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First post, by MrFlibble

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Every once in a while, I learn of some new DOS game that is an unofficial port or conversion of a non-PC, or specifically non-DOS, usually commercial title. I'm trying to take note of these just for reference, but I suspect that there are many more out there.

Here's what I got so far:

Verbatim conversions or very close clones

"Enhanced" conversions

Imitations

I suppose there are a lot more games of this kind out there, any suggestions? (I'm not talking about the obvious stuff like those hundreds of Tetris clones)

Last edited by MrFlibble on 2022-07-11, 21:37. Edited 3 times in total.

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Reply 2 of 24, by BloodyCactus

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MrFlibble wrote on 2022-05-11, 17:48:

I suppose there are a lot more games of this kind out there, any suggestions? (I'm not talking about the obvious stuff like those hundreds of Tetris clones)

wheres the line tho? 99% the things on the list are just clones of whatever, identical as the "hundreds of Tetris clones" you dont want...

As opposed to be 1:1 unofficial ports, like the new Rygar for Amiga, its goal is a 1:1 port.

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Reply 5 of 24, by MrFlibble

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BloodyCactus wrote on 2022-05-11, 19:10:

wheres the line tho? 99% the things on the list are just clones of whatever, identical as the "hundreds of Tetris clones" you dont want...

I can certainly recognize a Tetris clone when I come across one; same goes for Breakout, Boulder Dash, Sokoban, Asteroids, Galaga and a few others. But my general knowledge of arcade, console and other non-PC games is extremely limited, and I would not identify many an unofficial conversion or an "imitation" (by which I mean a game that is superficially different but with very close or identical gameplay) for what it is unless this would be explicitly specified.

For example, I played Brix as a kid but until rather recently, I had no idea that it's a nearly 1:1 conversion of Puzznic. Or, recently I stumbled upon The Green Beret, which is apparently a remake of a Commodore 64 game of the same name which I've never heard about.

In short, I'm trying to enrich my knowledge about games in general, but also to understand the extent to which these kinds of conversions were developed, possibly in response to a lack of similar games on the PC platform, or as an attempt to capitalize on the success of the source material.

From the sub-categories that I listed above, the following conversion types may be inferred:

  • nearly exact conversion, using original art and levels, or possibly updated art as the target system permitted (e.g. VGA graphics) ~ same game
  • fan game with (possibly) original art but new levels ~ new content for the original game
  • a different game that closely replicates the original mechanics, and possibly look & feel ~ almost the same game

Theoretically, this should help exclude games which are more of a spiritual successor or an inspired game, rather than a direct conversion or clone/remake.

Of course, as games grew more complex, the differences between a conversion proper and an "inspired" game get more blurred. But I'd argue that projects like Future Conflict or TerraScape - Breakdown Velocity are closer to their respective source material (Command & Conquer and Terminal Velocity), leaning into what I termed imitations, than, for example, those commercial Command & Conquer clones of the era that tried to be at least superficially different, and maybe even genuinely tried to innovate on the gameplay formula. On the other hand, I would probably not count Quiver as an imitation of Doom for the purposes of this study, as gameplay and balance are very different.

And yes, I'm really interested in how far this trend extends, i.e. if there's a limit on the complexity of the games that are being converted and imitated (bearing in mind the time span within which DOS was a viable development platform for such projects, of course). Most games of this type that I know of are obviously remakes of some very old titles, often from the 80s. BTW, I'm aware of all the retro remakes initiatives that used to be, or still are, popular with some developers. From what I listed above, SF2IBM and Alien Assault II seem like the most complex games to be recreated/imitated, I wonder if this goes farther than that? For example, I know abut AGI-based Space Quest fangames but I'm not sure where to put those.

I would also appreciate if someone could provide info about the game Mega Motion. A while ago I found the DOS version here, however MobyGames only listed the Amiga game, which I believe came out first. The problem is that the DOS page and demo do not mention the Amiga developers and publishers at all, which makes me wonder if this is official or not.

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Reply 6 of 24, by MrFlibble

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Alrighty, I'm trying to explore some remakes links (mostly via the Wayback Machine). Only some of the remakes listed are for the DOS platform though.

Retro Remakes (as far as I can tell, no downloads preserved)
Conversions and Remakes of Amstrad CPC games
Remakes (mirror)
Remakes Zone
Retrospec
Internet BoulderDash resources
Remakes - Lair of the Bavarian Sand Monkey
llamarama.org.uk

Individual remakes
PANGG! - Pang/Buster Bros.
Joselkiller - Metal Slug (DOS version not found yet)
JetPac PC - Jetpac (ZX Spectrum)
Watman - Batman (MSX)
Rex Remix - Rex (ZX Spectrum)

Speaking of complexity, I completely forgot about the Beats of Rage/Streets of Rage Remake, but IIRC it had some legal problems (?) during development, and it's kind of hard to find the definitive version of this remake/game.

Occasional remakes can be found at allegro.cc, but this requires some digging, as they are often not marked as such. Same goes for DIV-Arena.

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Reply 7 of 24, by leileilol

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Beats of Rage is more of a framework for brawlers/beltscrollers/beatemups (sometimes extremely diverged into other scrolling genres like even metroidvanias). "Streets of Rage Remake" is what got legal trouble, though I could've sworn there was also a "SOR4" prior to the Dotemu game. IIRC the remake didn't even play as good as the original.

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Reply 9 of 24, by WolverineDK

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leileilol wrote on 2022-05-12, 21:20:

Beats of Rage is more of a framework for brawlers/beltscrollers/beatemups (sometimes extremely diverged into other scrolling genres like even metroidvanias). "Streets of Rage Remake" is what got legal trouble, though I could've sworn there was also a "SOR4" prior to the Dotemu game. IIRC the remake didn't even play as good as the original.

One of the early "SOR4" games, became Fighting Force. And yes there are videos of that beta on youtube. The channel Retro Core on youtube has some info about it. But there are probably other videos on youtube about "SOR4".

Reply 10 of 24, by LSS10999

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Originally I started a thread asking about a game called Space Fox but seeing this one I think it's better I move it here. All I could find is an Apple IIgs version made by Seven Hills Software. Some gameplay videos about the Apple IIgs version are also available.

I once had the demo/shareware DOS version of this game on a very old game collection CD I had about 25 years ago, when I got my very first PC. The CD was too scratched to be readable anymore now, so I no longer have access to it. It feels like the DOS version never got more popular than the Apple IIgs one and was forgotten, as I tried finding any helpful info about its DOS version online over the past few years but I found nothing at all.

From what I could remember the DOS version of this game was made by Eclipse (most likely the one who made Tyrian). Like Tyrian, it used VGA graphics and Adlib music which feel much better compared to Apple IIgs. The demo/shareware version I had only allowed two full levels and would abort on the third with a register notice, but in overall the gameplay was similar.

Reply 11 of 24, by zyzzle

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MrFlibble wrote on 2022-05-12, 20:42:

Joselkiller - Metal Slug (DOS version not found yet)

Great links, but man, I'd love to find that Metal Slug for DOS. It was called Josel Killer, and apparently was completed for DOS, as version 1.35 shows in your link above.

All I could find (for *DOS*) was an old, incomplete demo version of version 0.88. I summon the power of VOGONS members to help find the complete version 1.35 for DOS. It must be preserved somewhere?

So many of these remakes have vaporized... Software presevation projects such as Total DOS Collection are very important. The kind archivsts there are doing God's great work in digitally-preserving software as artifacts.... We must NOT let "copyrights" get in our way or so much more will rot away into oblivion due to "saving face" and all that nonsense.

Reply 13 of 24, by MrFlibble

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A very big list of ZX Spectrum game remakes, with target platforms listed (some are for DOS):
http://www.worldofspectrum.org/remakes.cgi

And here's a categorized list of remakes without platforms specified, but the same site also has a list of remake developers which might be helpful.

Vigilante -- conversion of an arcade beat'em up from 1988.

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Reply 16 of 24, by MrFlibble

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Another page with a selection of unofficial game conversions to DOS, including some early versions of PLBM games:
http://negia.net/~msakey/pcclones.html

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Reply 17 of 24, by leileilol

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Around 96-98 there was this site called download.net and it had a section mainly focused on PC remakes of arcade games. This would probably be a lot of leads.

However, like any dumb corporation in the 90s that just learned about MAME and want to market off the golden age arcade boomer allure, there may be some ancient ROM dumps there, and IIRC that's sectioned apart from the remakes.

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Reply 18 of 24, by MrFlibble

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leileilol wrote on 2022-07-09, 18:15:

Around 96-98 there was this site called download.net and it had a section mainly focused on PC remakes of arcade games. This would probably be a lot of leads.

Thanks a lot for the tip, I'll check this out ASAP!

I wonder how I never came across this site before, I've been on a lookout for downloads sites of various types (preferably with stuff still available via the WM) for some time already.

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Reply 19 of 24, by MrFlibble

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I've worked through the archived pages of the DIV Arena website, which is unfortunately not preserved in its entirety, and identified remakes with working downloads. I'm also including DIV-based games from other (not very numerous) sources here as well. Some of these are incomplete and/or only limited demo versions.

Last edited by MrFlibble on 2022-07-16, 19:00. Edited 3 times in total.

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