It appears this year one of our more interesting ROM gets of the year is a tad last-second. My friends, let me tell you a story about true Christmas spirit, great ambitions, the hot-blooded determination of mankind, and hex editing! … Or possibly something resembling that. I’m not entirely sure.
A bit earlier in the month, there was a Satellaview set on eBay. Noting that it seemed a tad cheaper than what most models recently sell for, I basically went up to Callis and was like “OMG GET IT PLZ KTHXBAI”. With enough pressure, he caved. Yes, I probably am a dick for doing that.
Flash forward to just last Wednesday. Yep, the 21st.
Callis, in his typical Satellaview ROM dumping pattern, sends me a dump of both the 8M Pack ROM and the BS-X SRAM. It initially looked bad. Why? Well, see…
Yeah, that’s why. I couldn’t get it to boot even in an attempt to fix the checksum at first. He was initially disappointed. I didn’t want to give up yet, though… I’m stubborn like that. I wanted to salvage as much as I could out of this.
For reference, So far that salvaging hasn’t quite resulted in anything as dramatic as repairing that bad Kirby Guruguru Ball dump yet. Yes, I really did try that once… but anyway!
First, I asked him to pull out the Romaji for the game’s header. It was “スターソルジャー2MINS”.
“Hmm? 2MINS is a bit odd, but, that “Suta Soruja”… ‘Star Soldier?’ That NES Game?”
When Callis told me he could spot 8-bit game tiles in the tile editor (along with partially-overwritten BS Zelda graphics. D’oh!), I figured this was something worth the attempt to save. In a search to find a ROM Hacker, I hopped into the IRC chatroom for The Cutting Room Floor.
Linking the ROM to the folks, I was actually sort of surprised by the immediate interest.
One person in particular was very eager to analyze the ROM; BMF.
After about an hour of digging and looking up various ROM aspects, he did a comparison between this game and the “Caravan Shooting Collection” retail cart and, somehow, this gave him a solution to get the ROM working…
Change the first byte.
A single byte being the difference between working and non-working? Now, I will admit, this sounded familiar, so I should not have been taken off-guard. At least not completely. But I was pretty floored regardless. I decided to change that byte and pop in that ROM and see it play for myself.
Yes, I do still suck at vertical shmups, but that’s besides the point!
And so, what at first seemed to be a letdown turned out to be one of the more interesting ROM finds of the year!
I’ve tried looking up the specific title, but can’t find ANY documentation about a Satellaview-specific 2 Minute Star Soldier. (There’s a lot of entries for Caravan Shooting Collection, though..)
All I have to go on here is that it’s download date is August 24th, and that it overwrote some BS Zelda data…. perhaps it was from the 1995 broadcast year?
Either way, in the meantime I’ll bring up this info which is probably similar enough for the time being;
The ROM appears to be based on “Star Soldier Special Version” for Famicom, which featured 2-minute and 5-minute modes. Here’s some Youtube video of that for reference.
The ROM code appears to have some 5-minute mode stuff in the hex data, but currently I do not know how to access it in-game. Perhaps another ROM hacker can look at it?
The game’s code is obviously based on the “Caravan Shooting Collection” version of Star Soldier, so it has the same minor touch-ups.
It’s possible this ROM was released to promote a “Hudson Caravan” event.
I unfortunately can’t seem to find much info on the “Special Versions” of Star Soldier for Famicom, either.
Anyhow, yes, enough talking about the ROM, let me supply it! But a few notes; The file I’m linking contains the ROM in it’s original dumped state, and an IPS patch that does the following:
1) Changes the first byte so it can boot.
2) Fixes the missing Maker/Checksum info.
3) Removes the excess BS Zelda ROM data.
This is all an attempt to restore it as close to it’s original broadcast state as possible.
(NOTE: Anyone who I might’ve sent a patch to earlier – redownload if you want to run this on bsnes.)
Oh, and because this one is actually -smaller- in filesize…
STAR SOLDIER 2MINS pre-patched w/repair patch
Oh, and by the way, the BS Zelda forum folks are already analyzing the BS Zelda code portion.
Whew, all that, and this wasn’t even my originally planned Christmas present!
There’s more coming tomorrow, folks!
Ho! Ho! Ho!