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Messages - RichterSnipes

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1
This looks fantastic. Considering Mesen plays Ninja Gaiden much better than Nestopia, it was an easy switch. I'd really like to see Ninja Gaiden III done to complete the trilogy.

Thanks! I'm hoping to get work done on at least one update for the 1st game to bring its cutscene fades up to the same standards as they are in II. Level loading palettes are a different beast altogether, though, as are game over palettes.

It'd take a lot more work to prepare a pack for for III than it has for the other two games in the trilogy. There's about 3x as many palette fades in stages as they're are in II, and they can occur anywhere in a level (unlike in the 1st game, where they only occur on stage transitions). The manner in which graphics fade is also more specific, as only one color in the graphics fades at a time. This isn't something that can be recreated strictly through definitions and conditionals in the hires.txt file. It'd require loads of extra graphical assets. Extensive work would also need to be done for the sprites on top of what was already done for the Trilogy version, as many sprites lack the amount of details that would be present in the sprites for the first two games. Ryu's sprites are a telltale sign of this.

I do understand the desire to have graphics packs for the whole trilogy, though. I just don't see it being likely from me as things are right now. The amount of work needed for it is daunting, and I don't particularly care for that game in the first place. I worked on the packs for the first two games over several months. So... yeah. Even if I started it tomorrow, it'd be a long time before I had anything substantial to show for it.

2
Once projects are uploaded to cloud-storage, they can easily get forgotten about and lost after a few years. Especially for more obscure games.

Speak of the devil... kind of. My laptop's hard drive just failed. Luckily I backed up everything to a couple of places locally when the warning signs were there. But think about what happens to projects where creators don't have the foresight to do that. Tons of hours of work just vanish.

I'm getting my laptop serviced for free under warranty so I don't have to pay for a new drive. It'll be a few weeks before I have it back. Until then, I'm not gonna be around here much.

Just want to say thank you. 

This is a fun change for a series of games I've gone back to again and again.  I remember trying to get through the SNES Trilogy in the late 90s to rip out the .SPC files for Zophar's Domain.  That port is rough!  I don't remember if I finished it or just went on to Actraiser 2 instead.

Mesen seems a cool little emulator too, and I wouldn't have come across it without trying out your work.  Cheers.

You're very welcome! The SNES versions of these games are indeed rough. Especially for III where the graphics updates are especially minimal. They even removed parallax scrolling from the game! Honestly boggles me how this was considered a good enough update to push out for the system. The SNES was capable of so much more than that.

And yeah, Mesen is amazing. It's easily the best NES emulator I've ever used, even when you exclude HD pack support.

3
I've never made any indications that this is a hack. I know it's a mod, and I'd never paint it up as anything else. The reason it's posted here is because of other similar projects that have been put here before. I'll admit that my timing for this release is a bit in lockstep with other graphics pack projects for HDNES/Mesen. It happens to be when I had one of my packs in a release-ready state, but it's also with another purpose.

I feel there should be a conversation regarding finding a place to showcase these kinds of projects. Traditional mod websites aren't suitable; Mod DB and Nexus Mods are for native PC games and current-gen console games that support mods (like Fallout 4). This site is meant for... well, ROM hacks. Emulator-specific boards also aren't a viable option. Emulators for more advanced systems have a strong enough userbase to where projects can be posted to their own dedicated boards (i.e. texture packs for N64 emulators, Dolphin, and Cemu). But for significantly old systems like the NES? That's not realistic. Putting these kind of projects on forums dedicated strictly to emulation of those old systems - or specific to a single emulator - is just sending them to immediate irrelevance.

These kinds of projects have value, however subjective it may be. They need some sort of home and should be able to receive some kind of exposure. I don't know if that home is at RHDN. I realize that fully integrating them here would begin to undo the very nature of this website. But it seems unlikely for them to find a better home. This website is dedicated to user-made modifications to old games. A different kind of modification, but one nonetheless.

If it doesn't sound like I have a single solid opinion as to where they should go, it's because I don't. I just hope that a conversation can be raised regarding this, and that a more concrete solution can be found through that.

4
News Submissions / Re: Other: Ninja Gaiden II: HD Graphics Pack
« on: April 24, 2018, 06:46:04 pm »
This link does not work.

You were there a couple of days ago, lol. :P

The bot must have broken the link, because it worked fine when I previewed the post. In case anyone needs the link, here it is:

http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=26164.0

5
The Ninja Gaiden II pack is now in a complete state! There's one visual change: I adjusted the colors of part of the final boss to more accurately reflect how they're represented in the original game. Maintenance-wise, I organized the files into proper order in the hires.txt file. I also got rid of separate filler files in lieu of a single, reused filler file. I'm keeping filler space inside it in case I need to add more files to the pack in the future.

I posted a news article for it since I now consider it complete. Also, check out the .gif files I uploaded to the OP for II. They better show off how graphics effects removed from the SNES version look with this graphics pack.

Good work!

I never liked the brown/white font of Trilogy. I found it a very strange color choice. Trilogy has many strange choices like that. The original's pure white is actually more readable.

Thank you!

I agree with you here, it really is an odd choice. I can understand adding an extra shade to give the letters more feel/texture. A more appropriate color could have been chosen, though, like gray or blue. Or they could have not done anything. Several Tecmo games on the SNES just use plain white text.

I kept it these colors simply because that's what they are, and I don't feel that they're "wrong". It's an easy thing to change if you'd like. Open file 00_00.png in a paint editor and recolor the two shades of brown to something else you'd like using a "fill similar colors" option The paint program that comes with modern versions of Windows is terrible and lacks many features, including this bucket fill option. Both GIMP and Paint.NET do this for free. There's also Photoshop, of course.

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This should be uploaded to romhacking.net directly for preservation purposes. Once projects are uploaded to cloud-storage, they can easily get forgotten about and lost after a few years. Especially for more obscure games.

I would upload it here, but I can't. Romhacking.net doesn't support uploads of stuff like this. It's not a hack, tool, or document, so I wouldn't be able to file it under anything. This site really needs a section for emulator mods. There's other HDNES/Mesen graphics packs in this forum that could be put in that kind of section, too.

6
I tried different names of the rom file + hd-pack folder, nothing help.


Yeah, that's what it looks like. The base graphics are the same, they've just been given a newer coat of paint with this pack. They're also native resolution. If you don't know what the original game looks like to begin with or are aware of the limitations of the NES off the top of your head, I can see how you can get confused. I can't imagine what people playing Trilogy back in the day on CRT TVs with composite filtering thought of the graphics. They may not have been able to tell much of a difference at all!

I'm loving the idea of better graphics for the NES, I'm going to have to try this out soon when I get some free time.

It's honestly a fresh and exciting avenue! Hopefully we see more people dip their toes into the graphics pack pool in the future. Mesen has certainly helped increase awareness of them lately.

7
This is an awesome graphics pack! You've done some really impressive work with the graphics. More colorful and detailed, yet still faithful to the original sprites and tiles. More aesthetically consistent than The Wily Wars, too. It feels like what you'd get if you ported Mega Man to the PC Engine.

This should be the ideal model for other HDNES/Mesen graphics packs to follow. There's only so many NES games where you can port graphics from other versions of them, and trying to make pseudo-realistic HD packs with the limited detail that NES games provide can backfire heavily.

8
It adds up quickly, doesn't it? lol

This is awesome too, definitely something I was hoping to see eventually since the SNES version offered basically no benefits other than graphics and even had drawbacks to the originals. This would be, I think, pretty much the definitive way to play Ninja Gaiden, unless of course you want the 100% pure, original experience.

I can't imagine dealing with the various palette swap effects in these games, and as great as it would be to do so, and as much as I could maybe disagree with patching out/patching-in consistent fading if I were just a player using the pack, having done this stuff myself, I have to agree that it isn't worth it. You'd need to be beyond human to deal with the tedium of capturing every tile and getting it all correct for the Game Over effect plus everything else. At least, I'd certainly consider anyone who could do that a demi-god or something.

Anyway, great work! Hopefully I can try them out soon!

I hear ya. No matter how straightforward most things might feel, actually putting the time in to do it really adds up.

Not only do I fully understand the purist standpoint in terms of graphical updates, I actually side with it more often than not! There's a lot of changes made in enhanced ports and remakes that result in them diverging from the original source games. Even changing graphical effects can adversely affect the tone of a game in ways that make it something different entirely. Personally, I'd be hard-pressed to explain what massive effect removing the Game Over graphical effect and changing the fade style would have on the game. But it wouldn't surprise me for someone to be attached enough to them where removing them would seem sacrilegious. Once you reach that point of thinking, though, you realize that providing this graphics pack in the first place could qualify for that.

The idealist in me wants to add graphics for all of those tiles with all of their extra 30+ palettes per tileset. But then the modder in me sees "extra 30+ palettes per tileset" and thinks "nah." :laugh:

And thank you for the praise! You've done some excellent work on your Mega Man graphics pack, yourself. It feels like a faithful, tasteful upgrade over the original graphics. I personally don't think I'd be able to create those kinds of enhancements myself.

9
Wow, it looks like a tremendous amount of work went into this. I was always disappointed with the SNES port, specifically its terrible sound effects and music. This looks like a nice upgrade.

I agree the LSD effect is disorienting in NG1, and it doesn't need to be preserved. I can figure out how to disable it without too much effort, if you'd like some assistance creating the patch for this pack. I don't think the fade-outs at the end of stages need to be preserved either.

Thanks! In all fairness, the fact that Ninja Gaiden Trilogy was close to a straight port helped tremendously with the workflow. All the tiles appeared in VRAM with the same orientation and order they do in the NES games. I was able to look at them with a SNES debugger (via an older, custom build of bsnes) and copy them into the appropriate .png files with any old paint program. Still, it took a long while to do the work. I meticulously organized the files, as well, to help identify everything while working on it on my end. I don't wanna think about how many hours I've invested total into this.

A patch like that actually sounds great! Getting rid of the Game Over effect altogether is definitely my ideal method of dealing with it. I wonder if the work's been done already, though. I know that Nintendo has patched a lot of old games that have appeared on Virtual Console to remove effects that can potentially cause seizures. Maybe the VC release of this game already did that, and it'd be easy to make a patch from that.

As for the stage fade palettes, I'd like for them to exist in some form. The fade-out palettes at least make sense. They're still painful to deal with because only one color in one palette changes each frame (or something like that). The fade-in palettes seem completely arbitrary, along with the one-at-a-time palette color updates. To me, the most ideal method would be to implement the palette fading that's already used in this game for cutscenes.

So far, the only artifact I've noticed is some vertical bars in a sprite during a cutscene when the sprite is slowly panning in the frame, such as Ryu's face after beating the first boss, and Walter Smith's face in the scene after the second boss. Not a big deal though. I'll do a full playthrough and let you know what else I find. Loving the vivid colors and shading.

Edit: OK, I played the game start to finish and watched all the cutscenes (haven't seen those in a while!). The only other thing I noticed is that in the ending credits, there is a shot of Malth with his arms folded, and there is a pink square behind him on the left. I don't think the pink square was in the in-game cutscene featuring this particular shot.

Other than that, level 4-3 looked a little odd to me but not significantly so - the wood texture looks more washed out compared to the NES version. Both the bazooka and machine gunner look slightly less enhanced than the other enemies. The final boss (demon statue) looks really good. All in all, it's fun to play my favorite old game with a new skin on it. Thank you for putting the work in!

I think I recognize the vertical bar issue you're talking about. Those issues seem to only creep up on the edges of the screen that are often hidden due to overscan. However, I don't see any problems with those specific examples on my end. I also couldn't find the pink square during that Malth scene, neither in the cutscene before fighting him or the credits. That sounds like a tile mapping issue. Again, it's not happening for me, so I'm not sure what's going on.

By "wood texture", do you mean the small red platforms? Yeah, they do look a bit odd here. I didn't put much thought into it until I compared the two directly. I'll probably change that up. It wouldn't be the first time that the Trilogy graphics made something look worse! Funny enough, the bazooka character was actually not updated at all in Trilogy. They literally left the sprite looking exactly as it did in the NES version. I touched it up to at least bring it up to spec with its accompanying machine gunner enemy.

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It's probably unrelated to your graphics pack, but I also hear some digital crackling noise in the audio, as though it is being played on an 8-bit vinyl record player... Maybe that is just Mesen. Edit: I am running a decent machine, 3.2 GHz with 16 GB RAM. Tried fiddling with latency to no avail. Changing sample rate to 22 KHz seems to get rid of the crackling, but of course that kills all the frequencies above 11KHz as well. It's not a big deal anyway, just something I noticed.

Like Sour said, using graphics packs in Mesen increases system requirements, especially for larger packs. Since I don't have any custom audio for the graphics packs as it is, that's the only effect they would have on audio. Is the game running at a locked framerate?

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Preface
In 1995, Tecmo released Ninja Gaiden Trilogy for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. As many other companies had done during that generation, Tecmo ported some of their classic NES games to a more powerful, 16-bit system. Unlike the other companies, though, Tecmo put in as little effort as possible to bring over their games to the newer console. Let's look at the graphical side of the port. They're usually more detailed and better than they are in the original NES versions. However, they have no additional graphics added anywhere. In fact, some graphical effects have been removed from the SNES compilation, leaving less flair than the original games! The graphics we have here appear to have been just painted over the NES tiles and sprites with no additional graphics made.

Funny enough, this actually makes the compilation's graphics prime for extraction and reimplementation into a graphics pack for Mesen. I've been doing just that, and then some.

Graphics Packs

The first game in the NES trilogy. Its combination of solid action-platforming gameplay and then-revelatory storytelling through cinematics made for a special experience back in the day.



I made this pack awhile ago, long before Mesen 0.9.5 came out. The reason I never made a topic for it is because I'm fairly dissatisfied with how it is right now. Stage fade palettes don't really make any sense, and the LSD-like effect that occurs when you get a Game Over is too obnoxious to make hundreds of extra graphics files for. Ideally I'll be able to distribute a patch alongside the pack that standardizes stage fades to work similar to how they do in Ninja Gaiden II and remove the Game Over effect altogether. Until then, the game will display the NES graphics when these palette changes occur.

Regardless, every graphic in the game has been touched in this pack. Alongside porting the graphics from Trilogy, it includes the following changes:
  • Substituted several obvious cases of dithering with additional color.
  • Inserted additional detail into tiles to get graphics to blend together better.
  • Added detail to a few enemy sprites. Some of them were completely unchanged in Trilogy, like the soldier that fires a bazooka.
  • Removed censorship of hexagrams in the final parts of the game.
  • Added rudimentary support of palette fades in cutscenes. The method I use here is outdated and needs to be overhauled, but it's still more than Trilogy does. In the mistranslated words of Keiji Inafune, "It's better than nothing."

The sequel. Refined controls, well-balanced difficulty, neat stage design, and high-end aesthetics for the time make for one of the best games to ever come out for the NES.



I made this pack in tandem with the release of Mesen 0.9.5, so it makes use of extra conditionals included in that version and beyond. I'm incredibly happy with how it's turned out and consider it complete. Every graphic and used palette combination (besides the HUD, which actually has more unique detail in the NES version) should be covered in this pack, making most user changes just a simple touch-up in Paint/Photoshop.

Alongside porting the graphics from Trilogy, it includes the following changes on top of the SNES version's graphics:
  • Substituted several obvious cases of dithering with additional color.
  • Inserted additional detail into tiles to get graphics to blend together better.
  • Added detail to various graphics that were not touched up in Trilogy.
  • Changed many flash palettes that looked rather ugly in Trilogy to something that made more sense.
  • Added palettes for lightning flashes in Stage 3-1. Trilogy does away with lightning altogether and simply makes platforms visible at all times, completely ruining the stage.
  • Added flash palettes that were removed from Stages 4-1, 5-1, 5-2, and 7-4 in Trilogy.
  • Added an extra conditional to make separate graphics for shared tile/palette combinations in Stage 1 cutscene.
  • Fixed examples of wrong or mismatched colors in graphics.
  • Fixed graphics corruption of rock during the ending that occurs in Trilogy.
  • Fixed character graphics in various cutscenes. Ryu's gi and eye color is now consistent throughout the game, and Irene's sclera ("whites of the eyes") has been restored, among other things. Several tiles in the ending have also been fixed.
  • Removed censorship of pentagrams and blood in the final parts of the game.
  • Added full support of palette fades throughout the game. It relies on a lot of conditionals since many graphics fade out to full black before the entire screen is done fading. Fading is smooth and consistent throughout the game.


The red-headed stepchild of the NES trilogy. A ridiculous storyline and imbalanced and impossible difficulty (in the U.S. release) doom its reputation.

I don't know if I'll do a pack for Ninja Gaiden III. Aside from not caring for the game itself, the amount of time and effort it would take to make a pack for this game is significantly longer than for either of the other two games. Stage palette fades are so specific and numerous that it'd triple the amount of code needed to cover those graphics. That, and the fact that the Trilogy version of this game has less effort put into it than the other two games graphics-wise, puts me off of working on it. Never say never, but don't count on it.

Downloads
Ninja Gaiden: Beta 1.0
Ninja Gaiden II: Full Release

Many thanks to Sour for all the work done on Mesen and for applying feedback to it in spectacular fashion. You'll need to use the latest version of Mesen to use these packs. Extract the .zip file for the pack to the HdPacks folder that Mesen creates. If you're using the standalone emulator on Windows, for example, it's under [OS Drive]:/Users/[username]/Documents/Mesen. If you're using the libretro core for Mesen, HdPacks is found in the "system" folder. Make sure the ROM file you load and the graphics pack folder for a given game share the same name.

This pack is designed to work specifically with the U.S. versions of the game. Some graphics won't apply correctly if you try to use it with the Japanese or European versions of the games.

All feedback is appreciated. Enjoy!

11
Don't think that asking a question is stupid. It's how we learn.

You're not supposed to have to apply the title screen only patch to get it to work, but it's good to know. I may have to create a patch for .sfc users since it seems the file format it that much different.

It's not for the question part, it's for the assumption part. Trust me, I'm plenty comfortable with asking questions. :)

Thanks anyways. At this point I'd think that the difference between the .smc and .sfc files would be due to actual differences in the files. Most of the headerless .smc files I've seen recently are just renamed .sfc files. I guess this hack is based on an "OG" .smc file or something?

12
Oh so the (Crystal)Water you are wondering about. It is an abbreviation for Water Crystal. Same thing for (Hourglass) items. The symbol represents what it is.

So the title screen works for you now? And its after applying the add on patch to an already patched existing ROM with the Japanese title screen?

I tried to edit my other post for the umpteemth time before anyone else saw, but yeah. Now everyone knows how stupid I am and how I know next to nothing about how FFIV works. I deserve it, though, putting myself out like that and assuming that something was wrong when it was actually working as intended.

Are you supposed to have to apply the title screen only patch after the main patch? If not, I guess that's just an extra step that .sfc users will need to take. Regardless, all is well now. Thanks for putting up with my idiocy.

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EDIT: Applying the title screen only patch after applying the main patch w/Japanese title screen fixes the issue. I'm not sure if that's how it's intended to work, though.

Also, there was actually nothing wrong with the latter two pictures. I'm just dumb. I've never played through a Final Fantasy game to completion, but on further inspection both of them seem to be just fine.

I will now now walk away in shame... :-[

Spoiler:
I'm happy that everything seems to be working now. I'll get to checking this out soon!

14
This hack appears to be just about everything I could ask for in terms of creating an experience faithful to the original Super Famicom release of the game. Thanks a lot for your work on it (as well as vivify93 on Project II)! However, in practice I'm running into an issue. I'm pretty sure the title screen isn't supposed to look like this...



I'm using the latest patch and patching to a clean, unheadered Final Fantasy II (Rev A) ROM and playing it in bsnes. Any idea what might be going on?

EDIT: Ignore the latter pictures if you saw them. I'm a FFIV n00b.

15
@RichterSnipes:
Yeah sorry.
I meant the rotating stage 4-2 (where you should hang from the whip) and the huge hanging chandeliers from 6-1.

It could have been my emulator though, I'll try with Snes9x later today and see if the same thing happens.

Wait, if you weren't using bsnes or Snex9x...don't tell me. ZSNES?  :o

In all seriousness, thank you so much for your work on this patch! An English uncensored SCIV has been one of the things on my ROM hacking "want list" for the longest time. It's awesome that full-on hacks for the game can now be a reality. Huge thanks to RedGuy, too, for SC4ED! You're amazing.

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In other news, I just did a full playthrough of the hack and most things seem to be working okay. All but two things:

1) On the level with the hanging roof adornments, all of them glitched right when I was about to jump off them to the left. They seem to move downwards when I'm about to jump off them.
2) In the room with the rotating stage (the one where you have to hang from the whip to let the room rotate) I experienced another bug in which, when you just enter the room, the graphics seem messed up, or at least part of the level is not loaded until you reach the first stairs. The same happens when I'm about to exit the room.

Can anyone confirm/deny these issues?
I am asking because I didn't touch those levels AT ALL during the development of the hack, and I don't want to blame it on SC4ED until someone else confirms this.

Providing stage/block numbers would be really helpful in identifying those places. Are you talking about the rooms in stages 4-2 (rotating stage) and 6-1 (huge Mode 7 chandeliers, if that's what you mean by "hanging roof adornments")? If so, I didn't notice issues in either of those areas. I patched as described, expanding with SC4ED beforehand and using bsnes for emulating.

ShadowOne333, under the things to do. Can you remove port the whip sounds? There's no differenciator between your and the translation if you do that. And that has nothing to do with censorship either.

I wouldn't be so sure of that. The whip sounds in the Japanese version sound more realistic in terms of what a chain whip would be. Compare that to the US version, where it sounds like a mangled cat. This is obviously speculation, but it wouldn't surprise me if Nintendo of America asked for the sound to be made more cartoonish for the kids.

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Sorry to bump such an old topic, but a kind individual named Canzah made such a patch in 2014...
You do realize that someone posted that exact same patch just a few posts before you, don't you? OP also commented on it just after that post. Different link, though.

I had no idea that the PSP version of Persona 1 changed the music so much... and apparently for the worse. You'd think it'd have been the opposite. If someone digs deep into the code for the game and is able to make new music calls for the other 2/3 of the music, that'd be swell. Not sure if anyone is really interested in doing that, though.

18
But of course. I figured you hadn't actually removed it from the ROM outright, just that it didn't show up in-game. And thanks for the tip, I've got it showing up again. Insert the hijack code at 64158 instead of 64140 (or 64153 instead of 6413B, if you're using the insert from the first post; I just used the differing bytes).

Thank you for your work on this! You have no idea how much I appreciate patches such as this one.  :)

EDIT: I just noticed that pushing SELECT on the title screen for the game returns you to the game selection screen. It might not matter much since it doesn't seem like any of these games use it otherwise (just unbind that button), but it's still a remainder of the game being part of a compilation.

Another thing:you can press the START button while the Konami logo is on screen, which will take you to the compilation's title screen. I found that this behavior can be changed with the byte at 64152. Changing it to "EA" seems to work. Yeah, I've edited this post a LOT!

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Personal Projects / Re: [NES] BattleToads (U) - bugfix
« on: July 27, 2015, 04:06:55 am »
Maybe you can try to make it more like the Japanese and Genesis versions, those fixed a lot of stuff.
By "fixed," do you mean "changed the level designs to be more sane"? Unless you're talking about glitches, which seem to mostly be accounted for in the OP, that's what it sounds like. The first line of the topic says "hardcore original", which would imply that this patch is meant to keep the game just as balls-to-the-wall difficult as it was first released. That would go beyond the intentions of this hack.

Having said that, it would be nice to see a hack that changes the levels to how they are in the Famicom version. I fall into the camp who feels that Battletoads as it was originally released is an unfairly difficult game that begs for proper balancing. Having those level structures - along with the changes included in this excellent project - would create the most ideal version of the game playable.

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This is a wonderful patch! I've been hoping hacks like these would show up, as I prefer my games as "standalone" releases as opposed to compilations.

However, there's one glaring issue: the lack of the Konami name/logo. Until the end credits, the company name doesn't appear anywhere in the game. That absence makes it feel like I'm playing a bootleg copy of the game. Would it be possible to re-insert the Konami splash screen that appears right after the "Licensed by Nintendo" screen?

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