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Author Topic: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)  (Read 87027 times)

Magma Dragoon

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Because Do-Tar didn't want to. He was trying to show a point to Sadler or something.

Fionordequester

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No...actually, I think I figured out the real answer; assuming Working Designs didn't cut out something else important.



See that amulet?  That's what Sadler won from the Pyramid boss.  That boss specifically says...

My crest has been charmed.  It may aid you in defeating the terror that is Hatred Incarnate.

So, there we go.  I'll check the Japanese version too, since I'm curious, but, if there's nothing there, then that's probably the intended explanation.

taikyoku

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There was a point where Working Designs were praised as gods, and any attempt to badmouth them was seen as contrarian. Now Working Designs is seen as a bunch of demons, and any attempt to defend their name is seen as contrarian. Which is the truth? I don't take issue with the idea of these patches, so much as I take issue with the intent of these patches and with a lot of the discussion in this thread. There is this overwhelming belief that Working Designs made a bunch of objective mistakes, but the proof is a bunch of opinions. "I don't like it" is never the same as "this is bad".

I can already say that at least two of the games released by Working Designs desperately needed the changes made: Popful Mail and Silhouette Mirage. These two games are pointlessly devoid of difficulty that they can really only be enjoyed by 5 year olds. They actually need and deserve many more changes beyond what they got, but what they got seems to be the best we got. When anyone talks bad about the changes made to these two games for any reason, they are lying, period. I get the feeling that most of the games on this list are the same way. There's only one Working Designs release I can think of where they legitimately messed things up, and what they messed up was extremely minor to most people.

Exile II is a little different. That game does not merely receive the absolute lion's share of WD hatred, but I've also heard bad of it from people who should know better. I really cannot stand the PC Engine Exiles (especially II), but I think I'm going to put that aside, just this once, to get to the bottom of this in a 2018 context. If this ends up being the one game WD really screwed up with, I honestly wouldn't be surprised, because it's dangerously close to being a joke game in the first place.

No one has the right to say "dialogue should never be rewritten", ever. That is always a case-by-case rule, never a general one. Even then, no one has the right to say "this dialogue shouldn't be rewritten" without a very deep understanding of just how different languages and cultures can be from each other. The idea that Working Designs ruined "works of art" really needs to go. I mean you're literally talking about things like Vay and Exile II in here (Vay is on a much higher level than Exile II, of course).

It's very frustrating that people understand so little about game design that any mention of increased difficulty automatically puts the image of those so-called "kaizo" hacks. And, you know, it's because of threads like this, that damn a group like Working Designs for doing a really important service. It's already bad enough that most people do not understand very basic concepts like "beating" a game, or what "grinding" means and what it actually does to a game, or what's "cheap", but to hack up games for the sole purpose of "correcting" this ignorance seems like a positively vile thing to do. Again, the actual idea behind the patches is mostly fine! It really should be a full retranslation, but whatever, different people want to do different things. I'm so much more concerned with the vile intent that is driving this thread, and so many threads throughout the internet.

There are a few more reasonable posters throughout this thread, but it seems everything they say just gets written off as a difference of opinion. Not good enough. The kind of rhetoric going on in this thread, and in a lot of places that dare to discuss Working Designs in the present day, demand a proper response. If people just said something like "if you don't like the changes, here's a cool hack" instead of "the changes and Working Designs are irredeemably terrible, so here's a necessary hack that rescues the games from the garbage bin", it would make way more sense and it wouldn't be worth getting angry about. It's stunningly obvious that people have an ax to grind, and that's a fact if nothing else.

In particular, Furluge is a voice of reason. Thank you. You actually know what you're talking about. Likewise, basically all of GHANMI's posts, more than any of the other detractors in here, are plain old gibberish. In particular, the comparison to Secret of Evermore's German translator was completely disgusting and needs to be on a list of Stereotypically Terrible Analogies.

Now I just wonder if someone's gonna come at me with some nonsense about respecting the hacker, totally ignoring that the entire point of this thread is to disrespect a localization company in a very gross way. If that's not irony, I don't know what is.

Isao Kronos

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If you don't like the work here etc then you're free to pick up some romhacking tools and do the games justice yourself or play them without these patches.

Midna

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I've already made my opinion on this clear, but in brief, I have no problem with editing the script to make it flow more naturally in English while getting the gist of the original sentence across. What I do have a problem with is rewriting serious dialogue to add in lame pop-culture references, fart jokes, and sexual references. Working Designs did too much of the latter and not enough of the former. (It's not just Working Designs' localizations that annoy me, Fire Emblem Fates is just as guilty.)

butane bob

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Of course they did important work, they just did it really poorly and there wasn't much competition at the time and we were too young, stupid and starved for RPG's to notice.

Supper

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I'm a lot more interested in programming than debating (and at least slightly better at it), so I can't really give you the kind of detailed response you'd probably like. I'll just say that you seem to be perceiving a lot of ill intent on my part that simply doesn't exist. I'd certainly like it if more people considered how nasty it is to paint over someone else's canvas and say, "Here you go, fixed that for ya, bud" -- and "they're just games so it doesn't matter" is not an argument -- but that wasn't the point of these hacks, per se. The purpose was to (a.) make people aware that this was an issue, and (b.) allow anyone so inclined to play the games with the mechanics they were designed with. Also (c.) to give me something fun to do. Anything else was just a side effect.

And hey, you find someone who actually wants to retranslate these scripts, I'm game for that too :thumbsup:

Anyway, as most of you have probably guessed by now, I'm pretty much done with this little project. I've been promising final updates for a while, but at this point I'm tired of thinking about this company and more interested in working on translations. I'll probably submit these to the site as-is sometime soon (except for Alundra, because I still have no idea if it's actually playable to the end -- I don't suppose anyone can vouch for that?).

Thanks to everyone who supported, or criticized, this project. Positive or negative, opinions are a lot better than silence.

KingMike

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It's very frustrating that people understand so little about game design that any mention of increased difficulty automatically puts the image of those so-called "kaizo" hacks. And, you know, it's because of threads like this, that damn a group like Working Designs for doing a really important service. It's already bad enough that most people do not understand very basic concepts like "beating" a game, or what "grinding" means and what it actually does to a game, or what's "cheap", but to hack up games for the sole purpose of "correcting" this ignorance seems like a positively vile thing to do. Again, the actual idea behind the patches is mostly fine! It really should be a full retranslation, but whatever, different people want to do different things. I'm so much more concerned with the vile intent that is driving this thread, and so many threads throughout the internet.

It's not Working Designs but the AVGN EarthBound review reminded me of how broken difficult 7th Saga was.
There is a difference between making a game harder and making the player characters underpowered to the point the RNG can allow the enemies to one-shot a full-health player team any time it feels like it.
I strongly recall Nintendo Power's advice on how to beat the other apprentices as enemies was to write down their moves and let them beat you, then return. In other words, abuse limited RNG so that you win by favorable RNG than by skill? That should be AGDQ playing Final Fantasy strats, not how a normal person is expected to play the game.
"My watch says 30 chickens" Google, 2018

megadrivers

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Anyway, as most of you have probably guessed by now, I'm pretty much done with this little project. I've been promising final updates for a while, but at this point I'm tired of thinking about this company and more interested in working on translations. I'll probably submit these to the site as-is sometime soon (except for Alundra, because I still have no idea if it's actually playable to the end -- I don't suppose anyone can vouch for that?).

Thanks to everyone who supported, or criticized, this project. Positive or negative, opinions are a lot better than silence.

Just registered so I could drop you some proper thanks. These patches were sorely needed and I thank you for making these games more accessible (especially Exile II!)

vivify93

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Lunar 2 requiring Magic XP to save is a fucking joke, lmao bye. Even Working Designs themselves admitted it in Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete's manual.
All my life I've tried to fight what history has given me.

GHANMI

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I guess I reserve myself the right of reply now that I'm personally "disrespected" quoted...

No one has the right to say "dialogue should never be rewritten", ever. That is always a case-by-case rule, never a general one. Even then, no one has the right to say "this dialogue shouldn't be rewritten" without a very deep understanding of just how different languages and cultures can be from each other. The idea that Working Designs ruined "works of art" really needs to go. I mean you're literally talking about things like Vay and Exile II in here (Vay is on a much higher level than Exile II, of course).

...No? Everyone has the right to say any opinion they want. That's the beauty of discussion forums. You just came here, to a romhacking board, to voice your opinion that these hacks and the opinions within their readmes are awful, and no one censored you, so I guess you benefit from it as well even if you don't appreciate it and keep internal shitlists of users you'd ban if you had more authority here, to keep things "respectful".

Specifically in this case, the Working Designs approach to localization inspired:
  • A badly translated, and infamously bloated English script for Golden Sun.
  • Atlus hiking difficulty in Thousand Arms in regular battles from 10 minute affairs to 45, because the localization team thought it would be fun if players heard every single optional audio skit in those battles.
  • The Fire Emblem Fates script, a glourious mess of censorship, memes, and nonsensical sentences
  • Translations with plot holes and inconsistencies with later games that had to be redone for various games like Metal Gear Solid
Certainly not the flawless, universally loved practice some think it to be.

Can't help but get mild amusement by this whole situation.

Some people took issue with Working Designs disrespecting the "decadent art" that is the Japanese versions, and instead of flaming their employees on social media or engaging in flame wars with lovers of the WD version, channeled that frustration into discussing those changes and voicing their opinions about them in a civilized manner (namely, why they think it's shit), and in this case creating a bunch of patches.
Now other people took issue with forum shitposters, irreverent romhackers, and "gross" weaboos disrespecting the Working Designs "underappreciated art of localization" approach and their fine work. Including these very patches, even though they fix gameplay. Off-site brigading, personal attacks...

To reiterate what Isao Kronos said.

The Working Designs script isn't desecreated.
Virtually all second hand discs, PSN releases, rom and iso dumps online, are still with their changes from the nineties unchanged (but maybe the continued existence of the Japanese versions is a mild annoyance).
Supper hasn't even helped yet with a (re)translation, nor does he intend to handle it on his own.
He just fixed some of WD's wonderful game design changes, and badmouthed their excellence a bit, that's it.
Those patches currently exist as beta patches with very limited distribution and not actively worked on. They're not even on this site's database yet.

What's the big deal then? How are these patches, and someone on the internet using them filthy modifications instead of the excellent unmodified official version (unmodified from the "A GAME BY WORKING DESIGNS" original version, of course) endangering your peace of mind and insulting the fine respected practice of localization, one mocking of an out-of-place Clinton joke at a time?
I guess you made up your mind that respect is not needed for anyone "disrespecting" it, so it's a lost cause to convince you otherwise. I hope you'll take the blow of any upcoming WD retranslations better.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 08:57:26 am by GHANMI »

Aeana

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I'm a lot more interested in programming than debating (and at least slightly better at it), so I can't really give you the kind of detailed response you'd probably like. I'll just say that you seem to be perceiving a lot of ill intent on my part that simply doesn't exist. I'd certainly like it if more people considered how nasty it is to paint over someone else's canvas and say, "Here you go, fixed that for ya, bud" -- and "they're just games so it doesn't matter" is not an argument -- but that wasn't the point of these hacks, per se. The purpose was to (a.) make people aware that this was an issue, and (b.) allow anyone so inclined to play the games with the mechanics they were designed with. Also (c.) to give me something fun to do. Anything else was just a side effect.

And hey, you find someone who actually wants to retranslate these scripts, I'm game for that too :thumbsup:

Anyway, as most of you have probably guessed by now, I'm pretty much done with this little project. I've been promising final updates for a while, but at this point I'm tired of thinking about this company and more interested in working on translations. I'll probably submit these to the site as-is sometime soon (except for Alundra, because I still have no idea if it's actually playable to the end -- I don't suppose anyone can vouch for that?).

Thanks to everyone who supported, or criticized, this project. Positive or negative, opinions are a lot better than silence.

Thanks for all of the work you've done. I certainly appreciate it.
I'm sad to hear that the Lunar EB cutscene timing won't get fixed, but maybe someone else can figure it out.

sub_atomic

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Thanks to everyone who supported, or criticized, this project. Positive or negative, opinions are a lot better than silence.
As a late-comer to this project, I'm extremely supportive of it! Thank you for being willing to undertake something like this!! It's these sort of projects that make the rom-hacking scene so special. 25 years ago, who would have thought one day we would have fans taking these games and improving them in ways that the professionals could not? It boggles the mind!!

My only disappointment is that there's no patch for Silhouette Mirage. Any chance we could convince you to tackle that game before you retire Un-Worked Designs for good?  :'(

Fionordequester

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Thanks to everyone who supported, or criticized, this project. Positive or negative, opinions are a lot better than silence.

If I may ask; would you happen to have a list of the stats that Exile II's enemies have?  The Japanese list and the English list? 

Because I've recently played through the English Exile II; and actually had a lot of fun with it!  I'm a very hardcore gamer; and I love really tough games in a way that most gamers never would.  Never played the Japanese version; but by the sounds of it, it goes into the opposite extreme of being way too easy and forgiving.

So instead of having to choose between one bad option or the other, I was wondering if you'd like to put in my own set of stats?  A list that I think will strike a good middle ground between what the two versions did.  Would you mind putting in such a list, before calling it quits :angel: ?

SaturnSilhouetteMirage

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I have been using this site for years, but only now have I registered so I could thank you for doing this project.

Even if you stop the project I am thankful for the work you have already done (though I hope you will consider continuing it).

I was a supporter of Working Designs many years ago (I bought most of these games back when Working Designs released them and still own them). However, I have always disagreed with many of the changes they made.

I can already say that at least two of the games released by Working Designs desperately needed the changes made: Popful Mail and Silhouette Mirage.

I disagree. They made Silhouette Mirage more tedious and less fun for me.

to hack up games for the sole purpose of "correcting" this ignorance seems like a positively vile thing to do.

Working Designs were the ones who did the "correcting" in the first place. Working Designs always presumed they knew better than the companies that created the games (despite being a localization company rather than game creators). I see the patches as a way to restore the "corrections" Working Designs made. There is no "vile" intent.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 02:09:05 am by SaturnSilhouetteMirage »

Supper

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Thanks for all of the work you've done. I certainly appreciate it.
I'm sad to hear that the Lunar EB cutscene timing won't get fixed, but maybe someone else can figure it out.

I'm pretty sure it's caused by my rebuilt ISO having the files in a different order from the original, so it's probably not tough to fix, it's just a bit more work than I'm willing to put into things right now. Sorry.

As a late-comer to this project, I'm extremely supportive of it! Thank you for being willing to undertake something like this!! It's these sort of projects that make the rom-hacking scene so special. 25 years ago, who would have thought one day we would have fans taking these games and improving them in ways that the professionals could not? It boggles the mind!!

My only disappointment is that there's no patch for Silhouette Mirage. Any chance we could convince you to tackle that game before you retire Un-Worked Designs for good?  :'(

Thanks! Unfortunately, I think that game would be tricky, in part because I don't know it well and would have to spend a lot of time checking for differences. Plus, aside from the big mechanical changes, I have a feeling it'll be another Magic Knight Rayearth deal where 50 or so damage-related constants scattered throughout the code have been increased, which is a big pain to deal with. So I'm sorry, but I won't be able to do that, at least not right now :(

If I may ask; would you happen to have a list of the stats that Exile II's enemies have?  The Japanese list and the English list? 

Because I've recently played through the English Exile II; and actually had a lot of fun with it!  I'm a very hardcore gamer; and I love really tough games in a way that most gamers never would.  Never played the Japanese version; but by the sounds of it, it goes into the opposite extreme of being way too easy and forgiving.

So instead of having to choose between one bad option or the other, I was wondering if you'd like to put in my own set of stats?  A list that I think will strike a good middle ground between what the two versions did.  Would you mind putting in such a list, before calling it quits :angel: ?

I do, actually: https://tcrf.net/Exile:_Wicked_Phenomenon#Enemy_Stats

As you can see, it's unfortunately very "raw". Figuring out exactly which number goes with which enemy would take a long time, so making detailed changes like that would be difficult and, well, I'm just not up for it now. Sorry.

It would be nice to have stat adjuster programs for these games so anyone who wanted to could make changes themselves, but even with everything documented, that's quite a bit of work...

I have been using this site for years, but only now have I registered so I could thank you for doing this project.

Even if you stop the project I am thankful for the work you have already done (though I hope you will consider continuing it).

I was a supporter of Working Designs many years ago (I bought most of these games back when Working Designs released them and still own them). However, I have always disagreed with many of the changes they made.

Thank you -- glad you liked it that much, and sorry I didn't get around to doing Silhouette Mirage. I never know where my interests will end up, so there's always the possibility I'll come back to this at some point in the future.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 03:26:37 am by Supper »

taikyoku

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Since no one seemed to read my post, let me try to TLDR it: You are all so convinced that this is a problem that you haven't taken the time to study if it's actually a problem or not. The end result is an 18 page (and counting) thread filled with ignorantly bashing a very specific company, one of many on the internet. What this very specific company has actually done has been completely misinterpreted, probably on purpose, because the kinds of responses and statements suggest a complete lack of understanding about any of these games.

Like, this SaturnSilhouetteMirage person may as well have never played the game. I can say this because they are apparently completely unfamiliar with how obnoxiously easy the original Silhouette Mirage actually is, and the WD version didn't even make it much better. This isn't just someone's opinion here: if the original version was actually released outside of Japan, it would have been endlessly made fun-of for that exact reason, and probably by the exact same people in this thread. You don't need to be a hardcore gamer at any point to understand this; I sure as hell am not, I'm actually pretty bad at games.

I restate that if Exile II is the best example you have, a dumb version of an already very dumb game, then you have a lot more work to do. I did a bit more research myself: I can confirm that Popful Mail, Silhouette Mirage, Vay, and Rayearth are all games that clearly benefited from the changes. Already a pretty good list.

If you don't like the work here etc then you're free to pick up some romhacking tools and do the games justice yourself or play them without these patches.
Did you even read the thing? Why do people always reply with this same statement even when it has nothing to do with what they're replying to?

Of course they did important work, they just did it really poorly and there wasn't much competition at the time and we were too young, stupid and starved for RPG's to notice.
This too, did you read it either? There was nothing "poor" about what WD did, at all. You are being fed a story that is not true. The typical Working Designs "tweaked" release is an upgrade over the original for very clear reasons, as a response to initially poor design. This is a fact.

I'm a lot more interested in programming than debating (and at least slightly better at it), so I can't really give you the kind of detailed response you'd probably like. I'll just say that you seem to be perceiving a lot of ill intent on my part that simply doesn't exist. I'd certainly like it if more people considered how nasty it is to paint over someone else's canvas and say, "Here you go, fixed that for ya, bud" -- and "they're just games so it doesn't matter" is not an argument -- but that wasn't the point of these hacks, per se. The purpose was to (a.) make people aware that this was an issue, and (b.) allow anyone so inclined to play the games with the mechanics they were designed with. Also (c.) to give me something fun to do. Anything else was just a side effect.
I am referring to this problem in a general sense, because this has become a lot more widespread in the last few years. That aside, it really doesn't help that this thread is huge and filled with people mindlessly bashing WD without any reflection on what they're actually saying or why.

It's not "nasty" unless the would-be painter is making the mistake. The problem here is that it's the original developers that screwed up. You've manufactured an issue that wasn't really there. The real issue is that so many older games are not worth playing as they are, especially the niche games WD was often going after.

It's not Working Designs but the AVGN EarthBound review reminded me of how broken difficult 7th Saga was.
There is a difference between making a game harder and making the player characters underpowered to the point the RNG can allow the enemies to one-shot a full-health player team any time it feels like it.
I strongly recall Nintendo Power's advice on how to beat the other apprentices as enemies was to write down their moves and let them beat you, then return. In other words, abuse limited RNG so that you win by favorable RNG than by skill? That should be AGDQ playing Final Fantasy strats, not how a normal person is expected to play the game.
Unsurprisingly, The 7th Saga was not localized by WD, and is totally an example of screwing the game up from the original. Most WD releases are not like this whatsoever. All of the WD bashing assumes that they are, which is just blatantly untrue.

...No? Everyone has the right to say any opinion they want. That's the beauty of discussion forums.
This is not a matter of opinion, and you are talking about a post that I did not write. There's the answer to all of your questions.

I don't know how many times I have to tell people that the actual idea of the patches is not the problem, but the sentiment behind them and the thought process of the people that want them so badly very much is.

A list of groups who thought they knew what they were doing but ended up not doing so at all is completely uninteresting. Why? Because you're trying to push this narrative about "the WD way of doing things", which I'm not really concerned about. I've stated exactly what I'm concerned about, if you're actually willing to read it. I care nothing for your personal bogeymen of Working Designs cultists or whatever.

Golden Sun was exactly as bad in the Japanese original. It's just a game with a very dumb story and hilariously broken (in the player's favor) mechanics. The only way to "fix" that game is completely reimagine everything about it.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 11:12:32 pm by taikyoku »

tc

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Whatever side you're on about this, the "first release is always right" mentality is no bogeyman. Sometimes the Japanese versions of games happen to be MORE broken. Blizzard's freeze chance in Pokemon Red and Green...

But I think we're dragging everything into a big unnecessary debate. All the topic is supposed to be about is patches to undo WD's changes. Irrespective of whether doing so is best for the game.

SaturnSilhouetteMirage

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Like, this SaturnSilhouetteMirage person may as well have never played the game. I can say this because they are apparently completely unfamiliar with how obnoxiously easy the original Silhouette Mirage actually is, and the WD version didn't even make it much better. This isn't just someone's opinion here:

Working Designs could have made it more challenging without increasing the prices of all the weapons and making them drain spirit to keep using them. Some people might like these changes, but I do not. Yet according to you I am not allowed to have such an opinion and it isn't even open for debate?

I have no problem admitting that many of my favorite games are considered "easy" and that includes Silhouette Mirage - but I enjoy it for the visuals, details, spectacle, etc. (One of my other favorite games is Legend of Mana, also often criticized for being too easy - there are many different reasons why I might like certain games and not all games require a high level of challenge for me to enjoy them. I also really enjoy games like Snatcher and Policenauts, which are even less challenging and some people might not even consider to have much gameplay at all).

I don't believe that making a game more irritating to play (and thus more "challenging") automatically makes it better (which is what Working Designs did with Silhouette Mirage as far as I'm concerned).

I played the Japanese Sega Saturn version first and it's one of my favorite games - even if it is easy. I've never played the Japanese PS1 version though, so I can't comment on that version - but I do own the Working Designs PS1 version.

The Working Designs PS1 version is simply less fun for me. I don't understand why this bothers you so much that you accuse me of never having played one of my all time favorite games.

I've always hoped for a patch to play it to have fun with the original gameplay but also in English (instead of having to play the Japanese version for fun and the Working Designs version for English language).

I don't know how many times I have to tell people that the actual idea of the patches is not the problem, but the sentiment behind them and the thought process of the people that want them so badly very much is.

Okay, you seem to imply that there is some sinister intent behind my hoping for such a patch, so I will more simply re-iterate my "sentiment" for wanting such a patch:
1. To play it in English but...
2. ...for it to retain the fun original gameplay without the tedious "improvements" that make most weapons less useful


If such a patch never happens it's no big deal, I'll just continue to play the original Japanese Saturn version as I always have. But if it ever did happen it would be very nice. That's all there is to it.

What is so "wrong" with such a sentiment?
(Do you honestly believe I should not be allowed to enjoy the Saturn version because it is "too easy"?)
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 06:14:35 am by SaturnSilhouetteMirage »

Fionordequester

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I restate that if Exile II is the best example you have, a dumb version of an already very dumb game, then you have a lot more work to do.

Actually, even their Exile II isn't so bad.  I recently uploaded a video showing how to beat it in under an hour, here...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R2ZmXx2Cbw

Crully (the Grim Reaper guy) is the only boss one that's REALLY insane for where he's at in the game.  Lawrence is tough at first, but is trivialized once you realize that you can...

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1) Pause buffer through his attacks (like I did in the video).

2) Walk up to him, jump away from him (dodging both his jump and his swing), them jump over him.
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