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Markies
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November Together Retro: Working Designs

by Markies Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:32 pm

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It is only appropriate that a very contentious vote would bring about a very contentious company. Founded in 1986 by Victor Ireland, Working Designs is known for bringing many Japanese games to the West that would never have seen the light of day. These cult hits tried to introduce Western audiences to very Japanese games when many of these games were never seen at the time.

However, in later years, their translation and business tactics have gone under much scrutiny. Victor Ireland has made enemies in the world and their translation wasn't the most authentic representation of the dialog. Mixing in pop culture references and their own spin, sometimes Working Designs would askew the original intent of the game into their own liking.

So, let's spend a month going into these hidden Japanese gems that finally saw the light of day. Let us look into forgotten genres and games. And, more importantly, let us discuss the giant game packages of Growlanser and the Lunar games that Working Designs is famous for.

As a caveat, I will also accept any games from Victor's new company, Gaijinworks as well. I will provide a list of games and a link for them as well.

Post if you are playing or beating any games this week and I will tally up a list of those accomplishments!

Thank You and Enjoy Working Designs!!

Working Designs
    Arc the Lad III (2011)
    Arc the Lad II (2010)
    Arc the Lad (2010)
    Growlanser Generations (2004)
    Growlanser Generations (Deluxe Edition) (2004)
    Arc the Lad Collection (2002)
    Silpheed: The Lost Planet (2001)
    Lunar 2: Eternal Blue - Complete (2000)
    RayCrisis: Series Termination (2000)
    Gungriffon Blaze (2000)
    Vanguard Bandits (2000)
    Silhouette Mirage (1999)
    Lunar: Silver Star Story - Complete (1999)
    Magic Knight Rayearth (1998)
    Thunder Force V: Perfect System (1998)
    Elemental Gearbolt (1998)
    Alundra (1998)
    RayStorm (1997)
    Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean (1997)
    Dragon Force (1996)
    Shining Wisdom (1996)
    Iron Storm (1996)
    Popful Mail (1995)
    Lunar: Eternal Blue (1995)
    Vay (1994)
    Lunar: The Silver Star (1993)
    Vasteel (1993)
    Exile: Wicked Phenomenon (1993)
    Cosmic Fantasy 2 (1992)
    Exile (1992)
    Parasol Stars: The Story of Bubble Bobble III (1991)
    Cadash (1991)

Gaijinworks
    Summon Night 6: Lost Borders (2017)
    Summon Night 5 (2015)
    Class of Heroes 2G (2015)
    Class of Heroes 2 (2013)
    Ufouria: The Saga (2010)
    Aero the Acro-Bat (2010)
    Blaster Master Overdrive (2010)

GAMES BEAT
1. noiseredux - Miami Law
2. Markies - Growlanser III: The Dual Darkness
Last edited by Markies on Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: November Together Retro: Working Designs

by BoneSnapDeez Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:26 am

Good thread.

Hope to get in here in a week or so, and complete at least one game. Cadash is begging for a replay and is a nice one-sitting game.
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Re: November Together Retro: Working Designs

by marurun Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:37 pm

Cadash is SO good.
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Re: November Together Retro: Working Designs

by Nemoide Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:22 pm

I started Alundra for PS1 today! I'm playing it on a CRT which is an absolute delight. I've only *just* started the game: I was on a boat, had a dream, and am now in a village.

And right off the bat, I was reminded about how good Working Designs writing is. I know a lot of modern gamers don't appreciate that they were loose with their translations, but I love it. The comedy really adds a lot of charm!
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Re: November Together Retro: Working Designs

by noiseredux Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:41 am

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Miami Law is a 2009 DS game published by Gaijinworks - the first game for Vic Ireland's new company after Working Designs. What makes this interesting is that WD never published on any Nintendo systems. And I'm pretty sure Gaijinworks avoided Nintendo after this one. Huh. At any rate, Miami Law is a sort of point-n-click adventure game, and a sort of visual novel, and it has various puzzle and shooting segments. Think of it as a kind of budget meshing of Vice City and Snatcher. Although that might be overselling it. The gameplay changes from moment to moment, as does the quality of the gameplay and writing; as does the level of fun.

The adventure/GN side of the game feels akin to something like Hotel Dusk, though not really as deep. There is some impressive depth to the size of the fictional Miami and the cast of characters. But the problem is that at times any illusion of choice is shattered by how utterly linear it really is. While investigating a case, you might want to go to one location you feel interested in, only to be told "I shouldn't go there right now." The times where you ARE genuinely given a true choice can sometimes result in a swift game over, forcing you to go back and make the right decision instead. This wouldn't be so bad, but sometimes you're forced to go back a big chunk of time which is tedious.

The game also wastes your time in how you move through the world. For instance, let's say I need to go talk to the chief at the Miami PD. I'll need to click "Move To," then select "Miami PD." Then I'll be outside the building and I need to click "Move To," and "Enter," and remember which floor so "Main Floor." Then I'm on the main floor. "Move To," "Chief's Office," "Enter," and finally "Talk to," and "Chief." WORSE is when this results in him just telling me to meet him down in the investigations room instead, and more clicking multiple times to get there. It just seems like it's there to pad things out. I suppose that's necessary in a linear game like this. There's only five missions, and I've done the first three and each clock in at about an hour. That includes the extraneous clicking.

PUZZLES are a big mixed bag as well. There are some that feel like actual puzzles, but others are definitely just there to kill some brief time. Hacking computers literally involve typing a code you're given into a keypad. It's nothing. Another involved using the stylus to "cut" some rope. There's a lot of stuff that's just tapping on the screen - I guess to remind you that you're DS has a touchscreen. There's some shoot/duck/reload parts that are mildly fun, I guess in lieu of Snatcher's legit lightgun sections.

In light of all this, I think there's actually a somewhat interesting and fun game buried under these complaints. The story and dialogue are super pulpy. Like an edgier version of Miami Vice. And it is weird to be playing a VN with these anime looking line drawings talking about drugs in suitcases and everything. To some degree, this game is almost in the realm of so-bad-it's-good. Or at least it's odd enough that I am compelled to see the story through to the end, which I'm pretty sure is only two hours away if HLTB is to be believed.
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Re: November Together Retro: Working Designs

by pierrot Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:11 pm

Nemoide wrote:I started Alundra for PS1 today! I'm playing it on a CRT which is an absolute delight. I've only *just* started the game: I was on a boat, had a dream, and am now in a village.

And right off the bat, I was reminded about how good Working Designs writing is. I know a lot of modern gamers don't appreciate that they were loose with their translations, but I love it. The comedy really adds a lot of charm!

I played through Alundra back in the beginning of last year. I quite enjoyed it, but it ended up feeling really long. Kind of like Landstalker, in that way, but I liked Alundra much more than Landstalker. I remember it also feeling kind of difficult, and I was playing the Japanese version, so I'm kind of curious if it had the usual difficulty tweaks made by Working Designs when it came out over here.

Also, it's kind of a slow-ish start, but it does get moving a bit once you acquire a few abilities.
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Re: November Together Retro: Working Designs

by Markies Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:46 pm

Congratulations Noise!
I am glad this month convinced you to give Miami Law a try.

I beat Growlanser III: The Dual Darkness this evening. It is the second game in the Growlanser Generations Deluxe pack for the PS2 put out by Working Designs. If you like Growlanser II, then you should play Growlanser III. It is much of the same, but still adds some fun ideas.

Here is a link to the full review:

http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1152072#p1152072
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Re: November Together Retro: Working Designs

by SpaceBooger Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:31 pm

I did not realize WD was the TR theme this month. After finding the Un-Worked collection where some modders removed the ridiculously hard parts WD changed from the Japanese version, I played through and beat VAY this summer. I am currently playing through both Alundra (Un-Worked) and Albert Odyssey - depending on what TV my five kids are not currently using.

Here is a link to where I posted about the Un-Worked mods: http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopi ... 0#p1148173
I never realized that the difficulty was increased in almost all of their games. Anyway, the Un-Worked project was created to return the Working Designs' games difficulty to what it was in the Japan release. Nothing has been changed from the Working Designs translations, just a difficulty adjustment (and adding lower case text to the SEGA CD Lunar games).
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Re: November Together Retro: Working Designs

by Sarge Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:58 pm

pierrot wrote:I remember it also feeling kind of difficult, and I was playing the Japanese version, so I'm kind of curious if it had the usual difficulty tweaks made by Working Designs when it came out over here.

Yep, it did. Mostly, everything takes a lot more hits than the Japanese version, and a ton of bosses hit harder to boot. The manual states otherwise, but don't believe it, believe the guy that did the UnWorked Designs patch.
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Re: November Together Retro: Working Designs

by stickem Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:08 am

I'm playing through lunar 2 on sega cd. I'm only just past the ghost house. I beat silver star story on psx about 18 years ago and always wanted to play this and finally picked it up last year. It's ok so far, hasn't really kept my attention to keep playing like the first one yet, storywise and the characters. Maybe it's me getting older but I only like playing these old RPGs like and hour or 2 and I've had enough, so the saving thing kinda sucks playing like that. Oh well, gonna keep going with it for now.
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