Lennus (SFC, Japan, November 13, 1992)Why Lennus?
I've always enjoyed this game more than any one person should, and I also enjoy giving unknown and underrated games more recognition and love.Okay, but why does it need a retranslation?
Paladin's Quest is typically known to US audiences for having the following traits:
- An extremely dry and literal script
- Severely abbreviated item names
- Difficult / grind heavy
Let me be very clear first: apart from being able to read kana, I have minimal Japanese knowledge. Having said that, playing around with the Japanese script gave me the feeling that there is a lot of unusual speech patterns throughout the game which went completely ignored. This would make sense to me, as the game's various races play a very important role in the story, and one might expect to hear different forms of speech throughout. This isn't the case in the US version, and nearly every single NPC speaks literal, proper English.
The items and menus in the game are difficult to understand without the US game manual that explains them. Modern audiences no longer have access to these materials, and a game should be playable without a reference guide being required anyway. On top of this, I get a heavy impression that many of the equippable items are either supposed to seem ridiculous or contain cultural references, which I would love to localize to ensure the intended atmosphere of the game is presented.
The last point isn't necessarily a translation issue, but a localization one. I've watched a lot of Let's Play videos and streamers who get so turned off by the HP-for-magic system that they spend the early parts of the game fighting with their equipment only, which makes the game unnecessarily difficult because your spells improve as you use them. It could be that this information just wasn't presented well in the US translation, but I don't see the harm in take a little bit of creative liberty to make sure there is dialogue enticing players to use magic in combat.US Release:Lennus translation (work-in-progress)
You can also see above that other minor changes will be restored, such as the original single-window level-up screen. I've also found censored graphics that aren't listed on The Cutting Room Floor article for this game, like when certain enemies blow themselves up to heal their allies (exploding in gore)
The current work in progress does not contain much in the way of ASM hacking, which is largely where I am spending most of my time right now. If this ever makes it that far, the end goal would be something more Dragon Quest-like (and more like the Lennus 2 translation) with multi-line item names, shown in a mock screenshot below. Until that happens, my preferred approach is "least amount of abbreviations possible", which means I will be trying to use single word terms for most items in the game, which is probably impossible given the amount of crazy stuff you get.So how's the hacking going?
The easy parts are done, I've identified all (I think) of the text banks and their pointers and have written a crude .NET app for editing these, but am basically stuck until I can add a third dialogue bank and understand how to modify the NPC routines to access this. If multi-line item and monster names are added these will need to be moved as well. So to summarize, not much. I have a software dev background, but I've been focused on websites and UI and object oriented programming for a long time so this is unfamiliar territory.
Also, if anyone is secretly working on this already, I'd appreciate knowing. I'm not killing myself over trying to finish this, but I'd rather put my effort towards something more likely to come to fruition if possible