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ID Category [?] Severity [?] Reproducibility Date Submitted Last Update
08808 Sound Feature Always Jan 20, 2024, 01:03 Feb 7, 2024, 23:20
Tester Maff1972 View Status Public Platform MAME (Official Binary)
Assigned To Resolution Open OS Windows 10/11 (64-bit)
Status [?] Acknowledged Driver
Version 0.261 Fixed in Version Build 64-bit
Fixed in Git Commit Github Pull Request #
Summary 08808: ninjemak: Incorrect sound : Drums/percussion missing
Description I was wondering if Nichibutsu’s Ninja Emaki will ever have its soundtrack fixed - I played it again the other day on the latest version of MAME and the classic Nichibutsu drums/backing percussion are still missing. It should have an extra layer of drums and percussion playing - similar in sound style to Dangar, Galivan & Booby Kids - all the drums are correctly emulated in those games. I presume they use the same sound chip?? It’s almost like an entire sound layer is missing.

I remember someone saying that the Rom dump is all complete, so it must be some kind of protection still not cracked.

The correct soundtrack with all the drums etc can be heard here:

If you listen to this compared to the emulated version you can hear what is missing.
Steps To Reproduce Missing in all versions- parents, clones & bootlegs.
Additional Information
Github Commit
Regression Version
Affected Sets / Systems ninjemak
Attached Files
There are no relationship linked to this issue.
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Senior Tester
Jan 24, 2024, 13:55
edited on: Jan 24, 2024, 13:56
The sound hardware on all of those is using identical driver code.

The DAC on them is used in all cases for game sound effects, not drums.

I can however hear what seem like 'drums' in the MAME version too.

Are there specific timestamps where you feel something is missing? This is not going to be protection related, protection on these is a text layer blitter.

If there is a difference, are you sure you're not just comparing a 'touched up' OST recording rather than PCB output?
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Jan 30, 2024, 00:06
The URL of the soundtrack is from the original game. I was heavily into Game Sound Music a long while ago. I was very good friends with someone called Takashi Okamoto and he worked as the sound director at Pony Canyon in Tokyo. They were one of the main companies with the rights to release OST CD’s (and LP’s!) of arcade soundtracks under the label ‘Scitron & Art’. Takashi’s job was to extract the sound cleanly from the arcade PCBs and master it in the studio ready for turning into a gold master - for the production run CD’s to be produced from. I remember Takashi telling me that most of the time, Pony Canyon were given access to the original electronic PCM/FM files from the game manufacturers - but unfortunately not from Nichibutsu who were ‘rather difficult’ to deal with according to Takashi.

That is definitely the original soundtrack and not an ‘arranged version’ (remixed) as they used to call it. It’s from one of Pony Canyon Nichibutsu OST CD’s.
I also remember playing this game in a British arcade and remember the soundtrack quite clearly and the emulated version is definitely incorrect.

I’ve just realised that the link I pasted didn’t quite go to the YoumaNinPouchou MP3 directly - they must have moved it. So here it is…
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Feb 1, 2024, 12:17
DAC sound hardware on other Nichibutsu games with a similar sound driver like Formation Armed F and Crazy Climber 2 did have an extra layer of drum sounds on top of the YM3812 audio. But those are not part of the galivan.cpp driver. Now for Ninja Emaki it sounds like only standard OPL2 percussion is used from the FM chip. You can look for DAC playback by blasting DACfilter1 or 2 on the sliders at 200%.
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Feb 4, 2024, 04:09
I remember playing clone Youma Ninpou Chou.
Had issues with player score not being visible. bootleg ?
MAME use YM3526 for ninjemak.
MAME sound emulation remember the arcade I had played and not had Nichibutsu's drums used in some others games ( Terra Cresta ).

The roms dumped are exactly from an original PCB ? Perhaps MAME sound emulation is correct because is an alternate version ?
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Feb 5, 2024, 05:56
edited on: Feb 5, 2024, 15:13
The videos below are arcade PCB with music similar as MAME.
The gameplay and music remember the arcade i had played.

Comparing MAME sound emulation with the link above is the same music.

The missing drums are in an PCB alternate version not dumped ?
Another detail MAME DAC volume is much low as if is half volume compared with arcades links above.
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Feb 6, 2024, 18:21
edited on: Feb 6, 2024, 18:23
Actually you might be right. I hadn’t even considered that this music might be from an alternative version of the PCB released by Nichibutsu. Perhaps the CD was taken from that alternative PCB and that was also just happened to be the version my local arcade had.

The really frustrating thing is that, ironically, I do have a Ninja Emaki PCB here. I bought it from an eBay seller in Spain as it was a favourite game of mine. When it arrived in the U.K. - badly packaged - it was of course, dead on arrival. On a test rig, it doesn’t even boot up.
I do wonder if this is one of those alternative versions? I think it might just be a bootleg judging from the additional flyout PCB coming off it - maybe it’s just a protection hack or a repair.
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Feb 6, 2024, 19:42
You can dump the roms from your PCB ?
Contact the Guru.
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Feb 6, 2024, 21:36
Yes! Of course! All the ROMs are present on this board. I don’t have an EPROM reader myself, but will contact the Guru. :-)
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Feb 7, 2024, 18:22
I’ve just discovered this site and it mentions (according to Google translate ;-) MAME does not support the ADPCM only the single OPL channel which would explain things. I think this was mentioned as regards the Galivan driver earlier.


Translation of Chinese:
AC 110898362019-9-21
Nippon Bussan's vertical shooting game, what can I say, the music is amazing. Just take it off and pass it on.
I listen to it every day on the battlefield.
The game uses a single OPL audio source and 1 ADPCM.
MAME currently does not support this ADPCM, so you can only hear the OPL channel.
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Feb 7, 2024, 19:07
YM3526 really has an ADPCM ?
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Feb 7, 2024, 20:34
Apparently so. I found this on the YM3526 wiki but it only mentions the ADPCM as regards the MSX…

[The YM3526 was notably used in a Commodore 64 expansion, the Sound Expander, as well as several arcade games, such as Terra Cresta and Bubble Bobble.
A modified version of the YM3526 with ADPCM audio known as the Y8950 (MSX-AUDIO) was used in the MSX computer as an optional expansion.
The YM3812 saw wide use in IBM PC-based sound cards such as the AdLib, Sound Blaster and Pro AudioSpectrum (8bit),[13] as well as several arcade games by Nichibutsu, Toaplan and others.]

I’ve also found the YM3526 manual…

Sorry if this query is going on a bit long, but I would love to have contributed at least something to making one of my favourite games totally complete. I’m also waiting to have a major stomach operation -which I’m absolutely petrified about- and researching this stuff is really taking my mind off it. So thanks for putting up with my retro arcade sound chip related ramblings! :-)
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Feb 7, 2024, 21:57
Good luck in operation.
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Feb 7, 2024, 23:20
edited on: Feb 7, 2024, 23:21
Thanks Augusto! I’m sure everything will go well - I just don’t want to be cut open incase some of my magic escapes. :-)) My surgery will be in a couple of weeks - and I will of course have a laptop running MAME during my recovery in hospital. ;-)

As for that YM3526 chip, I have just found this info below. That last paragraph about it having a selectable percussion or rhythm mode could also be something to do with what’s going on, and how the dumped ROM data is using the emulated YM3526?

[The YM3526 or Frequency Modulation Operator Type-L, known simply as the OPL, is an integrated circuit created by Yamaha used to create audio wave forms using FM synthesis. The chip came onto the market sometime around 1985. Although the YM3526 saw its share of success in arcade games from 1985-1987, it was only a stepping stone to the ubiquitous OPL2 and OPL3 chips which dominated the PC and arcade audio scene from the late 1980s to the 1990s.
The YM3526 outputs mono audio and can operate in rhythm or percussion mode. In rhythm mode, you have access to 9 voices, in percussion mode you have 6 melody voices and 5 percussion voices. A couple arcade games used two chip in tandem to get stereo output.]