Friday, August 6, 2010

East vs. West: Space Harrier (PC Engine)

Some games don't need much at all in the way of translation -- NEC's PC Engine version of Sega's coin-op Space Harrier was released in both Japan and the US, but as far as I can tell the only differences occur on the title screen.  So this is going to be a brief East vs. West post.

The Japanese original has a clean and simple title display -- it's missing the arcade game's background and waving hero, reusing a couple of sprites for the sake of HuCard space:

The localized U.S. version is similarly straightforward -- a FROM NEC line has been added, presumably to distinguish this offering from Sega's own products, and the graphics are slightly spread out to accommodate a wider NEC AVENUE 1989 copyright line:

Beyond the title screen, the games look, sound and play exactly the same.  It's Space Harrier:

Both versions use the English voice samples from the original coin-op game, though they sound horrendously scratchy on the PC Engine, and all of the text is in English.

Nothing lost in translation, nothing gained.  But it's still a pretty good rendition of Space Harrier, and was arguably the most accurate console port until the Sega 32X version showed up several years later.

Space Harrier is available in its original coin-op version on the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console these days, and was released on just about every platform under the sun post-1985.  But if you're looking for some old school import gaming, you might check out the offerings at this affiliate link.

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