What the heck is Spectrobes?
Spectrobes was a sci-fi monster-battling RPG published by Disney Interactive Studios. Released on the Nintendo DS, the game was praised for successfully combining the monster-collecting genre with its sci-fi tropes, including space travel, planet exploration, and an extraterrestrial foe, while maintaining the JRPG base that supports monster catching. Its primary features included excavating and unearthing fossils of extinct creatures and reawakening them to fight alongside you. These entertaining tropes, combined with unique creature designs, gave Spectrobes its own stage to stand on. The game was considered a commercial success and spawned two sequels, before quietly being dropped by Disney and forgotten about over the years.
What the heck is this rom hack?
This project aims to recreate the original Spectrobes game, but within Pokemon FireRed. To most of you, this can just be considered a fakemon or un-pokemon rom hack - but not one which follows the standard tropes of Pokemon. While based on FireRed, the uniqueness of Spectrobes means that this project is an entirely new experience than that of mainline Pokemon games. Even if you haven't heard of Spectrobes, if you're a little tired of the Pokemon story formula and are looking for a fresh monster-collecting rom hack, this one aims to please you too! And to the few of you who are already fans of Spectrobes, you can consider this a nostalgia-loving GBA demake of the first game
Features What the heck is the story (brief intro, no spoilers)What the heck you'll be doingWhat the heck kinda monsters you'll be collectingWhat the heck you'll be listening toWhat the heck kinda core mechanics exist Spoiler: Everything is this section is subject to change.
This is where we get to unknown territory. There's a lot of variability that comes with porting a real-time DS action game into a turn-based GBA game, so please leave feedback as to what gives the most fun experience.
Moves and Types
The current plan is to make the battles more interesting/reminiscent of Spec1 by giving every Spectrobe (and Krawl) species completely unique moves. These "signature moves" will allow every Spectrobe to be useful. A number of basic moves will also be shared between species. The only things the player will currently have to pay attention to with moves is Effect, Power, Accuracy, PP, Targets, and Type, with few moves giving stat boosts and even fewer giving status effects until later in the game. This is to remove some "pokemon-ness" from the system. That doesn't mean that every Spectrobe will be stuck as generic damage-dealers, but does mean that other fight styles will be a little rarer than in Pokemon, and limited by species, hopefully ending up keeping a similar mix to that of Spec1.
The types, Corona, Aurora, and Flash, will be unchanged from Spec1.
STAB has been removed as it has no place in a game where monsters learn moves of one of two types.
Additionally, the physical/special split has been implemented to give more range as well.
I believe these changes will keep to the spirit of the original Spectrobes but still work in a turn-based strategy environment. That being said, I am completely open to changing these things entirely if it is unfun or too easy, or anything really. So please leave feedback!
Included as a nod to the "Beyond the Portals" mechanic where certain Spectrobe species have a unique combination attack and as a replacement to Pokemon abilities. This mechanic will be expanded upon in comparison to BtP, with many more species combinations planned to be included in future. Simply, compatible Synergy Combos receive a 50% offensive boost in double battles.
Vilamasta + Bartolor --> Armored Bulk
Komanoto + Shimanoto --> Guardian Dogs
A few things to note outside of battle:
You always need a minimum of 2 Adult Spectrobes in your Prizmod, as opposed to 1 Pokemon. This is a nod to Spec1, and is also because double battles will become the most common form of battle as the game progresses. Still, you won't white out unless all your Spectrobes are defeated (but you may be prevented from progressing).
Fossil locations and Vortexes will respawn when you leave an area and return. Minerals and Cubes will not respawn like this (but old Mineral locations may respawn as you progress through the story).
Child Spectrobes can't be sent out in battle. The game will ignore any Child forms in your party. You can't use them as fodder to heal your Adults and you can't switch-train them until you evolve them. But there's still a reason to bring some Child forms with you:
The purpose of having Child forms right now is to hunt for [COLOR="Red"]Rare Deposits[/COLOR]. These are found in precarious locations, and Child Spectrobes with unique attributes (such as being able to fly, having a hard outer shell, etc) will be needed to get the goodies inside. They will contain a lot of minerals, but also a Secret Spectrobe fossil - a fossil of a Spectrobe from Beyond the Portals, not Spec1 - that can't be found anywhere else, so any collector should look out for them.
Current patch notes Spoiler:
Demo V0.22 Released 7/10/21 (~ 1 hour of gameplay)
Child forms shouldn't be able to hold items - but you can technically give them items through the PC. This would serve no purpose, though.
---Current feature List---
Story taken directly from the original Spectrobes game, up to Genshi.
22 obtainable Spectrobes (all Spectrobes from the original game will be added in future updates, as well as some from the sequel).
2 Synergy Combos.
9 Krawl Species to fight.
Signature movesets for all Spectrobes (very subject to change).
First three planets, Daichi, Kollin, and Genshi, complete and explorable (except for story-locked areas).
Fossil locations respawn; Mineral respawn is limited; Cubes do not respawn.
Fossils are randomized.
Custom Colours and Chroma minerals function just as they did in the original game (limited to one per Spectrobe, at least for now).
Testing out the 'rare deposit' feature to give Child Spectrobes a use. Only one secret Spectrobe fossil in this demo, plenty more planned.
Child Spectrobes cannot be used in battle, and are limited to searching for rare deposits.
Better instruments for porting over music originally intended for the DS.
Expanded bag space.
Community / Team (?)
So far, this has been a passion project developed by me and only me. However, if anyone shares that passion and wants to offer help, then I'd love to have you. Clearly the main area I'm lacking in is graphics, so anyone with a hint of skill in pixel art or map making will be welcomed with open arms
Help in other areas would be fine too, especially if you have history with either Rom Hacking or Spectrobes If you're excited enough follow the development of this project or want to let me know what you'd like added to the game, then please join the Discord Server! It'll be the main hub for the project from now on
Enjoy playing my small demo for now
I hope it succeeds in either giving old Spectrobes fans a shot of nostalgia, or peaks the interest of monster-collectors entering the sci-fi realm with a new story!
Most recent release as of 7/10/21
Download - Link - To be patched onto a FireRed v1.0 ROM
Length - Story only up to Genshi. Probably around 45 - 60 minutes of gameplay. In Pokemon terms, it would probably be around the first gym.