NCS Masaya Games List: Their Background and Games By Genre, 1987-2000

Introduction & About NCS Masaya

That is, all of NCS Masaya’s games from their start until the original NCS Masaya died in late 1999, and also Bandai’s two WonderSwan games from early 2000 that use Masaya licenses.  NCS Masaya was the game development division of Nippon Computer System, or NCS.  After some success, the company faded out in the late ’90s.  In their prime in the early ’90s Masaya made some great strategy and action games, and they continued to make great strategy games for years afterwards.

Of course though, anyone can find a list of Masaya games  on GameFAQs, etc.  I made this list for a specific purpose, though: to show how Masaya abandoned action games in favor of Langrisser.   So, this list is sorted by genre, and by year within each genre.   If you look at the Masaya games list of GameFAQs (link below): you’ll see that the number of games Masaya published each year plummeted after 1992.  I guess that despite publishing many great games that year, they must not have sold well enough or something, because Masaya seriously scaled back making everything other than strategy games after 1992.  That’s really unfortunate, because some of their action games are pretty great!  In 1992, Masaya released five good to great action games: Gleylancer, a great shmup for the Genesis; Macross 2036, a good shmup for the Turbo CD; Cho Aniki, another good shmup for Turbo CD, and the first game in what became a popular (if weird) series; Cybernator, a cult-classic mech action game (and the sequel to Target Earth on the Genesis); and Shubibinman 3: Ikai no Princess (Turbo CD), a good, but far too easy, sidescrolling action game.  Great stuff there!  They also released the racing game Moto Roader MC (Turbo CD), a decent topdown racer, that year as well.  Moto Roader and Shubibinman were series that had seen three games released since 1990, and Assault Suits had seen two.

And then after that. for games released between 1993 and 1999…  excluding some Western titles Masaya published in Japan, and a series of wrestling games developed by Natsume and not internally by Masaya, Masaya barely even published five more action games worth mentioning in the whole rest of the decade before their closing — there’s Ai Cho Aniki (TCD shmup), Cho Aniki (SNES fighting game), Cho Aniki (PS1/Saturn shmup), Assault Suits Leynos 2 (Saturn sidescrolling mech action game), Shubibinman Zero (SNES Satellaview game released in 1997, because the game was initially cancelled in 1994), a golf game for Satellaview also in 1997, a Mode 7 SNES racing game,  a SNES boxing game… and that’s it.  And of all those games, only Shubibinman Zero, Ai Cho Aniki, and AS Leynos 2 come close to the level of quality of those 1992 titles.  I don’t know what happened, but it’s unfortunate.

Some of these games were outsourced, too — while most titles from 1987-1992 were internally developed, after that many more games were done by external teams.  Of the games in the previous paragraph, Ai Cho Aniki, the SNES Cho Aniki fighter, the PS1/Saturn Cho Aniki shmup, and the SNES racing and boxing games were all done by outside teams.  Of course the Western Prince of Persia and Battletoads games they published in Japan were also externally developed. Only Shubibinman Zero, the golf game, and Leynos 2 were internal.  And of those three, the first two were Satellaview releases, games brought back from presumed earlier cancellation (Shubibinman Zero claims to be a 1994 release on its title screen, for example, though in fact it is from 1997) and released on Nintendo’s satellite service and not on cartridges.  Assault Suits Leynos 2 is the big outlier, NCS Masaya’s last internal effort at a physical-release action game.  And it’s pretty good, at least they went out well!

To look at another genre, Masaya’s few fighting games are mostly mediocre at best, but their platformers started out iffy as well;  Energy and Shubibinman 1 have issues.  I like these games more than most, but they are flawed.  Their platformers got a lot better quickly.  But with fighting games, after three not-great efforts in 1992 they abandoned the genre with the sole exception of that 1995 Cho Aniki fighter on SNES, and that game was outsourced to an external team.  Even their second 1992 SNES Ranma game is improved over the first one.  It’s too bad that instead of continuing to work on them, they mostly gave up.  But with shmups or platform-action games, Masaya went straight from great to mostly out in notime, making the situation worse there; indeed, it is those genres that really made me wonder why this happened.

As for their strategy games, that decline started later, but it did occur.  Langrisser became popular, but in 1996, the Langrisser team left Masaya and formed an independent team.  After that strategy games followed the other genres in going mostly outsourced, and Masaya leaned heavily on Langrisser between 1993 and 1999.  Career Soft did stay with NCS Masaya for several games, until early 1998’s Langrisser V (Saturn), but after that left to work with Atlus, where they made the Growlanser series and later merged into Atlus’s RPG division.  NCS didn’t have anyone good to replace them with, so the last Langrisser game, Langrisser Millenium for Dreamcast, is widely regarded as terrible.  And shortly after that, NCS stopped publishing videogames and left the industry.

But while the loss of Career Soft and Langrisser Millenium may explain why NCS gave up on the industry, that doesn’t explain why they so significantly scaled back on action games back in 1993.  I guess sales really must have been poor… how sad, for such good games. 🙁  The studio behind Cho Aniki, Gleylancer, and Macross 2036 never made another shmup themselves after the year all three of those games released, 1992!

Sources: http://www.mobygames.com/company/ncs-corporation/history and http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/company/13002-ncs and also playing their games, of course.

NCS Masaya’s Game Library, Sorted By Genre

Note: All games are Japan-exclusive releases unless noted.

Puzzle

1987-1989 – None

1990

Shove It!: The Warehouse Game / Shijou Saidai no Soukoban (GEN) (US & Japan release)

1991-1993 – None

1994

Araiguma Rascal: Raccoon Rascal (SNES)

1995-on – None

Adventure or Action-Adventure

1987-1989 – None

1990

Nazo no Masquerade (TG16)
Star Cruiser (GEN) (first-person 3d action/adventure game)

1991

Cyber City Oedo 808 (TCD)
Signatory: Chouinsha (Sharp X68000)
Ranma 1/2: Toraware no Hanayome (TCD)

1992

Mamono Hunter Youko: Makai Kara no Tenkousei (TCD)

1993

Mamono Hunter Youko: Tooki Yobigoe (TCD)
[Ranma 1/2: Byakuran Aika (SCD) – This is a anime-FMV / rock-paper-scissors “fighting”/”adventure” game.]

1994-1997 – None

1998

Dream Generation: Koi Ka? Shigoto Ka!? (PS1)
Dream Generation: Koi Ka? Shigoto Ka!? (SAT)

1999-on – None

Strategy

1987

Gaia no Monshou (Sharp X1 and NEC PC88 computers)
Elthlead (NEC PC88)

1988

Gai Flame (Sharp X1)
Elthlead (MSX computer) (port of the above PC88 game of the same name, not a new title)
Gaia no Monshou (TG16) (port of the PC88 game from the previous year, not a new title)

1989

History of Elthlead (Sharp X68000 computer) (probably another port of Elthlead?)
Lightning Bacchus: The Knight of Iron (Sharp X68000)
Lightning Bacchus (MSX) (probably a scaled-down versio nof the above game)

1990

Gai Flame (PC88) (port of the above game of the same name)
Gai Flame (TG16) (port of the above game of the same name)
Hisou Kihei X-Serd (TG16)

1991

Head Buster (GG)
Warsong / Langrisser (GEN) (US & Japan release; Warsong is the US title)

1992

Vixen 357 (GEN)
Choujikuu Yousai Macross: Eien no Love Song (TCD)

1993

Langrisser: Hikari no Matsuei (TCD) (port of the Genesis game above)

1994

Langrisser II (GEN)
Power of the Hired (SNES)

1995

Der Langrisser (SNES) (enhanced port of Langrisser II)

1996

Der Langrisser FX (PC-FX) (enhanced port of Langrisser II)
Langrisser III (SAT)

1997

Langrisser I & II (PS1) (port/remakes of the first two games)
Langrisser IV (SAT)

1998

Langrisser: Dramatic Edition (SAT) (a Saturn version of the Langrisser I & II remakes, fully voiced now)
Langrisser V: The End of Legend (SAT)
Langrisser II (PC) (port)
Langrisser Tribute (SAT) (all four Saturn Langrisser games in one box)
Arubarea no Otome ~Uruwashi no Seishikitachi~ (PS1) (port of a PC-FX game by NEC, not originally a NCS game)

1999

Langrisser III (PC) (port)
Langrisser IV & V: Final Edition (PS1) (port collection)
Assault Suits Valken 2 (PS1)
Langrisser Millenium (DC)

2000

[Langrisser Millenium (WS) – Not by Masaya, this game was by Bandai, licensed from Masaya.]

RPG

1987-1989 – None

1990

Sol Bianca (TCD)

1991-  None

1992

Sorcerer’s Kingdom (GEN) (US & Japan release)
Double Moon Densetsu (NES)

1993-1998 – None

1999

Ou Dorobou Jing: Devil Version (GBC)
Ou Dorobou Jing: Angel Version (GBC)

2000

[Cho Aniki: Otoko no Tamafuda (WS) – Not by Masaya, this game was by Bandai, licensed from Masaya.]

Racing

1987-1988 – None

1989

Moto Roader (TG16) (top-view racing) (US & Japan release)

1990 – None

1991

Moto Roader II (TG16) (top-view forward-scrolling racing)

1992

Moto Roader MC (TCD) (single-screen top-view racing)

1993 – None

1994

Bike Daisuki! Hashiriya Kon – Rider’s Spirits (SNES) (Mode 7 racing)

1995 – on – None

Platformers / Sidescrolling Action / Topdown Action-Platformer

1987-1988 – None

1989

Energy (TG16) (port of a Japanese computer game) (Platform-Action)
Kaizoku Chounin Shubibinman (TG16) (Platform-Action)

1990

Target Earth / Assault Suits Leynos (GEN) (Platform-Action) (US & Japan release)
Ranma 1/2 (TCD) (Sidescrolling Action Beat ’em Up / Fighting)
After Burst (GB) (Platformer-Puzzle)
Trampoline Terror (GEN) (topdown platform-action) (US & Japan release)

1991

Kaizoku Chounin Shubibinman 2 / Shockman (TG16) (Platform-Action) (US & Japan release)
Mamono Hunter Yohko: Dai-7 no Keishou (GEN) (Platformer)
Dragon Egg! (TG16) (Platformer)
Jangken Man (GB) (Platformer)
[Battletoads (NES) – Japan Publisher] (Sidescrolling / Isometric Action)

1992

Kaizoku Chounin Shubibinman 3: Ikai no Princess (TCD) (Platform-Action)
Cybernator / Assault Suits Valken (SNES) (Platform-Action) (US & Japan release)
[Prince of Persia (SNES) – Japan Publisher of this Western game] (Platformer)
[Prince of Persia (GB) – Japan Publisher of this Western game] (Platformer)

1993 – Nothing

1994

[Battletoads in Battlemaniacs (SNES) – Japan Publisher of this Western game] (Sidescrolling / Isometric Action)
[Battletoads (GB) – Japan Publisher of this Western game] (Sidescrolling / Isometric Action)

1997

Assault Suits Leynos 2 (SAT) (Platform-Action)
Kaizoku Ningen Shubibinman Zero (SNES Satellaview) (Platform-Action)

Shmups

1987-1989 – None

1990

[Hellfire (GEN) – made the Genesis port of this Toaplan arcade game] (US & Japan release)
[Fire Shark (GEN) – NCS’s related Western company Dreamworks Games published this Toaplan game in the West; in Japan Toaplan published it.] (US & Japan release)

1991

Wings of Wor / Gynoug (GEN) (US & Japan release)
L-Dis (TCD)

1992

Choujikuu Yousai Macross 2036 (TCD)
Advanced Busterhawk Gleylancer (GEN)
Cho Aniki (TCD)

1993-1994 – None

1995

Ai Cho Aniki (TCD)
Cho Aniki: Kyuukyoku Muteki Ginga Saikyou Otoko (PS1)

1996

Choaniki: Kyuukyoku Muteki Ginga Saikyou Otoko (SAT) (port of the above PS1 game of the same name, not a new title)

1997-on – Nothing

Fighting / Wrestling / Boxing

1987-1991 –  None

1992

Ranma 1/2: Chounai Gekitou-hen / Steet Combat (SNES) (Fighting) (Japan; the US version, Street Combat, was reskinned and has the license removed.)
Ranma 1/2 Datou, Ganso Musabetsu Kakutou-ryuu! (TCD) (Fighting)
Ranma 1/2: Bakuretsu Rantou-hen /  Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle (SNES) (Fighting) (US & Japan release)

1993

Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling (SNES, developed by Natsume) (Wrestling)
Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling Dash: Sekai Saikyou Tag (SNES, developed by Natsume] (Wrestling)
[Ranma 1/2: Byakuran Aika (SCD) – This is a anime-FMV / rock-paper-scissors “fighting”/”adventure” game.]

1994

Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling: Fight da Pon! (SNES, developed by Natsume) (Wrestling)
Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling Jet (GB, developed by Natsume) (Wrestling)

1995

Cho Aniki: Bakuretsu Ranto Hen (SNES) (Fighting)
Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling 2: 3-4 Budokan (SNES< developed by Natsume) (Wrestling)

1996-1997 – None

1998

Ring ni Kakero (SNES – Nintendo Power service only) (FMV-esque “Boxing” game)

Sports & “Sports” Horse Racing Gambling/Sim

1987-1988 – None

1989

Ganbare! Golf Boys (TG16) (Golf)
Rom Rom Stadium (TCD) (Baseball)

1990

Kickball (TG16) (Kickball)
Wallaby!! Usagi no Kuni no Kangaroo Race (TG16) (Horse Racing Gambling/Sim)

1991

Winner’s Horse (GB) (Horse Racing Gambling/Sim)

1992-1996 – None

1997

BS Out of Bounds Golf (SNES Satellaview) (Golf)

1998-on – None

About Brian

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