Hillsfar (NES)

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Hillsfar
Hillsfar-NES-USA.jpg
Platform: NES
Year: 1991
Developer: Crosstalk
Buy: Amazon

Hillsfar is one of the four Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games for the NES. The game was originally developed by Westwood Studios for several home computers including the Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, and DOS. A Japanese version was also released for the PC-9801. In the game, you create a character and ride a horse to get to the city of Hillsfar. When you arrive at the city of Hillsfar, you must visit the guildmaster at the guild of the class of your character. They will give you certain quests, which usually involve venturing into places and stealing items or finding certain people. Sometimes during these quests, you must go to the taverns to get useful information on where a certain item is, or to meet certain people.

The game has several different gameplay elements; horseriding, archery, arena battles, moving around the inside of a house or building, and lockpicking. However, the first-person view when you're in the city of Hillsfar is not present in this version of the game.

The NES version of Hillsfar was adapted by Crosstalk, who had also localized Westwood's DragonStrike series for Japanese home computers. The NES version was programmed by Kazuhisa Mitani, with George Kamitani (of Princess Crown fame) providing additional programming and graphics. Yoshio Kobayashi provided audio arrangements from the computer versions, and the game was produced by an unknown developer by the name of Dr. Jinno.

The game received negative reviews from critics, notably because of the broken controls (especially while on horseback), the dull colors, and because there are many areas of the game without music. A prototype of the game was later discovered with several textual differences, as well as a few graphical changes. Due to its late release date of 1992, the game is one of the harder games to find a copy of for the NES.

Screenshots

Hillsfar-NES-TitleScreen.png

The title screen.

Hillsfar-NES-Gameplay1.png

Riding a horse to the city of Hillsfar.

Hillsfar-NES-Gameplay2.png

Walking around the city of Hillsfar.

Hillsfar-NES-Gameplay3.png

Heading to the exit in one of the dungeons.

Hillsfar-NES-Gameplay4.png

Fighting in the arena.

Hillsfar-NES-Gameplay5.png

An encounter with a Rogue on the streets of Hillsfar.

Music

Hillsfar provides the player with a total of ten tracks. However, all of the game's music is taken from two of the computer releases; The title song is taken from the Amiga, Atari ST, and Commodore 64 versions composed by Paul Mudra, Westwood's lead composer at the time. However, the rest of the in-game music is from the Japanese PC-9801 version composed by Yasuhiro Kawasaki. While the PC-9801 version also has its own unique title track, this was traded in favor for the aforementioned title music from the original game from Westwood.

For many years, the NES version's arranger and developer remained a mystery. However, it was later discovered Crosstalk developed the NES version, and Kawasaki's work was arranged for the NES by Crosstalk's lead composer and sound designer, Yoshio Kobayashi. According to Kobayashi, he sequenced the music on his PC-8001 mkII (in Musium Soundboard), and then handed over his music to the game's programmer, Kazuhisa Mitani, to implement into sound code. While Kobayashi's arrangements are good, most areas of the game lack music, so it's not often the player gets to hear them. Kawasaki and Kobayashi were also credited in another AD&D title around the same time, the PC-9801 and Sharp X68000 versions of DragonStrike.

Some songs in the NES version play at different location than the original PC-9801 version. For example, the Camp track originally played in the PC-9801 version when you are on horseback, and the track Encounter played originally while walking around the city of Hillsfar. In addition, there is also an eleventh track located in the game's code, but it is never used in the game. In the original PC-9801 version, the song plays when the player is exploring inside a building or dungeon, but these parts have no music in the NES version.

There are also a series of jingles in the game that should be recorded. These include jingles that play when; an arena battle is about to start, a chest fails to be opened, when the exit in a dungeon appears, and when the player successfully escapes a dungeon. While many of these were taken from the Westwood-developed versions, their Amiga version of the game uses some of the NES version's recordings.

Recording

# Title ComposerArranger Length Listen Download
01 Title Paul MudraYoshio Kobayashi 1:34
Download
02 Camp Yasuhiro KawasakiYoshio Kobayashi 0:44
Download
03 Encounter Yasuhiro KawasakiYoshio Kobayashi 1:46
Download
04 Trading Post & Guilds Yasuhiro KawasakiYoshio Kobayashi 1:01
Download
05 Shops Yasuhiro KawasakiYoshio Kobayashi 0:49
Download
06 Arena Battle Yasuhiro KawasakiYoshio Kobayashi 1:04
Download
07 Win Arena Battle Yasuhiro KawasakiYoshio Kobayashi 0:04
Download
08 Lose Arena Battle Yasuhiro KawasakiYoshio Kobayashi 0:03
Download
09 Death Yasuhiro KawasakiYoshio Kobayashi 0:09
Download
10 Ending Yasuhiro KawasakiYoshio Kobayashi 0:42
Download
11 Unused Yasuhiro KawasakiYoshio Kobayashi 1:08
Download

Credits

(Source: PC-9801 version, verification from Yoshio Kobayashi; game lacks credits.)

The game has multiple endings, depending on which class of character you play, but even beating all of them will not give you any credits. The PC-98 version, which shares most of the same music credits Yasuhiro Kawasaki. We have contacted Yoshio Kobayashi who verified working on the game, as well as confirming Mitani was the sound programmer.

Game Rip

Issue - Incomplete.svg

This rip is missing songs.

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Audio Devices

The game uses the RP2A03 of the NES. It uses Kazuhisa Mitani's sound driver.

Releases

  Japan.svg   Japan
Hillsfar-NES-JP.jpg
Title: ヒルズファー (Hillsfar)
Platform: Famicom
Released: 1991-03-21
Publisher: Pony Canyon, Inc.
  USA.svg   USA
Hillsfar-NES-USA.jpg
Title: Hillsfar
Platform: NES
Released: 1993-02-??
Publisher: FCI

Links


Hillsfar
Hillsfar Platform - AMI.png • Platform - AST.png • Platform - C64.png • Platform - DOS.png • Platform - NES.png • Platform - PC88.png • Platform - PC98.png
Notable Songs Title Screen
Notable Personnel Paul Mudra • Yasuhiro Kawasaki • Yoshio Kobayashi
Notable Companies Westwood Associates • Opera House • Crosstalk • Pony Canyon