Crawled back to Viewtiful Joe in search of some instant action. Keep wondering how on Earth a game this difficult, wich such a fancy score system (easily the least penetrable last gen Capcom game I played), scored so many points with mainstream press. Why not Shinobi or Fantavision or... you know. Way more baffling than the Ikaruga phenomenon.
The unique, endearing characters and aesthetic were more than enough to win everyone over, and you just know that 90% of players never ventured too far beyond Kids mode, which is really very forgiving and not difficult at all. You can rack up a decent score in Kids, enough to almost buy out the shop, without paying too much attention to combos and rankings. The Devil May Cry references (and playable Dante in the PS2 version) couldn't have hurt, either.
Surprised that P.N. 03 wasn't more of a hit, considering that it also had a very accessible easy mode--and a sexy female lead with an unlockable thong suit. Guess it was too drab and generic to win the masses' acceptance, and 3D "tank controls" had already become unfashionable.
Speaking of Capcom, I'm playing Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts for the first time, on an actual SNES cart.
My initial reaction was "why the hell does everyone call this the easiest of the original G'nG trilogy?" Sure, your weapons are better, but not being able to fire vertically cancels out a lot of their effectiveness. Platforming challenges were made much tougher to accommodate the double jump. The powered arrows and axe take out most enemies easily, including the usually fearsome Arremer, but their very slow rate of fire is a huge liability. The levels are much longer, which means the space between checkpoints--and the amount of time that one must survive--are greatly extended. Retrying the autoscrolling raft ride in Stage 2 quickly wore on my patience.
I guess the reason for the distinction is that a lot of the challenge in the first two games was luck-based, due to the semi-random, erratic patterns of flying enemies. However, all the enemies in Super besides the Arremer are quite predictable. Even if the level design is tougher, practice clearly has more of a payoff towards progression, which is of course a very good thing!