The PC Engine

 (Image taken from Wikimedia Commons)

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, since I have yet to get my Metal Max 2 package yet, I’m playing Tengai Makyo Ziria for the PC Engine this week. Playing PC Engine games is actually a natural outgrowth of what I wanted to do with this blog, despite the name. The reason I chose the Super Famicom is that it’s a nostalgic console for me that has a lot of RPGs never localized in the US that I wanted to play.

This is actually true of the PC Engine as well. I had a friend in middle school who was in one of those unfortunate situations with a rich stepdad trying to buy his affection. He had every video game console possible with tons of games for each one. At one point he lent me his Turbo Grafx CD with all his games, so I was able to play Ys 1-3, Exile, Valis, and a few other games. I’ve rarely been so blown away by a console. This was before the release of the Super Nintendo, and these games had voice acting, music played directly off the CD, and graphics that were somewhat better than the NES.

Alas, the Turbo Grafx failed in the US. In Japan it was a very popular console that rivaled Sega and Nintendo, and there were a lot of RPGs for it. Some of these I’ve always wanted to play (like the Tengai Makyo series and Ys IV).

I did not start this blog from the earliest Famicom games because I wanted to avoid that era of RPGs. I can play some old games, but there’s a limit to how far I can go back. The old graphics don’t bother me, but there are a number of gameplay and interface problems that were fine when I was a kid, but I find hard to deal with now. Some of these are:

  • A lack of strategic options in battle, so that grinding is often necessary
  • Slow walking
  • You can’t see the stats of equipment when buying it in stores (or when equipping)
  • Magic users that can’t use their magic freely because every point has to be saved for boss battles
  • Severely limited inventories
  • Cumbersome interfaces for equipping, viewing status screens, healing, etc.
  • Very high random encounter rate
  • Places with heavy dependence on luck — e.g. monsters that can cast instant death spells when there’s no revive spell or item

I’m finding far too many of these in early SFC games as well but I think by the end of the console’s life it improved overall. Unfortunately the PC Engine library is closer to the Famicom than the Super Famicom in gaming style. That’s why when I do one of these PCE games I’m only going to play it for a week, unless I actually think the game is good enough to keep playing.

Anyway it may seem odd to start doing PCE games here but the blog will still be primarily Super Famicom.

5 thoughts on “The PC Engine

  1. Raifield

    I had a similar experience going to Breath of Fire I on the SNES. Is it a bad game? Not at all. But it is far more bland, grindy, and linear than I remember it being. I've never beaten it, though I've gone "back" to the game via emulation many times. It just doesn't hold interest very well.

  2. cccmar

    Ah, VA… the bane of life for all fan translators out there. I guess that's why barely any PCE-CD games got fan-translated at all, not just RPGs.
    There are some HuCard RPGs left out there too, but there aren't too many of them. In fact, from what I've researched so far, the RPG number for PCE/Genesis is rather similar all things considered.

  3. Kurisu

    It seems like they could just leave the Japanese voice acting in place. Even people who generally prefer dubbing must realize that professional-quality dubbing is beyond the ability of fan translators.

    1. Mason Flinn/OldSchoolGamer86

      I know this was a very old post and things are slightly more advanced now than then as far as fan translation is concerned(though it’s not that much of a difference, but there has been improvent especially since this period.

      I despite trying many times throughout my life to teach myself as I was always poor and during my lifetime from child-age 24/25 all my $ went toward doing things to build my game collection(which was just massive by 2007) but my life slowly started to come apart from 2008-2009 and in 2010 I became homeless and lost everything as my family discarded it all to use my room as I had/have not a cent and could never ever afford storage fees(plus storage lockers are basically almost like a guaranteed loss of stuff as they are made with the intent(like credit cards) of causing you to be forced to loose everything and them keep it and resell it/repeat cycle) and I hate that kinda stuff.

      Anyway my point is some PCE CD games have been translated now, and while there are a ton of others I wish were(both in hucard and CD format) I am thrilled games like Galaxy Fraulein Yuna, Ys 3+4, and theres atleast 2-3 others I am happy to see(I want to say Dracula X: Chi no Rondo was but I could be wrong) as well as atleast one of the Vallis games I think but I am unsure.

      I know the Momontaro Densetsu(Peach Boy) series is STILL untranslated which really frustrates me, and Same with the Dragon Knight, Cosmic Fantasy, Legends of Heroes, and Xanadu games as well as Shin Megami Tensei, Policenauts and or Snatcher, and Popful Mail(as each version of “Popful Mail” is different I would like to play it with an actual understanding of the games story/characters/events(which could have many similarities to other games or perhaps not as well🤷.

      My point was, that Dubbing is irrellivent as long as the text is correct and for games like Galaxy Fraulein Yuna and others that have voices some patches just use text, I know a very few overall have tried fan-redubbing, but I believe the BEST method is either english text displaying what was said in Japanese alone on top or bottom of screen over the video, or with (either or) JP text on top in Kana only or with Kanji(furigana always preferred by me anyway) and English description on bottom or vice versa.
      I dont know anything about coding or C++ or programing or creating sites, games, basic, any of that programming/hacking/computer functionality mumbo jumbo. But I DO KNOW that either method is not simple I am positive by any means…but its done with/in quite a few Eng Trans. Patches I’ve played and I personally prefer the text in any format to fan-dubbing personally.

      I daily hope to find or hear of PCE CD or hu card jrpg especially games getting fan translated but it is a rare thing. Some have said to me its due to PCE being hard to work wirh but after what all Ive read regarding fan-translating and the overall generality of how its done and whats necessary as well as the realities of what can and does occur and I keep it all notated in my head though accessing my memory takes lots of effort due to all my mental/psychological issues/problems/disorders(learning and otherwise) as well.

      Theres a ton of PCE games I could list I want eng translations of, preferably Japanese 2 English fixing sentences/grammar adding in as little as possible as someone who plays JP games mostly for attempts at learning and trying to keep some kana in my memory thhough Ive forgot a bit especially compounds or extensions of sounds and all the changes made by tiny symbols and I know almost but not quite 0 Kanji and almost no words as I write this besides Densetsu, Bouken, Watashi, Hana, and a few more. I lost every chart/book etc I owned from a bed bug infestation in the shitty building I was put in by my fam after I got on disability and alittle $ so I got my 1st smartphone(broke 3 years later or so), a new 2500 Kemco 50cc scooter for transportation(got stolen), and 1st/last/security to get into this dump that now is like $200+ a month more than when I moved in yet I dont get more from disability so im in a BAD place. So I got most all I could between 2017-2021 into 2022 but from then on till now getting games is almost impossible.

      Anyway, just wanted to mention my love for PCE and PCE CD as well as PC-FX(I want one back soo damn badly), and I am and have been as i traded all the NES/SNES/N64 etc stuff I got off as a kid and I got for sega genesis/game gear and eventually sega CD/32x/neo Geo, virtual boy, lynx, jaguar, 3DO, Wonderswan/Color/crystal, Turbo Grafx16/Duo/Duo-R/Saturn, Neo Geo hard and soft ware and so on.

      I love ya blog and i have the same brefcase aside from having a original white PCE and my CD unit is sadly broken.

      Love the PCE and thanks for the JRPG/SRPG general write ups. And as I am discovering Famicom/Fami Disk System and SFC as well now, I am quite enjoying SFC and am liking it quite a bit. I hope to get a Satellaview someday also even with it useless now.

      If anyone knows any places to get cheap/free or cheap kana charts or grammar/sentence building/particle info and whatever that are real message me at or im “OldSchoolGamer#7451” on Discord.

      6 years and still going strong….Love the commitment Chris/Kurisu🫵💯✊️👍✌️

  4. cccmar

    Since I have a bit of experience with PCE hacking, I can say this much: with PCE-CD games, you either dub them, or just write the script down in a text file and call it a day. It's usually impossible to cram it into the game proper with the technical limitations of the system. I fully agree that dubbing will most likely not work out particularly well, though.
    There are exceptions though, like the Dragon Knight games (where all the dialogues are subbed, nicely enough), and there's no need to program subs from scratch. It's mostly just an issue with Mega CD/PCE-CD though, newer consoles aren't as fussy in this regard.


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