[h2]5 years of DS roms celebration- day 3 covering year 3[/h2] Time for year 3 of our 5 years of DS roms in 5 days threads. For those just joining us the 16th of June marked the 5 year point since the release of the first DS rom and so this week we are counting off the 5 years of DS roms with a day given to each year. Today is year 3 which ran from the 16th of June 2007 round to the 15th of June 2008 which started with Mizuiro_Blood_JPN_NDS-iMPAcT and finished with Hisshou_Pachinko_Pachi-Slot_Kouryaku_Series_DS_Vol_2_JPN_NDS-iND. All in the year saw just over 1300 releases including nukes, patches, tools, trainers and the like. Year 5 Year 4 Year 3 Year 2 Year 1 [h2]Some history[/h2] While we had a short summary in the initial thread each of these individual threads affords a chance to cover the events of the year in more depth. Year 3 was a great time for the DS scene in that if you wanted to you could quite easily get on with things and have an easy time of it all compared to years past (at least until anti piracy took off) and if you wanted to there were many things to do that you could throw yourself into and spend huge amounts of time on. By the start of the year the DS slot was king and the R4/m3 DS simply line was the go to choice for most although the end of the year saw the last official update and with it the end of the r4- Yasu and more recently Yellow Wood Goblin would keep it going but no longer could people suggest the R4 in good conscience. Clones of various forms exploded onto the market however. SDHC was now available at a halfway sensible price so people we saw new devices and iterations of old ones appear throughout the year and just beyond, the cycloDS evolution would appear, the acekard RPG and eventually acekard 2 would appear and with it the source and so AKAIO. The DSTT/TTDS would appear as the chosen flash card of the poor man (not that flash carts in general were that expensive compared to the GBA era). Emulation was not at the sort of levels the GBA saw but hackers and screenshot makers now had great tools to use and those with fairly good systems could play roms fairly well thanks to no$gba and desmume. With such tools we also saw rom hacking become a very popular activity and several big projects happen. On the tools front we saw Rudolph's DLDI GBA slot, FTP and 3 in 1 based dumping tools arrive making it so everybody could dump roms with ease. Things were fairly stable by this point though so nothing much was needed. This year was also when cheats rose to the fore so as promised [h2]History of DS cheats[/h2] Cheats and those running roms/isos have a long and interesting history together as tools that enable one will often enable/help the other- cheats would be significantly worse off without emulators and cheat tools provide nice debugging/hacking methods and often an easy in for code running. Although it was best described as a mess cheats were readily available for the GBA and while it took quite a long time compared for them to rise up for the DS when they did they became a staple of the scene. Cheat methods- As mentioned in earlier threads we had seen dipstar provide cheats early on in the DS lifetime and action replay devices (hardware devices to allow cheats) in mid 2006. March 2007 saw Nitro Hax released that acted as a software action replay (flash cart users could run it and cheat on commercial games carts). Flash cart cheat engines were not far behind and despite a few varying formats and other teething troubles they allowed flash cart users to cheat on ROMs they were running. The rest as they say is history or it would be were it not for three other fronts/sides of the scene. Trainers- we mentioned scene trainers in passing in an earlier thread and compared to the likes of the GBA there have been very few scene originated trainers released for the DS. In their place we saw several things including home made trainers and guides to do it and ultimately automated tools to patch cheats into roms. These were great for the fairly large amount of people still using a GBA slot device (some of them carried on being updated well into year 4 if not longer) and those with carts that lacked a great cheat engine or one that supported the rapidly growing complexity of the cheats available. Tools- certain tools/setups had existed for a while now but as mentioned above emulators were getting to be quite good, and with extensive support for using codes the tools to make them got far more refined and useful. enhacklopedia and the GBAtemp cheats forum has more on that sort of thing. At the same time a tip of the hat is most certainly owed to the save editor crowd, while most will probably think of pokemon and pokesav there were several other games/franchises that had save editors made with notable ones including yu-gi-oh, drawn to life, animal crossing, mario kart and Final Fantasy 3. The cheat databases- Yasu and his R4CCE program helped unite the somewhat fractured cheat database formats and make editing them significantly easier. Alongside this with several cheating avenues available the cheats were scattered across the internet so what started with a simple thread that people posted their own modifications in became a compilation thread from our very own Rayder (it was later handed on to Narin and elixirdream among several others who were joined by several cheat makers and took it to new heights), got noticed by Datel? and eventually (if it was not already) became the go to place for DS cheats. To this end a huge thanks from all at GBAtemp to those who made it what it is today. [h2]The releases[/h2] With the GBA all but dead at this point and developers with a great understanding of the DS hardware we saw many interesting games appear. We also saw the rise of anti piracy methods most notably (at least in this year) in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - Ring of Fates (it was not the first game though- that honour presently rests with Houkago Shounen). Compared to today the methods and act of bypassing was somewhat simpler (indeed we often/usually had cheats to do so rather than full blown patches that we see more often today- you can still make cheats to bypass AP but it is not as easy to make into that form as it once was) but it represented a big change in how things worked and although it would take the DSi in November 2008 to truly shake things up it did mean many of the clones and weaker flash carts would drop from the race. By this point in time many people knew of flash carts and what they could do and indeed far more of those reading would have seen at least some of this year there are still likely to be those who did not see it and those who missed things during it. Anyone can look at the releases lists and we do not want these threads to read like one of those so we will select a few releases of note to us or the scene and then kick it over to you to suggest a few more, we ask you confine yourself to the year we are covering in these threads, the good people over at ABGX do nice text release list with dates. Year three saw almost as many releases (probably as many once you account for nukes and tools) as years one and two combined. [h2]The games[/h2] Once again we find ourselves starting in the middle of summer and rather interestingly this year saw many games see a release in Europe before they saw release in the North America. This year also put to rest any doubts that the DS was a choice system if you liked RPGs of various forms. Sim_City_DS_EUR_NDS-FireX It started out as a port of Sim City 3000 but picked up a whole bunch of changes along the way. While it did not set the world on fire it did provide a lot of fun for many in the summer releases drought and can hang around with the others in the genre and not look out of place. TouchMaster_USA_NDS-XPA The touch screen of the DS is suited to many things and puzzle games is one of the big ones. There have been other puzzle games including 42 all time classics/clubhouse games mentioned in the previous post, Japanese insanity with the likes of Muzuiro blood and very highly regarded homebrew games like PuzzleManiak but this can quite happily attend all the same parties that the others just mentioned can and we have since seen two sequels. Hoshigami_Remix_Running_Blue_USA_NDS-XPA With this remake of a PS1 game opinion was sharply divided. The game makes no secret of the fact that it is incredibly hard which is desired by some but on the other hand this leads to grinding rather than tactics and an appreciation of play mechanics. None the less this is one of the big DS strategy RPG games. Picross_USA_NDS-DOMiNENT Although we had already seen Japanese and European releases by this point it deserves a place in this list. It is a puzzle game but once of the best the DS has to offer. You are given a grid and a number sequence and then it is up to you to generate the image. Like all the best puzzle games a simple premise that lends itself to high levels of strategy and many hours sunk into it. We have 3d versions and a few other commercial clones (the likes of colour cross) and some homebrew as well but this is one of the must haves for anyone who likes puzzle games. MegaMan_Star_Force_Pegasus_USA_NDS-XPA, MegaMan_Star_Force_Leo_USA_NDS-XPA and MegaMan_Star_Force_Dragon_USA_NDS-XPA The megaman battle network series was a faithful companion of the GBA throughout and on the DS it was eventually spun into a new play style and new series still in the same game universe as battle network. This time battles are conducted from behind the player and abilities are changed somewhat to reflect this. Opinion was mixed on the titles but if you like the idea of battle network games and did not tire of them on the GBA then these are well worth a play through. We have since seen sequels as well. Rune_Factory_A_Fantasy_Harvest_Moon_USA_NDS-XPA As the name implies this is a harvest moon type game but instead of just running a farm you also get to venture into dungeons and battle through them as well in a bid to find new materials to upgrade your weapons, tools and beyond. There is a sequel available now and a third out in Japan and due in North America later this year. That does not stop this game from being able to suck down many hours as you try to juggle all the various aspects of this game. Worms_Open_Warfare_2_EUR_NDS-XPA The first Worms Open Warfare on the DS did not fare well but this sequel made most forget about that with a very solid 2d worms game in the style of the later PC games in the series. Among games it is usually left to bomberman and worms to ruin friendships that have survived many hardships (up to and including that time you thought a package holiday was a good idea) but both of those suffered serious missteps in later games and much like bomberman got a nice reboot on the DS worms 2 brought it back into the fold. Drawn_To_Life_USA_NDS_XPA One of the many games on the DS to exhibit interesting mechanics- this game sees you having to draw your own character, weapons and beyond (something explored further in Scribblenauts that turned the tables and put a dictionary in front of you and told you to get on with it). As the DS is not the best graphics design pad/screen there was a rather nice save editor called hacked to life. There have been a few themed spinoffs as well. The_Legend_of_Zelda_Phantom_Hourglass_USA_NDS-iND Zelda handheld games have a long history and are usually some of the most celebrated games of any handheld (see the likes of Zelda DX and Oracle of Ages/Seasons on the GB and GBC). The stylus controls annoyed some but there was a patch to allow flash cart users use of the dpad instead. While this was not the first thing in the Zelda universe on the DS it was the first proper Zelda game. Opinions on the game vary and while it will probably never sit up with the GB, GBC and GBA titles it did not disappoint. Set in the same time/area/mythos as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker on the gamecube as a sequel of sorts to it. ASH_Archaic_Sealed_Heat_JPN_NDS-MaxG Originally noted for being massive at 2048Mbit with FMV and more it was aimed at being a graphical tour de force. A translation is largely complete and in beta testing. MegaMan_ZX_Advent_USA_NDS-XPA The sequel to megaman ZX with an expanded play style (more transformations) and depending on the person you are speaking to quite difficult. If megaman ever lost track of the origins of the series this one took them, improved them and ran with it. Panzer_Tactics_USA_NDS-XPA There are a few turn based tactics games available on the DS and as long as you are only looking for a single player game (there is multiplayer but it is not as good as the likes of advance wars) this one should be on your list of games to play. Orcs_And_Elves_EUR_NDS-sUppLeX Originally a mobile phone game the DS port suffered a bit for it but this first person turn based RPG (shining in the darkness being a good reference point) is none the less a good game. Most noted it for the fact that John Carmack (one of the founders of ID software- they who made such noted titles as quake, doom and wolfenstein 3d) was the designer but regardless of such heritage the game itself much like the others on this list is one of those that showed what the DS could do. Final_Fantasy_XII_Revenant_Wings_USA_NDS-Micronauts A DS sequel to Final Fantasy 12 on the PS2 although now in the form of a real time strategy game. We had seen such titles before on the DS and this one did little to try and break away from those but if you liked Final Fantasy 12 or just the series in general it is worth a look in. Geometry_Wars_Galaxies_USA_NDS-XPA A multidirectional shooter with leanings towards bullet hell. A must have for fans of shooters and worth a look in for others as well. Draglade_USA_NDS-SirVG Atlus struck once again with a fighting game, it is tempting to look to Jump Ultimate stars when reviewing this game but that would be wrong. It is not for everyone and indeed the departure from more traditional fighting controls caused some to shy away from this game but it is none the less worthy of a play through. A Japanese only sequel is also now available. Advance_Wars_Days_of_Ruin_USA_NDS-iND and Advance_Wars_Dark_Conflict_Multi5_EUR_NDS-RS The latest of the Advance Wars titles on the DS, had a different subtitle in Europe and North America but was none the less the same game. Carries on with the much of the same gameplay as earlier entries albeit with a few fairly big changes but with a far darker theme and than even the first DS entry that sets it closer to series rival Daisenryaku. While earlier entries did have a solid multiplayer this game moved away from single player and looked towards multiplayer even more than before (and pulled it off). Assassins_Creed_Altairs_Chronicles_USA_NDS-Micronauts The DS does have 3d hardware but in most cases it is used to enhance the looks of 2d games (many a user of early emulators that lacked 3d could confirm this one) and while this was not the first or the last we later saw Ninja_Gaiden_Dragon_Sword_USA_NDS-XPA as well as a tomb raider game and several FPS and third person shooter titles this was one of the first to actually be fairly well received. More interestingly it expands on the Assassin's Creed story rather than just existing as a cut down version of a console/PC game that we so often see on handhelds. Dungeon_Explorer_Warrior_of_Ancient_Arts_USA_NDS-SQUiRE Inspired by a PCE/TG16 game of the same name it is actually closer to a hack and slash type game than the original. There may be better examples of the genre out there (indeed this thread and the others before it detail a few) but it can quite happily sit among those other games without being overshadowed. It did also see a PSP version that diverged quite a bit from the DS version. Apollo_Justice_Ace_Attorney_USA_NDS-HugeCock While most people probably know the series by the main character (Phoenix Wright) in the first few games the Ace Attorney series as it is “correctly” called does have a few more titles. We did also see the third GBA title ported to the DS but this is the fourth one and the first not ported from the GBA, play style is consequently a bit different from the earlier games and it based more heavily around the DS features (it is similar to the bonus case on the DS of the first game). Populous_DS_JPN_NDS-6rz see also Populous_DS_LANGUAGE_SELECTOR_NDS-SQUiRE Not the first of the classic PC games to appear on the DS in some form (several other entries into these lists and similar homebrew ones will be of them) but this was in the eyes of many a solid port/remake even if it did add little to the original. Should you have missed out on the original and want to learn your game history or just want to take it out for another spin have at it. Others might find that while it has aged gracefully it has still aged. There are regular English versions now but this was one of the games around this time to have a full English or other language translation buried within the rom and not available via menus or the DS language selection so it gets mentioned here. Soma_Bringer_JPN_NDS-6rz Another of the big fairly well rated Japanese games that will probably never get released in the US, play style is somewhat unique but many who try usually reference secret of mana. Fortunately as a flash cart user you have access to a translation patch. Final_Fantasy_Crystal_Chronicles_Rings_Of_Fate_USA_NDS-HugeCock The Crystal Chronicles series started on the gamecube for many but owing to hardware requirements (multiplayer meant everyone had to have a GBA and GBA-GC link cable) and somewhat repetitive gameplay it never really went that far. This game did a lot to change that image though and tightened up the mechanics as well as provided some interesting gameplay/levels that got even better once you played with friends. It was also noted for having antipiracy protection (not the first game with it but it came as a surprise to many). We have since seen a sequel in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - Echoes of Time that further refined the formula but this game is still worth a look in. Nanostray_2_USA_NDS-Micronauts Nanostray was one of the early DS games and a flash cart staple for those who like shoot em ups. While we have seen quite a few great homebrew shooters including a port or two of touhou, Warhawk and Tyrian among many others new and old the commercial attempts DS shooters are not as common as they might be. The sequel improved upon the original greatly and is well worth a look for those of you who like these sorts of games. Elvenland_EUR_MULTI3_NDS-SQUiRE Never really made a big dent in the DS world, a small addictive puzzle game and much like many puzzle games a great cart filler. Rondo_of_Swords_USA_NDS-EXiMiUS Another game that is not likely to be mentioned in top * lists of games but if you like strategy RPG games like Fire Emblem or Shining Force and are looking for another game like them do yourself a favour and check this out. Secret_Files-Tunguska_EUR_MULTI5_NDS-SQUiRE For reasons unknown point and click adventures are not so common on the DS although we have had the likes of Hotel Dusk, Phoenix Wright and of course the homebrew ScummVM that emulates many classic point and click games. This game deserves to sit up there with any of those just mentioned. Summon_Night_Twin_Age_USA_NDS-XPA A favourite on the GBA and one that got localised quite late in the day for the GBA this is the only Summon Night game presently in English on the DS. These were not of similar play style to the GBA versions though and closer to the likes of Ys or even Diablo. A solid action RPG game and much like many other games on these lists are somewhat dangerous if you have intentions of doing something else the day you are playing this. [h2]Closing words[/h2] Despite being the biggest roundup yet there were still games we did not cover. Such games include Sim City, Heroes of Mana, Lost in Blue 3, CSI Dark Motives, Luminous Arc, Lock's Quest, New Zealand Story, any number of amusing brain training/age clones/sequels and many more so once again it is over to you the readers to suggest some more. Tomorrow is year 4, the year of the DSi and more.