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Also known as: Hydlide 3

Hydlide was to be a Westernized conversion of a popular Japanese RPG title to platforms such as the C64 in 1989. Contributor Robert Robichaud has provided some excellent information about the game- so much so that i’ve essentially posted here word by word what Robert has provided – so review credit = Robert Robichaud.

As you might know, the original Hydlide was one of Japan’s pioneering action RPGS, released initially by T&E Soft in 1984 for the Sharp X1, PC-8801, etc. After many ports and a sequel followed, the final 8-bit entry in the series, Hydlide III – The Space Memories, was released to general acclaim on multiple platforms in late 1987. An enhanced Famicom port followed in early ’89, although there it was just another face in the crowd amongst some very stiff competition.

Now, over in the States, Japanese RPGs were just starting to trickle in, thanks to the success of Nintendo and Sega. One of these was a somewhat infamous NES port of the original Hydlide, which had come out years earlier on the Famicom and was looking pretty creaky by that point. However, unbeknownst to US gamers, the series had continued on and (sort of) kept up with the times.

Enter Broderbund, whose dealings with the Japanese computer game scene stretched back even further than Sierra’s. In 1988 they formed a sub-label called Kyodai, meant to bring together around a dozen of Japan’s premier computer game publishers to help import their work to the US (a move curiously similar to Square’s “DOG” sub-label on the Famicom Disk System in Japan a couple of years prior, and involving some of the same publishers). Despite ambitious early plans, this proved to be a largely unsuccessful venture, and only a few games made it out.. It was a mostly IBM PC-centric effort, and the sole C64 game that came out of it was the rather obscure “Curse of Babylon” by XTALSOFT.

However, it turns out that at least one other was planned. And that was of course Hydlide. Except, it wasn’t actually Hydlide that they planned to port, but rather Hydlide 3, even though they were simply going to call it “Hydlide”, despite the fact that FCI was just about to release the aforementioned NES port of the original Hydlide, also (rightfully!) entitled “Hydlide”.

Where was Hydlide 2 in all of this, you ask? Well, nowhere as far as I can be told. It never did receive a Famicom port in Japan, and by the time Broderbund was sniffing around it had already been superseded by the more advanced Hydlide 3 on the Japanese micros.

Check out the Articles section for a detailed set of references from the US press about the conversion during 1989.

Summing up, it would appear that Broderbund showed some form of the port(s) at the 1989 Winter CES. The game continued to be scheduled for imminent release over the next few months, and then seems to have quietly disappeared by the time the Summer CES rolled around. It would seem likely then that at least some work must have been done on it by that point. Sega themselves did an enchanced port/remake of it for the Mega Drive/Genesis and released it as “Super Hydlide” not too long after the C64 version was planned to be published.

The person most likely to know something would probably be Doug Carlston, although it seems that he donated most of Broderbund’s historical records and design documents to the Strong Museum (National Museum of Play) in New York last year. So if he can’t recall, perhaps they would have something on it?

Contributions: Robert Robichaud (Complete write-up and resources)

Supporting content

Related articles

Research and findings from various magazine sources, thanks to Robert Robichaud..

Computer Entertainer Volume 7, Number 10 (January 1989) page 3

“Japanese Games from Kyodai and Broderbund

Broderbund’s fourth affiliated label, Kyodai, is actually a joint ven- ture involving Broderbund and 11 Japanese computer software companies. The object of the joint venture is to bring best-selling Japanese computer software to American audiences. Winter CES marked the first showing of Kyodai products: PSYCHIC WAR, HYDLIDE and
ANCIENT LAND OF YS. The first is a fantasy role-playing game with a science fiction theme which is full of puzzles and features “psychic teamwork” as a strategy. HYDLIDE, actually the third game in a very popular Japanese action/role-playing game trilogy, features a wide variety of enemy creatures and looked very good to us. (The HYDLIDE game coming from FCI for the Nintendo system is the second game of the trilogy.) ANCIENT LAND OF YS is another number-one Japanese hit that combines role-playing elements with action in a quest for the six lost Books of Ys. (Another version of this game will be released on the Sega game system as Y’S: THE VANISHED OMENS.) All three of the Kyodai games will be available for MS-DOS ($44.95 each). HYDLIDE will also be done for C64/128 ($34.95), and ANCIENT LAND OF YS is planned for Apple IIGS ($44.95).”

“FCI (Fujisankei Communications International, Inc.) There was plenty of medieval hoopla at the FCI portion of the Nintendo booth, since Lord British (Richard Garriott), creator of the Ultima series of computer adventures, was present in full regalia. He graciously demonstrated FCl’s ULTIMA (MSR $53.95) for the NES and even participated in demonstration sword fights just in front of FCI’s “castle.” (Adventure gamers note: FCI plans to make a hint book available for ULTIMA.) FCI also showed its second fantasy role- playing/action game, HYDLIDE, whose hero is dubbed “the knight of a thousand challenges.” This game, like the Ultima series in the U.S., is part of a popular Japanese group of related role-playing games. It was explained to us that FCI’s HYDLIDE for the NES is actually HYDLIDE II. (The other HYDLIDE from Kyodai, shown for computers in the Broderbund computer software booth at CES, is HYDLIDE III.)”

“Please note that CE were mistaken here, as FCI’s NES version was to be the original Hydlide, not Hydlide 2”. – Robert

Computer Entertainer Volume 7, Number 11 (February 1989) page 14

Listed in the “Availability Update” section (page 14) as a Second Quarter, 1989 release for the C64 and MS-DOS.

Computer Gaming World Number 56 (February, 1989) page 9

“Action style adventure will also be prevalent in 1989. Kyodai, a consortium between Broderbund and 11 Japanese companies, will release its first three products by summer of 1989. Ancient Land of Ys is an action/adventure quest for the six lost Books of Ys (IIGS and IBM). Hydlide (IBM) takes the player from medieval villages to outer space. The game uses a fascinating combination of overhead view and 3-D terrain with excellent resolution. The story line begins with as little information as possible. There is a crack in the earth with monsters coming through. The player’s job is to find out why. Terrain includes forestland, tunnels, cloud city, a medieval castle, futuristic castle, parallel dimension, and 200 screens of outer space.”

Only the PC version is mentioned here, but this description makes it clear that it was indeed Hydlide 3 which was being ported, despite the game’s title.

Computer Entertainer Volume 8, Number 1 (April 1989) page 14

Listed in the “Availability Update” section (page 14) as a Second Quarter, 1989 release for the C64 and MS-DOS.

RUN (June 1989) page 14

“Three From Broderbund

SAN RAFAEL, CA – Broderbund Software (17 Paul Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903) is distributing three new titles for the C-64.

Hydlide presents a fantasy scenario that carries you from medieval villages into outer space, where you confront everything from dragons to robots. As you battle, you must think fast, choosing the correct weapon and the best strategy. $34.95.”

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