Sunday, November 18, 2018

An In-Depth Look at Pachislot Rockman Ability


With the recent launch of Mega Man 11, info and news on Pachislot Rockman Ability has pretty much faded into the background. However, the game launched in Japan on September 18th, 2018 and since then more information and details about the game have surfaced! After the jump we'll do a long deep dive into the game and some of its pretty cool features! 


Before we start, a word on the videos contained in this article: at present, there is no way to direct capture footage from the actual machine. All videos presented here are off-screen gameplay footage. I'll also be posting spoilers from the endgame but I will include a warning for those who don't want to be spoiled!


What is Pachislot Rockman Ability?

As we reported way back in July Pachislot Rockman Ability is a pachislot game developed by Spiky and Enterrise. Enterrise are a subsidiary of Capcom Japan and handle their pachinko and pachislot versions of their IPs. They've done Pachinko and Pachislot versions pretty much everything from Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry even titles like Viewtiful Joe and Ōkami. Pachislot Rockman Ability is their latest endeavour and is a new series set in its own universe, as a tribute to the classic Rockman series this also has a subtitle which is "The Greatest Trial in History".



But isn't this just a slot machine?

Well yes and no, Pachislot Rockman Ability is not like a regular slot machine as it's a little more interactive. Pachislot Rockman Ability features a full story, gorgeous CG cutscenes, interactive boss battles and mini games. The story itself is a little darker than what you would find in a Classic Rockman series title, but still has it's lighter moments and isn't quite as dark as say the Rockman X series can be. I found that this struck a nice balance between the two. While this is technically a gambling machine and many may dismiss it for that fact alone, there are a lot of neat ideas & styles in this game that would be great to see in future console titles.

The Story

This was taken from the official Pachislot Rockman Ability website which you can find here. Many thanks to Hayden once again for the translation!

In a not too distant future...

Technology developed by two genius professors Right & Wily lead to an increase of robots & humans & robots began to go down the path of coexistence. But at one point, one of these genius professors (Wily) changed as a person & desired to take over the world using robots. Wily used his robots "The Wily Numbers" to wreak havoc throughout the world. 

To put a stop to his evil ambitions, the other genius professor Right completed a high performance robot capable of fighting called Rockman. While Right & Rockman continued the fight for justice, they were at a vast disadvantage. 

One day, Dr Right found Roll & Trancy, sister robots, collapsed in front of the lab & helped them. Now, Roll & Trancy assist Dr Right & Rockman in their battles against Dr Wily & his robots. 



The Characters of Rockman Ability

As we reported back in July Pachislot Rockman Ability is set in it's own universe separate from the rest of the series timeline, featuring re-designs of the characters we know and love, including a new character for this game named Trancy (possibly another musical reference to the "Trance" genre of music?) whilst playing the game you can unlock profiles for the main characters, luckily we have access to most of these! Major thanks to both Gakayaot and Skycompass as they kindly translated them for us! 


Rockman



A combat robot created by Dr.Light to fight the Wily Numbers. Fights enemy robots day after day, to stop Wily's plan for world domination.
"I'll stop Wily's ambitions!"

- Voice Actress = Mutsumi Tamura 

Rock is pretty much the same as we already know him, and the re-design is still very recognizable as the definitive "Rockman". Personally speaking, the design to me looks like a hybrid of Mega Man Fully Charged and Over-1 from Rockman XOver.




Roll




Was found collapsed in front of Light's laboratory, and fixed by Dr.Light. After that, resists Wily together with Rock
"I'll fight with you!"

- Voice Actress = Rie Takahashi

So this is where the differences start. Both Roll and Trancy were found by Dr. Light rather than built. Roll also has a much MUCH larger role in this game. She's not afraid to kick some butt in some of the stages and also has her own buster and weapons but we'll get to that later.





Trancy


Roll's sister robot, found together with Roll by Dr. Light. Is a combat robot, but not so positive about fighting.
"I-I'm not scared!"

- Voice Actress = Kana Asumi 

Trancy is somewhat more comic relief, but can fight when she needs to. She does come across as a bit of a rookie and can be pretty timid at times, but she does play a good part in the story and gets involved in some of the stages. Like Roll she also has her own buster and weapons.




Light/Right



The daughter of Thomas Light, who popularized robots across the world. Because her father hammered technology into her from a young age, there is no scientist out there that is superior to her.
"Leave the backup to me!" 

- Voice Actress = Mie Sonozaki

So there you have it! What many thought was a simple gender swap for this game turned out to be Dr. Light's daughter! I guess this opens up speculation as to where the series timeline may split to open to this game's universe. It's also never stated in the game what this Dr. Light's 1st name is either. 



But what would a Rockman game be if there wasn't a bitter old man and his robots to fight?!


Wily



- Voice Actor = Shiro Saito

Wily also underwent a re-design but his character and motivations have pretty much stayed the same.


Blues



- Voice Actor = Yuichi Nakamura

Blues is certainly an antagonist in this game. He occasionally appears to fight Rock but can also offer a mode change. While he has no shield this time, he does have a wicked fist & still has his signature whistle.



Blues bonus select:



Although we're not 100% sure, it is implied that Blues is a Wily creation in this universe. 


and yes his body looks kinda like a Poké Ball. 



The Robot Masters

As a callback to the original classic Rockman title there are only six Robot Masters in this game, they are referred to as "Wily Numbers" however their DWN designations are never shown in the game.




Boss fights are chosen at random on the Boss Select screen, or "Select Chance" as it's also known in the game. Robot Masters also don't have their own stages in this game either as the "stages" are essentially interactive CG movies, so all Robot Master fights occur in an arena setting. So how do boss fights even work on a slot machine?! Well, each fight has a different requirement, some are quick time events or you need to be lucky and match symbols with your slot rolls. I'll give a brief description for each of them. 

So who are the six Wily Numbers? 



If you get a good score in the "Regular Bonus" game, you can also unlock this 8-bit version of the boss select and boss intro, however the fights themselves will still be in CG.


Lever Man




Lever Man is the powerhouse of the bunch and attacks by charging and using his giant lever arm. To win the fight against him you need to time hitting the "chance" button and be lucky to avoid his attack and blast him. 



Miss-time your button press and he will smash poor Rock into the ground, Rock also doesn't "explode" like he would in a regular Rockman game upon defeat. Instead he usually just falls over. As a few people pointed out this is very similar to Rock Volnutt in the Legends series. 




Replay Man




Replay Man is our shield user for this game. To defeat him you need to match symbols to pierce his shield and take him out.




Fail to match anything and your attack is deflected and Replay Man mocks you.



Reverse Man





Reverse Man is a flying Robot Master that uses quick attacks. To defeat him you need to be lucky on your slot rolls when he is in Rock's buster reticule to take him out. 


Fail to get him in your sights and he strikes Rock down.



Choice Man



Choice Man uses illusions to try and trick Rock, as well as using electric based attacks. To defeat him you need to be lucky on the slots to dodge his giant thunder attack and take him out. 


If you're not so lucky Rock gets zapped. 



Coin Woman



Yes that's right! Mega Man 11 didn't have one but this game does have a female Robot Master! She can dodge Rock's attacks using her ninja skills and attacks using coin shurikens. To defeat her you need to hammer that "chance" button to take out all her coins before they reach Rock. 


If you don't manage to take out all the coins Rock gets struck down.



Chance Man



The rarest Robot Master, Chance Man, has the lowest probability of being picked for a boss fight. Out of all the footage for this article I only witnessed his fight twice with players scoring a victory both times so unfortunately i don't know what his actual attacks are! However, he is impervious to Rock's standard Buster shots, meaning Rock will need to use a Super Mega Buster blast to defeat him. You need to time button presses to do this.



Stage Enemies 

Some other familiar faces appear as random encounters in some of the stages and mini games. Sniper Joes, Metools and even some Rockman X style enemies that resemble the Jamminger enemies from X1 and wolf enemies that resemble the Hellguarder enemies from X7 make an appearance.







Stages

As mentioned previously, stages in Pachislot Rockman Ability are CG cutscenes that see the characters exploring various locales punctuated with a couple of story sequences. Items, other modes and action scenes with random enemy encounters can also be triggered from within these. More stages are unlocked as you play the game, opening up new stage fights and eventually the endgame boss battles. The stages are also treated as a kind of TV show setup where they even have "To be continued" graphics that display between the story scenes. 




Here are a few short clips showing off stages 1 and 3. I've not included any story spoilers in any of the following sequences.

Stage 1 - Highway

Yet another Rockman X series callback Rock & Trancy check out the aftermath of an attack. Also, other humans?! Pretty rare sight in the Classic and X Rockman universe outside of the main cast! CG Sequences in both the investigation and action segments repeat after a while whilst racking up score from the slots so these have been edited down a little.



Stage 1 Action sequence on the Highway with random enemy encounters. Also featuring a pretty nice techno remix of Wily stage 1 from Rockman 2.



Stage 3 - Wily Institute

Some footage of Rock and Roll looking for clues in one of Wily's bases.


Sometimes Mega Man Powered Up - style chibi versions of the characters run across the screen in these investigation scenes. Pretty cool little detail.



But Rock is not the only playable character in this game!



Each stage also focuses on different characters so yes, you can technically play as both Roll & Trancy in some of the stages!



Here's some footage of Roll and Trancy using their Ride Chaser in the snow from Stage 2, searching for the Wily base seen above in Stage 3. Yes, Ride Chasers are in this game, yet another Rockman X series callback.


These next 2 clips are the only footage I was able to find of Roll in an action stage at the time of writing. This is stage 3's action scene with Roll. 



Also, a quick clip of Stage 8's action segment for Roll.







A brief look at one of Trancy's stages, also notice a lil Galaxy Man remix playing in the background.





 Here is one of Roll's story sequences, this one from Stage 3, no spoilers. 



Some stages also have multiple characters.


Here's a small story segment from this stage. Stage Select theme is also a remix from Rockman 1's stage select.




Special Weapons

As we reported back in August special weapons are in the game. Although we don't know the names of all the special weapons at this time, here is an image of Rock with each equipped.


Here are the names of the ones we know about. Reverse Man gives us Reverse Blade, Replay Man gives up the Replay Shield and Choice Man gives us Bell Spark. 



As you can see this is sort of an in between from Rockman 1-10 and Rockman 11's weapons where the Buster is changed to match the Robot Master, however Rock's helmet remains the same & of course you get the usual color change. Obtaining special weapons is very different in this game however. Usually you'd only need to defeat the Robot Master, but in this game not only do you need to defeat the Robot Master but you also need to obtain a "Weapon Chance" token this takes you to what is essentially a "Weapon Get" mini game. Here, you have 2-3 attempts to time button presses and match symbols on the slots if you are successful you'll get the weapon, fail and you get nothing.



This is where things get interesting, for the first time in series history Roll can actually obtain and use special weapons too! Here is Roll equipped with Coin Woman's weapon and Reverse Blade.


So here it is for the 1st time in series history here is Roll obtaining Chance Man's special weapon in the "Weapon Chance" mini game. 




But wait! Even Trancy can use Special Weapons too! The process of obtaining them for her is the same as above, complete the mini game to obtain a new power.


So how are these used? Well, Rock can use them in 3 ways. He can use them in boss battles against the Robot Masters, and in stage action scene fights. You can also use them as a backup so even if you lose a Robot Master fight you can activate the Special Weapon, make a comeback and still win. 

Here are a couple of examples of Reverse Blade being used in a Robot Master fight, the 1st video shows the weapon selected to finish off Lever Man. 



In this 2nd video, same boss fight against Lever Man, the player mistimes the "Chance" button causing them to lose the fight. However they have Reverse Blade in reserve & get lucky to make a comeback to win the fight. 


Roll and Trancy don't take on the Robot Masters from what we've seen. However, they are able to use Special Weapons in stage fights, as you can see below. Rock is using Reverse Blade & Roll takes out some Sniper Joes with Coin Woman's weapon. 



Modes

Here's a quick basic summary of some of the modes found in Pachislot Rockman Ability. Most of these modes are accessed from tokens found in item boxes or dropped from enemies in stages, although some like "Ability Field" show up at the end of each sequence.

Ability Field


Possibly the most common mode you'll encounter while playing Pachislot Rockman Ability, this mode sees Rockman in the arena surrounded by the Robot Masters & Blues. Depending on your slot rolls, you may need to duel some of the Robot Masters. This isn't done in the traditional sense. If you succeed in activating the mini game a random Robot Master will appear on screen with a selection of symbols. You need to match at least one of them with only your 1st slot reel. Do so and you'll get the somewhat infamous "ROCK ON BUSTER!" yell. This mode can earn you bonus rounds as well as allow you to progress to the next stage in the game. You can also see your wins and losses against each Robot Master in this mode in the pause screen.



Here's some footage of the Ability Field.



W Battle



This one is pretty simple. If you find one of these it will take you straight into a Robot Master fight.


Attack Mode



In this mode you have to storm a miniature Wily castle.


The castle itself is divided into tiers, and each tier has an enemy to defeat. Beat them all and reach the top you'll trigger a boss battle. Of course, that's provided you don't unlock any extra modes from defeated enemies to take you away from this mode before you get there.  Here's a quick clip of the mode in action.




Buster Zone


From what we can tell this is essentially a score attack mode. The camera pans around Rock, Roll, and Trancy while you try to earn bonuses.


Mission


Collecting a "Mission" token in a stage can take you to any of the modes I've previously listed, however it can sometimes take you to an exclusive mode. Those that remember Superadventure Rockman back on Sony Playstation & Sega Saturn should find this familiar and its spirit is very much alive in Pachislot Rockman Ability.


So yes, this is a first person shooting mode! This can be played with Rock, Roll or Trancy. The aim being to destroy the giant robot within 2-3 attack rounds, the amount of shots you get depends on your slot rolls. Manage to score enough hits and you get a short cutscene of the robot being destroyed. Fail, and the robot runs away to fight another day.

So here's Roll in action in this mode. 


Here's some additional footage from this mode where Trancy succeeds in taking out the robot.




Bonus Modes

If you pick up a bonus icon or earn one through defeating Robot Masters, picking up "Rock-On Buster" screens in the Ability Field or through winning some mini games, you'll be awarded the bonus screen. Here you'll be tasked with matching three "7"  slot reel symbols, if you manage to do this you'll enter the "Big Bonus" game or if you're lucky the "Super Big Bonus" game. If you don't however you'll enter the "Regular Bonus" mini game. 

Regular Bonus



As we reported back in August this mode changes everything to the classic 8-bit style. The mode is sort of a music video featuring classic series Rockman chiptunes and showing imagery from the NES/Famicom games. Here is the mode in action.


As mentioned previously if you score well enough in this mode it will change the boss select & boss intro sequence in the main game to 8-bit as well. Although the actual Robot Master fights will still be the CG battles. 

 


Big Bonus & Super Big Bonus



This mode is activated if you manage to match three "7" symbols. Only real difference between Big Bonus & Super Big Bonus is the amount of payout you can receive. It's a similar idea to Regular Bonus, however this time you get to select a vocal J-Pop song from a selection and watch the accompanying music video which features scenes from the game as well as some special scenes only found in some of these videos. Here's an example of one below it also shows the music selection screen. 



JAC Game


You may have noticed in the previous videos this symbol appearing every now and again. While in any of the bonus modes the player can initiate a "JAC Game", this allows you to unlock special artwork from the game. There are 15 pieces of art to unlock, all numbered in the bottom left corner. Luckily, we've seen 13 of the 15 available and can share the majority of them with you!



Hidden Bonus

These are the rarest bonuses to earn in the game. How these are unlocked is still a little bit of a mystery, but they apparently offer the highest payouts. There are 3 different versions of this, shown as a golden screen. 


Perhaps the strangest one has to be this next one. Even Enterrise's mascot, the Enterlion can appear in the game. 




Music

Just a quick word on the music in the game, it's pretty good, although in some arcades i imagine it might be hard to hear! Pachislot Rockman Ability has a nice variety of rock, techno & vocal J-Pop tunes along with some great remixes of existing Classic series Rockman tunes. While going through footage, we heard remixes of Dark Man's castle stage 1 from Rockman 5, Galaxy Man's stage from Rockman 9, Rockman 2's Wily 1 and stage select themes, Rockman 3's stage select theme & much more! The bonus modes feature the vocal J-Pop tracks, which even include Roll & Trancy singing a few tracks by their voice actresses Rie Takahashi & Kana Asumi. 



Some additional vocal tracks can also be unlocked as you progress through the game.




So now we reach the story spoilers section! This is just a heads up in case you don't want to be spoiled on some plot details and endgame content. 


Story Spoilers & Endgame

Story details are quite thin on the ground at the time of writing, so here is what we do know that happens in the story. Also the footage we have for this section isn't great as many people who have recorded footage have either skipped or edited a lot of the story stuff out. Some clips have had to be spliced together from what we have, but what you see below is pretty much everything we could find online at time of writing. 

Early in the game while on the Highway stage Blues appears to "test" Rockman as he puts it, you may remember we showed part of this following clip when we reported Blues was making an appearance in this game back in August. Well here is the full clip of that! Roll & Trancy are surrounded by Sniper Joes. Rock comes in to help save them when we hear that familiar whistle! Blues begins his attack, however before Blues can deliver a blow Roll dives in at the last second to take the brunt of the attack! This obviously severely damages her and so Trancy and Rock retreat back to the lab with Roll in his arms. 





The next clip we have from the story is Rock confronting Blues in an arena surrounded by lava. This is actually the intro for the upcoming fight, however the story cuts just before this gets going to Roll waking up having been repaired, or at the very least patched up. Dr. Light also hands Roll what looks like a schematic. Blues comes out with some lines that could indicate he is still Rockman's brother in this universe within this scene. A couple of lines picked up and translated by Hayden were "Let's find out which one of us is the genuine article"  followed by "You'll understand if you can defeat me"





The next clip follows on from the one above. At this time we aren't 100% sure if either the blow from Blues' attack jogged her memory or if it was something Roll found in the Wily base stage that told her this, but she drops this little twist on us which explains why Roll and Trancy were found by Dr. Light rather than built in this universe. Again massive thanks to Hayden for translating this: 

Trancy - "Sister"
Roll - "Professor there's something i want to talk to you about in private.."
Light - "With Me?"
Roll - "Yeah"
(In Private)
Roll - "It turns out Trancy & I were robots created by Dr. Wily..."
Light - "I see .. Even if that is the case..."
* something happens to Roll & cutscene cuts out*



 Rock then faces off with Blues after this scene, sadly not much footage of his actual fight is online at this time. These snippets are all we could find, but Rock is victorious after what looks like a difficult fight. 



We're not sure what happened to Roll after the previous scene, however some time after this Roll sets off to do a solo mission to confront Wily about her past and instead winds up being captured by Wily and reprogrammed! Yep, Roll turns evil in this game! 







The next time we see Roll she looks a little different and is also sporting a Kamen Rider-esque belt. Rock & Trancy set out to find Roll, not realizing what has happened to her and get a little more than they bargained for! 


That betrayal eh! Even Trancy gets a hit from the blast! Although Trancy does fight back and she manages to fire off some missiles from her headpiece.





How Rock and Trancy survive or how Roll is knocked out of her brainwashing is a detail we've not seen online as of yet. However, all three of them survive this! The next set of clips we have are from the final battle of the game. Rock, Roll and Trancy confront Wily who brings out his newest Wily Machine, which actually looks like it's fresh off the set of a Rockman Power Battle or Fighters game!




In the fight itself you need to dodge Wily's giant hands and laser attacks, get lucky on the slots, as well as time the chance button to get some shots in. Halfway through the fight Wily grabs Roll and puts her inside the Wily Machine itself, so she's even involved in the final battle of the game. 


Here is the footage we have of the fight itself. 


As you'd expect Rockman takes Wily out, no Wily Capsule showcased from what we've seen! Roll is rescued amd they head back to the lab. At this time we've not seen what happens to Wily himself!



The credits roll and you're greeted with this screen, again keeping to the TV show aesthetic using "Episode Complete" making us wonder if we'll be seeing a Pachislot Rockman Ability 2 in the future. 


and finally the "Thank You for playing" screen.



So there you have it, a closer look at something that many of us may never get to play and may also go on to become something of a curiosity in years to come. Personally speaking, I like the characters and world this game has put forward. It puts a nice spin on something we're already familiar with while not diverting from the source material too much. Maybe it's asking a lot but, i'd love to see these versions of the characters and setting in a console-based game as a new series sometime! Hopefully we've not seen the last of this version of Rockman.

It's clear a lot of effort has gone into this game and I hope that at a minimum Capcom sees fit to at least give us a "Capcom Special Selection" artbook and OST for it.  For those hardcore collectors out there, the machine itself can still be bought, some have even been spotted on Japanese auction sites. However, be prepared to spend around $4-6k depending on whether you opt for a coinless version or not! 



So what do you guys think? Would you like to see these versions of the characters return in a new console series? Would you ever give the machine a try if you saw it? What ideas from this would you like to see in other titles? Leave us a comment below! 


Many thanks to those who have helped me compile all this info together for this article!


Sources & many thanks to the following:
Translations = GakayaotHayden & Skycompass 
Images = EnterriseEntarainaYamato NareGanges3131Momongasu & BOM Sin Sin. Footage= ArrowsScreenGreenpeasPSTonokawachanSakuragayatigerPachi GabbutKikuya & NewTokyo
Also special thanks to Yink for helping me with the editing for this article & Omegaxis242 for supplying me with the Rockman Ability instruction book!

13 comments:

  1. so roll and zero are the same character in pachislot?

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  2. another spinoff... joy.

    but if the man of action looked like this i'd of cared more. the designs are way more interesting.

    im a little worried about what ol thomas was doing... that was worded poorly

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  3. My friend and I have headcannoned that this version of Dr. Wily just sounds and acts exactly like Carl Brutananadilewski from Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

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    Replies
    1. Hey MergaMan, dont you make me freak'in come over there!

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Wait... What? Did Rie Takahashi become famous in Japan or something? Re:zero, Akiba'strip, Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters, Fate/Grand Order and now even RockMan. Wherever I go, there are traces of her...

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  6. Mmmm Weird it is different enough to not be an adaptation but not different enough to be an interesting alternative spin-off.

    While I can appreciate Roll getting more of a role (a role period to be frank), she's still really not that interesting. The allure of a Wily machine turned good or at least against Wily and stuff is been there done that territory and in terms of "ability" she just seems like Rockman lite (khrist what is up with all these unintentional puns?) or a gender alternative of Rockman.

    Blues is Blues but looking like some BN, Xover Shinning Finger I don't know, he's weird.

    Tracy is Uh... unnecessary, she's almost literally Roll, so even contained in this series Roll doesn't have a unique storyline and even without Rockman there, there is another character with abilities similar to her's. But Tracy is at least comic relief which gives her an edge over Roll I guess (depends on how well that is executed).

    Dr. Right is more prominent female representation I guess because apparently her father hammered technology into her from a young age, there is no scientist out there that is superior to her. Because apparently that's all it takes. Anyway she seems unlikable for a goodsided doctor to me, kinda gives me an over arrogant and saucy vibe in terms of mannerisms. Like Tron but without the endearing comical and relationship quirks to counter balance.

    Wily is Wily.

    It seems the best part to differentiate this series is the visuals and even then the designs are cool and detailed and the cel shading-like graphics look great also the animation looks cool too. That said, there are no shortages of great visually designed Rockman series and characters, actually Ability looks like a mix of some of them. Sound is another thing and it does nothing substantially standout-ish on that front either.

    OK so it is a continuation, well damn that is another time frame that begs explaining and connecting and what not. Another one? OK...

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  7. Heck yeah I'd look forward to a game in this universe! Just not Pachislot.

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  8. Kinda like the design...too bad it is a pachislot game. Kinda feel like it might have a potential

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  9. out of sheer curiosity, Anyone ever heard of a pachislot machine having its rom/game/iso/whatever availiable online? If it uses anything similar to the taitoX2 board or some of the new stuff used on arcades, it should be fully compatible with x86 machines without the need for hardware emulation.

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  10. coll now make this in to a real game XD

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  11. dude, no.
    I don't want the mere notion of gambling or pachinko machines near a video game series I love. shame on you for suggesting a game with these characters, a name like Lever Man is already disgusting.
    look what konami did to castlevania and silent hill.

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