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Special "S" Forces

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A short while after starting a new game. After an introductory storyline, this screen appears, and the two characters make various poses before asking the player if he needs instructions

Special "S" Forces is an Role-Playing Game that parodies a number of games and popular Anime. Acclaimed during development for being one of the best projects to use RPG Maker 95 as its base, the game fell into obscurity, hampered by one of the developers disappearing entirely, and never saw completion.


[edit] Storyline

Special "S" Forces was deliberately designed as a parody of popular Japanese anime, Dragon Ball Z, particularly from the Namek saga of the storyline. The story involved two commanders of an elite force called the "S" Force (likely named after "Saiyans", one of the specific types of fighters in Dragon Ball Z and the most heavily featured) being set specific missions which were intended to take them to different planets, usually with the goal of taking them over and destroying the inhabitants.

It is hard to define the storyline as it features in the game itself, since very little focus was apparently made on the story during the game's development, and the events early on in the game do little to introduce the main goal. This is backed up by a recent comment of Stifu's explaining the game's demise (see below).

[edit] Demo

On the 9th of November, 2002, the first demo release of Special "S" Forces was placed online. The demo was version-numberred "0.05", the explanation being that the game was "5% complete" at the time of release, and had an estimated one hour of game play.

This particular demo is available in both English and French, the latter being Stifu's native language. This would turn out to be the only release of the game in English, and only one further release would ever be made. Because RPG Maker 95 has no in-built method to allow dialogue to be in multiple languages within the same game, the English variant of the game is a direct translation of the French variant and both language variants are distributed as seperate games.

The English version also does not have its graphics translated, leading to some character introductions still being in French, and a "code" found in a magazine at one point in the game is also written in French (the "code" is, in fact, just three regular paragraphs written in the "Wingdings" font). These shortcomings in translation, however, do not affect overall game play.

[edit] Demise

Development of Special "S" forces slowed to a crawl after Sprat gave up on the project in 2001 - one year before the release of the first demo. Soon after, Sprat seemingly disappeared from the net entirely, and Stifu lost contact with him. This caused problems because Sprat had implemented characters based on his relatives to play major roles in the story, and Stifu had not been informed about the personalities or roles they were intended to play. Stifu also felt demotivated from working on his own, and stopped working on the project completely in 2004.

Stifu expressed a desire in later years to return to the project to try and complete what work had been left unfinished, and get the game up to a slightly more complete and professional standard. In 2008, plans for improvements and an extension of the storyline were posted on the Forums, and Stifu stated that he intended to make "two more demo releases" before abandoning the game outright.

As it would turn out, only ONE further release would ever be made. On Christmas 2009, Stifu would release the final version of Special "S" forces, numbered 0.06, with the statement that "the game is barely any longer than it used to be, I mainly worked on improving what's there." This version would also only be released in French, stating an English translation would "take me too much time".[1]

With this release, Stifu decided to call an official end to the project. The official reasoning for the project's demise was listed as follows: [2]

  • The development of the game was badly planned from the start, too much time was spent on details rather than concentrating on what matters: the story development
  • Sprat (furtively) gave up on the project in 2001, one year before the release of the first demo. Other than the fact it's less motivating to work alone, Sprat and some of his relatives being characters in the game (and playing an important role), I would have preferred Sprat to take care of their dialogues and development.
  • RPG Maker 95 is old, very buggy, and no longer updated. Games made with it work less and less well with each new version of Windows (unreadable texts in some cases, sound problems, etc). Also, there is no way to make multilingual games with RPG Maker 95, which makes translations quite tedious (gotta retranslate the whole game for each release, and do it in one shot rather than step by step during the actual game development).

Although the game itself is no longer worked on, resources from it have reportedly been used in newer game projects by other RPG Maker users. Also, the music files used in the game are freely downloadable from the game's download page, in MP3 format, and no mention is made on any restrictions for use.

[edit] References

  1. Special "S" Forces, Posted on 25-Dec-2009 by Stifu
  2. Special "S" Forces Homepage
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