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A History of Korean Gaming

Table of Contents

Part 1

Part 2

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크로바소프트 Clover Soft

Founded:

1983

Status:

defunct

Key People:

李弘求 이홍구 Yi Honggu:
President

Website:

none


An MSX copycat company similar to Zemina. Most of their games are unofficial ports. They also produced Joysticks and Famiclones, among other things.

In September 1990, president Yi Honggu reported that hardware amounting to damages of 44,000,000 Won had been stolen from the company's workshop1.


Games

셜록 호움즈 1탄 (Sherlock Holmes 1) - MSX (December 1987)

Advertisement

Clover's first 'proper' project after some straightforward bootleg releases of known MSX games, Sherlock Holmes, was advertised as an Adventure game with Korean screentext. It is likely this was translated and ported from a foreign Sherlock Holmes game. Icoms Consulting Detective series comes to mind, but as the game is not preserved, this remains a speculation.

Quick Info:

Publisher:

Clover

Genre:

Adventure

Theme:

Player Character: Sleuth



헬로우 강시 (Hello Kangshi) - MSX, SPC-1500 (September 1989)

Advertisement

This game is very mysterious. It is only known through old advertisements by Clover (it is confirmed that it was released, though), and there doesn't seem to be any previous game with the same title this could be a port of. Hello Kangshi is actually the title of a series of kid's horror/martial arts movies from Hong Kong (Haalo Goengsi in Cantonese), so it could be the port of a really obscure chinese game. However, the series was also very popular in Korea, so it might as well be an original game, or just a renamed Japanese game to cash in with the name.

Quick Info:

Publisher:

Clover

Genre:

unknown

Theme:

Horror
Licensed


Still from the movie


홍길동 (Hong Gildong) / Hong Kil Dong - MSX, Master System (April 1990)

Cover

An autoscrolling run 'n gun based on the traditional Korean story Hong Gildong-jeon. The titular hero has to fight ghosts and demons, on his way to the boss (which he fights after mounting a cloud) in each stage he can also open treasure chests, which contain several powerups.

This game offers a good opportunity to take a brief look at the original tale, as it's only the first of many games that are based off or reference it. Hong Gildong is the son of a Yangban, the Korean gentry during the Joseon era (1392 to 1910). Yet he finds himself at the lower end of the caste system because his mother was a mere concubine. So despite being extraordinarily gifted, he has no perspective of social advancement, and isn't even allowed to refer to his father as such. Because he is marked as cursed, his family attempts to have him killed, but he flees and becomes kind of a Korean Robin Hood. At the end of several adventures, he conquers the demon-infested island Yuldo and establishes a nation without social discrimination. The tale is popularly attributed to the 16./17. century scholar Heo Gyun, which is not entirely undisputed among historians of Korean literature.

The game has been originally advertised by a company called Saeron System, but at least the Master System version was published by Clover in the end. Who actually developed the game is not known. The game is extremely rare, despite it being a giveaway at magazine raffles for years.

Hong Gildong (Master System)

Quick Info:

Publisher:

Clover

Genre:

Action: Sidescrolling

Theme:

Korean History


Hong Gildong (Master System)

Hong Gildong (Master System)

Hong Gildong (Master System)


보글보글 (Boggle Boggle) / Bubble Bobble - MSX, Master System (1990)

Apparently every Korean MSX developer needed their own rendition of Bubble Bobble. Clover's variant is one of the best: It comes with 100 all new levels, which can even be selected individually.

Boggle Boggle (MSX)

Quick Info:

Publisher:

Clover

Genre:

Action: Single Screen

Theme:

Dragons!


Boggle Boggle (MSX)


뉴테트리스 (New Tetris) - MSX, Master System (1990)

Advertisement Artwork

Clover's version of Tetris. The "New" in the title refers to the game's two player mode this version was advertised for, which obviously means that the game was first available without it, but there's no proof of a previous version by Clover themselves.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Clover

Publisher:

Clover

Genre:

Puzzle

Theme:

Abstract
Falling Blocks


New Tetris (MSX)

New Tetris (MSX)


Super 수왕기 (Super Suwanggi) - MSX (1990)

Cover

The Chinese characters in the title screen read Jyuouki in Japanese, which is the original title of Sega's Altered Beast. So of course this is a port to that game, made by Jang Sungmok. It's unknown if the "Super" actually indicates some special features, or if it's all just marketing, though.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Jang Sungmok

Publisher:

Clover

Genre:

Action: Sidescrolling


Super Suwanggi

Super Suwanggi


비지란테 (Vigilante) - MSX (1990)


Cover

Yet another port, the single plane brawler Vigilante is the only one of Clover's games that is preserved so far, so it is much better known than the rest. The game features three stages with plenty of enemy types and bosses, but the graphics are pretty bad even for the MSX1. It is also quite unfair, as the supposedly easiest and most common enemy type is extremely dangerous in this version. There's about one single frame to hit them, or else these mooks strangle the player for a good portion if not all of the life bar.

Vigilante (Master System

Quick Info:

Publisher:

Clover

Genre:

unknown


Vigilante (Master System

Vigilante (Master System

Vigilante (Master System


슈퍼 브라더스 월드 1 (Super Bros. World 1) - MSX (June 1991)

MSX Cover

As Zemina went into another direction with part 3 of their Super Boy series, Clover filled the void for an MSX Super Mario Bros. 3 clone. The game features the intro and level map from the original, but the levels are composed differently, with new enemy types, like flying Goomba bombers (probably meant to replace the mini-Goomba throwing ones). It's also significantly shorter than the original. A series of hacks of this game titled Super Bioman, with new levels and some exchanged graphics were sold by Hello Soft and Segye-ro Electronics.

Quick Info:

Publisher:

Clover

Genre:

Platforming


Super Bros. World 1 (MSX)

Super Bros. World 1 (MSX)


More Games - MSX (1990)

Unknown Game

There are a few more games that are only known through an ad by Clover printed in 1990. Of the three, only Sky Fighter is known by its title, but it is not sure whether it was actually an original game by Clover or another unlicensed port. The other two show screentext in Hangeul, so it is likely they're either Korean developed or hacked. The latter option is less likely for games advertised in 1990, though. One seems to show a memory game, the other one just some kind of score bonus screen.

Unknown Game

Sky Fighter


References
1. Dong-A Ilbo 9/3/1990, page 17


Table of Contents

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