Showing posts with label SNK. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SNK. Show all posts

Cool Cool Toon has been Translated into English!

Cool Cool Toon characters
For years, Cool Cool Toon, a Japanese-exclusive rhythm title from SNK, has been considered a must-have for import Dreamcast gamers everywhere due to its easily accessible gameplay (which many have compared to that of Space Channel 5) and zany cel-shaded comic visuals by illustrator Ippei Gyoubu (of Gundam fame). But despite its gameplay being so accessible, many who cannot read Japanese have had to miss out on the game's delightful storyline... until today, because community workaholic Derek Pascarella and his talented team have finally released their English fan translation patch for Cool Cool Toon!

Completed over the span of a year, this project's team was comprised of the following individuals:
While I am not familiar with the translation work of rio de popomocco, Cargodin's work on Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream is stellar, with that project standing as one of the very best Dreamcast translations, so I have no doubt that this game's script will be of similar quality.

Everything in the main game has been translated - from menus to cutscenes to graphics - meaning that Cool Cool Toon is now fully accessible to English speakers. To get a taster before you play, check out this trailer for the project put together by GGDreamcast.
Screenshot from the trailer for Cool Cool Toon
As seen before with Derek's other hacks, he's made sure to go above and beyond when it comes to bonus content. The option on the main menu titled "INTERNET GATE" is inaccessible to those who've never configured ISP settings on their Dreamcast, so Derek has removed this in favour of a Bonus Content page, powered by the Dream Passport browser, in a similar fashion to that seen in his previous translation project Nakoruru: The Gift She Gave Me.

This bonus content page contains all kinds of extra goodies. As per usual, Derek offers a downloadable save file that unlocks all in-game content. "On-Disc Extras Page" grants you access to artwork which was originally part of a webpage that could be accessed when putting the retail GD-ROM into your computer, including character portraits, artwork development pieces, title screens, wallpapers, and a lot more. As a cool bit of history, you can also access Cool Cool Toon's original Dricas website, preserved in its untranslated form. Finally, Derek has included some instructions on how to use the Dreamcast maracas with Cool Cool Toon. It turns out the game is actually compatible with this shakin' peripheral, so much so that the developers actually included instructions on the disc explaining how to use them with the game, which is what you see fully translated here!
Cool Cool Toon's new bonus content internet page
Another awesome extra that has been preserved and translated for this patch release is the functionality that allows the game to connect to Cool Cool Jam for the Neo Geo Pocket Color using the Dreamcast's Neo Geo Pocket link cable. Points earned in Cool Cool Jam can be transferred to Cool Cool Toon on the Dreamcast, allowing players to unlock more costumes and characters, and vice versa. This is definitely niche as heck, but still appreciated nonetheless, as I love me some Neo Geo Pocket Color! Paying upwards of £100 for that cable, on the other hand...
Photo of the Neo Geo Pocket Colour connected to a Dreamcast
Cool Cool Toon's Neo Geo Pocket Color link cable functionality in action, as shown by Derek.

So, without further ado, head over to the dedicated GitHub page to download the Cool Cool Toon translation patch. As always, for detailed steps on how to apply the patch for your desired method of play (i.e. burning to a CD-R, playing on an ODE), see the patching instructions section of the README.

Download Patch (v1.1)

A big thank you goes out to all involved with the creation of this translation. Your hard work is helping to keep the dream alive!

Screenshot of Cool Cool Toon gameplay
Have you played Cool Cool Toon before? Are you excited to give this English translation a go? Let us know in the comments below, or by dropping us a line on one of our social media channels!

Nakoruru: The Gift She Gave Me - Samurai Shodown Spin-Off for Dreamcast Translated into English!

After nearly two years of hard work, I am absolutely elated to inform you that a team consisting of Derek Pascarella, Duralumin, Marshal Wong and myself have completed our English translation of Nakoruru: Ano Hito kara no Okurimono for the Sega Dreamcast, and today you will be able to play it.

Being a fan favourite character of SNK’s beloved Samurai Shodown fighting franchise (known as Samurai Spirits in Japan), it’s only natural that Nakoruru would get her own spin-off game. SNK granted developer Inter-Let's the privilege of crafting a story that explored her character in finer detail, with the result being Nakoruru: The Gift She Gave Me (as we’ve decided to dub it), a Japan-exclusive visual novel game released for Windows in 2001, with an improved Dreamcast version releasing a year later in 2002. To take a source material known for its intense arcade fighting thrills and adapt it into a quiet, heartfelt text-based adventure was definitely intriguing, so much so that it made us want to produce an English translation almost two decades later! 

To translate the game into English was no small feat, however. With over 12,000 lines of text, our translation of Nakoruru was going to take us more than a year to produce. But it honestly feels like that time has flown by, because the more we worked on translating the scripts, the more we fell in love with the game's plot and characters.

Mikato meets Nakoruru for the first time.

The game’s story is told from the perspective of seven-year-old Mikato, an orphan who is taken in by the people of the snowy village Kamui Kotan. She is selected by the village's chief to serve as assistant to the shrine maiden Nakoruru, somebody the people of Kamui Kotan admire for her strength, dependability, and outward positivity. Mikato soon realises, however, that deep down, Nakoruru is harbouring an intense sorrow. 

While Nakoruru is based in the world of Samurai Shodown, it can be played without any prior knowledge of the franchise, but if you are a Shodown fan, there are quite a few playful references to other characters in the franchise sprinkled throughout the game's script.

Nakoruru's childhood friends Yantamu and Manari.

The gameplay of Nakoruru is simple, and familiar to those who have played a visual novel before. Advance the story with a button press, and occasionally make choices, some of which greatly affect the game’s narrative.

Also included throughout the story are several basic but charming mini-games. These include quizzes, fishing, dodging enemy attacks, playing music, and more. 

While Nakoruru may lack the 3D graphics and arcade action many associate with the Dreamcast, it still boasts gorgeous, crisp, hand-drawn 2D artwork, and its beautiful coming-of-age storyline will pull at your heart strings as it deals with topics of friendship, loss and insecurity. The Dreamcast received over 100 visual novel titles in Japan, and in terms of quality, Nakoruru is up there with the best the system has to offer. For those new to the visual novel genre, you can learn more about them in this fantastic video by Bowl of Lentils.

Combat training mini-game where you dodge left or right to escape attacks.

We adopted an assembly line process to translate the game’s script. First, dialogue for an individual scene would be translated by Marshal and Duralumin, then the editors - both myself and Derek, would check over the translations for any spelling or grammatical errors, but primarily to ensure they read as naturally as possible in English. Once the script edits were complete, Derek would insert them back into the game. Working together and seeing the story come to life, and by our own making, was incredibly rewarding. 

Making an important decision in the heat of combat.  
But our translation would have been for nothing if it wasn’t for Derek’s hacking wizardry. The Dreamcast is still in an immature state when it comes to debugging and hacking, unlike other systems, such as PlayStation, which is more streamlined. A project like this for the Dreamcast required a slew of different tools to achieve. Along the way, Derek had to make many tweaks to the game so it worked with our translation, such as modifying mini-games, ensuring the character’s voice audio persisted across multiple textboxes, reallocating where RAM data was written to make room for larger text data, and more. But the biggest challenge Derek faced was implementing a half-width font (as Japanese characters are wider than English ones), which took him months, but felt incredible when he finally pulled it off. The end result of Derek's hard work is fantastic-looking English text displayed in game.

An English Fan Translation of Cool Cool Toon is in the works!

SNK's Japanese-exclusive rhythm romp Cool Cool Toon has long been considered a top title for gamers looking for import-friendly Dreamcast games, not only due to how accessible its gameplay is, but also because of how fun and colourful its crazy-looking characters and cel-shaded aesthetics are.

Despite all this, if you're looking to make much sense of the story and can't speak Japanese... well, you're splat out of luck. I guess you could use that Google Translate app, but that's immersion breaking, dammit! Phew. Anyway, Derek Pascarella, who previously brought us English fan translations of Sakura Wars Columns 2 and Rainbow Cotton (along with many others), has announced today that he has an English fan translation patch in the works for Cool Cool Toon.

Also joining Derek on his translation journey is Cargodin (whose previous work on Dreamcast includes the excellent Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream fan translation) and Popomocco. Along with this announcement, Derek has posted some early work-in-progress footage to his YouTube channel, which you can watch below.

To keep track of this project as it progresses, you can follow Derek on Twitter, or keep an eye on the project's Dreamcast Talk forum thread.

Have you played Cool Cool Toon before and are excited for this translation to be released? Let us know in the comments below on our social media pages!

King of Fighters 2000 now on EU PlayStation Store

Forgive me if this is old news, but I only discovered it today...and that was purely because I was furiously combing the PlayStation Store to see if anything new had been added in the three weeks that I've been offline. Well, not totally offline...I've still been able to use my iPhone to annoy people, lose followers and start arguments on Twitter/Facebook; but I've had no broadband as I recently moved and had to wait for EE to switch the fibre service on. But you don't care about my trials and telecommunication-based tribulations! You're here for Dreamcast-related news, right? Well, prepare to be disappointed because this isn't really Dreamcast related at all, but there's a tenuous link. See, King of Fighters 2000 has appeared on the EU PlayStation store hot on the heels of that other SNK favourite The Last Blade 2.
A quick Google search tells me this game (which I believe is the PlayStation 2 version...see, I told you the link was tenuous) was released in May 2016 on the US store, but only recently (well, in late August) sneaked out in EU territories. Just thought people may have missed its appearance, as I certainly did and there's little mention of it on the European PlayStation blog. If you're interested and either don't own or didn't get the chance to play the game on the Dreamcast, King of Fighters 2000 can be found in the PlayStation 2 section when accessed with a PS4. I haven't purchased it myself as I own the game for the Dreamcast, but it appears to have been given similar treatment to the aforementioned sword-based fighter...which translates as garish-looking frames surrounding the action to afford a 4:3 screen ratio and stop everything looking like pixel vomit. Probably.
There's still no sign of Garou: Mark of the Wolves, but Max Payne is now available so there's another really, really weak Dreamcast link. If games that didn't actually come out on the Dreamcast can ever truly be considered as such. I'll just get my coat and see myself out.

Garou: Mark of the Wolves Coming Soon to PS4 & Vita

Following hot on the heels of The Last Blade 2, another beloved Dreamcast/Neo Geo fighter is making the leap onto Sony's next generation family of consoles - this time it's Garou/Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves. As reported on the official European PlayStation blog, SNK's seminal one-on-one fighter will come with cross-buy and cross-play meaning you'll only have to buy it once, and will have access to the game on both Vita and PS4 (yes, I'm looking at you Darius Burst Chronicle Saviour).
Not sure about the sidebar artwork...
Garou is widely regarded as one of the finest fighting games on the Dreamcast and features some truly outstanding animation and gameplay. Indeed, it was praised very highly on our recent DreamPod fighting special and while the game never received a PAL release it can be found in both NTSC-U and NTSC-J flavours for a reasonable price on occasion.
Artist's impression.
One of the most interesting features of this remaster (if you can call it that - the original is already pretty masterful) is the inclusion of online multiplayer; so if like me you have no friends, you can still battle against other real people via the wonders of the internet. From the PlayStation blog:

"For this title, we at SNK have decided to adopt Code Mystics’ proprietary netcode once again, which was used on our previous Neo Geo classic The Last Blade 2 and received praise from both fans and the press.

The team in Vancouver is doing a fantastic job on Garou’s online multiplayer, giving new life to a legendary fighting game classic and ensuring the online gameplay brings SNK fans and series newcomers a great experience similar to the good ol’ days in the arcades."
- SNK via PlayStation Blog

There's no release date as yet, but interestingly the blog entry also alludes to further SNK games coming to Sony's platform in the future. Garou 2 anyone...?

Source: PlayStation Europe Blog

A Quick Look At The NeoGeo Pocket Link Cable

I recently picked up a NeoGeo Pocket Link Cable for the very reasonable price of £30. That may seem expensive for what is essentially a bit of wire, but these things seem to be getting rarer all the time and so for that price I snapped it up sharpish. The only other one I've seen for sale recently was around £50 and they regularly go for upwards of that on eBay. Before I get ahead of myself, I should probably explain what the NeoGeo Pocket actually is - I sometimes forget that not everyone is as au fait with antiquated gaming technology as I am, and in turn I know there are people with far greater knowledge than I I'll try not to get anything wrong!
The NeoGeo Pocket was a handheld console released in 1998 by SNK that initially featured a monochrome screen but was later re-released with a colour screen and rebranded as the NeoGeoPocket Color (I'll overlook the missing 'u' on this occasion). It's a nifty little piece of tech and has a rather lovely clicky microswitch thumbstick like most other NeoGeo consoles do. The system's library isn't very large and the screen can be a bit hard to see sometimes due to it's lack of either a front or back light, but it does hold a certain charm and the library is brimming with cool portable versions of popular SNK franchises like The King Of Fighters and Samurai Shodown et al.
What's also quite intriguing is that Sega and SNK collaborated in order to add Dreamcast compatibility to the system and a select number of Dreamcast and NeoGeo Pocket titles are able to communicate and allow various items to be unlocked or data to be swapped between the two systems. Obviously, both the Dreamcast and the NGP come from a pre-WiFi or NFC era (although apparently there is a wireless connector for linking NGPs), so the only way it was really feasible for these two units to connect was via a link cable. And that's exactly what this little post is all about.
Not to be confused with the NeoGeo Pocket system link cable (pictured above, NEOP-10021), the Dreamcast link cable (NEOP-22020) allows you to connect your NGP/NGPC to the Sega system via the serial port on the rear of the console and the Ext. port on the top of the handheld, but vitally only a handful of games actually make use of this function. According to the full list is:
  • King of Fighters R-2 (links with King of Fighters ’99 Dream Match and Evolution)
  • SNK vs Capcom – Match of the Millenium (links with Capcom vs SNK 2)
  • SNK vs Capcom – Card Fighter's Clash (links with King of Fighters Evolution)
  • SNK vs Capcom – Card Fighter's Clash Expand Edition (links with Capcom vs SNK 2)
  • Cool Cool Jam (links with Cool Cool Toon)
I own four of the titles listed (KoF R-2, KoF '99, KoF Evo and Card Fighter's Clash) and so I set about trying to get my Dreamcast to communicate with my NeoGeo Pocket. As a side note, I own the original NeoGeo Pocket and not the Color variant and so I rarely play on it due to the difficulty I regularly encounter trying to see the screen. 
The monochrome version does have some 'ghosting' issues, especially in fighting games (which sadly make up most of my library), but the screen is nowhere near as bad as something like the Tiger Gamecom. The reason I mention this is because most of the downloadable and uploadable things in both KoF R-2 and the two Dreamcast titles are things that you must earn points to unlock. And as I've barely played R-2, I didn't have much in the way of spendable currency.
From what I could tell though, the vast majority of items are artwork images and the like, so while it's a nice little extra feature, you aren't missing much if you don't happen to own a link cable. What's interesting is that the link cable works with both the NTSC-J and NTSC-U King of Fighters games, with a Japanese NeoGeo Pocket, while all being connected through a PAL Dreamcast using a boot disc to play imports. Just thought that was worth sharing, although it's common knowledge that the NGP is region free. When it comes to ascertaining what the uses are when linking Card Clash to Evolution...well, I have no clue to be perfectly honest. I couldn't actually tell if it was even doing anything when it was linked so I'm none the wiser. If you know better, enlighten us in the comments!
In summary then, the link cable is a nice little oddity to own - especially as it was relatively inexpensive and they are now quite rare. As for usefulness? I'm not sure I can recommend that you go out and spend a small fortune on one. There's no real benefit as far as I can see other than it's a cool item to have in your collection. The build quality is very nice and the little box halfway down the cable has a nice chunky SNK logo on it...but that's about all there is to it. I did read in an old Dreamcast magazine that Sonic's Pocket Adventure was going to have some sort of connectivity with Sonic Adventure 2, but I guess that never materialised.
As a footnote, I guess it's quite apt that these two systems have intertwined lifespans. They do have certain similarities in that they were both the plucky underdog and both lived relatively short lifespans. Happily though, they've now found each other again in the great Dreamcast Junkyard in the sky and the link cable is the tie that binds them.