I've become a giant Cleopatra Fortune fan

Cleopatra Fortune, also known as Cleopatra's Fortune, was a 1996 Taito falling block puzzle game where you trap jewels and sarcophagi between blocks to destroy them for points, in a go-like manner. The game first appeared on the Taito X-55, as discovered by our very own Chazumaru, which was bizarre to see linked on wikipedia of all places lol: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleopatra_Fortune

Here's a Replay Burner video of how the game works. The secret behind scoring high is aim to clear everything and get the PERFECT!

Anyway, I've known about it for a while, but I played it for the first time last week and since first touching it, I've pretty much haven't stopped thinking about it everyday now. Mainly, it's because of the ridiculously catchy main theme, SHININ' QUEEN by Zuntata's SHU aka Shuichiro Nakazawa, which is also available on iTunes for a buck: https://music.apple.com/us/album/zuntata-rare-selection-vol-3-sworks/331754892

My first thoughts on playing were: "why are all these Egyptians white? Is the lady in the attract mode Cleopatra? Is the little super deformed character also Cleopatra? WOW THIS MUSIC KICKS oh man I love trapping fortunes this is great"

Since then, I've come to learn that the main character of Cleopatra's Fortune is actually a girl by the name of Patrako, who's a young Egyptian princess (also explicitly NOT Cleopatra) getting training??? to become an Egyptian god?? Depending on the game's story.


Falling into the deep well of Cleopatra's Fortune and Taito history, I've found out Patrako has crossed over into many titles, most famously the Taito ball-bouncing puzzler Puchicarat:


Also a pre-smartphone Taito card game, Taito Harikiri Daifugo:

Here's Patrako's crossover wiki entry (I didn't know a wiki for finding crossovers like this even existed before falling into the deep well of Cleopatra's Fortune!!): https://fictionalcrossover.fandom.com/wiki/Cleopatra_Fortune


Playing through every game in the series, it's wild to me how different they are. In terms of release order:

1996 Arcade: the scientific standard, the purest of Cleopatra Fortuning. Introduces Patrako, her chibi and tall mummy friends, presumably Cleopatra???? who's fortunes you are returning to her tomb?????

1997 Saturn: a faithful port of the arcade version, with an additional puzzle clearing challenge mode. Introduces the other Egyptian gods to the canon, as seen from the win screens of the challenge levels:

2001-2003 PS1: the only version to get an English release outside of collections: this is an enhanced port with all new art, remixed music, and an additional story to the Challenge Mode that now gives context to Patrako's struggle, while also introducing the new antagonist, the Sphynx, to the canon.

In my opinion, it's a poor port. The remixed music feels like a lot softer of an arrangement, which then puts the new sound effects to the forefront. The new SFX all sounds like they came from a slot machine, so it makes the overall Cleopatra Fortuning experience feel extremely cheap and tacky. Meanwhile, the new art for the game is very early digital Photoshop coloring and late 90s proto-moe anime style, which I don't find nearly as charming as the original sprite art or the early 90s pre-moe style. As for the gameplay: I'm not sure if it's my emulator, but it feels slow/unresponsive and not accurate to the original at all. I rate this the worst version of Cleopatra's Fortune.

_EDIT: This info is wrong. The DC version and the Naomi sequel, Cleopatra Fortune Plus, are two entirely different games. More info later in the thread:_
2001 Naomi/arcade: Wikipedia lists Cleopatra's Fortune Plus as a port, but it's totally a sequel in every sense!!! Developed by Altron, Cleopatra's Fortune Plus has new art, new music, new mechanics, new characters, new voice acting, new everything!! Now gems are colored and tied to an element, which unlock a special attack piece that destroys the playfield in different ways. There's also a Jewel Level meter which does ?????????? Every Egyptian god friend from previous versions return, plus Cleopatr's Fortune Plus introduces a new villain to the canon, who harasses you by randomly throwing giant T-shaped blocks or a giant 3x3 block with her portrait on it into the playfield.

This version is definitely the apex of Cleopatra Fortune in terms of gameplay. It feels right and the addition of meter management for attack blocks adds a lot of variety to the otherwise monotonous gameplay loop, plus the random harassment by the new character adds a pleasant amount of chaos.

Unfortunately, this sequel also doubles down on the late 90s/early 00s proto-moe, with the art 100% being only for the audience who loved that look and also characterizing Patarko as a clumsy girl who constantly over pronounces DESUs after everything she says. The new mummies look great though, with the addition of a new crafter mummy who's always on the right of the playfield, creating all the next puzzle pieces that'll appear, which is a really nice and cute detail. Unfortunately, the game isn't pixel art anymore, instead using painted backgrounds and cel shaded character animation. There's also lots of new BGMs as well as another new remix of Shinin' Queen, but it's even softer than ever. Fortunately, the SFX doesn't sound like a slot machine anymore, so it's not all bad.



Such a regret.

I wish the series returned to the first title's early 90s cutesy anime look, with rocking Zuntata music. Also, it super bums me out that the only English version of the original arcade game is locked away in Taito Legends 2, with no rip of the rom that I could find. Not that the game rules really needs explanation, but I'd like to have it!!




This definitely feels like something I‘d expect you to get into after seeing Columns. I actually only heard SHININ’ QUEEN through Zuntata‘s S’works album, I love it on its own, but also probably because it makes me think of Masayoshi Takanaka's song Nagisa-Moderato, which then makes me think of this Toshiba commercial. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcT7PHv53wQ

I'm really into SHININ' QUEEN, probably the best track on the S'works album next to Future Express, Travelers in Asia and Desire. I kinda want to give this game a try.

Oh, Altron! I got a bit obsessed with their silly SFC narrative jigsaw game Aryol.


@JJSignal#3471 Masayoshi Takanaka’s song Nagisa-Moderato

This song rules, ta!

_Shinin' Queen_ reminds me of a different song too, but I have to go through my music to remember which one. Actually maybe it's just the intro reminding me of a combo of a Wink song and one of the songs from Vib-Ribbon????

There's also the feature phone Ys Fortune, which is Cleopatra Fortune reskinned with motifs from one of the PS2-era Ys games.

Arika made an original puzzle game called Jewelry Master that sort of fused Cleopatra Fortune with TGM—there was a PC client and a couple XBLIG versions but there's no simple way to acquire them nowadays. I'm not sure why Arika gave up on it, but I think even the hardcore players didn't find it to be as intuitive as they'd hoped.

Shinin' Queen really is 99% of the appeal.

Oh weird, so there‘s a Dreamcast port (also by Altron), but it’s not the Plus version that's on NAOMI ??


@Blrb#3479 Oh weird, so there’s a Dreamcast port (also by Altron), but it’s not the Plus version that’s on NAOMI ??

Right, the DC version is based on the PS version, more or less. Plus never left arcades.

@gsk#3480 I didn‘t know this! I thought the Dreamcast version was just a misattributed arcade version! Just played a little bit of it now and it’s not bad!


The game is basically the PS1 version but with higher resolution assets, and gamefeel that actually matches the original arcade version. It feels like the definitive version of Cleopatra's Fortune (console version). I'd argue that this should've been called Cleopatra's Fortune Plus instead, while the Naomi version should've been called Cleopatra's Fortune 2 or something new.

The music is still the new remix, but the sound quality of the music and SFX is higher, so it doesn't feel as irritating as the PS1 version. I still prefer the original Cleopatra's Fortune for the sprite art and original rendition of Shinin' Queen, but the DC version seems like a pretty good package overall.

ALSO!! I remembered the most important change the Naomi version introduced to the entire canon of Cleopatra Fortune: the ability to spin COUNTERCLOCKWISE with a second button. Every other game in the series is just a single button game with only clockwise rotation and it's so bad, especially considering how vague knowing where the center pivot is!! I wish this DC port added the second button rotation, so it would've been truly the best of both worlds!!

@gsk#3477 I looked into this Jewelry Master, and I feel like I wouldn‘t enjoy it at all, considering most of my enjoyment of Cleopatra Fortune comes from the music and visual aesthetic. Unless there was some amazing Shinji Hosoe knockoff of Shinin’ Queen, I probably wouldn't have been that into it even if it was playable now lol


@Personasama#3482 I looked into this Jewelry Master, and I feel like I wouldn’t enjoy it at all, considering most of my enjoyment of Cleopatra Fortune comes from the music and visual aesthetic. Unless there was some amazing Shinji Hosoe knockoff of Shinin’ Queen, I probably wouldn’t have been that into it even if it was playable now lol

Yeah, the similarity is entirely mechanical and even then it feels completely different, what with Jewelry Master transparently being not-but-kinda-still-TGM and all.

I love Cleopatra Fortune!!! For me the Saturn version is the ultimate because of Mystery mode. If you haven‘t, you should definitely spend some time with it, because there are tons of levels and it gets WICKED hard as it goes along. I’m on something like round 52? I forget…. I often get stuck and then go back to it. There are no guides for it anywhere either, so you‘re truly on your own, just as you would’ve been in 1996 or whatever.

I very rarely play the main mode, but it's nice too.

The PS1 port is terrible, they ruined all the music and made everything look weirdly smooth! I want to play the Dreamcast version, but it's expensive and the music is still wrong, so it's hard to get motivated.

Another sidebar to this is how the song "shinin' queen" puts my girlfriend to sleep. I can be playing Mystery mode, and even with Patrako going HUEEEE every 15 seconds when I lose, and she'll go to a deep sleep real quick. It's a mystery mode all in itself!!

Anyway I really want to play the Ys one dagnabbit

I‘ve been playing Cleopatra Fortune for hours every day, and yesterday finally decided to do some searching to see what my forebearers have engraved into Cleopatra’s blocks about the game. Of course, Gaming Hell had a great and thorough write up about it, including a guide to all the Mystery Puzzles, so there's a solution for you if you wanna cheat, Brandon.

I wanna play the iMode version now!!! It looks so cute and has new sprites!!

Anyway, thinking about the series more, I feel like the original had the better audio balance of having Patrako only saying a few voiced chirps while the "announcer" voice (who I assume is Cleopatra??) says everything else - everything else just being the words: "CLEOPATRA FORTUNE" and "PERFECT!" in a heavily Japanese-accented English. That, plus the music being so powerful and the only sound effects being a super bassy CRUNCH when the blocks stack, as if you were building the great pyramids yourself, piece by piece, is what really sells the whole audio package.

Thinking about it more, Patrako becoming more of a clumsy idiot moe stereotype in the later games is really detrimental to the appeal of the games. She was better as a mostly silent cute mascot character that danced on the side of the screen and did little spins when you cleared lines, instead of a constantly hueeee and desuuuu-ing moe blob that eventually takes up the entire playfield in the arcade version of Cleopatra Fortune Plus. That combined with how the music gets heavily toned down in later games, plus the sound effects all being powered up and turned into loud casino noise throws everything off. I'd rather have great music playing and quieter SFX than vice versa!!!

On the other hand, Patrako looks great in Puchi Carat so maybe I'm just being critical of PS1/DC/Arc Cleopatra Fortune because I don't like how she looks there:

I still need to play Puchi Carat! I'm terrible at arkanoid-style games though so I've been putting it off.

I totally agree though, the arcade (and Saturn conversion) are the best versions of this. The moe stuff really does cheapen the whole thing and makes it kind of embarrassing to play. With a puzzle game the aesthetic is a big part of the experience since there‘s so little else there. It counts for a lot! Too bad the f3 board is a bit pricey or I’d get it. I want to play the mobile versions, and especially want to see the original lost version Chaz spoke of! Some day, maybe…

P.S. When pandemic is over come round to my house, I've got the puchi carat board!!

I‘ve found some niconico Shinin’ Queen meme covers:





This guy made his own Cleopatra Fortune in Java to practice chains on!!! I wish I could play it!!!

And this guy just looped the remixed version of Shinin' Queen, DESIRE, into an hour loop lol:

Anyway, this was all because I was hoping Nicovideo would have some footage of the i-Mode version. I just tried searching with "クレオパトラフォーチュン iモード" but got nothing, so (cry emoji)

That one is cute.


This spectrum one is great!

So here's a question - do you all reckon people "getting into" cleopatra fortune lately, or did it always have a bit of a subculture fanbase and it's now coming to the fore because a couple of us are looking at it?

For a long time it felt like one of those games only I played/knew about, and you could buy it on saturn for $30 like I did. All this stuff Persona has found, and the revived interest in the Taito X-55 makes me feel like people are paying attention suddenly, but maybe it's just a focused insert credit style attention on what interest there has been throughout the years, all viewed in aggregate now!?

I‘m doing the deepest dive through the wayback machine to try and find more screenshots of the i-Mode version of Cleopatra Fortune, because I think it has the cutest art. From searching Japanese wikis and news articles, the i-Mode version had a gallery mode of all the PERFECT! Patrako images you unlock. Here's the list of images (described because I’ll never find images of it, also google translated):

So looking it up, the Taito i-Mode game service was from their "EZ Internet" 「EZインターネット」portal under a general game section called "Taito Game Expo" 「タイトーゲームエキスポ」. The previous wiki lists the cost of Cleopatra Fortune as 315 yen. [Their general information site (circa 2002-2004) ](https://web.archive.org/web/20051124064040/http://www.taito.co.jp:80/mobile/ew_jphone/gameselection.html)has these screenshots from the game:
Another surprising discovery is that there was a pre-Groove Coaster version of Space Invaders for the iMode! It was called INVADER GROOVE!

Anyway, searching the actual Taito Game Expo service page I assume you were supposed to browse from your phone, I found this [slightly mature game "Gals Selection"](https://web.archive.org/web/20040604145640/http://www.taito.co.jp/keitai/ezweb/50.html) that I've never heard of before:
_"You can enjoy a popular classic title in a little naughty way"_

There's actually just straight up [gravure applications on here too](https://web.archive.org/web/20070516162456/http://www.taito.co.jp/keitai/ezweb/gravure-0.html)! Sorry, most of the images are dead though. I'm surprised Taito was distributing stuff like that on pre-smartphone phones! But it looks like this webportal just offered everything, including apps for news and interviews about latest movies and stuff.

Besides that, their Taito Game Expo portal site has games for BREW, which was apparently a more advanced Qualcomm OS or something? While the older titles like Cleopatra Fortune were Java apps (WHERE IS IT!!) that by 2004 came bundled in a single app together with all their other titles including Elevator Action, Puznik, and a game I've never heard of before, [called Pichonkun's Fuwapon](http://www.taito.co.jp/mobile/ew_ezweb/t_game_expo/detail/p_fwa.html) 『ぴちょんくんのふわぽん』??
What the heck, why is there video footage of this but not Cleopatra Fortune??!? <-- the voice of my heart

Looks like this guy had this game as part of the "Taito G@me Pack" (タイトーG@meパーク), which looking up was a 300 yen monthly service that let you play Space Invaders, Puzzle Bobble, Arkanoid, Crazy Balloon, Flipull, Puzzle Bobble DX, and 2 more games. Also only users who were subscribed for more than 2 months had access to Puzzle Bobble DX, which is like, wow I can't believe Taito were gouging players with games as a service in 2001 way before the modern era, damn.

You could also get character portraits as part of this service? Which I'm guessing you could use as wallpaper? Or maybe you could just... look at it? I dunno.

Oh dang, they had a simplified version of Ninja Warriors for this G@me Park service!!
You could only play as Kunoichi and the weapon controls had a Manual or Auto mode lol

[WAIT, THEY ALSO HAD AN ONLINE CROSSOVER VERSUS GAME!!](https://nlab.itmedia.co.jp/games/gsnews/0307/29/news01.html)
In 2003, this "Ranking Battle" game let you train characters from your Taito G@me Park games based on your high scores, and then you battled others? The fights were RPG-style and you got items if you won. Taito planned to split the nation into two and hold nationwide team battles?!? What is this wild game??? It's so cool, I want to play it now too!!!

There's also this anime license game [Elemental Gelade ](https://k-tai.watch.impress.co.jp/cda/article/news_toppage/23818.html) but it has some really nice sprites!

WAIT OK, going back to what I'm REALLY looking for, so now I realized that instead of looking up i-Mode, I should be searching for the proper term for these i-Mode games, which is i-App? And sure enough, bingo! Plently of news releases with screenshots!! Let's hoard them all here!!

Also the version with Ys characters that Brandon will never get to play:
[Wait, dammit, a fan actually took photos of all the PERFECT drawings for this game!!](https://ameblo.jp/dis-human/entry-10016186293.html) UNFAIR!! Ys FANS UNFAIR!! <-- ignore the voice of my heart

Now I'm searching through this guy's entire blog for screencaps of the iMode Cleopatra Fortune BUT NOTHING!!! FREHSGSJGHGHGH but it's pretty interesting to see a snapshot of a Japanese gamer dude's life circe 2006. Guess a big release was the FF4 GBA, Raiden II OST, and FF12 and he also bought a Potion (I liked those FF Potion drinks. They tasted like Bawls energy drink).

Whoa, holy shit, they had a Psychic Force prequel and a version of Darius on here too? So ambitious!! Where are all these games now????

WAIT, OMG, I FOUND A GUY WHO COMPILED CLEOPATRA FORTUNE VERSUS GAMEPLAY TIPS!! [Bless this wiseman, Mr. mahafurai sensei](https://twitter.com/kenzzy_grc)(several praying emojis) Gonna dump a screencap of a it here:
The [google](https://togetter.com/li/534788) translated togetter page here.

In the end, I didn't find what I was looking for, but I found a treasure trove of more! A screencapture of an era. Wild.

Oh dang, I forgot Patrako showed up in the Arkanoid vs Space Invaders game! I remember the game being pretty boring, but shoot, maybe I should play just to see her…

I like that they updated the design using the original game's look, instead of the arcade Plus version where she has thighhigh tights. It just throws off the balance of her design 🤔

EDIT: DANGIT, I'm a fool!! I just realized this is the Puchi Carat design!! I should've known!!


Thank you, Mr. Hulk.

Blessed to come to the franchise this late where everything has been figured out and discovered. I just wish it was more popular in the west so it'd be easier to find stuff. 😢

In the Gaming Hell article, he couldn't figure out how to unlock different PERFECT! outfits. I thiiiink I discovered a post where a fan describes how to get them all???

His video is below:


Interesting to learn who the character designs are by. Google Translate says Toshinobu Kagawa 香川友信氏?

Also here's some Cleopatra Fortune cosplay:



The first lady had her Patrako cosplay included in a retro game doujinshi that came out like last month?? Amazing, I love it: http://www.game-tanteidan.com/eshopdo/refer/refer.php?sid=ns90262&cid=0&scid=&mcid=&me=&vmode=&view_id=172001113000