Today, we're thrilled to announce the successful acquisition and release of EIGHT Rockman cellphone games previously available only in Japan. Among the lot are Rockman EXE: Phantom of Network and Rockman EXE: Legend of Network, a full chapter from Rockman DASH: Great Adventure on 5 Islands, and a handful of lesser-known from Rockman GP to a unique Rockman 1 port featuring a fully-playable Roll. Best of all, you can play them -- ALL of them -- today.
Read on for the details!
Hey, Mega Man fans! This is RockmanCosmo, leader of SciLab Secrets – the team working to preserve lost Rockman games developed for Japanese feature phones. I am thrilled to announce that we have preserved eight games: the entirety of Rockman EXE: Phantom of Network and Rockman EXE: Legend of Network, the fifth island of Rockman DASH: Great Adventure on 5 Islands, Rockman Pinball, Rockman GP, Rockman Panic Fire, Rockman Bug Sweeper, and a trial version of Rockman 1 with the ability to play as Roll.
How and Where to Play The Games
The lone DoCoMo Java (DoJa) emulator available is embedded within DoCoMo's official DoJa 5.1 SDK. Collaborating with LNRC, I created a portable version of this emulator housing the Rockman games. You can download it here (mirror). Extract the file to a folder with no spaces or special characters. Follow the steps in the readme closely; all resources are included.
Please note that the SDK's emulator isn't flawless—it encounters performance glitches with 3D games and audio stuttering when there's several objects on screen. In 5 Islands, this audio issue can be resolved by accessing the options menu through the maps menu to reset the audio. Meanwhile, team member XerTheSquirrel is developing SquirrelJME, an inclusive Java Micro Edition emulator to support DoJa apps. Once completed, these games will operate on a more stable framework.
The Ripping and Dumping Process
These games originated from a Panasonic P-06C. This is a different phone than the Sharp SH-10C, a phone in our possession that also had the full EXE games. These games were stored within its internal memory. The phone underwent a non-destructive hacking method known as the debug cable technique. Essentially, this involved altering the pins of a standard FOMA to microUSB cable and employing custom-made Linux scripts, prompting DoCoMo phones to boot into a testing mode. From there, the internal memory's content could be dumped.
User Xyz devised these Linux scripts for his ktdumper tool, which received an update in November, extending support to the P-06C phone. On November 24th, GoodTofuFriday utilized the modified cable and ktdumper to extract the contents of our P-06C's internal storage. However, the task was far from complete. Analyzing the P-06C's FSR filesystem presented a unique challenge. It wasn't until December 25th that Xyz successfully accessed and read the phone's filesystem, thereby granting us initial access to its collection of games for the very first time.
MemoryHunter and Leonierx discovered leftover game files, including the fifth chapter of 5 Islands, Rockman Panic Fire, and Rockman Bug Sweeper, amidst the phone's deleted data. Surprisingly, despite efforts to move 5 Islands entirely to an SD card, some data remained on the phone. Games like Rockman GP and 5 Islands had startup checks for online subscriptions, blocking playability. However, Leonierx successfully edited these files, enabling the games to be played—an enormous breakthrough in preserving "keitai" games.
UPDATE: Initially, we believed that the EXE games were not complete. The P-06C’s owner told us that she did not purchase the full EXE games at the time they were available. What's more, the save file for Phantom of Network left off at the very end of chapter 2, asking if the player wants to “upgrade” to chapter 3. Legend of Network had a completely new save file. However, as fans started playing through each game, they kept loading new chapters! In addition, technically-minded users discovered full game scripts and sprites of the final bosses. Suddenly, we realized our copies of the EXE games were full games that were paywalled. On the original phone, users had to pay to unlock the next chapter. But with the game files running on an emulator, this subscription check is absent, allowing for the complete gaming experience without restrictions! Our team only discovered this after extensively testing the game files on an emulator—something we couldn't have known beforehand.
Gameplay Footage and Details
Rockman GP is a racing game. There is a time limit mode where the game keeps track of your times between each checkpoint. VS mode lets you race two other racers; placing in first unlocks the next racetrack (there are three total). You can choose between three different characters, each with their own special abilities. Roll can boost her speed, Rockman can throw bombs, and Forte can become invincible. Each ability is laid on the racetrack for the player to pick up and use.
Rockman Pinball features both a classic pinball mode and a battle mode where players engage with three Robot Masters on the top screen by hitting them with the pinball to progress through three stages. A fun fact: I accidentally left my mic on during gameplay, showcasing the game's occasional frustration.
This trial of Rockman 1 was preloaded on all P-06C devices. Normally network-locked, Leonierx was able to bypass it through modifying the game’s files. Through further hacking, he discovered that the full game can be unlocked, revealing it to be a 20th anniversary promotion of sorts. This game also had a mode where the player could play as Roll! However, the version in our archive is only the trial version; Leonierx wishes to wait until the full game is archived properly.
As previously mentioned, you'll find the complete versions of Phantom of Network and Legend of Network together! There are eight chapters total. Phantom of Network’s save file commences at the conclusion of the second chapter, offering an option on the title screen to either progress to chapter 3 or restart from chapter 1. These games closely resemble their GBA counterparts, though lacking an overworld and isometric cyberworld. They boast original stories and NetNavis. User D3str0y3d255 has ripped sprites and backgrounds from both games, set to be uploaded shortly.
This archive contains the fifth chapter of 5 Islands, which is the entirety of the final island. Given how this is the final island, the file’s save data has a lot of items and upgrades. It controls a little clumsily, but you are able to remap the controls on the game’s title screen to whatever is most comfortable for you. The other four islands were moved to the phone’s microSD card, which we have in our possession.
There's Still More Work to Be Done!
As mentioned earlier, the remaining content of 5 Islands remains encrypted on its microSD card, along with other discoveries like Rockman Tennis and Rockman Diver. Progress has been significant in decrypting these games, a process requiring an s-box, a device key, and a bind ID to crack the CPRM encryption. The universal s-box was found two years ago, while GoodTofuFriday employed a bruteforce method using a program by usernameak and XerTheSquirrel to derive a device key in October. Now, the team is focused on bruteforcing a device unique key from Rockman Tennis's files to obtain the elusive bind ID. Real-time progress tracking is available here and here, aiming for a breakthrough before January 7th.
Meanwhile, the SH-10C phone containing the full EXE games faces compatibility challenges with the debug cable method. Kraze previously attempted to desolder a test SH-10C's NAND chip but encountered technical issues. GoodTofuFriday plans to undertake a similar approach soon, aiming to dump the firmware and explore non-destructive dumping methods like browser or Flash exploits. The team is actively researching such exploits for future progress. Even though we have fully preserved both EXE games, finding an exploit for the SH-10C will benefit many other games stuck on DoCoMo Sharp phones.
Conclusion and Credits
I want to give a huge thanks to the entire SciLab Secrets team. There are over a dozen members, so here’s a list of the ones who would like to be publicly listed. Thanks to D3str0y3d255 for ripping sprites and backgrounds from the EXE games. I would also like to thank users MemoryHunter and Leonierx for their indispensable help with circumventing the games’ online subscription checks and getting them to work on the DoJa SDK’s emulator. Have fun exploring these lost games, and I hope to give you some more good news in 2024! If you have any questions about the games or our progress, do not hesitate to reach out to me via Twitter or the resources linked on my website.