The ISA-Bus

One blog to bind them all.

What you didn’t know about Megatech Software

Of the four games that Megatech Software released, at least the first two aren’t simply translations of the respective Japanese originals. They have been heavily altered. This changed when Megatech licensed Dragon Knight III, though a few things were added in Knights of Xentar as well, the mana system for Luna (AFAIK) and the 3D view, for example. But these are minor changes, and I doubt that elf as an established company would have allowed too many liberties to be taken with its IP. But the first two games, both by unknown or upstart companies, were so much that the translations should probably be seen as separate games.

With Cobra Mission, I already had the chance to play the rather obscure original. The changes are huge. The setting was moved from Japan to Florida, which involved changing the interiors of the houses so that they looked American instead of Japanese. The original sidekick, Midori, was replaced with a blonde in a red dress. Instead of the traditional turn-based RPG combat, Megatech’s game features a point-and-click action system, where hitting the enemy at the right time and at the right spot becomes important. Several side quests (like the photo junkie who will swap female underwear for pictures) and cut scenes were added. Even the story itself was changed.

On the whole, these changes were probably for the good. I guess the original has a good bit of satire which would have been hard to translate and might have been lost on a foreign audience anyway. To get more gameplay instead was a good trade.

With Metal & Lace, it’s less easy for me to tell, since I haven’t been able to dig up the original yet. Forest (フォレスト) is a better known company than Inos, but Ningyō Tsukai (人形遣い) was their first game, and four years later they sort of replaced it with a sequel, Ningyō Tsukai 2, which is far better documented. There are hardly any screenshots to be found of the first game.

But the sequel gives a lot of valuable hints. You will often read, for example on MobyGames, that it “[got] rid of its tournament and economic gameplay angles and instead delivers a fast, straight up, arcade fighter.” It’s far more likely that it was the other way round: That Ningyō Tsukai never had these features, that it was Megatech that put them in.

This is the bar in Metal & Lace, it functions as the main menu for all these extra features. Note that the “generic babe” at the bar (that’s the name you get when you click on her) looks a lot like the sidekick in Cobra Mission. Note also the general graphic style. Now compare it to the intro:

This hardly looks as if it was from the same source. Furthermore, Megatech never used a screenshot of the bar or the shops anywhere, not on the box, not on their website. The screenshots and graphics that they used are fighting scenes, the intro, or the babe pics that are unlocked by fighting. In each of these fighting screenshots, as well as on the approximately half dozen screenshots I have found of Ningyō Tsukai you see the robot known as Mimi in Metal & Lace. It is also the one featured in the intro and on the box of Ningyō Tsukai, and the protagonist in Ningyō Tsukai 2.

So, most likely Ningyō Tsukai was a straightforward fighting game just like its sequel, which is more a re-release with enhanced graphics. The tournament mode, the power-ups, the money, the bar, all this was added by Megatech (I think they added a number of backgrounds as well), and the protagonist became just one of the robots you can choose. But this time the changes were less of an improvement, most reviewers prefer Ningyō Tsukai 2 over Metal & Lace, and not just because of the improved graphics, but for gameplay reasons as well.

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