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Author Topic: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?  (Read 12455 times)

pkt_paladin

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Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« on: March 06, 2014, 08:03:59 pm »
So I played through Tecmo Secret of the Stars. Those of you who have ever played the game know that it's perceived pretty negatively. Among other problems, the game suffers from the need for excessive grinding, a failure for the game to provide directions to the next location to advance the plot, and frequent translation errors. Without these problems, it's not a bad game. The two-party system is innovative, the combination techniques are neat, and the game can be appropriately challenging at points.

I started poking around the ROM recently to see how difficult it would be to adjust the game's difficulty, and it doesn't look too hard. Granted, I'm not a particularly skilled or experienced hacker, but I've determined the table for modifying the in-game text, found the enemy data, and found the tables for EXP to next level, etc. I have a number of ideas in mind:

1) Halve the needed EXP to level up (already did this).
2) Sporadically place monsters which grant high EXP or GP yields (similar to the Dragon Quest series metal slimes or gold golems; very easy to do this).
3) Rewrite the in-game text to use (gasp) proper casing and language (already started this. There's an enemy called a TALANCHULA that is now a "Tarantula").
4) Have rare drops from enemies that provide unique (and strongest) equipment for each character (similar to Earthbound). 
5) Insert more direct clues for reaching the next part of the game (this would depart from the original vision of the game a little bit, but that's not a bad thing).
6) Other suggestions?

There are two things in particular that I would like to change in order to make the game more bearable, and any advice on finding / changing this would be appreciated:

7) I would like to double the walking speed in the game. The game has a number of transportation devices including a plane and a ship which move faster than the walking speed of the party, and in other games with this feature (e.g., Final Fantasy), there seem to be game genie codes that enable faster running speeds available. How would I go about changing this part of the ROM?

8) I would like to half the rate of random battles, but I have no clue how to change this. As best as I can determine (using save states), each step pulls a number from RNG and then decides whether or not a random battle happens. Any advice on how to change the game's threshold for a random battle?

I know this was a big post. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for your help.

justin3009

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2014, 06:16:12 am »
If the speed is in RAM then you can probably trace how it gets there by setting breakpoints to the value (Read Breakpoint).

The same thing is pretty much for the steps for battle. It's got to store it in RAM somewhere then just trace it back
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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2014, 01:01:28 pm »
From my notes, the enemy stats are at $7C200, 14 bytes per enemy:
2 bytes HP, 2 bytes MP (FFFF = infinite?), 2 bytes Power, 1 byte Guard, 1 byte Evade? (seems to be 0 for all enemies except ghost types, which is FF. Ghosts are supposed to have a low probability of being hit with weapons)

Enemy drop data $7D200, it's 2 bytes EXP, 2 bytes Gold, 1 byte item drop %, 1 byte item

EXP: data at $70160, there are 8 tables (each EXP needed for levels 2 to 98). Looks like by my notes, they are used by:
Ray/Cody
Leona/Ryu
Dan/Arthur/Murray
Tina/Ben/Beth
Evelyn/Kathy
David/Andy
Shark
Jubei

Magic: $71000. Spell learned at each level (2-99) for each character (though no character normally learns any more spells after level 30). FF = no spell. 00-3F = spell learned, +0x40 for level 2, + 0x80 for level 3
Ray
Tina
Cody
Leona
Dan
Ryu
Ben
Arthur
Murray
Beth
Spoiler:
NOTE: The maximum is level 99, but no character learns spells past level 30.

Ray
02: FIRE LEVEL 1
03: HEAL LEVEL 1
04: NOTHING
05: COMA LEVEL 1
06: NOTHING
07: FLEE
08: NOTHING
09: FLY BY
10: NOTHING
11: NOTHING
12: REPEL
13: HEAL LEVEL 2
14: NOTHING
15: FIRE LEVEL 2
16: COMA LEVEL 2
17: NOTHING
18: COMA LEVEL 3
19: LIFE LEVEL 1
20: NOTHING
21: NOTHING
22: LAND LEVEL 1
23: LIFE LEVEL 2
24: FIRE LEVEL 3
25: NOTHING
26: LAND LEVEL 2
27: HEAL LEVEL 3
28: NOTHING
29: LAND LEVEL 3
30: NOTHING

Tina
02: NOTHING
03: FREEZE LEVEL 1
04: FAST LEVEL 1
05: SLOW LEVEL 1
06: CURE-A LEVEL 1
07: NOTHING
08: CURE-B LEVEL 1
09: NOTHING
10: NOTHING
11: MUTE LEVEL 1
12: FREEZE LEVEL 2
13: CURE-A LEVEL 2
14: HEAL LEVEL 2
15: FAST LEVEL 2
16: CURE-B LEVEL 2
17: MUTE LEVEL 2
18: SLOW LEVEL 2
19: LIFE LEVEL 1
20: CURE-A LEVEL 3
21: MUTE LEVEL 3
22: FAST LEVEL 3
23: CURE-B LEVEL 3
24: LIFE LEVEL 2
25: SLOW LEVEL 3
26: HEAL LEVEL 3
27: NOTHING
28: FREEZE LEVEL 3
29: NOTHING
30: LIFE LEVEL 3

Cody
02: NOTHING
03: NOTHING
04: STORM LEVEL 1
05: NOTHING
06: NOTHING
07: NOTHING
08: COMA LEVEL 1
09: NOTHING
10: NOTHING
11: FLY BY
12: NOTHING
13: STEP
14: COMA LEVEL 2
15: POWER LEVEL 1
16: ANTPWR LEVEL 1
17: NOTHING
18: POWER LEVEL 2
19: NOTHING
20: ANTPWR LEVEL 2
21: COMA LEVEL 3
22: STORM LEVEL 2
23: NOTHING
24: ANTPWR LEVEL 3
25: NOTHING
26: NOTHING
27: POWER LEVEL 3
28: NOTHING
29: STORM LEVEL 3
30: NOTHING

Leona
02: NOTHING
03: NOTHING
04: BOLT LEVEL 1
05: NOTHING
06: NOTHING
07: CURE-B LEVEL 1
08: NOTHING
09: NOTHING
10: EVADE LEVEL 1
11: NOTHING
12: MIRROR LEVEL 1
13: NOTHING
14: CURE-B LEVEL 2
15: EVADE LEVEL 2
16: NOTHING
17: ANTSPL LEVEL 1
18: VANISH LEVEL 1
19: NOTHING
20: MIRROR LEVEL 2
21: CURE-B LEVEL 3
22: NOTHING
23: BOLT LEVEL 2
24: ANTSPL LEVEL 2
25: VANISH LEVEL 2
26: EVADE LEVEL 3
27: MIRROR LEVEL 3
28: ANTSPL LEVEL 3
29: VANISH LEVEL 3
30: BOLT LEVEL 3

Dan
02: NOTHING
03: NOTHING
04: NOTHING
05: NOTHING
06: NOTHING
07: NOTHING
08: NOTHING
09: NOTHING
10: BOMB LEVEL 1
11: HEAL LEVEL 1
12: NOTHING
13: FLEE
14: NOTHING
15: NOTHING
16: HEAL LEVEL 2
17: NOTHING
18: NOTHING
19: REGAIN LEVEL 1
20: NOTHING
21: BOMB LEVEL 2
22: NOTHING
23: REGAIN LEVEL 2
24: NOTHING
25: HEAL LEVEL 3
26: NOTHING
27: NOTHING
28: REGAIN LEVEL 3
29: NOTHING
30: BOMB LEVEL 3

Ryu
02: NOTHING
03: NOTHING
04: HEAL LEVEL 1
05: NOTHING
06: NOTHING
07: FLEE
08: NOTHING
09: FLY BY
10: NOTHING
11: BOLT LEVEL 1
12: NOTHING
13: HEAL LEVEL 2
14: NOTHING
15: NOTHING
16: NOTHING
17: NOTHING
18: NOTHING
19: NOTHING
20: BOLT LEVEL 2
21: NOTHING
22: NOTHING
23: NOTHING
24: NOTHING
25: NOTHING
26: NOTHING
27: NOTHING
28: NOTHING
29: NOTHING
30: NOTHING

Ben
02: NOTHING
03: FREEZE LEVEL 1
04: FAST LEVEL 1
05: SLOW LEVEL 1
06: CURE-A LEVEL 1
07: NOTHING
08: CURE-B LEVEL 1
09: NOTHING
10: NOTHING
11: MUTE LEVEL 1
12: FREEZE LEVEL 2
13: CURE-A LEVEL 2
14: HEAL LEVEL 2
15: FAST LEVEL 2
16: CURE-B LEVEL 2
17: MUTE LEVEL 2
18: SLOW LEVEL 2
19: LIFE LEVEL 1
20: CURE-A LEVEL 3
21: MUTE LEVEL 3
22: FAST LEVEL 3
23: CURE-B LEVEL 3
24: LIFE LEVEL 2
25: SLOW LEVEL 3
26: HEAL LEVEL 3
27: FREEZE LEVEL 3
28: LIFE LEVEL 3
29: NOTHING
30: NOTHING

Arthur
02: NOTHING
03: NOTHING
04: STORM LEVEL 1
05: COMA LEVEL 1
06: NOTHING
07: FLEE
08: NOTHING
09: FLY BY
10: NOTHING
11: REPEL
12: STEP
13: NOTHING
14: POWER LEVEL 1
15: FIRE LEVEL 2
16: COMA LEVEL 2
17: NOTHING
18: POWER LEVEL 2
19: COMA LEVEL 3
20: STORM LEVEL 2
21: NOTHING
22: NOTHING
23: FIRE LEVEL 3
24: POWER LEVEL 3
25: STORM LEVEL 3
26: NOTHING
27: NOTHING
28: NOTHING
29: NOTHING
30: NOTHING

Murray
02: NOTHING
03: FREEZE LEVEL 1
04: BOLT LEVEL 1
05: NOTHING
06: NOTHING
07: FLEE
08: NOTHING
09: FLY BY
10: EVADE LEVEL 1
11: FREEZE LEVEL 2
12: MIRROR LEVEL 1
13: NOTHING
14: NOTHING
15: EVADE LEVEL 2
16: NOTHING
17: ANTSPL LEVEL 1
18: VANISH LEVEL 1
19: NOTHING
20: MIRROR LEVEL 2
21: NOTHING
22: BOLT LEVEL 2
23: ANTSPL LEVEL 2
24: VANISH LEVEL 2
25: EVADE LEVEL 3
26: MIRROR LEVEL 3
27: FREEZE LEVEL 3
28: ANTSPL LEVEL 3
29: BOLT LEVEL 3
30: VANISH LEVEL 3

Beth
02: NOTHING
03: REGAIN LEVEL 1
04: FAST LEVEL 1
05: SLOW LEVEL 1
06: NOTHING
07: CURE-A LEVEL 1
08: CURE-B LEVEL 1
09: ANTPWR LEVEL 1
10: NOTHING
11: NOTHING
12: CURE-A LEVEL 2
13: CURE-B LEVEL 2
14: HEAL LEVEL 2
15: FAST LEVEL 2
16: SLOW LEVEL 2
17: CURE-A LEVEL 3
18: CURE-B LEVEL 3
19: LIFE LEVEL 1
20: ANTPWR LEVEL 2
21: FAST LEVEL 3
22: ANTPWR LEVEL 3
23: REGAIN LEVEL 2
24: LIFE LEVEL 2
25: HEAL LEVEL 3
26: SLOW LEVEL 3
27: REGAIN LEVEL 3
28: LIFE LEVEL 3
29: NOTHING
30: NOTHING
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pkt_paladin

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2014, 06:05:43 pm »
Thanks for all the info, KingMike. This will be helpful!

And justin3009: Sorry for being dumb, but I don't know what it means to read breakpoints. Is this something that an emulator does? Is there somewhere where I can read about this?

justin3009

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2014, 06:32:43 pm »
Ahh, it's a command in Geiger's SNES9X Debugger.  I'm not too sure if that has a tutorial/readme bit or not in all honesty.  There MIGHT be documents on debugging though in general on here for SNES (Though breakpoints are pretty standard for all kinds of emulation) so maybe try to give one of those a read.

But essentially a breakpoint in SNES9X will stop the emulation process when you hit a location that you specify.

Read: Does exactly what it says.  It breaks when the location you have specified is read. (RAM usually is the bit here)
Write: Breaks when a value is written to the location you specify. (RAM again usually)
Execute: Breaks when the location you have listed executes the code that's there.

It basically lets you track back or forward on where or what values are being written, how it's done, etc..
'We have to find some way to incorporate the general civilians in the plot.'

'We'll kill off children in the Juuban district with an infection where they cough up blood and are found hanging themselves from cherry blossom trees.'

KingMike

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2014, 12:46:46 am »
I remember some time ago somebody (likely Gideon) was translating another game and it was found out Homncruise was almost certainly a mistranslation of some obscure mythological deity (because it appeared in whatever the other game was, knowing Gideon it was most likely a Megaten). I can't remember what the right name is now.
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Guadozoku

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2014, 02:59:38 am »
I remember some time ago somebody (likely Gideon) was translating another game and it was found out Homncruise was almost certainly a mistranslation of some obscure mythological deity (because it appeared in whatever the other game was, knowing Gideon it was most likely a Megaten). I can't remember what the right name is now.
Homunculus?

pkt_paladin

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2014, 10:12:12 am »

https://www.dropbox.com/s/3w1w95bnkwmbjgp/SOS_00000.png
Ray starts the game with the Return (formerly "Fly By") spell learned. He also starts with a little more HP.


https://www.dropbox.com/s/zgwqkmqfddea2oh/SOS_00001.png
Equipment names contain the symbol associated with them. This lets something like "LETHSUIT" become "*Leather"


https://www.dropbox.com/s/bemmtjwo1vxt8nr/SOS_00002.png
David explains what to do and where to go next!

enigmaopoeia

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2014, 11:06:05 am »
Homncruise's Japanese name was ホムンクルス or Homunculus.

pkt_paladin

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2014, 07:31:14 pm »
Items used in icon names, pointer-editing to extend names where necessary.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/i1zbqy3evu0ah37/SOS%20-%20Copy_00000.png

More screenshots. This is surprisingly quite the undertaking!
https://www.dropbox.com/s/tm6mmvr5o1dtclv/SOS%20-%20Copy_00001.png

March 13, 2014, 06:56:11 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
So I've put a good deal of time so far into this hack. I've decided to completely rewrite the script of the game, since most reviews of the game focus on how the story makes no sense. I've done some research, tried to figure out what happens based on the English version's script, and I've tried to do some rewriting to convey that to the player.

I wanted to post some more screenshots showing off the progress I've made. Thus far, I've rewritten the entire game up until you recruit Leona. I'm doing so in hopes that I can find someone to help me lower the random battles frequency and raise the walking speed of the party, because I have been unsuccessful doing those things, but I've put in a lot of work into this project and hope to see it through.


A new enemy, the Gold Pig, is a rare encounter outside of Decatas. Killing it drops 750 Gold.


Shiny new font, new dialogue.


Ghosts are hard to kill because of their high evasion, but they provide 500 EXP each. This is a quick way to level your weaker party members, especially when you need to use the Kustera.

March 13, 2014, 06:56:55 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
So I've put a good deal of time so far into this hack. I've decided to completely rewrite the script of the game, since most reviews of the game focus on how the story makes no sense. I've done some research, tried to figure out what happens based on the English version's script, and I've tried to do some rewriting to convey that to the player.

I wanted to post some more screenshots showing off the progress I've made. Thus far, I've rewritten the entire game up until you recruit Leona. I'm doing so in hopes that I can find someone to help me lower the random battles frequency and raise the walking speed of the party, because I have been unsuccessful doing those things, but I've put in a lot of work into this project and hope to see it through.


A new enemy, the Gold Pig, is a rare encounter outside of Decatas. Killing it drops 750 Gold.


Shiny new font, new dialogue.


Ghosts are hard to kill because of their high evasion, but they provide 500 EXP each. This is a quick way to level your weaker party members, especially when you need to use the Kustera.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 06:56:56 pm by pkt_paladin »

ChronoMoogle

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2014, 06:20:28 am »
This hack is a pretty neat idea. I would actually really love to play it after you are done... Avoided the game so far because of the negative reviews, even though it seemed interesting.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 06:53:57 am by ChronoMoogle »

JCE3000GT

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2014, 03:11:01 pm »
I wanted to post some more screenshots showing off the progress I've made. Thus far, I've rewritten the entire game up until you recruit Leona. I'm doing so in hopes that I can find someone to help me lower the random battles frequency and raise the walking speed of the party, because I have been unsuccessful doing those things, but I've put in a lot of work into this project and hope to see it through.


The random monster encounter rate can be altered from offset (no header) 9FAF.  The original value is $03, changing this to $02 slightly reduces the encounter rate with only the occasional back-to-back battles.  Be warned changing this to $01 will glitch up the game and changing to $00 disables ALL random encounters altogether! 

I'm working on finding the walking speed now.  Hope this helps out.

pkt_paladin

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2014, 09:53:52 pm »

The random monster encounter rate can be altered from offset (no header) 9FAF.  The original value is $03, changing this to $02 slightly reduces the encounter rate with only the occasional back-to-back battles.  Be warned changing this to $01 will glitch up the game and changing to $00 disables ALL random encounters altogether! 

I'm working on finding the walking speed now.  Hope this helps out.

That does help! And if all else fails, I'm simply going to lower the MP cost of the "Repel" spell and make it accessible earlier in the game. Any luck on the walking speed? I still have had no luck, just keep corrupting the game.

JCE3000GT

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2014, 10:08:48 pm »
That does help! And if all else fails, I'm simply going to lower the MP cost of the "Repel" spell and make it accessible earlier in the game. Any luck on the walking speed? I still have had no luck, just keep corrupting the game.

For the walking speed no, not yet.  I've been able to have the maps get corrupted when taking a step but nothing to increase the speed.  I'm still poking around for it, I hope to find it because the walking speed definitely needs to be increased.   But at least the walking speed isn't as bad ass Lufia 1.  :)

pkt_paladin

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2014, 11:38:49 pm »
Project update:

1) Halve the needed EXP to level up (already did this).
2) Sporadically place monsters which grant high EXP or GP yields (similar to the Dragon Quest series metal slimes or gold golems; very easy to do this).
This is done. There are Ghosts, Specters, and Gold Pigs that drop high EXP and Gold.

3) Rewrite the in-game text to use (gasp) proper casing and language (already started this. There's an enemy called a TALANCHULA that is now a "Tarantula").

I rewrote the whole game script and took some creative liberties in changing the story to make sense. I did not use the original Japanese version for this. I realize this will upset some purists, but I wanted the game to make sense and for the story to have a gradual revelation of what's going on, like other better RPGs do.

4) Have rare drops from enemies that provide unique (and strongest) equipment for each character (similar to Earthbound). 

I'm making some progress on this, but the lack of progress is mostly due to creative lacking on my part. I located the enemy drops and store information to make certain items only accessible as item drops. I just need to make unique weapons for the four main party members (since Ray has one by default).

5) Insert more direct clues for reaching the next part of the game (this would depart from the original vision of the game a little bit, but that's not a bad thing).

The game tells you where to go virtually every step of the way.

7) I would like to double the walking speed in the game. The game has a number of transportation devices including a plane and a ship which move faster than the walking speed of the party, and in other games with this feature (e.g., Final Fantasy), there seem to be game genie codes that enable faster running speeds available. How would I go about changing this part of the ROM?

No luck with this, but I made the Repel and Fly By (Return) spells very inexpensive to use. This should help with random battles.

8 ) I would like to half the rate of random battles, but I have no clue how to change this. As best as I can determine (using save states), each step pulls a number from RNG and then decides whether or not a random battle happens. Any advice on how to change the game's threshold for a random battle?

Reduced number of random battles and reduced cost of the Repel spell. It's also learned earlier.

I will need some people to test out the game soon, so if you're interested let me know. I'd just release the game but I'm worried that there will be glitches and stuff, and I more than likely missed some things.

-PKT

JCE3000GT

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2014, 11:45:43 pm »
I haven't been able to find the routine that increases walking speed.  Looks like you've got a good work-around though.  :)

KingMike

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2014, 10:51:24 am »
I just need to make unique weapons for the four main party members (since Ray has one by default).
But there's five?

Quote
The game tells you where to go virtually every step of the way.
I recall it's not so clear where to go when you get the ship.
Not unless you have a map (such as the one that was in the manual, which is what they might have expected you to use for reference), and just went around to everywhere you couldn't before.
Spoiler:
Leona's Star Shrine, way off on its own little frozen island (a good chance you passed the other three)
Jabon Island (to get one of the orbs)
Moreeyes (to get the other orb, which only then are you told to do to the Star Shrines).
My memory is a bit bad so I can't remember if they even told you the above series of events was to get the rocket fuel for the rocket in Decatas. Pretty sure there wasn't any more clues than "we need the two mysterious orbs". Now go find them, somewhere. :P
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pkt_paladin

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2014, 01:21:58 pm »
KingMike: In the story, Ray gets an ultimate weapon. The other four characters (Tina, Leona, Dan, and Cody) now have ultimate weapons that are rare drops from enemies in the final dungeon. All together, that makes five.

Also, I rewrote the story so that you have some idea of where to go. You can still use a walkthrough to find your way through the game (I didn't edit any events, nor do I really know how to do that...).

All of that being said, I'm just about finished and want to share the patch for people to try it out. I need feedback and suggestions for improvement.

...Should I just put the patch here as an attachment or something?  Is anyone interested in trying it out?

-PKT

KingMike

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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2014, 08:04:29 pm »
Attachments are disabled on the forum but if you want to post a link (many file hosting sites like dropbox or mediafire) to a patch that's fine.
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Re: Tecmo Secret of the Stars. :< -> :>?
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2014, 09:37:09 pm »
Okay. The link is here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/z5n62xjencv1y1r/SOS%20-%20Copy.ips

I applied it to a headered ROM. I'm not sure how to communicate the specifics of the original ROM that I used, but it was the USA version, and I think there's only one of those... and the file extension was .smc (not .sfc).

Feedback is eagerly appreciated. If you notice typos or have suggestions for improvement, I welcome them. I've come to accept that the game is what it is, though. Hopefully what I've done improves at least somewhat!