What the heck is Spectrobes?
Spectrobes was a sci-fi monster-battling RPG published by Disney Interactive Studios. Released on the Nintendo DS, the game was praised for successfully combining the monster-collecting genre with its sci-fi tropes, including space travel, planet exploration, and an extraterrestrial foe, while maintaining the JRPG base that supports monster-catching. Its primary features included excavating and unearthing fossils of extinct creatures and reawakening them to fight alongside you. These entertaining tropes, combined with unique creature designs, gave Spectrobes its own stage to stand on. The game was considered a commercial success and spawned two sequels, before quietly being dropped by Disney and forgotten about over the years.
What the heck is this rom hack?
This project aims to recreate the original Spectrobes game, but within Pokemon FireRed. To most of you, this can just be considered a fakemon or un-pokemon rom hack – but not one which follows the standard tropes of Pokemon. While based on FireRed, the uniqueness of Spectrobes means that this project is an entirely new experience than that of mainline Pokemon games. Even if you haven’t heard of Spectrobes, if you’re a little tired of the Pokemon story formula and are looking for a fresh monster-collecting rom hack, this one aims to please you too! And to the few of you who are already fans of Spectrobes, you can consider this a nostalgia-loving GBA demake of the first game 🙂
Current Features List
- Story taken directly from the original Spectrobes game, up to Nessa.
- 34 obtainable Spectrobes (all Spectrobes from the original game will be added in future updates, as well as some from the sequel).
- 6 Synergy Combos.
- 17 Krawl Species to fight.
- Signature movesets for all Spectrobes (completely original moves, not Pokemon moves).
- First four planets, Daichi, Kollin, Genshi, and Nessa are complete and explorable (except for story-locked areas).
- Custom Colours and Chroma minerals function just as they did in the original game (4 unique colors per Spectrobe!)
- 5 Secret Spectrobe Fossils in Rare Deposits.
- Child Spectrobes cannot be used in battle, and are limited to searching for rare deposits.
- Original custom items and menus (jetpacks and space travel!)
- Cutscenes with mugshots and custom textbox switching.
- Better instruments for porting over music originally intended for the DS.
- Expanded bag space.
What the heck is the story (brief intro, no spoilers)
Rallen and Jeena, Planetary Patrol officers, are sent to investigate a crashed escape capsule and inside it find an aged survivor of a now-destroyed star system. He explains that his civilization was destroyed by amoebic-like creatures called Krawl who devour planetary systems throughout the universe. He then explains that the only way to fight them is to reawaken their natural enemies – the Spectrobes. Rallen and Jeena, hoping to protect their own star system from this fate, set out to gather as many Spectrobes as they can and find the source of the Krawl swarm.
What the heck you’ll be doing
The primary gameplay feature of both the original game and this Rom Hack involves you progressing through the linear story and using your spaceship to travel from planet to planet. Every planet has different environments, with different Spectrobe fossils to awaken and different Krawl to fight. Train up your team of Spectrobes and follow the central plot in a very story-driven game, all while learning as much as you can about these creatures and exploring all the different biomes in the Nanairo star system.
What the heck kinda monsters you’ll be collecting
This will be an ever-updating list of all the Spectrobes currently in the demo. I’m displaying actual artwork to showcase their design, alongside their representation in the rom hack which is comparatively lackluster due to not having actual sprite work. Bear with that, for now 🙂
What the heck you’ll be listening to
The music of the original Spectrobes game was loved and often praised as one of its best parts. It’s also just a nostalgia trip for me, so I’ll be doing my best to port over every single music track into GBA formats and fit them in this Rom Hack. For Spectrobes fans, this should hopefully tickle your nostalgia as well, and for everyone else, you can enjoy a Rom Hack with completely new music instead of the regular Pokemon tracks 🙂
I’ll probably upload the soundtrack here for people to listen to later.
What the heck kinda core mechanics exist
Everything is this section is subject to change.
This is where we get to unknown territory. There’s a lot of variability that comes with porting a real-time DS action game into a turn-based GBA game, so please leave feedback as to what gives the most fun experience.
Moves and Types
The current plan is to make the battles more interesting/reminiscent of Spec1 by giving every Spectrobe (and Krawl) species completely unique moves. These “signature moves” will allow every Spectrobe to be useful. A number of basic moves will also be shared between species. The only things the player will currently have to pay attention to with moves are Effect, Power, Accuracy, PP, Targets, and Type, with few moves giving stat boosts and even fewer giving status effects until later in the game. This is to remove some “pokemon-ness” from the system. That doesn’t mean that every Spectrobe will be stuck as generic damage-dealers but does mean that other fight styles will be a little rarer than in Pokemon, and limited by species, hopefully ending up keeping a similar mix to that of Spec1.
The types, Corona, Aurora, and Flash, will be unchanged from Spec1.
STAB has been removed as it has no place in a game where monsters learn moves of one of two types.
Additionally, the physical/special split has been implemented to give more range as well.
I believe these changes will keep to the spirit of the original Spectrobes but still work in a turn-based strategy environment. That being said, I am completely open to changing these things entirely if it is unfun or too easy, or anything really. So please leave feedback!
Vilamasta + Bartolor –> Armored Bulk
Komanoto + Shimanoto –> Guardian Dogs
Naguryu + Grilden –> Draconic (Grilden not obtainable in this version)
A few things to note outside of battle:
You always need a minimum of 2 Adult Spectrobes in your Prizmod, as opposed to 1 Pokemon. This is a nod to Spec1, and is also because double battles will become the most common form of battle as the game progresses. Still, you won’t white out unless all your Spectrobes are defeated (but you may be prevented from progressing).
Fossil locations and Vortexes will respawn when you leave an area and return. Minerals and Cubes will not respawn like this (but old Mineral locations may respawn as you progress through the story).
Child Spectrobes can’t be sent out in battle. The game will ignore any Child forms in your party. You can’t use them as fodder to heal your Adults and you can’t switch-train them until you evolve them. But there’s still a reason to bring some Child forms with you:
The purpose of having Child forms right now is to hunt for Rare Deposits. These are found in precarious locations, and Child Spectrobes with unique attributes (such as being able to fly, having a hard outer shell, etc) will be needed to get the goodies inside. They will contain a lot of minerals, but also a Secret Spectrobe fossil – a fossil of a Spectrobe from Beyond the Portals, not Spec1 – that can’t be found anywhere else, so any collector should look out for them.
What’s New! – V0.3.1
- Added 10 additional Spectrobes (24+10=34)
- Added 4 additional Synergy Combos (2+4=6)
- Added 12 additional Krawl Species to fight (9+12=17)
- Added another planet, Nessa (so now there’s a total of 4 planets complete and explorable)
- Added 3 more Secret Spectrobe Fossils in Rare Deposits (2+3=5)
- Added new custom items & space travel!
- Added 3 more colors to be chosen per Spectrobe (so now you can use 4 unique colors per Spectrobe!)
Spectrobes gba play online has been tested and does not contain any viruses!