Dungeons & Dragons: Mystara Eiyuu Senki menu translations

Capcom’s Japan-only Dungeons & Dragons collection is a real work of art, far and away the definitive version of the games even for those who know exactly what a CPS2 suicide battery is and how to change one. Unfortunately for importers the extensive menus are all in Japanese which isn’t a lot of help to most, so I’m going to try and fill in the gaps in the blog post.

Oh – sorry about the “screenshot” quality by the way; this blog post isn’t going to be pretty, but hopefully it’ll be useful!

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  • D&D Tower of Doom: Start Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom
  • D&D Shadow over Mystara: Start Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara
  • ネットワーク:Network mode – create/join online games here
  • ギャラリー:Gallery – view various artwork and illustrations
  • オプション:Options – adjust screen size, smoothing, and similar here
  • クレジット:View the credits
  • 解説書: Digital manual
  • 更新履歴: Patch notes

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  • ゲーム作成:Create game
  • ゲーム参加:Join game
  • 招待確認:Messages
  • ランキング:Ranking

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  • ゲーム選択:Choose game
  • 難易度: Difficulty select
  • プレイヤー人数:Number of players
  • プライベートスロット:Number of private slots
  • チャプター:Chapter select
  • ボイスチャット:Voice chat (あり=yup/なし= nope)
  • ネームエントリー:Name entry (あり= yup/なし=nope)
  • アピールコメント: “Appeal comment” – basically a message letting potential players know how you want to play, from “Let’s see the ending!” to “Let’s try to clear the game in one credit!”, that sort of thing.
  • 装備アイテム:Sets whether equipment can break (壊れる) or not break (壊れない)
  • ランダムダメージ:Random damage on/off – only an option for Tower of Doom

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(The default option is すべて – all)

  • ゲーム選択:Choose game
  • 難易度:Difficulty select
  • プレイヤー人数: Number of players
  • ボイスチャット:Voice chat

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  • イラスト:Illustrations
  • 開発ノート:Design notes/rough sketches and similar
  • キャラクター紹介映像: Character strategy videos
  • 開発秘話映像: Developer interviews

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The small window on the right of this menu shows a preview of your changes as you make them

  • 画面サイズ:Screen size (opens a new window - [square]=default [triangle]=hold this while moving the dpad to maintain a 4:3 ratio)
  • スムージング:Smoothing
  • スキャンライン:Scan lines
  • フリッカー:Adjusts scanline flicker intensity
  • クロスカラー:Cross colour (like deliberately introducing the effect of a poor quality CRT)
  • 音量:Volume
  • 初期設定に戻す:Press [Circle] to restore default settings

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The above screen and all the others below are found in the options menu at the title screen once you’ve started up either Tower of Doom or Shadow over Mystara – I’ll just cover the text heavy/not-obvious ones.

  • ゲームオプション:Game options
  • プレイヤーオプション:Player options
  • カラーエディット:Colour edit
  • コントローラ:Controller
  • スクリーン:Screen
  • サウンド:Sound
  • ゲームマニュアル:Game manual
  • 戻る:Return

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Game options

  • 難易度:Difficulty select
  • プレイヤー人数:Number of players
  • 同キャラクター選択:Sets whether you can (できる) or can’t (できない) pick the same character as someone else
  • 装備アイテム:Sets whether equipment can break (壊れる) or not break (壊れない)
  • ランダムダメージ:Random damage on/off (Tower of Doom only)
  • スコアリセット:Score reset
  • 初期設定に戻す:Restore default settings
  • 戻る:Back

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Player option

(できる=yups/できない=not on your nelly)

  • ガード操作:Allow guarding (manually assigning guard to a specific button appears to override this)
  • 大斬り操作:Allow strong attacks (as above)
  • アタックボタンで拾う:Pick up items with the attack button
  • スライディング操作で拾う:Pick up items while sliding
  • 初期設定に戻す:Restore default settings
  • 戻る:Return

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  • 画面サイズ:Screen size
  • スムージング:Smoothing
  • スキャンライン:Scan lines
  • フリッカー:Adjusts scan line flicker intensity
  • クロスカラー:Cross colour (like deliberately introducing the effect of a poor quality CRT)
  • 初期設定に戻す:Restore default settings
  • 戻る:Return

    2015-03-25 17.39.25In-game menu

    • 戻る:Return
    • コントローラ:Controller
    • プレイヤーオプション:Player options
    • スクリーン:Screen
    • ゲームマニュアル:Game manual
    • ゲームを終了: End game

    Hope that’s some help!

  • Dragon Quest world prop series 1/1 Loto’s sword

    Nobody’s going to mind another Dragon Quest post, right?

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    This rather swish looking full-size replica of one of Dragon Quest’s most iconic pieces of cutlery was released in October 2014 for the eye-watering price of ¥21600 (currently worth about £120/$180USD), and going off the title it appeared to be the beginning of a new era of high quality prop-level items from Square Enix – everything looked pretty rosy (and expensive) for Dragon Quest fans.

    So why are Japanese retailers now struggling to sell this headline piece of merchandise for a mere ¥8000(ish)? Why are the reviews on Amazon Japan almost entirely negative?

    Well, there’s really no getting away from the fact that the quality of this sword in no way matches the original selling price, and even the finish is poor – my sword arrived factory sealed and therefore largely untouched by human hands, and yet it still had some dings on the plastic “blade” and the gold detailing doesn’t quite line up with the sword itself. Now on a cheaper item, or on an item that wasn’t trying to sell itself as a prop replica, this would be forgivable but on a “headline” piece of merchandise that is supposed to retail for the price of a Vita it is not.

    The good news is that I was aware of all of these issues before mine arrived and in its beautiful presentation box with the sun shining along the 42 inch sword it does look absolutely fantastic – just don’t look too closely and don’t pay too much if you’d like one for yourself.

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    Dragon Quest X Play Report*

    *Hey, if the title’s good enough for Famitsu, then it’s good enough for me!

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    People have been asking me what Dragon Quest X is like ever since I downloaded the PC benchmark test in… 2013 (eep!) - when they’re not too busy pelting me with rocks for be able to play it (and Phantasy Star Online 2 too – sorry!), that is. However game mechanics have never been my forte and I find they’re not really all that interesting to talk about, so I’m going to attempt to describe more how Dragon Quest X feels than the nuts-and-bolts of how it actually plays. I’m currently a level 41 43 44 45 Weddie human priest that’s getting towards the end of finished the original main story, so while I’m not up to date on the latest plotlines, events, and the extras that I know are out there I think I can at least pass on a bit of information that might qualify as “vaguely interesting”.

    Oh, and I’ll be spending a fair bit of time comparing this game to Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV, because they are:

    • Square-Enix’s other big MMOs
    • Other big MMOs that occupy the relatively unique position of being console-led and not free to play
    • Probably MMOs you’ve played
    • Definitely MMOs I’ve played

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    If you’re after a snappy soundbite-ish description of Dragon Quest X try this one – it’s how Final Fantasy XI used to be. Sort of. Perhaps “How you think you remember how Final Fantasy XI used to be” would be more apt. In any case levelling is relatively slow by modern MMO standards - you are not going to be done with the main story and at the level cap by the end of an energy drink fuelled weekend in this game - but while you’re left with the feeling that Dragon Quest X isn’t afraid to make you work for your progress never acts as a game that doesn’t respect the time you invest in it either. In general things aren’t as easy or as streamlined as we’re used to with other mainstream MMOs, but for every “problem” the game presents a reasonable solution: There are no handy “!”marks to lead you through convenient quest chains, but NPCs are marked on your map and a quest list is available at all times. Travel isn’t as straightforward as Final Fantasy XIV’s aetheryte teleportation system, but there are items, trains, stones, and mounts that can all be unlocked and then used to whisk you away from dungeons, travel across the map or return to your home point. The enemies that roam the land aren’t piñatas filled with XP, gold, and loot; but there are XP-boosting items, lucrative tradecrafts and the ability to hire yourself out as an NPC to other players so you can even earn a bit of XP and gold without even having to be online. As such the game feels “challenging” more than it does “punishing”, and every problem or inconvenience you’re presented with has a reasonable solution if you care to go and sort it out.

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    The social aspect of the game is again different – this time from MMOs old and new. It’s all a bit “hands off” – you can get through the entire main storyline using only hired offline player characters from the pub (this is actually how I played the game) and this doesn’t require excessive grinding to compensate for your AI helpers either. Maybe having the option to play an MMO solo sounds a little weird, but as someone who likes the genre but doesn’t have guaranteed clear blocks of time to go raiding I very much appreciate being given the tools to progress without having to hope there are some other people around that don’t mind helping out. This also means that playing older content isn’t any more of a problem for me over two years after the game launched than it was for people doing it when is was all fresh and new, in contrast to Final Fantasy XI where until quite recently making real progression through older content required either an incredibly patient friend clearing a path or grinding yourself to tears so you could steamroll over everything by yourself. This isn’t to say that Dragon Quest X doesn’t want people to socialise – in my experience the towns are always full of people chatting, organising a team, or trying to flog their wares – but how much interaction you have is left entirely up to you.

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    In keeping with the “like a proper JRPG but online” theme that seems to run through the entire game Dragon Quest X’s story is as charming and well written as anything I’ve seen from the rest of the series and the characters are memorable, funny, and bursting with personality that really shines through in every well-directed cutscene. In terms of player importance you’re surrounded by strong storyline characters a la Final Fantasy XI but not totally drowned out by them, while at the other end of the scale you’re really very important to the overarching plot yet not Super Amazing Saviour of the Known Universe and Everything In and Out of It the way Final Fantasy XIV tends to portray the player. It’s a nice balance that made me feel good about myself for achieving things and bashing monsters without leaving everyone else in the story with little room to breathe.

    As for the monster bashing itself, that’s an interesting and successful attempt to bring old-school JRPG menu battling to a modern real-time setting. The battle menus are traditional JRPG boxed menus with not a hotbar or cooldown timer in sight (although the battle system does appear to be run on a hidden ATB-style timer to determine when your next turn appears). You think this would feel limiting to a woman who’s used to four active battle hotbars when she’s playing as a Scholar in Final Fantasy XIV but it honestly doesn’t, by and large it feels just like playing a typical console JRPG. Bosses do have area of effect based attacks and you can avoid them by moving out the way (apparently some attacks can be avoided by jumping at the right time too, but I can’t say I’ve tested this myself), but the effect areas are “invisible” and the reactions required (and punishment for not avoiding them) are nothing like Final Fantasy XIV’s infamous Titan battle. Hired NPC party members can be issued basic orders in battle, either individually or as a group, so you can make them save precious MP or go all-out on a boss (amongst other things). These hired hands will also automatically move out of the way of avoidable attacks and can be trusted to keep themselves out of harm’s way and make a real contribution to battle – I’ve died a lot playing Dragon Quest X, and I’ve honestly never felt it was due to the AI of my team. Other fun little additions include the ability to push enemies away from more delicate team members (think of a tank keeping a monster away from a healer) and the built-in option to switch between weapon sets during battle, at the cost of a turn. For me that meant keeping a wand and shield ready for casting healing magic and siphoning MP off of enemies but having a staff on standby for more straightforward physical damage if the situation required it.

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    If all this online malarkey really is too much to bear then there’s always offline mode – although this still plays very much like its full-fat online counterpart. I must admit I’ve not actually played this companion story to the main game yet mostly because I know that the expansion didn’t add a further offline quest and I want to save it for a rainy day. I do know however that it’s not particularly long and while apparently not bad by any means it appears to have been created to try and appease those that really, really, couldn’t stand an online-only Dragon Quest game: it would appear that the lack of any further offline quests perhaps indicates that Japan’s fine with online Dragon Quest after all.

    Square-Enix do get a lot of flak for not translating this game but I can’t really blame them for not bringing it over: Dragon Quest isn’t an ironclad guaranteed million-seller outside Japan the way Final Fantasy is, and appealing to the MMO crowd with a game that doesn’t really play much like a typical MMO is going to work about as well as trying to sell an online-only Dragon Quest game is to long-time fans of Japan’s most stubbornly retro RPG series. You kind of need to be exactly at the point where “Likes playing old JRPGs” and “Likes playing MMOs” intersect on a Venn diagram for this one, and that’s a rather small group as it is. This is before we even get to the part where I remember to say that the game’s major formats are Wii, Wii U, and PC – with supporting (and by user accounts, rather poor) 3DS and tablet releases for Dragon Quest X-ing on the move – not exactly traditional territory for this sort of game at the best of times. As it stands Dragon Quest X is profitable, successful, and popular where it is and it’s better to have it Japan-only than not at all, which is exactly where a Dragon Quest MMO would be if it required projected global success to be greenlit. Dragon Quest X is ultimately a brilliant, beautiful MMO that does as it pleases and isn’t interested in conforming to any standard other than being the best Dragon Quest MMO it can be; and in my opinion it’s utterly succeeded.

    A little look at… Tori no Hoshi: Aerial Planet

    The Playstation hardware family has become something of a victim of its own success with so many good (and bad) titles available worldwide it’s very easy to lose sight of the smaller, off-beat games that have cropped up throughout Sony’s gaming history. One of those under-the-radar games is Tori no Hoshi: Aerial Planet for the Playstation 2, a game perhaps “best” described as a sci-fi hang gliding survival-adventure with alien spacebird photography.

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    The setting for this unique title is a simple one – Hugo, with his AI partner Carl, is stranded on one side of the mostly aquatic alien planet Cornius Blue after some trouble aboard the orbiting research station where Hugo, his father, and the rest of the crew were living and researcher-ing on. With nothing more than an fancy futuristic glider designed for bird watching and an awful lot of youthful determination it’s up to the player to help Hugo survive alone on this alien world and reunite with the rest of the crew.

    This means that the basic goal of the game is to not die. Now you could argue this is the goal of pretty much any game that has ever been created, but in Tori no Hoshi’s case things are a little different. Most of the wildlife you encounter is either disinterested or outright afraid of you as you gently glide past so there’s little in the way of traditional enemies to bother you while you play but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to worry about - instead of typical adversaries to battle with the game instead offers the far more primal obstacles of finding enough food to eat and a safe place to rest before the night draws in. Hunger becomes a constant worry as you glide over the uncharted terrain of this unfamiliar world – will you find a new campsite? Will there be any food to forage there? Even if you do will you have enough time to dry out your provisions in the sun or will a storm sweep in and ruin everything? On more than a few occasions you’ll be forced to send an exhausted Hugo to sleep in the rain with an empty stomach and have little more than hope that the next day will fare better.

    This might sound like a meandering exercise in unrelenting depression rather than an exciting adventure on an alien planet, so this is probably a good time to mention that at all times Tori no Hoshi has a laundry list of quests to keep you busy; some of these are vital to progressing the story while others are entirely optional but might offer some useful knowledge or simply test your skills. These varied quests mean there’s always something to think about other than the gnawing hunger in Hugo’s stomach because all your food supplies have rotted away, and they help to give some focus to what is otherwise a rather freeform experience.

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    When playing the game is split in two distinct segments – camping and gliding. The camp is where you’ll sleep for the night, forage for food, dry out the food you find if the weather holds out (dried rations tend to last longer than their fresh counterparts), and where you’ll have the opportunity to observe the behaviour of any bird groups pecking around nearby. Gliding is all about exploring the islands around you and hopefully finding more safe campsites to rest at as well as photographing birds in flight (shots of new birds give a permanent HP bonus) and using the glider’s on-board research capabilities to record any bird calls Hugo hears. As gliding in a regular hang glider is a one-way trip, Hugo’s sci-fi variant comes with a limited boost function that allows him to generate lift even when there’s no thermal currents around.

    But far and away the centrepiece of this game are of course the birds themselves – nameless and unknown, yet Hugo’s life depends on the player being able to interpret their behaviour and turn them into survival skills. Which foods do birds avoid? Which birds do birds avoid? Each species has a preferred terrain, meal, and place in the local ecosystem and by learning and then using the glider to play back different calls Hugo can scare dangerous birds away or have more sociable species them follow behind him in a beautiful formation. It can be daunting to read about here but the game eases each of these concepts on to the player at a reasonable pace, allowing each idea to become familiar and useful before layering further complications on top.

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    Unfortunately this is where the issue arises for gamers without some grasp of written Japanese, as the game does do a very good job of explaining itself… but only if you can read the text. Visual clues are virtually nonexistent – great for the atmosphere, not so great for brave importers who’d like to try out one of the most memorable and unique games of its generation. With any luck though a fan translation for this game will arise at some unknown future date, and perhaps then Tori no Hoshi will finally get some of the attention it deserves.

    Spooks in SPPAAAAAAACCCEEEEEE (Nebula: Echo Night)

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    Considering just how many games are out there you’d think we’d have a few more ghost stories around by now other than Fatal Frame, Echo Night, Corpse Party and… and… umm… Ghostbusters on the C64? But even though the horror game market has relatively little competition on the ghost-game front From Software still felt the need to mix things up and instead of presenting Nebula players with a typical haunted house/school setting they went with the more unusual ghosts-in-space angle instead, casting the player as the last living human trapped on a remote moon base. It was this uncommon take on the genre that attracted me to the game when I bought it all those years ago, but it was Anne's #Frombruary that got me to finally dig the game out again and play it through.

    Now then, wandering around a futuristic moon base in a giant spacesuit doesn’t exactly conjure up images of untold terror, but the unfamiliar setting coupled with some clever design make for a consistently off-kilter ambience that leaves players genuinely unsure as to what they’ll encounter next. Movement is slow and clunky (although not intolerably so) due to the unwieldy spacesuit you’re wearing and your visor’s restricted field of vision means everything feels just a little more claustrophobic and uncomfortable than it normally would. You can run (well, jog) if you want to speed things up a bit or if you need to escape from a ghost but this also slightly raises your heart rate which means it’s a bit easier for you to keel over and die because…

    ...because staying alive relies upon you keeping the main character’s heart rate at sub-heart attack levels. Nebula has no health bar (nor weapons or any means to defend yourself either, while I remember to mention it) and as dealing with ghosts is quite rightly a terrifying business having them chase you down a corridor  baying for your blood can kill your character from fright. Even better (“better”, she says!), as your heart rate becomes an audible thumping in your ears your vision narrows and grows darker too, which only adds to an already panic-inducing experience. The good news is your heart rate will recover completely if you find a safe room to duck in to or if you can stop the ghost attacking (more on that later), so while it’s easy enough to get yourself in a mess it’s also easily reversed too.

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    There’s a good variety in the ghosts and the scares you’ll encounter, ranging from the supremely unsettling laughter of small (dead) children to violent (dead) priests that will chase you from the room and then can be heard (and seen, via the security camera) banging on the door separating you from their wrath. These encounters are genuinely scary when you first encounter them… although this is the part where we come to the problem with Nebula as towards the end when these things should perhaps be building to a crescendo it instead peters out – to the point where there are literally no ghosts left to deal with (and by that I mean “run in a blind panic from”) if you’ve been diligent in your ghost-saving.

    You see, all the ghosts in Nebula have meaning and tie in to the plot in some way – there are no generic “grunts” to run from. While this sounds like a good idea on paper in Nebula’s case this also means that all the ghosts can be saved, and when you save them they happily trot off to the afterlife and stop scaring you with unearthly moans about being dead. Actually we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, because all you really need to do to stop the ghosts attacking is find the card-swipe panel on the wall in each area used to remove the mysterious fog that makes the ghosts aggressive – once this is done helping them shuffle off this mortal coil is for a lot of them an optional extra. Some ghosts are non-aggressive from the start and in those instances all you need to do stop your spacesuit-ed lead’s pulse from racing is find the ghost in question and start talking to them. So all-in-all having everything in the game have some significance is in some ways a problem, because the more involved you are in the mystery and the deeper you involve yourself in the ghosts (ex) lives, the safer you end up being.

    It doesn’t help either that the story really doesn’t make a lick of sense, with plot holes (or if we’re feeling charitable, unexplained mysteries) so big you could fit a moon base of your very own in them without any difficulty. In fairness though this isn’t really a problem that rears its head until the very end of the game when you realise that the big reveal that’s going to tie all these loose threads together simply isn’t going to happen, leaving you feeling rather underwhelmed and baffled as you watch the credits roll.

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    I’ve been a bit negative up there but overall Nebula was good fun and is well worth playing through once, as the first time through piecing everything together can be enthralling if you get caught up in the lives and the mysteries of the people on the base as told through the flashbacks, notes, and dialogue you encounter as you stumble around in the dark.  It was also nice to see a horror game where the character is scared as well as the player – something that’s often strangely absent from a genre that’s all about pitting reasonably ordinary people against the dead and/or foul monstrosities.

    So my advice would be to play Nebula, just don’t think about it too much – unlike Konami’s Silent Hill 2, for example, there is no greater meaning to be scried here or dark mystery that can be unravelled on a more attentive second play through, making Nebula a very entertaining but ultimately disposable haunted house of space-based horrors.

    If you’d like to give the game a go but don’t fancy playing through in Japanese you’ll be pleased to learn Nebula: Echo Night had both an NTSC-U and PAL release under the name Echo Night Beyond.