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Thread: PC-FX

  1. #1

    Japan PC-FX

    It's not often that a video game hardware manufacturer follows up a successful system with a complete commercial failure that takes them out of the market but that's exactly what happened with NEC. The company had enjoyed a steady second place position to Nintendo in the Japanese console wars from the late 1980s to early 1990s with their PC Engine line but this all came to a screeching halt with the release of its new 32-bit console in 1994, the PC-FX.

    At the time, multimedia was the buzz-word of the day. Companies like Philips and 3DO had hoped to create a new market, one where ďall-in-oneĒ systems would play games, music, and movies like a PC but with the user friendliness of a console. NEC followed this line of thinking when designing the PC-FX. Its casing was made to look like a PC tower instead of a traditional game console, and it included expansion ports for future upgrades. An adapter was also sold so owners of NEC PC-98 computers could use the machine for its CD-ROM drive.

    Given the quick demise of multimedia consoles, the PC-FX was left to battle against the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation. It was immediately obvious that it could not compete technologically. It was capable of quality full-motion video but graphically it was more like a souped up PC Engine than a next generation console. It didnít have the 2d strength of its competitors, and more devastatingly, it wasnít at all equipped for 3d graphics. It did survive in Japan for about three and a half years as a niche product, and had over 60 titles, but was never released in the West.

    As far as games go, it was dominated by adventure games, date sims, and RPGs which provided little incentive for Western gamers to import due to the language barrier, and made its line up resemble the PC-98 more than the PC Engine. There were only a very small of action games released.

    Letís take a look at some of the games that are playable by those without Japanese knowledge:

    Battle Heat (1994)

    The CD-ROM format had caused a bit of a revival of cartoon full-motion video games in the 16-bit console era with mostly faithful ports of old arcade games like Dragonís Lair and Time Gal. The launch title Battle Heat was a new game in this subgenre, and it made excellent use of the PC-FXís video capabilities. I donít think anyone had attempted an FMV fighting game before (aside from the live action Sega CD boxing game, Prize Fighter) so this stood out as quite unique, especially since you could quickly input various moves, giving it more depth and speed than Dragonís Lair-type games.

    Tengai Makyo Karakuri Kakutoden (1995)

    This was another FMV fighter like Battle Heat.

    Chip Chan Kick! (1996)

    This was a nice single-screen platform game with a strong resemblance to Rainbow Islands.

    Ruruli Ra Rura (1998)

    This was one of the last games for the system. I havenít played it myself but it doesnít look that hot from videos.

    Tyoushin Heiki Zeroigar (1997)

    Given how shooter-saturated the PC Engine was, it was very odd that this was the lone game in the genre on the PC-FX. Basically, if you enjoyed most of the vertical shooters on NECís earlier systems, then you will probably like this, too. It had all the staples: vibrant bosses, anime cinemas, and wailing guitar riffs. The game didnít make any innovations and rarely did it exude intensity but it didnít do a lot wrong, either. The animation in the cut-scenes was among the best of its time and the detail was meticulous.

    Kishin Douji Zenki Vajura Fight FX (1995)

    Whatís a console without a licensed beat Ďem up? Based on the anime, Zenki FX was in the vein of games like Ninja Warriors and Kaze Kiri; it was an action game consisting of beat Ďem up gameplay within a single plane. It had some platform elements as well but they were not the focus of the gameplay. Itís nothing spectacular but I quite like it.

    All Japan Womanís Pro Wrestling: Queen of Queens (1995)

    Super Power League FX (1996)

    The excellent fansite has lots of pics, videos, reviews, etc.. on PC-FX games for those interested in more info and to take a look at the other genres.

    While the PC-FX doesnít have many games worth playing for non-Japanese speakers, and the system price tag is often in rich collector territory, I find it pretty fascinating despite being disappointed at the time that we weren't getting a proper Duo successor. Itís emulated nicely in Magic Engine FX if you have the discs.

    Your thoughts on the PC-FX?

  2. Hooray! Long overdue thread. I had no clue that Magic Engine FX actually existed and worked! This means I'll get to actually play my copy of Battle Heat, I guess. While this is good news, I still do want the console. The problem is the insane shipping from Japan and insane prices when units are on sale in the US. Someday...

  3. i always wanted to see the inside of that thing. it's so big, but like Neo already said it's pretty much just a souped up PC Engine and i've always wondered what the hell fills the space.

    this and the supergrafx line always intreagued me.

  4. I bought a PCFX and Zeriogar quite a while ago. Biggest waste of $450 ever. I bought other games as time went on.
    I'm usually very open minded when it comes to systems.
    The PCFX is the only system I have nothing good to say about.


    Disassembling a PCFX

    Dude's pretty rad! He used to post here!

    edit: or still does?

  6. Quote Originally Posted by Grave View Post

    Disassembling a PCFX

    Dude's pretty rad! He used to post here!

    thanks for the link. it's literally a motherboard, a buch of metal shielding and plastic spacers. look at all the wasted space on the board with empty green.

    looks like NGEFreaks' av.

  7. Yeah, but... but... it looks cool!

    Hey SSJN! You still got your PC-FX?!

  8. Zeroigar looks worth a play but not at the cost of a PC-FX. Hoping it'll land on a PC Engine collection like Sapphire recently did. *-neo

  9. I really wanted one back then, but thankfully, I never did.

  10. Quote Originally Posted by kingoffighters View Post
    I really wanted one back then, but thankfully, I never did.
    never did....want one? that is just an odd ass sentence.


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