Game Cover
デザエモン 絵描衛門
©1991 Athena
Release: 1991-09-13 (¥9800)
Cartdridge ATH-87

Dezaemon is a vertical shooter editor developed and published by Athena. More than offering a playable shooter (curiously called "E.D.I.T"), Dezaemon gives players the unique opportunity to create their own vertical shooters. The game's main screen displays a plethora of options that can be edited and saved onto the over sized game cartridge's ROM - player and enemy ship sprites, attack patterns, weaponry, explosions, background elements, bosses, music, title screen and even the staff roll/end credits! A graphical editor allows the player to modify the game's existing sprites or to draw entirely new ones. However, and because of the obvious hardware limitations, Dezaemon only offers sprites made out of 16x16 pixel square tiles (which can be combined to create larger foes), and limited to a four color palette each (although black is reserved for transparency). A couple of other editors also allow the player to build or modify in-game levels (the game features three playable levels) as well as enemy and power-up placements. As previously mentioned, Dezaemon proposes a sample game comprised of three levels, in which the player fights waves of enemy ships, collects special items (Speed or Shields) or upgrades his weaponry (from Vulcan to Lasers or Missiles). All the menus from Dezaemon are in Japanese, so anyone not familiar with the language should expect a bit of trial and errors (an English patch is available though).
Dezaemon (Sfc)
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Dezaemon was the first of a long-running series of shooter creator kits developed by Athena (see Dezaemon (Sfc) for more information).

An English translation patch for Dezaemon was released by Aeon Genesis in 2000. However, because of the nature of the game and the ability given to the player to save his creations, none of the available emulators seem to support the essential save option provided by the original game...


Dezaemon manual Registration Card
Click on picture to enlarge

Dezaemon sound and graphics debug screens Sound and graphics debug screens:

On the menu screen, move the cursor on option seven, then hold Select and press Start. This will open the Sound Test screen where you can play all the tunes from the game as well as the sound effects (picture on the right). Hold Select and press Start again to access the Block Master 2 graphics debug screen (picture on the far right).

Add your Pov here !

Although Dezaemon shares a lot of the same ideas that made its sequels so satisfying and unique, the first game in the long running-series suffers from serious flaws and severe limitations. First of all, the sample game is numbingly simple, fairly short and insanely difficult. Well, it is supposed to showcase what the editor can do, and this is where things fall apart. Although I must say that Dezaemon is quite a technical achievement (in regard of the obvious hardware limitations), it just doesn't deliver the goods. The various editors are correct but arm yourself with plenty of motivation and patience if you want to create your own Famicom vertical shooter. No doubt that several Japanese players managed to create decent usermade shmups back in the 1990s (it is always fun to find a Dezaemon cartridge in the wild with a custom and unique user-made shooter on it), but later productions in the Dezaemon series are unquestionably better (especially Dezaemon 2 for the Sega Saturn). All in all, this first opus in the Dezaemon series is a highly original and unique game, but I personally feel that it has more value as a piece of gaming history than anything else...

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