Monday, August 22, 2011

Imagining: the Perfect Namco Museum.

And here gores another topic somewhat related to Pac-Man, but instead involving it's creator. Namco (Bandai).

Let me give you a little history lesson to start off things. Don't need to have the shit hitting the fan all at once. Back during the 64 bit-era, when Sony's Playstation and Nintendo's Nintendo 64 were at it, Namco started releasing compilations of their classic arcade games, titled Namco Museum. These were accurate re-creations of their titles, both ones that made it to the States and PAL territories, and ones that didn't. The first one, released in 1995, included several of their well-known worldwide titles, and just for shits and giggles, they splotched in Toypop, one of their Japanese-exclusive games, which I feel as if stuck out from the rest of the crowd because it wasn't relatively known outside Japan. But otherwise, it was a decent title for the PS1 library, and so, Namco followed up with four more volumes released over the late 90's. Each one contained roughly five to seven games, with some of the titles serving the same fate as Toypop and not being relatively-known outside Japan. The second volume featured a simliar layout to the first, the third and fourth ones took their own design, and the fifth one was made less linear, spreading the games around the main museum HUB. Every volume featured a ton of bonus content based on the game's original Japanese releases where you can view promotional flyers and merchandise available during the time of the game's original release. Yea I know I repeated a few things there, but the more the better!

After the original "quintoligy" (or however you say it), Namco released a sixth volume excluvesely in Japan, known as Namco Museum Encore that broke several traditions of the preceding five volumes. Gone was the virtual museum- instead they put you in some sort of black room with nothing but stars and the cabinets of the games all in one room (at least, I think that's how it went. There are only a few screenshots, and not enough good hard evidence to see what really was in Encore), and gone was also the bonus features and content (once again, dunno much about Encore).

But anyways, fast forward to the early 2000's, following the N64 and Dreamcast Namco Museum titles, which are nothing special, aside from being a compilation of Namco's most popular and recognized games. Here we saw the 128-bit console multi-platform Namco Museum, which was a vastly updated version of the N64/Dreamcast versions, containing several additional games, the main ones that got my attention were the "Arrangement" titles, which included remakes of Pac-Man, Dig-Dug, and Galaxian, which were previously seen in "Namco Classics Collection" alongside the games they were initially based on. THis collection for the first time, contained a non-arcade title, Pac-Attack. Then, came Namco Museum 50th Anniversary, celebrating 50 years of Namco's career as a toy company. This one once again was a compilation of some of their most well-known titles released worldwide, but was much bigger, and rather than doing accurate remakes of the titles, they instead did a near-perfect emulated version, and stays very true to the originals. Battle Collection was somewhat of the same ordeal, but had more titles, and brought in new game menus per title where the player can choose their starting level, and therefore continue progress after getting a Game Over. This one also had a different set of Arrangement titles separate from the ones in Classics Collection, that since following Battle Collection have become known as the "Remix" series. These "Remix" titles I felt were weaker than the "Arrangement" variants. Afterwards, there weren't any new titles released in the Museum lineup. Nowadays they seem to be focused on just releasing previously-featured arcade titles just to get them on other platforms, and don't release any of their Japanese-only or rare titles on their recent collections. Nor do they seem to be willing to just throw in a large pack of their hits into one disc. Well that's perfectly why I'm here, to tell you how I feel a Namco Museum should be done, and done right.

Well, it's kind of difficult to explain, but let me break it up for you. This Museum title, if it ever existed, would contain many arcade titles from Namco's past years, all perfectly emulated, and all in their original language (with some games having alternative ROMS for different languages). It goes back to the museum format of the original PS1 installments, but the games are now laid out on three different floors based on their overall popularity or obscurity. The first floor contains games based on Namco's most well-known titles, the second floor contains some of Namco's lesser-known games that have a decent fan-following, and the third floor contains games there are extremely uncommon outside of Japan, and didn't get releases on a Namco Museum. On each of these floors, you enter doors that lead to the basic gallery rooms where you view the game's bonus content, but rather than just items based on the Japanese releases, this compilation goes further to include items from other releases of the same game outside of Japan (if available). Then at the end of the hall is the room where the game's upright or cocktail cabinet is displayed. The "game" rooms, and their corresponding gallery rooms seen from the original PSX games are also seen here, but enhanced greatly with better graphics and visuals. The sounds remain the same. As for the ones form Encore and other titles not in the original quintology, they are given rooms based on the game that's inside the room, and a theme that fits the game itself (mainly a remix of one specific BGM from the game). Should be easy to explain, but let's move on.

Then, there's a fourth floor that simply contains nothing but bonus content. Background music and sound effects from the games, other Namco-related scans and artowrk, and player/user records and online leaderboards for every title (of which the games need to be played in a separate mode called (Score Attack) to register scores on the worldwide leaderboards, which is each game always on default or easiest settings, both with their own list).

But let's cut the bullshit, and introduce the games. Per floor, in alphabetic order.

1st Floor:

Dig Dug
Dig Dug II
Dragon Spirit
Galaga '88
Jr. Pac-Man
King & Balloon
Ms. Pac-Man
New Rally-X
Pac-Attack (SNES version)
Pac-Attack (Namco Anthology 2 verison)
Pac-Man Plus
Pole Position
Pole Position II
Rolling Thunder
Sky Kid
Sky Kid Deluxe
Super Pac-Man
Super Xevious

2nd Floor:

Assault Plus
Bomb Bee
Cutie Q
Dig Dug Arrangement
Dragon Buster
Dragon Saber
Galaga Arrangement
Gee Bee
Genpei Toma Den
Mappy Arrangement
Mr. Driller
Pac & Pal
Pac-Man Arrangement
Rally-X Arrangement
The Return of Ishtar
The Tower of Druaga*
Toy Pop
Xevious Arrangement
Valkyrie no Densetsu

*(includes Another and Darkness Tower versions from Volume 3, as ROM hacks)

3rd Floor

UPDATE: In response to Namcorules, a user on StrategyWiki, whom I've showed the post to, I've decided to add some more titles to the list, of which I intended to add but got a little carried away writing the list that I forgot to insert them. I'm not going to mark off which titles are now on this list. The reason why I had stated that some of the games would "bump up" the age rating to T/13+ if this ever became a commercial release was because of several reasons, the most notable I can think of off the bat were Wonder Momo's "panty shots" and Yokai Dochuki's heavy religious theme.

Bakutotsu Kijutei
Blast Off
Burning Force
Cosmo Gang the Video
Dangerous Seed
Dirt Fox
Final Lap
Final Lap 2
Final Lap 3
Finest Hour
Hopping Mappy
Kaitei Takara Sagashi
Libble Rabble
Marchen Maze
Marvel Land
Metal Hawk
Mirai Ninja
Quester Special Edition
Rolling Thunder 2
Souko Ban Deluxe
Tank Battalion
Tank Force
Warp & Warp
Wonder Momo
Yokai Dochuki

I am not planning to add the following games:

World Stadium, World Court, Face Off, Kyukai Douchuki, Numan Athletics, Other Namco Sports titles- All sports games. Not that I have anything against them, but I just feel that this collection would be better off without those.
Splatterhouse- I heard the game got negative reviews on various sites. But that's just according to my knowledge. I just don't have much desire to include Splatterhouse.
Four Trax, Other Namco Racing titles- Pole Posistion and Final Lap both share pretty much the same gameplay to these titles. And I feel as if there are enough racing games in this collection. Yea I'm a big fan of racing games, but still.
Galaxian^3, Xevious Sequels- There's enough shooters in this collection.
Steel Gunner, Steel Gunner 2, Golly! Ghost!, Golly! Ghost! 2- all these use the external-gun-mounted-onto-console control format.
Cosmo Gang the Puzzle- This collection already has two versions of Pac-Attack, of which CGTP's gameplay had inspired.
Knuckle Heads, Soul Edge, Soul Calibur, Other Namco Fighting titles- Fighting games. While I do enjoy playing them from time to time, the idea to add these is the same as with the sports titles.
Namco Quiz Games- I quote the Angry Video Game Nerd: "Quizzes aren't fun! Quizzes make you feel like you're in school!"

Once again, sorry if some of your favorites didn't make the list. I want to keep this collection simple and not get carried away with the games.

All games contain their original Dip Switch settings, and like I probably had said before, are all perfect emulations of their original, non-translated versions, with alternative translated ROMS for games in Japanese. More confusing games with complex objectives also include an in-game how-to/walkthrough booklet for specific games, mainly Tower of Druaga.

Please let me know your opinions if possible. Thanks much to Twitter user superfroman12 for supporting the idea, and to everyone else, feel free to spread the word.

Keep making great games, Namco!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Super Mario Bros. Special Restoration Project Announcement.

If you want to bullshit about me talking about SMB hacking and custom games too much on Super Justin: the Blog, go scream into a pillow. It'll be more beneficial to everyone.
Yea I know this is the art for a SMB soundtrack CD, but it just so bears that title, so meh.

Back in the mid 1980's, not long after Nintrndo's own Super Mario Bros, a company known as Hudson Soft, popular for their Bomberman games, was given the rights to produce three Mario titles for two Japanese-only home computers. Two of these, Punch Ball Mario Bros. and Mario Bros. Special, were both related to Nintendo's own arcade smash hit Mario Bros, and was released prior to the perhaps more well-known title, called Super Mario Bros. Special, which counted as the true first sequel to Super Mario Bros, preceding the Lost Levels, but it never came out for the Famicom or NES, it stayed excluvise to the PC88 and the Sharp X1, of which the former is the console that is used most (at least in emulator form) to play SMBS. However, that version has colors that are only shades of red, blue, and yellow. The Sharp X1 version instead uses 8 colors, sometimes merging two colors into a single sprite (mainly for used pipes and green objects), so it is the better-looking of the two. However the PC88 version is the more well-known version, and it's the one people use for LP's, so that one I know far more than the Sharp X1 version. However, I heard that version plays a little more smoothly, but I don't feel like comparing the two, so we're going to focus on just comparing the PC88 version to the original Famicom/NES version, and this version that has yet to come, as well as discuss the inaccuracy of the butchered Super Mario Bros. Special NES hack.

First, the PC88 version of Special, compared to the NES original.

*The controls and physics are somewhat worse than the NES version. Mario runs, jumps and drops faster and is harder to slow down, enemies are harder to hit as they too, move faster, and the Mega-Man styled screen-orientation flip-screen doesn't help either, in fact it's harder to land jumps because of it, making the hill-top levels harder than they should be.
*The maximum height for blocks is one square lower, which explains why the X-3 castles look odd.
*The "Koopa Stairs 1UP trick" is much easier to perform, and Mario does not need to be directly next to the stairs to do it.
*on lifts, there is only one platform, as opposed to several in underground areas.
*A single template which is used for every level in the original is replaced with all of the scenery being placed tile-by-tile, which explains why there are tall trees in some levels of the game (the biggest example being World 3-1.
*Underwater blocks and coral reefs can now be seen in above ground and one underground level(s), the later acting as a solid block. This is because every tile is now connected to one sheet, rather than using one with different palettes and tiles configured for each environment.
*Pipe entry and exit areas on the screen's y-axis are now unlimited, and now long, horizontal pipes not connected to vertical ones are also present.
*Starmen now have cutesy smiles.
*Bonus areas are now located in a select few castles.
*The well-known "ground" tile can now be placed anywhere on the screen, besides just being restricted to the first two rows on the bottom of the screen.
*There are more varieties of areas in the game- no room is seen twice in the game on different levels.
*Upside-down Piranha plants are seen, as well as pipes (The tips for the pipes are the same), regardless of what direction it is sprouting from)
*Just to be fancy, some new enemies and items appear here. The enemies originally appeared in Donkey Kong and Mario Bros; the two games that made Mario well-known before his star appearance in SMB. THe items are original to this game, with the exception of one item.

The enemies are:
Barrels- somewhat of a cross between Buzzy Beetles and Spinies. They cannot be jumped on, nor are they affected by your fireballs. Only Stars and Hammers are capable of taking these out. They first appear in 3-4.
Icicles- The enemy that appears late into Mario Bros; they simply come down from the celling in underground and castle levels, starting from 4-2.
Sidesteppers- Probably a skin for Spinies, but I'm assuming that if you want to remove one standing on a block from below, you'd have to do it twice (the first hit makes it angry and speeds it up). First seen in 4-2.
Fighter Flies- hopping flies from Mario Bros. that are basically just like Paratroopas, but slower and doesn't hop as high. Appears first in 5-1.
Fireball/Firebugs- The last of the enemies, that are invincible to possibly every attack, except the Starman and quite possibly the Hammer, though the later cannot be conformed because the Hammer never appears in a level alongside the Fireball/firebugs. First seen in 8-2.

The five exclusive items are all secretive, none of them can be found from ? blocks just out in the open. You have to look hard for them. Below are the items, their functions, and their locations.

Hachisuke- This item is only seen once in the very first level of the game, just right after existing the game's first bonus room. It is Hudson Soft's bee mascot plastered onto a yellow plate. Some sources claim it grants a continue, but in reality, it's only purpose is to award the player 8,ooo points.
Wing- Seen first in World 3-2's normal path and later on top the first item block in 4-1, this poorly-drawn wing gives Mario the ability to "swim" in midair. Unfortunately, it's duration is very, very short, making it somewhat useless.
Hammer- This is the only familiar powerup in this game, previously appearing in Donkey Kong. It causes Mario to proceed to swing a hammer that is the same size as him, mowing down anything in front of him. It's only temporary, but it does have quite a cool feature. It first appears in 3-4 in the "barrel room" and one last time in 5-1 before the staircase to the flag, which is ridden with Fighter Flies.
Lucky Star- No relation to Kagami Yoshimizu's manga which had a special cameo from Anime Techno's Anizawa Meito (*fangirl scream*), this item only appears in 4-1 and looks like an atom, complete with a nucleus and electron rings. Pick it up, and it kills everything on screen. Sadly, it too is also useless, since by the time you're able to grab it, the enemies on that screen would have already left by now.
Clock- Not identical to the stopwatch, both in appearance and functionality from Super Mario Bros 2 (US), this one looks like a classic desktop clock. Pick it up, and you get 100 extra seconds onto the clock (which helps because of how fast it ticks down compared to SMB in the NES.

-Since some people would yell at me if I didn't bring it up, some areas in the game lead to traps that the player cannot escape from, the most well known being 4-3's Coin Heaven (of which the same level also contains a puzzle where you have to collapse one of the scale-lifts to make a platform appear to progress through the level.) Here, the bonus room looks fine, but for whatever reason, the exit pipe does not work. Was it intended to be a trap? No. It was perhaps the result of a bad ROM dump, as anyone who played the PC88 version of SMBS may have also noticed that worlds 4-4 and 8-4 can also be corrupted, to the point in which 8-4 will not even start up. In this case, the exit pipe here was also corrupted due to the dump. thus leading to a trap where the player has to wait for the timer to run out. According to Wario Bros/ WarioBrose, the same thing also happens in the Sharp X1 version, but here we can see where if the exit pipe were to work, it would warp you to a warp pipe situated underneath the end-of-level staircase, of which contains a hidden 1UP block.
-In the level preceding this un-intended "trap", (4-2) there is a pipe following the underground portion exit that would seem like a warp zone, but also possibly due to a bad ROM dump, it does not work properly, resulting in you getting stuck and having to wait out on the timer. It is unknown where this pipe would have led if it did work. I'll talk about this strange pipe later.

Now about two decades and a half following the release of the PC88 version, two members of, known under the names frantik and Levi "Karatorian" Aho attempted a remake of SMBS in the form of a ROM hack of the original Super Mario Bros, titled SMBS for NES. Besides just acting like a way to better enjoy Special with the precise and flawless physics of the original, there are some things that were changed between the PC88 version and the hack, and I say PC88 because I think they based the entire thing on that version.

*All of the scenery and blocks are not precisely like the original versions, the "ground" tiles are restricted to the bottom two rows, coral reefs and underwater tiles on the overworld levels are changed to basic solid blocks, there are no long trees or small clouds, pipe exits and certain rooms (one of them belonging to 4-4) are moved/changed do to the limitations of the NES version.
*The colors went back to the original palette of the NES version.
*The "drop the scale lift platform" puzzle in 4-3 is rid of, but unfortunately the un-intended coin heaven trap is not touched, meaning the exit pipe in that area still does not work (c'mon guys, you could've at least made the pipe work!)
*The upside-down pipe ends are given their own graphics, rather than using the ones from pipe uprooting from the ground. While we're on topic, the upside-down Pirana Plants are made into Red Pirana Plants, even though all of the Pirana Plants were green in the original game.
*Possibly what I feel is the worst offender of all, every of the SMBS-excluise items and enemies were not in SMBS. May I ask, if two people were able to program SMB3 font on the title screen, add red-colored pirana plants, and upside-down pipe graphics (which wasn't even in the original version), then why couldn't they just expand the ROM's size so they could splotch in five new enemies and five new items. If ATA can make SMB into a Metroi... wait a second. I think I know why the SMBS-exclusive stuff wasn't in this ROM hack.

For one thing, Super Mario Bros. Utility, the currently easiest-to-use editor for SMB, is not that user-friendly compared to Lunar Magic, as that was an editor for a game that was capable at holding much more memory, and due to the SMB ROM I assume already being at it's maximum size, the user can only modify, and delete content. The reason why the blocks are not arranged as they were in SMBS is because in SMBU, you move these green squares to modify the level, and depending on where you place them, the structure changes. If perhaps there existed a better, more simpler version of SMBU, that automatically expands any ROM loaded onto it, allows a drag-and-drop editor like Ting_Thing's Mario Builder, the ability to add additional rooms, more freedom for spawning points on the Y-axis, an in-game palette editor, and the use of multiple block types and palettes per level, (and of course containing content from Special and Lost Levels) then perhaps just maybe a more faithful conversion of SMBS could exist in NES format. But no. Only the levels were carried over from the PC88 version, and the well-known 4-3 trap was left in on purpose.

In Extra Mario Bros, enemies and items were not added, but instead replaced. Buzzy Beetles were replaced by Goombas wearing iron helmets that cannot be killed, and only bump Mario to the side without harming him. If the player continuously jumps on top of this Goomba, he/she can ride them across certain chained platforms. Laiktus were replaced by Blarggs that spew podoboos, and Spinies were replaced by lavaballs that are immune to fireballs until you get the "Super Fire" upgrade.

Starmen were replaced by special mushrooms that gave Mario permanent upgrades that lasted for the entirety of the game, such as allowing Mario to melt spikes and walls, allow Mario to arc fireballs higher, and gain a double-jumping ability. I believe if you finish the game and find all of the 1UP mushrooms, you get a special suit the next time you play that makes Mario immune to enemies and lava, allowing you to access a secret area where you fight a giant Metroid.

Now back to SMBS. Yea a lot of us may have expected more from the NES hack, but it wasn't as well-done as I had hoped. It probably would've worked better as a Super Mario World hack, since the ROM of that game could be expanded to have plenty of room for Special's new items, enemies, and block types. So because the NES hack didn't do quite well in comparison to the original (IMO), I decided to use Ting_Thing's Mario Builder to recreate each and every single element of SMBS down to almost the exact detail. What will this accomplish?

*All 32 levels from SMBS, drawn into MB exactly with no changes to scenery and block types.
*SMBS' exclusive enemies and items replaced with enemies from more recent Mario titles following the original, and rare items that will make very few appearances. This is due to Mario Builder lacking the exclusive features of Special.

Now here's what I'd like to have in this remake, but can't:

*A skin editor to apply the appropriate SMBS-styled skins to coins, brick blocks, ? blocks, the characters, the flagpole, and so on. The only thing I can do for now is just skins for background scenery and solid objects. This would also come in handy for other projects in Mario Builder.
*Have constantly-generating vertically-moving platforms ala the original, plus the scale platforms.
*Properly-working hidden ? blocks.
*Firebars that spin counter-clockwise.
*A SMB-styled Bowser, and the classic collapsing bridge and ax to go with it.

Well that's it. At the time I'm writing this, I only have completed the first three levels, including their bonus rooms. I'll try to make this remake more true to the original than the NES remake, and then I'll work on publishing it. Since I easily get occupied with other things, there may be days where I won't work on the remake. But for now, I'll show you some screens from World 1 and it's bonus room (and you may be able to tell why I recommended a sprite editor)

So yeah. There you have it. I have a pretty interesting month coming up, so maybe I'll write some stuff on deviantART soon. In the meantime, I'll leave you with some bonus content: Tilesets for use with Mario Builder, ripped from three different ROM hacks of the original Super Mario Bros.

-rip images-

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Aozora's Wars, That Crossover Game of my teenage years. (Part 2)

So after some time waiting, I'm finally ready to spill some more beans on Aozora's Wars. I've already talked about the focus if this fangame, and it's roster of characters, so now I'm going to discuss the gameplay.

For the most part, it sticks true to the gameplay of the originals, although there are some large changes to the format. I'll list a few.

*The Koma Battle System is not present, so that means players cannot build teams of multiple fighters, supporters, and helpers. Here's how it will work in Aozora's Wars:

-Each player is limited to selecting one character, which can be given one of three different fighting styles: Alpha (Balance), Delta (Speed), and Omega (Power). These styles influence (some, if not all of) the character's special/super/fatal attacks, and in some cases, their strength (No fighting style is weak to another). That character can then be given one of eight different color variations, however if playing in team mode, or if two players control the same character, the character is forced to a alternative color.
-Then, the player chooses two support characters, and can mix them up to their liking. Each one can be configured to either a Heta type, or an "Attack Type" where their main focus is to attack enemies and cause status effects, or a Zeta Type, or "Helper Type" whom deals with restoring the player's health and causing positive status effects to the user. Each supporter can only be called thrice per battle. On the first call, after they perform their task, they will be shown on the bottom of the screen sleeping. After 30 seconds (for Heta types) or 50 seconds (for Zeta types), they can then be called on again two more times in battle, and then they will be shown sleeping again, but with a dark blue color palette, making that character "locked" for the remainder of the fight.

*As the bottom screen is no longer used for the Koma Battle System, it instead shows the current statics of the match (score and current amount of hit points per player), and where the player can call upon his/her supporters. Like in Bleach: the Blade of Fate and Dark Souls, the player can change the statics menu to a shortcut menu where a player can perform a character's special/super attacks without having to input a combination of buttons. The Supporters can still be summoned in this shortcut menu.

*There is the usual "Power" meter that is standard for tournament fighter games, that goes for up to three levels. One level is needed for performing Supers A and B, two for Super C, and three for Supers D and E. For characters that have alternative forms, like Ichigo Kurosaki and Masane Amaha, losing half of the player's HP then performing Super F will trigger a transformation sequence, power-uping the player's skill levels. This transformation will last for 60 seconds before the player returns to normal. A rarer type of Super move, called a Fatal Super, needs the SP meter to be full, and the player only down to 3 HP or lower. Then, he/she performs Super F, which causes a powerful attack/event to engage, instantly KO'ing one or all the opposing fighters. (These KO's are dubbed "Fatal KO's", after the Hokuto No Ken/Fist of the North Star fighting game on PS2)

*No stage takes place inside a page of Weekly Shonen Jump; everything is out of the opening. These include stages that are enhanced from Jump Super/Ultimate Stars, whom lack their destroyable/solid walls from the source.

*by default, one character from each series are available from the start. The characters can be unlocked by first meeting specific requirements in the game, then spending a pre-determined amount of currency (Yen, and gems) to unlock them, which can be earned by playing various modes, the one that awards the most is the online mode, where you can also advance ranks.

*The main single-player game is dubbed the "Campaign" mode, and while in other modes you start with a large roster of default characters, in this one you only begin with the lead character of the series of your choice. The overworld is not a series of galaxies ala Ultiamte Stars, but rather a series of islands with several areas, sort of like Super Stars. You move across the island Super Mario World style. There are four types of areas of interest per each of the seven islands. First is the HQ, where you can change your character and preferred teamates and supporters. The teammates are the computer players that ally with you for the entire match(es), and can have their preferred playstyle changed, such as to focus on attacking enemies alone with brute force, a balanced all-around behavior, or to stick close with other teammates and protect them. Their skills are moderate to begin with, and later in the game, their AI will improve drastically (same goes for standard VS matches with computer players, where their skill levels can be changed). The second type of location is the shop, where players can buy items that can boost a character's stats (one category) or adds a special trait to the character, like a triple or wall jump for one round, unlock transformations, and special bonus content to customize the game's menus and HUD, and unlock things in the museum mode. This is not done the same pathway-purchasing method as in Ultimate Stars, though buying some items will allow other items to be found.
The third type of building is a fight zone, the actual aspect of the game, where all the ass-kicking is done. In each zone, you can partake in a tournament where you fight characters in locations themed after the island the area is located, sometimes partnered with characters that have been recruited onto your team of characters. Here, you take one character into the tournament fighting across several rounds, where the goal is simply to come or tie in first every round (you have the three different modes of Ultimate Stars, scoring, survival, and star hunter, and failure requires the use of one of three continues to resume midway via a tournament, otherwise the player must start over) with one character and reach the end. afterwards, you are given one of six different medals based on your performance: (from worst to best) Stone, Bronze, Sliver, Gold, Platinum, and Pure Platinum. You get Stone just for simply finishing the tournament, and higher ranks for better performances. Depending on what medal you also earn, you'll win from one to six rewards, although you cannot get rewarded the same thing twice, so if you want more from the same tournament, you have to improve your result and best your previous score. With each reward, you will get one of the following:

-Yen, Gemstones, or a combination of both (these can also be collected during matches, but Yen is more common). Gemstones exist as Rubies, Sapphires, Emeralds (common gemstones), Topazes, Amethysts, and Diamonds (rare gemstones). On top of that, there is also a special type of gemstone called the Spectrum Pearl that adds one of every gemstone type.
-One to three supporters are added to your roster of supporters.
-One fighter is recruited onto your team of playable characters. For unlockable characters, they too can be recruited, but you must purchase them with Yen and/or gems to unlock them for use outside the campaign mode.

In some cases, getting Platinums and Pure Platinums may cause some character to be recruited to the team earlier than usual.

Missions return in Jump Ultimate Stars format, and are separate from the tournament sections, in that they only last one battle long, and for each mission, the player must complete the first task to win and receive reward(s). Four (and in some cases one secret) side quests can also be attempted for each mission as well, and they too also net rewards. Prizes are the same as clearing the tournament mode, and multiple side-quests can be won at once, providing the first task is cleared successfully.

The fourth and final building is a "boss" building, that in order to access, a certain number of tournaments and missions must be conquered. Then, the player goes in and fights an over-powered, and sometimes over-sized opponent, with a limited stock of (three) lives. Like the missions from the basic fight zones, the player can attempt several side-missions while fighting the boss. The first mission, which is simply to beat the boss, nets a pass to access the next island, while the four side-quests reward gems.

*The Power, Knowledge, and Laughter elements are discarded for this title. So no character type is weak to another. Gone is also the different character levels/variants (aside from the in-game transformation).

*As for menus, they are for the most part going to be Japanese, but unlike Super and Ultimate Stars, the player can change them to English, Chinese (both simple and traditional), and Korean (though the title download will be Japanese).

*Combos can now be performed, by tapping the soft attack or hard attack button multiple times. Not to mention button combinations, several unique for each character. The "super" meter, as I had mentioned, only goes up to three, not nine (or was it ten?)

*When the character runs low on HP, they do not change to grayscale, they just begin to pant/act weak/tired when immobile.

*Characters can now execute a grabbing command, and can hold onto characters and pound them for a few seconds, causing damage. He/she can also do another move while having a steady grip on the enemy, but cannot do a pound and grabbing attack in one routine.

Well that's all I can talk about for now on Aozora's Wars. I believed I've discussed enough of the title, the rest you can probably figure out if you're familiar with crossover fighters, and/or have played Jump Super/Ultimate Stars. Again, it's not in production, but if I do become a doujin videogame developer and round up a decent team and supporters, then this will be a major project of mine. And besides, I'm not going to be using it for money. I just want to receive feedback with it and have people enjoy it. It probably won't be a homebrew DS title, I'll probably just make it a free for Windows/Mac OS X. I'm giving absolute full credit to every character and series represented, and if you think I'm not going to, feel free to start a riot with me.

Peace out.