Here's the game story, as it is on the instruction manual:
"Enter the funny, challenging and suspenseful dream world of Drol - where a little red-haired girl and her propeller-beamed brother await your rescue. They have been lured by a witch doctor's curse into the multi-leveled ruins of a lost civilization. Mesmerized, they wander aimlessly through the scrolling underground corridors, oblivious to the dangers around them.
It's your task - as a hero equipped with a rocket backpack and full-screen radar scope - to dodge hopping scorpions, monsters and snakes, flying turkeys, swords, daggers, arrows, magnets, witch doctors, and vaccum cleaners(!) in your attempts to reunite the children with their mother."
With a story like that, how can someone not enjoy Drol? ;)
At the beginning, this looked like an easy job! As every SG-1000 convertions, you change the video ports, replace the audio and input calls by your own, and presto, the game is working...
Well, this time, something different happened!
Drol at first glance, looks like a very simple game. But don't be fooled, it uses everything the VDP can do, and then some!
After converting the video ports values, I usually like to see the game running, even without sound or input implemented. When I changed the ports from BEh/BFh to 98h/99h - I was shocked! The game was running much slower on MSX than on SG-1000!
In general, MSX is a little slower than SG-1000 or Coleco, mainly because it has some wait states that the others don't. This usually isn't noticed on convertions, since most games don't demand the machine that much.
But let's take a closer look on Drol:
See that really big block full of little dots between the "Score" and the "HiScore"? That is the game radar, which show a mark for every enemy on the level. And let me tell you: you can have a LOT of enemies on screen!
If that wasn't enough, it gets even better: to the right of the lives counter, you get a small monitor, showing static all the time (?) - which is constantly updated, every single interrupt.
All of that requires tons of writes on VRAM - which slows downs the game quite a lot. So not only I had to convert the game, I also had to change it!
So what was the best solution? I implemented a small frame skip, both on the static monitor and on the radar - which made the game run pretty close to the real speed on a plain MSX1.If you have a computer with turbo, the frameskip is disabled and the game runs perfectly, just like the original.
In the end, the game got converted, working with or without turbo, with cool colors on MSX2 and higer and support to both joystick and keyboard!
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