Fixed].zip

Thanks once again to Svetlana for helping me get this one!

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BBD = Big Bunch of Dumps

posted by taizou @ 2016-10-11 22:57:28 Dumps

If you've been following my previous dumps here, you maybe know BBD best as the developer behind many of Sintax's earlier (and better) games, which often bore a "COPYRIGHT © DESIGN BY BBD" notice on the title screen. But before hooking up with Sintax, they put out a bunch of stuff under their own name too! They were seldom explicitly credited in-game - although sometimes the name appeared on packaging - but their games usually featured a custom "BBD" boot logo which gave away their involvement somewhat.

These games also employed protection similar to Sintax's, but simpler - probably indicating that BBD had a hand in designing Sintax's protection system too. And Sintax's wasn't all that tricky in the first place (I mean, even I could crack it), so you know BBD games got pirated 80 different ways the moment they hit the shelves. And, accordingly, all of these games have been dumped in some form already. But many of the existing dumps were sourced from aforementioned pirate versions, or at least versions in some way removed from the ones I have here.

As with the Sintax games I've released previously, I'm putting out both 'raw' and 'fixed' versions; the former are compatible with hhugboy 1.1.5 or later, while the latter should run in just about any Game Boy Color emulator you care to mention.

Digimon Adventure 2001

This one has been a target of mine for a while. I dumped a version of this game back in 2012, but it was in Chinese and suffers from a pretty sloppy title screen hack; now you can enjoy the original version with the story in English!

I'm a big fan of the graphics in this game, especially the spritework and especially the cute idle animations. The levels also feature a bunch of nice touches, like the falling leaves and layering effects in stage 1, or stage 2's transparent water (actually achieved by rapid flickering, but it looks transparent on a Game Boy's LCD - hhugboy supports frame mixing to simulate this effect, your mileage in other emulators may vary). I'm not sure who was doing graphics for BBD at this point, but they had some talent.

Note that the first enemy in the first level is invisible in hhugboy the first time it appears; this is an emulation bug (it doesn't happen when running the fixed version in other emulators, unless you have some old version of VBA) but not something I could fix just yet, sorry! See this issue on GitHub for more info.

Thanks to Svetlana again for her help in obtaining this one!

raw: Digimon Adventure 2001 (Unl).zip
unprotected: Digimon Adventure 2001 (Unl) [Fixed].zip

Digimon Adventure 6 2002

Yeah this is the same game again. BBD reissued their games under different names sometimes. This is one of them! I don't think there are any differences aside from the title screen, but I could be wrong.

raw: Digimon Adventure 6 2002 (Unl).zip
unprotected: Digimon Adventure 6 2002 (Unl) [Fixed].zip

Harry Potter 2 - The black art wtrstle edition

This one is a cute little platform game somewhat based around the first Harry Potter book/movie. It's also another one that was previously dumped in Chinese, but now here's an English version! There are also a LOT of weird things between the language versions of this game which I'm just going to list off right now-

(Also I'm not sure if "the black art wtrstle edition" has any significance, like, is this supposed to be an update of a non-black art wtrstle edition?)

raw: Harry Potter 2 - The black art wtrstle edition (Unl).zip
unprotected: Harry Potter 2 - The black art wtrstle edition (Unl) [Fixed].zip

Garou: Mark of the Wolves 2001 / Elang Chuanshuo: Shiji Zhi Zhan (餓狼傳說-世紀之戰)

A pretty cool fighting game, based on Garou: Mark of the Wolves (but with a few characters from older Fatal Fury games as well) & with sprites done in the Neo-Geo Pocket Color style. This version is naturally way better than the existing dumps, because it has a nice animated "2001" on the title screen!

I have two copies of this - one from BBD and one from Sintax, each with unique label artwork (although both assembled from KOF '99 character art!) crediting the respective companies. But the games are identical, dumped identically, have identical BBD-style protection and startup routines showing a "FIVER FIRM" logo (a leftover from a previous game), and the PCB in the Sintax copy looks like a BBD board rather than a Sintax one. So, in other words, what we have here is a BBD board repackaged and sold by Sintax. And that's interesting! Because it means the relationship between the two companies was more than just "BBD developed some games for Sintax"; Sintax was also apparently in possession of old BBD stock too. Maybe Sintax absorbed BBD in its entirety, or maybe they just bought up this stock via their existing connections. It's hard to say when there's so little information about BBD out there.

Incidentally, this version has an unused "Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves" logo in the ROM - I do vaguely recall seeing a box with this title, so maybe there's another undumped variant out there that actually uses that logo.

raw: Garou - Mark of the Wolves 2001 (Elang Chuanshuo - Shiji Zhi Zhan) (Unl).zip
unprotected: Garou - Mark of the Wolves 2001 (Elang Chuanshuo - Shiji Zhi Zhan) (Unl) [Fixed].zip

Yuenan Zhanyi 2001 (越南戰役2001) / Yuenan Zhanyi: Chong Jian Tian Ri (越南戰役-重見天日)

Metal Slug! This one wasn't protected at all, but it's another Sintax rerelease of a BBD game. In fact, this one just seems to have been restickered - there are remnants of another label under the too-big Sintax one.

The existing dumps of this game are all 1mb, but this one is 2. Not sure what the extra 1mb is used for; a lot of the data is straight out of Poyon's Dungeon Room (which was standard BBD/Sintax practice for a while - for whatever reason, they'd often build their games on top of some other ROM, even when there didn't seem to be any content taken directly from that game) but it does fix at least one bug present in other version, namely the super-irritating incessant pause sound.

Yuenan Zhanyi 2001 (Yuenan Zhanyi - Chong Jian Tian Ri) (Unl).zip

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Sintax's English Treasures

posted by taizou @ 2016-09-26 00:54:43 Dumps

So it's my favourite time of the year! The time I find some games in English!
All of these games have been dumped in Chinese before (or as a title variant, in one case), but now I can read them!
Special thanx to Svetlana for her help in obtaining the first three games! She is cool & also makes cool music

General note - the reason I've listed two titles for each of these games is that, in typical Sintax style, the name on the label (and presumably the box, where one existed) never matches the one on the title screen. So I've given the label title first, with the title screen title second. Except for the third one where I don't actually know what the original label title was (more on that later).

2003 Lion King Advance 3 / The King Lion III 2003 Advance

First up! THIS GAME IS ABOUT ME Okay so I guess this game is about some other lion asshole or something. It's pretty heavily based on the old official Lion King game, mostly consisting of fairly large open platforming levels, although unlike that game you have to collect a series of gemstones scattered around the levels instead of proceeding to a boss fight at a fixed point. It does mix it up a bit with a short chase stage which seems Simba pursued by an enormous buffalo though. And there's no adult Simba sprite in this game at all (.. kinda like the official NES game then). Also it kinda sucks tbh

Raw dump: 2003 Lion King Advance 3 (The King Lion III 2003 Advance) (Unl).zip
Unprotected: 2003 Lion King Advance 3 (The King Lion III 2003 Advance) (Unl) [Fixed].zip

Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring / King of Ring

This is one of Sintax's more interesting games, having a definite Zelda 2 vibe about it with its mix of a top-down RPG-style overworld and side-scrolling action. I can't say I find the action stages particularly enjoyable, but hey at least they tried something a bit different. This game also benefits more than the others from being in English, since there are various NPCs to interact with and other bits of useful text scattered around. Except for the item/magic names which they forgot to translate. oh well.

Incidentally the label on the cart here is basically just a copy of the Fellowship of the Ring movie poster, with none of Sintax's entertainingly weird design, so I would guess it was published by someone else. But probably not 'New Game Color Advance', who published Pokemon Sapphire and some other stuff, because the style doesn't match up with their known releases. Mysterious!

Raw dump: The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (King of Ring) (Unl).zip
Unprotected: The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (King of Ring) (Unl) [Fixed].zip

Super Marrio Sunshine

This is. This is a thing right here. It came in a cart labelled as 'Mickey's Speedway USA', in a lot of games I'd only bought to get at Lion King 3. But that unassuming cart revealed something far more magical. Super Marrio Sunshine! Despite the promises made by its name, it is identical to the previously dumped Super Mario Bros clone Donkey Kong 5, but with two important differences:

  1. The title screen!
  2. It's slightly broken!

That's right! If you hit the flagpole (or, uh, bell-rope, as it is here) ANYWHERE other than the very bottom, you get an instant game over. You're forced instead to simply shuffle through the bottom and accept the measly 100 points to continue the game. And yes that's not an emulation bug, I have confirmed this behaviour on the real cart. Thanks Sintax!

(Oh and if you were wondering - the Mickey's Speedway label appears to have been the result of some label-swapping shenanigans by a previous owner of the cart, which sadly resulted in the Marrio Sunshine label being lost to the mists of time)

Raw dump: Super Marrio Sunshine (Unl).zip
Unprotected: Super Marrio Sunshine (Unl) [Fixed].zip

The second edition Harry Boy: The secretx of the chamber of secrets / Harry Boy and the Chamber of Secrets

This one was dumped by Robert Bannister who also provided a picture of the cart which you can see at the right. It's another variant of the Super Mario Bros clone engine as seen in Donkey Kong 5/Super Marrio Sunshine, except you play as Harry Potter - starting out as a frog (in a manner probably-coincidentally reminiscent of the NES SMB hack 'Frog Prince'), with pieces of meat returning you to Harry form, because uh sure why not.

Incidentally, according to Sintax's numbering this one is "ST-0206002E", which would make it the second game they released (after Super Robot War X) and their first on this engine.

Raw dump: The second edition Harry Boy - The secretx of the chamber of secrets (Harry Boy and the Chamber of Secrets) (Unl).zip
Unprotected: The second edition Harry Boy - The secretx of the chamber of secrets (Harry Boy and the Chamber of Secrets) (Unl) [Fixed].zip

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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!

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