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Super Bomberman 5 - English Translation

Started by Psyklax, May 01, 2019, 04:38:42 PM

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Hello! With apologies to Filler for getting distracted from his projects :-[ I present a new project inspired by a post in the Hack Ideas thread. See, sometimes the prayers of those posting there do get answered. :D

This is all I have to show thus far, but I can say that I don't expect any real problems going forward. So Super Bomberman 1 and 2 got US releases, SB3 got a European release, and SB4 was already translated into English a decade ago, but this one has eluded everyone. Basically, the thing that stopped this game being done was probably the graphics compression, but as I discovered, it's really not that complicated. Time for a quick explanation for those who like to learn about these things...

By following the process of how bytes get from the ROM to the VRAM, I discovered all the routines that concern the compression format, and they're very straightforward. The game uses a bunch of headers where the first nybble is the type of compression (eight different types) and the second one says how many times to repeat (so one less than the actual amount of bytes to process). Here's the compression types:

0   no compression
2   copy from 1 byte back plus 1 ($201 copies from $200+1)
4   copy from 1 byte back ($201 copies from $200)
6   copy from 2 bytes back ($202 copies from $200)
8   copy from 4 bytes back ($204 copies from $200)
A   copy from 10 bytes back ($200 copies from $2F0)
C   copy from 20 bytes back ($200 copies from $2E0)
E   copy from 40 bytes back ($200 copies from $2C0)

As you can see, it's just a bunch of copying, not quite as sophisticated as the one I encountered on Crayon Shin-Chan on Game Gear. So to do the screenshot you see there, I made a new font with only the letters I needed, and pasted it without compression (using the 0F header) in the space used by the graphics for that menu (the different menus use different sets of compressed graphics). Then it was a simple case of changing the tilemap which is sitting nice and simple in the ROM. Now I just need to do the same thing with all the other menus.

Of course, there's still the title bar which says "Normal Mode", and which requires dedicated graphics with quite a funky look. That'll take me a bit more work to do in GIMP, but again, not really a big challenge. As far as I can tell, the only Japanese in the game is in the menus, so this really doesn't look like the most difficult project to undertake - and being my first SNES translation, I'll be happy to get it done. :)

Oh, and I'm aware that there's a Gold Cartridge with more Battle Mode maps (although a byte comparison suggests there are a lot of little differences here and there). I suppose I can try to do patches for both ROMs since they do look superficially similar (almost identical in fact). I doubt I can make one patch for both given the extra battle stages will have their own titles to translate, but you never know - TCRF says you can still access them with an Action Replay code in the original game.

So that's it for now, but I'll be updating pretty soon, I think. ;)


O! M! G! Now THIS! THIS is something I've been waiting for AGES! I wouldn't mind waiting a bit more just to see this project of yours completely done. I gotta admit, though, that like SB4, SB5 does not have that much to translate, but still, this is REALLY appreciated.

Keep it up, my good sir!

alien nose job

Great, I've been looking forward to this for years !

Neat game that deserves an English menu (I keep forgetting what are the options I want to disable are).



Super excited for this. Thanks for tackling it!


YES!!! so excited for this. I was hoping this person going to finish it, but there hasn't been much activity:


Been dreaming of this one for about as long as 4 got it's translation.
I'm getting old.


Wow, I'm really pleasantly surprised by the amount of affection you guys have for this. Thanks! :) If it's this anticipated, it just surprises me that nobody else has done it before.

I might as well update you guys. I've been hard at work on this for the last week, spending all my free time on getting this done. Given that I've cracked the compression, I wouldn't say it's been difficult, just time consuming. Getting the layout right on the new menus just takes time and patience, but I think I'm getting there. I have no idea how much is left because I can't be bothered to track everything ahead of time, I'm just doing each menu as I see it.

I haven't done the blue titles at the top of the screens, leaving them till last (because they're dedicated graphics, it's just a simple case of drawing over the original stuff). Ignoring that, I've done the options menu, the normal game menu, and I'm working my way through the battle mode menu. Here's what I finished five minutes ago:

As you can see, the options on the right are still to do (won't take long methinks) but I've moved over the pointer to extend the names of the options fully. Worth the effort, I think.

There's still quite a lot to do, though: I need to reformulate the name entry so that it makes sense with the English alphabet; I need to translate all the stage names; I need to look into anything that might come up when you play, such as the Game Over screen that's like a certificate. Basically, I'm not done yet, but nothing's going to stand in my way at this point. :)


Wow, that looks great.  I'm definitely looking forward to loading it on my SNES Classic once it's released.


I can't believe this is finally happening. Been waiting so much years for this. Thx!


Quote from: niuus on May 05, 2019, 03:43:11 AM
I can't believe this is finally happening. Been waiting so much years for this. Thx!
I remember playing that game all the time with my sister back in 97 lol. It was fun, probably one of the best Bonberman


Quote from: Rudy on May 05, 2019, 02:06:06 PM
I remember playing that game all the time with my sister back in 97 lol. It was fun, probably one of the best Bonberman
I had a new years tradition with my cousins to play all 5 Bomberman games on the SNES, emulated on a Gamecube. This was the one that gave us a hard time adjusting the settings because of the language barrier  :D


This is looking great! It's the kind of thing I'd love doing except my japanese knowledge is virtually zero, and I'm just getting (back) into romhacking. Super cool, man  :thumbsup:


Finally! Finally! Thank you so very much! I wish you best of luck with the project!


Love this game but had resigned to the fact that I thought it would never be done! Translation is looking great and I can't wait to play it!


Things are coming along nicely, just so you guys know. Menus are very tedious at the best of times, so it's taking a lot more time than it ought to, but it's getting done.

I don't know if this has been done before, but I'm gonna try pasting in some comments from DackR's project thread from over three years ago. :D

Quote from: SunGodPortal on December 14, 2015, 02:56:12 PM
Good luck. I've heard it's a bitch.

Not really. It's slow and annoying, but the compression is very simple and everything's laid out in a straightforward manner.

Quote from: Proton on December 23, 2015, 05:59:42 PM
This game has several types of compression of graphics dats. I have got a decompressor for one of them.

No it doesn't. It has one type of compression (although I haven't tried sprites), and it's used for EVERYTHING. Even the tilemaps are compressed, which is a REAL pain. Nevertheless, it's really simple, and can be done by hand.

So, since you've read this far, have a new screenshot. ;)

Oh, and no, I don't need to look at DackR's work, or that of the guy on Github, since I'm pretty sure I've got way beyond both of them in 10 days. 8) It might be worth informing the Github guy (I'm not a member) that I'm working on it, though, since I saw he posted a message there just yesterday.

alien nose job

HEy, thanks for the update Psyklax !
Nice to see everything goes well  8)



Well guys, I think it's time for an update! :D

I can't be bothered to give you any screenshots, just take my word for it that it's getting there. Almost all of the menus are done, as far as I can tell. There's a couple of things like the Bowling Bomber screen and the game over screen in Normal Mode, but I'll get to them soon enough. It's been a slow and laborious process, given the fact that each menu is different and I've been trying to deal with the compression. Add to that the lack of time I generally have, and you get the picture. But hey, nearly there.

I come here for a good reason, though. I've turned my attention to the names of the maps, and they're all stored in sprite form, which is weird but whatever. It looks like I have space to put an entire 16x16 alphabet to replace the existing characters, which is nice - I would use 8x16 but I don't think the SNES supports them (although I could just put 16x16 sprites really close together and overlapping... will have to give that a shot). So the question is about the names of the stages. Here are my best guesses thus far. I haven't made screenshots of them so if anyone could boot up the Gold Cartridge (for the 3 extra maps) and check these with me, that'd be great.

1   Normal
2   Big Conveyor
3   Roof Hide-and-Seek
4   Two Lights
5   Run Fast
6   Snow and Ice!
7   Turn Zegou?
8   Get on the Rail Car
9   Road Closed
10   Fire Dance
11   Strange Loop
12   Mechanical Conveyor
13   Incredible Rail Car

As you can see, the only one I'm not so sure about is 7: the turn verb is obvious but ゼゴー isn't. An internet search brings up a brand of cycling glasses called Zegho, but something tells me that might not be it. :D Any thoughts?

Those names will probably be tweaked in the final version, and I still haven't tried replacing the sprites yet. I still have to change the blue titles at the top of each menu, and I'm intentionally leaving them until last, since they're virtually pointless anyway. Still, once these little things are done, and those titles, then I suppose that's it. Oh, and then I need to try and apply everything I've done to the Gold Cartridge, since I've been working exclusively with the original retail version. :)

Feedback on level names appreciated! More updates still to come! ;)


Script Help and Language Discussion:

Helpful translators are always lurking in that section, you might find a quicker response for your ゼゴー question.