El-Hazard Ports to PC and GBA
Back around November 2002, a cumulative effort of playing the El-Hazard Sega Saturn title (my younger brother Tim), hacking the data files of the Sega Saturn title and recreating the engine for a modern PC platform (me), and a great guy named Magnus Andersson who did MIDI conversions of the BGM's at the last minute, produced a PC rendition of the Saturn/PC-98 game.
The Good and The Bad
Q. How close was this thing to the Saturn version?
A. It all depends which part you'd like to be closest. If it's 100% accurate translation, forget it. The original english player's guide written by Lucan Duran (available at GameFAQs.com) was our only basis to the game, besides our basic El-Hazard knowledge. So basically, anyone familiar with El-Hazard will get the concepts like the Eye of God, the priestesses, etc.
As far as technically, it was nearly dead on. The engine and all the [limited] effects that it produced are matched as
close as we could eyeball any of it.
The problem however is that we took what I later felt were too many creative liberties with the script. It was compared to what bad dubbing companies do to good anime series. (Ouch!) As such, I don't feel it is worth presenting any more unless someone comes along to redo the script. The software also likely needs to be modernized, updated, maintained, etc. It's just not my priority in life right now, especially since El-Hazard has slid into almost total obscurity.
As you can see, the screenshots are ESSENTIALLY the same, save for a bit of positioning error. However, this is partly
due to trying to convert on-screen results to numerical forms in an efficent manner. The Saturn may also have had a
more precise method than my 16 pixel-block design.
Q. [I'm an El-Hazard fan, so I notice...] What's with the characters?
A. Well, the original Saturn version was virtually The Wanderers with an additional priestess, and Galus doing his Eye of God thing. Eventually by about the third chapter, we decided to have more fun with this game, and we created additional facets to the characters that are not by any means 100% accurate to their typical cartoon counterparts. Many of these were based on things that seemed funny to us from that Japanese version, such as Jinnai's accusation of Makoto performing black arts turned him into a religious zealot.
But what you do when you're younger looks kind of stupid later a lot of the time, and this was no exception. This was immature and unprofessional, and I apologize.
Q. I think it's worth fixing; can I redo the dialog and/or code?
A. Absolutely. I'll give you the resources if you want to pursue that project.
El-Hazard for the Gameboy Advance
Shortly after the successful completion of the PC version of El-Hazard, I wanted to try programming on a Gameboy Advance, for which a lot of resources had become available, and the best way to learn to program the GBA would be to do something simple that already worked. And the choice was made -- the PC version of the El-Hazard game would be ported to the Gameboy Advance system. While this
was done for fun originally, the console emulation community held this up with much praise. Not because they're all
El-Hazard fans, of course, but it was impressive for a homebrew GBA project. Other than that this is pretty obscure and basically the same as the PC version.
While this is more like a shrunken and dithered version of the Windows PC edition, it gets points for being crammed into the 32MB max ROM space of a GBA (with THREE full vocal ending songs) and for being on the GBA in general. If could even be played on a real, physical GBA or GBA SP handheld with a flash cart.