So what exactly is Wander Wonder?
Wander Wonder is a unique overhead 2D Action-RPG developed by Compile. It was originally released in episodic format (3 chapters and a 4th installment called Wander Number) with each episode being distributed on a disc that came with the Compile DiscStation Magazine series starting with Vol.24 1999. Eventually, the game received a standalone release on Oct. 13th, 2000 for Windows 95.
I would describe Wander Wonder as having a very similar gameplay style to Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) or the Neutopia series (TG-16/PCE) as you move from screen-to-screen and section-to-section fighting monsters and uncovering many hidden secrets and treasures along with way. I would say that it probably plays most like Alundra (PSX) since it contains elevation and jumping puzzle mechanics that are similar to those that are found in Alundra. It has all the elements of a good solid Zelda clone, swords, hammers, bomb-able walls, secret passages and caves, dungeons filled with puzzles that you have to unlock little-by-little, it even has a lost woods section later in the game as an obvious homage to Zelda 1 (NES).
Here is a video of the gameplay if you wanted to get the general overview of what it is like:
The jumping/platforming aspects of Wander Wonder are quite interesting as there are many elevated objects that Jino, the main character, can jump around on and many secrets to find, if you are smart enough to figure out your next plan as an RPG "urban runner" hero. There are a ton of puzzles in this game; Switches, block puzzles, elevation puzzles, stacking puzzles, floating platform puzzles/timing, riddles to solve, as well as certain items that must be used in certain locations to proceed with your progress. Even some of the bosses have unique take down strategies using an item or combination of items that you may have recently picked up, bringing it back to what you might experience of a boss fight in Zelda. You'll be able to tell while playing it, that the developers certainly put a lot of thought into this little game that probably not many people have heard of.
Instead of having only one or two weapons to choose from, Jino will use what he finds on his journey as he collects them and stores them away in his backpack. These weapons will have a number of uses before they break and need to be repaired by the town blacksmith. The weapon drops are pretty randomized and plentiful enough to where you can sell quite a bit of them for money and keep the ones that have better stats, and save the ones that have great stats for tougher enemies. There are daggers, swords, axes, hammers, bombs, shields, a bow an arrow, etc. It is weapon drop system that probably feels pretty close to how Zelda: Breath of the Wild feels in regards to weapon usage.
There are quite a lot of secret and collectible items in the game that will unlock some nice bonuses if you can find them all. After you finish the game, you'll unlock an additional “after story” chapter with a few new side quests, an additional playable character that you can switch to and access to a 500 floor dungeon arena, which sadly I was never able to finish completely, so I have no idea what truly lies on the bottom floor...
I feel that anyone that enjoys good action-rpgs and solving puzzles will really dig this game. Wander Wonder also comes bundled with a gambling-type puzzle mini-game called Wander Number, which can not only be played in the game, but it exists a standalone multi-player game as well.
I’ve completed the game in Japanese and while I’m sure it has a pretty charming story, I can't really comment too much on the story of the game as my Japanese was (and still is) not good enough to really understand most of what went on in the game. The game starts off with an introduction sequence with the main protagonist, Jino Brodiaea as a child. in this scene Jino’s grandfather is telling a story to Jino about a legend surrounding a mysterious ruins he once came across in his travels and also about a mythical and powerful stone/crystal called the Orichalcum.
Jino tells his grandfather that he plans to grow up big and strong so that he can find these ruins that his grandfather spoke about and journey with his grandfather to see them again. The scene fades and Jino, who is now 14 years old stands over his grandfather's tombstone. Unfortunately his grandfather has passed away and Jino vows to make his grandfather proud of him and sets off to find the ruins that his grandfather spoke about in the story.
However, on while on his journey, Jino discovers the hard way that he has not packed enough rations for his adventure (he’s not the brightest) and collapses of hunger. Fortunately, he is found just outside the outskirts of a town called Encia by the town blacksmith and weapon shop owner, Largo. Largo takes Jino back to town allows him to stay at the town inn on his dime.
Encia town serves as a hub for a large portion of the game, but eventually Jino will become strong enough and better equipped to journey to many hidden ruins spread out across the land and eventually to the nearby capital city of Delphi.
During his adventure, Jino meets many interesting characters and befriends a girl named Tia Chanti, who seems to have some kind of mysterious power, and after some time, he discovers that he is not the only one interested in exploring these ruins. A mysterious sorcerer called Thales appears to be searching these nearby ruins for the legendary Orichalcum stone, and Thales’ motives do not appear to be up to any good. Jino and Tia set out to find the Orichalcum first and either harness or destroy its fearsome power before Thales can achieve his diabolical goals.
After the game is finished there is an extra chapter with some extra challenging end-game content to complete and Tia Chanti is unlocked as a playable character and she's a hand-to-hand brawler and quite fun to play as! She plays pretty much how you might imagine Sakura from the Street Fighter series would play in a top-down Zelda adventure.
History of the Wander Wonder Translation Project
I've been wanting to see a translation project finished for Wander Wonder for several years now. I had approached a few translation teams about it, and really just never had any bites or interest at the time. I think most people just never really knew the game well enough to really consider looking into it. A few friends and I (Flame, Xalphenos and m-Bot) had a vision of seeing this great game in English one day, so opened a project workshop for it at the Heroes of Legend Romhacking community. We actually made quite a bit of progress with hacking the game. We figured out out how to unpack the script archive, dump and re-insert the script, how to unpack the special Compile graphics format (CNX) to (GMP) to (BMP) and back again, and I’ve finished editing most of the graphics from Japanese to English, at least the ones that have been translated so far. Work had been done on creating a VWF hack as well.
Even though we made a lot of progress and even managed to insert a machine translation back into the entire script as a test, without there being a dedicated Japanese translator onboard for the project, all future work on the pretty much came to a grinding halt. We all became pretty busy and most of us moved on to other projects and Wander Wonder sat in a buried treasure chest so to speak. I'm hoping that this can possibly be completed and released this year or early next year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the game's release.
Current Project Goals
This year, now that I’ve finally gotten some time to re-examine where we left off with the project, I wanted to post a formal request here at RH.net for an interested translator and possibly some additional hacking assistance as well since I recall there being some graphics that required some adjustments in the executable in order to get certain graphics to display correctly. (See Screenshots for an example).
My project goals and what I would consider a successful and completed project for Wander Wonder would be as follows:
- 1. Wander Wonder (Main game) in English
- 2. Wander Number (Bonus Mini-game) in English
- 3. Wander Wonder Scanned Paper Manual in English
- 4. Compile DiscStation Vol. 24 Story Introduction Comic in English
- 5. Wander Wonder Manual (HTML version that comes with the game) in English
- 6. Compile DiscStation.Vols. 24, 25, 26, 27 Wander Wonder / Wander Number articles first featuring the game.
March 10, 2019, 03:25:01 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
*EDIT* I still have some more information to add to this in separate posts such as where we are with the project specifically, I wanted to share the script archive, the various programming tools we've created for the project, what still needs to be done as far as graphics go and why some programming help may be needed as well as translation help, supplemental materials and resources, etc... but it all went over the 15,000 character count posting limit and I am not able to double-post until this thread has been open for 7 days apparently. I'll post the other information as I am able to do so.
Thanks for reading!