One of the last unique Japanese PC variants before companies moved their focus into producing IBM PC clones. Fujitsu produced the top selling FM-7 before the NEC's PC-8801 came along. NEC also produced the PC-9801 which, at one point, had over 70% of the market in Japan. So Fujitsu decided to produce a computer with better graphics, better sound and innovative multimedia features to rival NEC's best seller.
They came up with the FM-Towns which included a CD-ROM drive as a standard component, along with a mouse-driven OS, 24-bit color, and PCM sound. Even though it was superior to the PC-9801 in many ways it was unable to knock it off the top spot. Around 4 years after it's initial release Fujitsu even released a games console that was compatible with existing FM-Towns software called the FM-Towns Marty. Eventually with the addition of a DOS/V mode switch the computer began to resemble yet another IBM PC clone and lost much of it's uniqueness.
SPECIFICATION - FM Towns (1989)
CPU: Intel 80386
Memory: 1-6 Mb RAM
Resolution: 640 x 480, 640 x 400, 360 x 240, 320 x 240
Sound: 8 channels PCM (19.2 KHz) + 6 channels PCM
Many western games were released for the FM-Towns along with a lot of Japanese hentai games. The games I'm going to show here will be in neither of those categories as they're either too well known in the western world or just not something I'd be interesting in playing.
So here are thirty great games, in alphabetical order, that you can play on the FM Towns. If you have a PC you can also play these games using the Unz emulator found here
Alltynex - Siter Skain 1997
A top-down vertical shooter developed by Satoshi Yoshida, of Siter Skain fame, where The fighter can change into a more powerful but slower mech.
Dead of the Brain - Fairytale 1993
A horror adventure game where interaction is via verb commands and objects on the screen. One feature is timed tasks where the player has to solve problems before zombies kill people.
Elm Knight - Micro Cabin 1992
A first-person 3D maze mech combat game where the players robot is armed with a number of projectile weapons and can also use melee attacks to destroy enemies.
Free Will: Knight of Argent - Kinpukurin 1992
An RPG with some unusual features such as building a fairly large party by persuading NPC's to join your cause and being able to attack everyone in the game, even key game play characters.
Image Fight - Ving/Irem 1990
A top-down vertical shooter with plenty of enemy ships, turrets and robots on every level. Power ups come in the form of green containers which give extra power or speed, new weapons and new weapon features.
Last Survivor - Sega 1990
An early 3D third-person maze shooter and also one of the first with a network multiplayer deathmatch mode. The FM Towns version supports 4 players using a serial cable or 2 players over a modem.
Libble Rabble - Dempa 1994
A Qix style action in which areas of the screen have to be cut out in order to trap mushrooms to finish each level. Enemies can attack your markers or cut your string and treasure chests can be cut out for bonus effects.
Lunatic Dawn II - Artdink 1994
An exploration-oriented western-style RPG With no main story or goal in the game. The player explores a world map where various dungeons can be discovered. These are viewed from an isometric perspective where turn-based battles occur when enemies are disturbed.
Mad Stalker : Full Metal Force - Fill-in Café 1994
A side-scrolling combat game where players control a giant robot fighting other hostile robots within a city. There are three playable characters to choose from with varying stats and six stages of action, each usually ending in a boss battle.
Mahou Daisakusen (Sorcer Striker) - Raizing 1993
A fantasy themed vertically scrolling shooter where the player can choose from four different characters that are each equipped with three main weapons. Weapons can be changed by collecting books and their power can be increased by collecting coins.
Marine Philt - Fairytale 1993
A horror adventure where the player interacts with the game using verb commands in conjunction with on screen items. The game also has a timed tasks feature similar to Dead of the Brain.
Megaspectre - Velocity Inc 1993
A Battlezone style tank game with filled in polygons, rather than wire frame graphics, where the player can choose from three tanks to take on more and more difficult stages of enemy tanks. Power ups can be found for more weapons or repairs.
Mirrors - Soft Studio Wing 1990
An adventure game where the player is the lead singer of a band being stalked by a murderer The game features a branching story line with different endings based on decisions made by the player.
Misty - Data West 1989
A detective mystery adventure game where the player, as a P.I., must solve various cases. Gameplay revolves around a city map full of places to visit, area's to search and suspects to question. You must get enough evidence to solve a case successfully.
My Eyes! - Birdysoft 1992
An adventure game where a young girl manages to communicate with a whale and teach him information but other people want to use this breakthrough for other darker purposes. There are various commands and choices available to the player in order to progress through the story. A wrong choice could spell the end of the game.
Necronomicon - Fairytale 1994
A H. P. Lovecraft style horror adventure where the player is a journalist investigating strange happenings in a city called Arkham. A point and click interface is used to interact with the game and players can move around by clicking on a map or using a menu command.
Planet's Edge: The Point of no Return - Ving / New World 1993
An open-ended space exploration RPG with starship combat and resource mining and trading. Star systems can be visited and some planets can be explored. Weapons and ships can be improved and clues and objects have to be discovered to complete the adventure.This game also appeared on the PC.
Princess Maker 2 - Gainax Co Ltd 1994
A fatherhood simulation where the player must guide his daughter from the age of ten to adulthood, scheduling tasks and raising her stats. She can also be sent adventuring in the wilderness equipped with weapons and armour. Choices made during the game will eventually give the player one of seventy-four unique ending scenes.
Psychic Detective Vol 1 Invitation - Data West 1991
A detective adventure game where the player interacts with various characters using a menu system. You choose which character you want to speak to and then choose which topic you want to talk about. You can also retrieve other information regarding the case to help solve it.
Pu Li Ru La - Ving/Taito 1994
A graphically surreal side scrolling beat'em up. The player is equipped with a stick to beat enemies and some magic spells. Each stage has an end of level boss which must be defeated to go on to the next stage.
Raiden Densetsu - Success 1991
A vertical-scrolling shooter where the player has two types of weapon upgrades along with dumb and homing missiles. You are also equipped with some smart bombs which destroy everything on screen should the going get a little too tough. At the end of each level there is a boss enemy that you must destroy.
Rayxanber - Data West 1990
A side-scrolling shooter where the player must destroy cyborg ships and living fortresses. Power ups can be collected which alter the weapon type of your ship.
Rejection: Den-No Senshi - Sur de Wave 1992
A first-person RPG where the player explores a maze looking for enemies to destroy using hand to hand combat or long distance weaponry. Health and ammunition can also be found. Killing enemies increases the players experience which in turn allows them to level up.
Star Cruiser II: The Odysseus Project - Arsys 1994
A first-person shooter sequel using the same ground breaking 3D polygons and open-ended space flight this time with the option of switching to menu-based rather than real time combat.
Taiko Risshiden - Koei 1993
An open-world game where the player creates a character, selects their profession and follows a story that changes based on their role in society and the decisions they make.
Take the A-Train IV - Artdink 1993
A transport management sim where the player can buy trains, build railways and transport goods. The game also features seasonal weather effects and a day / night cycle. In addition this version allows the player to build roads, buy buses and plan bus routes.
Tatsujin-Oh (Truxton II) - Ving/Toaplan 1992 or 1993
A Vertical scrolling shoot'em up sequel. The player can collect power-ups which change the type and strength of the current weapon, add a smart bomb or increase the ships speed. The game has six levels with a boss enemy at the end of each. After completing the 6th level the game continues from level one indefinitely.
The Atlas II - Artdink 1993
A Strategy game sequel set in the 16th century where the player must explore, discover and trade. Land and sea trade routes can be created, offices can be set up in other cities and your merchant can be the first to discover and explore little-known countries to expand your trade empire.
Todo Ryunosuke Tantei Nikki: Ogon no Rashinban - Riverhill Soft 1991
A murder investigation adventure based on a ship. You must question people and find clues to solve the murder. The game uses point and click to move around the ship and displays locations in isometric 3D along with character graphics of the people you interact with.
So finally this is the last of the Retro Japan Computer Special posts. I hope you've enjoyed them even if this last one has been a bit late in coming. I may do a few more posts in the future covering MSX and other Japanese computers but for now it's done. My next post will return us to the arcades. The silver age of the late eighties and early nineties.
Please don't forget to visit my other blog, My CAVE 33, which will be returning to it's original format showing some computer and video games stuff from January 1983.