The Research // Japan Vs. USA

This page is showing the differences between the two regions' versions.



jap title us title

The Solar System

There are a few differences in the names of the Valdi System's planets. Here is the info found:

World Number



Solar System name Valdi Valjee (PAL box art)
1 Neer Flora
2 Leatow Undertow
3 Onaclove Scorch
4 Neuos Sonata
5 Elykiki Freon
6 Rewope Automaton

Castle of Greedy
(within rom)

Greedy Castle
(Jap manual)

Castle of Greedy
(within rom)

Greedy's Space City
(US/Pal manual)

Also, the actual mid-world screen saying which level is next is different.



valdi valjee

And the mini-boss for world 4-1 is a lot easier in the JPN/Asian version.

neuos notes

The note circled warns you when the head will come down to crush you. This is more useful than when the head stops dancing/bobbing for a second.

Level 5-1 has a little ski intro to it that is not in the JPN/Asian version. This could be because of the popularity of the Sonic 3's snowboarding and extreme sports period Sega was going through. However, it has been found that the JPN rom actually holds the skiing sprites for Ristar, so possible time constraints might had stopped this from being implemented.

Also, the Antigravity Shoes for Ristar in level 6-1 are not in the JPN version.
Although he does swim through the air in both games.

Enemy/Sprite Differences

This was initially unnoticed apart from one enemy which was changed completely.
But it was noticed that other subtle changes were made to most of the enemies!



jap bird us bird
jap bomber us bomber
coocoon jap cocoon us
jap eel us eel
jap frog us frog
jap flamer us flamer
jap horn us horn
jap chicken us chicken
jap ice us ice
jap spiky us spiky
jap eskimo us eskimo

Personally, the flying squirrel is cooler than the bat thing.
The JPN/Asian frog looks like he is high on his own poison!
The rest were changed just to make them look more menacing.

Speaking of menacing, even Ristar himself was made more vengeful in the US/PAL version.



happy jap vengeful us

Although the sprites are used in the game in the boss stages in the JPN/Asian version, the angry waiting expression is used in all the levels in the US/PAL game! Both animated images were taken from world 1-1.

Also one enemy was CREATED from an unused sprite in the US/PAL version. Which is odd...



jap no starfish us starfish

The little starfish hangs on to you until you get in the water. It slows you down and gives you only half the usual jump height, thus making crossing the rising bubbles harder. In both versions they can be seen floating in the currents of 2-2.

Here is the most obvious change to the enemies in the versions:



jap itamor us itamor
jap itamor end us itamor end

Thanks to the translation of the JPN manual we now know why there are two Itamors.
In Japan there is a term for a dislike of hot food, "nekojita", which means "cat tongue". So the cat version was a symbol of that phrase. Now as there is no term like that in English, SOA decided logically that a ice monster would keep the symbolism for the hatred of hot food.

Other than the obvious, there is something wrong with the end credits shot.

Firstly, the tail was not removed from the US/PAL version.
Secondly, Ristar has only three fingers in the US/PAL version.

The Unnamed Treasures

In the JPN/Asian version the Treasures from the bonus stage have actual names. However, this was removed from the US/PAL version for some reason. And if you look at the rom (in uncompressed .bin format) in a text editor you can see the US/PAL rom has no names in it at all. While the JPN/Asian one has the names.

Also, if you clear the Bonus stage fast enough, you earn a continue. The text is "Great! Continue up!" in the JPN/Asian version and "Great! Continue!" in the US/PAL version.

The Mysterious Legendary Hero

Those familiar with the US game will know the background story mentions Ristar's father being captured. Japanese version is different in that aspect (see below), so there are changes to the intro and outro of the game.

Firstly, the intro has no text telling the story behind the game in the JPN version. Secondly, there is a sprite that was removed from the US/PAL version that the GameGear version kept.

legendary Ouruto

This image flashes up when the Neerian prayer is sent to the nebular in the sky. That image represents the Star Mother Ouruto, that is looking over the star nursery (another name for a Nebula) and recieving the wishes from shooting stars. This was the Japanese story. As already mentioned, in US/PAL versions Ouruto was for some reason replaced with the Legendary Hero.

The Chance of a Sequel?!

No, I am not insane. There is a big difference in the outro/credits as well as the intro the games.

After the second part of the credits ends, after the "thank you for playing by P.J. Ristar." there is a little outro part. This was different depending on the version.



jap end us end

Now this causes some questions to arise, only one of which can be answered at this moment in time.

  1. Was there going to be a sequel? As Greedy is still alive.

    This question is also reinforced with the MASTER code "Next story"?!
  2. Where did Ristar lose his fourth finger?!
    Well, this one can be answered, the forth finger was an error in the higher res art.
    This is proved by looking at the JPN manual and the sprites. All have only 3 fingers.

Cheats Are for Wimps!

Or so it seems SOA think, for a lot of codes have been cut out.
And you thought MAGURO was odd...

N/A means this code does nothing of practical use as far as we can tell.



Active JPN/Asian

Active US/PAL

AAAAAA No continue limit Yes No
AGES Copyright info is displayed. N/A Yes Yes
CANDY Invincibility Yes No
DOFEEL Time Attack mode Yes Yes
active all at once
Yes No

Reverses the High Score in Demo mode. For example the intital High Score of 1000 pts is now a Worst Score of 99999900 pts! N/A

Yes Yes
ILOVEU Stage select Yes Yes
MACCHA Mentions Miyake colour. N/A Yes No
MAGURO Onchi music mode and credit's music in sound test. Yes Yes
MASTER Mentions Next Story. N/A Yes No
MIEMIE Hidden items' grab points are shown with a blue star. Yes Yes
MUSEUM Boss Rush mode Yes Yes
STAR A shooting star goes across the background. N/A Yes No
SUPER Super Hard mode Yes Yes
VALDI Shows the Solar System. N/A Yes No
XXXXXX Clears/Deactivates the current password. Yes Yes

* Note: Miyake Takumi was the landscape and visual designer for Sonic CD and the world artist for NiGHTS into Dreams. He was also the chief designer for Ristar.

Reala has made an IPS patch which proves that some of the cheats, although not active, are still there by their description the game gives when the code is entered.
"ONCHI SYSTEM, SET UP!" the other unactivated cheats give a similar description when entered. This patch shows they are still in the rom.

Here is the IPS pack

The Mysterious Manual Number

Knuckles Prower noticed these shots in the PAL manual.

scorch number
flora number undertow number
sonata number freon number

What does "Q 1 1A1B 2A2B I" mean?

The Handheld Hangover!

The GameGear version, although different to its 16 bit version in some levels and level design, did have the JPN/Asian intro and outro. As a result, Ouruto was in all regions.

gamegear Ouruto

However, there are only a couple of main differences between regions.
One was that round 2 was cut in the US version.



fanturn terra

Planet Fanturn has two stages in it, while the US version, planet Terra, had only one stage and stood out as an oddity compared to the other worlds (barring the final one).
Fanturn's second stage is the only act in the US version.

Stage 1 is an odd level at first... It seems like it is set around the fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk". The BGM that plays is Ring Rink from Planet Freon/Elykiki on the Megadrive/Genesis version.

clouds beanstalk rainbow

This may seem odd after being used to the whole pirate story we got... But it kinda makes sense...

Take a look at these pics...

boss sea boss desert
boss space boss undersea

All are the same boss battle (I got hit while trying to take the snapshots!) but all are in a different place...
It seems, the level changes its location after every nap the boss takes.

This leads me to a theory which makes sense:

  • The planet's name in the JPN version is Fanturn, this sounds like it is based on the word "fantasy".
  • The first level is a reminiscent of "Jack and the Beanstalk".
  • The second level is pirates on the high seas.
  • Then the boss changes area after every nap.

The world is made up of the boss' dreams! It's all a fantasy.
This theory is backed up when you defeat the boss too.

boss defeated

The world is a mess! It's like a post-apocalyptic scene. The boss made the world seem all happy.

The reason this was cut? Well, it is in the rom for the US version anyway. If you get the rom you can see it happen by changing the region setting in the emulator and loading world 2.
So space was not an issue. I think it was because the story for that level was a bit too much for western audiences, the kids would not understand it.

And the other main difference is a level that is strange.



Planet Timu Planet Freon

The US/PAL version is strange. There is snow and ice like in the Megadrive Freon, but all the music is different to the MD version of Freon. There are timed explosives on gateways and there are clocks everywhere.
One level has you going through a building filled with clockwork gears and cogs!
The boss, which is different to Itamor, can freeze time and the whole battle arena is set in an hourglass!

timed bomb tag gateway clock face
ice slides and timers on whirling cogs
moving gears inside the clock
hourglass frozen time

Why they thought the Megadrive name was better is beyond comprehension.
The name Timu goes with the general time theme the planet has!


Research was shared with the people below:
The in game information was collected by: Djbrayster, Jay-Kun, and DeepBlueVibes.
Hidden rom data found by Reala Nightmaren (including full cheats list), Knuckles Prower and ICEKnight.
All images were ripped by Djbrayster unless otherwise stated

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