I had plans to get Conquest of the Crystal Palace up for December, but a Hardcore Gaming 101 writer has mentioned his interest in doing a report on the game there, and that would be quite handy, so I’m going to hold off a bit and see what he comes up with. In the meantime, here’s a quickie on one of Capcom’s early NES/arcade efforts.
Study 21 – Trojan/Tatakai no Banka (Capcom, NES/Famicom)
Trojan/Tatakai no Banka is one of Capcom’s earlier games, originally released in 1986 in arcades. It stars the titular Trojan, a warrior who is living in a dystopic Mad Max-esque future where demons have shaken up civilization into a chaotic mess, and their influence dictates the world’s people save a few strong fighters. Trojan is one of these special humans immune to the demon’s corruption, and armed with a sword and shield he prepares to wipe out the threat and save the world. Fairly straightforward storyline, really.
The game was a moderate hit worthy of receiving a NES/Famicom port, which Capcom performed in the last half of 1986, releasing it in time for the holidays in Japan in December, and in February 1987 in the US. The game mixes up the gameplay a tad, as Wikipedia details:
The NES version of Trojan features several significant changes to the game, such as the addition of new power-ups and hidden rooms, as well as an alternative Versus Mode, where two players compete against each other in a best-two-out-of-three duel, making it Capcom’s first attempt in the fighting game genre.
So, this game does mean something to the greater Capcom sphere. Unfortunately, the gameplay is a trainwreck. It’s clunky, your hero’s animation is slower than his foes, and the shield/sword dynamic the game wants to utilize isn’t too effective or fun to control. Capcom revisited the concept with Tiger Road in 1987, but moved on to better action gameplay engines and concepts following that.
Ignoring the arcade version (which used the same promo materials), let’s focus on the boxes and title screens.
I love Japanese auction sites sometimes – you find better boxes there. Anyway, this was special art done for the Famicom box, and it’s definitely in the anime vein. Trojan doesn’t look too shabby – he’s doing exactly what he’s capable of in the game itself. Iron Fist or whatever his name is looks wonky, that he does – sort of like Guts Man, actually. XD
The NES box reuses that lovely holographic grid Capcom adored in their early days (as well as their audacious “High Resolution Graphics” claim). The art is plucked right from the arcade flyer, which at least shows some artistic credence (compared to, say, Mega Man). Despite this being the official art for the arcade in both regions, I think Capcom’s choice for the more dystopic sci-fi styled poster over the Famicom’s Tezuka-esque piece was regionally considered. Trojan looks decently bad ass in a He-Man sort of way, and that villainous scum behind him looks pretty menacing and an adequate super hero antagonist…in short, it attempts to appeal to an American comic/sci-fi crowd. Does it work? Well, that’s up to the viewer, I suppose.
A quick title screen comparison:
Not much to comment on. Different logos and more text in the copyright for the US game (which is on the right). From what I could tell, the innards of the game were untouched in localization.
It’s fascinating to me how a game with a dystopic post-apocalyptic scenario can be interpreted in such distinct cultural ways. Even a game whose guts are minimally altered can see drastic changes in its box art, and it’s one reason I enjoy composing these posts and am thrilled about doing this kind of thing for a career (wish me luck!).
Joystiq piece on Trojan – http://www.joystiq.com/2007/07/12/virtually-overlooked-trojan/
StrategyWiki guide for Trojan – http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Trojan
GameFAQs Image page for Trojan – http://www.gamefaqs.com/nes/587732-trojan/images
Spidershinya’s Yahoo blog – http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/spidershinya/60766453.html
Wikipedia page for Trojan – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_(video_game)