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Wagyan Land

Nintendo Entertainment System

Game Description:

If you’ve played Kero Kero Keroppi’s Great Big Adventure 2, you know exactly what to expect. You shoot things at enemies, and you play some kind of funky game with the boss, instead of actually fighting him. The word chain game is freaking DIFFICULT. Anyway, the most major change (not really a “change,” since Wagyan Land came first) is that you can’t jump on your enemies to kill them. You can’t even kill them at all, unless you get four powerups and become invincible. Once you shoot an enemy, it’s just FROZEN for a little while, and you can jump on it and stuff. It’s pretty wicked. And of course, one hit kills you, just like in all great games. Too bad the collision detection totally bites. Oh yeah, and the graphics are awesome! They’re just so simplified and elite and stuff. So yeah! Play the game.

Translation Description:

Everything’s translated, yeah! Love this game.

If you’re having emulator issues where you fall into the water immediately on starting the game, change the mirroring in the game’s header from horizontal to vertical. You can use AcidPhire’s lovely NES Header Checker here on RHDN, or you have a hex editor handy, just change byte 6 from 40 to 41. That’s it!

ROM / ISO Information:

  • Wagyan Land (Japan).nes - NOINTRO
  • CRC32: 6EB4D2B8
  • MD5: FE7AF4E65C987009C39C9196F5F74B67
  • SHA-1: 4DC413A74AC16F34A5E714DD96080DF7C4E29FE0
  • SHA-256: B79159CD97E865D54F2DECC0005F0FF85CA99D2CEF8B4027434951DE394B1974


Screenshots: Patch Patch Patch Images


ContributorType of contributionListed credit

User Review Information

Recommended, but with a major caveat

Reviewed By: goldenband on 20 Jul 2020

Back in the late 1990s, Wagyan Land was one of the first Japanese-exclusive games I ever tried out. With bright, clean graphics and easy platforming, I was enjoying it until I ran into a language barrier with the second boss’s word chain game – a version of shiritori, in which players take turns supplying a noun that starts with the same kana as the previous player’s word, and whoever can’t think of a word loses. In Wagyan Land you choose your words from a set of 24 tiles, but without Japanese language skills, getting past this was impossible.

Shortly thereafter, AlanMidas’s translation made it possible for English speakers to play Wagyan Land. It may be almost 20 years old (as of this writing), but it’s still a very respectable-looking patch, and it’s easy to imagine that an official localization would have looked very similar.

I can’t imagine the amount of work that went into adapting the shiritori game. Not only did AlanMidas have to translate the tiles, but he had to supply multiple synonyms for each one, and somehow come to grips with the underlying programming that allows the player and CPU to choose correctly.

However, there’s a major issue with Wagyan Land, and it may be a problem with the patch. The second phase of the final boss battle with Dr. Devil is also a shiritori contest, but you have to reach a very high minimum point total to win – and unlike earlier battles, if Dr. Devil fails to form a word before you get enough points, the battle restarts from scratch and you lose all your points. In other words, it’s not enough to win, but you also have to keep your enemy from losing until the game’s nearly out of tiles!

Clearly, this is the way it worked in the original Japanese version. However, the English word list is seriously unbalanced in this localization, with (for example) far too many words that end with the letter E, and far too few that start with E. The rules of shiritori are more flexible in Japanese (kana like “pa” and “ha” are considered equivalent), so I’m guessing this is a problem that was added – or at least exacerbated – in the localization process.

In addition, some tiles that lead straight to E don’t seem to have synonyms (e.g. Lighthouse, Telescope, Safe). Others don’t allow the obvious synonym (you can’t use “feline” for Cat or “equine” for Horse), or have non-intuitive choices that can only be found through trial and error (”WhiteBear” for a PolarBear, or “Oinker” for a pig). Finally, a couple have misspelled synonyms (”Tak” for tack, “Ramb” for ram) or inscrutable tiles (the Racket looks like a wooden spoon, and indeed, the game will accept Ladle but not “spoon”).

The net result is a ridiculous difficulty spike that’s totally out of proportion to the rest of the game, which had been super-easy up to this point. I had to spend something like 10 hours with savestates just to figure out what most of the synonyms were and then come up with a winning run somehow. It’s like playing tandem solitaire, but your partner is constantly trying to screw you both over. You get infinite continues, but replaying the short stage before Dr. Devil gets old fast.

Maybe this boss battle is equally tough in the original game, but I suspect it’s not. That would mean AlanMidas didn’t quite go far enough in supplying synonyms and balancing the shiritori battle for English-language play. Unfortunately he hasn’t published the word list he used, and nothing in the patched ROM is plaintext.

I was unsure it was even possible to win this battle until I saw a YouTube video that did, and I managed to break through a few hours later. The board seems to be randomized every time you play, so you can’t just duplicate someone else’s playthrough.

With all this in mind, I can only just barely recommend this patch. It looks great, and though there are a few typos in the script, none of them are bad enough to do too much damage. But the tuning of the final battle almost ruins everything: no one wants to invest time in a lightweight platformer like Wagyan Land, only to get stuck for hours and hours on a word game at the very end.

Still, with all the good work AlanMidas did, I can’t reject this patch. But it could really use an addendum by someone who knows what they’re doing to adjust the game’s English vocabulary, add some much-needed synonyms to the available set, and maybe even redo a few tiles that have no good synonyms.

Version wag.yan Recommended - Yes

User Reviews
Recommended, but with a major caveatgoldenband20 Jul 2020wag.yanYes