Secret Place: a Lagoon fansite

Lagoon for the SHARPx68000

Most people (in the English-speaking world) know Lagoon by the SNES title, but it was actually a remake. The first Lagoon was for the Sharp x68k, a vintage computer. It was only released in Japan. The game's characters and mechanics are mostly the same, but there are enough differences for it not to be a straight port.


Differences from the SNES game:

  • Changes in graphics for the environment and enemies (especially bosses)
  • Additional cutscenes
  • Different music tracks for the Voloh and the Secret Place
  • More and different 'quests' involved before leaving Atland
  • Nasir's sister Reia is a character, and his house in Atland can be visited
  • Ella doesn't exist, Thor captures Felicia instead
  • There are elves scattered throughout Philips castle that Nasir needs to rescue
  • There are no crystals, all spells are cast using a staff and equipped sword.
  • Once nice benefit of the SHARP platform is its ability to output a slightly higher resolution than the SNES (in typical cases). The SHARP version renders at 256x256, while the SNES version renders at 256x224. This is more obvious when you compare the sprites. For this reason, the SHARP version is nice to experience for the slight graphical improvement if nothing else. However, despite the higher resolution, some of the sprites in the SHARP version somehow look more cartoony. It's hit or miss.

    The SHARP version makes the shield more effective in blocking attacks and enemies than the SNES version.

    There is also a difference between versions in the purpose of staves. In the SHARP version, the staff determines the element and the sword determines the power level of the spell. In the SNES version, a crystal determines the element and a staff determines the power level. This was probably the reason why staves were color-coded in the SHARP original.

    That being said, the mapping of equipped items-to-spells is also different between the SNES version and the SHARP version. The below table shows the mapping of spells unique to the SHARP version. (Thanks to Kuro-chan for the providing the graphics)

    List of Spells

    Short
    Sword

    Silver
    Sword

    Magic
    Sword

    Force
    Sword

    Moon
    Sword

    Earth Staff

    Sky Staff

    Star Staff

    Moon Staff

    It's also worth noting the higher-resolution icons compared to the SNES version.


    Installation Instructions

    The SHARP x68000 is more obscure than other retro gaming platforms, and documentation of how to emulate it is harder to find than for the SNES. Here are steps to follow to play the original Lagoon for SHARPx68k.

    1. Obtain a copy of the game
    Google for 'sharp x68000 roms' to find a generic roms site. Look for Lagoon and download it. If there's more than one file, download them all. (The rom used to be available on ZOOM's site, but their whole Lagoon section was taken offline for whatever reason ) Decompress anything archived (ie. .zip). There should be 5 files:

  • Disk 0
  • Disk 1
  • Disk 2
  • Disk 3
  • User Disk
  • NOTE: Sometimes the disks are labelled 1->4, it's the same thing, but whenever the game itself prompts for disks, number them mentally 0->3

    There are some distributions of the game that do not include the User Disk, but the disk is required to get it working, so please ensure that you have it.

    2. Obtain an emulator
    Go to the Zophar Sharp68k emulation page and download the WinX68K High-Speed emulator (Eng version). Other emulators might work too but this is the one i've personally tried. Decompress if needed

    3. Obtain BIOS
    If you try to use the emulator now it won't work, because it needs a BIOS to run. A BIOS is a special set of machine instructions a computer uses to start up. Computers and newer video game consoles (ie. PSX and after) in general need a BIOS, or the emulator comes prepackaged with one. BIOSes are considered extremely sensitive, even moreso than ROMs, so I can't provide a link to one. So, use Google to find a BIOS rip. Note: another word for a BIOS file is a 'disk image' or 'system image'.
    When you find it, decompress if needed and put in the same directory as WinX68kHighSpeed_eng.exe. Sometimes more than one BIOS file are packaged together, if that's the case just put them all in that directory. Their file extension will probably be .dat or .bin

    4. Start the emulator
    Try to start the emulator. If it starts without any warning/error messages, you're set. If not you might need to try another BIOS (there can be different versions.). If the emulator started correctly you should see a message like:

    This is a prompt for you to insert disks

    5. Start the game
    The SHARP inputs software using two floppy disk drives, the first is called FDD0 and the second is FDD1. The five 'disk' files you have are treated like floppy disks. To start up the game, click on FDD0 and brows to your Disk 0, and open. Then click FDD1 and browse to Disk 1, and open. The game should start.

    This is ZOOM's opening screen

    6. Configure the controls.
    Now that you're sure the game starts you can configure the controls. There is a default setting but it might not work, i think some of the game keys don't start even mapped to anything. Here is a diagram of what does what:

    Note: hit XF1 and X2 at the *same time* to use magic

    As a quick-start you can download my configuration and put it in the same directory (untested). Z and X are XF1/X2, F1 is escape, and the numpad arrowkeys are mapped to the directional keys (for a laptop), the letter keys are the same.

    Some people have had issues with the configuration window on this emulator. There can exist a UI problem forcing the text to be bold, which widens the font to the point that it makes the keyboard configuration window unusable. I have not experienced this issue personally, but I can (anecdotally) say that I had good results using the emulator on Windows 7 and 8, with a USA English language environment. Those experiencing problems may want to consider finding a different emulator, or the option below.

    If no other keyboard configuration will work, another option is to use a gamepad for basic gameplay/directional movement, and continue to simply keep the keyboard layout at default, which still allows full functionality for the menu keys, which are more rarely used (like hitting 'I' for inventory, and pausing).

    7. Enter the user disk
    After the intro scene plays or you escape out of it, whichever happens first, you'll get prompted with this message:

    It's asking you to enter the user disk. So click FDD0, brows to your User Disk, and open. The game should start.

    8. Start gameplay
    If everything was set up okay, the game should be playable like normal. However, every once in a while during gameplay it will prompt you to change disks. The message for that will look something like:

    In this case it's asking you to take disk 2 and put it in drive 1. Just remember that both the drives and the disks start count from 0, not 1