Over the past week or so, I've been hacking Rabio Lepus Special in an attempt to localize it to English. The PC Engine version doesn't seem to get much love compared to the arcade version, but while I understand why this is the case, it's still a nice cute'em up, so I figure why not. I mean, the only thing stopping me is that I never hacked NEC's platform.
So, what changes have been made so far? For one, I've redrawn the title screen with the localized name of the arcade release in the US:
I've also managed to translate the level intros, and applied a slight shade to make the text more visible. It is white, after all, and smaller than the much larger characters initially used. Ideally, the letters would be outlined but there's not enough room for that due to how I've tried to take full advantage of the allowed 16x16 space.
We now come to the part that is missing:
1) Unfortunately, the text in the level intros is still shown as the original one: one 16x616 block at a time. While I have found the code that dictates when each character appears on screen, I have yet to locate what handles how long it stays there. So, I can make all characters appear simultaneously to counter the lower overall readability, but they still go away too fast - even faster if made to appear simultaneously.
2) The bigger issue, however, is... At the end of Levels 1, 2, and 6, characters will show up and thank Rabio for the rescue (they're the same ones as the arcade version: the Princess' sister, the King, and the Princess, but with much less revealing attire). But maybe I'm feeling a bit burned out as I haven't done much more recently than going back and forth through the ROM, but I still haven't found where nor how I might change the code responsible for printing the dialogue intermissions in the game. The dialogue refers to a set of 37 characters (including one which is printed on top of a letter on occasion) but uses 1 byte for 2 character combos.
On the other hand, not only do I know exactly where this dialogue is, the ROM makes no effort to conceal it - to the point I found it just by looking at it raw with a hex editor and recognizing the dialogue screen itself. Further, the code in this location is so malleable that one can easily extend the dialogue boxes without much of an issue. So in theory, armed with a way to insert single characters and with the dialogue I've translated, this could probably be done in half an hour's worth of editing and playtesting. I can also whip up a font for an English localization. It's just... I can't seem to locate it.
I don't know if other efforts to localize Rabio Lepus Special have been made, but it would be nice to see this finished. On request, I can provide the script, the codes for the JP dialogue, the dialogue screen offsets, and the timing code I've found.
EDIT: Now also posted on PC Engine Software Bible Forum
Edit 2: I may have found the table. Looking into it now.
Edit 3: Table rewiring and script insertion is underway. All that's really missing is the timing code...
September 16, 2021, 11:46:05 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Been working on this on my own for the last couple of days; everything seems ready to go, so I'm marking this as "Solved". Will playtest this as soon as possible, then release a patch.