Posted on November 3rd, 2009 4 comments
Poking around GDRI tonight led me to another extensive hidden message tucked inside an 8-bit cartridge game by the programmers. This time, it’s been discovered in Gun Nac, a Compile-developed vertical shooter released 1990 in Japan and 1991 in America.
Poking open the NES version of the ROM reveals a charming little piece of ASCII greeting between $01FF10 and $01FFFF. Take a look at the same place in the original Japanese Famicom version, though, and things look different:
1990-06-21 Almost time for the master-up [i.e. to go gold]; I guess this’ll probably be my last job on the FC. We had 4 months to work with, so there’s nothing really standout with this game, but I think it’s gotten pretty playable, so, well, I guess that’s good enough. I wonder where I might run into you next time?
Posted on November 3rd, 2009 3 comments
Release Date: 3/20/89
Price: 5200 yen
Media: HuCard (2 Mbit)
PC Engine FAN Score: 20.69 / 30.00
Kōgien: “You control a P-47, a real-life fighter plane. The game, which unfolds in nondescript fashion, is simple and easy to get to grips with. The backgrounds aren’t flashy, but are pretty in their own right.”
We last heard from Aicom about half a year ago (in PC Engine time) when they developed Makyō Densetsu for Victor. P-47 is the first title they ever published themselves; they’d go on to produce three more PCE games before getting bought by Sammy sometime in late 1990. The company was officially closed by Sammy in 1992, but a few ex-staffers created another independent outfit named Aicom soon afterward. In 1996 this new Aicom got investment money from SNK and Takara, changed their name to Yumekobo (夢工房), and became more-or-less a developing sub-contractor for SNK, similar to joints like ADK and Sacnoth. They closed in 2000 after releasing their final game, SNK Gals’ Fighters for the Neo Geo Pocket Color.
It’s appropriate, in a way, that this obscure outfit decided to kick off its game-publishing efforts by releasing an obscure port of an obscure arcade game. P-47 hit Japanese arcades in June of 1988 from Jaleco, coded by their occasional development partner NMK. It is, in short, the quintessential Jaleco game — nondescript, rundown, reminiscent of many other contemporary titles, and easily forgettable. The 2000 edition of Kougien, the phone book-sized Japanese tome that lists nearly every console game released since 1982, criticizes P-47 for its “bland proceedings” — and when Kougien actively criticizes a game in its capsule description, you know there must be some big problems with it.
It’s not without its charms, however. There’s something unique about its visual feel, for one — the plain, unadorned, almost empty graphic style, perhaps an attempt to evoke a World War II “look.” Maybe NMK’s art team was playing too much Xevious and thought it was a good shooter to take its visual cues from. Some people have good things to say about the music, but I think the PCE port dulled whatever charms (nonexistent, in my opinion) the soundtrack may’ve had in the arcades. (The two-megabit port also dropped some of the original game’s bosses, all of the cutscenes between stages, and the two-player co-op feature. One wonders, again, why Aicom bothered.)
If there’s any one point about P-47 anyone can agree upon, it’s that the game’s not too tough — especially by the standards of the era. The port, especially, is very quick to power your little bomber up and pack it to the gills with 1ups and extra continues. To prove it, click on the above to see a Nico-video documenting this port, start to end, in about 20 minutes.