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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 5:27 am 


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That's total madness. Imagine getting smacked midair by a giant scabby blood clot going 300 mph. Not how I wanna go.

Checkpoint milking might be kinda wacky in some games but a no miss rule is kinda rough bc you get a great score, but took one death and now your score doesn't even count? Also tough to enforce in an environment without video proof of every run.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 5:47 am 


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Then again, a single unplanned death is gonna put you out of contention vs a pro suicider, anyway. :lol: (a regular Kevorkian no Senshi :shock:) But yeah, nomiss play is probably a baby/bathwater scenario.
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:31 am 


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Marc wrote:
BIL wrote:
I think it helps that your base power and speed are both (by arcade standards) very improv-friendly, and you get lots of instant-save bombs, so a suboptimal pick isn't the death sentence it can be in stricter games.


Yeah definitely. It's very friendly for a coin-op, you don't feel completely hopeless after a death, and bombs are plentiful. It feels almost relaxing playing alongside Varth :D


And THIS is what happens when you comment after playing the first 3 levels of a 7/8 stage game.

This one turns into a complete ASSHOLE on the 4th stage, and the slight bullet wibble and weird hitbox suddenly becomes a lot more problematic. Shame.
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:01 am 


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This one


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:15 pm 


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Rastan78 wrote:
I'm guessing the Switch version has the goods. Speaking of Rygar check out this insanity:

https://youtu.be/jpuALusl0T4


Doh. Technically, I triple dipped. I recently purchased the PS4 version a second time since I had some credit left over from G Darius. The Switch version also has the stuff missing from the long in need of an update US Arcade Archives on PS4.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:29 pm 



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Marc wrote:
Marc wrote:
BIL wrote:
I think it helps that your base power and speed are both (by arcade standards) very improv-friendly, and you get lots of instant-save bombs, so a suboptimal pick isn't the death sentence it can be in stricter games.


Yeah definitely. It's very friendly for a coin-op, you don't feel completely hopeless after a death, and bombs are plentiful. It feels almost relaxing playing alongside Varth :D


And THIS is what happens when you comment after playing the first 3 levels of a 7/8 stage game.

This one turns into a complete ASSHOLE on the 4th stage, and the slight bullet wibble and weird hitbox suddenly becomes a lot more problematic. Shame.


Yeah, I was super excited about this one initially (Thunder Dragon) but man it gets stupid halfway through. It's great for a few levels. I did credit feed my way to the end.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:27 pm 


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Arcade Archives: Thunder Cross II out of nowhere. :cool:

Image

Spoiler: show
Image

Image

Image


Never actually played this one, though I've been a fan of Metal Yuhki's killer OST for twenty-odd years. Don't let his cute name fool you, RAGAMUFFIN's theme is a symphonic metal juggernaut.
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:35 pm 


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What? Holy shit! I thought we'd never get the second game.
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:39 pm 


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Same! This is IIRC the fourth Konami STG home debut on ACA, after Flak Attack, A-JAX and Trigon, but it never gets any less surprising. I'm particularly hyped about 'em, since these games all seemed so cruelly forgotten by the late 90s, despite their storming presence on the Konami Shooting Battle ASTs, alongside household names like Gradius, Salamander and Axelay.

Only XEXEX missing now Image Image

EDIT: God damn, the OST slays every time. Image Explosive, plaintively thundering orchestral metal.

>HEAVY METAL BOMBER
>DOG FIGHT III / STG BATTLE VER Image
>THEME OF RAGAMUFFIN
>BATTLES OF BATTLESHIP / STG BATTLE VER Image
>AT THE FRONT


You can see why Naoto Shibata gravitated to Yuhki's compositions for those ASTs. I like to think Yuhki himself was geeking out, having snuck in a (very) mildly camouflaged cover of Shibata's Bound To Break for AC Ninja Gaiden's first stage BGM. :cool:
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:50 pm 


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Thundercross 2 is awesome. Like a kinder/gentler take on the Konami style horizontal shmup. The weapon system is neat too. I love the fake 3D perspective on some of the backgrounds. Definitely one I need to put more time into, I will beat this game (and the first one) someday.

As with a lot of Konami games though, you'll want to play the Japanese version since the U.S. one got fucked with.

And yeah, its got a kickass OST worth listening to outside of the game as well.
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 5:16 pm 


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Is out now :cool: I'm liking how the last few ACA releases have shown up a day earlier on the PSN store than the official ACA site, works for me. Image

(if anyone else uses JP PSN for these games, searching " アーケードアーカイブス " will get the full ACA set up.)

To Far Away Times wrote:
Thundercross 2 is awesome. Like a kinder/gentler take on the Konami style horizontal shmup. The weapon system is neat too. I love the fake 3D perspective on some of the backgrounds. Definitely one I need to put more time into, I will beat this game (and the first one) someday.


Very cool game, indeed! Fed some credits to stage 5, will enjoy giving it some proper time later in the week. I like how, despite TC never being a major franchise, it clearly makes an effort to feel like a sequel running on beefier hardware. Reminds me of Crime Fighters 2, that way. Much more characterful than the efficient first game, lots of chunky midbosses and unique setpieces. Immense onscreen firepower (from player and enemies alike) without a hint of slowdown, either.

As you say, as with TC1 vs Gradius/Salamander, it feels a bit more consolised/pick up and play than something like Trigon's rigorously tough Toaplanesque. TC1 was a surprise early 1CC for me, when I'd just gotten back into arcade gaming circa Gradius V - this feels a bit sterner, and better-matched to the innately generous Option system.

Sad but not surprised to hear the US revision is boned, haha. That's basically Konami tradition. Incidentally, ACA: Akumajou Dracula recently updated to include the infamous US rev, with its two-hit deaths. Even the JP one is no great shakes (a dull, mean-spirited shell of FC Dracula's fine twitch/method balance), but the US one is just hilarious. God damn, you just know someone BITD was hammering through it for them SHAWEET TUNES, too :shock: (I would say shaweet GFX but tbh, past the first two stages' cool scenery, Haunted Castle largely looks like shit :lol:)

Was interested to see TC2's art lead later later worked on Gradius V, as a producer. I'd always assumed Type 3's spacing Options were a Thunder Cross reference, and possibly the Fire Blaster weapon, too (though IIRC, the original MSX Gradius series had similar) - however, now I'm wondering if GV's Blaster Cannon Core setpiece was referring to TC2's own asteroid field. Instantly familiar, hiding behind rocks to avoid being scorched. Very clever use of meddling mech snipers in TC2, I like how they'll try to smoke you out of cover (which of course is just asking for a deft vertical counterattack via Option).

Image

I miss the days of flamethrowers and rocket launchers and biomechanical scorpion tails. Image Not sure if this is one of those games where 1P and 2P differ, but I like the added option to invert the player sides (so 1P can use the red ship, and 2P blue). :cool:
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2021 9:20 pm 


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Thunder Cross II was a seriously positive surprise for me. I'd never even heard about the game before when I randomly came across the PCB for pennies BITD, so I just picked it up out of curiosity.

A gentler alternative to Gradius describes it well, and that's not really as bad as it might sound.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 12:22 am 


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I've heard Space Manbow started as a port of the first Thunder Cross, and some Manbow influence made its way back into Thunder Cross II. That bit in stage 6 where you use meteors to shield yourself from a bigass doom beam comes straight from the last stage of the MSX game.

I remember liking Manbow more, but it's been a long time... Now that I'm (hopefully) more able I should play it and TC2 back to back.
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 7:30 am 


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Damn, stoked for this. Managed to 1CC the first one on it's JPN PS4 release, not quite up there with Konami's best, but still decent enough. Pretty sure my local arcade had this in back in the day.... it gets harder to remember the older I get :lol:

I'll pick this up as soon as I can unpack my shit :(
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 7:56 pm 


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Mortificator wrote:
I've heard Space Manbow started as a port of the first Thunder Cross, and some Manbow influence made its way back into Thunder Cross II. That bit in stage 6 where you use meteors to shield yourself from a bigass doom beam comes straight from the last stage of the MSX game.


Interesting... I love seeing ideas wend their way through the Konami STG ecosphere like this. Taito and IREM have some good crossover material too (R-Type occupying a Gradiusesque position to Imagefight/X-Multiply/Gallop... and Mr. Heli being conspicuously POW Armouresque), but neither dev have quite the console/PC heritage of Konami. Cool to see material originating on MSX make it all the way to the game centers. Apart from the series' featuring on the Shooting Battle ASTs (favourites from back in the Napster days), the first real cognisance I had of Thunder Cross was a GameFAQs Gradius V board post mentioning Type 3's roots. That really surprised me, at the time I still didn't get how storied this genre and similar arcade staples were.

---

RE: Thunder Cross 2 P1/P2 ship differences, professional badman and ACA playtester TZW_Guile posted something interesting on his twitter:

Spoiler: show
Image


I can't read a word of Japanese, but it seems to say the Red ship has higher DPS? At any rate, I wish all home arcade releases let you swap 1P and 2P like this does. :cool: Even stuff that's purely cosmetic can be a nice change.

Glancing at a few JP streams, I notice they tend to use the Red ship, and also, tend to limit themselves to three Options - rank control, I'd guess?
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:28 pm 



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Sengoku Strider wrote:
The Life Force/Salamander release is an insane amount of value for the price.


Do you know how this compares to the version on the Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection which I believe was also developed by Hamster for Konami? The collection itself is not rated well, but has been going on sale for about $6.49 CAD, which is cheaper than the standalone Hamster release.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:26 am 



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I'm just never getting Raiden am I Hamster.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 1:41 am 


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baconcow wrote:
Sengoku Strider wrote:
The Life Force/Salamander release is an insane amount of value for the price.


Do you know how this compares to the version on the Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection which I believe was also developed by Hamster for Konami? The collection itself is not rated well, but has been going on sale for about $6.49 CAD, which is cheaper than the standalone Hamster release.


Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection lacks the JP Life Force (which has a Gradius style power up bar and changed plot) and only has the US Life Force (plays more like Salamander with power up items and no bar) and JP Salamander. Steam collection is not rated well because of compatibility issues (won't boot up on some computers), though it also lacks in game tate. Actual emulation seems fine.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:28 am 



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nvm
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:06 am 


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Johnpv wrote:
I'm just never getting Raiden am I Hamster.


my feelings exactly.

Also, is it me or Thunder Cross fares a lot better as a 1988 title, al things considered, than the half-baked sequel in 1991?
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:25 am 


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Their release schedule got boned by 2020 like most publishers', but given they've managed the console debuts of Cybattler, Thunder Cross II, Halley's Comet, Markham, Crime Fighters and Saboten Bombers (!) out of nowhere, plus a much-appreciated non-Oretachi Gesen Quarth - I'm pretty happy, all told. At this stage it wouldn't surprise me at all to see TD2 or Gunnail pop up.

It'll show up eventually. Not just talking out my ass - this time last year, I was stewing over crummy Ikari III and Datsugoku getting released instead of Guevara, the actual Ikari III. :wink: Probably with Raiden II and DX announcements in tow. Normally I'd call this insanely optimistic, but then Zero Team is now playable outside of its PCB for the first time ever, so I'll allow myself a bit of speculation.

Turrican wrote:
Also, is it me or Thunder Cross fares a lot better as a 1988 title, al things considered, than the half-baked sequel in 1991?


If I had to pick one, I'd go with TC2. It gets going faster, and its stage/boss design is more aggressively demanding of good Option usage. If anything, I'd call TC1 overlong for its mild difficulty level. I flattened it almost by accident for my first coinop STG clear, and these days I find its combination of sleepy intensity level and considerable duration the most imposing thing about it. That said I do enjoy it (so nice I bought it twice - even that shitbird Oretachi Gesen disc was welcomed at the time). Ala certain Compile STGs, even dominating an easier title can be entertaining when the weapons and feedback (and preferably soundtrack) are good.

Both are steadfast B-tier games, although frankly, I like some things about them more than the marquee Gradius/Salamander/Parodius titles. Lack of crushing slowdown goes well with the pickup/play difficulty, their controls and collision are tight (or at least no more subject to Konami's BigBox foibles than the A-listers), and their OSTs are outstanding, in TC2's case also quite unique. Metal Yuhki has an undersung nous for integrating orchestral gravity and pop/metal hooks, also heard in Gemini Wing, later confirmed by Rondo of Blood.

I'd trade ACA TC2 for ACA Parodius Da, but then I've a soft spot for the more obscure STGs from iconic devs. I find it endearing that the business was once robust enough to even support tributary shooters, not just the safest tentpole brands.
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 1:43 pm 


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Turrican wrote:
Also, is it me or Thunder Cross fares a lot better as a 1988 title, al things considered, than the half-baked sequel in 1991?

Yep, the original is by far the better of the two. It has much more charm, is more playable, and has a really cool Konami golden-era soundtrack.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:52 pm 


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Is there a consensus on which version of Thundercross 1 is better between the Japan and US versions? I know they have different powerup systems. Is this another case of Konami fucking with the game to make it harder for the US market or is it more of a V-V/Grindstormer situation?
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:03 pm 


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Thunder Cross (US) removes the Option spacing mechanic, because this was apparently too much for Gaijin brains, and replaces the various special weapons with a generic bomb (which is called, in what I hope is a reference to the ship's "Blue Thunder 45" moniker, "LIL BABY."

Thunder Cross USA: Fat Man and Lil Baby Image

It also swaps the order of stages 1 (outskirts) and 2 (city), for whatever reason. Just Konami's usual bullshit habit of chopping things out of US releases, and/or jacking up their difficulty by dubious means. There's also Trigon's US version Lightning Fighters (removes the titular powerup from 1P games), XEXEX (removes most of the powerups, ditches the traditional 1HKO+lives system for a one-and-done lifebar), Super Contra (removes the awesome second loop), Crime Fighters (deletes the critically useful Back Kick button), Metamorphic Force (adds a Gauntlet-styled timer), Haunted Castle (now a 2HKO game), and more I can't recall offhand. Konami were idiots when it came to export releases (this also goes from their console division, which tended to just leave stuff in Japan altogether).
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:06 pm 


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^The stage order for 3-4 and 5-6 have been reversed too, with battleship stage taking the number 3 position as immortalised by the R-Type series and the much harder speed stage now coming after the slightly easier rock/magma stage. The removal of rear shots makes stage 7 a toughie too.

As BIL described with the Double Dragon operator's manual, I think the tweaking of the [US] version was done specifically for ((arcade)) reasons; at a glance the game looks far more accessible with your ship keeping 2 options at all times and with it being much easier to max out weapons. Playing [JP], I tend to avoid the super weapons. I'm not sure how they effect rank, but they sure do clutter the screen up and hide those enemy bullets. Of course, the placement of the mine enemies in [US] is purely to cause maximum frustration and it doesn't take a genius to realise that if maybe I got my buddy here to put a quarter in too, we could just bomb past all of them. Your 3 Lil Babies are restored at the end of each stage.

It's an interesting companion piece to [JP] vers. and definitely worth a second look. Just a shame that the version I got with Anniversary Collection has extends permanently disabled.
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:10 am 



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BIL wrote:
Same! This is IIRC the fourth Konami STG home debut on ACA, after Flak Attack, A-JAX and Trigon, but it never gets any less surprising.


The emulation quality was poor, but Flak Attack actually made an earlier appearance on Microsoft's Game Room service for the Xbox 360.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2021 6:40 am 


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Oh wow. :o There were quite a few other Konami lesser-knowns on there that I hope ACA gets around to (Battlantis, Devastators, Finalizer, Missing In Action), and some I'd flat-out never heard of (Strategy X sounds interesting). Shame to hear the emulation wasn't great - it was around that time I wasn't taking a second look at anything not handled by M2. Took me years to give ACA itself a go, after Hamster's own PS2 Oretachi Gesen fiasco. It's been a long strange trip back to the respectability of the PS1 days, when they were reprinting Raiden DX and Wolf Fang! And, uh, one-half of Raiden Project. >_>

Sly Cherry Chunks wrote:
Playing [JP], I tend to avoid the super weapons. I'm not sure how they effect rank, but they sure do clutter the screen up and hide those enemy bullets.


In both games, it seems their best use is the bluntest, most brutishly willy-waving screen clearing :oops: DPS is awful, with no pointblank capability, but their total piercing ability can steamroll otherwise convoluted areas. It's like the anti-Scramble/Super Cobra :cool: That turret n' zako-infested cavern ain't shit after... NAPALMIC FUMIGATIONS :shock: If a boss is coming up, I'll avoid them like the god damn plague!

From scoring standpoint, they also cause the "?" icons to spawn at the front of the queue. I wonder if they're deliberately something of a poisoned chalice, in that regard.

EDIT: OH WAO Image AYKSHUALY, while TC2's Laser and Flame ain't shit (they seem make my bosses take 4x as long), Crush can mash a boss up!

Spoiler: show
Image

Spoiler: show
Image

Spoiler: show
Image


A MIDBOSS, too!

WTF is with the robo-animal theme. Scary shit. ALIENS must've appropriated terrestrial biomechanics for their own war machines, or some shit. Love the head swivel action and prehensile TONGUELAZOR on st4's boss DINOSAUR JR. (Metal Yuhki loves his tunes!) EDIT2: Hey, waitaminute. :shock: st6 boss is kinda Manbow/Mambo-esque, itself. Got some MSX-driven cod-Darius going on. Force even has a chameleon, too!

I notice Yasushi Takano, aformentioned TC2 artist and later Gradius V producer, is credited for "Special Design" in Vampire Killer (MD). I wonder if VK Medusa's killer multi-sprite tail was influenced by RAGAMUFFIN's at all. Stage 5's piston crusher setpieces can't help feeling familiar, too. Takano's also credited for Quarth's title graphic, one of the great idiosyncrasies of Attract Mode canon.

THE DELICATE BALANCE OF GRAVITY HAS DISINTEGRATED
Spoiler: show
Image


God damn, I love seeing this golden age Konami stuff finally getting official home releases decades on. Filling in those stubborn gaps. Image

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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:35 pm 


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I love Quarth/Block Hole.

It's so difficult that I'll never beat it, but it sure is fun.
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:18 pm 


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Aye, Quarth brings the heat. I was playing it every day for over two weeks before I could crack the top-50 in hi-score mode. There's some good players out there.
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 Post subject: Re: I'm so glad that Hamster's Arcade Archives are a thing.
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 4:33 pm 


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Wow, both Thunder Crosses get a lot more intense when you're deliberately using the special weapons to spawn "?" capsules. I think I just walked all over the first game BITD with x5 T (aka BACKSHOT). Although they seem lucrative, I'm a little wary of assuming that's how 2 score - thinking of Garegga's stage 1 rails ("u can blow them up 4 medals!") that you'd be a fool to waste bombs on with BIRDFORT looming. Still, quite promising.
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