Download the patch here: https://www.romhacking.net/translations/6925/
VincentNL and his “Rent-A-Modders” have just released v1.0 of their English translation patch for the Japanese-exclusive Dreamcast game “Rent-A-Hero No. 1”, and it’s without a doubt the most thorough, feature-packed translation patch to ever grace SEGA’s swansong console! As a Dreamcast translation patch developer myself, I say this with 99% admiration for my friend Vincent and his team’s outstanding work, with just a 1% hint of jealousy. Yes — this patch is really that good.
First, some quick background. In May 2000, SEGA released “Rent-A-Hero No. 1” on the Dreamcast exclusively in Japan, something of a modern, 3D remake of the old Mega Drive classic. The game is full of quirky humor, funny characters, and of course, charming references to all things SEGA, such as Segata Sanshiro appearing as a character, or the protagonist’s use of the “Creamcast” console produced by “SECA”.
Up until now, those wanting to experience this unique title on their SEGA hardware had only the option of sifting through translation guides as they played, or in more recent times using OCR translation apps on their mobile devices. Alternatively, a leaked prototype of an official English localization for the Xbox surfaced in 2017, but it was incomplete, unpolished, and even buggy.
Fast forward to early 2021 when VincentNL, the project’s lead, released an early proof-of-concept video showing feasibility of a Dreamcast patch. The video’s release was (understandably) met with a ton of positive feedback, and so he got to work building his proverbial assembly line.
While the Xbox prototype data served as an early starting place for the team, it was by no means a drop-in replacement for the original Japanese assets found in the Dreamcast version. The formatting of text, as well as the use of control codes, was entirely different between the two. On top of that, the Xbox prototype’s translation was incomplete, and from what I and others have seen, a bit rough around the edges.
As a result, the “Rent-A-Modders”, especially CurtainFire, Korp13, and Togepichu, translated thousands of missing lines of text, as well as improved existing translations. As with any translation patch project, custom tools were developed (see below) for text extraction/insertion and testing.
All of this now established, what makes this patch so special? From the team lead, here’s a high-level list of brand new features available exclusively in the English translation.
How were all of these new features and fixes made possible, you might ask? To pull this off, extensive knowledge of Hitachi SH4 assembly was a must, along with understanding of Katana SDK documentation as reference material (SEGA’s official Dreamcast devkit). In fact, over 60 brand-new functions were added to game’s code directly in assembly. Some examples of such work include the debug menus and completely new VMU animation system, both seen below.
Knowledge and skill with Ninja 3D models (used on Dreamcast/Naomi) also came into play, where team members like Egregiousguy, reverse-engineer and expert 3D-hacker, created a large number of new 3D models and animations, exclusive to this patch. You can see his work in the Name Entry screen, all menu backgrounds, city/shop signs, the new metal frame animation in charge moves, and a number of fixes to previously broken or incomplete models/textures. He’s also responsible for a brand new font, designed to optimize triangles in new models. One such example of this is “Bottles” the cat, whose texture was entirely absent in the original Japanese release. To remedy this, the neglected feline’s model had to be remade in Blender, then converted back to Ninja format, ultimately resulting in what can be seen below.
Overall, “Rent-A-Hero No. 1” has all the makings an instant fan-favorite. Part action RPG, part love letter to SEGA, I for one can’t wait to sit down and play it!
For a complete list of credits, check out the README.