An ambitious fan translation for Sega's Japan-only 2000 title Rent-A-Hero No. 1 has finally reached completion, allowing English-speaking Dreamcast owners to fully experience the game (thanks, The Dreamcast Junkyard).
In case you didn't know, the game is a remake of an earlier Mega Drive release from 1991 (which also never made it out of Japan). You assume the role of Taro, a budding superhero who finds himself doing chores and the like on his quest to become a geniune legend.
Like the 16-bit original, the game plays out like an action-RPG, but with real-time fighting sections which apparently use the same game engine as Sega's coin-op brawler Spikeout. The game is packed with oddball humour and even includes a cameo from Sega mascot Segata Sanshiro.
Modder VincentNL has worked with his team for the past few years to create this patch, which makes the Dreamcast release playable in English. Getting it to this stage has been no mean feat; the Japanese version's text data caused a lot of issues, and the team behind the patch had to reverse-engineer portions of the game code to create the patch. Also, while the English language script taken from the unreleased Xbox prototype of the game was used, VincentNL and his team decided to re-translate some of the text to make it more accurate, as well as add in the thousands of lines of dialogue missing from the Xbox version.
But that's not all, as The Dreamcast Junkyard explains:
Proficiency with Ninja 3D models (the main 3D model format used by Dreamcast Katana SDK) was another must, especially for the many pieces of new 3D content and animations made by Egregiousguy on menus, or fixes applied by the team, such as creating "Bottles the cat", whose texture was missing in the original release. Egregiousguy and VincentNL remade Bottles’ model in Blender and converted it back to Ninja format, giving it an increased texture resolution and fixing clipping issues. Bottles now looks as good as new in the patch. Impressive VMU animations were also added, an improvement on the originals from the game.
This is a herculean achievement by the team and goes way beyond what we'd normally see in this kind of translation patch. You can grab the patch here.