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Author Topic: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)  (Read 39121 times)

Teeporage777

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This is great work. I love the lunar games. They are some of my favorites

cj iwakura

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You know, I've been wondering if WD made any significant changes on the shooters they ported (Elemental Gearbolt, RayStorm, RayCrisis, Thunder Force V).

I know Elemental Gearbolt is hard as ALL HELL on the US version, but Alfa System games aren't exactly easy...

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I'm sure I read a Hardcore Gaming 101 review on that game, but I don't remember how they compared.
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Imaynotbehere4long

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I'm curious: when do you plan on uploading these to the main site?  That way, your patches show up in the searches and more people can find them (I'm sure more people than us forum members would like to try out your patches). For example, I had heard about what happened with Exile II: Wicked Phenomenon, but it wasn't until now, digging through the archives of the Personal Projects subforum, that I saw something was done about it.

Spoiler:
* 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.

I'm gonna risk playing Devil's Advocate here and say that, although I found it frustrating at first, when I figured out what I had to do, I actually thought that part of the game was pretty clever.
Spoiler:
Basically, in the game's plot, Luna has been hypnotized into fighting Alex, and when Alex plays the harp, that helps Luna remember who she is and fight the brainwashing, and as a result, restrain her attacks and deal less damage. Now that I know that wasn't part of the original game, I wonder what the point of that part was.

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So WD had increased the difficalty of the first Lunar in PSX version. That explains why I always had to spend extra time on mob-grinding to level up in order to beat the first boss in a town. Nice work!
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 08:15:36 pm by Thug »

Supper

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)
« Reply #305 on: September 03, 2017, 05:36:23 am »
Sorry I've been neglecting this thread so badly. To everyone who's given support, thanks! I'll try to respond to everything that warrants it, however belatedly...

I'm curious: when do you plan on uploading these to the main site?  That way, your patches show up in the searches and more people can find them (I'm sure more people than us forum members would like to try out your patches). For example, I had heard about what happened with Exile II: Wicked Phenomenon, but it wasn't until now, digging through the archives of the Personal Projects subforum, that I saw something was done about it.

I'm gonna risk playing Devil's Advocate here and say that, although I found it frustrating at first, when I figured out what I had to do, I actually thought that part of the game was pretty clever.
Spoiler:
Basically, in the game's plot, Luna has been hypnotized into fighting Alex, and when Alex plays the harp, that helps Luna remember who she is and fight the brainwashing, and as a result, restrain her attacks and deal less damage. Now that I know that wasn't part of the original game, I wonder what the point of that part was.

Yes, I've intended for a while to get these on the site, but I wanted to make some final updates and quality checks beforehand. Obviously those have been in limbo for a while, and lately I've been distracted by a somewhat-related translation project, so it'll probably be a while before everything's ready to go. Sorry for the holdup, but I can only endure so much Vay and Alundra at a time.

As for Silver Star's climax, I actually agree: the Working Designs version is the more memorable conclusion. When I first played the game years ago, knowing nothing about Working Designs except the name, the thing I remembered most about it afterwards was using the harp at the end. But I don't want to cherry-pick "good changes" and "bad changes"; if something was meaningfully altered for the US version and it's in my power to revert it, I'm doing it, regardless of whether I think it was for the better.

I'd also add that this gimmick worked much better in the original version of the game than the remake. The Sega CD version has a checkpoint at the start of the sequence and visually indicates that you're taking damage and will die if you don't do something, whereas in the remake, there's a good chance a first-time player will just keep plowing on ahead and end up getting instakilled out of nowhere. And god forbid you neglected to save right after beating the final boss, since checkpoints are gone and you're locked out of saving during that sequence. Plus the Ocarina normally functions as a sound test, which makes it far less intuitive that it suddenly does something new at the very end of the game. And then there's the fact that they ended up forcing you to waste an inventory slot for the entire game just to make sure you'd have it for that scene...

So WD had increased the difficalty of the first Lunar in PSX version. That explains why did I always have to spend extra time on mob-grinding to level up in order to beat the first boss in a town. Nice work!

Yeah, it ends up being pretty nasty because not only do enemies give less EXP, the minimum levels to which bosses' stats are scaled are increased, and IIRC the way stats are scaled makes enemies significantly harder to beat at higher levels, despite your characters being more powerful. (I seem to recall hacking the party to level 50 one time and getting completely decimated by the first boss.)

You know, I've been wondering if WD made any significant changes on the shooters they ported (Elemental Gearbolt, RayStorm, RayCrisis, Thunder Force V).

I know Elemental Gearbolt is hard as ALL HELL on the US version, but Alfa System games aren't exactly easy...

I haven't tried any of the others, but yeah, the Japanese version of Gearbolt is pretty easy and the US version is extremely hard. After a few hours of playing the Japanese version, I could get to the final boss on the hardest difficulty with no problem, but I couldn't even beat the "training" mode on the US version (which incidentally is "easy" mode in the Japanese version, and doesn't end after 3 stages). Enemies definitely do more damage; I don't know if the changes go further than that.

Chances are the other games you mentioned have comparable alterations. Working Designs was pretty consistent about that up until 2000, when they apparently just stopped doing it (AFAICT -- I'm basing this on Lunar 2 and a cursory examination of Arc the Lad, so there may well be stuff I don't know about). I like to think that Vic backed off of the difficulty changes after several reviewers specifically slammed Working Designs' alterations to the mechanics in Silhouette Mirage (GameSpot gave it a 4.6, calling it an "unrewarding chore overwrought with tedium" compared to the original). Though now that I check, he seems to have spent plenty of time trying to convince people who complained about this that they were somehow wrong to do so, so maybe not.

I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks, Supper. I am a HUGE fan of Working Designs, however I definitely agree that you're doing the right thing fixing the asinine changes they made to the difficulty of their games.

Also I wanted to take a moment to explain why I'm a fan of WD. Their translations have aged terribly, and they did butcher the script of many games they worked on.

BUT - I'm 35. In the late 80s and through about 2000 there really weren't anyone localizing games like these. Many of these games *WERE* niche, and gaming itself was still pretty niche back then. If it wasn't for WD I have no doubt that most/all of these games would have never been released in English before the days of fan translations. Since fan translations weren't even a thin until the late 90s, and emulation of systems like the PSX wasn't really viable until the mid 2000s, many of us would have missed out on ever playing these games at all.

I don't think hating on you is at all fair, but do try to understand that many of us love WD because of what they did, not because of HOW they did it.

Still though, I think changing the difficulty was a completely stupid thing to do, and in some cases (Exile 2) it completely broke the game. There was no good reason to do that, and thank you again for what you're doing.

Perhaps you could take a break from WD games and look into doing fixes for other games? I'm sure WD wasn't the only company monkeying with game balance when bringing games overseas (Squaresoft circa 1992 I'm looking at YOU), so perhaps there are other games that could use some fixing?

(And yes I know that FFIV has already been fixed, I'm just pointing to that as an example).

Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly that the concept of Working Designs was great. I love games that are unusual, niche, often overlooked, or simply perceived as "unmarketable" by most American publishers in the '90s. Bringing over those games from Japan and giving them a great, polished translation to put big-budget publishers to shame would have been awesome. Except of course that's not what happened, and so here I am, trying to salvage these to the extent that I can.

If Working Designs helped lead to the rise of later localization companies that did what the company should have done in the first place, they deserve credit for that much. It was still a heavy price to pay, and I think you can understand my frustration at having to choose between stumbling through a game in a language I don't know, or playing a horribly mangled version of the same thing that could have been so much more.

But yes, there are certainly plenty of other games with comparable difficulty changes. I've actually been eyeing Legend of Legaia as a possible future project, though I've got enough on my plate at this point that that's probably a long way off.

Anyway, thanks again to everyone for your feedback. I'll try to get these on the site in a timely manner, but hey, it wouldn't be a Working Designs thread without some delays...

Reiska

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)
« Reply #306 on: September 05, 2017, 05:45:18 am »
Legend of Legaia at least should be a fairly easy project I think, since if I'm not mistaken the difficulty changes are exclusive to the US release (the PAL version maintains the Japanese version's difficulty, or so I recall reading).

Looking forward to it if you take it up!  Legaia's a favorite of mine.

YeahYeahNo

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)
« Reply #307 on: September 18, 2017, 04:03:52 am »
I have a question, does the psx version share the same translation or is it more acceptable?

Chronosplit

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)
« Reply #308 on: September 18, 2017, 09:51:44 am »
I have a question, does the psx version share the same translation or is it more acceptable?
The translation itself is untouched in these patches.

The difference between PSX and SCD text is some new parts are in but others were taken out.  I can't really say if one is more acceptable than the other as they tend to both have the same quality.

YeahYeahNo

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)
« Reply #309 on: September 18, 2017, 01:04:51 pm »
The translation itself is untouched in these patches.

The difference between PSX and SCD text is some new parts are in but others were taken out.  I can't really say if one is more acceptable than the other as they tend to both have the same quality.

Well that's a shame. Given how many translations you can find for some games (FFIII looking at you), feels strange since Lunar seems to be a cult game.

RetroProf

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)
« Reply #310 on: September 19, 2017, 04:06:46 pm »
This is pretty cool.

I read the ReadMe files with the SCD/TCD games, and my emulation set-up is with ISO/MP3 on my Xbox.

The ReadMe states I need to put the audio files in WAV format with the ISO, and all of them get renamed, and then I need to use the accompanying CUE?

Is this to help people inexperienced with emulation? Because I just want to patch my ISO, rename it back to what it was, and then drop back in my original folder on my Xbox with my original CUE.

I'm assuming the patcher doesn't actually change the audio data, since it's simply altering numerical numbers in the game itself... Right?

If something was meaningfully altered for the US version and it's in my power to revert it, I'm doing it, regardless of whether I think it was for the better.

This is the same disturbing kind of hubris Working Designs had.

I don't want to criticise you, seeing as you're doing all the lifting here, and I'm enjoying these patches for free, but why take that attitude?

Why not cherry pick? Why not create the definitive or *best* version? Or create varied patches, maybe with a menu system, where players can choose what they want? Sort of like how Vampire: Bloodlines had options to vary a patch to the user's taste.

I mean, I basically don't understand your stoic determination to revert everything in your power, even if it's for the worse, while at the same time admitting there's a ton of stuff you can't revert.

I read through your notes with great fascination, and there's actually a few things I didn't like being reverted.

Now I'm wondering... Do I put up with crappy changes to get the few good, or do I revert even if it means losing good stuff...?

Regardless, I appreciate the work. For Exile II previously I'd played through the JPN release, switching in the English audio files. Nice to play it through properly.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 04:26:49 pm by Szczepaniak »

butane bob

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)
« Reply #311 on: September 20, 2017, 02:40:28 am »
Can anyone confirm if WD butchered Dragon Force in any way?

GHANMI

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)
« Reply #312 on: September 20, 2017, 07:44:12 am »
I don't want to criticise you, seeing as you're doing all the lifting here, and I'm enjoying these patches for free, but why take that attitude?

Why not cherry pick? Why not create the definitive or *best* version?

I read through your notes with great fascination, and there's actually a few things I didn't like being reverted.

That would be horrible. At that point you're better off served with a honest-to-god self proclaimed romhack as opposed to something that proclaims to restore Working Designs stuff while it doesn't actually do what it advertises.

Saw a review for the Super Mario Advance 4 voice removal patch, distributed separate from the palette restoration patch (and for good reason) claiming it's good that "racist" voice acting was "fixed" and that's how it was "originally intended" (nevermind who actually programmed in that voice acting in the first place). If that reviewer was the one who did the patch and called it a "restoration" to "how it was originally intended" or "how the devs would like it" in his opinion, that would be dishonest.

I appreciate that Supper is going the extra mile to do this (in fact, it inspired me to work on similar projects) to try and provide the original Japanese difficulty. There's worth in that -- even Nintendo's official SMA4 offered via e-Reader cards difficulty options between the Western and Japanese versions. I like that people interested in playing these games with that level of challenge have the option to play it in English rather than "suck it up and get the Japanese version" or perish the thought and play that joyless version where everything is a bullet sponge and genuinely unwinnable situations abound.

Restoration modifications are woefully lacking as is.
I don't want less of these and more of FuSoYa's Secret of Mana "restorations" that turn out to be an elaborate "author" romhack. The existing WD patches already pick and choose and keep legit QoL US version enhancements that are on par the course with every US localisation enhancement from that time (like Illusion of Gaia getting better boss sprites and attack patterns), but to keep further and more drastic changes (balance changes, and graphical cuts for one) and not out of technical limitations puts in question the point behind these hacks as "restoration" modifications.

It's really unfortunate you don't like these, but I'm really not comfortable with not only the English version, BUT also the "restoration" patches keeping on purpose, not by omission, some of these changes and thus forcing it on everyone. You'll have to excuse my cynical outlook on the matter considering quite a bit of outside hateful attention came here requesting the choice to play these patches not to exist at all for everyone, and this has left quite a sour taste.
With the notes already published, the possibility for someone to take a look at these and make a selective patch is more than affordable. So why not do that instead? I frequently change fan-translation fonts I don't like personally.

Supper

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)
« Reply #313 on: September 20, 2017, 11:42:39 am »
This is pretty cool.

I read the ReadMe files with the SCD/TCD games, and my emulation set-up is with ISO/MP3 on my Xbox.

The ReadMe states I need to put the audio files in WAV format with the ISO, and all of them get renamed, and then I need to use the accompanying CUE?

Is this to help people inexperienced with emulation? Because I just want to patch my ISO, rename it back to what it was, and then drop back in my original folder on my Xbox with my original CUE.

I'm assuming the patcher doesn't actually change the audio data, since it's simply altering numerical numbers in the game itself... Right?

Yeah, none of the patches touch the audio data. I haven't tried, but just patching the ISO shouldn't cause any problems beyond a bunch of "file not found" messages from the BAT scripts. I set the patching process up the way I did mostly so I could unify BIN and ISO patching to a single case, and yeah, to simplify things for people who might not know the details of BIN, CUE, etc.

This is the same disturbing kind of hubris Working Designs had.

I don't want to criticise you, seeing as you're doing all the lifting here, and I'm enjoying these patches for free, but why take that attitude?

Why not cherry pick? Why not create the definitive or *best* version? Or create varied patches, maybe with a menu system, where players can choose what they want? Sort of like how Vampire: Bloodlines had options to vary a patch to the user's taste.

I mean, I basically don't understand your stoic determination to revert everything in your power, even if it's for the worse, while at the same time admitting there's a ton of stuff you can't revert.

I read through your notes with great fascination, and there's actually a few things I didn't like being reverted.

Now I'm wondering... Do I put up with crappy changes to get the few good, or do I revert even if it means losing good stuff...?

Regardless, I appreciate the work. For Exile II previously I'd played through the JPN release, switching in the English audio files. Nice to play it through properly.

Well, I'd say it's more like the opposite of hubris (whatever you call that), but there are any number of reasons I'm doing things this way.

To put it simply, it's not my goal to "improve" the games. I want them to be available as they were originally designed so that people can experience them that way, without having to blunder through a 40-hour RPG in a language they don't know. Patches specifically designed to add new features or better balance are great, but they're not what I want to make in this case.

Obviously, most people play games because they want to have fun, and are perfectly happy with changes that, subjectively, make the game more fun. That's perfectly reasonable. But personally, I like to experience games as they were originally designed, flaws and all. I guess it sounds silly and pretentious to talk about "evaluating games from a historical perspective", but often that's what I'm interested in doing, and because of that I'd like to be able to play them in a form as close to the original as possible. Not being able to do anything about the rewritten scripts means it's always going to be a compromised effort, but it's better than nothing.

I agree that ideally, I'd set everything up so you could toggle individual changes and play the game exactly the way you want, but that's trickier than it sounds. Aside from the extra work of setting up a frontend and allowing patches to be applied programmatically, some changes just can't be trivially layered on top of each other. For instance, swapping in the uncensored cutscene files from the Japanese version of Eternal Blue requires the ISO filesystem to be rebuilt, which means all the data gets moved around and you can't just apply a bunch of IPS patches on top. While it's all doable with enough work, it gets complicated and messy and turns into more than I really want to deal with, especially for dozens of games with wildly differing requirements.

Plus, I think TSS's ending is an exception in this regard. Most of the Working Designs changes that I'd consider legitimate enhancements are stuff like having more save files, which I've left in because it's more trouble than it's worth to remove and really has nothing to do with the game itself. It's technically a violation of the project goals, but sometimes it's just not worth the effort.

Anyway, thanks for giving these patches a spin. Hope you're enjoying the games despite any changes you don't like.

Can anyone confirm if WD butchered Dragon Force in any way?

I've been meaning to check this out, but haven't gotten around to it. Tim Trzepacz states on his resume that he added "gameplay enhancements" to it, which doesn't bode well.

RetroProf

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)
« Reply #314 on: September 20, 2017, 01:34:36 pm »
It's really unfortunate you don't like these

I never once said I didn't like them. I was mainly curious as to the author's motivation for wishing to revert everything, rather than cherry pick. I spent this afternoon applying every one of those patches (apart from LEB on PS1, because CBA on moving 2gigs of data for such small changes).

Anyway, thanks for giving these patches a spin. Hope you're enjoying the games despite any changes you don't like.

No, thank YOU for making them. Many years ago I had wondered if it were possible for someone to take the Exile 2 data and swap in the variables from the JPN version. In the end I put the English audio files in the JPN version, and it worked reasonably enough. Very cool to now have a playable version. I've also been meaning to play the Lunar games for the last 20 years. Now might finally be the time!

I had some trouble with the drag-n-drop method (Win XP), but got there in the end with command line patching. I should mention, some games' post-patch hashes did not match what was in the Readme for that game (ie: Exile 2), and for some reason both my Lunar games on Sega CD didn't match the pre-patch hash. However, everything booted fine after patching, and the changes seem to be in place.

Could I be looking at a random crash down the line?

Also, not sure if this is the patch for Magic Knight Rayearth, or my RHEA board screwing up, but I was playing it patched and on an SD card on actual Saturn. Right at the start, after you fall off that flying griffon thing, the game seemed to half-freeze. The voiceless dialogue boxes popped up, but after the text had run it just hanged there for ages. Like it was trying to find and load data but couldn't find it. I managed to get beyond this part and save, and reset the Saturn, and it worked fine again. I'm not sure if the unpatched version does this.

Supper

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)
« Reply #315 on: September 20, 2017, 04:18:17 pm »
No, thank YOU for making them. Many years ago I had wondered if it were possible for someone to take the Exile 2 data and swap in the variables from the JPN version. In the end I put the English audio files in the JPN version, and it worked reasonably enough. Very cool to now have a playable version. I've also been meaning to play the Lunar games for the last 20 years. Now might finally be the time!

I had some trouble with the drag-n-drop method (Win XP), but got there in the end with command line patching. I should mention, some games' post-patch hashes did not match what was in the Readme for that game (ie: Exile 2), and for some reason both my Lunar games on Sega CD didn't match the pre-patch hash. However, everything booted fine after patching, and the changes seem to be in place.

Could I be looking at a random crash down the line?

Also, not sure if this is the patch for Magic Knight Rayearth, or my RHEA board screwing up, but I was playing it patched and on an SD card on actual Saturn. Right at the start, after you fall off that flying griffon thing, the game seemed to half-freeze. The voiceless dialogue boxes popped up, but after the text had run it just hanged there for ages. Like it was trying to find and load data but couldn't find it. I managed to get beyond this part and save, and reset the Saturn, and it worked fine again. I'm not sure if the unpatched version does this.

Hey, you're welcome. It's fun to make these, and even better if other people actually play them.

Yeah, I forgot to update the post-patch hashes when I released new patch versions. Sorry. I took the hashes out of the readme entirely for newer patches, but I haven't put out new releases of some of the affected patches yet. As long as the pre-patch hash matches, you should be fine.

I'm not sure about the issue with Rayearth. It could easily be something that got screwed up when I rebuilt the ISO -- it was my first time working on a Saturn game, so I didn't appreciate some of the intricacies involved, like the fact that games can use dummy entries in the filesystem to provide pointers to CD audio tracks. Rayearth has a CD audio pointer that's definitely broken by the patch, but I don't think it's actually used by the game, since the only audio track is the standard "this is a Saturn game, don't put it in a CD player" message.

I'm planning to re-release the patch in the future using a cleaner method of changing the disc contents, so you can see if that fixes your problem. Don't know when that'll happen, but I'll bump it up on the priority list.

lexluthermiester

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)
« Reply #316 on: September 20, 2017, 10:54:37 pm »
Supper, I also wish to express gratitude for your excellent work! I've finished "Cosmic Fantasy 2" & "Popful Mail" again, which were FAR more fun to play through this time around! Am working through "Vay" currently and having a blast. Gonna hit the Lunar games as soon as I can find the physical games. Wish I could play through MKRE, but alas my Saturn CD lens kicked the bucket and finding replacements is a pain..

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i tried to apply the popful mail patch on the bin( i dragged the bin file to the bat file) it opened a cmd window, i saw the progress there. the windows closed by itself.
i tested and the first enemie was damaging me with 12 points instead of 10 of japanese versions. the mages enemies give me 20 points of damage instead of 10. ok. maybe i will see the diference on the store, i thinked. the prices:
amulet 1500 gold
orange 90 gold
cherry 180 gold

its all the same. the patch didnt worked.


the rom was downloaded on -- mention of specific rom site excised --. can someone help me?
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 11:25:07 am by MathOnNapkins »

lexluthermiester

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i tried to apply the popful mail patch on the bin( i dragged the bin file to the bat file) it opened a cmd window, i saw the progress there. the windows closed by itself.
i tested and the first enemie was damaging me with 12 points instead of 10 of japanese versions. the mages enemies give me 20 points of damage instead of 10. ok. maybe i will see the diference on the store, i thinked. the prices:
amulet 1500 gold
orange 90 gold
cherry 180 gold

its all the same. the patch didnt worked.


the rom was downloaded on -- mention of specific rom site excised --. can someone help me?
You need to follow the patching instructions precisely, no drag&drop. The ISO you have is likely just fine. Just make sure you follow the patching directions.

legendarysnake1

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You need to follow the patching instructions precisely, no drag&drop. The ISO you have is likely just fine. Just make sure you follow the patching directions.

i didnt no i could not put the site here. sorry mods. the instructions was saying to drag and drop. theres a manual patch too but i did not test it.

the instrucions was like this on read me file: -

If you're using Windows, move your disc image files into the same directory as
the program and do one of these as appropriate:
  * If you have a BIN/CUE disc image, drag and drop the BIN file (or IMG file)
onto binpatch.bat.

i did that it "worked" but it did not recognized the patch. im using genesis plus gx on retroarch.