11 March 2016 - Forum Rules

Main Menu

Shin Kenseiden (Master System)

Started by alien nose job, June 15, 2022, 10:47:01 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

alien nose job

Kenseiden is an interesting game for the master system.

It has a unique atmosphere.

Many levels, a non-linear game path, big sprites, lots of bosses, an eerie mood with demons running at you from everywhere, a really good FM synth soundtrack (for the Japanese version or on emulator), an expandable set of moves and a hero that has two sets of sprites : one facing left, the other facing right.

I discovered it years ago through emulation, but the difficulty, the stiff animation of the character and his orange (!) outfit made it a bit repelling, but somehow I liked it.

I never actually finished it and moved on to other things.

About a year ago I discovered there was a Korean version.
Due to historical tensions between the two countries, Korean developers tend to transform Japanese games that look "too Japanese" and adapt it for the market.

It turns out that this Korean rework was done by talented artists and it looks much better.
The hero's sprites have been completely redrawn, on the same base. Now they sport much more detail, a better color use and feature a nicer, smoother animation (not using more frames, but better drawings, head and leg positions, etc...).

I much prefer this version over the original, but it is in Korean and no translation would work on this modified rom.
I already have done cosmetic palette editing / sprite ripping for utilities, patch combination digging into patches content to hex edit it in another rom, but I never did a proper rom hack.

First I tried porting the US text into the Korean version creating patches from US to Korean versions to try and determine what portion of the code could be the text and hex edit it back in or determine where the sprites could be and only hex edit this in, but it didn't work. The srpites were mostly glitched and I couldn't find the text.

So I decided to try to port the Korean hero's sprites into the US version of the game to enjoy it in english.
I did a quick research online and finally discovered "master tile converter" and emulicious which are the two programs I used along with a hex editor.

I managed to do it !

Every sprite from the hero has been successfully replaced (walking up/down the stairs left & right as well), plus the life bar Icon.
I corrected the palette to match the Korean one, and went out of my way and lightly modified the palettes from the two bits of background art that hurt my eyes.
I didn't replace the character's sprites on the map (for some reason I couldn't hex edit it without breaking the game).
And I didn't try to edit the endings (which is also nicer in the Korean version).
Both wouldn't be too difficult to edit with Tile molestor, I found the addresses and palettes for the tiles in both versions, but I never could figure out how to set it  (Tile molestor) up for a SMS game.

Modified Background elements :

before :



before :

after :

Also, I tried my hand at making new alternate palettes for the hero.
They are very similar but I never realized the SMS had so few colors, it is very tricky to work with.
Pal 1:

Pal 2:

Pal 3:

Pal 4:

Pal 5:

Actually I wonder if it would be possible to go further into improving this game but I think I reached my limit in spontaneous educated guessing and I found it difficult enough to not really want to go further myself.

So I'm just dropping this here in case someone would want to help a bit with the following points.
Otherwise, no worries, I'll just upload the hack as it is to the database :)

What I think could make this game better would be :

1) to slightly increase the walk speed, sometimes it is a bit unfair and this would make the character's animation less ridiculous

2) to permanently have three out of the five secret techniques unlocked from the start.
These would be the high jump, the standing vertical slice and the jumping vertical slice.
This wouldn't be too much seeing how everything tries to rape you in this game, you could cover more angles without getting overpowered and this could make the stage select screen actually useful (right now you'll get stuck if you don't have at lest the high jump + jumping vertical slice on certain  bosses as you can't reach them).
This would also let you gain the two last techniques if you decide so (one of them completely replaces the standard crouched attack).

3) enable FM synth soundtrack on any version... probably not worth the effort, as many emulators allow this from the start, but if it is a couple bits to edit, this wouldn't hurt. It definitely isn't mandatory

For the 3 extra powers I have save files (included in the package with the hacks) from emulicious just before taking the scroll that grants you each power.
I imagine this would make things easier if someone wants to look a bit into it (I tried to look at most of the many tools available, but really got lost and couldn't guess what to look for or how).

Here is the link to the package with the .ips files (made everything separate) and the save files :

I hope someone will appreciate the graphical hack.

link to the database :
link to the hack in the database

Red Soul

I love Kenseiden and really liked your hack.
Though I don't have the technical expertise to help you out, I do have some thoughts and a suggestion.

First, I'm not sure if increasing walk speed is a good idea - jumps are super fidgety and need a lot of inching and precision as is; if Hayate walked faster it would make them even harder.

I like the idea of having some more advanced abilities from the start, that would be nice and it would make possible to fight Warlocks out of order.

Another nice change would be for the diary item to allow the player to continue without shooting them on the foot, so to speak, since continuing via diary cancels all upgrades the player had in regards to amulets and the life bar extension.

Regarding FM sound, I personally dislike the music with this active, although it improves most SMS games, I don't like FM synthesis for Kenseiden, so having it be mandatory would not be a good idea, in my opinion.

Lastly, you might want to chime in at SMS Power's forum to check for the feasibility of the changes you propose as well as seeking help and technical know how on the console.

alien nose job

Hey, thanks a lot for your review and taking the time to give a constructive feedback :)

I don't have tons of time, but I'm not in a hurry either, I might take some time to try and get in touch with people on SMSpower (actually, I've been following things here, on RHDN for a couple years now, and I really like people here and didn't really want to go on another place, but it sure would be smarter to get on a dedicated forum).

Still your insight is very interesting and if I ever go as far as doing an improved version of the game, I'll sure think twice about the points you brought up.