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A History of Korean Gaming

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만트라 Mantra / 한도흥산무역 Hando Heungsan

Founded:

uncertain (first known activity 1989)

Status:

defunct (around 1999)

Key People:

김영상 Kim Yeongsang:
Chairman
김상훈 Kim Sanghun:
Development Team Lead (1994)
:
Development Team Lead (1997)
김도성 Kim Doseong:
CEO (?-1998)

Website:

none


Mantra appeared on the scene in the late 1980s as a computer hard- and software store. They didn't draw a lot of attention until 1992, when they announced the localization of the Japanese hit game Princess Maker 2. The registered company name was actually Handohongsan Muyeok for a long time, with the stores and the development team operating under the Mantra name. In 1998, however, the company itself was renamed to Mantra as well.

Throughout their existense, Mantra were best known and popular for their translations and ports of Gainax' princess simulation series and many Falcom games, mostly Ys, Brandish and Legend of Heroes, but the company was also always "working on" original titles. None of them ever saw completion, though. Their last project, Rhapsodian Occulteller, was the only one to reach a presentable state and was heavily advertised, but in the end it was cancelled as well due to financial problems in those times of economic crisis. Mantra's last release was the Korean version of Ys Eternal in 1999.


Games

Princess Maker (프린세스메이커2) - IBM PC (1992)

Princess Maker (IBM PC)

Princess Maker was the first of many Japanese home computer games Mantra localized and ported to IBM PCs in the early '90s. It is mostly a faithful port, but it has a slightly higher resolution than the PC-98 version it was based on, which is used for a more elaborate border around the graphics. Mantra's version of the game was also translated to Chinese and published in Taiwan.

Quick Info:

Conversion:

Mantra

Publisher:

Mantra

Genre:

Life Simulation


Princess Maker 2 (IBM PC)


이스2스페셜 (Ys 2 Special) - IBM PC (1994)

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Ys 2 was the second game Mantra brought to Korea after Princess Maker. But instead of just porting one of the many available home computer or console versions, Mantra assembled a whole development team — at least partly recruited from the stores' customers — to recreate the entire game.

Other than completely redrawn graphics and a remixed soundtrack (with even one entirely new tune) by the then relatively new team TeMP, who delivered their first published work with this game, Mantra also expanded many of the field maps and added some new events, including a new dungeon called Dan'gun's Tower. They also left in a lot of bugs. According to the former sprite artist of the game, the team hastily finished the game after several delays for fear of the company boss' wrath (who also happened to be the father of the development team lead)1.

Advertisements for the game announced also a music pack, a speech pack and a CD-ROM version, none of which was ever released. The same goes for the promised remake of Ys 4.

Read more about Ys 2 in the Ys article.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Mantra

Publisher:

Mantra

Genre:

Action RPG

Theme:

Fantasy
Licensed


Ys 2 Special (IBM PC)

Ys 2 Special (IBM PC)


제노사이드 2 (Genocide 2) - IBM PC (1995)

Genocide 2 (IBM PC)

This is a port of the 1991 PC-98 sides-crolling mecha action game by Zoom. This one stays much closer to the original than Ys 2 Special did, in result it is no more than a straight port. There's also a Super Famicom version by Kemco for this game, which is almost a completely different game than the PC-98 and MS-DOS versions.

Quick Info:

Conversion:

Mantra

Publisher:

Mantra

Genre:

Action: Side-Scrolling

Theme:

Mechas


Genocide 2 (Windows)


Unreleased Titles:

화이트 존 (White Zone) (1993)

심로드 (Sim Road) (1993)

데이시스 (Daisies) (1993)

(untitled arcade game) (1996-1997)

Atanda / Rhapsodian Occulteller (1997-1998)


References
1. Everything you'd ever want to know about the development of the game and then some is documented - in Korean - at a blog of the artist.


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