I thought I would never get to play the original Custom Robo because of it’s Japanese language-barrier. The title for the Gamecube we got in America is still one of my favorite multiplayer games on the system and it’s always killed me knowing that I’d probably never get to truly enjoy the original on my favorite system — the N64. Then earlier today it dawned on me that people make translation patches just for games like this so I started researching and…
… sure enough, a fan-localization team by the name of Star Trinket put in the work to translate and replace all of the text for the original Custom Robo game and released it via Romhacking.net back in September, 2017! According to their description, the game is in a fully playable state. So far story dialogue has been solid to me and many part names localized for the Gamecube release make a return in this version as well.
I haven’t put much time into the game outside of the beginning segments but so far everything is very reminiscent of the Custom Robo on the Gamecube many of us are most familiar with. Some obvious differences besides the lower-poly everything is that the game uses pixel art for its sprites and basic polys for the hub world. It looks pretty neat looking and is very reminiscent of how developers were using a mix of 2D and 3D elements especially for PS1 RPGs.
The battles look really great too, once again worth of comparison to the Gamecube version with more basic geometry. Combat seems like they got it right with the first game and hasn’t been tweaked since. Players can customize 5 parts of the Robo — gun, bomb, pod, body and legs — with plenty of room for variations. I’m no frame data analyst or lab rat but so far firing and reloading weapons feels as smooth as the GC version and movement is just as crisp. I’ve played on emulator and original hardware (yes, this can of course be played using an Ever Drive) and no matter the situation everything feels like a clean 60fps without frame drops.
What to play the English-patched Custom Robo 64 yourself?
If you’re looking to drop this patched rom into your Ever Drive or emulator, here are the tools you’ll need plus a guide to get you going:
– A rom of Custom Robo v1 (Japan)
– The English translation patch by Star Trinket
– Tool 64, a program that will let us change .n64 roms to the more accessible .z64 format
– Floating IPS (Flips), our tool to apply the translation patch to our rom
1. Have the rom, patch, Tool 64 and Flips downloaded and extracted somewhere accessible on your computer.
2. If your rom is in .n64 or .v64 format, no problem! Just run tool64.exe (located inside the Tool64_v1.11 folder) and choose File > Open and select the directory your rom is located. The rom should now be visible on Tool 64’s main screen. Right-click it and select ‘Big Endian’. Congrats your rom now has a .z64 extension which is what we’ll when patching with Flips.
*Note: Using Tool64 to convert the file extension of a 64 rom will work for any game!
3. Launch flips.exe and select ‘Apply Patch’.
4. First, navigate to and select Custom.Robo.Final.v1.bps (our English translation patch). Then, navigate to and select your Custom Robo rom with a .z64 extension. Lastly, choose a location to save your patched rom and name it something that will distinguish it from the original, unmodified Custom Robo rom. I went with ‘Custom Robo (English)’
5. Tool64 creates backups of your rom every time you change its file extension. If you want to save these you can, however, I just delete them since having a .z64 rom is good enough for me.
6. Now you can launch your patched copy of Custom Robo using what ever method of play you prefer!
Once again, thank you so much to Star Trinket for creating this patch! Hopefully, the accessibility of the older games will spark some more mass interest and we can get a new Custom Robo experience on Switch! Until then, here’s +1 to the list of CR games English speakers can play.
I’m very much interested in this game from a competitive stand-point as well so if you capture any dope combos while playing this game, tweet em at me and I’ll give you a shout out! @SheeshFr