A Satellaview research blog.

The 25th anniversary comes with a Holy Grail (Guest article from ChronoMoogle)

Hello all, ChronoMoogle here!

It’s been a while since I made my last guest-blogpost here on Satellablog, but it was about time for this release.
Those who follow my ramblings on Twitter will likely know that I am somewhat of a maniac about the game Terranigma, better known as Tenchi Souzou in Japan. This Super Nintendo game is very dear to me – it is the first Action-RPG that I ever played – and up to this day, very few games can match up to the tight gameplay, great story and beautiful presentation of this Classic. In my opinion at least.

It originally let me to revisit and collect for the Super Nintendo and eventually ended up caring and helping with the console’s preservation. Also, I ended up exploring the rest of Quintets output during the 90s – which made me appreciate their output even more. Even though the studio folded end of that century, they definitely were one of the best Japanese development teams of their time. Notable is that some team members from Ancient Corp and Enix also had a lot of input into Tenchi Souzou, but looking where the team behind Tenchi Souzou and lots of elements/ideas from this game went after it’s development concluded, is a story for another day.

Today, I want to tell you about Tenchi Souzou on Satellaview. A few years back, KiddoCabbusses and me went through a ton of fresh scans of Satellaview streaming schedules, which got printet in the Weekly Famitsu during the Extension’s high life. We were of course on the hunt for unheard information about games, mags and demos on Satellaview which were previously not publicly recorded in the internet. And we found quite a few of them.

One of these was Tenchi Souzou Demo. And that got my heart pumping: The original game is a 32Mbit title, which means it can impossibly fit on a Satellaview cartridge. To allow fitting on the small size of the flash cart, this Satellaview demo definitely could only be a slice of the game and thus MUST have differences to the retail version. I had to find this.

I was on the search for it for a few years and kept on buying new Satellaview 8Ms every now and then, but as you all know it’s a lottery. At least I found some other cool stuff on the way.
Something else that I did though, was tweet every now and then, spreading the info that this demo exists and that I want to find it no matter what. I am really glad that I did that, because after a few years I got contacted by a seller who found the demo on an 8M and was willing to sell it to me.

Thanks to the generous contribution of Matthew Callis, Carnivol and Dieter von Laser, I was able to buy it and ikari_01 helped as usual to get a clean ROM dump of the demo out of the cartridge.
The demo itself consists of a bunch of the CGI cutscenes from the game, which play after clearing major dungeons. The demo was likely ment to show off these special visuals, which were quite impressive for the Super Nintendo in 1995 (and still look quite nice today). There is no gameplay, it’s just cutscenes. So for most this will likely be nothing earth-shattering, but I know of quite a few other Terranigma-Fans out there which were really looking forward to get their hands on this. And it’s one of the few unique demos for the Satellaview which is not same to retail in existence. I honestly can’t put into words how glad I am to release this today. Thank you to everyone who helped to get this out there.

Happy 25th Anniversary to Terranigma/Tenchi Souzou and greetings to all the fans of the game!
Make sure to visit this year’s anniversary Twitter hashtag: #天地創造25thおめでとう

[サテラビュー] 天地創造 DEMO | Tenchi Souzou Demo (BS)
ROM Download

[Kiddo’s notes: The file download here comes with the ROM in it’s original dump state as well as a ROM by ikari_01 that is a more proper preservation with no corruption and correct checksums.
ChronoMoogle‘s post focuses on celebrating this dump for today‘s anniversary of the game, so what I want to add to this story is the tale behind recovering the dump to it‘s original state.
After obtaining the 8M Pack for ROM dumping, which took some period of time, it seemed that, in spite of the best attempts the team did, the ROM dump would consistently come out like the dumped state, making it a corrupt ROM.
The “Corrupt” ROM is almost as fully playable as the fixed one. (It will fail checksum checks, so it wouldn’t run on modern Satellaview emulation setups, but otherwise…)
Because of this, we spent a long while struggling to figure out what was wrong.
Eventually, ikari_01 figured the best way to resolve the issue was to compare the ROM to the retail game…
Lo and behold, the corruption happened in a small area in the fonts, a really obscure spot that’d have been impossible to track without such a comparison.
Once the retail game’s font data was written over the corrupted font data, the ROM’s checksum was correct without needing to change it, confirming the purification. The result is the fixed ROM.
This kind of ROM recovery was nearly miraculous.
This is ultimately a cautionary tale of how, even if you do everything seemingly right, 8M Packs are VERY fragile!]

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