Did you know that in Mahō Shōjo Fancy Coco, there are hidden mini games to be found? In my most recent article, I talked about my own experience playing this game. After unlocking the mini games, I was shocked to have the entire game glitch out on me. However, this is not the end to the hidden content in this game. Read on!
What Mahō Shōjo Fancy Coco is
As outlined in the previous article, Mahō Shōjo Fancy Coco is a princess maker style game that saw both a PC-98 and PS1 release in the late 90s in Japan only. The game was based on a radio drama where you listen to the enduring adventures of Fancy Coco and her friends as she grows up, faces magical challenges, and helps people along the way. The PS1 game would be a normal princess maker, but there are several hidden mini games locked away.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COCO?
How to access the mini games
It’s very cryptic on how you get to the mini games, and only by grinding thru and levelling up Coco will you get them. Think of them as your “reward” for all your hard, soulless work. I discovered a super old review on Fancy Coco from Japan, and using the wayback machine, I could go off the author’s suggestions, as that’s all he gave. Two lines: Focus on Combat and Transform Magic.
If you only focus on the two stats, though, you’ll find that you won’t learn nothing, but unlock pain, tears, and annoyance. You see, you only learn magic and transformations when you level up stats together. Saying that, the best strategy I came up with was to level both Transformation Magic and Combat to over 100, and then focus on stats like Cooking, Manners, and Spiritual training the most over the others. I would also comment that raising your magic level to around 6 or 7 helps.
Once you learn the Transformation Magic of Fighter, you’ve unlocked the first mini game!
Great. How do we play?
Well, that’s even more cryptic. The trick is after learning the Figher transformation, you must go to the shops. Immediately a new conversation starts (text only) and after completing it, you should see a new option on the menu with two swords clashing. Select that, and you’ll be ushered into the first mini game….
unless you are playing on emulation. Cause then you going to get glitched.
I was in desperate need of help or to shove Fancy Coco into the trash. That’s when Shentok, fellow streamer and retro enthusiast, connected with me and offered to help.
AnnK: You figured I was doing something wrong. Obviously something was wrong and I couldn’t get this game to work. Tell me what you did to get the game to work because I know you used a modded PS1
Shentok: I’ve come across bad dumps before on redump and other sets so my first thought was to test it on hardware to see if it was an emulator problem or the dump of the game being bad. I have a PS1 modded with an xstation optical drive emulator which replaces the disc drive with an interface that can use a microSD card. It was just as simple as finding a dump and throwing it on there. This PS1 is also modded for HDMI output with the PS1Digital mod, though that’s 100% a convenience option.
AnnK: What are the advantages of using a modded PS1 vs using an emulator?
Shentok: Accuracy I suppose would be the only concrete advantage. Emulators have come a long way in recent years in compatibility, ease of use, and recreating an authentic experience. You still have edge cases like Fancy CoCo where it does something unexpected that emulators may not be able to handle. I think convenience is also a factor for me personally. I like that I can just turn on the console, be ready to go, and not have to configure controllers or software.
AnnK: Tell me about your experience playing Fancy Coco. I know I set you up with a guide to help you find the mini games faster, but still I feel like my guide is very vague.
Shentok: The guide you gave me was a great starting point. I’m not terribly familiar with Princess Maker style games so I just asked a friend who’s knowledgeable in Japanese to help me find the stats you mentioned, then I just took screenshots and figured out which activities improved what stats and went full on with those first.
AnnK: Tell me what strategy worked for you to get the fighter mini game unlocked
Shentok: I started out improving transformation magic and combat as soon as I figured out how to do so. I tried alternating between combat and strength training because I wasn’t sure which did what at first. Transformation magic was pretty obvious at least. After getting those to 100, I moved on to manners and cooking as you suggested for a while and eventually moved on to just doing every activity two at a time. After a while I started paying attention to prompts that would occasionally show up while doing these activities and realized that they were unlocking various costumes. After that I just kept repeating my strategy until the Fighter costume finally unlocked. The final step was viewing the fighter costume in the menu, going to town, and a message showing up. After that the fighting mini game was available.
AnnK: When you got to the fighting mini game, what were some of the things you liked and disliked. It seemed really interesting from the sprite rips, but does it play well?
Shentok: The fighting mini game plays a lot better than I expected. The inputs are a bit finicky and stiff, but you have basic fighting moves and combos. It really reminds me of a licensed anime fighter from the era. Rough around the edges, but with something charming that keeps you playing. Somehow I managed to pull off a combo special in the recording I sent you, but I wasn’t able to replicate it again.
AnnK: Have you found the shump stage yet?
Shentok: Not yet though I had to stop after unlocking the fighting game since I was short on time. If I manage to unlock it, I will definitely make a point to document what I had to do to unlock it and record footage.
AnnK: Do you like Princess Makers or are you like me and have this passion for really dank games?
Shentok: This was actually my first time ever playing a Princess Maker game. I love dank and weird games and I’m always finding something cool thanks to a great set of friends who love obscure and bizarre media. I mostly focus on the Sega Saturn personally, but I’m always trying to expand my horizons on cool stuff no one talks about. I especially love to collect weird gaming peripherals.
AnnK: What do you think about this game? Outside of morbid curiosity, why would anyone pick up this game?
Shentok: I think the game is pretty fascinating. The sprite work and voice acting are very nice and the opening intro is a real good piece with some nice animation. I think it does set expectations a lot higher than what the actual game offers though. I bet there’s some really cool story going on if you can understand Japanese as there seems to be a lot of content and dialog. I definitely want to finish my playthrough at least and see what kind of ending I get.
AnnK: Did you find any mechs?
Shentok: Sadly, no. I’m still looking though!
If you want to play the mini-games in Fancy Coco, it’s probably best to do so on real hardware. The shmup stage is still not unlocked at this point, but I will keep you updated on any new developments. In the meantime, have you tried any other fun princess maker games? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.