PC Engine/Duo recommendations

A little over a year ago I got a sweet S-video modded Duo-R. Now I’m thinking I might want a few more games for it!

I love Falcom, shooting games, and some of the weird Telenet Japan stuff, so that’s what my library consists of now. But I’m pretty open to any kinds of games, as long as they aren’t super language-intensive RPGs, $200+ super-rarities, or one of the 8000 mahjong games on the system.

What I have now:

  • Telenet: Valis 1-4, Exile
  • Falcom: Ys III and IV (have I&II on Wii VC), Brandish, Legend of Xanadu 1&2, Dragon Slayer 1&2
  • STG: Super Darius I & II, Gate of Thunder, Lords of Thunder, Summer Carnival 91-93 games (Spriggan, Alzadick, Nexzr)

Probably don’t need Dracula X, the Star Soldier Series, or Blazing Lazers - have all of them on Wii VC (or others) and I’m plenty happy with those ports.

Feel free to turn this into a discussion of any PCE games too!

i don’t know how much any of these will cost, so sorry if they’re all super RARE L@@K
splatterhouse, legend of hero tonma, batman, sonson ii, devil crush, alien crush, hellfire s

Seconding the *'s Crush games. Super fun pinball with really cool aesthetics. There’s one for the SNES too that’s really good.

I’m going to give you a useless recommendation of Sapphire. Because Sapphire rules. Can’t you just play burned games in a Duo? So you could theortically make your own CD-Art and Album art for Sapphire. Last I checked Sapphire is now up to 700 dollars for a real copy even in Akiba.

Ohh Sapphire is an interesting recommendation. Yeah I’ll try to just burn an ISO and play it that way on original hardwaree. I didn’t know very much about it, thanks a lot for the tip! Looks right up my alley.

I’ve played the Crush games too, those are cool! Maybe I’ll snag them cheap.

Bonk’s Adventure and Bonk’s Revenge. Amazing platformers. Nothing else like them. I keep meaning to make a thread on these guys, and The Question on how to play these games Right. The first Bonk game, as far as I’m concerned, is about as good as the original Sonic the Hedgehog or Super Mario World.

The original Legendary Axe is less ‘necessary’ but it’s also a unique-platformer with an interesting art style.

Splatterhouse is great, but it’s available on other systems and I don’t know if it’s any better elsewhere.

Military Madness if you like Advance Wars.

Fantasy Zone falls into the same above problem.

Neutopia 1 and 2 used to be a good recommendation, but there’s so many classic 2D Zelda games now that it’s not worth the effort.

R-Type feels almost arcade perfect. Some copies seem to split the game into two hucards, though? I have no idea what that’s about.

Joke Option: Magical Chase (but seriously, emulate that shit and then see how much copies go for on ebay)

EDIT: If you have more than a single control port available, I’d consider Dungeon Explorer to be worth it. By itself it’s still very good in the sense that it’s the game you’d want Gauntlet to be, but I played the Wii VC edition with someone else and it was amazing. Protip: google what color stones boost which stats. The game never spells it out for you that the boss drops change color because each color increases a specific stat, and I spent a game just rushing immediately toward it. Oops.

Since you have a Turbo Duo, you can play R-Type Complete CD. If you’re familiar with the original game’s soundtrack and have never heard this one, you’re in for a surprise.

I’d also recommend

Parasol Stars (Bubble Bobble 3)

Ninja Spirit

Air Zonk (but not the CD version, as I think they ruined the soundtrack)

Alien Crush (already mentioned above, but here’s a picture)

Definitely try Sapphire. And maybe Klax, too, if there is time for it.

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Firenze, just be aware that for those recommending Sapphire, it is an Arcade Card game… so you’ll need the Arcade Card Duo in order to play it (same goes for the PC-E Arcade CD port of Popful Mail).

I’ll recommend the Konami ports of Gradius (HuCard), Gradius II (Super CD) and Salamander (HuCard).

Also, be warned that the Japanese HuCard of R-Type is split into two parts due to the ROM size limitations of when it was ported (you’ll see R-Type and R-Type II… which are levels 1-4 and then levels 5-8 from the original game respectively). You get a code at the end of each half of the game that can be used to begin the next card with your prior stats. The US version came out late enough that the HuCard ROM size had doubled, thus both halves could fit on one Turbo Chip (hence why Japan later got R-Type Complete on CD later).

I’m not terribly inclined to get either the Gradius/Salamander or R-Type games on PCE because I have them in other formats (which to my knowledge are better or at least as good). Saturn Gradius and Salamander Deluxe packs, and PSP collections. And R-Types on PSX and the XBLA R-Type Dimensions.

I don’t particularly care about Popful Mail because I have that on Sega CD, so is there anything else that makes an Arcade Card worth the purchase? If it’s Sapphire only… well shit, I guess I’ll just play that one via emulator.

@wourme Ninja Spirit, yeah! Definitely gonna add that to the list. And maybe Parasol Stars (can’t believe that isn’t on the Taito Memories PS2 compilations but unless I’m missing something… it’s not).

I didn’t even know about this Arcade card nonsense.

Oh yeah another question - are any of the Namco/Namcot PCE games that aren’t super easily accessible elsewhere (besides emulating) worth playing? In particular, Dragon Spirit or Dragon Saber, or Final Blaster?

The Gradius ports can be worth it for the PC-Engine exclusive additional levels (the bone yard in G1 and the Egyptian-themed stage in G2). Also, G2’s redbook audio AST is pretty sweet.

As for other games that requires the Arcade Card, see the various Neo Geo ports. Most of the CD ports require the Arcade Card.

As for Popful Mail…delving into things a bit deeper, it looks like it has both Super CD and Arcade Card compatible modes. Most folks on Youtube are running it in Super CD mode… so I’m not sure what using the Arcade Card changes… but apparently it’s optional for that game.

Also, an obligatory shout-out to Aaron Nanto’s long running PC-Engine fansite: http://pcenginefx.com

And thanks to a post by bust3dstr8 over on AtariAge, here’s the list of Arcade Card games:


  Battlefield '94 In Super Battle Dream  

  Fire Pro Female Wrestling (WOWOW vs. JWP...  

  Fatal Fury 2  

  Fatal Fury Special  


  Jong Shin Densetsu  

  Far East of Eden: Kabuki Itouryodan  

  Mad Stalker Full Metal Force  

  Madou Monogatari I Honou no Sotsuenji  

  Art of Fighting


  World Heroes 2  

And the following will play without the Arcade Card, but are enhanced if you use it:

+  3 x 3 Eyes Sanjiyan Hensei  

+  Atlas (The) - Renaissance Voyager  

+  Brandish  

+  Eikan Wa Kimini  

+  Formation Soccer '95  

+  Gulliver Boy  

+  J. League Tremendous Soccer '94  

+  Linda Cube  

+  Mahjong Sword Princess Quest Gaiden  

+  Popful Mail  

+  Princess Maker 2  

+  Private Eye Doll  

+  Sexy Idol Mahjong Fashion Monogatari  

+  Sotsugyou II Neo Generation  

+  Super Real Mahjong P II & III Custom  

+  Super Real Mahjong P V Custom  

+  Tanjou Debut  

+  Vasteel 2  

+  Wrestling Angels Double Impact

Popful Mail plays completely different on PC Engine, you should give it a try. You have to ram into things Ys-style and it’s reasonably weird in a platformer, but pretty charming if you have a soft spot for weird things. It’s what Ys III should have been like. And it looks adorable! And the soundtrack is amazing as well!

I didn’t realize it was different! Thanks for the explanation. I definitely need to try this because I do have a soft spot for weird things and Falcom. Yeah, this is definitely going on the list.

This might be a strange recommendation, but if you want a super simplistic (but kind of crazy story) early Working Designs Turbo CD RPG, check out Cosmic Fantasy II. It’s not rare or anything (if rarity were no issue, I’d be writing about Dungeon Explorer II here), but it was the first game I picked up on a whim to test my own Duo-R (that I just Component modded tonight!) and the story/world had enough twists and weirdness to keep me going. Plus, talking cat aliens!

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Cosmic Fantasy II is “the one with the shower scene,” if your mind is anything like mine.

Slightly NSFW, but dig these early English voiceovers for the emerging world of Japanimation.

Remember when everything having anime cutscenes was The Future? Instead of, you know, your purchase of an anime game coming with a free FBI agent watching you Google.

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Ive never seen that! Guess i will try and use tangerous element in conversation.