Words Worth Comparison: PC-98 vs Win 95

WW TitleWords Worth was a semi-popular fantasy RPG in the 90s (which might get a spotlight here one day… maybe), though it mostly gained its reputation from the anime adaptation due to it being the only version being available in English for a long time.

The fact that Words Worth was a videogame adaptation isn’t exactly news for fans of the anime, but it’s not as commonly known that the version of the game most people are familiar with is actually a remake of a much older PC-98 game.

While the concept of porting PC-98 games to Windows isn’t new either, Words Worth is also a anomaly in that regards, as while most ports decide to keep the same old gameplay and graphics and simply up the resolution (cough Raidy series), Words Worth actually did a completely revamp on the entire game, mostly in terms of character designs where most character look completely different from their original counterparts. Here’s a little look at the changes…

Character Comparison

Ok, I’m not going to go over ALL the characters in the game, just a couple of them.

Wordseeker (Sometimes translated as Wotoshika)

WordseekerComparison

The main character’s father. The Win95 version makes the guy looks a lot more exotic, which is a common theme with a lot of the Dark Tribe’s Win95 design.

Both versions are fine to me, though I think they do kind of convey different feelings. You could say they both emphasize the whole “Dark vs Light tribe are not that different” part in different ways (the original by looking pretty much human, the remake looks exotic, but isn’t really any different inside/personality wise.)

Sharon

SharonComparison

The main character’s fiancee and Heroine #1. Man, just look at that old school fantasy armor design of randomly adding jewels to your outfit and having giant shoulderpads. As you may have noticed, just about nothing carries over between designs other than maybe the fact that they are both swordswomen.

Taken on their own, I think both designs do fine. I do feel that the PC-98 doesn’t have the “drop-dead gorgeous” feeling that is required from the character as noted from the plot because she ends up looking rather goofy and cartoon-ish half the time.

I don’t know what’s up with the random pointy elf ears in the original design either.

Nina

NinaComparison

Heroine #2.

Lum, what are YOU doing here? Yeah, all they did was change Lum’s oni horns to catgirl ears, they won’t be winning originality prizes anytime soon.

On the other hand, the Win 95 design happens to be the most popular character of the series, is responsible for turning many people into catgirl fans and is probably still popular today for nostalgic reasons, so I guess she wins by default.

Miyu (sometimes translated as “Mew” by monkeys)

MiyuComparison

Heroine #3. Both designs manage to hit “soft” and “gentle” personality. I think the PC-98 looks a little too old for role though, and she’s probably the least consistently drawn character in event CGs (looking terrible in most of them).

Interestingly enough, Miyu has her mother’s hair colour in the PC-98 version, but not in the Win95 version. Most other characters in the game share hair colours with their respective parents, and the changes usually carry over (e.g Nina’s daughter has green hair in PC-98, Red in Win95) so this kind of stands out. Miyu and her mother has pink hair in the PC-98 version, but in Win95 her hair is red while her mom’s hair a shade between black and blue.

Why did they change it? Beats me.

Delta

DeltaComparison

Man, even with my bias towards Succubus characters, I think the PC-98 just kills any appeal with that silly “thief” mask thing going on. The Win95’s version is great though with the addition of exotic features/aspects which I said tended to be added to the Dark tribe characters in the remake.

This character has the distinction of getting a “status” upgrade: in the Win95 remake, she was turned into a possible ending heroine that you can choose. The problem? There’s no real justification for this, she didn’t receive any new scenes or events that support this outcome and remains a rather bit player in the storyline, so it just ends up being a really weird sudden thing.

Even the Anime adaptation had to take a completely new direction with this character because of how pointless she was in the game. I like the Win95 character’s design but they really didn’t do anything with the character and that’s kind of sad.

Epo

EpoComparison

Blatantly Nadia from the anime of the same name. Though the Win95 version does kind of make her look like Yuffie from Final Fantasy 7 instead.

Vega

VegaComparison

You know, looking at it now, this is one of the few characters that surprisingly manage to mostly keep their facial features. The big difference is that Vega is a clawed Spanish dude in the US version and a dictator Air Force military officer dude in the JP version…

Uh, I mean, Vega’s an armored swordswoman in the PC-98 version and an archer in the Win95 remake.

I think this is a nice change of pace because in the PC-98 version, practically every single female character is basically either a “Swordswoman with big shoulderpads and random jewels” or “Robed Spellcaster” and they tend to all blend together after a while. Along with Epo, it’s nice to cover a few more fantasy archetypes with the characters.

And that’s all I care to do. Maybe if I’m bored I’ll go back to this post one day and add some more characters… maybe!

As a general rule, I do believe most of the characters were redesigned because they were pretty blatant ripoffs even if I don’t recognize the base material. While I do usually prefer PC-98 sprite art, this is probably one of the few times where I will say I prefer the remake’s character designs.

Winner: Win 95.

Fun fact: The artist for the Win95 version (“Rin Sin”) eventually went on to become a character designer for the Queen’s Blade franchise, just in case you thought the art style looked familiar. I guess he’s putting his talents to good use.

Gameplay

WW PC98 CombatWordsworth PC-98 version is your standard first person, turn-based combat with only 1 on 1 fights, which basically boils down to “Hit attack repeatedly, eat herbs when low on HP, die of boredom.” Combats are standard JRPG where there’s no positioning, movement or anything, just a seperate “combat screen” during battles which means you lack the tactical/strategic nature of games like Roguelikes.

But at least that was the norm back in… wait a minute, 1993? Uh, forget that I said that.

Yeah, it’s extremely dated, at least the aesthetics (graphics and music) are pretty cool though!

WW Win95The Windows 95 remake turned the game into an First Person Action RPG, think Eye of the Beholder. You can now freely move in 8 directions and you can actually fight more than 1 enemy at once. Concepts such as Ranged Weapons and multiple weapon types with different attack speed are introduced.

Overall, the Win95 version is more fun to play than the PC-98 version, but the game was released in 1999, which is like in between Diablo 1 and 2, and it’s still kind of dated and clunky as far as Action RPGs go (then again, there aren’t many non-clunky action RPGs).

Winner: Win 95 by technicality (neither version is very playable nowadays.)

Music

Just like character design, I don’t think a single track is shared between both versions of the game.

The PC-98 version has what I would best described as standard fantasy chiptune of the time. Not bad, but not extremely outstanding either.


The Windows 95 version on the other hand, tends to go for a more “Jazz” style (for some reason…)

This is a real YMMV thing, I suppose. I prefer chiptunes so there’s that.

Misc Aesthetics

WW slime

The 3D Models in the Win 95 version also aged pretty badly overall compared to the PC-98 sprite art, but that’s kind of the fate of most early 3D videogame art, I suppose.

WWTablet

The Win95 version does have the advantage of fully voiced characters, while the PC-98 is completely unvoiced. I think the voice actors did their jobs well enough in this game, although I personally don’t really require VA in my games. I guess this is yet another YMMV thing though.

Opening

The Win95 remake includes an animated opening, which is pretty cool. Amazingly enough, the narrator actually manages to pass himself off as a native speaker rather than the usual Terry Bogard level of Engrish delivery.

Event CGs Comparison

While a lot of Event CGs share similar composition between versions, there are some which decide to be a little more original. The PC-98’s quality tends to vary wildly while the Win95 is more consistent. I picked some good ones for the PC-98 here but man, the bad ones are REALLY amateurish.

(Some of the pictures have bigger versions if you click on them.)

WWCG1Comparison

WW Ending 2

WWCG3Comparison

WWCG4Comparison

My Final Verdict

While I normally do love PC-98 aesthetics, for this game I think the Win95’s art tells the story better overall. Maybe it’s because the parody characters break my suspension?

That being said, I wouldn’t mind a PC-98 “demake” with the Win95 character designs the same way people did NES demakes of Megaman 7 and 8, hint hint. (Nah, that’ll never happen.)

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