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Tech Demo
Sunday, 30 January 2022
Macross VF-X Demos

There are two known demos for this game. One is a standalone disc that, as previously noted in a recent post, has most of the content from the main game. You are restricted to four missions, but you get a loading cutscene for each one where your ship launches from the carrier. 

The second demo is from Tech PlayStation 97-5, with far fewer files and a different structure. Once again, you're limited to four specific missions. However, there are no cutscenes at all. 

The mission and ship files in both demos match those of the final game, but one mission (where you fly through a cloudy sky in search of enemies) seems to lack a final boss to fight. There are other glitches, such as buildings that you can fly through with no issues. If you just want to play the missions, try the Tech PlayStation 97-5 demo. I'm sure that the other missions can be accessed in some way as well.


Posted by zenade at 6:06 AM EST
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Sunday, 16 January 2022
Spot Goes To LV-426

Some games seem to be little more than interactive ads, while others try to be a bit more subtle with product placement. However, you could say any movie adaptation is in this category. I’d argue against this latter point in many cases, but media tie-ins have not had a very good reputation over the years.
Spot Goes To Hollywood is one that I’d normally avoid. On top of the blatant product promotion, it does not have good reviews in many quarters. Nevertheless, there are some interesting aspects to this game, notably the Alien levels. While these are missing in the earlier SNES prototype, one does appear in the latter one. Furthermore, there’s also one in the unreleased Sega 32X prototype, albeit unfinished. One Alien level made it to the retail build of the Megadrive/Genesis game.


Let’s have a look at some of these different versions. The SNES prototype dated 5th August 1995 has a short level that has Alien drones and facehuggers. These are quite hard to kill, but they don’t pursue you beyond a certain distance. Resin lines some of the walls just like in the films. There are no eggs or chutes leading to other parts of this level. And the boss fight has not been implemented.

Over to the 32X build. This has a much more detailed level, with various shafts leading downwards like the Megadrive game. Collision detection is not so good here and getting into said shafts can be very difficult. But there are drones and facehuggers present, along with eggs. Said eggs spawn facehuggers when disturbed. These spidery Aliens actually latch on to Spot’s face, and if they drain his health bar, the Game Over sequence initially looks like Spot’s having problems with a chestburster. The last shaft on the level does not lead anywhere and you can’t progress without ending the game.

The next level in the 32X build is interesting. It has facehuggers and stasis tubes, just like the final Megadrive build. But an interesting addition is the presence of Alien drones, and they’re more like the dog Alien from Alien 3. This is a little ironic considering the dogs that also populate this level.

The stasis tubes contain facehuggers but these don't seem to do anything, unlike the eggs.

The final game has a boss level, with something like an Alien queen spawning eggs and facehuggers as you take potshots at her. This mission appears to be missing from the three available prototypes and may have been a late addition to the game.

So some interesting things in the beta versions of this game. There are probably further changes on the other levels as well. 


Posted by zenade at 6:09 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 16 January 2022 10:37 AM EST
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Friday, 14 January 2022
Super Full Metal Planet Story

Just a quick update to the site. The backstory for this game is virtually unknown outside of an opening text crawl. But using official materials from the PC and board games, we've been able to construct a short summary of the events before the game's mission.

There is a short story floating about online, but this is in French and may not be official. More on this if it's relevant.


Posted by zenade at 5:34 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 14 January 2022 5:45 AM EST
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Tuesday, 11 January 2022
Super Full Metal Planet (SNES) Maps
First update: all twelve of the maps have been added to the site. These give you an idea of what to expect on each level.

Posted by zenade at 11:24 AM EST
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Monday, 10 January 2022
Super Full Metal Planet (SNES) Prototypes

Not just one, but four versions of this unreleased turn-based strategy game are now available. Three have been put out by Hidden palace, and one has been available over at the most excellent Snes Central.

There's a write-up on our website, with details of the various functions, vehicles and gameplay options. It's not normally my kind of game, but I've enjoyed playing this one for some reason. It's no Dune 2000, but give it a go if you get the chance. More will be added to the webpage soon.



Posted by zenade at 12:30 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 10 January 2022 12:37 PM EST
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Tuesday, 4 January 2022
Shadow Tower (PSX) Demo
Ploughing through the PrePre demo discs, I don't expect to find any King's Field demos. But there's one for this game's successor, Shadow Tower, on the Volume 13 disc. Haven't looked at it in detail yet, but while the basic level looks the same as the final, you start in a slightly different area. 

Posted by zenade at 11:16 AM EST
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Saturday, 1 January 2022
Horned Owl (PSX) Demo

Going through Japanese demo discs, I found this one on the first volume of the PrePre series. I haven’t got through the demo as yet, but looking at the game files, there seems to be all seven levels in there. This is not so unusual for some of the Japanese demos, as Macross VF-X also has all of the levels (albeit not all accessible). The game files are about two weeks earlier than retail, and there’s minimal differences in terms of size except for the executable. And there are no cutscenes either in the trial version. I did some file-swapping and other levels load, but I could see no differences in the demo to the final build.

One thing that also popped up as I was researching this game is that various websites claim it is based on Hideo Kojima’s Policenauts. As at least one source pointed out, this is probably rubbish. There’s a clue in the designer of the mechas in the game: Masamune Shirow.

He’s famous for series like Ghost In The Shell and Appleseed. Out of the two, I’d say Horned Owl is more like Appleseed in light of the mechas and the city landscape. Metro City could be a place in Poseidon.

Just to finish up, I’ve come across the first King’s Field demo, which is on PrePre Volume 3. This is the King’s Field III: Pilot Style version. I’ll add more info on further demos as I find them.


Posted by zenade at 3:14 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 4 January 2022 11:22 AM EST
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Saturday, 25 December 2021
Happy Holidays

Just to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

 


Posted by zenade at 9:39 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 25 December 2021 9:40 AM EST
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Monday, 20 December 2021
Saucer Attack! (PSX)
A prototype of this unreleased PSX game has just shown up on Hidden Palace. It seems to feature a 1950s car that you can drive around an alien landscape. There are mission briefings, but these have nothing to do with the actual level. That may be because most of the files and briefings are from Uprising X, another game by 3DO. The briefings are the same, but the relevant level files don't load when transferred to Uprising X. But there's a debug menu in Saucer Attack! when you press Start.

Posted by zenade at 6:23 AM EST
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Saturday, 18 December 2021
Alien Resurrection E3 Demo (PSX) Sentry Gun

Further finds have been sent to us by N64assassin. Their ongoing research has found codes for the usual debug features found in the two latter TPS builds of the game. They’re also found those for items like detonators and explosives. These don’t seem to work at the moment, but may be specific to individual characters or levels.

One feature of particular interest is the sentry gun. You can see this in action in the very early pre-E3 builds. For those who have seen the special edition of Aliens, you’ll be familiar with this weapon. Set it up and it’ll fire at any enemies.


N64assassin says that the sentry gun is in the later TPS builds, but lack graphics. They only seem to work in the E3 demo. The code addresses seem to be level-specific. For Level 7 of the E3 build, the code is 301234C8 00000001. This item may freeze the game on the PSP, but it works well in ePSXe.

You move to the spot where you want to place the gun, and then select it from the items menu. There’re no graphics, but you can check it is there by walking across that spot. A circle icon will indicate that it’s all present and correct.

N64assassin says that the gun won’t fire on civilians such as the prisoners or the Betty crew, but will take out Alien drones, facehuggers, chestbursters and USM soldiers. The weapons may have limited ammo. You can try to pick the gun up again just like any other item, but it seems to explode when you do that. This item is very handy in areas where there are a lot of enemies.


Another interesting thing in the E3 demo is a Super Queen. N64assassin doesn’t think they have come across this creature yet, and it may lack graphics or other implementation.


Posted by zenade at 11:37 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 20 December 2021 6:28 AM EST
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Friday, 3 December 2021
Gunhed: Aratanaru Tatakai (NES) Translation

Some old news once more. Proveaux and the others over at Romhacking released an excellent translation patch for this Japanese NES game back in 2019.

If you're aware of the Gunhed film or comic, then you'll probably be interested in this. There's also a vertical shooter for the PC Engine called Gunhed, released in the West as Blazing Lasers.

More info on the Gunhed universe can be found in our own timeline.

 


Posted by zenade at 8:54 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 3 December 2021 9:16 AM EST
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Wednesday, 1 December 2021
Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron (PSP) Demo Mod


As previously discussed, I’m developing a standalone demo mod for this game that focuses on CIS/ Republic forces fighting on the Death Star level. This works well at the moment, albeit with only various options and weapons to unlock for both sides.

However, the other parts of the Death Star level are inaccessible from the ground. These can still form part of a separate (one-way) mission.

Despite having no visible spaceship models, you can fly around in space and attack the enemy capital ship (or your own if you want!). There’s some enemy fire, but it doesn’t seem to do much to your own shields. Time is the real issue here, as the opposing forces on the ground can sometimes rack up hundreds of points while you’re still in space.

It doesn’t matter which ship you choose to fly on this mission. Once in space, deplete the ship’s shield as (repeatedly) instructed. The more astute of you will notice that these are the Rebel Alliance and Imperial capital ships from the Civil War era, not those from the Clone Wars.

When you have destroyed the shields, you can land on the enemy craft. This is where things get hairy. Even if you have the LAAT or equivalent, you’re on your own against an endless stream of enemies. No pressure. Best to move off and get to the ship’s reactor as fast as you can. Ignore the enemy where possible and take out only those in your way. Once the generator is down, you can try for the escape pods. But these don’t work in the mod and if your opponents don’t get you, the exploding ship will.

You’ll then spawn back on your own capital ship, from where you can still influence the ground battle by using the ion cannon. It’s a real shame that the enemy ship escape pods don’t work, because you could then join the battle on the Death Star. Maybe there’s some way of activating these via codes.

While it’s not the same as the main retail game, this mod now offers two missions. One thing to note is that if you integrate the Death Star mod into the retail game by replacing one of the Prequel Era levels, you’ll be able to access all the weapons, character options and insignia. The No Hero code values need to be readjusted, though.


Posted by zenade at 10:13 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 1 December 2021 10:41 AM EST
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Monday, 29 November 2021
Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron (PSP) Demo

I've been working on this demo as a standalone game, with just the Clone Wars Era ground arena for the Death Star. This has been achieved by combining Prequel and Campaign files, plus some codes to disable either side's Hero spawning. The details have been included in a previous post.

So I hope to enable access to regular weapons and character options that you'd get in the full game. Of course, the demo lacks game saves and Campaign missions, both required to unlock these. However, I have inadvertently come across a code to randomly generate CIS droids, including the locked heads and bodies. Other options that may help to unlock this content include enabling various flags for mission completions.  This is an ongoing project at the moment, so more details when they emerge.

Posted by zenade at 9:55 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 29 November 2021 2:09 PM EST
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Sunday, 21 November 2021
Star Wars: Demolition (PS1) Deleted Levels

Demos are always worth having a look at to see if there are any differences to the final game. This one-level demo has files dating from at least a month before the retail release. You only get to choose one vehicle in either one or two player modes. But even at this point in the game’s development, there are differences between the demo and retail menus.

The most interesting thing is an extra level not in the final game. Rather than eight, there are nine levels, the extra one being Kessel. If the films are anything to go by, this probably would have been a subterranean level set in a mine. Unfortunately, this level is not selectable in the demo and the files are missing. This goes for all three versions of the demo that I found.

The demo also shows the original Death Star in the menu instead of Death Star II in the retail. So a couple of interesting finds for an old Star Wars game.

 


Posted by zenade at 6:06 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 21 November 2021 6:13 AM EST
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Thursday, 18 November 2021
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (PSP) Droids

I have to say that this game looks exceptional on an emulator. But having hacked my way through different worlds, I came across a rather odd scene. Two droids moving around in a river of lava. Can't say that I remember them being there last time (although it's some years since I played the game). The two machines don't seem bothered by the extreme heat or anything.

I decided to move them on to the nearby platform. They wandered around for a while and didn't do much else. But the humanoid droid tried to fall back into the lava after a few seconds. His shorter friend had more sense. Very strange.

Posted by zenade at 3:36 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 3 December 2021 10:23 AM EST
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Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Tenchu Shinobi Taizen (PSP) Unplayable Characters

This PSP game is famed for its large number of playable characters and level editor, and just as infamous for its enemy AI and draw distance.


In the regular missions, you have access to the following 32 characters (info courtesy of Tenchu Checkpoint and ShadowPantha at Gamefaqs):

Rikimaru
Ayame
Rin
Tesshu
Onikage
Tatsumaru
Jyuzou
Shou
Ranzou
Jinnai
Tajima
Yuge Jonosuke
Tadokoro Mifuyu
Ronin
Samurai
Ninja
Kunoichi
Kuroya Ninja
Kuroya Kunoichi
Assassin Villager
Assassin Samurai
Assassin Masseuse
Assassin Geisha
Kempo Bouzu
Basket Head
Ninja Dog
Kuma
Businessman
Policeman
Mr.D CEO
Echigoya
Nasu

 

With the Disguise item, you can play as civilians (temporarily):


Town Man (5B)
Town Women (5C)
Geisha (Red) (5D)
Modern Personal Assistant (5E)
Landlady (5F)

In theory, that brings the number up to 38.

Now, in the Mission Editor and main game, you may have noticed some other enemies that are distinctly non-playable:


Basket Head With Blowpipe (4F)
Kuroya Ninja With Claws (47)
Ninja With Claws (44)
Policeman With Gun (51)
Salaryman With Spear (53)

Now these can be accessed and indeed played with the CwCheat code: _C0 Player Character Mod _L 0x003D709C 0x000000XX. The values are in brackets above. But as always, there’re problems. These characters have no stealth capabilities, cannot use items (including the grappling hook) and move like demented shopping trolleys. Some randomly teleport off the map or disappear. However, their basic attack and main weapons work (the latter can be quite lethal to enemies). On the other hand, the civilians are permanently in a cowering state for some reason.

There are other NPCs that can be loaded, but these are very glitchy and the game is prone to crashing. They may also only appear during certain actions, or suddenly teleport off the level and into the abyss.

So that makes 43 playable characters now, albeit with significant problems. I’m working on codes that combine the Disguise item with the values for these NPCs. And then there’s the time limit for the disguise to overcome. Even if these can be solved, there may be issues with certain characters like Rikimaru who retain their own weapons.


Posted by zenade at 5:48 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 16 November 2021 5:54 AM EST
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Thursday, 11 November 2021
Update
Just a quick update on the search for Kings Field demos. I've found an additional instance of the King’s Field III: Pilot Style demo for the third game, which isn't on a dedicated disc. My research goes on, but it may be that I was mistaken when I thought I kept coming across demos for the game on Japanese PSX discs.

Posted by zenade at 4:29 PM EST
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Monday, 8 November 2021
Blade Runner Timeline Update
Excavating old parts of the website, I did a quick update to the Blade Runner timeline from 2009. This covers media and novels from the 1980s to 2000, rather than that associated with Blade Runner 2049.

Posted by zenade at 9:50 AM EST
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Wednesday, 27 October 2021
Tenchu Shinobi Taisen (PSP)

Life is still very busy, but here's a screenshot of Mifuyu Tadokoro.

 


Posted by zenade at 1:55 PM EDT
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Saturday, 16 October 2021
Doom RPG (Java) On PSP

A quick update to say that Yamada0079 has shared what may be old news. They say that Doom RPG runs on the PSP using the PSPKVM emulator.

Depending on your configuration, inputing numbers for door codes is a bit of pain, but the game plays pretty well otherwise.

Rather than a standard FPS, the fights are turn based. I can't say that this is my favourite game mechanic, but great to hear that Yamada0079 has got it running. Doom II RPG is not working at this point, but they say they're send an update if they can get it to a playable state.

PSPKVM is one of those apps where you need to disable most or all of the PSP plug-ins to use it. Haven't seen any way around this and the emulator hasn't been updated for years. Which is a shame, as there are many Java games that can be played on it.



Posted by zenade at 9:28 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 16 October 2021 9:30 AM EDT
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