Little Oddities… Falcom’s Copy Protection

As promised in my previous post, I’ve got stuck into The Legend of Heroes series starting with the PC-88 version of the previous game and I’m having a great time. One thing that struck me in the guide I'm using (hey, don’t judge me!) was a little note about some funny and/or cruel copy protection. Just as old Amiga games would silently omit items vital to your progression (Monkey Island II comes to mind), if The Legend of Heroes spots you’re using a copied disc one event in the first chapter plays a little differently…

Early on in the game, Selios is thrown into jail with no way out other than to await rescue from his designated jail-breaker-outterer, Dogi Ryunan. On a genuine copy he flattens the poor guard and you’re out in no time at all, but if you’ve got a copied version he never turns up! The game just leaves Selios (and the player) rotting in jail, presumably contemplating their crime.

A little bit of poking around the net reveals in-game copy protection in other old Falcom titles – apparently 11 screens into Xanadu Scenario II the game will give a false disc read error, and The Legend of Heroes II leaves you waiting in the prologue for an event that never triggers. Sneaky!