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Author Topic: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)  (Read 39035 times)

Supper

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So if you haven't heard the story by now, Working Designs was an American game publisher in the '90s that specialized in licensing niche Japanese games, totally rewriting their scripts to insert crude jokes and pop culture references, completely wrecking their difficulty by jacking up all the enemies' stats and adding other cheap impediments, then releasing them in the US. (If you like the sound of that, these patches probably aren't for you.)

Most of the games they put out are sufficiently esoteric that no one's interested in doing a retranslation, so often, these butchered versions are the only way to play the games in English. That seemed like a real shame to me, so lately I've been working on this little project to restore the gameplay from the Japanese versions of these games. Since I'm not a translator, I can't do anything about the made-up dialogue, but I'm aiming to at least get the difficulty back to what it was intended to be (and for Lunar, to get the script in lower case!).

So far I have several essentially-complete patches, listed below. I'm not sure how many more of these I'll make or how quickly I'll get them done, but I figured I'd share my work so far. Detailed patching instructions are included in the download links above, but the tl;dr is "Drag-and-drop your BIN or ISO onto the appropriate .bat file" (or do things manually if you're not using Windows).

Let me know if you run into any problems using these, or if you know of some additional difficulty changes Working Designs made that I didn't fix.

If you're interested, I'm writing up the changes made to the games for TCRF. Check these games' pages if you want details on what Working Designs did.

------------ Sega CD ------------

Lunar: The Silver Star (Sega CD) -- patch v1 (2/24/17)

Tested all the way through and should work fine. Since there's so much text, though, it's infeasible for me to check every single conversation for text box overflows and other issues. If anything goes wrong, let me know.
Changes:
Spoiler:
* All enemies have their stats restored to their original, lower amounts from the Japanese version. Note that in a rarity for a Working Designs release, only six enemies were changed, mostly bosses.
* Shrine donations were raised to 100s each in the US version; they're now 10s, as in the JP version. It still takes ten donations to get the bonus song, regardless of version.
* In the US version, donations to the shrine near the Red Dragon Cave were mistakenly made to give the player money instead of taking it away. This has been fixed.
* The US version modified the very end of the game to make Alex take extremely high damage from Luna's lightning blasts unless the player uses the Alex's Harp item. This has been restored to the Japanese behavior, where he always takes the reduced amount of damage.
* All hexagrams and pentagrams, which were removed from the US version at Sega of America's behest, have been restored. This includes the icons for the Light Barrier and Power Barrier items, as well as the various teleportation circles throughout the game.
* Xenobia's nude battle graphics have been restored.
* The brief nude shot of Luna in the ending was given a washed-out palette in the US version; it's been reverted to the original one.
* Though not technically a "restoration", all text has been converted to proper mixed case instead of all caps, and has been proofread to remove the most egregious errors.
* Related to the above, the original English font had very poor proportioning that made upper case and lower case letters look very awkward together. This patch tweaks the font to hopefully make it easier on the eyes.

Lunar: Eternal Blue (Sega CD) -- patch v3 (2/24/17)

Tested all the way through. Due to having lots of text, I may have missed issues with text overflowing boxes, etc., so let me know if anything blows up.
Changes:
Spoiler:
* All enemies have their stats restored to what they were in the Japanese version. (The US version increases most enemies' HP by 25% or more, and also drastically increases many enemies' Attack and/or Defense).
* Saving no longer costs Magic EXP.
* Items that were made more expensive in the US version now cost the original amounts.
* Spells that had their MP costs raised in the US version have been restored to the original costs.
* The Althena statues that require donations to use have had their fees reduced to the original amounts. (All but one were originally 100s per use.)
* The mayor of Larpa's information fee has been restored from 500s to the original 30s.
* The replaced music in the Star Dragon Tower has been removed.
* The swapped icons for the Heal Litany and Calm Litany spell lines have been reverted.
* Various bits of censorship done to meet Sega of America's content policies have been undone:
  * The minor changes to the nude shots of Lucia in the opening cutscene have been reverted.
  * All pentagrams (large and small teleport pads, Magic Shield icon, various battle animations) have been restored.
  * The nude shot of Luna in the flashback to The Silver Star (which was edited in that game as well) has been restored.
  * Plantarium/Plantella's nudity has been restored.
* Though not technically a "restoration", all text has been converted to proper mixed case instead of all-caps, and has been proofread to remove the most egregious errors. Since the game's original English font didn't look very good with combined upper and lower case letters, it's also been tweaked a bit to hopefully look better.

Popful Mail (Sega CD) -- patch v2 (2/24/17)

Tested all the way through. Patch is complete, assuming no problems arise.
Changes:
Spoiler:
* All enemies have their stats restored to what they were in the Japanese version.
* The formula that calculates damage from passive hazards (lava, spikes, etc.) has been reverted to its original form.
* Items now cost (and sell for) what they did in the Japanese version.

Vay (Sega CD) -- patch v1 (2/24/17)

Tested all the way through, hopefully problem-free.
Changes:
Spoiler:
* Enemy stats are restored to what they were in the Japanese game.
* Spell MP costs are reduced to their original values.
* Stat bonuses given by equipment are restored to their original levels.
* Inn costs are reduced to the original 4g.
* HP and MP are no longer restored on level up.
* The chest in the hidden Lorath Castle vault that contains 1,500g in the US version now contains 1,000g, per the original.
* Lynx's bar tab has been reduced from 20,000g to the original 1,000g.
* The US version inserted an event that caused an instant game over if Sirufa's teleportation was used without having all party members equipped with "Filtration Masks". This no longer occurs.
* The "Gold Vortex" chest in Vaygess has been replaced with its original contents.
* The US version moved the intro cutscene to before the title screen and made it unskippable if no save data exists. This patch leaves it before the title screen, but makes it skippable.

------------ PC-Engine/PC-Engine CD ------------

Cosmic Fantasy 2 (PC Engine CD/TurboGrafx-CD) -- patch v0 (3/21/17)

Tested all the way through, albeit very rapidly and with a lot of cheats turned on...
Changes:
Spoiler:
* Enemy stats are restored to what they were in the Japanese game. The only changes in the US version were to the first and last few bosses of the game (though some of their stats absolutely skyrocketed).
* Beating the first boss awards 20 EXP in the US version; it now gives nothing, per the original game.
* Rim (Babette)'s obscene gesture in her introductory cutscene has been restored.

Exile (PC Engine CD/TurboGrafx-CD) -- patch v0 (1/28/17)

Tested all the way through, hopefully problem-free.
Changes:
Spoiler:
* All enemies have their stats restored to what they were in the Japanese version.
* The "Warp" spell that returns Sadler to the start of the current dungeon has been re-enabled.
* The two chests in the game that contain gold have been restored to their original amounts (900g -> 500g, 2000g -> 2500g).

Exile II / Exile: Wicked Phenomenon (PC Engine CD/TurboGrafx-CD) -- patch v1 (2/10/17)

Tested all the way through, hopefully problem-free.
Changes:
Spoiler:
* All enemies have their stats restored to what they were in the Japanese version.

------------ Saturn ------------

Magic Knight Rayearth -- patch v0

Tested all the way through several times. Everything should be fine.
Changes:
Spoiler:
* All enemies and their attacks do the damage they did in the Japanese version.
* Enemy speeds have been reduced to their original levels.

------------ PlayStation ------------

Alundra (PlayStation) -- patch v1 (3/4/17)

Should work, but hasn't been tested all the way through. Let me know if anything goes wrong, or if you can verify that the game is completable without issue.
Changes:
Spoiler:
* All enemies have their stats restored to what they were in the Japanese version.
* The timing of the disappearing switch puzzle in Elene's dream has been reverted to its original, harder difficulty from the Japanese version.

Lunar - Silver Star Story Complete (PlayStation) -- patch v0 (4/9/17)

Tested all the way through, should work fine.
Changes:
Spoiler:
* All regular enemies have their stats restored to their original levels from the Japanese version. (In general, the US version reduced enemy HP by 10%, increased Attack by 20-40%, reduced EXP payout by 15%, and reduced Silver payout by 11%.)
* The stat scaling used for bosses now functions as in the Japanese version. (The US version increased the scale rate of some stats for certain bosses, and increased the minimum scaled level by 2-6 levels for all bosses.)
* Chests now give out their original amounts of money. (The amounts were halved in the US version.)
* Additionally, a hidden Silver bonus in the Vane library was restored to 100s. (It was reduced to 10s in the US version).
* Jessica's Escape Litany spell now costs the original 1 MP rather than 20 MP.
* The note containing the solution to the first puzzle in Myght's Tower, which was deliberately removed in the US version, has been restored.
* In the US version, the hint text for the final color-order puzzle in the Goddess Tower was changed to an incorrect order that doesn't reflect the actual solution; it's been changed to the proper order.
* Alex's Ocarina is no longer required to finish the game. It's now also possible to give it to Nall, as in the Japanese version.

Lunar 2 - Eternal Blue Complete (PlayStation) -- patch v0 (5/5/17)

Tested all the way through, should work fine.
Changes:
Spoiler:
* Holding down the X button will now continuously advance the dialogue, as in the Japanese version.
* In the Japanese version, the White Tower uses the same background track as the other Pentagulia towers, and White Mask Funk plays below the decks of the Destiny after acquiring it from Leo. The US version shuffles this around so that White Mask Funk plays in the White Tower, and the Destiny uses the world map theme. This has been reverted.
* The Serak Palace now charges the original 100 Silver instead of the US version's 666 Silver.

----------------------------------------------------

If you're feeling masochistic, you might also be interested in this hack I did for April Fools' Day:

Lunar: The Silver Star (Sega CD) -- Worked Design patch v0 (4/1/17)

Not tested at all, because pssssht who does that?
Changes:
Spoiler:
* Saving the game now costs Silver (100s times Alex's level). This was by far the best change in the US version of Eternal Blue, and I know everyone will be euphoric to have this same experience in The Silver Star!
* Trying to load checkpoints will now reset the game. While this might appear to be a bug, if you think about it, it's really just a logical extension of the improvements to the save system!
* All enemies have their stats raised substantially.
* All items now cost much more.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 01:13:19 pm by Supper »

Kallisto

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2017, 11:59:17 pm »
Voice redubs are doable considering this was amateur level voice acting back in the day, so I think anyone can pull that off if needed.

Piotyr

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2017, 12:22:47 am »
Got I loved Lunar silver star so much as a kid, I hate that it was butchered so hard, to think I could of been playing an even better game! The Lunar games need a legends of localization.

Midna

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2017, 12:48:52 am »
Good ol' Wrecking Designs.

SCD

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2017, 12:50:11 am »
This is really cool, I've been waiting for a hack for Popful Mail that would decrease the difficulty back to the way it was. I don't know why they increased it in the first place. You did a excellent job on the hack.

Any plans on making Un-Worked Designs patches for the PSX versions of both Lunar games and Silhouette Mirage including decensoring the game as well?

Supper

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2017, 01:26:44 am »
Voice redubs are doable considering this was amateur level voice acting back in the day, so I think anyone can pull that off if needed.

I'm probably not going to go there (unless someone actually wants to do a real retranslation of any of these), but it's certainly a low bar to pass.

Got I loved Lunar silver star so much as a kid, I hate that it was butchered so hard, to think I could of been playing an even better game! The Lunar games need a legends of localization.

I'd love to see Tomato on the job, but I'm afraid a full analysis would take most of a lifetime...

This is really cool, I've been waiting for a hack for Popful Mail that would decrease the difficulty back to the way it was. I don't know why they increased it in the first place. You did a excellent job on the hack.

Any plans on making Un-Worked Designs patches for the PSX versions of both Lunar games and Silhouette Mirage including decensoring the game as well?

Thanks! w/r/t future projects, we'll see where my interest goes. I've never done any PSX hacking, but something like this might be a reasonable starting point.

Pennywise

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2017, 09:48:55 am »
My favorite WD anecdote was when they accidentally made Exile 2 insanely hard and because the game was so close to release, they said screw it and left it alone.

ArkthePieKing

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2017, 01:56:02 pm »
Hm. In the event you do decide to go the redub route, I'd be happy to lend my voice talent(?) to the project. Here's a link to my Youtube page if you're interested in what I sound like.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsb2i3YOyXK4ugJG5bCZnqg

Gary_Oak

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2017, 03:18:39 pm »
Thank you for creating these! Is there a chance you could do the same for Magic Knight Rayearth (Saturn)? A fun Zelda clone that would get cheap in terms of difficulty (notably, the final boss battle).

Cavery210

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2017, 03:51:01 pm »
Lunar.net has all the differences between the uncut Japanese version and the J2e/4Kids-like abortion that Working Designs did for the Lunar games.

vivify93

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2017, 04:41:26 pm »
The proper case in Lunar: Eternal Blue looks fantastic. Do you think you'd do Lunar: The Silver Star to have a matched set?
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KingMike

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2017, 05:20:30 pm »
I don't know why they increased it in the first place.
The official reason was because of people who would beat games quickly and then try to return them to the store as "defective", basically scamming WD.
Quote
Sir Howard Stringer, chief executive of Sony, on Christmas sales of the PS3:
"It's a little fortuitous that the Wii is running out of hardware."

Tater Bear

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2017, 05:59:06 pm »
I like the idea behind this, but I also understand why sometimes games need to be made harder. If a game is too easy to beat then it becomes boring to play, but if a game is too hard then it is frustrating and not fun. Finding the right balance is hard. I beat Popful mail years ago pretty quickly without much issue, but last year I decided to boot it up again and was surprised by how hard the final boss was (I loaded up my last game save). On replay, I found the last boss to be fairly frustrating and I don't know how I managed to beat it so quickly when I first played the game (Maybe because I played it from the beginning it helped me to refine my skills to the point that the last boss wasn't all that hard). I think I have become a casual gamer over the years, thus leading to me to suck at playing non-RPG games :P .

MathUser2929

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2017, 06:40:09 pm »
I hope you submit these to the site after they've been tested.

cj iwakura

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2017, 07:26:36 pm »
While I'm a big fan of WD and usually defend their localizations(at least they're not dry like some stuff done nowadays), I have to say the new font looks fantastic. Nice work.

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thainferno305

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2017, 09:06:26 pm »
So the lunar patch u have it lowers the difficulty

Midna

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2017, 09:11:16 pm »
Yes, Working Designs jacked up the difficulty on Lunar to arguably unplayably frustrating levels for no readily apparent reason.

travel27

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2017, 09:15:21 pm »
Really?  I never found the Lunar: EB or Lunar SSSC or popful mail to be all that hard.  The last boss gives a very nice challenge but otherwise, not too bad.  I remember beating SSSC on level 50 as a teen.

Midna

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2017, 09:36:58 pm »
Lunar.net has all the differences between the uncut Japanese version and the J2e/4Kids-like abortion that Working Designs did for the Lunar games.

Closer to J2e, really, since Working Designs didn't try to censor death, change alcohol to sausages that inexplicably make people act drunk, or replace weapons with Seussian contraptions that totally won't kill you!

lexluthermiester

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2017, 01:26:47 am »
This is so cool! I loved Popful Mail! And it always kicked my butt. Don't think too many people were aware of the changes Working Designs made beyond the translations.

Going to give this a spin[pun intended] and see how it plays.