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Tech Demo
Friday, 10 June 2022
Nibiiro no Koubou - 32 Nin no Senshachou (PSX)

A new page on the website about the precursor to the Panzer Front games. I'll add info about the game controls and menus if I can figure them out.

 


Posted by zenade at 6:52 AM EDT
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Saturday, 28 May 2022
Star Wars Battlefront Elite Squadron (PSP) Death Star II Mod

 

Obviously inspired by the prequel Death Star mod, I wondered if the second Death Star could be also moved to the Prequel Era mission. This moon space station is only seen in the background of the Classic Endor space level. But you can just move the .SP file from the Classic Endor folder to its Prequel counterpart.

Here, the capital ships are Alliance and Empire craft, with the incomplete Death Star II on the background. The fighters/transports are Prequel Era, and all three parts of the level are playable.

 


Posted by zenade at 5:51 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 28 May 2022 5:57 AM EDT
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Sunday, 22 May 2022
Panzerfront - Barbarossa 1941-1945 (PC)

This was an unexpected find. Besides Panzer Front, Panzer Front Bis and Panzer Front Ausf.B, I wasn’t aware of any further games with that name. But rather than Enterbrain, this game is made by Ice Bytes Game Development. So it’s Panzer Front in name only. As it came out in 2006, the graphics are obviously much better than the PS1 games.

Other than that, you get a choice of only two tanks, a T-34 if you playing the Soviet side and a Panzerkampfwagen IV for the German forces. Tiger tanks are also mentioned in the game’s coding, but do not seem to be playable.

There are only six missions for each side, making twelve in total. These are all easily accessed by using a hex editor on two files in the game’s main directory. No multiplayer option seems to be available, which is very unusual for a game from this era.

The arcade gameplay is okay, but overall, the game is fairly limited. The Playstation titles are still way more preferable, blocky graphics notwithstanding. For those of you who are curious, here's an appropriately-titled video.


Posted by zenade at 6:02 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 22 May 2022 6:15 AM EDT
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Sunday, 8 May 2022
Doctor Who Games (Flash) Update

We've received some news from N64Assassin, who has looked at the Dalek Versus Cybermen game and found that mods can be done using Flasm. This is a command-line program used to change values in the Action file. An update has been added to the relevant page on the website. Thanks goes out to N64Assassin for the info.

 


Posted by zenade at 4:50 AM EDT
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Thursday, 5 May 2022
Doctor Who Games (Flash)

A new page on the site, which has info from previous blog posts about a trilogy of Doctor Who games from the mid-2000s featuring the Cybermen. There is also some new modding information, although one of these mods has only limited success at present.


Posted by zenade at 6:20 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 5 May 2022 6:21 AM EDT
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Friday, 22 April 2022
Neuromancer: A Cyberpunk RPG Adventure (Various Platforms)


Following the phenomenal success of William Gibson’s famous novel, it was inevitable that a computer game adaptation would emerge. Neuromancer was well received in 1989 and got good reviews. The setting and plot were based on the book, but with some differences.

More curiously, the developers, Interplay, put out a guide to the game, entitled Neuromancer Clue Book. This had a walkthrough in prose form, as told by a character from the novel, Dixie Flatline. So, like Ubik, could this expand on the content of the original book?

The first problem is that, in the novel, Dixie Flatline was dead. In fact, the character in the book was an artificial construct of the original hacker’s mind made from brain scans before he died. The game guide’s introduction also noted he was dead, but the main story was recorded when he was still alive. This presents a range of contradictions, as Dixie referred to characters and events from the novel, like Neuromancer, Wintermute and Armitage. There were also other AIs like Greystoke. At the end of the novella, all of the AIs were defeated by Dixie.

You could say that Wintermute et al may have still existed and that Dixie only stopped them from progressing in whatever plans they had. But the story in the game guide follows the events of the novel too closely and it’s clear that the two cannot take place at the same time.

Of course, it could all be a simulation created by one of the AIs for the Dixie Flatline construct...

 


Posted by zenade at 10:17 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 19 April 2022
Mechwarrior 2 (PSX) Demo

I came across this on a Playstation Underground disc (number 1, disc 2). Having looked at the early OPM discs for both European and US markets, I can’t see it on any of those releases. Like the German Batman And Robin demo, it may be limited to this specific disc.

The game enables you to select one of three mechs. The retail game obviously has a far larger range to choose from. You can customise your weapons and some other aspects before you go into the main mission.


There are two missions in the demo, Sable Flame (level 6) and Rust Heart (level 11). Initial impressions do not indicate any differences in gameplay. Having said that, I’m not sure about the specific level files as they don’t seem to match those in the final build.

So an isolated game demo seemingly not on any regular OPM demo disc. More if I can determine any differences in the two levels.

 


Posted by zenade at 8:07 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 April 2022 8:16 AM EDT
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Thursday, 14 April 2022
Urban Chaos (PC) Prototype: More Jet Planes

More strangeness from this game. A different type of jet this time, sitting on top of a building in The Getaway level.

But that's not the end of it. I really don't know what to make of this lot. If anyone has any ideas, please leave a message.

 


Posted by zenade at 8:06 AM EDT
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Monday, 11 April 2022
Urban Chaos (PC) Prototype: Jet Planes

The Cutting Room Floor has a great article on the unused content in the final game. In the prototype, I was looking for the tanks on the Army Base level, but found these jets instead. They don't seem to have any textures or any real function.

I'll post more as I find it.



Posted by zenade at 5:45 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 11 April 2022 5:53 AM EDT
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Sunday, 10 April 2022
Urban Chaos (PC) Prototype

In addition to a PS1 prototype, Hidden Palace have released one for the PC version of Urban Chaos. There's a ton of debugging features in this build, but it has a tendency to crash on a regular basis.

The second character does not seem to be implemented yet, and the Mission Editor and multiplayer functions still do not seem to work. The latter can be accessed via the hacked Level Select file included with the prototype. See the Readme file for more details.

Rumours of motorbikes in the game have been floating around for some years now. Well, this build has the relevant model, and you can ride it around the levels. Press K (I think) on the keyboard to spawn this vehicle.

A third version of Dragon Sword for the N64 has also been released, which is certainly worth a look.

 


Posted by zenade at 10:38 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 11 April 2022 5:51 AM EDT
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Friday, 18 March 2022
Westwood Dune Games (Various Platforms)

If you’re looking for a straight adaptation of Frank Herbert’s original book, there’re the games by Cryo from the 1990s and 2000s. But the games by Westwood Studios are somewhat unique: Dune II, Dune 2000 and Emperor: Battle for Dune are very different to the novel. There’s no Paul Atreides/Muad’Dib. True, the player takes on a somewhat messianic role in Dune 2000, as prophesised by the Bene Gesserit sister, Lady Elara Moray Trieu. However, she hedges her bets by saying that in only one possible future does the player become the ruler of Dune. So lose the game and the prophecy does not come to pass. And even then ...

There is some confusion about whether this is an alternate timeline to the book, or if it’s set at some other point in the Dune chronology. One clue is in the FMVs. Here, the costumes and other designs echo those of David Lynch’s 1984 film. The issue here is that there are fundamental differences between the film and the games. Firstly, both are set in 10191, with this date stated in both game manuals and on the official website. That would seem to settle the argument in favour of different chronologies. However, I came across a discussion on Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange that said the games are set two hundred years before the film. After some digging, I found the relevant interview with Chris Longpre, the producer for Emperor: Battle for Dune at Westwood Studios: “The game takes place roughly 200 years before the original movie, “Dune,” and just after Dune II. Although all of our characters, scenes and story lines stay true to the Dune universe, we’ve tried very hard to make Emperor its own game that can be enjoyed not only by fans of Dune, but to newcomers as well.” He was not credited in Dune II or Dune 2000, so the intended timeline may have been different for those games. On the balance of things, I’d say that this concludes that issue: the dates in the manual and website are wrong.

Let’s have a look at some other differences between the film and the games. Instead of Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV setting up a trap for House Atreides on Arrakis, Dune II specifically says that it is Emperor Frederick IV who sets the three major Houses against each other. This name change is repeated in the game manuals as well. However, as a side note, the endings for Emperor: Battle for Dune revert to the name given in the novel.

The winning side in the conflict on Arrakis is supposed to be rewarded by managing and profiting from the production of the invaluable Spice. Of course, like his counterpart in the book, the emperor betrays all three Houses by sending in his own troops to destroy them during the fighting.

In two of the endings of Dune 2000, both he and Elara are killed by either Atreides or Harkonnen forces. However, in the House Ordos campaign, Elara kills the ruler with a poisoned needle (the gom jabber seen in the opening scenes of the book) and seemingly escapes just before a suicide bomber destroys the palace. In the manual for the sequel, Lady Elara is still alive, which indicates that the House Ordos campaign is the canon version. With chaos threatening peace in the empire, the three main Houses once again fight it out on Dune for the opportunity to choose the next emperor.

In Emperor: Battle for Dune, both the Ordos and Harkonnen FMVs start with the arrival of a new commander/strategist to replace the old one who had failed. But what about House Ordos? If their ending in Dune 2000 is canon, didn’t they win? As noted above, although the emperor is dead, no one House controls the Spice. So they have to fight in a War of Assassins to defeat their rivals and install their own candidate on the throne. It looks like Elara’s prophecy does not come true, and the canon ending of Emperor: Battle for Dune is even less unclear.

In the House Ordos campaign for Emperor: Battle for Dune, they manufacture a clone of Frederick IV and aim to install him back on the throne if they win. In the other two endings, the leader of either House Atreides or House Harkonnen is crowned emperor. So no real clues there.

In the final mission, all three factions must battle the genetically-engineered Emperor Worm. Said worm has been created by the House Tleilaxu and the Space Guild, with support from Lady Elara. The Bene Gesserit sister is heard in the closing cutscenes, so she probably survives the destruction of the worm and its associated engineering facility at the end of the game.

There seems to be details of a proposed sequel to Emperor: Battle for Dune, entitled Emperor: Alliances. This document states that the worm is indeed dead, but House Tleilaxu has put in motion other plots to overthrow the Imperium and achieve total rule throughout the galaxy. No egos there at all. All three Houses are attacked by assassins, but each faction survives intact. Eventually, the Imperial forces turn the tide against the Tleilaxu. Among the combatants is Roma Atani, the Ordos mentat from Emperor: Battle for Dune. The new emperor is also the most successful strategist from the War of Assassins. This means that either the Atreides or Harkonnen the endings from that game could be canon, while the House Ordos ghola of Frederick IV pops up near the end of the game. No mention is made of Lady Elara in the text, and another Bene Gesserit sister is seen in her place.

So we get a series of events set in the same timeline as the Lynch film, occurring some two hundred years before. With some decent FMVs and a cast of good actors including Musetta Vander and Michael Dorn, the Westwood games present intriguing prequels to the 1984 Dune movie.


Posted by zenade at 1:09 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 19 March 2022 9:39 AM EDT
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Monday, 14 March 2022
Dune II: The Battle For Arrakis (Megadrive) Prototypes

There’s been a prototype of this game out in the wild for a few years now. But now another one has been released by Forest Of Illusion, who do great work in releasing prototypes from different platforms. This one does not have a build date, it seems, but peering into the game’s coding, we can have a guess.


Here are some details of the two prototypes compared to the final US game:


Prototype 1 – Version 0.03
Prototype 2 – Version 1.0-011194
Retail – Version 1.5-030394


You can get the build dates from the above numbers. The final is 3 March 1994, while the second prototype is 11 January 1994. So the latter is less than two months before the retail. Prototype 1 does not seem to have a password that reveals this information, but one of the menus has a build number that suggests it’s very early. In the game’s coding, the latest copyright date is 1993, which is not a surprise if Version 1.0 was early 1994.


As noted by Victor Sokolov on Twitter, the passwords for the first prototype are very different to those in the later builds (which are identical in Prototype 2 and Final). To select a level, enter the name of your House, followed by six instances of the same letter (from A to I):


ATREBBBBBB – level 2 of the House Atreides campaign
ORDOEEEEEE - level 5 of the House Ordos campaign
HARKIIIIII - level 9 of the House Harkonnen campaign


Another passwords, DENZILLONG (the name of one of the programmers of the game), loads the final level where the Emperor’s forces have joined one of the rival Houses against you. It’s unclear as to what else this does, but it may be a debug mode of some kind. Other unknown passwords are FUBARFUBAR and LASVEGASNV.


Seeing as the Sega version was based on a PC game, there isn’t a lot of change regarding the plot. But the prototypes may have some interesting differences to the retail build.


Posted by zenade at 9:28 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 14 March 2022 12:02 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 1 March 2022
Future Cop L.A.P.D. (PSX) Pre-release Demo Update
Added some bits about the Precinct Assault mode on the demo.

Posted by zenade at 12:16 PM EST
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Sunday, 27 February 2022
Future Cop L.A.P.D. (PSX) Pre-release Demo

A new page on the pre-release demo of this game, focusing on an unused level and how you can access it. I'll add more on the multiplayer levels at some point.

Posted by zenade at 5:29 AM EST
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Tuesday, 8 February 2022
Earth Defense Forces 2 Portable on PPSSPP

Darth Fandom left a comment on the blog a day or so ago, asking about running the EDF 2 USA mod and codes on the PPSSPP emulator. This is an excellent question and one that I hadn’t tested out yet. So I had a quick look yesterday, but had no luck.

However, with a bit more testing, I found that the English missions do load. You need to have the extracted archive folders as follows:

memstick->EDF2 PORTABLE->GameSequence and Mission

In the Mission folder are a bunch of different level folders:

Missions 1-71 - EDF 2 (Global Defense Force)

Missions 101-125 - EDF 1 (Monster Attack)

Missions 126-156 - Assorted missions of unknown origin

Mission 999 - Multiplayer mission

The first group is the PS2 version of EDF 2, with English mission briefings. The second group is the PS2 version of the first game, Monster Attack, but with no mission briefings.

To access the English briefings, use the EDF EXTRA MISSIONS and ENGLISH MISSION TEXT CODE cheats from the EDF 2 webpage on the main site. Activate these at the main menu of the game, otherwise the game gets stuck in a loop on the game save screen. Load a level, then exit and go back to the Mission Select screen. The briefings should be in English now.

I’m having problems with the Level Select code at the moment, which is needed to access the Monster Attack missions. I’ll post an update once I get this sorted.

Update

Okay, using different codes, the EDF EXTRA MISSIONS and the CUSTOM MISSIONS CODE (see below), the additional missions can now be selected from the main Level Select menu. A few values may not load, but the main group should be there.

The additional code is as follows:

_C0 CUSTOM MISSIONS CODE

_L 0x200D30EC 0x24B00064

_L 0x200D3144 0x24B00064

_L 0x200D319C 0x24B00064

_L 0x200EF1E4 0x26260064

_L 0x100EFD50 0x00000065

_L 0x100EFE18 0x00000065

_L 0x201B3AC8 0x316E6F69

_L 0x201B3ACC 0x64323025

_L 0x201B3AD0 0x7469545C

_L 0x201B3AD4 0x742E656C

_L 0x201B3AD8 0x00007478

This is not my code, but one from a Japanese forum thread that I linked to on the main EDF 2 page. For some reason, my Level Select cheat doesn’t work on the emulator, but the above cheats enable access to the remaining missions.

 


Posted by zenade at 12:05 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 8 February 2022 3:37 PM EST
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Gotham City Mysteries: Building On Fire

This game continues to surprise. On Day 3, the entire city of Gotham gets frozen by one of the game's main villains. Yet, there are still thugs running around and enemy vehicle snapping at your heels. Finding and acting on clues can be far more difficult at this stage of the game.

Parked police cars and warning lights are one way to locate said clues. The barriers in front on the cafe in the picture above have flashing red lights attached to them, easily drawing your attention as you drive past. But the burning building is something else. For all the explosions, bombs and whatnot in the game, this seems to be a rare event. You can't get near to the fire itself, and even with the jet boots there's not much more to see.

It's a clever way of diverting your attention away from fighting the gangs and back to some detective work. Still, it's a shame you have to deal with that timer.

 


Posted by zenade at 5:51 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 16 June 2022 4:30 PM EDT
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Monday, 7 February 2022
Gotham City Mysteries: Mister Freeze's Armored Cars

You'll see these things racing around the city, either trying to ram you or fire ice beams at you. They also like to drive into the nearest building.

Like the dudes on motorcycles or snowmobiles, you rarely get a good look at them because they're faster than the Batmobile or other vehicles at your disposal.

So when I came across one that was stuck, I got some screenshots. You can see that the twin guns on the front are able to fire the ice beams in different directions, as often happens when they stop to block the road in front of you.

The thing that is not so obvious that they're so small. Batgirl is taller than one of these things. Nonetheless, their size doesn't diminish how much damage they can do.



Posted by zenade at 11:26 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 7 February 2022 1:37 PM EST
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Saturday, 5 February 2022
Gotham City Mysteries: Sewage Works

Another potential example of window dressing. The entrance to Gotham City Water is through the main door, but there’s a tunnel next to it.

Like the ramp opposite Glitterati, you can’t drive down here but you can get in on foot. And nothing seems to happen at the far end. Was there a bigger role for vehicles at some point in the game's development?

 


Posted by zenade at 8:00 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 5 February 2022 8:04 AM EST
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Friday, 4 February 2022
Gotham City Mysteries: Unreachable Room

This room is located in a building just inside one of the dodgier sectors of the city.

You can see through the window from the street, but the door to the dentist’s surgery below cannot be opened. You can use the jet boots to get up there and take a look inside. However, there’s no way to smash the window and get through.

There may be other random rooms like this elsewhere. In a previous post for this blog, I described an unreachable power-up located in the grounds of one of the Gotham City mansions, so this kind of thing is not unknown in the game.

 


Posted by zenade at 7:58 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 4 February 2022 8:08 AM EST
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Thursday, 3 February 2022
Gotham City Mysteries: Glitterati Area

Just opposite the Glitterati jewellery store is a curious area. It reminds me a bit of the stash of power-ups immediately outside the train station. There are a number of features that identify this place as somewhat unique. The first is a ramp down to an entrance. Your vehicle can’t get past the barrier, but you can get there on foot. Trying to operate the shutter doesn’t do anything.

Nearby is a panel for Bell’s Laser Alarms, which are used in the Glitterati store. Along the street a bit is a billboard, which shows an ad for city’s botanical gardens. This is one of Poison Ivy’s lairs.

Immediately next to the ramp is a door. You can get inside, and you’ll find a very rare area covering three floors. There’s a window at the end that you can break in order to get out on to a ledge to fetch a power-up.

Above this door are three emblems on the side of the building. Obviously a face of some kind, but it’s unclear as to whom it may be. Mister Freeze, perhaps? I don’t recall seeing these anywhere else in the city. Could this be the location of the Ritz mentioned in an earlier post?

Posted by zenade at 3:13 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 3 February 2022 3:22 PM EST
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