Gaming History 101

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Posts Tagged ‘IV

Break Final Fantasy IV (II in US) on SNES With Newest Patch

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One of the most fun things to do in the 16-bit era of JRPGs – although not exclusive to this time period – is break the basic system and do all kinds of ridiculous overpowered feats.  Of those, Final Fantasy IV (Final Fantasy II in the US on SNES) had a featured known as the “break damage limit” that forced the game to allow you to dole no more than 9999 points of damage (sounds like a lot of you aren’t a consistent re-player of the game) regardless of combos, leveling, and parties.  ROM hacker “chillyfeez” found a hexidecimal code in Final Fantasy II (specifically the North American ROM) that allowed the cap to be raised to 16383 damage.  While this is probably no big deal to many of us, Final Fantasy hardcore fans are probably overjoyed with the ability to increase damage and possibly even result in faster speedruns of the game.  Either way, if you want the ROM hack, which will work on any emulated or flash cart copy of the original untouched ROM, you can download it here.  Thank you Retro Collect for the story.

Written by Fred Rojas

March 13, 2015 at 11:40 am

Review: Super Castlevania IV (SNES)

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Console: Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
Released: 1991
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Super Famicom? Yes (as Akumajo Dracula – English Translation: Dracula’s Castle)
Instruction Manual: Not necessary – Link
Difficulty: Mild
Played it as a child? No
Value: $22.79 (used) $189.95 (new) (
Price: $20-$30 (used) $150.00 (new) and $500 for first edition (v-seam) on eBay
Digital Release? Yes – Virtual Console – $8.00

It’s pretty much understood that Super Castlevania IV is merely a remake of the original Castlevania, however for many reasons it is a significant game in its own right.  In Japan the game held almost the same name as the original (Akumajo Dracula) and in the lore and instruction manual in Japan it literally has the same plot.  For the US release, Konami attached the “IV” as well as giving a slightly different story that suggests the events of this game take place immediately following the second game, Simon’s Quest.  Even though both the developers and the fans agree it’s not a sequel, the two games have little in common with one another.  While it’s a cool experiment with many gameplay characteristics, some that would never return and others became series staples, Super Castlevania IV was also a flagship title for the SNES to show off all the things the various modes (including the overhyped Mode 7) could do to a game.  Think of it as a fleshed out action platformer tech demo that was far more interesting in retrospect than Pilotwings.

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Written by Fred Rojas

July 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Day 7

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On the seventh day of Christmas my memories gave to me…

Mode 7 Graphics!

Mode 7 is a complicated process that is oh so easy to explain, the most notorious user of this graphical style being the SNES.  It was impossible to not notice Nintendo’s push to boast mode 7 graphics in its advertising and even if you were able to ignore it, the launch games for Christmas 1991 and beyond.  Basically the SNES was capable of seven different graphical modes, some adding multiple layers (up to 4) and others allowing you to manipulate and rotate a single layer (mode 7).  It was a way to fake 3D and depth in early games and while Nintendo wasn’t alone, consoles like 3DO were expensive and the Genesis required the Sega CD add-on to feature graphics like mode 7.  If that was all jargon to you, it was the ability to make the screen rotate and zoom on pixels.

When you played Pilotwings, your character wasn’t actually falling into a perceived depth, the world that was created below was just zooming and rotating as you pressed d-pad buttons.  If you pay attention you’ll notice your character stays fixed in the middle of the screen, like an early arcade racer.  Pilotwings wasn’t alone either, almost every early SNES game had mode 7 graphics as some sort of flashy show-off gimmick.  When Bowser flew at the screen in Super Mario World or a foot soldier was tossed toward you in Turtles in Time, these were mode 7 graphics at work.  When the logo of Actraiser did a dance across the screen mode 7 was responsible.  Most notably was the ability to see racers both close and off in the distance with a sense of realism in Super Mario Kart, especially with that technically stunning opening sweep of each racer from Lakitu’s camera perspective.

As for me, when I finally got a SNES in 1994, the first game I wanted to play was none other than Super Castlevania IV.  As an avid fan of the Castlevania series I had thoroughly played the first three games to their challenging conclusions.  Even in early Nintendo Power issues I had been dazzled by the high-end graphical style of Castlevania IV and it remained a game I couldn’t wait to play.  Not only did this title seem more manageable – the multi-directional whip made killing annoying enemies much easier, if not the entire game as a whole – but thanks to mode 7 every trick in the book was utilized.  The world would turn upside down, the screen would rotate, Konami even had some tricks that created the crazy “in the barrel” effect that you see in the screenshot.  One of the biggest trademarks of consoles were that software manufacturers made them do things they were never intended to do, from Atari to SNES and beyond.  Mode 7, on the other hand, was specifically designed into the Super Nintendo and no title showed off all the crazy things that hardware could do better than Super Castlevania IV.  If you still have an SNES and have not touched this technical gem, you owe it to yourself to see mode 7 in all its glory.

<- Go back to the sixth day                             Go on to the eight day ->

Written by Fred Rojas

December 20, 2011 at 9:25 am