I'm starlight_world. I want to get into ROM hacking, but I was never sure exactly what I wanted to do. But I decided on something after hearing about an obscure game called Nostalgia 1907. It came out in December 1991 for the Mega-CD, PC-9801, FM Towns Marty, and Sharp X68000. For simplicity, the Mega-CD version is the one I want to focus on.
It's a graphic text adventure game akin to a Snatcher interface. You play as a passenger aboard the luxury cruise liner called the Nostalgia in the year 1907 (hence the name of the game). A bomb is found and diffused, and the perpetrator reveals himself and requests that he be given an artifact known as the Russian Mist that is located somewhere on the ship, or he will detonate a second bomb that will kill everybody on board. The game is mostly text and audio with still images, but the game has a very interesting presentation with a sepia tone and an effort to keep an historically accurate aesthetic, something very rare and I wish more games did.
This game, as can be easily inferred, never left Japan. It was created by Takeru, also known as Sur de Wave, who also made Little Samson and publish Cocoron. It was designed by Kouichi Yotsui, the designer of Strider, and did work for various Capcom games like Bionic Commando and Ghouls n' Ghosts. This game, despite its ambition, was a huge flop and likely bankrupted the company (I can't find much info, but this game and Little Samson seem to be their only two games).
In spite of all of this, the game has a small cult following in Japan, and is one of the main inspirations for Hideo Kojima. While Snatcher came first, Hideo Kojima has all but admitted he stole the bomb defusal puzzle from this game to place into Policenauts. I feel this game is a somewhat important but forgotten part of video game history. It swung and missed, but Edwardian-era fiction, especially in this kind of presentation, feels like something made specifically for my tastes.
And because of all of this, I am surprised more people don't talk about this game. Information on the Internet is rather sparse other than the information I have already mentioned. This is a game I feel should be preserved and talked about outside its very small fanbase.
Which is why as my first project, I want to translate the Mega-CD of this game into English. Nobody else on the Internet has even attempted this. The only real discussion about it on a message board was from 2007(!), and it led to minimal curiosity.
Now, I am not naive. I know game translation is not an easy task, especially since I do not speak Japanese (I was planning to hire someone once I got a hold of what was necessary), and even the ones that do speak it need to put a lot of work into it. I am possibly biting off a lot more than I can chew here. But since the game is mostly text and not having to do with gameplay and level design changes, I felt this would be an interesting project.
The problem is, not only do people not talk much about this game, but they do not talk much about hacking or translating of ANY Sega CD games at all, on this website or anywhere. There are absolutely no utilities pertaining to the Sega-CD on this website, and information on the Internet is scarce.
I already have the appropriate files in my possession, and I can confirm the game is a functional ROM (also it's on a CD, so BIN/CUE is more appropriate). I went into the files and found that the text are in LZ files, and the audio is in PCM files. Opening PCM files in Audacity does not work properly, and LZ files are not easily decompressed in the way that is necessary here.
While the completion of this project is a LONG way away obviously, I would like to know if anyone here has any Sega-CD hacking utilities, or can point me to ways to properly convert PCM files into a usable format, or uncompress LZ files. Obviously, this is just the first step...placing translations INTO the games is a long way away, but I first need to figure out to access the text TO be translated.
Please, anyone, let me know if you have any tools or ideas on how to do this. And if this is too ambitious for a first project, at least let me know how I can possibly tinker with other Sega-CD games.