August 14, 2020, 03:02:39 pm

PC Engine Thread

Started by P, September 06, 2015, 08:06:18 am

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P

September 06, 2015, 08:06:18 am Last Edit: May 13, 2020, 07:44:07 am by P
In this thread the topic of PC Engine was bought up so I thought we can continue the discussion here.

Some more good PC Engine games from the top of my mind:


Platform Games
The PC Engine doesn't have as many platformers as Famicom does, but here are a few anyway:
PC Genjin series - AKA Bonk, this is PC Engine's Mario.
Valis series - Famous action platform series for the Super CD format.
Akumajou Dracula X - Probably not as rare as people think, but still expensive. One of the best in the series (and that should say something). Super CD-ROM2.
Rainbow Islands - Pretty much arcade perfect except for the loading times due to it being a CD game. CD-ROM2
Parasol Stars - Sequel of Rainbow Island. This is the original version, there's no arcade version.
Fausetté Amour - Interesting hookshot platformer. Super CD-ROM2
Ninja Spirit: Saigo no Nindou - Great ninja action.
Makyou Densetsu: The Legendary Axe - Pretty hard action platformer.
Daimakaimura: Maybe the best SuperGrafx exclusive game. Good arcade port, but there are other good ports of the game for other systems. SuperGrafx HuCard


Shooting Games
There are tons of them but here are a few:
R-Type - On HuCard the game is divided into two cards. But a CD version contains the full game I think. Also US version contain full game on HuCard.
Gunhed - AKA Blazing Lasers. Haven't played it too much since I'm not so good at shooters, but it's one of the more famous titles.
Super Star Soldier - Hudson's famous shmup series.
Star Parodier - It's supposed to be a parody of Star Soldier like Parodius is for Gradius, but it actually isn't funny at all. It's gorgeous and fun to play though, even if a bit easy.
PC Denjin - Shooter version of PC Genjin!
Xevious - Better arcade port than the Famicom version.


Fighting Games
There are several good arcade ports of fighters, especially for the Arcade System Card:
Splatterhouse - Probably the best arcade port of this great horror beat 'em up.
Kaze Kiri - Great ninja action, but a bit rare. Super CD-ROM2
Street Fighter II′ (dash) - Came on an extra large (2.5 MB) HuCard. 6-button controller support.
Fighting Street - First Street Fighter game with a different name. No 6-button controller support. CD-ROM2
Garou Densetsu 2 - AKA Fatal Fury 2, very cheap and easy to find. 6-button controller support. Arcade CD-ROM2


Role-Playing Games
There are tons of RPGs but most of them require Japanese literacy. Some are translated officially or unofficially (but they are often dubbed :( ).
Ys Ⅰ・Ⅱ - Great port of the first two games in Falcom's famous action RPG series. Very cheap and easy to find, the manual is really short though. CD-ROM2
Ys Ⅲ - Unlike the other games in the series Ys III is a platform RPG like Zelda II. CD-ROM2
Wizardry series - Together with Ultima the father of the DQ and Megaten series (and Japanese RPGs in general). OK these games are just ridiculously hard!
Tengai Makyou Far East of Eden series - This is the Dragon Quest of PC Engine I guess. Based on old ninja legends but with a comical twist. The people behind these games, later created the famous Sakura Taisen series.
Xanadu series - Has not much to do with earlier Xanadu games it seems. Which seems to also be common to games in the Dragon Slayer series which it also belongs to.
Neutopia - This is the Zelda of PC Engine. Uses either passwords or BRAM (backup RAM used for saving in games) to save. HuCard
Double Dungeons - First person dungeon crawler with two players simultaneously. HuCard
Dungeon Explorer - Overhead view dungeon crawler with up to five players simultaneously. HuCard
Popful Mail - Gorgeous looking platform RPG. It's different from the Super Famicom game and the Mega CD game. A bit expensive lately though. Super CD-ROM2


Other Genres
There are also many adventure, puzzle and games in other genres. Adventure games obviously often needs Japanese literacy.
Bomberman series - This is a Hudson console after all.
Tokimeki Memorial - The legendary first game in the series of famous dating adventures. Great but more or less requires Japanese literacy. The PC Engine version came out first and is the only version with the "Force Gear" minigame. Mouse support. Super CD-ROM2
Snatcher - Remake of Kojima's earlier work. Pretty much the same as the Mega CD version but in Japanese and not censored.
Gaia no Monshou - Strategy/warsim game that is part of the Langrisser series. It's a retell of Elthlead, the first game in the series. HuCard
Gai Frame - Robot strategy/warsim game that is part of the Langrisser series. It takes place in the future of the timeline. HuCard
Zipang - Solomon no Kagi for PC Engine disguised as characters from the movie Zipang. This time it comes with passwords! HuCard


Homebrew
There are several homebrewed games and useful programs for HuCard and CD formats. Some are even for sale on pressed CDs so that they are not only playable on Duo-R/RX CD drives but also on the other CD drives that may have trouble with CD-Rs.
BRAM Tool - Useful BRAM manager by Chris Covell. It allows to view, delete, format and even edit save files in the 2 kB internal BRAM. It also allows to backup save files in another area of the BRAM under a different name to make editing safe. Comes both in HuCard ROM and CD image formats.
HuZero - Chris Covell's little F-Zero clone for PC Engine. HuCard and CD.
SuperGrafx Demo - One of very few SuperGrafx homebrew programs, demonstrates the SuperGrafx hardware. HuCard and CD. SuperGrafx
Atlantean - Commercial game sold on reproduced HuCards by Aetherbyte. It's a Defender-like shooter in a submerged world.
Pyramid Plunder - Another commercial game by Aetherbyte. It's an Egyptian-themed maze game. Super CD-ROM2
Meteor Blaster DX - Another shooter. Released on both CD-R and pressed CDs. Super CD-ROM2
Megaman PCE - Tomaitheous made several conversions of Famicom games to PC Engine (the PC Engine uses an upgraded version of the Famicom CPU). Megaman 1 even received a CD version with a redbook audio soundtrack.


Recommended Setups

HuCard Only:
* PC Engine CoreGrafx I (or II)
* Ten no Koe 2 (or Backup Booster)
This setup has AV output and the 2 kB BRAM. Upgrading for CD games is very expensive and unreliable, but possible.
Alternatively if one wants the original white PC Engine instead of the CoreGrafx, one could replace the Ten no Koe 2 with a Backup Booster or even a CD-ROM2 interface unit which both adds AV output. To manage BRAM, a game with a BRAM manager might be needed or an Everdrive and use the BRAM Tool homebrew program.


HuCard and CD:
* PC Engine Duo R (or Duo RX)
* Arcade Card Duo (or Arcade Card Pro but Duo is probably cheaper)
* Everdrive (or a bunch of System Cards, but the Everdrive is more useful and might even be cheaper)
This is the best overall setup with the only reliable CD unit that has quality parts. As it's the only CD unit that reliably plays CD-Rs, it opens up all the possibilities of homebrew and hacks. So this setup gives full access to all licenced and unlicensed games, hacks, translations, homebrew and useful programs on both the HuCard and the CD format (not counting LD-ROM2 used for the LaserActive PAC). The sole exception is the SuperGrafx games. The 2 kB BRAM is built-in and powered by the charge in a capacitor, AV output is offered out of the box. The Everdrive may be used as a system card for earlier System Card BIOSes or Game Express cards which, added together with the Duo R/RX and Arcade Card Duo, allows 100% compatibility with CD games. Remember to only use the Everdrive patched System Card 3.0 ROM if loading it to the Everdrive for the convenience of not having to take it out when playing Super CD games. The hardware may be damaged if the clean 3.0 ROM is used with the Everdrive.
Also don't confuse the Duo R and Duo RX with the original black Duo or the Amercian Turbo Duo. Their CD drives are as bad as the standalone ones.


HuCard and SuperGrafx:
* SuperGrafx
* Ten no Koe 2 (or Backup Booster)
The only way to get SuperGrafx games is to get a SuperGrafx. Not very good for CD games though as the Super CD-ROM2 is expensive, unreliable and large. Add that to the fact that the SuperGrafx is large and expensive the whole setup will be ridiculously large and expensive. SuperGrafx games are expensive but the Everdrive supports all 7 titles (and all SuperGrafx homebrew).
I don't know if Ten no Koe 2 and other backup devices requires the ROM2 Adapter (normally used to connect the CD-ROM2 interface unit to the SuperGrafx).
Also note that there may be regular PC engine games that does not work with the SuperGrafx so I can't guarantee 100% compatibility. There is a switch in the back of the console that sets the system in SuperGrafx mode (I) or PC Engine mode (II) in order to improve compatibility with earlier games though.


HuCard Portable:
* PC Engine GT
* COM Cable (or any 3.5 mm male-to-male stereo cable will do)
The PC Engine GT is a whole PC Engine in portable format and plays regular HuCards. It is therefore one of the most powerful portable consoles of its time. It eats batteries though and not very cheap, but the 2.6" backlit color LCD isn't that bad I heard. It seems to have problems with low quality caps though, so you might want it recapped. It has turbo switches for the pad buttons, headphone port, power supply jack and a port for a TV Tuner accessory (the TV Tuner allows to use the LCD and speakers from an external AV source besides tuning in TV). The link cable is supported by only a few games like Bomberman, and it requires two systems of course, but is inexpensive. It has no expansion port so it isn't normally possible to add CD support or BRAM to it, so games can't save.
Alternatively there is the semi-portable laptop-shaped CoreGrafx-like system, PC Engine LT. It is highly sought after though and goes for a lot of money. Also since it doesn't use batteries its portability is limited. It has integrated pad buttons with turbo, controller pad port, a reportedly pretty good LCD screen, AV output port, AV input port for an external AV source to use its speakers and LCD, TV tuner with antenna and a port for an external antenna, and is fully compatible with all the accessories for the white PC Engine and the two CoreGrafx systems. It needs the Super ROM2 Adapter for connecting a Super CD-ROM2 though.



Recommended Accessories:
* 5-pad Multi-Tap
* Original NEC Pad (preferably with Turbo)
* NEC Avenue 3
* Hori Fighting Commander PC
* At least one more 6-button controller (for 2 player in fighting games)
* One more controller for 5 player gaming
* PC Engine Mouse
* Ten no Koe BANK
* Memory Base 128 (or Save-kun)
* Everdrive
All PC Engine models only have one pad port so a Multi-Tap is required even for two players. There are 2-pad, 3-pad, 4-pad and 5-pad mutli-taps but I see little reason to get anything but a 5-pad one.

All official PC Engine pads (except some early white ones for the first model) and most third party pads comes with two levels of rapid-fire switches for buttons I and II. Even the built-in pad buttons for GT and LT comes with the switches. Third party pads may also have a slow-motion and other functions.

The NEC Avenue 3 was made for Forgotten Worlds. It's a 3-button controller, but the third button is really just an alternate RUN or SELECT button, so it doesn't really add any new inputs. For that reason it can be used with all games and are useful for games like Dracula X that uses SELECT for certain actions. There is a switch that sets which of the two buttons, RUN or SELECT, the third button should mirror.

Hori Fighting Commander PC is the best controller for the system IMHO. It's a 6-button pad and it has more functions than the Avenue 6. It has 3 levels (Avenue 6 has only 2) of turbo for all face buttons (though button I and VI shares the same switch), it has 3 levels of slow-motion and the mandatory 2-button/6-button mode switch like all 6-button pads must have so that earlier games doesn't freak out (e.g. Bomberman will try to walk in all directions at once in 6-button mode). The main reason to get this one isn't for these functions though, but for the excellent cross-shaped d-pad and overall good quality.
The Arcade Pad (the 6-button controller that comes with Duo RX systems) have separate turbo switches for all 6 buttons (but no slowmotion), but is said not to be very good. The NEC Avenue 6 or Hori Fighting Commander PC are probably better choices.
6-button controllers are said to be able to be used as 3-button controllers, but I believe that's BS. I haven't figured out how anyway.

The PC Engine Mouse is useful with certain games like Tokimeki Memorial and Doukyuusei. The two click buttons are actually the same as button I and button II on regular pads, and RUN and SELECT work like thumb buttons. However since button I is the decision button, which is the right mouse button, games usually allows to swap the two buttons' functions so that the left button can be used for decision.

The Ten no Koe BANK is a HuCard with battery-backed RAM and is used to back up the BRAM. One Ten no Koe BANK card contains 4 banks that are each as big as the whole 2 kB BRAM in the PC Engine. You can copy the BRAM to a bank or a bank to the BRAM, you can also swap the BRAM with a bank. You can't erase anything though and it's not possible to copy or swap individual files. The Ten no Koe BANK should not be confused with the Ten no Koe 2 which plugs into the expansion port and is one of many different ways to add the 2 kB BRAM to your PC Engine (which is only built-in on the Duo models).

The Memory Base 128 is basically a Ten no Koe BANK but instead of having 4 extra BRAM banks, it has 63 extra BRAM banks! It connects via the controller port and doesn't have its own interface program though, so it requires a game that has such a program. Only certain CD games has that so it's not normally usable for people without a CD. Some games support saving to it directly but still have no interface program for it. Two games that do have an interface program are Emerald Dragon and Private Eyedol.
The Save-kun is a clone released by Koei, it is identical in function and games will detect it as an MB128. It might be a bit easier to find cheap.
The saves are powered by 4 AA batteries and there is a LED that lights up when its time to change them. Good quality rechargable low-discharge batteries will last over a year without changing.

The Everdrive is most likely the best PC Engine flashcart. Supposedly it supports all games except for Ten no Koe BANK (it can't keep the battery RAM save) and is region free. It has a switch for swapping between the Japanese and American HuCard pinout and it automatically patches the region protection code in American games, after loading them, so that they can be played on a Japanese system without region modding it.
System Card ROMs works as they should so the Everdrive can be used instead of the System Cards. That's useful if one wants to downgrade a Super CD unit to version 1.0 (for Juuouki that crashes on later system cards), or for Game Express games. It doesn't have the System Card RAM though so it can't be used as an Arcade Card or a Super System Card in a CD-ROM2 unit.
Note: Due to a hardware conflict the Everdrive may damage the hardware if the Super System Card 3.0 ROM is loaded to it. There is a patch however that makes it possible to use the ROM without risk.


PC Engine Links:
http://www6.airnet.ne.jp/wataru/index2.htm - Great Japanese homepage to lots of things PC Engine. It has pictures of most different controllers and other hardware, and a huge FAQ (in Japanese) with all kinds of information.
http://pcenginefx.com - The Famicom World of PC Engine and PC-FX. It has a big forum but requires registration. Edit: The forum was more or less destroyed by spammers (basically some users didn't like how the forum was ran and went berserk). Half of the English PC Engine community took refuge at The PC Engine Software Bible Forum.


Edit: Added some more info.

Nightstar699

Ah, I guess it's for the best that this been made its own thread. But yeah, PC Engine rocks, though I didn't get into collecting for it as I thought I would when I got mine... for a long time I even had my PC Engine console up for sale, but in the end I'm glad I decided to keep it... I just sold off half my collection for it, keeping only my favorites.

The two heavy hitters I'd recommend are Ninja Spirit: Saigo No Nindou (which I recall you recommended to me a while back, before I even got my PCE), and ESPECIALLY Genpei Toumaden: Kan no Ki. Despite how unique the mechanics are, I fell in love with this one pretty quickly. Definitely ranks up there with some of the Famicom greats.
So ends another chapter in the glorious legend of the Ninja... Until next time...

Issun

Popful Mail is my favourite. Populous is a good port but get the CD version so you can use a control option that makes sense. Akumajou had decent replay value for a classic Castlevania. Street Fighter II' was good but the SFC got 'Super' just a year after.

P

Oh yes Popful Mail is a great platform RPG that includes Ys-style auto-combat and great artwork. It's a bit expensive though.
Populous CD version is an expansion with new scenarios according to the PC Engine Software Bible. Do you mean it supports the mouse?


Quote from: Nightstar699 on September 06, 2015, 08:59:02 am
I'd recommend are Ninja Spirit: Saigo No Nindou (which I recall you recommended to me a while back, before I even got my PCE)
I guess I did, it's true ninja action! Comparing it to other ninja games you could say it has the atmosphere of Kage no Densetsu, the great control of Ninja Ryuukenden and the versatile weaponry of Kage. There's katana of course, shuriken, kusarigama (chain sickle) and grenades. You can make time bombs out of grenades by placing them on the ground.

Issun

Quote from: P on September 06, 2015, 03:22:09 pm
Oh yes Popful Mail is a great platform RPG that includes Ys-style auto-combat and great artwork. It's a bit expensive though.


Yeah, it's an awesome game with really good pacing. It wasn't that expensive when I picked it up, it was quite a few years ago though, maybe it's gone up in price?

Quote from: P on September 06, 2015, 03:22:09 pm
Populous CD version is an expansion with new scenarios according to the PC Engine Software Bible. Do you mean it supports the mouse?


The CD version contains both the original Populous and the Promised Land expansion. You can change your controls to diagonals, which makes sense with the isometric perspective. Every other console version has this by default, the Hucard is the only version where it's missing.

P

Quote from: Issun on September 07, 2015, 01:40:32 am
Quote from: P on September 06, 2015, 03:22:09 pm
Oh yes Popful Mail is a great platform RPG that includes Ys-style auto-combat and great artwork. It's a bit expensive though.


Yeah, it's an awesome game with really good pacing. It wasn't that expensive when I picked it up, it was quite a few years ago though, maybe it's gone up in price?

Yeah it has gone up lately. I think it's getting semi-famous due to the eye-catching artwork in the animated scenes. I have a burned copy of it but I would love to have a CIB copy of it someday.

Quote from: Issun on September 07, 2015, 01:40:32 am
Quote from: P on September 06, 2015, 03:22:09 pm
Populous CD version is an expansion with new scenarios according to the PC Engine Software Bible. Do you mean it supports the mouse?


The CD version contains both the original Populous and the Promised Land expansion. You can change your controls to diagonals, which makes sense with the isometric perspective. Every other console version has this by default, the Hucard is the only version where it's missing.

I see, I got the mouse so I hoped it was another game it could be used for, since I guess the game was originally designed with mouse control in mind.

Issun

September 07, 2015, 08:23:41 am #6 Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 08:37:37 am by Issun
No mouse support unfortunately, but I actually prefer the controller for Populous. It's pretty fast when you get the hang of it.

A few other good games I can think of: Valkyrie no Densetsu, Nectaris and Kawa no Nushi Tsuri Shizenha (one I've been meaning to play through for awhile).

P

I see, I actually don't like to use a mouse in games (especially if they go in real-time) and normally prefer d-pads if possible. But certain games has very slow cursor movements with a d-pad and seems to be made with a mouse in mind.

Kawa no Nushi Tsuri, that's my favourite fishing game series. Gotta play that one!

o.pwuaioc

With apologies to Ninja Gaiden and Shinobi, Ninja Spirit is the best ninja game of all time.

Zycrow

I just recently bought a recapped PC Engine and CD system, partly since Dracula X has been my grail since...forever...and partly because it's a new frontier for me.

Other than Dracula X, so far I've spent most of my time on Hyper Dyne Side Arms (great, fun shooter adapted from a Capcom arcade title) and Dungeon Explorer.

I've burned several CD games as well, so far my favorite has been the shooter Gate of Thunder.
Favorites: Castlevania, Metroid, Namco 18

P

Updated first post!

Added some more games, added more detailed descriptions and added a little hardware guide about what IMHO are the most useful consoles and accessories.

L___E___T

 



PC Engine Mini looks like a must have :)
My for Sale / Trade thread
http://www.famicomworld.com/forum/index.php?topic=9423.msg133828#msg133828
大事なのは、オチに至るまでの積み重ねなのです。

P


L___E___T

My for Sale / Trade thread
http://www.famicomworld.com/forum/index.php?topic=9423.msg133828#msg133828
大事なのは、オチに至るまでの積み重ねなのです。

boye

June 15, 2019, 06:39:24 pm #14 Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 06:51:51 pm by boye
Thanks!
Also, call me an idiot, but does the PCE/TG have built-in BRAM or is that a CD-ROM2 thing?