Episode 3: Treasure 32bit

1796008-treasure

 

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Treasure 32-bit Notes

At the start of the 32-bit era, Treasure maintained it’s close ties to Sega but ended it’s 2nd party developer status and began new relationships with Nintendo and Enix becoming a true 3rd party.  Not all of these new partnerships would work out, especially their relationship with Enix.  

There game development continued to focus on Beat em’ Ups and Shooters, arguably creating the best installments of both genres over the course of their 1996-2001 development cycles.   

Some Notes on Employees not mentioned in the Treasure 16-bit episode: info from Giant Bomb, wikia

Hideyuki Suganami or NAMI – led the development of several Treasure games, including Mischief Makers and Alien Soldier, and Sin and Punishment: Hoshi no Keishōsha. He left the company sometime after Sin and Punishment, but remains on good terms with the company, heading development of Gunstar Super Heroes on a contractual basis.

Mitsuru Yaida or Yaiman – a programmer and key creative force behind many Treasure games, and has a particular interest in scrolling action games. He was the primary creative force behind Bangai-O.  The major creative force behind the games for the Game Boy Advance.

Also of note, HAN, mentioned in the last episode seems to be responsible for Treasure’s art design for characters, an art style that becomes a Treasure trademark in the period. (Hardcore Gaming 101)

List of 32-bit/64-bit Games from Treasure (Including Playstation 2 and GBA games)

Guardian Heroes – 1996 Sega Saturn

Genre: Beat em’ Up

Publisher: Sega

Ports: 2011- Xbox Live Arcade

Story: Long ago there was a vicious war between the Earth and Sky Spirits (renamed the Earthblood and the Skyborn in the Xbox 360 Remix).  The Sky Spirits gave magic to the Humans creating a race of Wizards who ended up siding with the Earth Spirits because they feared enslavement.  They eventually lost the war and were banished, with the Earth Spirits, to the depths of the Earth.  The Sky Spirits took magic away from the Humans and remained in control of Earth, starting the Age of the Sword.  One Wizard, Kanon, escapes and kills the Khans (Kings) who do not want to aid him in his plot of revenge against the Sky Spirits, he then is able to set up a puppet Wizard Kingdom after a fierce civil war he fought in the name of the Kahns whom no one is aware are actually dead due to the magic of Kanon.  The last Kahn, before he died, warned Kanon that if he ended the Age of the Sword an ancient and powerful sword would be found that would end his reign.  Fearful of this, Kanon orders all swords in the kingdom to be destroyed.  The Heroes, a rag tag group of treasure hunters/mercenaries, stumble upon an ancient sword and to their surprise are quickly pursued by Kanon’s army, they escape but in the heat of the battle the sword resurrects an undead Warrior who had fallen during the civil war of Kanon’s takeover.  Serena, a princess of the deceased Kahns and leader of a rebel group, recognizes the sword’s power and convinces the Heroes to join their rebellion.  (wiki)

Notable Releases in 1996:

Notes:

Arguably the best Beat em’ Up game ever made.  

Very complex combo system elaborating off of the work they did on the Yu Yu game on the genesis.  A fast weak attack and a fierce attack can be combined with magic attacks to build upwards of 70 or 80 hit combos.  Unlimited air juggling and a large amount of on screen enemies add to the fast past carnage.

Weaves a tight rope between one plane and free range movement to a 3 plane design where the player can switch between planes as they fight.  Great way to localize fighting with two players and adds a level of strategy to a genre usually focused on mindless grinding.

Every character has a unique skill set and magic arsenal.  In addition to this, the player use choose to play as changes the story line.

This game has 7 endings and multiple story branches.  With over 35 levels it is a long, long Beat em’ Up and it is impossible to play all levels in one play through because your choices after each level will cause you to skip certain areas.

Very simple sprite designs, which while are not Treasures artwork, there simple design allows immense scaling and a very large number of enemies and sprites on screen.  Don’t be fooled however, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, this game is gorgeous.

Rpg elements and a great story line add to the incredible depth and detail put into this game.

Also an Arena mode and every single unlockable character in the game (hundreds) allows up to 6 players to fight one on one.

Mischief Makers – 1997 N64

Genre: Platformer

Publisher: Enix, Nintendo published/promoted in the US

Ports: N/A

Story: While visiting the planet Clancer, Professor Theo is kidnapped by the Empire, acting upon orders from their evil emperor and estranged twin brother of Theo.  Upon realizing Theo’s abduction, his robotic maid Marina Liteyears sets out to rescue him. (wiki)

Notable Releases in 1997:

Notes:

This is the first game on a system other than Sega, and the first on a Nintendo System.  With character design similar to Guardian Heroes.

The game sets through five stages on Planet Clancer, each one containing approximately 10 levels, over 50 levels!

Challenging control scheme, uses the D-pad and almost every button on the N64 controller.

The gameplay revolves around grabbing, shaking and throwing, whether it is an enemy, a missile, etc. and shaking a machine gun or a missile grants three-way fire and the ability to launch homing missiles.

Again Treasure nails the Boss Fights.  Many consider them to be the best Boss fights in any game.

Graphics are pre-rendered sprites (a treasure first and I believe last) over 2D scrolling parallax backgrounds with some 3D polygon platforms.

Silhoutte Mirage – 1997 Sega Saturn

Genre: Run n’ Gun/Platformer

Publisher: Entertainment Software Publishing

Ports: 1998, PS1

Story:  The setting is Earth, during a post-apocalyptic year 2000. Prior to the events in the game, a group of scientists conducted genetic experiments in a great facility called Edo. From their activities emerged the two attributes: Silhouette and Mirage. These aspects manifested in a child named Armageddon (Clod).  The two aspects were based on the dualistic nature of Yin and Yang: One’s existence is crucial to the other’s. Despite the complementary nature of the attributes, they repelled each other. As a result, Armageddon’s attributes split to form two pure figures: Megido and Har, respectively the self-proclaimed Silhouette and Mirage leaders.  Eventually, the genetic experiments resulted in a biological explosion which contaminated the genetic structure of all entities on Earth. Many perished, and those that survived displayed either of the two attributes (a special group, called Proteans, can display both attributes).  In preparation for this disaster, the computer system Gehena created a being known as ‘The Messenger of Justice’ (hostile figures dubbed her ‘Messenger of Destruction’), designed to repair Edo’s computer’s system and neutralize all the instances of the two attributes. (wiki)

Notable Releases in 1997: see above

Notes:

5 different endings depending on choices and what you have collected.

Very unique approach to Run n’ Gun genre in that you have 2 different elements to attack with and each enemy is susceptible to only one element while shooting it with it’s own element increases your element gauge making your shots stronger and go farther.  You also shoot one element to only one side depending on what color you are, this can be reversed adding an extra level of strategy.

Many many levels, including unlockable levels.

Probably the best animated sprites for treasure at the time of it’s release, though the foregrounds leave a little to be desired.

Many Mini-Boss fights and Boss fights in each level continue the Treasure Boss tradition.

Ports- Saturn version (jp only) has more detail in the graphics such as additional background layers, animation is said to be best but it is hard to tell. Jp Playstation lacks the graphical detail of the saturn but adds a boss fight and an extra ending.

Spaz games (an offshoot label of fan favorite, Working Designs) released the game in US and tinkered with gameplay elements adversly effecting the final product. All weapons drain spirit, and rapidly, vs japanese versions allowing free weapon use. you can regain spirit by shooting same colored enemies as you but this slows down gameplay and the game is already pretty methodical. additionally, enemies take longer to kill and items in the shop are more expensive.

the japanese playstation version could be considered the definitive version for its unaltered gameplay and extra content over the slightly better looking saturn version,

Radiant Silvergun – 1998 Arcade

Genre: Vertical Shooter

Publisher: Sega

Ports: 1998- Sega Saturn, 2011- Xbox Live Arcade

Story: An octahedron-shaped artifact called the Stone-Like, along with a non-functioning robot, has been unearthed. Earth’s secretary of defense, Chief Igarashi, orders the Stone-Like to be examined. Meanwhile, up in Earth’s atmosphere, inside the spaceship Tetra, Commander Tengai issues Buster, Reana and Guy to test out the three new Silvergun prototype fighter crafts. Back on Earth, Igarashi relays information on the Stone-Like and the robot, claiming it has the serial number 00104, exactly the same number of the robot aboard the Tetra, CREATOR 00104. Tengai cannot believe this be just a coincidence (partly due to Igarashi proving that it is, indeed the same robot), and has the three Silvergun pilots on standby. Suddenly, the Stone-Like starts to act up and destroys the facility containing it. As it overwhelms the Earth defense forces, the Stone-Like wipes out all life on Earth in a magnificent flash. Only the crew of the Tetra remain unharmed, as they were in satellite orbit. One year after the Stone-Like destroyed Earth, the Tetra, running low on food and fuel supplies, makes its return to Earth.  (wiki)

Notable Releases in 1998:

Notes:

The story of Radiant Silvergun is only available in the Saturn Mode of the Sega Saturn version of the game. Arcade Mode and the original arcade version of Radiant Silvergun do not include any cutscenes or dialog.

Mind blowing fucking amazing awesome graphics for the Saturn at a very fast pace and frame rate.

6 weapons mapped to each of the 6 face buttons on the saturn controller allow you to choose the perfect weapon based on enemy location.  Also the R button is a melee attack that allows you to destroy pink bullets and fill up a gauge that releases a very powerful half screen melee attack.  Pretty sure this is the only melee attack in a Vertical Shooter (Its not, but radiant was the highest profile to do so and make it so integral to the gameplay. games that do (trigger heart excellica, strania) are influenced by radiant)

Considered by many to be the best vertical shooter ever and costs about 200 bucks for a copy on ebay. (it is not that rare, just high in demand)

At the time, it was one of the most imported games due to write ups in popular gaming mags.EB games stocked it as a regular product and included a region converter in a package deal. Really should have been released state side.

Graphics are a combination of sprites and 3D models, by far the most 3D models used by Treasure at the time of this games release.

Anime and character design again similar to the style of Guardian Heroes and made by Gonzo I believe.

Music is great, orchestral soundtrack, uncommon in Vertical Shooters. Hitoshi Sakimoto, composer, also did the music for Final Fantasy Tactics, Terra Diver (also on saturn/st-v often compared to radiant silvergun and has similar acclaim), tactics ogre, valkyria chronicles, dragon’s crown, and tons more.

And again Great Boss fights and very long game.

Arcade version for ST-V- Japanese version is 3 button only and the weapons are used via pushing combinations of the buttons. there is branching path sections to access different levels.

US version is nerfed big time (accessible via region bios modded board). half the weapons are cut out entirely. very limited release

Rakugaki Showtime – 1999 Playstation

Genre: Arena Beat um’ Up

Publisher: Enix

Ports: 2008 – Japanese PSN

Story: Welcome to the world of Rakugaki. An imaginary game world, created entirely
by the pencil drawings of the “God Hand”. The characters who inhabit this
world were created by the God Hand in the same way… Yukiwo, Sasami, Pitan
and Tsubohachi; the four members of the “Heroes Team”, and Daddy; who
commands the mysterious enemy character army. (Atsroblue GameFAQ)

Notable Releases in 1999:

Notes:

Rakugaki Showtime was published by Enix and quickly pulled from the shelves after release due to an apparent licensing dispute between Treasure and Enix.  This game signaled the end of the short Treasure/Enix relationship (Mischief Maker was also published by Enix).

Though characters have physical attacks most of the game is fought by shaking and throwing objects or characters (similar to Mischief Makers) that are drawn into the arena by the “God Hand”

All characters and items are doodles on a ripped paper look, but are well animated, a cool and unique design choice.

Single player takes you through about 8 or 9 levels of arena battles, the game is primarily for multiplayer where up to 4 people can fight.

There are various objects to use but the big one his the happy face which can be thrown around until it is so angry it begins blinking, at this point, throwing it unleashes a special character move, depending on who you are.

Bangai-O – 1999, N64

Genre: Shooter

Publisher: Entertainment Software Publishing

Ports: 1999 – Dreamcast, 2011 – Xbox Live Arcade

Story: Two young mecha pilots, Riki and his sister Mami share command of the powerful humanoid-shaped Bangai-O and battle villains from the “Cosmo Gang.” (wiki)

Notable Releases in 1999: See above

Notes: one of the only, if not the only, n64 game that is entirely 2D pixel art sprites. everything a very small size so the levels look massive. seeing hundreds of bullets, with white tracers, on screen is very impressive

manic shooter that must be thought out in order to be successful. can move your little dude in all directions and shoot in all directions. designed with the seldom used left position on n64 controller (left thumb on dpad, right on analog stick).

levels are contained and pretty distinct from each other allowing for great bite sized gameplay. one level can take quite a bit of time to be figured out. Some levels feature heavy puzzle game elements such as chain-of-event type levels. you can defeat every enemy and still die if the timer runs out and you dont have access to the exit.

features 2 weapon styles homing and rebound. homing is best used in wide open areas and rebound is best in corridor like spaces.

big gameplay element is the bomb charge. by charging your meter that is powered up by collecting fruit, you unleash an explosion of bullets. if properly timed, you can deflect enemy fire causing a satisfying storm of bullets and increase score. the game has an arcade like emphasis on score.

this and sin and punshment are the 2 most desirable jp only releases for n64 for hardcore gamers.

GunBeat – 1999, Arcade

Genre: Action/Racing

Ports: N/A

Story: Unknown

Notable Releases in 1999: See above

Notes:

The game, which would have been Treasure’s first fully 3D title, appeared to have players race each other around circuitous tracks riding mounts, including a giant hamster. The game had action and combat elements, as well. (wiki)

Sin and Punishment – 2000, N64

Genre: Shooter

Publisher: Nintendo

Ports: 2007Wii VC

Story: Mankind’s prosperity has led to a vast population increase and serious food shortages. In an attempt to solve the food shortage problem, scientists create a new species to use for food, and place the herd in northern Japan. In time, the creatures mutate and attack the people of Japan. An international peacekeeping organization called the Armed Volunteers tries to stop the creatures, now referred to as “ruffians”, but they also oppress the Japanese.  Another group, referring to itself as the Savior Group and led by a mysterious woman named Achi, rises up to defend Japan against the Ruffians and Armed Volunteers. (wiki)

Notable Releases in 2000:

Notes: intended for us release and is fully voiced in english. heavily imported. rail shooter with elements of platforming. fully 3D and polygonal which treasure had limited experience in. you could never tell that as it is a stand out in the n64 library.

melodramtic story telling in a grimey post apocolyptic world. it doesnt make much sense but it has memorable characters and settings.

highly complex control scheme that takes time to master. it utilizes every button on the n64 controller. there are many options including the “left hand position”. alienating to some, rewarding to others.

very cinematic for an n64 game. tons of voice work on par with starfox 64

you can save your game but limited continues makes the game a huge challenge to complete.

possibly the culmination of treasure’s work in boss fights. they are excellent

Ikaruga – 2001, Arcade

Genre: Vertical Shooter

Publisher: Sega

Ports: 2002 – Dreamcast, 2003 – Gamecube, 2008 – Xbox Live Arcade, 2014 – Steam

Story: Several years ago in the small island nation of Horai, the leader of the nation, Tenro Horai, discovered the Ubusunagami Okinokai—the Power of the Gods. This energy emanated from an object she dug up from deep underground and granted her unimaginable powers. Soon after, Tenro and her followers, who called themselves “The Divine Ones”, began conquering nations one after another. “The Chosen People” carried out these conquests in “the name of peace”.  Meanwhile, a freedom federation called Tenkaku emerged to challenge Horai. Using fighter planes called Hitekkai, they fought with the hope of freeing the world from the grips of the Horai – but all their efforts were in vain. They were no match for the Horai and were eventually almost completely wiped out. Miraculously, however, one young man survived. His name was Shinra (森羅?).  Shot down near a remote village called Ikaruga, inhabited by elderly people who had been exiled by the Horai’s conquests, Shinra was dragged from the wreckage and nursed back to health. Shinra regained his health and pledged to defeat the Horai, and the villagers entrusted him with a fighter plane that they had built themselves, called the Ikaruga. (wiki)

Notable Releases in 2001:

Notes:  the best, most artistic, rewarding vertical shooter of all time. revitalized the genre and introduced many to it for the first time as a serious and valid genre.

Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster’s Bad Dream – 2002, Gameboy Advance

Genre: Beat em’ Up

Publisher: Swing! Entertainment Media

Ports: N/A

Story: Buster Bunny is having bad dreams and he aims to stop them. (wiki)

Notable Releases in 2002:

Notes:

Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting! – 2003, Game Boy Advance

Genre: Sports/Boxing

Publisher: Entertainment Software Publishing

Ports: N/A

Story: Ippo Makunouchi was an extremely shy high school student who never had the time to make friends because he was always busy helping his mother run their family fishing charter business. Because he kept to himself, a group of bullies led by Umezawa got into the habit of picking on him. On one particular day, these bullies decided to give him a rather serious beating, but a middle-weight professional boxer who was passing by stopped the bullies and took the injured Ippo to the Kamogawa Gym (鴨川ボクシングジム Kamogawa Bokushingu Jimu?), owned by retired boxer Genji Kamogawa, to treat his wounds. After Ippo awoke to the sounds of boxers training, the boxer who saved him, Mamoru Takamura, tried to cheer Ippo up by letting him vent his frustrations on a sandbag. It was then that they had their first glimpse into Ippo’s talent for boxing. After that incident, Ippo gave the situation a lot of thought and decided that he would like to begin a career as a professional boxer. (wiki)

Notable Releases in 2003:

Notes:

Astro Boy: Omega Factor – 2004, Game Boy Advance

Genre: Run n’ Gun

Publisher: Sega

Ports: N/A

Story: Omega Factor features elements from Astro Boy’s different incarnations. The concept of robot rights, Dr. Tenma’s ultimate plan for Astro and the robot city of Robotonia in Antarctica are lifted from the Astro Boy 2003 TV series. Plotlines from other Tezuka series include a time travel plot lifted from Marine Express, a journey to the lost continent of Mu, and a subplot involving Duke Red’s daughter and her role in the “Death Mask” orbital platform. The game is divided into two episodes: Birth and Rebirth. The Birth episode follows Astro’s adventures and other characters he interacts with, and ends with robots being destroyed by a device called Death Mask, after it determines that the robots are too dangerous to be left alive, leaving Sharaku able to conquer the Earth. In Rebirth, Astro is revived by a being called Phoenix, and has Astro go back to the beginning of the story and try to stop the Death Mask, giving him the ability to go back and forward in time to do so. (wiki)

Notable Releases in 2004:

Notes:

While Astro Boy had been well known for decades in Japan, the North American release was delayed to coincide with the premiere of the Astro Boy TV series in 2004 in the US. During this delay, Treasure made some game improvements to the North American version of the game

Treasure also worked with Sega development team AM3 (AKA Hitmaker) for the first time on a game.

Advance Guardian Heroes – 2004, Game Boy Advance

Genre: Beat em’ Up

Publisher: Ubisoft

Ports: N/A

Story: The story follows the events of Guardian Heroes. After the Undead Hero was returned to his rest, the heroes were given the option of becoming the Sky Spirit’s perfect warriors. The group was divided, with Nicole, Serena, and Valgar joining the Sky Spirit, and Han and Genjiro refusing. Randy escaped back to earth on his own, leaving Han and Genjiro to fight a losing battle against their former comrades.  Years later, Zur returns. He resurrects Kanon and uses the power of the Guardian Heroes to take over the world. The few remaining resistance forces call upon the power of the Undead Hero once again, with one young soldier giving up his body to serve as its vessel. (wiki)

Notable Releases in 2004: see above

Notes:

Gunstar Super Heroes – 2005, Game Boy Advance

Genre: Run n’ Gun

Publisher: Sega

Ports: N/A

Story: Taking place after the destruction of the “God of Ruin” (also known as Golden Silver, the final boss) at the end of Gunstar Heroes, the explosion created four moons orbiting the Earth. However, many years later, the creation of a fifth moon reveals a plan to resurrect the malevolent Empire and Golden Silver once again.  Protagonists Red and Blue, named as such in tribute to the legendary warriors from the original Gunstar Heroes, combat the Empire as part of an organization called “The Third Eye”. Together with Yellow, the Gunstars must travel to the moons, stop the resurrected Empire, and recapture the Treasure Gems, four mystical stones with an unknown power that drove the story of the previous game. Super Heroes has different storylines based on what difficulty is chosen and which character the player is playing as. (wiki)

Notable Releases in 2005:

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