Friday, 13 February 2015

Curiosities Vol. 3 - Korean Compile Pirates

I hate to make stereotypes like this, but we're all aware that sometimes game developers and publishers in mainland Asian countries have somewhat lackadaisical stances towards other people's copyrights. It seems that Compile's Disc Station, specifically volume 12 of the PC series had, at one point, caught the eyes of a few arcade developers in South Korea.

This phenomenon was first brought to my attention by tumblr user Fergzilla, who told me about the first of the three games I'll be covering in this post: Yun Sung's Shocking. Shocking is a total, wholesale rip-off of the action RPG Gensei Kai Shingeki, with a new plot about a wolfman trying to regain his humanity tacked on. There's not really that much more to it: Shocking is a really close clone to its "inspiration", the biggest difference being that the graphics are lower resolution, since the original was a PC game, and Compile's PC games were (and are) reknowned for their great hi-res pixel art.

After some investigation into MAME ROMsets and history.dat, I found two Korean arcade games that are both knock-offs of the other big draw on Disc Station #12, Bomber Through Gogo! ~Jump Hero Gaiden 2~, but, unlike Shocking, neither is a direct clone, with different levels of variation from the original.

Firstly there's Bomb Kick, again by Yun Sung. Surprisingly, this game deviates the furthest from the original. Again, the graphics are much lower res than the original, but at least this time they're not direct rips of the original (except that some of the enemies definitely are). In fact, as far as I can tell, a good portion of the game's graphics are new. But also, there are a few enemy sprites that are clearly ripped from either the Mega Drive or SNES version of Disney's Aladdin, as well as a few background images that contain elements from the same, some disguised, some not so much.

The biggest difference between Bomb Kick and the original, though, is in the weapon deployment. In the original, pressing the fire button would drop a bomb on the ground, with a seperate kick button to send it enemy-bound. Bomb Kick has bombs being kicked by default, though they can still be dropped by pressing down and fire. Because of this, this is probably my favourite iteration of the formula, despite its combination of ugly new graphics and shameless stolen ones.

Finally, there's Dynamite Bomber from a company named Limenko. Mechanically, it's more faithful to Compile's original game, with bombing and kicking kept to seperate buttons, and I think that most, or possibly all of the graphics are either new, or at least somewhat disguised rips of graphics from the original game (the playable characters do look like rip-offs of Compile's Jump Hero characters, but I'm not sure if they're just similar designs or edited rips).

The problem is that this, combined with stage design that often places enemies on small, high-up platforms makes the game a bit of an awkward, labourious chore to play. It's a shame, as it does at least look a lot better than Bomb Kick.

So that's that, then. Two Korean companies both decided to plagiarise games from a relatively little-known series of discmags, and both chose games from the same volume of said discmags. What a world!

1 comment:

  1. love your blog, great work. what's the easiest way of me being notified when there's a new post? Are you on twitter?