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 Post subject: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2021 7:55 pm 


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Hello all,

I quite like Iron-Tank, Guerilla War and have ikari no yousai on the Super famicom. Does anyone have any other recommendations for these types of games on the NES and FC?
I know of Fortified-Zone/ikari no yousai 1 & 2 on the GB, but are there any others worth looking at?

Cheers.
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2021 8:06 pm 


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On FC - Guevara is almost certainly the best. Beautifully consolised conversion. SNK were wise to ditch the AC's crushingly hard rotary shooting for something more immediate and sprint-paced. Still haven't nailed a good all-POWs no-miss, your guns are so massive and the enemies so relentless I inevitably wing a couple. Great Tank a close competitor, with its charmingly massive chibi-European theatre map.

The third in-house FC effort from SNK (for the love of God and all that is holy, avoid Micronics' Ikari and Dogosoken like the plague - they are soul-crushingly dire. stick with Hamster's superb ACA versions, there) is Ikari III. Much like the (nowhere as enjoyable) coinop, it's technically not a "shooter," but the pacing of enemy waves and the overkill that results is unmistakable. While the AC ver has you wafting away at handfuls of obnoxiously tough foes, here you're God-hammering scads of the fuckers into the grave with every rocketing jumpkick. Recommended, just make sure to skip the uncharacteristically tepid st2 ninja midboss. How To Do So

For GB, I will cite Totsugeki! Ponkotsu Tank aka Trax, unreservedly. Well, one caveat: tap the button to rotate your turret, don't hold it (ungodly slow). Super solid. Certainly not arcade-tough, but it's one of those home efforts that captures the committedly destructive spirit of a coinop STG. By HAL, better known for Kirby, sharing those games' deceptively hard-hitting cartoony violence. Hits look, sound and feel like they hurt, and the final stage's city block-razing god-tanks are pound-for-pound some of the most obscenely wanton destructioners I've seen, any platform.

Assuming SFC's off-topic, but on the off-chance, Kiki Kaikai is world-class topdown shooting, and while The Firemen might not look like a topdown STG at first glance, it is in fact some of the most riveting topdown seek/destroy ever developed for home console. Killer performance piece!
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2021 11:53 pm 


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I do all my top-down shooting on the Gameboy famicom
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 6:01 am 


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The music in Totsugeki! Ponkotsu Tank reminds me of the Bonk series. The composer did the music for Bonk's Revenge, IIRC.

Half of the GB Contra aka Operation C is top down and that game is highly recommended for some on the go (or even on the SGB or whatever you use to play GB games) action.

BIL, have you played that GBC Frontline sequel? I remember it being decent, but I didn't play it very far. From what I remember, it played more like Commando than Frontline.


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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 6:13 am 


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I do it on the famicom Gameboy you HEATHEN

There were some top-down Goemon games on these platforms, but I don't know if I'd recommend them.

Ganbare Goemon: Karakuri Douchu [Famicom] - Have to clear same set of stages 8 times to see best ending, which takes hours. No true bosses. Also has MSX port, which makes provinces more unique and adds a proto-Ebisumaru character, but has problems of its own.

Ganbare Goemon 2 [Famicom] - Adds the actual Ebisumaru (maybe?) and some side-scrolling segments.

Sarawareta Ebisumaru! [Game Boy Color] - Less convoluted than the Famicom games, though there's still lots of running around and fetch-questing. Little danger from enemies, more from falling into water. Localized version is on Konami GB Collection Vol. 3.

Kurofune Tou no Nazo [Super Game Boy] - I could go into how awful this game is in detail, or I could sum it up in one sentence: from the creators of Castlevania Legends
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 7:08 am 


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One of note is Penta Dragon on Gameboy. Cutesie top down shooter / mazerunner hybrid.

I didn't play it for long but what I remember of it is that it's a bit too mazelike for a game with combat as simple. Prepare to get lost and end up fighting the same enemies over and over etc. Still not a full appraisement as I didn't give a huge amount of time, so probably worth a look in an emulator for the concept if nothing else. Also has a fun aesthetic, very reminiscent of cutesie fantasy anime like Dragon Half. There's a super nes sequel that I think is an action rpg brawler or something (didn't look too good from a brief look but I didn't play so I dunno) with promo art by masamune shirow.
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 11:43 am 


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BIL wrote:
On FC - Guevara is almost certainly the best. Beautifully consolised conversion. SNK were wise to ditch the AC's crushingly hard rotary shooting for something more immediate and sprint-paced. Still haven't nailed a good all-POWs no-miss, your guns are so massive and the enemies so relentless I inevitably wing a couple. Great Tank a close competitor, with its charmingly massive chibi-European theatre map.

Yes, I have played it many times - think it has the title Guerilla War outside of JP.
BIL wrote:
For GB, I will cite Totsugeki! Ponkotsu Tank aka Trax, unreservedly. Well, one caveat: tap the button to rotate your turret, don't hold it (ungodly slow). Super solid. Certainly not arcade-tough, but it's one of those home efforts that captures the committedly destructive spirit of a coinop STG. By HAL, better known for Kirby, sharing those games' deceptively hard-hitting cartoony violence. Hits look, sound and feel like they hurt, and the final stage's city block-razing god-tanks are pound-for-pound some of the most obscenely wanton destructioners I've seen, any platform.

I had not heard of this - very good fun indeed :) I shall look at getting a copy.
BIL wrote:
Assuming SFC's off-topic, but on the off-chance, Kiki Kaikai is world-class topdown shooting, and while The Firemen might not look like a topdown STG at first glance, it is in fact some of the most riveting topdown seek/destroy ever developed for home console. Killer performance piece!

I have kiki kaikia on the SFC - it's not bad. I recall The Firemen on the SFC but never actually played it - looks decent though.

Came to my mind other decent FC similar games: Heavy-Barrel - I really like this port - and one other that I've forgotten :D

Thanks for the tips, Bil.
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2021 11:45 am 


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BrianC wrote:
The music in Totsugeki! Ponkotsu Tank reminds me of the Bonk series. The composer did the music for Bonk's Revenge, IIRC.

Half of the GB Contra aka Operation C is top down and that game is highly recommended for some on the go (or even on the SGB or whatever you use to play GB games) action.

It's very nice music.

I have Contra here on the GB too.
I actually use a Bitt Boy to play GB games and a Super Game Boy on the SFC.
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 11:55 pm 



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Operation C on the Gameboy is better than it has any right to be.
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 12:06 am 


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Oof, a triple-crown of forgetteries lie ahead!

BrianC wrote:
Half of the GB Contra aka Operation C is top down and that game is highly recommended for some on the go (or even on the SGB or whatever you use to play GB games) action.


Completely forgot GB Contra! It's superb, and while its box is the tiniest it's also the manliest. The second topdown stage is obscenely crunchy carnage, and going OT a sec, the final stage's vertical autoscroller schools FC Super Contra's st4 equivalent. I really dig the free runs down test-tube lined corridors, whose monstrous occupants ofc burst out for summary blasting. Just as grimly satisfying as Hard Corps' similar sequence.

Quote:
BIL, have you played that GBC Frontline sequel? I remember it being decent, but I didn't play it very far. From what I remember, it played more like Commando than Frontline.


You know, I either forgot it existed, or forgot Skye mentioned it. :o Thanks! Sounds interesting... a very underappreciated game, Front Line has always seemed to me. A good four years between it establishing the topdown rotary army shooting template, and SNK/DECO massively popularising it via Ikari/Heavy Barrel.

MintyTheCat wrote:
Came to my mind other decent FC similar games: Heavy-Barrel - I really like this port - and one other that I've forgotten :D


Jackal (NES) slipped my mind - I've never played its FDS version Akai Yousai: Final Command (EDIT: not Ikari no Yousai, that's Fortified Zone's JP title! cheeky bastards, come to think of it :lol:) - but it's apparently very different from the NES cart. No horizontal panning on FDS, just straight vertical scroll, for one thing. Sounds preferable, tbh... one of the NES version's few flaws is its screen-edge riding in a couple spots, mostly st3's laser barricades.

I've come to really dislike horizontal panning in vertical scrollers, unless it's handled very carefully, and I mean character nailed to the screen center at all times. Currently nailing down a Guevara (AC) no-miss, while dabbling in the otherwise very nice Alpine Ski - both games where you take your life in your hands, moving laterally in un-memorised (sometimes even memorised) stages.

This minor flaw aside, it's superb. Comparable in quality to Umechan Team's indispensable Salamander/Contra/Gradius II/Super Contra carts. I'd put it just behind Guevara, and it has excellent co-op just like that one. I wish it got a bit tougher in the loops (coulda used some more intense resistance while picking up POWs) but ala the similarly unchanging Super Contra, what's here is great.
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Last edited by BIL on Tue Mar 09, 2021 4:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:59 am 



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BIL wrote:
I've come to really dislike horizontal panning in vertical scrollers, unless it's handled very carefully, and I mean character nailed to the screen center at all times.

I like the shmup standard camera x = player x / 2 (or 3 or whatever).


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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 5:41 am 


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NES Heavy Barrel has kind of a kitschy feel to it. Enemies just disappear after shooting them and memorizing is the only way to tell what the power ups you'll get, unlike the arcade. I still kind of like it, but it does lack polish.


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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 5:47 am 


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Always had the impression it shared personnel with Bad Dudes' NES version. Slightly patchy object movement, odd pacing barricades (waiting for the screen to scroll in HB / waiting for the screen to descend in BD), similar musical tone.

I too like it quite a bit - the weapons feel massive, the sprites are chunky (love those squat tanks n' helis), and while I wish you weren't held back by the scroll speed, there's a real sense of carnage, enemies collapsing and exploding all over as you rumble past. DECO's signature fiery action BGM helps, too. The roving horizontal/vertical/arena format gives it a little variety, something Guevara and especially Great Tank really ran with (such panoramic stage designs, in that game).

TBH, I like Bad Dudes well enough too. Neither's what I would call must-have, but I think arcade-loving Famicom aficionados could get some enjoyment from them.

(kinda cute how there's a "DECO pause sound" just like there's a Konami one :mrgreen:)
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:39 pm 


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Licorice wrote:
BIL wrote:
I've come to really dislike horizontal panning in vertical scrollers, unless it's handled very carefully, and I mean character nailed to the screen center at all times.

I like the shmup standard camera x = player x / 2 (or 3 or whatever).

Shmups / forced-scrolling vertical shooters usually end up feeling claustrophobic without some horizontal play. That might be taking one degree of freedom too many from the player. In a Commando clone you can at least push-as-you-please.
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 3:04 pm 


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The Guevara (AC) 1CC really crystallised my dislike of games with shoddy horizontal panning.

Crystallised into roughly:

"Dear Game Designers,

If you don't know how to - or simply don't care to - balance your scrolling action game for camera panning (the classic axis of incompetence and negligence, where the difference becomes purely academic), kindly do a flip, while bequeathing your post to someone with a shred of professionalism.

Best + 2x middlefinger + eat pussy sign,


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Guevara is categorically harder than Ikari and Dogo... almost entirely due to surrounding their punishing tactical STG with lethal offscreen fug. Having memorised it front to back, it plays great now - but without that rote mindmap, holy fuck, you're blind. Its deadliest straits aren't calculated gauntlets or onslaughts (big kamikaze hitboxes are big! "THE FUCK JUST KILLED ME" say those driven back!) - but innocuous pans straight into jack-in-the-box zako / farcically invisible monster tanks.

st4/5 (an onslaught, and a gauntlet) are technically hard like doggone boners, but lay all their danger out on the table. Like a boner!

Needless to say though, that's not a fault of panning itself - just sloppy implementation of it. Search And Rescue's far superior camera pans up and down and all around to good effect, the player/enemy design and screen proportions keeping fug in check. TANK's not really an Ikari, despite Ralf, but its ambitious pan is far friendlier than Guevara's, too, for similar reasons. And I remember the jaw-droppingly cinematic Thunder Zone ("SAYANORA, PAL") playing smooth as hell, in the couple afternoons I spent with a buddy's board.

Albeit TZ is yoko, vs the aforementioned tate affairs. Blimey I almost forgot. Why must God torment me with these shitbird DECO "SUPER FUN TYME" licensees? :evil:
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 10:47 pm 



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I meant how in vertical shmups the camera starts to pan as soon as you start to move, no matter where you are on the screen, but you're not glued to the center until the panning hits the edge either. Your position on the screen changes immediately.

The problem to me seems to be when there's like an invisible box on the screen and when your character pushes against some edge on that box the camera starts to pan.

In the former all movement always reveals new information (most relevantly, threats). In the latter you're already at a position of risk when you start to reveal new information.

I guess the former doesn't make much sense if the game has more than ~2 screens of horizontal space, but I was thinking in the context of Guevara where IIRC the maps are mostly vertical affairs with a bit of horizontal room to break the pace.

Gluing the character to the center of the screen is the most player friendly, and probably the best option when there's a lot of space to move around in.

There's a few things you lose though, compared to what you can get with looser schemes:

1. Extra information in the direction the player is facing (intuitive, if you think of the camera at least partly representing the player's field of vision)
2. Extra risk due to extra aggression (the edge riding case).
3. The screen as the arena of battle (I like this in beat em ups)

I created a demo in unreal engine of a pretty complex camera system that tried to combine both 1 and 2. Basically if you were facing right, the camera would be offset to the right, but when you started moving, you would move just a bit past screen center. It worked alright with analog control.

However reading BIL's criticism of similar schemes made me abandon this, at least for now.


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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2021 11:45 pm 


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Licorice wrote:
I meant how in vertical shmups the camera starts to pan as soon as you start to move, no matter where you are on the screen, but you're not glued to the center until the panning hits the edge either. Your position on the screen changes immediately.

The problem to me seems to be when there's like an invisible box on the screen and when your character pushes against some edge on that box the camera starts to pan.


Guevara (AC) does the latter; you need to leave the screen center before the camera will budge. The former would be a massive improvement, even if the design issues (read: ninjas) weren't addressed. Actually it sounds like heaven. :lol:

The game actually keeps you relatively clear of the edge - it's nowhere as bad as some Technos brawlers, to name another iconic mid-80s arcade dev (as ever: even if edge-riding was meant to generate tension, it's stupidly short-sighted and reductive. these games are perfectly threatening without resorting to cheap shots). However, even this small amount of drift is badly compounded. Ikari's twitch-proofed action relies on its Gain Ground-prefiguring bird's eye. Battlefields can be zoned at a glance, and everything moves with punishing weight. Guevara has you blundering laterally into fug, hobbled as ever, then piles rote memo ninja spawns on top.

Amazing Tactical Action, or Memorise Where The Invisible Ninja Ambush Spawns Are.
Spoiler: show
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To clarify - if not precognitively sniped, those dudes don't burst out until you are practically on top of them. If they emerged from the distance I'm shown torching them, I wouldn't be typing this. Hell, it would probably be more interesting, since you'd have to blast them before they got shots off, without nailing the POW too.


Guevara actually wraps horizontally, though you can only do this at a handful of points, including the one pictured above (go in from the left, as shown - from the right, you'll be taking fire from downscreen, AND getting ninja'd, making the POW rescue onerous). Worst offenders by far are stages 2/3. st1 is pretty much a tank rampage, while st4/5 are classic vertical death-grinds with only a bit of edge pan. It's also a blisteringly compact affair, ultimately a snap to get the layouts down. Still hard as fuck even then, I don't mean to sound down on it. Substantial hardcore that needed a minor sandblasting, like many of its vintage.

I love all these games, just gets my goat when I feel like an unpaid playtester in need of time displacement equipment and an Ahnuld. I'd make these shitbirds recode at gunpoint, any interfering bigwigs would catch lead, which would generate massive hype (THE GESEN MURDERS), the combination of smoothed-out games and buzz saving them all from the mid-90s hardcore recession. Image
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2021 12:03 pm 


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Jackal is decent - that's the other one I had forgotten on the NES. I was playing it earlier this year too.

I always liked Heavy-Barrel on the NES - that mega weapon is amusing first time you get it - the bullets are gigantic :)
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2021 6:01 pm 


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Quote:
Totsugeki! Ponkotsu Tank aka Trax


My copy arrived and I played it: fantastic use of what they had - cheers, Bil.

I also ordered another GB Shmup Aero Star.
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 Post subject: Re: Gameboy famicom top-down shooters
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 12:30 am 


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Happy to spread the word! :mrgreen: Really deserved another look on FC at least, that one.
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