Author Archives: Marcus Duchow

Zelda: Legend of Link

So I recently received my copy of Zelda: Legend of Link from Flashback Entertainment.  IF you haven’t heard of them, them make Reproduction Carts for NES, SNES, and Genesis.  Last year I bought Metroid Mother which is fantastic remake of the original Metroid that features a Battery-back Save feature, stack-able weapons, and an In-game Map. I also picked up Super Mario Bros 3Mix, which combines levels from previous Mario games using the Mario 3 engine.  Zelda:LoL is special because of the size of the cart, it has a higher cost than most other repros.  Not only the cost of the cart, but it also comes with a SNES sized manual, a fold out map, some trading cards, and posters.  For just the Boxed version is around $150 and the collectors edition is $300, the CE comes with a Link figure.  I just sprang for the Boxed version.

The game’s map is a mirrored version of Link’s Awakening, so if your familiar with the layout finding the first three dungeons shouldn’t be any trouble.  Speaking of it, The game flat out gives you all the dungeon locations, you just have to get there on your own.  The game also have the Spin Attack from Link’s Awakening.

The dungeon layouts, for the most part, are identical to the original.  Some have secret rooms with optional sidequest items, like someone’s lost doll, or a book, or a letter to Bagu (hint, hint).  Hope you like pitfalls.

(You dare bring light to my lair, you must die)

After defeating Ganon you’ll meet Zelda, she says Ganon escaped to the Dark World and she gives you an Ocarina.  Your goal now is to obtain the five Triforce of Power pieces.  While exploring the Dark World you can find upgrades to the Boomerang, Hookshot, and more importantly, the Pegasus Boots, the upgrade for the boots are the Hover Boots.  As long as they’re equipped to your B button, you won’t fall into pits.  Also from Link to the Past and Link’s Awakening are Heart Pieces you can collect and if you have twelve total Hearts you can get the Master Sword tempered like in LttP.

After facing Ganon, he takes the ToP from you and he’ll either fire projectiles or swing his spear at you.  They did a nice job making the final boss fight like from the Oracle games.

This hack was really impressive.  Once you find the Bow, it’ll unlock a mini game with Epona..  Love that they took music from previous Zelda games and Dungeon 2 has a song from the Zelda cartoon.  It did feel pretty short, since I did bother to get all the HC but did have fun playing it.




Final Fantasy 4 Famicom Pirate

There’s been a big pirating market in Asia for some time which is why Nintendo has been very strict with there lockout chips for the NES.  The Famicom didn’t have a lockout chip so it was way easier to pirate games.  Though most games are of mediocre to poor quality, sometimes you can find one that’s pretty competently made.  Resident Evil for example, has the level layouts are just like the original game, and items and weapons are in their proper locations.  The one that I want to talk about is Final Fantasy 4.  FF4 is actually broken into 3 different games, The Dark Chapters, The Light Chapters,  and Final Chapters.  Today I’m focusing on the Dark Chapters.  There’s a partial English patch that I used to play this.

It’s very faithful to the original.  You play as a Dark Knight named Cecil.  After completing his mission in Mysidia by killing the citizens and taking their crystal, Cecil and the Red Wings return to Baron.  After handing the Crystal over to the King, Cecil questions his King if what they did was the right thing to do.  The King then strips Cecil of his rank and orders him to take a Package to the Summoner village of Mist.

They thankfully uses music from the original game, though most of it in this is the Theme of Love for the World Map and caves.  The Battle and Boss music is the same in their respective areas.  The menus are pretty much the same if you’ve played FF4 before, you have your Item, Magic, Equipment, etc.  One nice thing is that you can save the game at any point outside of battle or cut-scenes.  From my experience playing this.  Besides Healing magic, Magic is somewhat useless because it has a high percentage of missing and doesn’t do the much damage.  You’re better off just attacking.

he story ends with Cecil becoming a Paladin.  I really hope this gets a full English translation and maybe a Reproduction Multi-cart.  Besides a little level grinding after getting Rydia, I didn’t have that much trouble with it.  I have played the 2nd part up until the Lodestone Cavern, which to my surprise actually works.  The 2nd one starts out after Cecil, the twins, and Tellah return to Baron.  Instead of getting the airship, there are portals that will teleport you around the map.  You can check my playthrough of the 1st chapter right here.





Learn Japanese to Survive! Katakana War

One thing I’ve wanted to do since I started importing games was to learn the Japanese language.  I’ve bought books when I visited Japan in Epcot and they’ve helped out somewhat, but I’ve never really been a bookworm.  Recently during the last Steam sale I purchased the two games in the Learn Japanese to Survive series to see if they help.  And here are my thoughts.

You play as a new transfer student who wants to learn the language, but you’re not alone.  You’ll meet characters like Owen, Tia, and (my waifu) Charlotte.  The three run into Obake (Japanese ghost) in the shape of Katakana letters.  The teacher, Daisuke, shows up and takes them out, he then takes his new students to the classroom and our first lesson begins.

The game is chapter based, and at the beginning of each chapter you learn five, sometimes ten, Katakana characters.  The games is meant for you to have a notebook handy as you write down each character.  You’re able to hear how each is pronounced and how they’re written.  After that you’re given a mini quiz on what you just learned.

After that your free to roam around the map, but there’s always a main objective.  It can be as simple as defeat a certain number of enemies or find a way into a certain location.  The battle system is pretty basic, your character on one side and enemies on the other side.  All the enemies are Katakana characters that you’ve learned.  They can only be defeated by using the correct letter, otherwise your attack does nothing.  You’ll learn Magic as you progress, where you’re able to either buff your party up deal damage to enemies, the catch is enemies can’t be defeated by magic only, you still need to attack with the right letter.

There are plenty of side quests in the games where you’ll usually need to head to some location and defeat a certain enemy or buy an item for them.  You’re rewarded with not only Bonus Crystals for character upgrades but they’ll teach you some Japanese words.  During each chapter you can run around the map and go on dates with each character.  Doing so will increase their stats but going on three dates will give that character a special buffing spell they can only use once per battle.

I had fun playing this.  It’s a game that serves it’s purpose, getting you the player to learn Japanese.  I did notice slow down when after that third date, the transition where the character gets their buff, chugged for about a minute and a half but that was about it.  The game was pretty easy, I think only once or twice did I have a character die in battle.  You get plenty of money for items like potions and antidotes, and new weapons and armor.  It’s about $7 on Steam which won’t really break the bank.



Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust

Switching it up this time.  I wanted to talk about the first anime movie I bought when I was a teen, Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust.  I love watching it every now and then because the story I can’t give a single crap for, it’s basically Twilight with a body count.  The soundtrack and the action scenes are pretty much what drives the movie forward.

It begins with a woman named Charlotte being abducted by Meier Link, a vampire nobleman.  Her father Elbourne, hires D to bring her back.  He gives D $500,000 as a down payment and $10 Million to complete the job.  D isn’t the only hunter that El hired, he also the Marcus Brothers (Clan in the Manga) who have a head start.  The brothers are Borgoff, the leader who uses a wrist-mounted crossbow, Kyle, the sarcastic one who uses a bladed boomerang, Grove (Groveck), who is bed ridden, but with a serum can cast out his spirit and fire Holy lights at his target., and Nolt is the big strong one that swings a giant mallet that resembles a stake.  There’s also a woman traveling with them named Leila.  When first see the brothers and their female partner entering a town trying to get information from a drunk.  The drunk turns out to be a werewolf and the promptly take him out, that wakes up the neighborhood full of zombies, which get squashed in mere seconds.  After that, Borgoff hears someone riding a horse in the distance, he waits it out and fires an bolt straight at D,and this was badass, D catches the steel bolt, snaps it in two and then stares down Borgoff.  Borgoff introduces himself and asks for our hero’s name, and simply says D, before riding off.   After crossing the desert, D finds the carriage at a Shelter.  He then proceeds to screw with the the laser-shooting eyeball security by flicking seeds in different directions, letting him pass.  D searches for the door when Leila shows up with a bazooka, forcing the door to open and the carriage to retreat.  D catches up to it and Meier exchange dialog and then fight.  He tells D to leave and she’s her by her own will, D obviously doesn’t believe him, manages to get a hit in and just when’s about to finish him, Charlotte yells out Meier’s name, distracting D, and hitting D managed to get away.


The Marcus Brother talk about how when Vampires get into trouble, they seek asylum with the Barbarois, a kind of demonic protection service.  The brothers then spot the carriage and start attacking it, but it’s a trap.  It turns out to be a giant cloth.  It was setup by Barbarois member, Benge, and master of illusion and can travel quickly by entering shadows.  Benge then promptly stabs Nolt’s shadow, killing him, but not before he attempts one last swing.  Nolt’s last words are warning his brothers to watch out for the shadow.  D makes his way into the Barbarois and talks to the Old Man in charge.  D asks that they stop their protection on Meier Link and he asked if he can pay him off.  The Old Man admires D’s bravery and declines his offer.  Meanwhile, Borgoff injects Grove with the serum.  Just then, the best scene in this whole movie happens, Grove shows up, in spirit form, and lays waist to most of the Barbarois, D follows after the carriage but Grove blocks him.  One sword slash to Grove later, and his spirit is back in his body.  D catches up to the carriage but it’s another one of Benge’s trap, killing his horse and our hero is entangled for the time being.  The Brothers literally run into another Barbarois member, Caroline.  She’s pretty much a demonic version of Poison Ivy.  She hides underneath the Brother’s tank and turns it into Swiss cheese.  Kyle and Borgoff get out of the tank and spot Benge.  Cut back to D who finally woke and uses his left had (which has a parasite in the shape of a face) and swallows up the spell.  Kyle quickly dispatches Benge as he’s climbing up a power pole.  Meier reads a letter he received from Countess Carmilla that she’s willing to help him and Charlotte.  D crosses another desert, and heads into town where we see Kyle and Leila getting fuel.  Kyle heads back while Leila decides to get her drink on.  She talks to the sheriff saying there’s a dhampir (vampire/Human) into town.  I really hate the English voice acting in this part, the pronominal Dhampir as Dunpeal and I’m sure it was a translation F@$* up but It makes the sheriff sound like a dumb reddneck.  D enters the stable and buys a horse from and old man.  Just then the sheriff and his men show up.  He basically says “We don’t Need no stinkin’ Dunpeal in our town”. The old man tells the sheriff that he and some kids were once saved by a Dhampir when he was young and hated the way he was treated.

Meanwhile, the other Barbarois member Mashira (werewolf), is resting the horses.  Charlotte walks out of the carriage to get some sunlight.  She spots D and he asks her to come with him.  Leila shows up to try and slap some sense into her but gets attacked Caroline.  D chases after but because he’s been out in the sun all day, is basically getting Heat Stroke.  He slices up Caroline and hides in the shade and digs a hole to bury himself so he can sleep.  Leila finds D, and walks away for a bit when she gets attacked again.  She throws a dagger straight through Caroline’s head when lightening strikes and kills her.  Leila watches over D.  Leila reveals that her parents were killed by werewolves and she blames herself, years later she joined up with the Marcus Brothers and became a hunter.  She says she’s so alone and doesn’t think anyone would mourn her if she died.  D says he’ll bring you flowers to her funeral if we survive this.  The next morning, Kyle and Borgoff spot the carriage heading for the Castle of Chaythe, where Carmilla resides.  They’re plan to stop them by blowing up the bridge.  They managed to get some explosives off and stop the carriage.  Kyle tries to get Charlotte out while Mashira takes a few bolts and falls off the bridge.  Meier walks out, burning alive, to get her back.  She escapes Kyle’s grasp and runs toward Meier, ripping out one of the bolts and contemplates killing herself, Mashira returns and slices up Kyle, killing him.  Borgoff says the hell with it and jumps off the bridge, little does he know that the tnt he placed got ripped off and explodes just as he jumps off.  Mashira then fights D and lets the carriage ride of to the castle.  The parasite in D’s hand reveals that D’s father, the vampire Lord killed Carmilla in her sleep and her phantom haunts the castle now.

Everyone finally meets at the final boss’s castle, err…um Carmilla’s castle.  Carmilla greets Charlotte and Meier and tells them they’re welcome to rest up.  She then shows them Space Mountain, I mean the Space rocket that will send them both to the stars where they can be alone.  Meier senses that D is on his way and goes to find him.  He spots what looks D with Charlotte and are about to leave when an ax cleaves Meier in two.  Charlotte meanwhile sees Meier up a long staircase and follows after him.  The real D enters a room that’s full of blood and sees someone that looks like this mother.  Borgoff heads into the basement while Leila heads up stairs.  Brogoff shoots his crossbow at two caskets knocking them down.  They open and reveal to have Kyle and Nolt in them, the bolts he fired rise up and hit Borg in the back killing him.  D’s mother asked for her forgiveness and promptly slices her.  Leila on the other hands sees a little girl looking like her kneeling some tombstones.  She talks to the little girl saying that it wasn’t your fault, the girl runs away just then D pulls her out of the way.  Borgoff shows up and takes Leila hostage and D is about to step in and take him out but Grove uses the last on the serum and give Borgy a big old hug, killing him in the process.  Leila is now alone.  Meanwhile Charlotte catches up to Meier who takes a bite out of her.  The blood of both Meier and Char drain into Carmilla’s corpse about to revive her.  Meier then recovers.  Carm and D spout out exposition about D betraying his kind, how vampires should rule, and humans should die (etc.)  She attacks D with lightening but his dark powers awaken and overpower Carm, Meier shows up and rips apart her body while D’s hand swallows her soul.  Charlotte with her dying breath tells Meier that she’s happy to be with him before passing on, D attempts to stop them.  With the castle crumbling D and Meier have their final showdown.  In all honesty, the music makes the battle seem more epic than it is, it’s just both of them in a stalemate for two minutes.  Leila takes the ring from Charlotte and throws it and says she’s had enough of killing and bloodshed.  D stabs Meier in the shoulder, and takes the ring as proof of bringing her back.  D and Leila make it out before the castle crumbles where they see Space Mountain take off.  It then cuts to many years later where Leila has passed on we’re at her funeral.  A little girl spots D by a tree about to ride off.  She stops him and asked if she knew her grandma Leila.  She says she heard stories about him and invites D to her house.  D says he appreciates her kindness but just wanted to keep a promise to an old friend, and glad she was so wrong about people not mourning her death.  She then thanks D for coming and D heads off into the mountains.  I always get teary eyed at the end.

I F*%*ing love the soundtrack to this movie.  My favorite tracks are Grove’s theme, D’s theme, the fight with Caroline (Into the Tree), the final battle with Meier (The Ring), and the Promise.  Just go and listen to the soundtrack.  I still love this movie and it’ll always get me at the end.  The action scenes are just awesome though the final one was a bit of a let down.



Star Fox 2

Star Fox 2 was such a great improvement.  Plot wise it’s the same thing, Andross launches an all out war against Corneria.  It’s Up to Star Fox and two new characters, Miyu the Lynx and Fei the Poodle (seriously, a POODLE?!) to take Andross and his forces down.

You’re able to choose your difficulty, Normal, Hard, and Expert, which might as well be Easy, Normal, and Hard.  The higher the difficulty, the more of the game you’re able to see.  After that you’re able to choose from any of the six Star Fox members.  Fox and Falco are kinda Standard, they start with a single laser,  Peppy and Slippy are slower than the others but have more health, Fei and Miyu have less health but start with Twin Lasers.

Unlike the first game, this is more of a mix of Space combat and a real-time strategy, you must travel through space to take out Andross’s Battleships and travel to various planets and take out the enemy bases.  The bases will launch IPBMs at Corneria, and if Corneria takes to much damage, it’ll be Game Over.  Combat isn’t on rails like the last game, you’re able to fly just about anywhere, like the All Range Mode in Star Fox 64.

New to the game is the Walker mode, you’re ship is able to transform to a “chicken walker” for ground combat and for activating switches.  While trying to defend Corneria, you’ll run into members of the Star Wolf team, a team of mercenaries that was hired by Andross.  Those members include Wolf, Leon, Pigma, and Andrew.  Andross himself hasn’t changed that much, instead of firing panels, he shoots out fire from his eyes.

Thankfully we’re finally getting this game thanks to the SNES Classic Edition, provided you don’t sell a kidney in order to pay a scalper for one.  We did get SF2 somewhat in the form of Star Fox Command on the Nintendo DS.  I love this game, I’d play this over the Star Fox Zero Effort any time.


On a side note, I’ll be in Disney World next week, so no write up from me but I have 3 ready to go.  My work schedule has changed for the fall so I’m going to take time either recording a playthrough or getting a write up ready.

Star Fox

Star Fox was a groundbreaking game for the SNES for it’s time, using the Super FX Chip it to

simulate 3D graphics when the SNES was dominated by 2D games.

After being banished to the planet Venom for his evil experiments, the scientist Andross

declared war on the entire Lylat System.  General Pepper of Corneria sent three of his top

pilots, James McCloud, Peppy Hare, and Pigma Dengar to investigate the strange activities on

Venom.  When they arrived, Pigma betrays his teammates, captures James and Peppy, and allies

with Andross.  Peppy managed to escape but James McCloud was presumed to have died.

Peppy returns to Corneria to tell James’s son Fox about what had happened.  A few years pass

and General Pepper has assembled a new team consisting of Peppy Hare, Falco Lombardi,

Slippy Toad, and Fox McCloud.  The team’s name, Star Fox.

Star Fox is an on-rail space shooter,  It starts out as most rail shooters do, but it picks up fast as

find out the various things you can do with your Arwing, which is the ship you pilot in the game.

You can barrel roll to deflect incoming projectiles, collect rings to recover health, Brake and

Boost to get through opening doors,  you can also launch Smart Bombs to destroy multiple

enemies.  You can also get a Double Laser power up to increase damage.  You’re to choose the

course you want to travel, Level 1 being the easiest, Level 2 being moderate difficulty, and Level

3 being the Hardest. If you want to most of the game, hope you’re skilled enough.  Levels vary

from either fighting on a planet’s surface, flying through asteroids, or fighting an armada of

ships from the inside.  After making your way through, you finally get to Venom and have to

fight through Andross’s forces and it’s guardian, after that you’ll face off against Andross.

Andross himself can be challenging.  He launches panels from his eyes that will rotate towards

you, you’ll attempt to suck you in then spit out a lot of panels at you.  Once you shoot out both

of his eyes, his true face will be revealed and you’ll have to shoot it quickly before it reforms.

After defeating him, you escape and save the day.


I didn’t start playing this until 2004, 2005ish.  I found it at my local game store at the time and

figured it was time to start building my collection.  I still enjoy it even though it’s aged.

Personally I like the next game better.