ZX Spectrum loading screen
MSX2 Opening screen
When (Fernando García) I attended to RetroMadrid 2014, the game was presented and sold as deluxe physical format, with a wooden case and plenty of nice details, but just few units which were quickly sold!
My primary system is not ZX Spectrum but I really enjoy it, and I felt compeled asking the original game developer, Luís (Benway) about their planning to be ported to MSX. This guy was probably annoyed about the same question again and again … but he even answered with a nice “it could even be on the MSX2” whilst he was looking at Manuel Pazos (MSX Gurú from Retroworks). This really made my imagination fly away thinking of the potential improvements for such port.
Several months later, having been played for a while, the Araubi walkthrough about the game came out on Septiembre 2017. This pushed my imagination again and made me download the game source code provided at Retrowork’s website.
I began to see the options playing around with that source code and I had a demo version after a couple of months with the original ZX graphics but running on a MSX!
I remember showing this thingy to my MSX pal Alastair Brown, who seeing something ZX Spectrum alike and not being used to that, he didn’t really mind much, so he just said … OK!.
I needed to set proper cool graphics anyway and advancing on a decent port. Since that it’s when I contacted Manuel Pazos, who after really celebrating seeing the demo, he contacted the rest of the original team involved building the game (basically Pagantipaco and Benway) to be part of the endeavour.
The team was setup as follows:
Fernando García , coder.
Manuel Pazos y Benway, tech support and great ideas.
Pagantipaco, graphic designer.
WYZ joined later on; he had been the main musician for the ZX version, and now he was going to improve it for SCC and PSG. PSG is the default MSX sound chip, so it’s present throughout MSX models and even in the ZX Spectrum 128 whilst SCC is a sound chip with even more capabilities which could be included into MSX cartridge games.
Our testesrs Araubi, Retroabuelo with Konamito, foucsed on testing the gameplay meanwhile Pablibiris focused on hardware compatibility stuff.
After several months of hard working, learning plenty of things, building friendship, etc, the final version has been finished due to a great team commitment, where even the deluxe physical release made by hand by Pagantipaco, it’s a real hit in the Spanish retro wold (I could even say in the World)
Brunilda’s ZX history
This game comes from a script made in 1994. That original script began to be coded as Text Adventure on PC with NMP parser, but even as it reached very advanced stages of development, it was never completed and went to sleep in a folder during loooong years.
Classic text aventures are videogames which their main interface is basically text, when you issue commands to advance, descriptions and some holds certain graphics to improve those descriptions building a right atmosphere.
Then, we thought about recoding it as Text Adventure, firstly on CEZGS, and then on RetroWorks, and finally we decided to use the actual gameplay system.
It seems Luís (Benway) went to Galicia ( Spain ) when he was a teenager and he fell in love for a nice story, adapting that to that text adventure.
Game plot warning spoiler!
Galicia October 30, 1830. Two Franciscan friars, Fr. Cesáreo and Fray Gonzalo, are pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, when they are being made at night and have to seek refuge in the village they are passing through, San Arteixo de Montalvo.
Asking about the town, they recommend you ask at the tavern. There the innkeeper tells them that it is best to talk with the priest of the town, which is in a nearby church. Once they have spoken with the priest, they realise that he cannot offer them accommodation due to some works but that he will kindly take them to the pharmacist’s house, where he gladly attends to them, offering them a good reception with a good dinner watered with pomace in addition to accommodation to spend the night.
The next morning Fray Cesáreo appears unconscious but alive, lying in the bed and the pharmacist in addition to the priest comment that their sickness does not seem common so they should bring to the local meiga(witch).
The housekeeper gives a chicken to Fray Guillermo, who will be paying for the meiga for his service. Without further delay the friar is brought to the meiga after visiting her at home in the middle of a dark and labyrinthine forest.
The witch diagnoses that the problem is Brunilda: her ghost is tormenting Fray Cesáreo. Fray Gonzalo is told that Brunilda was a servant of the pharmacist’s house who committed suicide many years ago.
The friar goes to bed and that same night Brunilda’s ghost appears. She tells him that he killed himself for love, when his beloved died, the son of the pharmacist. To rest forever you have to investigate what happens to your corpse, buried in the church cemetery. Thus, during that night, Fray Gonzalo goes to the cemetery, looking for a shovel with which he will dig up Brunilda’s coffin.
In doing so, the ghost of Brunilda and the friar see that the tomb is empty. Now Brunilda explains why his soul is still wandering, asking the friar to recover his bones and bury them Christianly.
The friar goes to see the witch to whom he asks for advice, giving him information where to find the bones in the caves / dolmens of the forest, that to be open the entrances to them, he will need water from Monte das Pozas. The meiga also gives him a lantern in exchange for some special mushrooms collected by the mountain so that it has light inside the caves.
Fray Gonzalo recovers Brunilda’s bones but his skull. He thinks that it is the skull that the pharmacist has at home for his study, apparently his father’s gift when he studied in Lugo. Fray Gonzalo keeps the pharmacist busy with a special mushroom found in the forest, leaving him time to be able to borrow that skull.
The friar goes to the cemetery to place all of Brunilda’s bones in his grave, resulting in the skull not really his own. At that moment it is uncovered who is to blame for the theft of bones: it was the meiga, who when she was young competed for the love of Anton, the son of the pharmacist, with Brunilda.
After a battle against the meiga, the friar recovers Brunilda’s true skull and buries himself Christianly.
The point is that the pharmacist has to know that Brunilda was really in love with his son. Brunilda tells him that to find his love letters, which will show the pharmacist the love between his son and her, there is a newspaper in his room in the house, which is in a closed area. To access this room the friar dresses in the maid’s clothes and asks the apothecary for the key. Brunilda’s diary tells that his letters are hidden in a secret entrance of the house’s library that leads to the basements of the house.
After recovering a closed chest from the basement with the letters, Fray Gonzalo has to open it, so he sells a bottle of the coveted pharmacist’s pomace in the tavern and with the money the local locksmith opens the chest. With the cards in his possession, the friar gives them to the pharmacist. They go with the priest to the cemetery and there they meet the meiga again, which Brother Gonzalo defeats in a hard battle once and for all.
His companion, Fray Cesarean, has recovered. They go to sleep and the next morning he says that it was all a dream, possibly for having dinner and putting so much alcohol in the body 😀
The friars continued on their way to Santiago and … who knows what new adventures they will have …
Tech stuff about the MSX2 port
– The original ZX game had a great scripting engine which has been adapted and upgraded for this version..
– SC5, 8 by 8 scroll tiles, based on 16×16 tileset, doble buffer and doble cache to don’t have to constantly repaint the screen (which it would make the game really slow). Software sprites and some background animations (fire, water, etc). Combat stages use hardware sprites.
– Two 16 colour palettes during gameplay. Upper half and lower half respectively. Split screen.
– Menu screen has two different graphic modes, SC5 y SC3 with multiple split screens, dynamic palettes and vertical scroll hardware use.
– Several different languages included into the game. Nelo & Quqo language changes the main characters and they way of speaking..
– If certain Retroworks games are found in other cartridge slot, certain easter eggs will be activated.
– Music has been remade in order to be played on SCC + PSG, so 8 music channels are in use! .
– The music replayer is not standard. A new specific one has been developed in order to have really optimised all the cpu time spent on playing the background music.
– High resolution opening 512x424x16.
– Very improved and colourful MSX2 graphics.