Jaleco.Ltd was a Japanese development studio & publishing label that was equally successful in the amusement industry as well as the home consumer market. The company has quite a convoluted history which is not helped by inconsistencies on the archived remains of their official website compared to their current homepage. Their official site lists two dates for the company being founded the earliest is in February 1972 in the Setagaya-ku district of Tokyo, Japan while the other date is given as October 1979. Incidentally Wikipedia lists their establishment as the 3rd of October 1974 which date is indeed correct doesn’t seem to be much of a concern.
Jaleco was also involved in supplying various broadband content they then diversified their business interests further in 2000 and they became involved in the distribution of commercial aquarium equipment and various related products that regulated the water quality for aquariums. The companies’ tagline at this time represented their business interests and it was “Fun” & “Moisture“. Very little information about their aquarium distribution business is known but due to the fact the company would soon be bought out I’ll assume it didn’t generate the financial income that they were expecting. I’ve managed to locate the Aqua businesses official archived website and i’ve linked to it below as while it doesn’t relate to their Dreamcast titles or indeed their consumer software at all it neither the less remains an intriguing side of Jaleco that remains almost unknown. (C) 2000 JALECO LTD
In November of 2000 Jaleco.Ltd was completely acquired by Pacific Century CyberWorks Co., Ltd (PCCW) who decided to stop the broadband content side of the business. I’m assuming they withdrew from the aquarium distribution business at the same time as there’s no official confirmation or mention of it after PCCW took over running the company. Below is the official announcement that Pacific Century CyberWorks Co., Ltd was now running Jaleco. Copyright (c)2000 PACIFIC CENTURY CYBERWORKS JAPAN Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
The company was now known as Pacific Century CyberWorks Japan Co., Ltd. The company was re-named back to Jaleco Co., Ltd on the 25th of January 2004.
After consolidation rather confusingly Jaleco now existed as two separate and distinct companies one entitled Jaleco Corporation which continued developing and publishing software. The other was named Jaleco Holdings Co.,Ltd which was a holding company. In 2009 Jaleco Corporation facilitated Game Yarou acquiring Jaleco Holdings Co., Ltd. Game Yarou continued to operate as Jaleco until their parent company initiated bankruptcy proceedings in 2013. On the 24th of May 2014 the company was officially declared bankrupt and Jaleco in all its different incarnations ceased to exist.
The intellectual rights of Jaleco’s properties are now held by a company call City-Connection which is named after an early Jaleco title. They currently license Jaleco properties for various formats.
Jaleco was an early supporter of the Dreamcast with one original title and one arcade port that received a limited edition. The first of Jaleco’s titles was アイドル雀士をつくっちゃおう or Idol Janshi wo Tsukucchaou which also had a first print limited edition. Both versions of the game were released on the 23rd of September 1999 and retailed for the same price point of ¥6,800. The first print comes in a double jewel case with different artwork it also features a full colour disc label and an exclusive extra cd. You’ll find the games official Dreamcast catalogue entry linked to below. ©1999 JALECO LTD.
The game is a port of Jaleco’s own Naomi arcade title and marked the last installment of the popular long running Suchi Pai series of Mahjong titles to be developed by the company. The earliest conformation about the game coming to the Dreamcast is a Gamespot Japan article dated the 20th of March 1999 which confirms the decision to release the game on the Dreamcast. © 原 毅彦 ZDNet /JAPAN Copyright (c) 1999 by SOFTBANK Corporation. All rights reserved.
As previously mentioned Idol Janshi wo Tsukucchaou was the last of the popular long running Suchi Pai series of Mahjong games to be released. Regular readers of the site will also be aware that I don’t know how to play Mahjong so it’s going to be hard to say much about the gameplay. Idol Janshi wo Tsukucchaou received good scores upon its release and I’m quite confident if you’re a fan of the series this instalment won’t disappoint. The following link to the games official website will provide you all the information you’ll need to see the changes made for this instalment and you’ll be able to make up your mind to whether the game would be a worthwhile investment of your time & money to pick up. © 1999 JALECO LTD
Idol Janshi wo Tsukucchaou was a Dreamcast exclusive title and one that was a Japanese region only release. I wish I could elaborate on the gameplay or its mechanics but simply until I’ve learnt the rules and become competent at Mahjong I’ll refrain from giving my thoughts as to do so would be a disservice to the game. Once i’ve mastered the basics of Mahjong i’ll return and give my impressions about the game.
Jaleco’s second and final title they released for the Dreamcast was an exclusive title for the system and probably Jaleco’s best known game from their later catalogue. The game in question was キャリアー or Carrier. The game was released in Japan on the 24th of February 2000 and it retailed for ¥ 6,800. Carrier was also released in both North American & European markets the North American release was handled by their American subsidiary company Jaleco USA. Inc. While the European rights are a bit more complicated with the rights being licensed to Xicat Interactive while the reverse of the packaging states “Sold and distributed by THQ”. Linked to below is the games official entry in the Dreamcast catalogue. (C) 2000 JALECO LTD
Before the game was released Jaleco started promoting Carrier to build up momentum for its launch. On the 12 of October 1999 Gamespot Japan announced in an online article that Jaleco had opened the official website for their upcoming title Carrier. The report also gave a very brief synopsis of the plot and gave the games launch date as sometime in the following spring. Archived below is the article from Gamespot Japan. (C)1999 JALECO LTD. All Rights Reserved (c) 1999 by SOFTBANK Corporation. All rights reserved.
Jaleco was confident in Carriers appeal and the game received a large promotional campaign to support its release. The first competition that Jaleco held was in conjunction with Olympus where there were three grand prizes of a state of the art Olympus’s Eye-Trek FMD-200 head-mounted display. You could also win one out of a hundred custom engraved metal plates you were able to enter this competition by filling out the questionnaire included with each copy of the game. Fortunately, the prizes and rules for entering has been preserved and I’ve linked to them below. (c) 2000 JALECO LTD., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Carrier is a survival horror game that is set in the near future (at the time of the carriers release) where the Northern countries have an economic blockade against those in the Southern hemisphere. This situation gives rise to the terrorist organization Southern Cross who means to topple the Northern countries and dominate the world.
The Heimdal aircraft carrier is the Northern alliance’s flagship and the carrier of the games title. At the start of Carrier its returning from a mission to destroy a Southern Cross base and has picked up an unknown ancient organism that’s been newly discovered at the Southern Cross facility. Contact is lost shortly afterwards with the Heimdal and two rescue teams are dispatched to investigate. You play as the characters from the second team Jack Eaglefeather & Jessifer Manning and you must work out what has happened aboard the Heimdal and survive the mysterious infection that has gripped the ships former crew.
The easiest way to get information about Carriers various characters and gameplay mechanics is to visit the games official archive site which is still fortunately navigable. This is probably the best repository of knowledge about the game and you’ll find it linked to below. (c)2000 JALECO LTD. All Rights Reserved.
Carrier is a unique take on the survival horror genre with fully 3D characters and environments as well as a first-person mechanic that with the right equipment allows you to scan objects and detect the infected before their too close to your character. Unfortunately, the game was overshadowed by the release of the seminal Bio Hazard Code: Veronica which became the de-facto standard for the survival horror genre till arguably BioHazard 4 some five years later.
Jaleco sought to capitalize on the relative success of Carrier and had a sequel in the works that was shown at various trade shows it was to be called Carrier: The next Mutation which was set to be released for both the PlayStation 2 and the Dreamcast. Initially it was just thought to be a PlayStation 2 port of Carrier but it’s clearly a sequel as noted by its title screen and different in-game footage.
The game once again looks to be set on an aircraft carrier whether or not it’s the Heimdal i can’t confirm. Hands on reports from TGS 2000 mention that the control scheme was reworked into a more fluid control system and moved away from the traditional tank controls of the first instalment.
It seems that both protagonists from the first game are back and playable movement speed looks to be quicker. While the graphics seem more detailed the game looks to be a lot brighter which helps to show of the graphical improvements especially the fire effects. The game was set for release in early 2001 at least for the Japanese region.
A Gamespot article reports that Jaleco stopped development of Carrier 2: The next Mutation due to development costs which would tie into the same timeframe Pacific Century CyberWorks Limited had recently taken over Jaleco and sought to restructure the company. The link below is the Gamespot article that announced the cancelation of Carrier 2: The next Mutation.© Gamespot 2001.
T-5702M Idol Janshi wo Tsukucchaou first print edition
T-5703M Idol Janshi wo Tsukucchaou
SAMPLE T-5701M Carrier
SAMPLE T-5702M Idol Janshi wo Tsukucchaou first print edition
(NOT FOR SALE) 非売品 discs & other media.
I don’t have any individual not for sale content for Idol Janshi wo Tsukucchaou and being honest i’m not familiar if there is any on the usual suspects of the Dreamcast Express, Dream Preview & Dreamcast Magazine discs. I’d suspect that an individual disc might possibly exist for the game but i’ve never seen one.
Carrier does have at least one known individual 非売品 disc and that is presented below.
610-7742 Carrier 非売品 disc
Carrier also has an original sound track that contains 29 tracks.
It was published on the WAKE UP/Jaleco label and was released on the 21st of May 2000 & retailed for ¥2,200.The original soundtrack catalogue code is KWCD-2001. Below i’ve linked to the WAKE UP label’s website for the Carrier original soundtrack which has a detailed track listing.
Carrier also has an official guide book which is currently eluding me once i have it i’ll update this section.
If you can help with any information that you think i’ve missed relating to either Jaleco or their published works for the Dreamcast please get in touch either through the site or on Twitter @dreamcastcollector