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Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite!

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Title Screen

Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite!

Also known as: Tottoko Hamutarou 2: Hamu-chans Daishuugou Dechu (JP)
Developer: Pax Softnica
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Game Boy Color
Released in JP: April 21, 2001
Released in US: October 28, 2002
Released in EU: January 10, 2003


DevTextIcon.png This game has hidden development-related text.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.


Hmmm...
To do:
  • The debug build in the 2020-07-24 Nintendo leak.
  • Finish covering regional graphical differences and grab comparison screens for the ones that are missing.

The cutesy adventure where you, the hamster completely without a vocabulary, are tasked with gathering all of the other Hams for a clubhouse meeting. Just don't Hulahula around, or Hamtaro will get very Blash-T.

Hidden Text

Build Date

The following text is found at 0x753A (US), 0x74ED (EU), or 0x76CE (JP):

FILE1 2001/03/22

Copyright Notice

A copyright notice with the project name, studio name and date can be found at 0xA000 (EU):

HAMTARO2 Paxsoft nica. 2000/11/21

And a similar name at 0x0134 (EU):

HAMUTARO2

Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite! is the second Hamtaro game released in Japan, hence the 2.

Unused Text

Odd Words

Among several incomplete textual Ham-chat word and item lists in the ROM are several unused strings of text, separated by the byte E1, or 00 for the European version. Most of these seem to be internal names for locations. The byte E1 seemingly isn't in any actual used text, but acts as a string ending when put in an actual dialogue. Here are the unused and unmentioned words, not in their proper order:

Japan US/Europe
リビング
ブティック
リボンちゃん
のっぽくん
こうしくん
マフラちゃん
パンダくん
トンガリくん
トラハムちゃ
トラハムくん
ちびまるちゃ
かぶるくん
まいどくん
めがねくん
タイショーく
ねてるくん
ダンスホール
さばく1
さばく2
さばく3
さばく4
かだん1
かだん2
かだん3
はなぞの
すべりだい1
Jジム
でいりぐち
けいだい
もり3
もり5
リボン
こうもん
りかしつ
1かいろうか
2かいろうか
1かいだん
うらにわ
なみきみち
きゅうしょくしつ
こうさくしつ
PCしつ
にわ1なか
にわ1みぎ
にわ1ひだり
ベラ1した
ベランダ2
ベランダ4
ふんすい
こいしへや
ベランダ5

LivingRoom
Boutique
Bijou
Maxwell
Oxnard
Pashmina
Panda
Jingle
Sandy
Stan
Penelope
Cappy
Howdy
Dexter
Boss
Snoozer
Dance Hall
sabaku1
sabaku2
sabaku3
sabaku4
kadan1
kadan2
kadan3
hanazono
suberidai
J Gym
deiriguti
keidai
mori3
mori5
ribbon
koumon
rika
1F-rouka
2F-rouka
1F-kaidan
uraniwa
namikimiti
kyuusyoku
kousaku
PC
niwa1-naka
niwa1-R
niwa1-L
veranda1-D
veranda2
veranda4
funnsui
koisi-heya
veranda5    
Wabldobl

Ham Names

At 0xBC00F (US) or 0x9C035 (JP) in the ROM, a list of the names of every single hamster that appears in the game can be found. Some of the names aren't very well-researched - for example, the dog's name is Taro, but this lists him only as "Dog". Most of these names aren't ever mentioned, and there is no list of names in-game, so the entire thing goes unused. Every single entry is preceded by a newline and ends with a string ending:

Japan US/Europe
ハム太郎
タイショーくん
ねてるくん
リボンちゃん
のっぽくん
こうしくん
マフラーちゃん
パンダくん
トンガリくん
トラハムちゃん
トラハムくん
ちびまるちゃん
かぶるくん
まいどくん
めがねくん
デブハム
はまりハム
くうふくハム
ヤセハム
プリマハム
まんぷくハム
スクープハム
チュートリアルハム
さいせんハム
さばく1ハム
さばく2ハム
なやみハム
PCハム
ガラスハム
コレクターハム(うえ)
コレクターハム(した)
ババハム
ヒップアタックハム
ガイコツハム
きのみハム
カンバンハム
ムシハム
ジャングルハム
もぐハム
おろおろハム
きょうふしょうハム
ポエムハム
ねごこちハム
きのみハム2
ゴルフハム
フラワーハム
ガサガサハム
ねハム
おかしハム
サンオイルハム
サンオイルハム2
マスターハム
てんいんハム
バーテンハム
オヤジハム
テキヤハム
まっちゅるハムあに
まっちゅるハムA
せいしゅんハム
まっちゅるハム※
ピクニックハム
あきんどハム
でしハム
でっちハム
もぐら
ポッポ
あなハム
からす
きゃくハム
いぬハム
いぬ
だ~れだ?
こハムたち
カエル
エスキモーハム
カメ
ドクターハム
ナースハム
セクシーハム
リスザル
コギャルハム
Hamtaro
Boss
Snoozer
Bijou
Maxwell
Oxnard
Pashmina
Panda
Jingle
Sandy
Stan
Penelope
Cappy
Howdy
Dexter
Fat Ham
Stuck Ham
Hungry Ham
Skinny Ham
Prima Donna Ham
Very Full Ham
Shutterbug Ham
Tutorial Ham
Money-offering Ham
Desert Ham 1
Desert Ham 2
Anxious Ham
PC Ham
Glass Ham
Collector Ham
Collector Ham
Grandma Ham
Hip Attack Ham
Skeleton Ham
Nut Ham
Sign Ham
Bug Ham
Jungle Ham
Mog Ham
Panic Ham
Scared Ham
Poet Ham
Sleeping Ham
Sleeping Ham
Golf Ham
Flower Ham
Noisy Ham
Snoozing Ham
Snack Ham
Sun-tan Ham
Sun-tan Ham 2
Master Ham
Store Clerk Ham
Bartender Ham
Middle-aged Ham

Macho Ham
Macho Ham A
Jock Ham
Macho Ham
Picnic Ham
Ham-Swap Ham
Apprentice Ham
Errand Ham
Mole
Pigeon
Hole Ham
Crow
Guest Ham
Dog Ham
Dog
Who's that?
Mini-Hams
Frog
Eskimo Ham
Turtle
Doctor Ham
Nurse Ham
Sexy Ham
Squirrel Monkey
Valley Girl Ham

Note that "テキヤハム" (Tekiya Ham) is the only name that wasn't translated in the US and European versions.

Unused Graphics

Untranslated Dictionary Entry

Snoresnore: sleepy.

Among all the other dictionary graphics, an untranslated entry from the Japanese version of Hamtaro appears. This entry reads へろへろん (heroheron, sounds like "be drained") and ぐったり (guttari, means someone is really tired). This entry appears in the Japanese version, too, and is just as unused there. In the actual game, a Ham-Chat for "tired" called Blahh appears, though this has its own different counterpart in the Japanese version. In the European version of the game, the entry appears five separate times, one for each language.

Boutique H.M Sign

All that money for something most people will never see...

There's a large "Boutique H.M" sign on the back wall of each Boutique H.M store, written in katakana unlike the logo on the floor, but only the "H.M" part can be seen in-game because the camera never scrolls up enough for the player to see the rest. Because of this, it was left untranslated in the international versions. The top few tiles of the sunflower graphics also go unseen for the same reasons.

Unused Music

All songs are listed at the end of the soundtrack and don't have names.

Unused Track 1

An 8-bit version of the Japanese Hamtaro song, Hamutaro Ekakiuta, or Hamtaro Drawing Song.

Unused Track 2

Unknown what this would be used for, though it sounds like a failure jingle of some sort, so it possibly could've been for when you receive a low score in a minigame.

Unused Track 3

Scrapped Ham-Jam song, an 8-bit version of Dvorak's New World Symphony - 4th Movement.

Unused Track 4

Another scrapped Ham-Jam song, an 8-bit version of Dvorak's New World Symphony - 2nd Movement.

Unused Track 5

Yet another scrapped Ham-Jam song, though this is a second, more triumphant version of Dvorak's New World Symphony - 4th Movement. Strangely, it's the only song to have multiple Ham-Jam renditions.

Unused Track 6

Overworld music that sounds like an early version of the Flower Garden/Cave theme, though given that it's the last song in the soundtrack, this might be unlikely.

Regional Differences

Title Screen

Japan US Europe
The typical Japanese bubbliness. The typical American not-so-bubbliness. The typical European... purple-and-... sorry, I've got nothing.

Each version of the game has a different title screen. The Japanese version, of course, displays the Japanese title with the same style as the Japanese logo. The US and European versions both display the westernized logo, but with a different-looking subtitle: the US version places the subtitle on a brown box and has a green background, while the European version's logo is the same as the one on the game's box art.

"For use with Game Boy Color" Screen

Japan US Europe
"This cartridge is exclusively for use with Game Boy Color. Please play it on a Game Boy Color." "For use with Game Boy Color" Paring down typical Japanese hyperpoliteness is a pretty classic localization thing to do, isn't it?

The screen that pops up when you try to play the game on an original Game Boy has its own, smaller monochrome version of the logo in all three versions! Of note is also the unique Hamtaro sprite - largely a copy of the one used in-game, but it has a shadow and is antialiased by hand.

Music

Title Theme

The Japanese version of the game plays a chippy version of the Japanese opening to Hamtaro - sorry, Tottoko Hamutarō - while the US and EU versions do the same for their own separate theme. Since the title screen is set to start the eyecatch after the song has finished playing, the US and European title screens stay active for more than twice as long as the Japanese title screen does.

This change carried over to all later Hamtaro games released outside of Japan. It also affects the unlockable Ham-Jam based on the title theme, making it the longest Ham-Jam theme by a wide margin in international versions.

Japanese title theme International title theme

Notebook Theme

The theme playing in the background while viewing the notebook is different in the Japanese version compared to the US and EU versions. The Japanese version plays the bass channel of the Japanese title theme in the right speaker and the percussion in the left, without the two other channels playing at all. The US and EU versions use the same theme as the regular pause menu.

Contrary to the above change, the same was not done for Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak, which uses the Japanese theme (on its pause menu) in all versions.

Japanese notebook theme Pause menu and international notebook theme

Hamtaro

Hamtaro's "へけっ" noise was translated (...OK, Romanized) in his "confused" animation.

The "ふっ" ("hmph") from his shrugging animation, on the other hand, was just blanked out.

Items

Cherry

US Europe
Well, isn't that just the nut on the cake? Pretty please with a nut on top? Yeah, this'll be a hard cherry to crack. Is this guy cherries!?

One of the items in the game's trading sequence has different names in the US and European versions. In the US version, the item is called a "Nut". The European localization team said nuts to that and called it a "Cherry". This change is reflected both on the items screen and in dialogue. Note that there are also a few differences in the item description font - the European font has a shorter Y, for example.

Flugo+

Japan International
Prescription drug. ...Mystery drug.

Flugo+, the miracle drug that cures everything between the common cold and the common cold, has different appearances in America and Japan. While the Japanese opt to put text on the large, pink pill, the Americans find that very intimidating and remove it completely.

Flyer

The Ham-Swap advertising flyer originally had やすい!("Cheap!") on top and the Japanese name of the shop it's advertising, インチキどう (roughly translated as "Swindle Shop"), along the bottom. In international versions, these are replaced with, respectively, illegible scribbles and a drawing of the owner's face.

Sunflower Elementary

There's a partially offscreen sign on the wall out front of Sunflower Elementary, the only on-screen character of which is "校" (likely from "小学校", "elementary school." The international versions removed this completely.

The price tags in Ham-Swap were redrawn in the international versions; the barely legible Japanese text was replaced with even more unreadable English text, the price numbers were made larger, and the tags are gray instead of white.

The bulletin board in the front hallway has papers stuck to it, as tends to happen with bulletin boards. In the Japanese version, they're notes reading "歯を大切に!" ("Take care of your teeth!") and "しんごうを守ろう!" ("Obey traffic signals!"). Stuff you'd see in an elementary school. The localizers decided being educational was for squares, though, and replaced them with new designs of flowers, musical notes, and hearts.

The milk crates in the storeroom, which originally read "ひまわり牛乳" ("Sunflower Milk"), were translated for a change as simply "MILK", though the stylized sunflower logo was kept. The boxes of bread ("パン") once again just had their text blanked out.

Sunflower Market

Unlike in Sunflower Elementary, a lot of the signs here were properly translated.

The tiny "円" was erased from the price labels. Instead of costing 300 yen (which isn't much), the products advertised now cost 300 of whatever currency you use where you live (which probably is).

The bottles of "TAE" were spellchecked into "TEA" when brought overseas.

The cookie boxes were bilingual in the Japanese version, like a lot of products in real-life Japan. In the international versions, the English text was moved to the top half of the box, replacing the Japanese "クッキー" text, with some drawings of... well, cookies taking its place at the bottom.

Ham-Chat

Wait-Q

Japan International
Oh dear. He must've seen the Sexy Ham from the unused text section. What a Wabldobl.

Oh. Oh dear. It is quite obvious why this was changed for the US version. In the international version, Hamtaro is standing around looking bored, tapping his foot and just waiting. In Japan, however, he is rubbing the ground with his paw (an action sometimes used in anime when a character is bored or embarrassed/ashamed), but it looks like he is tapping his crotch over and over while looking smugly satisfied.

Hamtast

Japan International
That is one perfect thing! Let me cover it in mucus. Ooh, that's perfect. Let me just sneeze on it.

In Japan, Hamtaro says Hamtast by... having a cold, or something. In the international version, the localization team grabbed the sprite of Hamtaro sneezing and slapped a thumbs-up on it. Knowing Hamtast is supposed to mean "perfect", which is better?

The Japanese animation may be a reference to the Asian superstition that sneezing once means someone is talking about you. (A little smug, are we, Hamtaro?)

Hushie

Japan International
IS THAT A BLIMP UP THERE OH BY THE WAY WE GOTTA BE QUIET NO MOUTHS ALLOWED

The Ham-chat word Hushie means secret, so it's represented by looking horrified and holding a paper with an X in front of your mouth in Japan. Someone decided that wasn't proper in another country, though, and changed it to a red crossed-circle symbol. That someone also made Hamtaro look more forward than up.

Cramcram

Japan International
Fist of the North Ham Just, uh, running a marathon or something.

The Japanese Cramcram has Hamtaro wearing a headband with a Japanese flag design. In the US, however, the localization team could not stand such smug Japanese patriotism and removed the iconic red circle altogether.