Play Gundam Games on Emulator Archives

Play Gundam Games on Emulator Archives

Play Gundam Games on Emulator Archives

Play Gundam Games on Emulator Archives

FamilySoft’s PC-98 Gundam Games

The NEC PC-9801 computer: chances are, if you’ve heard of it, it’s because of Touhou Project or the platform’s large library of 16-bit eroge. In an age when seemingly all video games are at your fingertips, the obscurity and language barrier of Japanese home computer emulation has ensured that the PC-98’s software library remains largely unknown in the West.

Among this wellspring of content, unsurprisingly, is no small number of licensed anime titles, including a handful based on the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise. Exclusively released by the company FamilySoft, most of these take the form of turn-based simulation games with varying combat systems. FamilySoft seemed to corner the market for this particular genre of licensed anime game for the PC-98, having also released superficially similar titles based on Super Dimension FortressMacross, Aura Battler Dunbine, Crusher Joe, and Captain Harlock.

Beginning with Mobile Suit Gundam: Classic Operation in 1990, FamilySoft would release seven core Gundam simulation titles plus expansions. Of these, only three would feature original stories and a pedigree brought by artists that had previously worked on Gundam anime and manga.

Advanced Operation (1992)

The first, and best, of these three is Gundam: Advanced Operation. Set in late UC 0089, Advanced Operation occupies that elusive and underused timeline gap between the Gundam ZZ TV series and the film Char’s Counterattack. You follow the crew of the Pegasus Kai class ship Il Nido as they clash with a force of Neo-Zeon remnants commanded by a hawkish Haman Karn loyalist named Gerald Sinclair.

Sinclair’s mission is to hunt down the representative of a moderate Neo-Zeon faction that seeks to make peace with the Federation: the late Karn’s own younger sister, Serrana Karn. The game features original character designs by Haruhiko Mikimoto of Macross and Gundam 0080 fame. Mikimoto would later create original characters for FamilySoft’s Macross games, as well.

What may be most visually striking about the game, however, is its mechanical aesthetic. Advanced Operation represents the rare occasion outside of garage kits or his own manga where the designs of Kazuhisa Kondo are faithfully adapted, complete with oversized skirt armor and camouflage. The majority of these designs are lifted from Kondo’s 1988 manga Revival of Zeon, which takes place a year before Char’s Counterattack. This makes for some strange possible anachronisms, as near the end of the game–which story-wise doesn’t occupy a long stretch of time–you encounter ground-type Sazabi units. That said, considering that this is a game where you can potentially acquire multiple ZZ Gundams or even an early non-Newtype version of the v Gundam, odds are this continuity peculiarity will be of little concern.

Of the many FamilySoft Gundam games to have “Operation” in the title, Advanced Operation lives up to its name as being the most sophisticated. It is the only game in the loose franchise to employ a zone of control system that gives stat modifiers during a combat action from the placement of allies and enemies relative to the combatants. Experience points come not just from scoring a kill but also from successful attacks and dodges, meaning that even units that usually function in a support role will still level up. By selecting different modes, you’re able to control the way units react and perform in various situations. Because of these features, you feel like you’re actually controlling the outcome of battle and not just hoping an arbitrary random number generator decides in your favor. If you’re playing on an emulator, it means you’ll be cheating less frequently.

Return of Zion [sic] (1993)

The somewhat dumbed-down spiritual sequel to Advanced Operation, Return of Zion takes place not long after its predecessor in UC 0090, where Zeon remnants are taking part in a large-scale operation to consolidate their forces and retreat into space to join Char Aznable’s own nascent Neo-Zeon. The game focuses on a group of Haman’s Neo-Zeon in Africa called “Nightshade,” as they link up with other remnant groups and representatives of Char’s Neo-Zeon to ultimately return to space. Return of Zion’s character designs are handled by prolific Sunrise designer Toshihiro Kawamoto, and fits well into the aesthetic he established with his work on Gundam 0083. Playing up the anime style, each mission is actually bookended with an opening and ending sequence, and even a “Next Episode” card.

While Kondo’s style makes a partial return in the form of many reused sprites from Advanced Operation, he’s succeeded by Makoto Kobayashi, best known in Gundam as the designer of The O. Kobayashi’s contribution is largely seen in the detailed, worn-looking depiction of mobile suits in the game’s cutscenes as well as new mobile suit variations entirely unique to the game. These tend to take the form of reconnaissance and mid-range variations of existing mobile suits as well as non-transformable ground-based variations of the Zeta Gundam. Many mobile suits without explicitly named variations still appear highly customized, reinforcing the idea that the Zeon remnants had to use whatever was on hand for repair.

The game excels at selling the feeling of being underdog Zeon soldiers, and encourages you to resort to guerrilla tactics as you’re frequently outgunned early on. In a direct connection to Advanced Operation, one of the remnants’ recurring adversaries is the Pegasus class Il Nido, though staffed by mostly new faces.

Unfortunately, Return of Zion drops Advanced Operation’s zone of control system, reducing much of the combat to attacking and hoping for the best. Low hit-rates on both sides can result in tedious, seemingly arbitrary combat, and the new ability to turn off battle animation is surely a response to that. Advanced Operation’s myriad of unit modes have been streamlined to just five essential options: normal, full speed, assault, sniping, and supply/capture. The overall game is simplified, but the net effect is a diminished feeling of control.

A Year of War (1993)

A Year of War feels like a game of transition for FamilySoft’s Gundam titles. Abandoning the relatively untapped story gap between ZZ and Char’s Counterattack that the previous two games inhabited, it returns to the now well-worn ground of the One Year War from the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Most material that plunders the One Year War period is guilty of overstuffing it with an improbably high number of Gundam variations or secret Zeon prototypes, but A Year of War suffers from the opposite problem: your team of original Zeon characters essentially act as ineffectual witnesses to major events of the 1979 Gundam series. As such, it’s a game that wants to have things both ways: to be an original story while simultaneously being a straightforward adaptation of an earlier work.

To its credit, the first few missions take place before the events of Mobile Suit Gundam proper begin, seeing your crew (without even a special squad name!) taking part in early One Year War actions like Operation British, the Battle of Loum, and the initial Zeon operation to land troops on Earth. In those early missions, your only opponents are Salamis and Magellan class battleships. Ironically, because the game divides attack types into anti-ship and anti-mobile suit, your Musai cruisers actually tend to do better against enemy battleships than your mobile suits.

In the first two missions, your Zakus are only effective against ships due to them being equipped with nuclear bazookas. In these early battles, where mobile suits were supposed to have made such a huge impact, A Year of War portrays them as worthless unless they’re packing nukes. You can even create an anachronism by upgrading two particular pilots’ Zakus into Rick Doms ten months before they should even exist, but the lack of a nuclear armament actually ends up making them a downgrade.

Once your team arrives on Earth, the story skips nine months ahead to Garma Zabi’s funeral, as seen during the original anime. From this point on, each mission becomes survival challenge for a set amount of turns or running to one specific space on the map, usually to witness a key moment from the show or to escape from the Earth Federation forces.

Most of the gameplay system is carried over from Return of Zeon, retaining the same flaws. However, there’s no mobile suit sprite-based combat animation; rather all combat is reduced to the faster, but less impressive, quick battle system. This belt-tightening extends to the rest of the game; art that includes mobile suits, with the exception of the opening cutscene, is of a much lower quality than art of the game’s original characters. Kawamoto returns as character designer with a somewhat softer style that anticipates his work on The 08th MS Team, but tellingly there’s no dedicated mechanical designer this time. A surprisingly charming addition, however, are quaint mini-cutscenes of full sprite animation depicting key scenes of brutality such as the Solar System obliterating mobile suit forces at Solomon or the death of Gihren Zabi.

FamilySoft would take a break from Gundam and release several Macross games before returning to the franchise with Multiple Operation in 1995 and Stardust Operation the following year. These were straightforward adaptations of Mobile Suit Gundam and Gundam 0083 respectively. Both eschewed the systems that were established in this spiritual trilogy for their own distinct, somewhat convoluted combat systems, and neither had any notable guest staff.

The new characters and situations presented in FamilySoft’s original Gundam works seem to have fallen largely into obscurity even in Japan, with perhaps one notable exception: Serrana Karn and Gerald Sinclair from Advanced Operation were both given minor roles in Hiroyuki Kitazume’s manga, Char’s Deleted Affair.


Advanced Operation Gallery

Return of Zion Gallery

A Year of War Gallery

FamilySoft Cover and Catalog Gallery


Further Reading

Tagged with: emulationfamilysoftguest writergundamharuhiko mikimotokazuhisa kondomakoto kobayashione year warpc-98toshihiro kawamotovideo gamezeon

Tom Winnicki

All posts

Gundam diehard who's been one longer than he hasn't. Amateur archivist seeking out weird forgotten robot stuff when he can. You can also find him on Twitter.

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, Play Gundam Games on Emulator Archives

The Drop: New PlayStation Games for 7/12/2016

With a terrible dream echoing in your mind and the comfort of old songs pushing you onward, dive into the deep unknown in search of your lost father. Song of the Deep, a new adventure from the creators of Ratchet & Clank, is coming to PS4.

In Song of the Deep, players control the brave Merryn as she journeys into the ocean in a rickety submarine. Face fearsome creatures and survive dangerous environments as you upgrade Merryn’s submarine to reach deeper into the cavernous depths. With gorgeous visuals, non-linear play, and a gripping story, Song of the Deep will speak to any lover of classic adventures.

For a full list of new games coming to PlayStation this week, read on. And enjoy the Drop!

New Releases: July 12, 2016
PS4 — Digital (Out 7/15)

Adrift is an immersive first-person experience that tells the story of an astronaut in peril. Floating silently amongst the wreckage of a destroyed space station with no memory and a severely damaged EVA suit slowly leaking oxygen, the only survivor struggles to determine the cause of the catastrophic event that took the lives of everyone on board.

Arcade Archives Gradius II
PS4 — Digital (Out 7/15)

Gradius II is a shooter released by Konami in 1988. Players take control of the super dimension fighter Vic Viper in order to protect planet Gradius from the Gofer special forces. Gradius II is considered the best in the Gradius series and has played a pivotal role in the history of shooters.

A classic reawakens — Assault Suit Leynos is back and in high definition! Get ready for all-out robotic war as the fan favorite Genesis classic is reworked with all new HD visuals for the ultimate alien-blasting experience.

Daydreamer: Awakened Edition

Shoot your way through the hauntingly beautiful remains of Earth. Created by Roland Studios, a one-man indie development house, Daydreamer is an homage to 16-bit era side-scrolling shooters. Coupled with strategic platforming, high intensity battles, and pets that aid in combat, you wouldn’t want to wake up from this dream.

Explore, fight, talk, and hack your way through a rich cyberpunk world in this 2D action-RPG! Wanted dead by a mysterious and tentacular organization, you will traverse the futuristic city of Harbor Prime and make unexpected allies on your quest to bring down the system!

PS4 — Digital, Retail

Grab your Proton Pack and join the Ghostbusters as you explore Manhattan, blasting ghosts, and trapping those runaway ghouls.

Kill Strain is a top-down, competitive twin-stick action shooter with a monumental twist where three teams are pitted against each other for domination. Featuring innovative 5v5v2 gameplay, two teams of five players battle to contain-and-control a mysterious and powerful energy source codenamed ‘The Strain’ that has been discovered in research facilities.

Who said rocket science wasn’t for everybody! Kerbal Space Program puts you in charge of the recently launched space program for a fun and clever alien race — the Kerbals. These little guys are counting on you to build spaceships, rockets, and vehicles that can take off and hold on during space travel missions, without hurting them in the process…

PS4, PS Vita — Digital (Cross Buy)

Last Wings is a fast and dynamic air combat game, developed in a mixed environment between 2D and 3D. Play alone or in a team of up to 4 players on local mode, but if you prefer, start a battle on online mode with up to 10 players and challenge the greatest competitors of this war.

MilitAnt is an action-packed side-scrolling platform/shooter. Set in a world ruled by insects, a lone soldier ant must defend his home colony at all costs from a brutal invasion by the termite infantry, the wasp airforce, and other enemy bug nations.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS-Force

Since 1978, the Gundam franchise has undoubtedly become a spearhead series in the Japanese animation landscape. Considered as a real icon in Japan, the TV anime has led to numerous best-selling toys, movies, comics… and even a giant statue in Tokyo! Prepare for a clash of the eras as these powerful Mobile Suits are heading West with a brand new game: Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS-Force.

Help Panda survive the coming cold in this new exciting game! Grab on to the snowboard and ride to stunning adventures all over the world. It’s snowing everywhere, so Panda can easily hit the slopes of Egyptian Pyramids or the hills of sunny Italy. Unlock new boards, perform tricks, and break through to new records!

One of the most popular Resident Evil games comes to PS4 with enhanced visuals. Featuring single-player and co-op modes and a dramatic storyline, this fully-loaded release includes all previously released DLC (Lost in Nightmares and Desperate Escape story expansions, Versus mode, extra figures, and 4 costumes), and the previously PC-exclusive No Mercy mode.

Song of the Deep is a metroidvania-style action-adventure game following a young girl’s quest into the unknown to find her missing father. Combining discovery, skill, and suspense with an unforgettable narrative, this underwater journey will challenge players to explore, experiment, and skillfully navigate a vast ocean landscape.

Super Mutant Alien Assault

Three fleets of spaceships flee a doomed Earth carrying the last humans in cryostasis. Pursued by aliens, it’s up to the lowly security droids to save humanity. Taking up arms solo or with a friend, you must dance with death in a brutal and addictive arcade platformer shooter inspired by Super Crate Box and stuffed to the brim with unlockables.

PS4, PS Vita — Digital (Cross Buy)

Immerse yourself in this fascinating and unique experience to uncover the history and secrets of fonts and characters! Control two dots and travel through the ages of typographic styles and techniques. From the rock paintings of prehistoric times to Pixel art of the 2000’s, solve all the riddles by riding the most popular fonts and characters in a captivating musical and visual environment.

Videoball is a sport everyone can play. We researched basketball, football, soccer, first-person shooters, and real-time strategy games. Videoball is a compact expression of all sports’ mechanics. Score points in order to win. Win in order to Feel Real Good.

  • Dreezy – No Hard Feelings
  • Dirty Heads – Dirty Heads
  • Steven Tyler – We’re All Somebody From Somewhere

  • Ghostbusters (2016) Pre-Order
  • Hardcore Henry
  • The Boss (Unrated)

  • Naked and Afraid XL – July 10 at 10/9c (Discovery)
  • Tour de France – Live through July 24 (NBCSN)
  • Mr. Robot – July 13 at 10/9c (USA)

The information above is subject to change without notice.

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Play Gundam Games on Emulator Archives
The following tests and reports are neither exhaustive nor definitive,
and should not be assumed as such in order to verify authenticity of a submission.

Starting check.bat on Fri 08/17/2018 at 11:14:27.54

Zip test
Zip: 7-Zip [64] 15.14 : Copyright (c) 1999-2015 Igor Pavlov : 2015-12-31 Scanning the drive for archives: 1 file, 125181 bytes (123 KiB) Testing archive: C:\WolfMAME\185\inp\TG\ -- Path = C:\WolfMAME\185\inp\TG\ Type = zip Physical Size = 125181 Everything is Ok Size: 280319 Compressed: 125181 RAR: 7-Zip [64] 15.14 : Copyright (c) 1999-2015 Igor Pavlov : 2015-12-31 Scanning the drive for archives:

Zip list
7-Zip [64] 15.14 : Copyright (c) 1999-2015 Igor Pavlov : 2015-12-31 Scanning the drive for archives: 1 file, 125181 bytes (123 KiB) Listing archive: C:\WolfMAME\185\inp\TG\ -- Path = C:\WolfMAME\185\inp\TG\ Type = zip Physical Size = 125181 ---------- Path = sd.inp Folder = - Size = 280319 Packed Size = 125035 Modified = 2018-07-22 10:18:54 Created = 2018-08-17 10:24:38 Accessed = 2018-08-17 10:24:38 Attributes = A Encrypted = - Comment = CRC = CE086054 Method = Deflate Host OS = FAT Version = 20 7-Zip [64] 15.14 : Copyright (c) 1999-2015 Igor Pavlov : 2015-12-31 Scanning the drive for archives:
MAME Major Version 185

What MAME thinks:
Input file: neobattl.inp INP version 3.5 Created Sun Jul 22 10:03:36 2018 Recorded using 0.185W (wolf185) Total playback frames: 55085 Average recorded speed: 100% Average speed: 566.70% (919 seconds)
Source driver:
neobattl seta.cpp
Generic Info for game:
ROM set changed: no 0.106-0.199: neobattl - "SD Gundam Neo Battling (Japan)" Resolution, 0.106-0.199: 384x240 @ 60.000000Hz TG Game Entry: Rules, Points [Single Player Only]: Rules, Points [Two Player Team]:
INP dump not relevant

MAMEInfo.dat entries: neobattl and seta.cpp
MAMEInfo.dat entries for: neobattl seta.cpp ---- 0.68 [Luca Elia] Bugs: - Original PCB running attract mode through an RGB board and into my PC. Smitdogg (ID 03997) WIP: - 15th August 2010: Smitdogg - I picked up an SD Gundam Neo Battling board that has program roms labeled differently from the one we have dumped but the data matched. It's working though and being resold. - 0.68: Luca Elia added 'SD Gundam Neo Battling (Japan)' (Banpresto / Sotsu Agency. Sunrise 1992). - 16th April 2003: Luca Elia added SD Gundam Neo Battling to the Seta driver. - 14th April 2003: Guru - SD Gundam Neo Battling (Banpresto 1992) arrived. LEVELS: 9 Other Emulators: * FB Alpha * Raine Recommended Games (Mobile Suit Gundam): SD Gundam Psycho Salamander no Kyoui SD Gundam Neo Battling SD Gundam Sangokushi Rainbow Tairiku Senki Mobile Suit Gundam Mobile Suit Gundam EX Revue Mobil Suit Gundam Final Shooting Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation Vs. Zeon Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation Vs. Zeon (GDL-0001) Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation Vs. Zeon DX (GDL-0006) Mobile Suit Z-Gundam: A.E.U.G. vs Titans Mobile Suit Z-Gundam: A.E.U.G. vs Titans DX Gundam Wing: Endless Duel (SNES bootleg) Gundam Battle Operating Simulator Gundam Seed: Federation vs. Z.A.F.T. Gundam vs. Gundam Gundam vs. Gundam Next Recommended Games (Space Kids) Kozmik Kroozr TwinBee Bells & Whistles Twin Bee Yahhoo! Dr. Toppel's Adventure Wonder Planet Plus Alpha SD Gundam Neo Battling Sega Sonic Cosmo Fighter Gunbird Gunbird 2 The Game Paradise - Master of Shooting! Silver Millennium Twinkle Star Sprites Tobe! Polystars Captain Tomaday Diet Family Muchi Muchi Pork! Romset: 2304 kb / 5 files / 1.14 zip ---- 0.37b1 [Luca Elia] WIP: - 0.164: Adjusted offsets in Seta video hardware file. This fixed graphics glitches in Daioh on the attract mode screen with the earth down and offset issues in Thundercade and others. The mentioned bugs in commit title are fixed, probably others too. No time to test all games in normal and flip screen mode, also detect a 1 pixel bug is often really difficult with screen flipped. The vast majority of games have been tested with service mode test grid and are ok [Mamesick]. - 0.163: Corrected sound for a lot of games which were incorrectly set up as stereo. It is likely that nearly all the games are mono but I've only updated the ones I know are *definitely* wrong [System11]. - 0.160: Minor fixes [Brian Troha]. - 0.155: Hooked up PIT8254 to one of the games as example [hap]. - 0.149u1: Modernized the X1-010 device [Osso]. - 0.147u3: Rewrite M6502 to modern device, cycle-exact and interruptible [O. Galibert]. - 0.146u2: Fill in some missing Seta PCB board numbers. Correct the board numbers as they are silkscreened on the PCB. Corrected the rom names for J. J. Squawkers [Brian Troha]. - 0.144u4: Modernized MSM6242 RTC device, added incrementing time, added preliminary IRQ generation to the MSM6242, updated drivers that uses it accordingly and removed various related kludges [Angelo Salese]. - 0.142u3: Added video\seta001.c. David Haywood started unifying sprite implementations for Seta X1-001/X1-002 chips. Angelo Salese removed deprecat.h dependancy and updated irqs accordingly for Seta driver. - 0.139u1: Atari Ace converted Seta driver to driver_data. - 0.131u1: Angelo Salese merged memory maps in the Seta driver. - 0.125u9: Stephane Humbert cleaned up input handling in Seta driver. - 0.124u5: Dirk Best converted the MSM6242 RTC into a proper device. - 0.123u4: RasnAckeR improved dipswitch definitions, added DIP locations and simplified input ports in Seta driver. - 0.122u8: Brian Troha added DIP locations to about half the games in Seta driver. - 0.122u2: Documentation and clock frequency improvements for Seta [Brian Troha]: Changed clocks to OSC by divider IE: 16000000/2 /* 8MHz */. - 0.112u1: Pierpaolo Prazzoli updated Seta driver to use HOLD_LINE for sound IRQs. - 19th January 2004: Satoshi Suzuki fixed various graphics glitches in the Seta driver. - 0.77u2: Merged Taito X and Seta video hardware, this is correct but due to some differences in the drivers a few glitches have been introduced in twinhawk that will need investigating [David Haywood]. - 0.70u5: Inigo Luja fixed dips in the Seta driver. - 0.65: Removed sndhrdw\seta.c. Nicola Salmoria added stereo support to the X1-010 emulator and made it a proper sound core. Replaced Custom sound with X1-010 (16Mhz) in all games, except Donwn Town with X1-010 with 8MHz. This fixed missing sound in krzybowl, blockcar and jjsquawk. - 0.62: Rewritten sound support for the Seta games [Manbow-J]. - 24th April 2002: Stephane Humbert added a patch to the Seta driver so that Twin Eagle can be played with two players. - 0.55: Added includes\seta.h. - 11th March 2001: Marco Cassili fixed some dipswitches in the Seta games. - 0.37b12: New filtering code for the audio mixer. It is applied to audio streams generated at a sampling rate different from the sound card's one, improving quality. Some examples with a very audible difference are all the Seta games. - 0.37b9: Support for Stereo sound. - 4th October 2000: Luca Elia improved the sound in the Seta driver. - 9th July 2000: Brian Troha fixed some Seta driver dipswitch settings. - 0.37b1: Added seta.c driver, vidhrdw\seta.c and sndhrdw\seta.c. TODO: Better sound and NVRAM. ----
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