(This was a joint release between us and our good friends at Gaming Alexandria!)
Another PC-8801 Hudson Soft/Nintendo game has finally been preserved. This particular port has never been seen online before (not to be confused with the X1 version). This leaves only one port of this game left to discover. That version is the PC-6601. There was also a version for the FM-7 but was cancelled sometime during it’s development.
All three ports were being sold at BEEP shop in Akihabara Japan and was announced on their Twitter. We setup a fundraiser and managed to reach the requirement. Massive thanks to all those who were involved. These people include Hubz, Artemio, DeMasterchief7, marioknight, Professor Borp, togemet2, and CheeseMeister.
The game was a bit confusing to dump due to the copy protection. A Kryoflux was used but kept reading like it was bad.
After awhile I realized the Kryoflux was not going to be able to dump the disk with the required specific parameters. Artemio and Joseph Redon both mentioned that it wasn’t great at extracting the data properly in some cases and this looked to be one of them. Joseph also warned that the KF Binary Conversion process forces the drive to read the disk many times which increases your risk of ruining the disk! However we could likely convert it from a stream preservation file in HxC. I dumped it with that but the image looked incorrect when viewed in HxC.
I would come to find out late this was due to the copy protection, however at the time I thought something was wrong with how it was being dumped. Joseph suggested telling HxC to decode it with doublestep it due to it being a 2HD disk and making it read at 300rpm as opposed to 360rpm. This helped somewhat but the image was still showing lots of bad sectors. I read various manuals on the model of my floppy drive and figured out how to make it read at 300RPM by desoldering a jumper on the drive. Dumped again but the image still showed bad. Artemio suggested trying to dump with my PC-8801 drive so I pulled it apart and plugged it into one of the drives. Unfortunately the drive I picked was bad and the disk read at a very incorrect RPM! Luckily the disk was undamaged, and I went to try the other drive and the floppy lever broke off! What else could go wrong at this point? I pulled the entire PC88 apart and swapped the lever from bad drive to the good one and tried dumping with the good drive. The image STILL looked about the same and was saying bad sectors. At this point i was stumped and worried the disk was bad but it still read and played fine in my PC88.
Artemio suggested it could be copy protection and he would ask around to figure out if that was the case. Shortly after that he came back and said it was using a protection called Speedlock, a European Protection Scheme used mainly on the Amstrad CPC. Artemio then tried converting the stream file to the CPC DSK format and then from that to the .d88 format and luckily it worked! In the end I had a proper dump from the very beginning! A lot was learned by all of us in regards to dumping this rarity for preservation, and I hope this info will be useful to others.