This Japanese XCOM-like mecha strategy game has been translated to English after 23 years

CRW: Metal Jacket is an XCOM-like "mecha strategy game" that was originally released in Japan in 1994. The DOS version was localized for China and Korea, according to Mobygames, and it was re-released a couple of years later as CRW: Counter Rebellion War for the PlayStation. But it only became widely available to Western gamers this past weekend, thanks to a fan translation that was completed and released on July 1. 

Work on the translation began in December 2016, and the whole thing was meant to be a "quick 'weekend project'," the website states. "But we found many quirks about it that slowed down its progress significantly." Foremost among them is the fact that many elements of the interface that appear to be text are actually images, which meant that translating them required coming to grips with the .UGD format, which the team wasn't familiar with. The game's code caused issues too, and "quite a bit of assembly hacking" was required.

Still, their toil is our gain: thanks to this fan translation, we can learn a bit about how CRW: Metal Jacket was developed back in the early 90s.

The team found "quite a lot of references to strings and other content that we couldn’t find being used in the game itself," including references to targeting, movement, "and a whole host of other information" that they couldn't figure out how to activate. There's also evidence that the developers had planned to implement automatic unit control, and possibly an option to control multiple units simultaneously. The translations abbreviated both the Command and Manual indicators to CMND and MANU to accommodate other displayed text, but "since those functions never made it into the game as far as we can tell, you’ll only ever see it say MANU." 

"The last thing we found was a bunch of lines for each character that they’re supposed to say when they dodge an attack," the translators wrote. "We’ve never seen them in game and we’re assuming that they disabled them, but hey, at least they’re translated and in the files if you guys wanted to peek at those lines. They’re in TALK.TXT." 

CRW: Metal Jacket and all relevant files are available now at

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.