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 Post subject: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:23 am 


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The search may be indeed quixotic, but as strangers in a strange land, but we must press on.

This thread ties into my recent acquisition of the PC-Engine Duo-R, and all the 8-bit/16-bit(?) goodies I am sure to obtain. I figure I would like to keep the discussion off of HuCards (I have some Namcot, but will probably end up getting a Turbo-ED for most of them), and shmups (since there are plenty of topics about that on this forum).

So what does that leave? The rest! Not necessarily the digital comics, the visual collections, and the mahjong games, because I do not speak Japanese or care about those things.
But the rest of the rest!

CLICK ON THE TITLE TO JUMP TO A MINI-REVIEW!
I will try to update with a review every time I beat a game.

Current Collection:
  • Brandish (Nihon Falcom) - Dungeon-Crawling RPG
  • Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (Konami) - Action Platformer
  • CHŌ JIKŪ YŌSAI MACROSS 2036 (Masaya/KLON) - Shmup
  • Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams (Hudson, Success) - Shmup
  • Dungeon Explorer II (NEC) - Dungeon Crawler/Action RPG
  • Efera and Jiliora: The Emblem from Darkness (Brain Grey) - Top-Down Action-Adventure RPG
  • Exile aka XZR II (Telenet, Working Designs) - Sidescrolling Action RPG
  • Forgotten Worlds (Capcom, NEC) - Shmup
  • Gate of Thunder (Hudson Soft, Red) - Shmup
  • Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou (Konami) - Shmup
  • Hellfire S: The Another Story (NEC Avenue, Toaplan) - Shmup
  • Horror Story (NEC Avenue, Toaplan) - Shmup/Run-n-Gun
  • Image Fight II: Operation Deep Striker (IREM) - Shmup
  • J.B. Harold Mystery Series #1: Murder Club (Riversoft) - Adventure
  • Kaze no Densetsu: Xanadu II (Nihon Falcom) - Action RPG
  • L-Dis (Masaya/KLON) - Shmup
  • Last Alert (Red) - Overhead Shooter
  • Magicoal (Hunex) - Top-Down Action-Adventure RPG
  • Mugen Senshi Valis (Telenet) - Sidescrolling Action
  • Moonlight Lady (NEC Avenue) - Top-Down Action-Adventure RPG
  • Popful Mail - A Magical Adventure (Nihon Falcom) - Sidescrolling Action RPG
  • Rainbow Islands (Taito) - Platformer
  • Seirei Senshi Spriggan (Compile) - Shmup
  • Sorcerian [Dragon Slayer 5] (Nihon Falcom, Victor Musical Industries) - Action RPG
  • Summer Carnival '93: Nexzr Special (Kaneko) - Shmup
  • Super Darius (NEC Avenue, Taito) - Shmup
  • Super Darius II (NEC Avenue, Taito) - Shmup
  • Valis III (LaserSoft, Telenet) - Sidescrolling Action
  • Valis IV (LaserSoft, Telenet) - Sidescrolling Action
  • Wonderboy III: Monster Lair (Hudson, Westone) - Shmup/Platformer
  • Xak Gaiden: Fray in Magical Adventure (Micro Cabin) - Overhead Action, light shmup elements
  • Ys: Books I & II (Nihon Falcom, USA) - Action RPG
  • Zero Wing (NEC Avenue, Toaplan) - Shmup


Games I've Tossed:


OLD OP:

This has been a pretty solid lineup, with Ys I/II by far and away taking the lead in terms of fun factor and quality. However, there are surprises from Exile and Valis III, though they have their share of design flaws.

I decided to jump into some non-native friendly RPG fare, hoping that the games were good enough to justify my not understanding the story. In this regard there are games like Xak I&II, Legend of Xanadu, and Auleria (it looked too interesting to not try out). I am taking a gamble with this and might end up selling them if I find them so incomprehensible or unavailing; some have been easy with only light consultation with a FAQ (Xak I&II), while others feel incomprehensible (Xanadu).

I was wondering if anyone had more experience with these types of action games/action RPGs. I am currently looking into:

Efera & Jiliora (Brain Grey)
-Brothers Duomazov can't get enough of this one, and it looks sort of interesting, but a little drab and the Niconico videos don't entirely impress with a lot of walking and a seemingly stilted combat. I could be wrong.

Moonlight Lady (?)
Almost no info about this one, other than that it is an action RPG.

To keep this thread not entirely devoid of worthwhile content (a hard feat!), I will try on my part to assess these games as I play, beat (or at least play enough if not good!) to see if they are worth anyone else's time, seeing as in general decent reviews of these old PCE-CD games are hard to come by (and are usually worryingly positive - e.g. Valis Visual Collection: 93%!!!). I've beaten about half of the list above, and have at least some opinions on what these games did right and did not do right.

I welcome any and all members to contribute, sharing their joys (and miseries) - as long as they are strictly related to the PC-Engine.
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Last edited by EmperorIng on Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:18 am, edited 23 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:26 am 


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Dungeon Explorer II. The music alone makes it worth it.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:35 am 


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Specineff wrote:
Dungeon Explorer II. The music alone makes it worth it.


Damn, beat me to it.

In that case, I'll suggest Faussete Amour. It's a side-scrolling action thingy with an eclectic soundtrack and grappling hook mechanics. Ever played a game with grappling hook mechanics that wasn't awesome? Didn't think so.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:03 am 


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Gradius II, comes with extra stage, extra difficulty level (Arcade or Professional is the top one, I forget, top difficulty level also has an ending seen in no other port), and super awesome rocking intro not seen in any other version.

Dracula X, need I say more, it's Castlevania, good good Castlevania.

Valis IV, IMO the best of the series, and 3 playable characters to choose fro, an extra stage at the end, great music, great cutscenes. Long game too, I like it's level designs as well. Just shame Yuko is no longer one of the selectable characters, but is instead a goddess.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:28 am 


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Slightly off topic, but is Metamor Jupitor's soundtrack floating around anywhere?

On topic: I highly enjoy Lords of Thunder/Winds of Thunder and Spriggan.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:41 pm 


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Quote:
Ever played a game with grappling hook mechanics that wasn't awesome? Didn't think so.

I reluctantly have to disagree with that sentiment in regard to Fausseté Amour. I don't mind slow-moving, methodical platformers at all, in fact I tend to really like them. But this game moves at a soul-crushing, disconcerting, comatose pace. If the heroine would saunter any slower she'd probably move backwards in time. It's not so much walking as it is miraculously travelling whilst standing still. I'd love to hear BIL's thoughts about this particular game seeing that he is not too fond of Dracula XX's movement which, in comparison, is blazing fast. :mrgreen:

Kaze Kiri is yet another disappointing title. Interesting concept that wears off startingly fast in the face of drab repetition and an overall bloated length. It gets better by the time one reaches the last third or so, but by then the better part of an hour has been squandered.


As for decent shooters, I'd say these are all at least firmly above average:

Spoiler: show
CD Denjin – Rockabilly Tengoku
Choujikuu Yousai Macross 2036
Cotton – Fantastic Night Dreams
Forgotten Worlds
Gate of Thunder
Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire
Gradius II
Image Fight II
Kiaidan 00
L-Dis
Nexzr
Rayxanber II
Rayxanber III
R-Type Complete CD
Seirei Senshi Spriggan
Side Arms Special
Star Parodier
Super Darius
Super Darius II
Super Raiden
Sylphia
Winds of Thunder


No real point in playing R-Type Complete CD or Side Arms Special if you happen to own the HuCard ports (which are significantly better), they're still fine on their own, though. Some of the other ports are stupendously solid (Gradius II, Super Raiden, Forgotten Worlds) and should be checked out even if one has the opportunity to play the original arcade games.

Moreso mediocre, yet still enjoyable (or partly great and partly noticeably flawed):

Spoiler: show
Avenger
Cho Aniki
Download 2
Hellfire S
Metamor Jupiter
Psychic Storm
Spriggan Mark 2 – Re-Terraform Project
Steam-Heart's
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:45 pm 


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Why would you say R type and Side Arms a significantly better on Hu Card?
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:58 pm 


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R-Type Complete CD lacks the second loop (as it should be the case in a game called Complete CD), has an absurd amount of flicker that is not present on the HuCard and also features a remixed soundtrack that completely ruins the mood of the game. I cannot fathom how anyone would think it's a good idea to include stock effect police sirens during the boss themes, for example. It has some cut scenes that may or may not be interesting, but I'll always skip them anyway.

Side Arms Special has slight load times after boss fights and an overall lackluster soundtrack just like the original arcade game whereas the HuCard Side Arms presents one of the most energetic stage 1 themes I've ever heard. The so-called Before Christ mode on the CD is all around awful in my opinion, thus there is no real benefit to play this version over the HuCard.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:25 pm 


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Perikles wrote:
I reluctantly have to disagree with that sentiment in regard to Fausseté Amour. I don't mind slow-moving, methodical platformers at all, in fact I tend to really like them. But this game moves at a soul-crushing, disconcerting, comatose pace. If the heroine would saunter any slower she'd probably move backwards in time. It's not so much walking as it is miraculously travelling whilst standing still.


I think it's pretty fun once you get used to the (admittedly glacial) walking speed. Your limited movement options give the later bosses a real memorizer quality, which I like. Also, the grapple-to-flying-cartwheel maneuver is quite satisfying to spam. Makes the game not seem as slow paced. :mrgreen:

I'll agree with you on Kaze Kiri, though. Never saw the appeal in that one...
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 2:10 pm 


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Are you sure the CD version has more flicker? I owned both and thought they were the same.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:43 pm 


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It was certainly the case with my playthroughs. Especially the second boss and the fifth stage suffered from nasty flickering on the CD, whereas my runs on the HuCard went along just fine, albeit there were a few instances with a modicum of flicker (mostly on the fifth stage as well). Could be a technical issue, of course (mayhap the CD was slightly worn?), but I definitely noticed a different behaviour depending on the format.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:19 pm 


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Horror Story (Demon's World) is one of my favorite Toaplan games. The home version has a few slight differences & is pretty much just as great as the arcade. Simple little game, but so cute & atmospheric!
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:37 pm 


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Faussete Amour might be a game to try out on emulator first and foremost... not that I'd be able to afford it. I kinda wish I could find a cheap Cotton Fantastic Night Dreams; maybe one day.

Quote:
If the heroine would saunter any slower she'd probably move backwards in time. It's not so much walking as it is miraculously travelling whilst standing still.


Ha, well said.

Down Load is a pretty fun game, though the sequel, despite its "kill cyber Hitler in cyberspace" plot seems to get mixed reviews. Apparently there's some quality there?

Bloodreign wrote:
Valis IV, IMO the best of the series, and 3 playable characters to choose fro, an extra stage at the end, great music, great cutscenes. Long game too, I like it's level designs as well. Just shame Yuko is no longer one of the selectable characters, but is instead a goddess.


I don't know why in a game series with as bare-bones a plot and mythos as Valis I would care that I can no longer play as Yuko. It must be something with the design, I don't know.

===

As promised, something no one asked for:
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Exile / XZR: Toki no Hazama

ImageImageImage

Exile in its setup and aesthetics reminds me a lot of those weird one-off anime OVAs that used to proliferate the market in the home-video market boom. Take an ostensibly historical setting, populate it with all sorts of weird demons and monsters, and throw in a ham-handed moral about religious persecution, and you've got a story! However as Exile goes on, it compounds its own misunderstanding of its source material (ie real life) to by the end no one knows what the hell is going on anymore. In that sense it's entertaining but probably not in the way its original creators intended.

The game's mechanics are far more straightforward. Simple overhead exploration puzzles with light RPG managing (items, weapons, etc.), and side-scrolling action stages. The former are a nice change of pace, while the latter offer up some competent fun. There is something satisfying about Sadler's huge swing arc. Unfortunately the action scenes are hampered by labyrinthine stages filled with maybe 2 enemies endlessly spawning over and over again, and dull repeating backgrounds. The bosses shake things up, but are often quickly dispatched with little effort.

I think the biggest thing holding Exile back is that it is very short and easy, to the point where it feels like the ending was rushed and missing content. The final areas of the game are very bare-bones visually, puzzle-wise and story-wise. Magic obliterates most enemies and is very plentiful. Aside from the first dungeon, the game rarely poses a threat. And despite the fun visuals, monster design, music, and story, the game feels like it's missing that little extra push into greatness. It's fun for a first playthrough and worth experiencing at least once to see a slightly weirder side of RPGs.

Quality Ranking:

High
Middling
Low
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Last edited by EmperorIng on Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:18 pm 



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Just to even be able to play the uber-rare Sylphia Super CD-Rom2 shmup title or even the Arcade CD-Rom2 shmup of Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire on the slick PC Engine gaming platform is not to be missed. Sure, I've seen an original copy of Sapphire sold for a mere $250.00 USD here on the Trading Section of Shmups sometime back.

Of course, an Turbo Everdrive flash cart will fulfill your needs to play all the CD-Rom2 and Super CD-Rom2 gaming needs as it doubles as a handy System Card easily in addition to being able to play all the cool PCE Hu-Card game roms & various PCE utility apps + homebrew PCE gaming titles as well. The only thing is that the Turbo Everdrive doesn't have is, any on-board RAM (so it can't be used as an "Arcade Card Duo/Arcade Card Pro" is moot at this point in time). I'd suggest picking up an Arcade Card Duo and burn a CD-R copy of Sapphire to see if it's up your alley as to whether or not it's worth picking up the genuine article of Sapphire to add to your PCE shmup collection. Not to mention, it's necessary to have some optional NEC Tennokoe Bank Rom-Ram Hu-Cards on hand as the Duo's paltry internal 2,000 kb memory manager won't be enough if you have many PCE gaming titles that do take advantage of memory saves, high score saves and high score initials saves as well.

Working Designs localized the sequel of "Exile: Wicked Phenomena" RPG for the U.S. TurboGrafx-16 & Turbo Duo platforms back in 1993. It fetches a pretty penny nowadays. The cut scenes shown are breath-taking and jaw-dropping gorgeous to behold/oogle at.

TTI's very last official TurboGrafx-16 Hu-Card release under the proper game title of "Magical Chase" commands a premium these days as it got a very limited distribution in early 1994. Back in February/March of 1994, the American based Toys-R-Us stores were selling brand new copies of MC for a mere $19.99 USD -- how cool was that? With a handy Turbo ED setup, playing either the original JPN version of MC or the TTI variant of MC is totally worth it in the end. Best bang for the buck easily without having to break the bank (or your wallet/purse for that matter).

PC Engine Fan X! ^_~


Last edited by PC Engine Fan X! on Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:31 pm 


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If you have Valis II and III, I'd recommend IV. I like it best, probably.

And Rondo of Blood is probably the best game on the entire system, so you gotta get that.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:38 pm 


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evil_ash_xero wrote:
And Rondo of Blood is probably the best game on the entire system


I bet you haven't played Akumajo Dracula x68
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Japan an almost perfect society always threatened by outsiders....................

Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 4:36 am 


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That's not on the PC Engine.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 5:22 am 


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Strider77 wrote:
That's not on the PC Engine.

Fuck me I read that as "best in the series"

Shameful.
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RegalSin wrote:
Japan an almost perfect society always threatened by outsiders....................

Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:10 am 


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Caravan modes of Seirei Senshi Spriggan are like no other shmup known to me. Even by Compile sandards, it's pretty out there.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 5:49 am 



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Definitely nab Buster Bros if you like Pang gameplay. Cotton Fantastic Night Dreams is also not that expensive. You'd probably also like Ys III. I'm also surprised Terraforming hasn't been mentioned yet.


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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:04 am 


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o.pwuaioc wrote:
I'm also surprised Terraforming hasn't been mentioned yet.

There is very little to relish in Terra Forming aside from the concededly beautiful graphics. Dozens and dozens of inconsequential enemy waves enter the screen only to get vaporised by the homing shot makes for an atmosphere not entirely unlike Strike Gunner S.T.G. on the SFC. Since there is no real level design (only two out of the eight stages have actual terrain) the game gets exquisitely boring. The final stage is a tad better (the more so as it finally forces the player to use the charge shot which is outright useless otherwise), but not that much, really. I'd compare it to something like Arrow Flash, MD Heavy Unit (I do like the PCE port), Toy Shop Boys, Terra Cresta II, Super SWIV or Thunder Spirits: it's not terrible, yet completely forgettable.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:38 pm 


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I haven't spent a lot of time with it, but I really like the PCECD version of Gain Ground which is quite different from the other home ports I've played.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 5:37 am 


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If I want titles like Cotton and Spriggan some purging of my other game libraries is probably in order...

PC Engine Fan X! wrote:
Just to even be able to play the uber-rare Sylphia Super CD-Rom2 shmup title or even the Arcade CD-Rom2 shmup of Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire on the slick PC Engine gaming platform is not to be missed. Sure, I've seen an original copy of Sapphire sold for a mere $250.00 USD here on the Trading Section of Shmups sometime back.


Ha ha, I don't have the type of money yet to be purchasing too many games in the triple digits. Or maybe I do, but I'm not mentally prepared for such an endeavor. :oops:

Quote:
I'd suggest picking up an Arcade Card Duo and burn a CD-R copy of Sapphire to see if it's up your alley as to whether or not it's worth picking up the genuine article of Sapphire to add to your PCE shmup collection. Not to mention, it's necessary to have some optional NEC Tennokoe Bank Rom-Ram Hu-Cards on hand as the Duo's paltry internal 2,000 kb memory manager won't be enough if you have many PCE gaming titles that do take advantage of memory saves, high score saves and high score initials saves as well.


I've been thinking of picking up a Tennokoe card, but I've heard that their batteries are starting to go bad. Is replacing them an easy affair?

Quote:
Working Designs localized the sequel of "Exile: Wicked Phenomena" RPG


I have XZR II: Janen no Jishou, and while I agree that the cutscenes look good (though I am not a fan of Sadler's lazy-eye redesign), the game has thus far exasperated me with its glitches, bugs, and poor design.

===

Image

Xak I&II

ImageImageImage

An enjoyable remake of a hitherto-unknown series of Ys-knockoffs on the MSX computer line. To make the game not-such-a-Ys-clone, they added a button to hold out your sword while you bump into enemies! And jumping. Jumping is pretty pointless other than to jump around wildly when walking on lava or poison to minimize damage. Occasionally it's used for some very finicky miss-and-you-die platforming segments. Combat mostly consists of pinning enemies up against the wall and watching the life slowly drain out of their healthbars - strangely satisfying.

I couldn't understand the story outside of the intro explaining how you are descended from the god Duel who sealed away some demon Badu, who's now rearing for trouble. Getting through the game only required looking at a FAQ a few times. There's a few spots where a YES/NO choice requires a NO answer, lest you get a game over. They are both in Ys boo- I mean Xak I.

The biggest problem the game has is its uneven difficulty curve. The dragon boss pictured above will not be harmed whatsoever unless you are at level 14. I got to the dungeon at level 9 and wondered why my wall-pinning strategy was not working. The game pads itself out with grinding. However this shoots the game in the foot because grinding renders the bosses and enemies trivial. After this dragon, bosses rarely live for more than a second, including the evil demons sealed away for 500 years. It undermines the fun visuals, music, and feeling of progression as your stats soar into astronomical levels of strength.

It's a good thing the game is cheap. I'm glad I played it but was left wanting more.

Quality Ranking:

High
Middling
Low
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 5:07 pm 



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For EmperorIng,

It's doable to replace the internal backup battery but at the expense of tarnishing/opening such a beautiful Tennokoe Hu-Card itself. I bought one back in 2000 brand new and it still saves the ol' PCE game saves...knock on wood (but I do know that the backup battery will, eventually, "bite the dust" one of these days). I think there'd be a huge PCE collector's market for such a dedicated 3rd-party produced PCE flash memory card without the need for a backup battery using NVRAM -- even saving to a handy micro-SDHC card setup for safe-keeping purposes/posterity would be slick/cool in my book. Still hasn't materialized/happened yet...it'd certainly sell like hotcakes fresh off the griddle, indeed.

The optional NEC Memory Base 128 backup interface box (for use with any of the three PCE Duo variant consoles: Duo/Duo-R/Duo-RX) has a whopping 128,000kb of storage space but only a certain number of PCE games take advantage of it (whereas with a Tennokoe one, it'll save all the standard PCE game saves on either Hu-Card or CD-Rom2/Super CD-Rom2/Arcade CD-Rom2 formats with ease). Is powered by a pair of double "AA" batteries (which'll croak sooner rather than later as well). For some really odd reason, trying to use a Memory Base 128 setup with an TTI released Turbo Duo console (circa 1992) console won't work whatsoever...strange but true.

PC Engine Fan X! ^_~


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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 4:51 pm 


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Always liked the Shubibinman games.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:06 am 


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I have some more CDs coming in on top of what I've already played and/or beaten; I'll have to start getting my thoughts in order for reviews.

GaijinPunch wrote:
Always liked the Shubibinman games.

I've only played the third one, and I think it is a very fun (albeit easy!) title. It is brimming with a lot of imagination.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:44 am 


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EmperorIng wrote:
I have XZR II: Janen no Jishou, and while I agree that the cutscenes look good (though I am not a fan of Sadler's lazy-eye redesign), the game has thus far exasperated me with its glitches, bugs, and poor design.


I thought the XZR was dropped for the JP console releases? Exile was called XZRII for the computer versions and Exile 2 is actually the third game.

edit: It looks like I was confused by the katakana. It seems the same katakata is used for the PCE games as for the original XZR. Though, at the same time, the katakana is very close to sounding like "Exile", as well.


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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:02 pm 


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I thought it was time to bump the topic with a good game. :)

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Fray in Magical Adventure ~ Xak Gaiden

ImageImageImage

I am surprised that I like this out of all the Xak titles thus far (maybe Xak III will change my mind?). It's about as easy as Xak I&II, but it feels like it is balanced around its easiness, instead of weird and wacky difficulty spikes and pathetic bosses (like the other Xak games). Moving past the lower difficulty, there's a lot to like in the game! The music soundtrack is appropriately jaunty and light, the graphics are colorful, and the game moves along at a brisk easy pace. Japanese knowledge is not really needed, as talking to everyone in a town is usually sufficient to open up a new area.

The action scenes/dungeons (?) are straight-forward manual-scrolling shooter stages, a la Twinkle Tale (though not as good or varied). The levels all have a fun gimmick to them - whether it's a mechanical castle with moving gears, waterfalls with falling platforms, or a mine with requisite minecart ride. The town portions have weapons, armor, and magic spells to buy. Magic spells are nice, except that you can't really save them - charging your shot up to max power will release it automatically. I suppose it's not a big deal with how easy the game is, but it's a bit of a shame. The bosses are all pretty fun, and the final set of bosses is actually fairly tricky (until you discover an unfortunate safe spot for one of the last boss's forms).

The game is full of personality, and the large chunky sprites help out with this immensely. Occasionally the game will throw in a forced shooter stage, or a surfing stage for added fun. Though I've said it's easy, Fray might be a little harder - or rather, it's more consistently challenging than Xak's cakewalk. Thanks to a teleport spell you can always leave a level on the verge of death, but that didn't hamper my enjoyment all that much. I wasn't expecting to enjoy a game on the lower side of difficulty, but this one is definitely worth firing up Ootake for a spin!

Quality Ranking:

High
Middling
Low
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:22 pm 



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If you like strategy RPGs, there's Langrisser, aka Warsong on the Genesis.

(PC Engine CD version plays quite differently and has redbook audio and speech cutscenes as you might expect.)


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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:39 pm 


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Here are some I don't think have been mentioned, though I don't know if this thread is limited to RPGs/strategy or not.

- Splash Lake, a great puzzle game

- Alzadick, a time attack-only game. It's fairly neat, but there was never a full version.

- Dynastic Hero, which is a CD version of the Genesis Wonderboy game and has a brilliant CD and well-produced soundtrack

- Moto Roader MC, a good one-screen top view racer. Don't be put off by the Moto Roader name, it's much better than the first two.

- Space Fantasy Zone (unreleased, you'll have to find a leak)-- mash-up of Space Harrier and Fantasy Zone, and as charming as it sounds
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