So, uh, what the heck am I blogging this for, I hear you cry…
Though I’ve had my time excessively drained with working activities recently, I’ve also had what little spare time I’ve had left also being consumed by my pretty homebrew cartridge. So I figured I had better write about this and present my excuses for being lazy with my other commitments, like this blog, my RPG maker game, Aniventure, et al.
See, this xmas just gone, my main request (besides the new Fire Emblem game) was a good, easy to use homebrew cartridge. I got an N5, which is a spin-off of the popular R4DS cartridge, and I don’t think I could’ve got a better one. Its easy to use and versatile, fitting into the SLOT-1 on the DS, and not requiring a bypass cartridge in the GBA slot. Moreover, software does not have to be DLDI patched with this little gem, saving you some time and hassle on the PC end. I highly recommend it!
So, some fun things to do with your homebrew…
1. Play a (fairly) fully functional version of Fate Stay Night with Voices!
Well, this was obviously going to be top of my list, wasn’t it? LOL. I could hardly believe it at first, but its true and it works fine. The hardworking resident of weeboo.nl has created an entire visual novel interpreter and has also posted a downloadable version of Fate/Stay Night to use in conjuction with it.
Though it takes a bite out of my Micro SD card by being there, I feel its pretty worthwhile. Having text on the bottom screen and images on the top is vastly superior to overlaying the image with text. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a boom of DS visual novels (though I guess Another Code, Hotel Dusk, Time Hollow et al. count as visual novels with puzzle elements)
What I will say though is that the sound effects support is bit trashy. I’m aware the DS has crappy RAM, but waiting 2 seconds each time a sound effect has to load is a bit of a pain in the behind. The battle scenes end up being slide-show like and lose their excitement because of these delays.
I find this to be rather weird, actually, since there is never any delay in the voices, which are integrated perfectly, despite the fact that one would think those would take longer…
Its also crashed a couple of times on me, but despite its instabilities, I still think its a cool effort.
Check it out at: http://www.weeaboo.nl/index.php?cat=2
2. Play DOS classics
My original main reason for requesting a homebrew cart. I’m an abandonware lover, having grown up with DOS based machines and an Atari-ST. I love to return to all those games I sucked at as a kid and give them the attention that they really deserved. My picks in this field are:
Arguably the greatest western shooter ever made in the 90’s, it was rebuilt into the Tyrian 2000 version with an additional episode and has since become abandonware.
Everything in Tyrian is classic, from the expertly tuned waves of enemies and the huge bosses to the stupendously cohesive upgrade screen that allows for thousands of combinations. Then there’s the almost tongue in cheek storyline that you recieve from collecting data-cubes. Some of the cubes you collect are hilarious, like tourist reports, sales brochures, and essays trying to explain just why there is fruit floating around in space.
And now you can play it on the move with your DS, thanks to the efforts of the people at VespeneGas. Awesome!
Its a nearly perfect port. It does suffer some slight slowdown when there’s hundreds of bullets on screen, but its otherwise pretty flawless.
You can also get the original PC version from Abandonia.
Well, of course!
The classic annoying as hell save the strange little creatures game is still alive and well on your DS as the LemProject.
This is again a flawless port, with absolutely no slow-down, and all of the levels from both the original and Oh no! More Lemmings packages for your enjoyment. Its something that the stylus was almost made for, since I always used to get seriously annoyed with the relative inaccuracy of a mouse selection box.
Anyway, check out LemProject to learn more.
Well, again, you can’t have ANY retro platform without some kind of port of Doom, can you? Considering it truly started the FPS phenomenon and all that. And managed to be genuinely scary when played with the lights off.
Again, its a solid port without any significant issues. Having a constant automap on the bottom screen is actually quite useless if you know the game as well as I do, but nevertheless its reasonable use of the real-estate.
Get it from DSDOOM. You’ll need an original WAD file, though. (LOL, I still have it on floppy disks…)
3. Use it as a medium for SCUMM-VM.
Remember all those LucasArts adventure games, like Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max, Curse of Monkey Island, et al.? Well, as any abandonware affectionado can tell you, getting these things to play on your modern computer is nigh on impossible. Since, hey, DOS no longer exists since Windows 2000/ XP.
Of course, you can get around this by using the famous DosBox emulator (which I whole heartedly recommend). But for these games in paticular, some clever chaps went and wrote a modern interpreter, ScummVM, which takes the original data and puts it into a more Windows friendly format.
And now, you can use ScummVM on your DS, thanks to DrunkenCoders.
I use it to play my old CDROM copies of Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island 2. What’s more, voices are supported from these versions fine.
Its functionally a reasonable job, but I will say that the screen scaling is always off, which I can’t help but find a bit irritating. (that is, having to scroll the screen to access the bottom few pixels)…
I also don’t really understand the zoom on speech function. Its a neat idea, but it just gives me headaches…
Ah well, its still a great thing to appeciate this stuff on the move.
Hope you enjoy that stuff! I know I have!
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