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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 2:05 am 


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Jeneki wrote:
Some of the older releases like Double Dragon 1 and Rygar were before hi-score mode got added. At this point they're probably too old to bother patching it in. Not a deal breaker though and I enjoy them as is.


They did just add high score and caravan to City Connection. I don't like that game much. Very finicky controls. Rygar US is in dire need of an update. It's behind the Japanese release and lacks the JP version and scanlines.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 9:07 am 


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I was wondering why Hamster's release on ASO II / Alpha Mission II is so much more frustrating than I remembered; the ship does not seem to always quite register pickups, it keeps ramming into enemies and bosses shoot much more projectiles than I remembered.

I booted up my MVS cartridge on my cabinet, and despite it being slightly garbled graphically (vertical white lines all over the screen), I was doing 500% better than on ACA version on my Switch.

Yep, the ACA version has noticeable input lag that hampers the gameplay little bit. Also, ACA seems to be way more difficult for some reason, which is evident by looking at enemy bullet patterns on both versions and comparing. I checked the settings on both on my MVS cartridge and ACA's settings screen, and they seem to match. AFAIK the ACA version should be the same as the MVS cartridge, so there should be no difference. I don't know if there is a flaw in emulation or if the MVS rom has some multiple revisions I am not aware of. But as of now, even my damaged MVS cartridge is more fun to play than the Hamster version, which is a pity.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 1:26 pm 


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MJR wrote:
I was wondering why Hamster's release on ASO II / Alpha Mission II is so much more frustrating than I remembered; the ship does not seem to always quite register pickups, it keeps ramming into enemies and bosses shoot much more projectiles than I remembered.

I booted up my MVS cartridge on my cabinet, and despite it being slightly garbled graphically (vertical white lines all over the screen), I was doing 500% better than on ACA version on my Switch.

Yep, the ACA version has noticeable input lag that hampers the gameplay little bit. Also, ACA seems to be way more difficult for some reason, which is evident by looking at enemy bullet patterns on both versions and comparing. I checked the settings on both on my MVS cartridge and ACA's settings screen, and they seem to match. AFAIK the ACA version should be the same as the MVS cartridge, so there should be no difference. I don't know if there is a flaw in emulation or if the MVS rom has some multiple revisions I am not aware of. But as of now, even my damaged MVS cartridge is more fun to play than the Hamster version, which is a pity.


Interesting. I really struggled to enjoy ACO II/Alpha Mission II when playing it for the first time recently, via the ACA release. Chalked it up to being just a refined version of the same engine and team which/who pumped out the pretty tedious Ghost Pilots (I'm probably completely wrong about that) but to hear what you say suggests it's just a surprisingly poor port that is the problem. A rare miss for Hamster perhaps?


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 4:49 pm 


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I always had the impresson the Switch version of ACA NeoGeo had issues not found on the PS4... I remember Kiken mentioning its Metal Slug being overclocked to compensate for input lag, which is most definitely not the case on PS4. If anything, it's accurate to a fault there, with all of the MVS cart's most extreme slowdowns and input drops, eg st5 boss's pincer rocket pattern. MSX, MS3 and Shock Troopers are similarly dead-on to my carts.

They're also quite old at this point. Maybe it's similar to the teething issues M2 experienced with the earlier revisions of Darius Gaiden on Switch? It'd be nice to see ACA-NG get a global freshening-up at some point - particularly as it seems the line is done for now, pending further licensing.

TNZS up now on JPSN, gonna enjoy when I'm home as per usual Wednesday nights. Image
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:35 pm 


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First time I played TNZS was an NES rental .. I remember being amused by the whale boss. Fun times. Wasn't even aware it was an arcade game until much later.


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 Post subject: WELCOME 2 HEAVEN
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:38 pm 


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tbh, all I really know about the game is lots of cool peeps here love it (always a good sign!), and apparently there were at least two major arcade revisions - with the SMS ver (never played it) based on "A," and the MD cart which I've had for a while, based on "B."

Hmm. At any rate, there's just the one version at bootup - will wait for experienced ornithologists / WALRUS KILLAS to report in. Feels rad though! Instantly in love with the Saigo/Slug-styled free player/enemy overlap. This being '88, I almost wonder if IREM were influ - ahh, there I go again, forgetting Saigo's blueprint Kage (another Taito legend) had it from the off. :cool:

EDIT: Oh shit - I wonder if Gun Frontier's formidably-titled boss BGM "Welcome To Heaven" takes its name from TNZS? :o A portentous phrase in knockdown dragout coinop context, at any rate. Image

EDIT2: 30hz attack + jump buttons = New Dresden Story :shock:
Spoiler: show
Image


Might leave those alone. :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:43 pm 


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Damn, those critters never saw it coming. Kiwis evolved to fly. :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 7:11 pm 


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Whale fight legit surprised me O__O

Mild actual spoiler:
Spoiler: show
Guess Taromaru wasn't the first to bring that Old Testament Jonah action :lol:


Sweet Jesus, this is a lot shootier than I'd expected :o Rad, especially with the super-sharp collision and pinpoint controls... the aesthetic made me think of Mizubaku, but where that one hews to BB-styled "constructive violence" (enemies taken down by the after-effects of your main attack, rather than direct impact), this is a lot more apt to have you blast your way out of trouble. Image

Enemy docks, Auckland: THEY THOUGHT THEY WAS SAFE Image Givin' em some of that SAS frogman action Image
Spoiler: show
Image


And the vehicle-jacking, god damn. :shock: Caught a chump in the dome with me ARRERS then stole his UFO and smoked all his buddies en masse Image
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Last edited by BIL on Wed Jan 25, 2023 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 7:37 pm 


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Nice! If there is something I love about the arcade version of New Zealand Story, it's the endless rabbit hole of secret areas, shortcuts and levels, which never really all made their way onto the home ports, except maybe taito memories / legends which I suppose was emulation. That's the version I played the most.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 8:30 pm 


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I tried out both the new and old versions of TNZS on MAME. I think it would be nice if they added the old version to ACA. Surprised they didn't. It's practically a different game with the levels. And the enemies are MUCH less aggressive. Boomerang guys won't shoot the moment you're in their horizontal range, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 8:36 pm 


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I was glad to see that I had enough points at japan eshop to get the NZStory.

Old magic was certainly still in, in few seconds I had taken several detours that took me to 3-2, where I died quite quickly, and the kiwi got to the fiendishly devilish heaven level. I had forgotten how HARD this game is.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 9:11 pm 


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Udderdude wrote:
I tried out both the new and old versions of TNZS on MAME. I think it would be nice if they added the old version to ACA. Surprised they didn't. It's practically a different game with the levels. And the enemies are MUCH less aggressive. Boomerang guys won't shoot the moment you're in their horizontal range, etc.


Yeah, I have to admit I'd hoped they would include both revs. Always a bit scattershot, bless 'em. It's not unprecedented for them to patch in other versions later (Darius Extra, Haunted Castle), so maybe they'll surprise us.

That said, for what it is, holy balls this is amazing. :o Each stage is a little self-contained killbox to explore at constant peril and time pressure, with controls simultaneously BB-cuddly (the jumping is so cute) and razor-sharp (blast those varmints, PVT! Image). Haven't seen something this simultaneously adorable yet kill-crazed since The Fairyland Story aka SPINECRUSHER BAKED GOODS LTD. Image (bomb = BOOK OF THE DEAD Image)

SENT / ON AN UNHOLY QUEST Image
Spoiler: show
Image


At first I thought "Why the radar, though...? Nice but there's a dozen other games I wish had it instead..." It rapidly became apparent - it's there so you've always got a rough lifeline to the exit, in the event of impending timeout - itself possible to escape, with enough initiative and nerve. Masterful Taito. Image

Image

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This is what makes a legend!


All these years and I never twigged the whole "flightless bird in flight-integral action game" thing. :mrgreen: Fly like an Eagle, fly like a Tomcat more like. Image
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:46 am 


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Udderdude wrote:
I tried out both the new and old versions of TNZS on MAME. I think it would be nice if they added the old version to ACA. Surprised they didn't. It's practically a different game with the levels. And the enemies are MUCH less aggressive. Boomerang guys won't shoot the moment you're in their horizontal range, etc.


Gonna comment here as well, since BIL did his double post too - there is more than just two versions of TNZS, and I'm surprised there's allegedly an easier(?) version as well? The most interesting version of the game I've run into on PCB starts out with much more expansive stages right off the bat, and give you a ton of those enemies that deal damage on contact, which massively changes the feel of the game, since you need to proceed way more carefully to avoid getting one of those guys in your face - you can't just go in all guns blazing.

I can't remember exactly how many PCB revisions there are (with relevant stage/order differences), and for some reason it is something that is extremely poorly documented. There is one YouTube video out there demonstrating them however, and I think it's like five or so relevant variations. I hope Hamster include all of them!


Last edited by Sumez on Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:52 am 


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Sumez wrote:
Udderdude wrote:
I tried out both the new and old versions of TNZS on MAME. I think it would be nice if they added the old version to ACA. Surprised they didn't. It's practically a different game with the levels. And the enemies are MUCH less aggressive. Boomerang guys won't shoot the moment you're in their horizontal range, etc.


Gonna comment here as well, since BIL did his double post too - there is more than just two versions of TNZS, and I'm surprised there's allegedly an easier(?) version as well? The most interesting version of the game I've run into on PCB starts out with much more expansive stages right off the bat, and give you a ton of those enemies that deal damage on contact, which massively changes the feel of the game, since you need to proceed way more carefully to avoid getting one of those guys in your face - you can't just go in all guns blazing.

I can't remember exactly how many PCB revisions there are (with relevant stage/order differences), and for some reason it is something that is extremely poorly documented. There is one YouTube video out there demonstrating them however, and I think it's like five or so relevant variations. I hope Hamster include all of them!


This is interesting. I checked, and my version of Mame has these revisions:
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:54 am 


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Holy shit :lol:

I'd love to see at least the alt. Japan version added, at some point. ACA Gradius II has a ridiculous number of revs, if I remember right... there's the three at the start menu (Japan Old / Japan New / Vulcan Venture), then in the game itself, there's settings for different revs of at least Japan New. I could be off there, the menus are in Japanese and it's been a while.
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:55 am 


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Udderdude wrote:
First time I played TNZS was an NES rental .. I remember being amused by the whale boss. Fun times. Wasn't even aware it was an arcade game until much later.


It seems to me TNZS is in general much less well known in North America? Where I'm from it's generally considered one of the real big arcade classics most people of my generation are aware of even if they haven't been big into video games since then. Just a household inclusion, alongside games like Bubble Bobble, Raiden, and 1943.

The NES port is extremely good though. From a technical standpoint it is super impressive - handling a massive number of enemies on screen with zero slowdown, and the controls feel completely right. Almost every stage is scaled down a bit in size to account for NES limitations, but consistently done in a tasteful way that I think completely retains the unique identity of every single one of them, making the port an inaccurate representation that still manages to fullfill its goal to complete satisfaction, with the worst omissions probably being lacking most of the "heaven" variations that allow Tiki to regain his last life on death given sufficient skill by the player to reach the secret exit from his near-death experience on the later stages of the arcade game(s).
Also the color palette is incredibly poor, not really able to recapture the lush colorful graphics of the original, but that also feels like a minor gripe given the platform.
Big kudos to Software Creations for making the game work, I think European-made arcade ports to home consoles very rarely manage to reach any kind of worthwhile level of quality, so this one is a rare gem.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:58 am 


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I definitely had the impression growing up that TNZS was more widely-beloved in Europe than NTSCUville; to an extent, the same with Rainbow Islands, and other games that received widely-acclaimed European PC ports. I'd always see them raved over by the same people/mags praising Monty On The Run, Xenon II, etc, whenever I'd visit family in the UK. Then I'd go home and never hear a thing about 'em in EGM, Gamepro, et al... everyone knew Bubble Bobble and Raiden, I'm guessing via the former's NES cart, and the latter's sheer ubiquity in arcades. All this being strictly anecdotal, of course.
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 7:01 am 


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Yes, the US version is called Kiwi Kraze, it's the one I have as well, since the European release is adjusted to account for slower PAL consoles (and I usually play on my US top loader). Bonus video of me trying to go for a high score in that game, by no-missing to the final stage and sacrificing all my lives there in a very boring finale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf1KzOX_Zl0

I think Rainbow Islands is mostly famous in Europe due to the surprisingly good Amiga port. I never saw it on arcade until I tried it at a collector's place around the turn of the century.
Funny enough I've never met anyone here who considers Bubble Bobble an NES game even though the port did exist here. At best people will consider it a C64 game :P


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 7:04 am 


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Ah, I thought I remembered that Kiwi Kraze rebrand. It was either the NES port or some ghetto Froot Loops knockoff I saw one time. :lol:

EDIT: was bugging me about ACA Gradius II, so I did a quick refresh. Title menu is Gradius II (Japan) and Vulcan Venture (World), with this menu found in Game Settings (Yandex OCR translated):

Spoiler: show
Image


I think the last one is an Old/New version switch. This is basically an early rev of what's now universally filed as "Preference Settings" (as the rough translation up top hints).
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 7:21 am 


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Sumez wrote:
Yes, the US version is called Kiwi Kraze, it's the one I have as well, since the European release is adjusted to account for slower PAL consoles (and I usually play on my US top loader). Bonus video of me trying to go for a high score in that game, by no-missing to the final stage and sacrificing all my lives there in a very boring finale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf1KzOX_Zl0

I think Rainbow Islands is mostly famous in Europe due to the surprisingly good Amiga port. I never saw it on arcade until I tried it at a collector's place around the turn of the century.
Funny enough I've never met anyone here who considers Bubble Bobble an NES game even though the port did exist here. At best people will consider it a C64 game :P


Amiga version was good because Andrew Braybrook received (a photocopy of) the original design document from Taito, which was extremely unusual at the time. He also had plenty of time to work on it. C64 port of Bubble Bobble is also unusually well done.

Normally the people who made C64 home conversions only had few weeks to do it. R-type was put together in six weeks I think. And generally without any documentation or source code. Developers might had a coin op cabinet, which they then played and recorded on video tape, but they rarely had any clue about the inner workings of the machine. So in this context, it's a miracle that they managed to put any conversions out at all, and not a suprise that many of them were so terrible.

On amiga it wasn't much better either, except for those Ocean conversions made in France, like Operation Wolf and Toki. The New Zealand Story also had a decent conversion on amiga, if you can forgive the awful push scroll. It even had some of the shortcuts in. That was the version I first played back in the day, and remember getting annoyed the heck out with it.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 9:02 am 


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Funny enough, of the contemporary home ports, the NES version of TNZS probably also has the most pleasing sounding conversion of the iconic soundtrack. Amiga and MegaDrive versions both sound weird. PC Engine one is oddly a bit of a travesty

The NES one, meanwhile, got the Tim Follin treatment.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 9:52 am 


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The C64 port of R-Type was indeed a rush job. Developmemt of the original version, the first level of which appeared on a C&VG cover tape, had ground to a halt. I think the coder of the Spectrum version, Bob Pape, mentioned the dev having a complete breakdown (there's an excellent, free, eBook 'It's Behind You', documenting the development of that port - it's a good read).
In a panic, Electric Dreams turned to Rainbow Arts, whose 'original game', Katakis, had been removed from sale after legal threats due to its similarity to R-Type. In return, Rainbow Arts got to release an altered version of that game, Denaris. Manfred Trenz managed a pretty decent port in the 6 weeks he was given, and Chris Huelsbeck's interpretation of the soundtrack is a corker.
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 11:17 am 


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Sumez wrote:
Funny enough, of the contemporary home ports, the NES version of TNZS probably also has the most pleasing sounding conversion of the iconic soundtrack. Amiga and MegaDrive versions both sound weird. PC Engine one is oddly a bit of a travesty

The NES one, meanwhile, got the Tim Follin treatment.


I still like the NES soundtrack more than the arcade original .. same with Sky Shark. Mr. "I did Silver Surfer on NES" wins again.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 11:48 am 


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 1:36 pm 


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BIL wrote:


Tim Follin! Hoo boy I used to love his tunes in the 80's

He did atmospheric renditions of Ghouls and Ghosts soundtrack for Amiga, which were the highlights of otherwise terrible amiga port.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 3:40 pm 



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Here is some info about the different versions of TNZS, in particular it shows the mix of level sets (scroll down a little). I feel like this is a game that should have all of the revisions far more than many of their other releases where the differences are often quite subtle:

http://gaminghell.co.uk/TheNewZealandStory7.html

Sumez wrote:
I think Rainbow Islands is mostly famous in Europe due to the surprisingly good Amiga port. I never saw it on arcade until I tried it at a collector's place around the turn of the century.


It used to pop up in arcades quite a bit in the UK. Certainly not as common as Bubble Bobble, but my local arcade had it (I think) prior to the computer releases. I remember we were all excited when we found out there was a home version coming, which would often result in huge disappointment, but turned out pretty well in this case.

MJR wrote:
Normally the people who made C64 home conversions only had few weeks to do it. R-type was put together in six weeks I think. And generally without any documentation or source code. Developers might had a coin op cabinet, which they then played and recorded on video tape, but they rarely had any clue about the inner workings of the machine. So in this context, it's a miracle that they managed to put any conversions out at all, and not a suprise that many of them were so terrible.


I think also there was a tendency to focus on the wrong things. Japanese ports to the NES would often focus on getting the gameplay right and sacrifice many of the features of the arcade, where as some of the 8 bit computer ports would be trying to wedge in features that were never going to work on more limited hardware. The C64 version of Buggy Boy is quite a good example of how to do it. It changes a fair bit from the arcade, but the result was a fun, playable game (for the time). But yes, tight deadlines and limited resources from software companies trying to make a quick buck were also heavily to blame.

Udderdude wrote:
Sumez wrote:
Funny enough, of the contemporary home ports, the NES version of TNZS probably also has the most pleasing sounding conversion of the iconic soundtrack. Amiga and MegaDrive versions both sound weird. PC Engine one is oddly a bit of a travesty

The NES one, meanwhile, got the Tim Follin treatment.


I still like the NES soundtrack more than the arcade original


Completely agree. He also did a great job with the Bionic Commando soundtrack on the C64. It starts off like a funkier version of the arcade, then he just completely takes it off in his own direction! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1wsC-YdL-U


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 4:09 pm 


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StrzxgvNuvWvfld wrote:
Here is some info about the different versions of TNZS, in particular it shows the mix of level sets (scroll down a little). I feel like this is a game that should have all of the revisions far more than many of their other releases where the differences are often quite subtle:

http://gaminghell.co.uk/TheNewZealandStory7.html


Godspeed, Gaminghell. ;-;7

Interesting... so according to them, ACA version goes with Japan Old Ver, then. I'm generally not bothered with overseas revisions, but I'd like to see Japan New just for completism's sake. At some point at least, I'm having way too good a time with this to object currently. Image Just discovered the joys of the Jump Install, some IREMesque Metal Storm maneuverings going on up in here! :o
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 8:07 pm 


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AFAIK, US Old is similar to Japan Old and has the same level set. I grew up playing that version and I find it confusing that the US NES version was renamed Kiwi Kraze (though the NES version is actually one of the better ports). Pretty strange presence port wise too with EU getting the bulk of the ports (and some of the better ones) and Japan getting one of the worst ports (PC Engine) and the odd MD port. I wonder if the US version actually had more of a presence in arcades since World verisons are that odd spike revision and a revision similar to the Japan New version, with most of the home ports being based on the Japan or US old revision.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 8:26 pm 



Joined: 11 Nov 2013
Posts: 374
Now I'm curious to crack open the SMS port, given the high quality of Taito conversions there...


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 9:10 pm 


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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 654
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Looks like February 24th is gonna be a Taito release.
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