Xin Qi Gai Wang Zi
From Sega Retro
|Xin Qi Gai Wang Zi|
|System(s): Sega Mega Drive|
|Publisher: Super Fighter Team (World)|
|Developer: C&E Inc., Super Fighter Team (World)|
|Sound driver: C&E Inc. custom B|
|Number of players: 1|
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Xin Qi Gai Wang Zi (新乞丐王子, lit. "New Beggar Prince") is an unlicensed role-playing adventure game by C&E Inc.. It was initially released in 1996 for the Mega Drive, and later in 1998 on Windows PCs. Both were exclusive to Chinese territories. The title and story are based on The Prince and the Pauper, which itself is known as Qi Gai Wang Zi (乞丐王子) or "Beggar Prince" in Chinese.
Super Fighter Team acquired the translation rights to the Mega Drive version in the early-mid 2000s and released the final product in 2006. It was now known in English under the title Beggar Prince. The game has seen four print runs so far totaling more than 2,400 copies, with the most recent in 2016 for the twentieth anniversary of its initial release.
Steven, prince of Shatt Kingdom, is undergoing his diligent studies in the royal castle. After complaining to the Cat Minister of his boredom with these affairs, Steven plots to escape out of the village and succeeds by tricking the guards. In the fashion of Mark Twain's novel The Prince and the Pauper, Steven finds a pauper (named Tom) who looks exactly like him and trades places. However, watching from a balcony on the castle, the Cat Minister sees this and uses the opportunity to seize the kingdom for himself with the prince now gone. In the course of time, the Prince discovers that not only is life as a beggar difficult and gritty, but also learns of the Cat Minister's campaign to conquer Shatt. He attempts to re-enter the castle, only to find himself falling through a trap door in the way there, set by the guards. After escaping a second time, he leaves town and goes on a journey to find a way to overthrow the Cat Minister, meeting various friends and trials along the way.
Although a JRPG, the game differs from the standard formula in several ways:
1. The player does not obtain money. Disposable items for HP/MP recovery, as well as weapons and armor are found in chests while exploring.
2. The battle system is driven by spending SP points as well as MP. This are indicated by a red gauge which shows how much energy is available to execute a command. Stronger spells require more SP to be spent, but normal attacks can be delivered in several small increments. The enemies also function in a similar way, shown as a green gauge. Turns are taken between players and enemy characters after their gauge is depleted.
3. There are no allies to accompany the Prince in battle, but he will occasionally gain creatures to allow him to use Summon magic.
1996: Sega Mega Drive -- The Sega Mega Drive version was an accomplishment in being a higher-end original RPG from Taiwan, whose reputation was primarily in bootleg software. Still, because of the lack of competent development tools available to unauthorized third parties, the game's retail release was plagued with numerous bugs. When the game was taken up for localization by Super Fighter Team, a team of technically capable programmers, hackers and the like were assembled to take on the arduous task of debugging the game. This was done by reverse-engineering and debugging the game using the retail copy, much as was done by many in the ROM hacking scene long before.
Lastly, it was said in interviews by Brandon Cobb (the head of Super Fighter Team) that some liberties were taken to bring out the personality and humor of the original dialogue, making it superior to the Chinese in many ways.
1998: Windows 95/98 -- The Windows PC version is a direct port of the Mega Drive version with the music redone and recorded using general MIDI instruments. The tracks are also playable through the disc as CD Audio. A straight-up conversion, it contains all of the same glitches that plagued the original Mega Drive release. The decision to reject this version in favor of the Mega Drive original for localization was done for several reasons: one was that there were more technical limitations and complexities in being able to effectively reverse engineer PC software. The second is that Super Fighter Team wanted to reinvent the retro market with a new physical cartridge release. Third, is that the ROM being only 4MB in size offered the convenient possibility of being able to quickly adapt the game to other systems using an emulator. This was in fact the case with its digital counterpart, the RPG Trifecta Pack, released in 2013.
2013: RPG Trifecta Pack -- Due to demand from consumers, Super Fighter Team finally made Beggar Prince, along with several other titles in their catalog, available to PC users without access to Genesis systems to play them. This package included Legend of Wukong, and Star Odyssey. It was available as a DRM-free download for both Windows and Mac users. It is also fully functional on Linux systems using WINE.
Bootlegs -- For a while, the game was known in early versions of the GoodSet as "Breath of Fire 3" due to a misidentification. The bootleg from which it was sourced at that time used a faux label likely due to its superficial resemblance to the early Breath of Fire titles. This tends to be a common trick of Asian bootleggers. This was eventually corrected in later versions of the GoodSet.
An unauthorized port to the Game Boy Color exists, done by the bootleg company Sintax. It uses some assets from The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons.
ROM dump status
The first two prints of the game have SRAM mapped to the $40xxxx memory area, which prevents it from working on systems with a Sega Mega-CD attached. This is because the Mega CD maps its own boot ROM to M68K $400000 when a ROM cartridge is present. The third print with the revised artwork fixed this issue.
- Beggar Prince official website (archive)
- http://www.superfighter.com/ (Wayback Machine: 2006-12-16 12:07)
- http://members.cox.net/superfighter/bp/purchase.htm (Wayback Machine: 2006-05-16 04:54)
- http://www.beggarprince.com/purchase.htm (Wayback Machine: 2016-12-07 22:24)