It's time to report from MiSTerland once again, but updates are a little quiet from the front of FPGA development. In this edition, it's more of the same as I'll be highlighting my two favorite FPGA engineers again, but these two guys are working insanely hard at providing MiSTer enthusiasts with more to play with and I want to showcase their awesome progress. That's right, it's Jose 'jotego' Tejada and Robert 'FPGAzumSpass' Peip and they're back with some amazing CPS-2 fighters and the beginning stages of a brand new core, respectively. Let's dive in!
Feel, sensational thrills!
Spain-based engineer, Jose 'jotego' Tejada is no stranger to my MiSTerland updates with his incredible work on preserving arcade boards for FPGA implementations. He's graced us with the Capcom CPS-1 and 1.5 libraries and we even got a start on the Sega System 16 arcade hardware. For a lot of arcade fans, however, CPS-2 is the pinnacle of '90s arcade gaming and the latest update from jotego is no slouch with three amazing fighters. These captures are with my personal MiSTer and capture card setup, I promise, it looks sharper in person.
First up is Marvel Super Heroes. Loosely based on the Infinity Gauntlet timeline from '90s Marvel comics, Marvel Super Heroes hit the arcades in late '95 and features a unique Infinity Stone mechanic. The various Stones can be used by players to power up their fighters in different ways; making you stronger, faster, or even regaining health (which is always OP in a fighting game). This is the next game after X-Men: Children of the Atom and X-Men vs. Street Fighter, making it the third entry into Capcom's popular Marvel-licensed fighting games.
Next up is Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness, another '95 arcade release centered around giant robots or mecha, dueling it out to the death. This game is interesting in that it eschews the typical six-button layout of Capcom fighters for a four-button layout, reminiscent of Neo-Geo arcades. This is one that I had never experienced in the wild, I don't know if I've ever heard of it outside of a few mentions in some niche retro videos. I've only played this for a few minutes so far, but it's got excellent animation and music, like most Capcom fighters of that era. It also has an interesting storyline, something I don't usually care about in fighting games.
Finally, rounding out the trio of fighters in this update, is the entry in the Capcom/Marvel fighters that precedes the game everybody with a MiSTer is waiting for. Hitting the arcades in '97, Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter ramps up everything we learned from Marvel Super Heroes and X-Men vs Street Fighter. 2-on-2 tag team battles are back with the biggest combined roster yet in this Marvel-licensed fighting franchise. Flashy ultra moves are easier to input and variable assists now allow the player to mix up their team attacks instead of swapping characters only. With the release of MSH vs. SF, that can only mean Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes is right around the corner.
You ever wonder about swans?
Finally, everything required to get Klonoa running is implemented in the Wonderswan Emulator I'm writing to understand the system. Still quiet some things left until I can start with implementing for #MiSTerFPGA pic.twitter.com/OaAi6Dz9PC— FPGAzumSpass (@AzumFpg) May 2, 2021
The second and last big update news comes from Robert 'FPGAzumSpass' Peip, who I previously reported on developing the Atari Lynx core and implementing save states into the NES care. This time, Robert is back at it with a brand new core in development for the MiSTer FPGA and it's another handheld system. He's now set his sights on the Bandai Wonderswan, notable for being legendary handheld console engineer, Gunpei Yokoi's final hardware contribution to the gaming industry. Featuring a 16-bit processor, the Wonderswan also adhered to Yokoi's "withered technology" ideals with both a long battery life and low price point. The Wonderswan never made it across the ocean but did grab 8% of the Japanese market share before being overshadowed by the Game Boy Advance.
The Wonderswan only sold around 3.5 million units with 109 shipped retail games available, making it a curious piece of handheld history that I am eager to experience for the first time. If you ever owned a Wonderswan or had the chance to play with one, please leave a comment with your impressions. I am very interested in hearing some first hand accounts of what the system was like. It looks like it won't be long before all MiSTer FPGA owners get a chance to play with this unique hardware platform, and I can't wait to see what Robert Peip is going to cook up next.
That's all I have for today from MiSTerland. Please let me know what you're up to in the world of retro gaming and keep it classic!