30th Anniversary of Xanadu - Xanadu (ROM version) Project Proposal

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By SkyeWelse

Champion (471)

SkyeWelse's picture

03-04-2015, 23:43

Hello Everyone!

This year in October marks the 30th Anniversary of Falcom's DragonSlayer II: Xanadu (originally released on PC-88). And it’s a great time to be a Xanadu fan. Smile

First you have the announced? Leaked information/domain purchase of xanadunext.com, indicating the release of Xanadu Next from XSEED. This has been fan-translated before, but this will be the first official release, if the rumors are true that is. You have Tokyo Xanadu coming out for PS Vita perhaps later this year as well, and then you have something I just discovered the other day, a fan game by the folks at DraSleLab (Dragon Slayer Laboratories) and 727 Not Hound (Developer) called Love Xanadu which is an incredible fan effort at capturing the magic of classic Xanadu. Not to mention all the classics ready to play already for PC-88/X1/FM-77/PC-98 and of course, MSX.

The MSX version of Xanadu was the final and really the most updated and unique of all the 8-bit versions. (Not counting Faxanadu for the NES, which is more like a spin-off. An awesome spinoff.)

Xanadu MSX also happens to be my favorite of the 8-bit versions, aside from just one factor really... which was the change in the choice of music used for the overall theme of the game. While I do like the theme and this piano arrangement sounds absolutely amazing and the theme does grow on you the more you listen to it and Tiny Yarou's SCC sound version makes it sound even better than before…

However, it just doesn't really convey the atmosphere of Xanadu in my opinion. Xanadu is all about being in a dark, haunting labyrinth and the music of all the other versions of Xanadu (even the newer Xanadu Next) features the main theme of Xanadu, La Valse Pour Xanadu which is equally hypnotic and just downright mysterious sounding. It just fits the game more, so I’m not sure why Falcom decided to change it for MSX ROM version. Perhaps they just wanted to try something new along with the newer and expanded background story since it was released alongside a Xanadu animated film on VHS and Laserdisc and Manga comic.

The MSX music is just way too happy, and I think that’s why it just doesn’t seem to do the game justice.

So what is this all about really? I wanted to explore the possibilities that this classic for MSX might be upgraded.

I wanted to ask the community if you all thought it might be possible to record La Valse Pour Xanadu in PSG or PSG with FM (if it’s possible) and have this somehow replace the existing main theme via a patch to the ROM file. I mentioned PSG, because that would give us an all new original mode to listen to in PSG, and it would also work with Tiny Yarou’s NandemoSCC program to make an SCC version, and this melody would sound fantastic in SCC. I even have the official sheet music of La Valse Pour Xanadu available if it helps.

The next question I have is regarding how the Xanadu ROM cartridge was made. It has a battery backup SRAM for saving games, however when I try to play the ROM loaded onto a MegaFlashRomSCC+SD, it freezes at the title screen and does not show an option for “Continue” which would normally sit below “Start” and it does not allow you to start the game. I’ve tried formatting a new MSX userdisk to see if the game was smart enough to pick that up, and it sadly did not.

Is the ROM for Xanadu simply not playable on a MegaFlashRom device? If so, is there anything that might be able to be done as far as patching the game to save data directly to a userdisk (or even better, a Virtual Nextor FDDEMU disk?)

Here are some pictures of the actual inside of the cartridge too below. Maybe if nothing can be done about patching the game to save to a userdisk, perhaps someone like Manuel Pazos or Eric B. can design a custom “Revival Xanadu” version for MSX as a requested reproduction if they are okay with doing something like that. I’d certainly buy one for sure!

Full Size Picture

Anyhow, I’m very curious to learn everyone’s thoughts or suggestions on seeing if this could be possible.

Thank you very much for reading!


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By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

04-04-2015, 00:16

Yeah, I actually have a half-finished PSG/FM arrangement of La Valse Pour Xanadu laying about somewhere (which as you may know is featured in the MSX2 version. :)
Nice writing and cool info, by the way.

By SkyeWelse

Champion (471)

SkyeWelse's picture

04-04-2015, 02:11

Very nice, John! Do you think you might consider finishing that one up? And also, would you happen to know if music in a ROM like this can be changed out or swapped with something different? I wasn't sure on the complexity of something like that.

And yes it is a bit odd how the La Valse Per Xanadu theme is in the MSX2 version on Disk, which I generally consider to be the inferior MSX version. The ROM version feels like a better overall experience to me. The sound effects and general quality of the game feel much more improved and there is quite a substantial amount of loading time too just to even start the game. I was playing around with it a bit earlier today for a comparison.

Anyhow, thanks again for posting and taking a look into the music. Big smile


By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

04-04-2015, 10:29

Sure, I can try finishing it. It would be in PT3 and/or TMU format. But about things like how to change the music in a ROM, I know absolutely nothing.
And yes, I agree, the MSX1 version looks way better than the MSX2 disk version. But I must admit that I never played Xanadu that much. Was more of a Romancia person. Wink

By Randam

Paladin (946)

Randam's picture

04-04-2015, 13:10

Xanadu msx2 version is a port of the pc88 which is why it looks so bad. They could have made a much better looking version if they optimized more. A shame for such a good game. The msx1 version is much better. I always thought that xanadu was completely English (well sort of English) but recently I saw that the msx1(?) version at least had Japanese at the end. Don't know if there is more or if that is the case for the other one...

By Manuel

Ascended (16619)

Manuel's picture

04-04-2015, 20:39

Xanadu only supports the internal SRAM for saving right? That is not available when you play it in a flash cartridge... So, if you want that changed, you'll have to start hacking the Xanadu ROM... not easy.

By Grauw

Ascended (9048)

Grauw's picture

05-04-2015, 00:04

As a result of this post I started watching this nice let’s play Xanadu series on Youtube… :)

By SkyeWelse

Champion (471)

SkyeWelse's picture

05-04-2015, 07:52

Sorry haven't had much of an opportunity to post a reply today until now.

@John, That would be great. Even if the music cannot be inserted back into the ROM via some time of patch, I'd love to hear it and be able to play it directly on the MSX via a playback program. And then it would also be available in case someone is able to insert it one of these days. : ) Thank you for continuing to work on it. I'm excited to hear it.

@Randam, Ah I never knew that the MSX2 (Disk version) was a port of the PC-88 version. That explains a lot actually. I think Xanadu is mostly in English, however the Ending I know for sure is still in Japanese. I wonder if it's a quick candidate for translation work if the issue of the SRAM can be overcome to make it much more approachable to play on our MegaFlashRoms?

@Manuel, Hmm that does sound complicated if you think it's not going to be easy to do. You all know a lot more about how that could be accomplished than I would. I wonder if there be something similar to what was done with King Kong 2 with the Disk save routines? It's a shame that it's not playable on the MegaFlashRom cart since it really is an incredible game. I guess at present you have to either own an original cart or play it via an emulator. I wonder if a reproduction could be made at the MSX Repro Factory with a bit of a tweak to the existing kits that Eric B offers on his sites. Maybe I can ask him about it sometime, that is, if there is anything that can be modified to the existing rom such as a music replacement or translation of the ending.

@Grauw, Oh yeah! That Let's Play Xanadu series by Megamarsvin is fantastic. He really knows the game and can teach anyone who watches those videos a lot about the game and some of the tricks and points to watch out for. I learned quite a bit by watching his videos and I thought I already knew a lot about the game going into these videos.

I also saw that I made a mistake in one of my links in the first post regarding the MSX1 (ROM) music arrangement. This is the correct link.


By SkyeWelse

Champion (471)

SkyeWelse's picture

13-04-2015, 01:12

Hi everyone,

Today I decided to replace my SRAM battery for Xanadu and a friend of mine who was not experienced with soldering was thinking of doing the same to his cart. While replacing mine I decided to create a guide for replacing the battery as well.

Xanadu MSX1 Battery Replacement Guide

Hopefully this will of help to some who have an original cart.


By gamemastermaarten

Master (164)

gamemastermaarten's picture

16-04-2015, 16:33

Wow very nice. I am beginner with collecting MSX titles. I am fan of all videogame series. with all the platforms. RPG or 2d fighting game. Or other varations. But happy birthday Xanadu. Next 30th anniversary Super Mario Bros 1. Nishi

By mesiasmsx

Prophet (3204)

mesiasmsx's picture

19-04-2015, 22:28

Happy Birthday Xanadu and DS series!

Thanks SkyeWElse!

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