Battle Blaze is a pretty unremarkable fighting game with poor graphics and gameplay. I won't go into detail on the game (I wrote a short review on the regular page), and I have to say that looking into the prototype in depth gave me more joy than playing it.
Martin sent me this ROM image along with several others (which I will release at a later date). I looked at my ROM image archives, and found out another Battle Blaze prototype exists in the GOODSNES archive (titled "Battle Blaze (USA) (Beta)"), though I could not find an original source for it. The two prototypes are pretty close to being identical, except that the bytes between 0xCE016 and 0xCE0FF are different. I identified these as graphics tiles, and since the game is so limited in scope, I was quickly able to find out where they were:
In the "NES World" version, the graphics of the king are glitched up, while the "GOODSNES" version are complete. I can't really answer why this is the case, except that it is possibly bitrot, a glitch from the dumping process, or simply that they burned the ROM incorrectly. For archival purposes, I am including both with this article, but will be analyzing the "GOODSNES" version. It is entirely possible that the source of the "GOODSNES" ROM image is from the same cart as Martin's, but I doubt there will be any way to ever prove this.
Differences in text
All versions of Battle Blaze, including the Japanese version, have English text. The text is stored in the ROM images as plain ASCII, making it easy to extract. I have shown a small example with the female master below to highlight some noticeable differences. In the Japanese version, some grammar mistakes show up that were fixed in the US version (see below, "Realms"). The name of the master in the screens below are the same in the prototype and the North American version. The name of the realm is different in all three versions. Some of the differences in names are shown below:
NA Version JPN Version Prototype
The text in the prototype is intermediate between the North American and Japanese version, though it is clear they were planning a US version from the start ("licensed by. nintendo of america inc" is the first part of the text in all versions). There is also the text "Battle Blade", perhaps indicating that they were originally planning to call it that instead of Battle Blaze. The in game text is closer to the North American version, using a more medieval English tone, for instance:
YOU'D BETTER GO AND PRAY
GO AND STAND AT THE BASE
Obviously, there is a bit of Engrish in the Japanese version. The Japanese introductory story is nearly twice as long as as the prototype and North American release. The prototype intro is pretty much the same as the North American version, but there is a classic case of censorship to remove a reference to suicide:
As far as I could tell, the graphics are identical between the prototype and its released counterparts. However, I looked at the ROM image with a tile editor, and found some bizarre things (at an offset of 0x66000 in all cases):
As you can see from above, the prototype version of Battle Blaze has graphics tiles that are from F-Zero. In the production versions of the game, all these graphics are blanked out with a checkerboard pattern. The developers may have been testing out F-Zero prior to burning the prototype of Battle Blaze on it.
This prototype of Battle Blaze shows a pretty much final version of the game, with text that is more similar to the US version than the Japanese version, while still sporting the original Japanese splash screens. The prototype shows that the text that the US version used probably went through a stage of censorship.
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