Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Rom Report Part VIII - Earthbound Zero Edition

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Welcome back to The Rom Report, currently in Issue Eight. Here's where you'll find what retro games from the NES, SNES, Genesis, and Gameboy eras will work on a modern day device such as the Nintendo DS with the help of homebrew emulator software!

I came across this back-issue of Retro Gamer at a local magazine shop and I bought it for just RM 10 (3 USD). It is a pretty good read, better than some of the retro games websites that I usually visit online.

As such, this issue of The ROM Report is inspired by that magazine issue which featured the NES on the cover. Later on, you'll find a substantial number of NES games featured on this edition of The Rom Report.

As usual, I'm using the R4DS Slot-1 solution to run a variety of emulators required to run all these retro games on the Nintendo DS. The emulators are:
  • SNEmulDS - For SNES Games
  • nesDS - For NES Games
  • Lameboy - For GameBoy Color Games
  • jEnesisDS - For Sega Genesis Games
For a full list of emulators, please refer to The Rom Report Part VI.

Before I get on with the results, I'll need to re-iterate that emulators are not perfect, therefore even if a game might seem to run excellently on an emulator, I'll say that the game "runs okay". On the other hand, "not okay" is a catch-all phrase for games that cannot run on the emulator or are unplayable due to major glitches.

With that out of the way, here are the games that I've tried out:
  • Adventures of Lolo (NES) - Runs OK. This is a puzzle game in the vein of Bomberman. You play as a rotund purple creature in a quest to rescue his princess (Lala). Curiously, Lolo and Lala appear as the bad guys in some Kirby games. Both games are developed by HAL Laboratory Inc.

  • Balloon Fight (NES) - Runs OK. For all you retro gamers out there, this is a classic on the NES, along with Excitebike and Ice Climber.

  • Castlevania III - Dracula's Curse - Runs OK. Looks prettier than Castlevania II but with graphical glitches on and off.

  • Crystalis (Gameboy Color) - Runs OK. SNKs Zelda killer does in fact play a bit like the Zelda of old, but in a sci-fi setting.

  • Crystalis (NES) - Runs OK. This is the same game which was ported to the Gameboy Color.

  • Dragon's Lair (SNES) - Runs OK. Another platform hack and slash and like Rastan Saga II, I really like the graphics.

  • Earthbound Zero (NES) - Not OK. This is a major disappointment as I couldn't get the Demiforce version of Earthbound Zero, which is the English version of Mother 1, to run on nesDS.

  • Frogger (SNES) - Runs OK. I'm actually pleasantly surprised at what pretty graphics the SNES is capable of, and Frogger is a good example. Played on a smaller screen like that of the DS serves to accentuate the graphics even more.

  • Ikari Warrios (NES) - Runs OK. SNK's offering on the NES feels like a pushover in the starting 30 seconds but quickly ramps up the difficulty. Apparently the game was inspired by Rambo.

  • Maniac Mansion (NES) - Runs OK. Lucasfilm Games' (now LucasArts) "point and click" adventure game was heavily censored when ported over to the NES to conform to Nintendo's policy. For a list of what was left-out, read the Expurgation of Maniac Mansion. As for the "point and click" part, you use the d-pad to move a cursor on the screen.

  • Popeye (NES) - Runs OK. An arcade conversion for the NES, it's pretty fun to play on the DS. I used to play this alot on the NES clone called Micro Genius.

  • Rastan Saga II (Genesis) - Runs OK. A platform hack and slash, I actually liked this game, with its colourful pallete and rather fun gameplay. Best played on jEnesisDS and not PicoDriveDS.

  • River City Ransom (NES) - Runs OK. A platform bash-em-up, I like the fact that you can throw weapons (chains, knuckle dusters) at opponents. The graphics remind of me of South Park.

  • Startropics (NES) - Runs OK. Nothing much on this as I'm still adverse to RPGs with really crappy graphics or boring premise.

  • Sweet Home (NES) - Runs OK. Feel's abit like Resident Evil with a haunted castle/mansion and a bunch of people looking for something.

  • Wrecking Crew (NES) - Not OK.
Some of these retro games are available for purchase in their original or updated forms.