Email: email@example.comWizap! - Ankoku no Ou
Sometimes, a game is just too obscure. In fact, if you look up "Wizap" on Google, the third result is a thread I made looking for help on this article (well, at least it was when I was writing this). While researching, the only information I got about this game was that it was the second in a trilogy of games that includes Dark Lord for the Famicom and Dark Law. This game has you playing the role of a mercenary (I assume) where you take on jobs that add to the overall quest. The battle system is action oriented, and looks somewhat similar to Secret of Mana. I'm afraid that knowledge of Japanese is pretty much a must to proceed beyond the first town, so I couldn't really explore this prototype much.
That said, if you look at the binary with a tile viewer, there clearly are some graphics that are different in the prototype. These graphics tiles are from the offset 0x3A400 to 0x3DC00.
However, playing through the intro up to the first town (which admittedly is not very far into the game), yielded no differences. I think that it is likely safe to say that the prototype is near final, considering that substantial portions of the binary are identical to the commercial release (roughly 7% of the binary differs).
If you look at the page for Wizap! on Superfamicom.org, you'll note that there are two known ROM images of Wizap!, one of which is labelled as "beta". I did a file compare of the prototype that Matthew Callis has and the one that is already on the Internet:
0000FFDC: 38 37
Only two bytes are different. They correspond to the checksum bytes in the internal header of the binary. So this prototype is essentially identical to the one that has been floating around for a long time. It was in the oldest version of GOODSNES that I have in my archives (version 0.998 - released in May 2000). This suggests that this prototype was leaked during the BBS era. As for why there is a difference in the checksum bytes, my hypothesis is that someone hacked it to correct it to what it should be (it is two bytes off from what it should be). It is entirely possible that this cart is the source of the prototype binary that has been out there for years.
In the Yahoo Japan auction, the seller included a screenshot of the game in action with the word "SAMPLE" on screen. I've run through the opening sequence several times, and I have been unable to get this screen. I suspect that this is triggered by something in the SRAM. I couldn't even figure out how to make the game save normally, so I don't think it is possible for me to suss this out.
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