Vampire Killer SCC

Vampire Killer SCC

by ro on 14-01-2018, 10:06
Topic: Music
Languages:

Who hasn't enjoyed Konami's MSX2 game Vampire Killer, it's a classic. The 1986 game, has an amazing soundtrack with tunes worthy of whistling throughout the day. Published before Konami gave us SCC music, Vampire Killer had to do with PSG. While it rocks on 3 channels, everyone was curious how it would sound if it came with SCC. Over 30 years later, the soundtrack has been re-written to fit the answer. Vampire Killer on SCC steroids.

Jan van Valburg, known for The Great Gianna Sisters among others, has picked up the trade again. He has secretly been working on making Vampire Killer with SCC music. All the songs have been re-arranged with additional chords and melodies to take advantage of the extra SCC channels.

The new SCC music has been written in an MML-style language and then compiled into the Konami music format and written into the ROM. He had to reverse-engineer the Konami SCC music player to get this working. The source code has been made available through a mercurial repository on Bitbucket, and he hopes to release more information about the reverse engineering process and his custom tools in the future.

This Vampire Killer upgrade has been released as an IPS patch to the ROM version, or you can manually patch it using the Python patching script in the source repository. To play this on a real MSX you will need either 256K RAM, or a flash cartridge. Now, go nod your head while shouting "this rocks!!" \m/

Relevant link: Vampire Killer SCC IPS patch
Relevant link: Vampire Killer SCC source code repository
Relevant link: Gameplay video 1 of "Vampire Killer SCC version" in action
Relevant link: Gameplay video 2 of "Vampire Killer SCC version" in action
Relevant link: Entire "Vampire Killer SCC version" soundtrack on YouTube

Comments (67)

By KdL

Paragon (1095)

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14-01-2018, 10:27

Wow!!! My favorite! Thank you. Smile

By ToriHino

Master (203)

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14-01-2018, 10:38

Nice, great work!

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9670)

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14-01-2018, 11:16

^
relevant link: [url=https://bitbucket.org/jan…/vkiller_scc/downloads/vkilscc.zip]The patch[/url]

Read the article thoroughly, just once more after publishing... Cool

By Meits

Scribe (4989)

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14-01-2018, 11:33

Fixed the link.

Jan, great work and great to hear from you like this after so many years. What a hell of a come back.

By janvv

Resident (39)

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14-01-2018, 11:55

Thanks! Smile

By Turrebo

Expert (73)

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14-01-2018, 12:22

Going to check it out right after I've done the laundry.
Awesome game, and the PSG sound track wasn't half bad to begin with.
Looking forward to hear what you've done with it!

[edit]
Wow! Just .... wow!
Any chance of you giving Metal Gear an audio overhaul?

By tfh

Paragon (1643)

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14-01-2018, 12:25

Sounds great, very well done.
And impressive work on reverse engineering the code & documenting it!

By gdx

Prophet (2088)

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14-01-2018, 12:43

I tried quickly on real Turbo R. Musics sounds well adapted. Great work.

By hamlet

Scribe (1620)

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14-01-2018, 13:11

Good job!

By Pippo

Champion (379)

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14-01-2018, 13:19

Wonderful work, really, Janvv! Big smile
We all are very pleased to see so many enthusiastic people interested in the beloved Msx Games!

By Parn

Champion (299)

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14-01-2018, 13:21

Amazing!

By Latok

msx guru (3558)

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14-01-2018, 13:42

Soooo great Smile Smile

By janvv

Resident (39)

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14-01-2018, 14:53

Thanks for your kind comments everybody!

If you want to hear all the new SCC music without having to play through the game, the full soundtrack is here:
https://youtu.be/ksDGWtKsZbw

By Victor

Champion (385)

Victor's picture

14-01-2018, 15:06

janvv wrote:

Thanks for your kind comments everybody!

Yes... but... now you have a problem... We want moreeeeee!!! Smile

By iamweasel2

Champion (473)

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14-01-2018, 15:41

Amazing work ! The musics are really beautiful. It gives a new life to the game! Thank you ! Smile

Are you planning to give other games the same treament? Penguin Adventure and Maze of Galious really could use that kind of enhancement. Smile

By janvv

Resident (39)

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14-01-2018, 16:14

Thank you! I am definitely interested in doing another game at some point. Maybe Metal Gear, Maze of Galious or Penguin Adventure. It’s a lot of work though so I am going to tale a little break first Smile

By valkyre

Champion (357)

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14-01-2018, 16:24

Wow, sounding great. Excellent work!

By Philip

Champion (330)

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14-01-2018, 16:43

Wow, great work !

By max_iwamoto

Champion (384)

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14-01-2018, 18:12

Amazing work!

By Manuel

Ascended (14368)

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14-01-2018, 18:25

Great job! And welcome back, janvv!

By PAC

Guardian (4763)

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14-01-2018, 18:57

Thank you! With these patches you invite us to play forgotten games again...

By MSX4ever

Master (151)

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14-01-2018, 19:28

Nice, great work ! The music is awesome

By fernando.collazo.5682

Master (214)

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14-01-2018, 20:39

What can I say?
WOW! Seems like It was made by Konami back in the days.
Awesome work Jan, thank you so much for give such gift to our community.
I'm speechless ... Thanks again

By Randam

Paladin (828)

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14-01-2018, 20:58

Awesome job!!! Thanks for removing any doubts that the MSX version is the one true first version of Castlevania! Cool Cool

And like many others: here is hoping that other PSG only greats like MOG, MG, Penguin Adventure or Hinotori will some day have a similar nice SCC experience! But for now, time to get whip Dracula's A$$ in even more style than before!

By janvv

Resident (39)

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14-01-2018, 22:16

Full soundtrack, with the quiet volume fixed:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D599HPqpdos

By janvv

Resident (39)

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14-01-2018, 22:18

Thanks for all the comments everyone, it really means a lot!

By ren

Paragon (1123)

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14-01-2018, 22:43

Great job! Now get some rest ;-)

By QBee Sam

Expert (113)

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15-01-2018, 00:04

Thank you for such awesome work!!!

By TheKid

Hero (662)

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15-01-2018, 07:57

Super, very nice. Great work.

By Rataplan

Master (207)

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15-01-2018, 09:33

Wow, that's a great achievement! While I really like the PSG music, here are some fantastic renditions!
Maybe a stupid question as I haven't tried yet, but can one apply multiple IPS patches? As for Vampire Killer we have a few other great patches, like the turbo patch and the CastleVania patch.

By MicroTech

Champion (380)

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15-01-2018, 10:02

Really stunning Cool Great work!
Thanks

By tfh

Paragon (1643)

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15-01-2018, 11:27

Rataplan wrote:

Wow, that's a great achievement! While I really like the PSG music, here are some fantastic renditions!
Maybe a stupid question as I haven't tried yet, but can one apply multiple IPS patches? As for Vampire Killer we have a few other great patches, like the turbo patch and the CastleVania patch.

The Turbo (and other improvements) patch from FRS are already included in this patch. The Castlevania patch is for another .ROM so won't work.

By janvv

Resident (39)

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15-01-2018, 11:28

This SCC patch already has FRS' TurboFix patch built in. Unfortunately it's not compatible with the Castlevania patch though, because it's based on a different version of the Vampire Killer ROM.

By ren

Paragon (1123)

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15-01-2018, 12:47

Randam wrote:

Thanks for removing any doubts that the MSX version is the one true first version of Castlevania! Cool Cool

Not sure to what extent you're serious or not ;-) But to remove further doubts, according to what I've learned:

a) 悪魔城ドラキュラ Akumajō Dorakyura FDS was release *before* Akumajō Dorakyura MSX (Sep 26 & Oct 30 1986 respectively). For Europe, I believe, VK MSX (1987) came before CV NES (Dec 1988), not sure if NA's NES release (May 1987) did or did not predate EU VK release;
b) technically MSX never knew 'Castlevania', being dubbed Vampire Killer (in the West).

(Sorry for being a bit of a nitpick/wise-ass perhaps Wink)

I will dedicate my next post to JH Evil Wink

-edit: interesting: on the back of the EU release there's the heading Dracula's Satanic Castle.
I see 悪魔城ドラキュラ Akumajō Dorakyura often being translated as Devil's Castle Dracula (bit weird IMO) I'd rather translate it as Demon(ic) Castle Dracula myself, but perhaps the proper translation would indeed be Dracula's Satanic Castle? Smile

By Sander

Ambassador (1827)

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15-01-2018, 12:50

Amazing work, thanks!

By Grauw

Enlighted (7243)

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15-01-2018, 12:53

And the arcade version was called Haunted Castle. They sure tried a bunch of things before settling on a name for the west Smile.

Quote:

It's fascinating to see how the [sound] file format changed from game to game, what all the different commands are that the music composers had access to, and how they used it to make their music. I intend to release more information about this in the future, and I also will release the tools I wrote to decompile Konami music.

Looking forward to that, seems like an interesting story!

By raulsantacruz

Champion (485)

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15-01-2018, 12:52

Wow!! Excellent works and excellent music!!! +10000

By Randam

Paladin (828)

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15-01-2018, 21:50

@Ren: I meant that it was was the one TRUE first version of the series; especially now. (was actually jokingly not acknowledging the NES/ Famicom game even though it is good, but because I prefer the MSX version) Smile

Yes, it is widely known that the FDS version is released before the Japanese msx version. But the MSX version was in development first. So the series originated on MSX; the Famicom team played catch up some time after start of development, then they both developed in tandem and then just happened to finish/ release first. And that is not surprising seeing levels and mechanics are greatly simplified.
I was not being literal about it being called Castlevania; at the time of the FDS and Famicom versions Castlevania didn't exist either since the name was thought up much later for the NES release. Kenji Hiraoka (founding director of Konami UK) was the one who came up with the the name "Vampire Killer".

By ren

Paragon (1123)

ren's picture

15-01-2018, 21:32

@Randam Interesting. Now you mention it, I vaguely recall having heard about which/what was in development first. Where did you read/hear/get that?

If they indeed started on MSX, okay, that outweighs first publishing date ;-)
Nice fact regarding the name Vampire Killer!

.. and: Hi John! >:-)

By Randam

Paladin (828)

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15-01-2018, 21:50

I don't remember where I read it. It was a long time ago. I do remember that it was one of the series' directors who said that the development started on MSX.

By ren

Paragon (1123)

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15-01-2018, 22:08

The story does sound familiar to me, but I'm not sure myself that was about VK :-)

If those are the facts, and seeing the number of CV fans, this must be mentioned somewhere in an article or interview out there? (And/or someone else here that is able to confirm this? Smile)

Dark times are over already, 1000, yeah baby Wink

By Randam

Paladin (828)

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15-01-2018, 23:18

Huh, Hideo wasn't a director for this series in the beginning?

JK: many of these stories are similar since often stuff got done simultaneously. Snatcher also got done mostly simultaneously with the PC88 version but in that case the PC88 version was the leading one and the one that got released the first.

By TheKid

Hero (662)

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15-01-2018, 23:28

And talking about vampire killer, some time ago there was another thread here talking about a project where someone put moonsound music in vampire killer. Does anyone know the status of that project?

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2734)

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16-01-2018, 02:05

My compliments again for this fantastic work, janvv!

BTW, here goes a bonus tip: The WYZ's patch for the drum kit can be applied on the Nemesis-3 ROM beforehand, and later use it for the Vampire Killer SCC patch. This will make the music even more awesome.

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (5962)

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16-01-2018, 07:57

Is this patched rom available on webmsx ?

By ren

Paragon (1123)

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16-01-2018, 10:08

@Randam What/who are you addressing?

@ARTRAG: yes

By Imanok

Paragon (1133)

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16-01-2018, 10:41

Good job! Smile

janvv wrote:

This SCC patch already has FRS' TurboFix patch built in. Unfortunately it's not compatible with the Castlevania patch though, because it's based on a different version of the Vampire Killer ROM.

Any chance about making an alternate version of your patch compatible with the Castlevania one?

By janvv

Resident (39)

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16-01-2018, 17:52

Probably not, but the code for the patch is open source, so if anyone is interested in porting it to the Castlevania version then I would encourage them to do so.

By ren

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17-01-2018, 15:23

Did you guys ever hear the beta version of the Prologue / Castle Gate tune btw? :)

By wolf_

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17-01-2018, 21:12

Such a lovely 1:50-long tone. Wink

By JohnHassink

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17-01-2018, 21:18

This version of the soundtrack may be interesting to hear for once, but I don't expect anyone to revisit it very often. ;)

By mesiasmsx

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17-01-2018, 21:29

Thanks!

By JohnHassink

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18-01-2018, 13:19

You know, before I forget, as everything that can be said about this (mainly that it's amazing) has already been done so, I would like to point out what gives this like 100 extra bonus points for me -
The fact that the re-arrangements actually 'correct' the soundtrack in that it introduces the things that would give the NES version an edge over the MSX one.
Such as re-instating the introduction in "Wicked Child" and the more elaborate melody part in "Vampire Killer", which were dearly missed in the MSX version soundtrack.

By janvv

Resident (39)

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18-01-2018, 21:28

Thanks man I'm really pleased that you noticed those things.
Before I arranged each song I listened to the NES version, and any other versions I could find.
I wanted the music to be different than the original MSX version, but I also wanted to stay true to how Konami intended it to sound.
Thanks for posting that.

By Manuel

Ascended (14368)

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19-01-2018, 00:02

I really loved the extra little sounds that were added. Really made it more special!

By Guillian

Prophet (3128)

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19-01-2018, 08:55

JohnHassink wrote:

The fact that the re-arrangements actually 'correct' the soundtrack in that it introduces the things that would give the NES version an edge over the MSX one.

Could this mean that the MSX version was made before than the NES version?

I always thought that the MSX version was finished before, but releasing on cartridge (production time) takes more time than on disk.

By gdx

Prophet (2088)

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21-01-2018, 10:01

There is a little flaw in the sound routine. Bits 7 and 6 of register 7 are not always well positioned. This can cause problems with joystick on some configurations. Bit 7 must always be 1 and bit 6 to 0.

By gdx

Prophet (2088)

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21-01-2018, 13:52

For example, "or 00100100" must be replaced by "or 10100100b" in vkiller_scc.asm (line 135).

https://bitbucket.org/jan11011977/vkiller_scc/src/0cdde5f7bb...

In Rom image this is the 24h at address 021FFFh that must be replaced by A4h.

Edit: Only with this modification the patch for JoySNES works! :)

By [WYZ]

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21-01-2018, 16:35

sd_snatcher wrote:

My compliments again for this fantastic work, janvv!

BTW, here goes a bonus tip: The WYZ's patch for the drum kit can be applied on the Nemesis-3 ROM beforehand, and later use it for the Vampire Killer SCC patch. This will make the music even more awesome.

This is the result:

Vampire Killer SCC drumset.mp3

And this is the patch for the final VKillerSCC.rom
Akumajyo Drakyula. Vampire Killer (1986)(Konami)[a][RC-744][drumset].ips

My compliments for this fantastic work too. Dreams come true.

It is difficult to appreciate the differences. Anyway here is it ;), perhaps too much retailer:

By gdx

Prophet (2088)

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22-01-2018, 00:27

This patch changes the drums of Stage 1 music or all stages?
Why did not you correct the issue with PSG I/O (register 7) at the same time?

gdx wrote:

In Rom image this is the 24h at address 021FFFh that must be replaced by A4h.

021EFFh

By [WYZ]

Champion (391)

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22-01-2018, 01:15

All the stages. The drumset is shared.
Ok.I'll include the reg7 patch too.

By tfh

Paragon (1643)

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22-01-2018, 10:58

Nice to see all these fixes so we can end up with a "perfect" version Smile

By cax

Prophet (3719)

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22-01-2018, 14:08

Amazing ! Thank you for this SCC version, you made me happy.

By gdx

Prophet (2088)

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26-01-2018, 00:09

WYZ, Your drumset makes better on emulator but I hear almost no difference on my Turbo R. Maybe the Turbo R needs sound fix.

By [WYZ]

Champion (391)

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02-02-2018, 21:16

@gdx, already done. I do not found the $24 at $21FFF but $21EEF, and no I have no way to test if the patch works.

By gdx

Prophet (2088)

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03-02-2018, 01:37

Sorry the right address is 0021EFFh.

By FiXato

Scribe (1438)

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15-02-2018, 15:52

Yo, Jan, since you're coding again, any chance of fixing this bug in Gianna Sisters ;-) :RNFF:
(Sorry, came across that old post of mine, and couldn't resist ;))

My MSX profile