Handheld Underground

Makon Crapstravaganza 2018 Part 1

posted by taizou @ 2018-03-11 23:56:59 Dumps

So, now I have a finalised GBX format spec, and an emulator supporting the new format, I can finally get to releasing some GBX ROMs! And what better way to herald the arrival of a fancy new ROM format than, uh, *shuffles papers*, seven Makon games?

That's right! Makon Soft Studios, makers of many highly-regarded classics, kept pumping em out all the way through the GBC era. These games do show some progression from their earlier stuff - they make WAY better use of colour, and sometimes even the music is more tolerable. Unfortunately they still suffer from too many control issues to be really enjoyable to play in any capacity.

The publisher here still appears to be NT/Ka Sheng/Ka Sing/卡聖, but they've switched to a new mapper with half bankswitching functionality (used by these Makon games) and an entirely new mechanism for selecting multicart games (which I've yet to figure out, so no multicart dumps just yet).

These games will only run in hhugboy v1.2.5 or later (although I recommend you use 1.2.6 or later since that fixes a save bug affecting at least one of these games). The GBX versions will run automatically, the raw .gbc format ones require you to manually select "NT (Makon) new" compatibility mode.

Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back

First up! Mewtwo Strikes Back is a platform game more or less based on the superior unlicensed game "Pocket Monster" for Mega Drive and SNES. And with intro text attempting to tie it into the movie of the same name, with which it otherwise has no connection. Previously I dumped a Li Cheng hack of the Chinese version of this game, but now here's the English Makon original!

HEALTH WARNING!! Pikachu's electric attack in this game (A button) causes one colour in the background to flash rapidly between yellow and red, in a manner reminiscent of the infamous Pokémon episode Dennō Senshi Porygon. The effect isn't too bad when viewed on a Game Boy, but especially in later stages it can appear quite intense when displayed at a larger size on a modern backlit screen. Therefore please use caution when playing this game if you are sensitive to flashing/strobe effects!

GBX: Pokemon - Mewtwo Strikes Back (Unl) [C] [GBX].zip
Raw: Pokemon - Mewtwo Strikes Back (Unl) [C] [Raw].zip

Digimon Pocket

Later, Makon revisited Mewtwo Strikes Back, as they so often did, rejigging it into a completely "new" game. So the stage order is changed and it's now about Digimon instead of Pokemon. But one actually useful addition they made here is a save feature! The game now automatically saves after every stage you clear, meaning you no longer have to complete the whole damn thing in one sitting. This makes reaching the ending a lot easier... except they took the ending out.

HEALTH WARNING!! Since this game is basically just Mewtwo Strikes Back, the same red/yellow flashing effect is present here too.

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

Digimon 2

Another Digimon platform game, but this time they came up with something entirely new instead of rehashing a previous game! Probably for the last time! This one adds a mechanic whereby you have to fill up your "MP" bar by collecting items before being allowed to complete the level.

Thanks to Robyn for dumping this one an extremely long time ago!

GBX: Digimon 2 (Unl) [C] [GBX].zip
Raw: Digimon 2 (Unl) [C] [Raw].zip

Shuma Baolong 02 4 (數碼暴龍02 4)

Another Digimon game based on the Digimon 2 engine; I think this one may add more levels, although I haven't played through the entire thing to check. This is the Chinese version, I have an English version in my possession too and will hopefully be releasing that soon.

Note that this one was already dumped quite a while ago, and is in GoodGBX - my new dump matches it 1:1 so you can consider this a verification rather than a completely new thing (since a lot of unlicensed dumps in GoodGBX are of pretty dubious provenance)

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

Harry Potter 3

That Digimon engine makes another appearance, but the hero this time is equally-popular bootleg target Harry Potter, in a game trying to pass itself off as a tie-in to Prisoner of Azkaban (the book, specifically).

Unfortunately... this one is broken. On the real cartridge as well as in emulation, it crashes halfway through level 1. It should be possible to hack the save file to access later levels, however.

GBX: Harry Potter 3 (Unl) [C] [GBX].zip
Raw: Harry Potter 3 (Unl) [C] [Raw].zip

Street Fighter Zero 4 / Jieba Tianwang 4 (街霸天王4)

Tired of platform games yet? Good, because here's something completely different. It's a fighting game, based on Street Fighter Zero/Alpha 3! It's also a mess!

I'm not entirely sure if this one is a "true" Makon production, since it seems to have more links to Sachen than their usual work; there are elements of Sachen GBC games here, most obviously the COMPLETELY out-of-place Jurassic Boy 2 theme on the title screen. But it was certainly published through the same routes as Makon's games.

GBX: Street Fighter Zero 4 (Jieba Tianwang 4) (Unl) [C] [GBX].zip
Raw: Street Fighter Zero 4 (Jieba Tianwang 4) (Unl) [C] [Raw].zip

Capcom vs SNK: Millennium Fight 2001

And finally! This is another fighting game, and another original release of a game I've previously dumped in Li Cheng-hacked form. Most notably, this version has a bunch of extra frames in the intro - which is interesting (to me) because they used a high-colour trick seldom used on the GBC, switching palettes on the fly as lines are drawn, to circumvent the system's usual palette restrictions.

And as a game... it's also kind of a mess, but at least it has, like, four voice samples now! It is pretty different to Street Fighter Zero 4, to their credit, they didn't just take the old game and slap new characters in it.

Thanks to Pepper9801 for lending this cart (also an extremely long time ago)!

GBX: Capcom vs SNK - Millennium Fight 2001 (Unl) [C] [GBX].zip
Raw: Capcom vs SNK - Millennium Fight 2001 (Unl) [C] [Raw].zip

And that's it! For now...



1posted by Unknown Man @ 2018-03-12 17:08:37

Without compatibility in other emulators. That is so sad. 😕

2posted by ElkFish @ 2018-03-13 00:10:45

I love the new hhugboy, it works with my old Pokemon Jade ROM (The Makon Soft one).

3posted by bup @ 2018-03-16 03:29:49

really like the new emulator. i got a question that youre probably asked a lot... how do you get those cartridges? its really hard to find anything on ebay

4posted by taizou @ 2018-03-18 21:20:33

It's taken years, but I do mostly find them online- some are from ebay, some from Chinese or Taiwanese sites via agents, some from other countries' marketplace sites. And then some were lent to me, and a few came from private sales/trades. But yeah they are rare, and chances are you probably won't find anything just by trawling ebay on a random day (especially US ebay)

5posted by Imaynotbehere4long @ 2018-04-04 21:25:15

I appreciate your efforts to dump these games, but I noticed that you aren't providing "fixed" dumps of the ROMs anymore. Does this mean you'll only be supporting HHUGBOY/GBX format from now on? I quite enjoyed being able to play these games on portable emulators, and I'll be a bit disappointed if I won't be able to do that anymore.

6posted by taizou @ 2018-04-07 01:42:50

I'll still do it where possible, really it depends on the copy protection/mapper type used by each game. With the Sintax and Li Cheng games I dumped in the past, it was usually easy enough to remove their protection so they could work in any emulator (in fact Sintax's was easy enough to remove it could be done with a nearly-automated process).

But for most of my more recent dumps like Makon and Hitek games, the protection is more involved and would take more work to hack around, and there's more risk of my hack introducing bugs that weren't present originally. And honestly it's not my highest priority right now, I'd rather have the games preserved and released and emulated properly than delay things way further by also trying to crack the protection on every game.

Anyway my hope is that by providing the ROMs and my own emulator implementation (I've deliberately licensed my mapper emulations as non-restrictively as possible) it'll be possible for other emu authors to add support for these games, or for ROM hackers to crack the protection. I'll happily provide support to anyone who wants to do that.

7posted by Torfkop @ 2018-07-11 20:39:30

Fuck, I had Digimon Pocket and Digimon 2. I never made it far in either. Maybe it's time for another try.

8posted by guyzis @ 2019-12-19 00:34:03

I'm interested in that Harry Potter.

9posted by Rol Peppers @ 2022-01-10 13:21:08

Yes, Game It's Part 1, 👑💎💾, The Improve Games It's Gráficow Music, And Playability, It's Like The Games It's 🖥️