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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:38 pm 


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For the last week or two when I've found the time and energy for gaming I've been spending it with Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX. Or to be more precise, the JP version Contra: Hard Spirits which is a cooler name because it's combination of Contra Spirits and Contra: Hard Corps...which is also what the game is, being mostly stages from Spirits but with the overhead stages being replaced by ones from Hard Corps. Playing on the Game Boy Player with Game Boy Interface.

I think the game's got kind of a bad rep, but I like it. I'm one of those who doesn't like the overhead stages in Contra III at all (they make me a bit queasy and the controls feel weird) so getting rid of those is a plus for me. The loss of the smartbomb is fine as well, that's not very Contra in my book. And the port does bring in being able to lock your firing direction when moving, which is missing from Contra III for whatever reason. And then there's how in Hard Spirits you can only have one weapon at a time, and not two. Honestly, that's fine as well, you just have to know what weapon to bring to any situation. And accidental weapon changes are minimized due to being able to pick the previous icon when you change.

Maybe it's just my old man reflexes starting to slow down, but it feels pretty hard. I don't think I've yet managed to beat the first stage without taking one stupid hit somewhere. Either an enemy gets a surprise shot off, or the boss does something a bit different than usual, or something else. Stage 2 almost feels easier, but the boss fight is heavily reliant on picking up the Homing weapon and not losing it. Anything else and the fight either takes forever or you die because you're not playing carefully enough.

I was stuck on Stage 3 for a while, and it still gives me a bit of trouble, but I have the route mostly down. Most of my deaths happen here now, against the spinning-drill-thing that you fight when hanging from the bars. Turns out the boss' grappling bits can take you for a ride even when you don't want to.

Little progress on Stage 4. At least I've made it out the initial tunnel and into the fight with the ship.

Can't quite decide what controller I want to use. At first I was using a nice third-party PS2 controller with a PS2->GC adapter, but I think the adapter introduces a little bit of input lag. Then I changed to the Hori Game Boy Player controller, but it's kind of small for my hands and hitting the shoulder buttons isn't quite as comfortable as I'd hope. Then I tried the standard GC controller which is so very comfortable, but the d-pad is tiny and I ended up dying several times on the Stage 2 train bit, when you're forced to jump onto the ceiling and then down, because I kept hitting diagonally down instead of straight down, and you can only drop with a straight-down + jump. Think I might just have to use a different grip with the Hori pad.

I have both Contra Spirits and Contra: Hard Corps on their respective Mini consoles so it'll be interesting to play those (or Hard Corps, anyway) after I've beaten this curious remix.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:39 pm 


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I was playing Hard Spirits a few years back, when I was considering getting a copy. Thought it was an entertaining curio, but ultimately left it alone after the default 1CC. The Shin Contra-styled aim lock is a cool addition, and while it's missing bomb, switch and slide mechanics from its source games, the smaller resolution and fewer (but deadlier) bullets make it play more like oldschool AC Contra anyway. Hard Corps' train zako are actually really dangerous here, where on MD they're just cannon fodder. The lack of the SFC's infamous C+C exploit also gives the other weapons some screen time. I consider C+C a net positive, with it being an expert tool rather than easy cheese, but going without is most definitely a worthwhile change of pace.

It doesn't always work out - Hard Corps' excellent Deadeye Joe and Dr. Crab bosses are heavily nerfed to compensate for resolution and lack of slide, and Spirits' final stage doesn't reach the cinematic intensity of the SFC. I'd still say it's worth a look for diehard fans of the series.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:36 am 



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Randorama wrote:
Bassa-Bassa wrote:
Randorama wrote:


Do you mean that the 120s version is a hack and the 150s version is the official one?


Quick answer: I think so, and probably MAME does contain more information. I remember that the 120s one is reported as a "hack" or bootleg (cannot open the program now). I certainly never remember seeing it in the arcades, and I do remember seeing the 180s and 150s versions (the 150s should be the "new" version, if memory serves).


Just checked the latest MAME. It seems there're only two versions according to the time count. All but what they call New version and New version (hack) have a 180 countdown, with a 120 countdown for these two. Doesn't seem to be a 150 countdown version.


> Edit - This is regarding Rolling Thunder. This thread is crazy.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:31 am 


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BIL wrote:
I was playing Hard Spirits a few years back, when I was considering getting a copy. Thought it was an entertaining curio, but ultimately left it alone after the default 1CC. The Shin Contra-styled aim lock is a cool addition, and while it's missing bomb, switch and slide mechanics from its source games, the smaller resolution and fewer (but deadlier) bullets make it play more like oldschool AC Contra anyway. Hard Corps' train zako are actually really dangerous here, where on MD they're just cannon fodder. The lack of the SFC's infamous C+C exploit also gives the other weapons some screen time. I consider C+C a net positive, with it being an expert tool rather than easy cheese, but going without is most definitely a worthwhile change of pace.

It doesn't always work out - Hard Corps' excellent Deadeye Joe and Dr. Crab bosses are heavily nerfed to compensate for resolution and lack of slide, and Spirits' final stage doesn't reach the cinematic intensity of the SFC. I'd still say it's worth a look for diehard fans of the series.


It's not a half-bad port all things considered. I liked it a lot better than the OG Game Boy port of Contra Spirits they outsourced to Factor 5, but when you consider the fact that Konami managed to pump out three all-new Castlevania game on the same system, then you have to wonder why couldn't they had just made an all-new Contra games for the GBA while they were at it. I always thought they wasted a perfect opportunity to make a prequel game to Shattered Soldier that shows the incident that led to Bill being framed for genocide. The new stage-clear images of Bill and Lance are pretty cool though.

I find it funny they took out dual-wielding in the GBA version, but the player character still has his secondary rifle on his back.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:20 pm 


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BIL wrote:
I was playing Hard Spirits a few years back, when I was considering getting a copy.


Ah, cool. I grabbed it on a whim when I spotted a CIB Japanese copy on eBay for a decent enough price. Might even be genuine, or they sure went the whole nine yards replicating the box, the manual and the registration card along with the cart.

I completely forgot about the slide, which shows how much I've played Hard Corps. I remember reading way back when how the port is impossible due to its removal, but since devs clearly tweaked some things to make it possible, I'm guessing whoever said that just tried their normal route in the Hard Corps stages, realized it doesn't work and proclaimed it broken.

I am fairly certain the Stage 2 boss doesn't have a massive safespot in the left corner in the original, and the count-to-five-and-shoot-you midboss in the same stage actually requires dodging its pokes.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:00 pm 



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Bassa-Bassa wrote:

Just checked the latest MAME. It seems there're only two versions according to the time count. All but what they call New version and New version (hack) have a 180 countdown, with a 120 countdown for these two. Doesn't seem to be a 150 countdown version.


> Edit - This is regarding Rolling Thunder. This thread is crazy.


I have MAME 0.184 and the "rev 3" version has 150 seconds, whereas the "rev 3" hack has 120 seconds. Maybe the so-called "old" version has 180 seconds (I don't have this version, right now). I wonder what kind of mess have the dumpers/MAME team made with versions across different MAME updates :?:
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:49 pm 


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Ghegs wrote:
I am fairly certain the Stage 2 boss doesn't have a massive safespot in the left corner in the original, and the count-to-five-and-shoot-you midboss in the same stage actually requires dodging its pokes.

I'm not sure which boss that is, but there's definitely no lack of massive safespots in the Hard Corps boss fights :)


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:44 am 


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I definitely remember a safe spot in the GBA Contra when you fight the Yokozuna robot at the end of Stage 2. In fact, I think one of its leg attacks can go through you without killing you if you're crouching.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:11 am 


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Jonny2x4 wrote:
I definitely remember a safe spot in the GBA Contra when you fight the Yokozuna robot at the end of Stage 2. In fact, I think one of its leg attacks can go through you without killing you if you're crouching.


Yeah, that's the one I was referring to. The mech even jumps on top of you and if you're crouching (or at least prone) in the corner you're completely safe. Looks kind of silly.

Small breakthroughs: Finally managed to beat Stage 1 without taking a pointless hit, two times even. And I figured out a fool-proof way for dealing with the spinning-drill-thing midboss of Stage 3 - keep the homing weapon from Stage 2, park yourself to the left side, and shoot down - the missiles will hit the vulnerable spot and kill the boss quickly with zero risk. I tend to avoid homing weapons in games so I rarely experiment with them, but this worked out great.

...with the amount of bosses here I should just start using their names to ease confusion. That would make this the first form of the Tri-Transforming Wall-Walker.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:43 am 


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FUCC (・`W´・)

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This close to nailing a nice Metal Slug X 1LC, when my Dual Shock 4's dpad underlay split like a fuckin banana peel, right on schedule. My DS1s and DS2s from the late 90s/mid 00s have never done such bullshit... this however is a regular thing! Now, I (and some poor postie fuck) must risk catching the HIV COOF :shock: I'm sorry post dudes. All digital lately, I swear! BUT I GOTS 2 NAIL THEM 1LCS Image

Struggling with the floppy dick analogue, I decided to take up Metal Slug 2. I have long been perplexed by the violence with which some decry its redux MSX, and so sought insight! Image I will say something right off - MS2 looks better. Its scenery shares MS1 & 3's dry, earthy palette, and their sublime contrast with the blackly comic sprites. The lighting is subtly gorgeous - Mission 1's desert town bakes under a punishing mid-day sun, Mission 3's golden evening sky and copper-gilded night grant its train journey a painterly grace, Mission 4's red twilight plays evocatively off the dingy streets and waterways.

MSX is by no means unattractive - in isolation I think it's frequently the most striking of Nazca's games - but the richer palette (Mission 1's amethyst dawn, Mission 2-2's outrageously purple crypt, Mission 5-2's searing crimson) crosses into the outright cartoony, sacrificing a bit of that stately restraint.

WRT game content, here are my scorching hot takes Image

Mission 1: Arrangement doesn't hit the critical mass of MSX's heaping corpse mounds, but it's agreeable enough. However, it's soundly beaten down by TEH SLOW. No joyous car-crash carnage kickoff for you! The Keesi's formidable presence is wasted here - acrobatic Ayrabs ain't nothin' on the random falling Bull-Chans and erratic jet blasts of its MSX st3 midboss incarnation. Heat haze BG effect is nice, but this'll bite MS2 in the bum shortly... Image

Mission 2: A bit of a nothingburger even in MSX, the relatively deserted pyramid of MS2 is outright sad. Even worse, though, are 2-1's BUGGED HEATSTROKE MECHANICS. Egyptian desert nights are cool to cold, Marco shouldn't be panting! Score 1 for MSX. Still fun going for the genies though.

Mission 3: Mostly interchangeable with MSX, outside of the middle section where you hop trains. Lots of meat added in MSX. I miss its homing tank perched atop the engine, and duelling the aggressive red R-Shobu and its meddling knifemen, and speedkilling the Keesi before its erratic scorch/scoot and falling projectiles can do something nasty.

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Mission 4: THE OUTLIER (#1). I distinctly prefer a few enemy arrangements here. The middle section has a really nice jeep/heavy chopper pincer attack. It's a good use of the two vehicles, more entertaining to parry away than MSX's zako tower (fun to shred from bottom to top, but gone in a flash). The finale's tank rush is less dangerous than MSX's mischievious UFOs, even without the cybernetic reflexes granted by MS2 slowdown... but I also find it a lot more fun. A buffet of flame-spewing shrapnel-spraying demolition whose slowdown merely enhances the explosive gratification.

Image

Kinda suspect how their armour is on par with Giridas', but I like the jeeps' high mobility and wish they hadn't been reduced to a cameo in MSX.

Mission 5: THE OUTLIER (#2). Oh GAWWWD /MOTW. The Slug-free opening is the most profound slowdown I've ever seen. My browser feels like it's going a million miles an hour, after. Even MSX bogs down here, but MS2 steps off the edge into the abyss. I still prefer the deadlier unshielded action. The subway's pincer Di Cokkas, supported by an absolute shit-ton of grenadiers and jump-slashers, are a more interesting threat than MSX's monster tank borrowed from MS1. (not surprisingly, as said monster tank had a matching twin in the first game!)

I Wish To Believe In Love: Things are different here and there, but ultimately the slowdown buries MS2. 6-1 is as rigidly punishing as MSX's, mostly for the lack of HMGs and Iron Lizards, as is the final boss. 6-2's Mars People onslaught isn't as exhilarating or spontaneous with the struggling game speed, despite (AFAIK) even more astonishing numbers of the fuckers.

Weapon Balance: I'd had the impression that MS2 was a plinkfest. Actually, it's generous with HMGs and Shotguns to a degree unheard of in MS1/X/3/4. It's more a case of monotony - the absence of Iron Lizard and Enemy Chaser, the lamer Flame Shot, and a few rare spots where you're left empty-handed (6-1 the most glaring) make it a step less varied and gratifying than MSX.

Cumulatively, Missions 4 and 5 convinced me to rebuy ACA MS2 (had the AES cart for years, went for peanuts BITD). Its slowdown is undeniably busted to fuck, and I'd go with MSX's faster, more uproarious take in a heartbeat if forced to choose, but it's not without some charm. I still think the "2>>>KICK IN BALLS>>>X MUHFUCKA, BITCH IMMA KILL YOU" Image crowd are bizarre, but I at least see where they might be coming from! Image

---

Speaking of ACA, I am eagerly awaiting Obada-san's Guevara, aka the TRVE & HONEST IKARI III. MAME's controls are completely boned, unfortunately - the right analogue is not directional but rather emulates a volume knob, while putting "turn" on the buttons gets a delayed response... you have to hold them down, making overshoots lethally common. Even here, though, the design sense shines. It's a much slower, heavier game than its superbly blitzkrieging FC interpretation, and that's exactly what I want from my AC Ikaris. The handling of POWs (which enemies will not deliberately target, but will quickly mow down to get to you) is intriguing. I'm used to carefully picking my way around them on FC, but here it seems speed is of the essence. With said bad MAME controls I've left it at stage 1, but I'm all in.

Thing what I learned this year: Buying a shitty game feels bad no matter the price, or indeed the space taken up in one's house! Still smarting from that blind buy of ACA Athena. Had to delete the crummy little kusoge, couldn't stand seeing it next to the valorous ARGUS NO SENSHI. Or even the lousy yet relatively commendable Akumajou Dracula AC!

Last week saw the release of blatant misnomer Ikari III. I'm not sure SNK knew how to design brawlers in the late 80s. This is pretty much a topdown Datsugoku, jumpkick supremacy and all. It also suffers from chronic screen edge riding, a big problem with its vicious enemy AI. You could say the same about AC Double Dragon II... but in return for a bit of rote, that game offers tactical, technical, stylishly brutal action. Judging by Janet's 2CC, Ikari III is best spent airborne from start to end, on pain of quick death. Passing up for now.

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Flyer sure is badass though. Also I think Ralf and Clark might be arcade gaming's most inconsistently portrayed dynamic duo (ignoring the hash various Western publishers made of Billy and Jimmy Lee). Ikari II's Clark apparently inspired Robert Downey Jr's Tropic Thunder character. The guy getting the shit kicked out of him above looks like Ralf does everywhere except Ikari III! And I still wonder if it was an inside joke, making Clark's KOF '99 design look exactly like the original Ikari's zako.

Image Image

Sleeveless denim? Baseball cap? Shades? You're all set to cosplay!

Still no Ikari goodness this week, but I'm happy to see Taito's rotary gunslinger The Tin Star (or "Taintster," per google translate :oops:) is out! Dear old Drum always vouched for this one's hybrid of beltscroll action and gallery shooting. With the rotary aiming and 3D movement allowing for agile strafing, it's a unique setup that still feels fresh today. I'll never forgive you for saying it made FC Contra pointless, Drum! The character designs and BGM are curiously Nintendo-esque, to the point I had to check for shared personnel... seems not, but it's a charming production at any rate. And holy cow it's hardcore too, shots flying and varmints dying from the off. After summarily executing everybody in the street, I figured our doughty ol' sherrif was goin' into the saloon to get him a whiskey and some fine lady companions! However, only unbridled slaughters of ever greater magnitude awaited!

Although there's no sharpshooting bonus ala Namco's gallery shooters, outside of the fourth scene's horseback snipe, there's an interesting mechanic attached to kill streaks. Per the manual, enemies freeze up when you nail two in quick succession. Check out the final bar sniper and his window comrades pissing themselves after I went full Clint Beastwood. I was all "gotta stick n' move! wait what" Image It's a really fun, seamless mechanic once you get the hang of it.

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^ Jump on the table for x2 bonus! iframes when hopping on and off, but you're SOL if hit, otherwise!

Chief criticism is definitely the bullet visibility - it's not great, white dots on screaming neon (or grey) being a bad idea. Especially disappointing given its hardware stablemate Wild Western does notably better with a similar palette. However, given the enemies' deliberate firing animations, it's not a total disaster. The third and deadliest scene mercifully has a blue colour scheme, much easier on the eyes.

As usual with their rotary games, Hamster's config options make the best of an innately tough deal. I suggest my usual SNK/Taito setup of putting [jump] on L, [shot] on R, moving with the dpad, and setting [Square & X] and [Triangle & Circle] to a pair of left/right rotations apiece. Leave the former's autofire off for precision adjusts, enable the latter's for quick turns, and use the Right Stick for snap targeting. A gamepad will never replicate a rotary stick or dial, but in my experience, this setup is comfy and will handle just about anything.

An easy pickup for me, the four looping scenes having a vintage Nintendo-esque variety and briskly gaining intensity. Also a nice precursor to the upcoming ACA Sunset Riders, but unlike those noobs going "WAAA WHERES SUNSET RIDERS," I will vouch for this one and its trad STG counterpart Wild Western as worthwhile additions to your library! Wild Guns and Gun.Smoke go without saying, obviously. Image

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*BUP BUP* BIG BOUNS Actually just one shot only! Hold this gun shot, varmint!
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:46 pm 


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Spent a little bit of time with the OG of zombie killing - Arthur and Ghosts n' Goblins.

I've always dug the series (Super is my least favorite tbh), but Ghosts always felt a little rng to me (it really isn't at all), particularly your friend and mine Red Arremer. Imagine my surprise when today I discovered that you can in fact get him to do what you want at least to a point. I will test further, but it might be possible to fuck with his AI even further.

On stage three I was consistently able to get him on the ground for an easy kill. If I ran under him he would land and follow. If he was in front of me (there are several) I would jump up to him and move towards him. That seems to keep him grounded. The one before the dragon again is a run under and he lands behind you.

I'm sure there are at least one or two of you here who can elaborate? Maybe?
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:00 pm 


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Sumez knows his Ghosts (and Ghouls and Super), IIRC. Might wanna check the Makamura Miscellanies thread, I recall some good stuff in there from mikehaggar and Pasky, too! (also, witness the tormented beginnings of the R2RMKF thread! Image)

To this day, other than gawking at the SFC game's stunningly evocative "Rotting Sea" (a better depiction of the pitiless juggernaut that is the open ocean, I've never seen in scrolling action), I've only really put time on Ghouls (specifically the tougher JP version... it bears mentioning, quite a lot less forgiving than the overseas revisions). I always had the impression it was the most reactive, random of the three, and it certainly scratches that itch regardless.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:35 pm 


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I'm a bit confused. How is the JP Choumakaimura harder that SGnG? I heard claims that it's mostly the same as the US version.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:33 am 


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Pretty certain BIL was referring to Dai when he made that statement. As many people here know, the US and World revisions have more lenient checkpoints and some other things.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:40 am 


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WelshMegalodon wrote:
Pretty certain BIL was referring to Dai when he made that statement. As many people here know, the US and World revisions have more lenient checkpoints and some other things.


oops. I was confused because he mentioned both games and my brain was thinking Super Ghouls when he was talking about the original Ghouls 'n Ghosts. I finally picked up another port, the PS1 version, which also includes a port of the JP Chou Makaimura.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:22 am 


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Yep, strictly referring to Dai/Ghouls there. Haven't played the others very much at all.

Oof, think I'll reiterate my caveat of Tin Star's bullet visibility. While I'm loving the game's aggression and agility, they really botched visibility in Scenes 1 and 2. Garegga's naughty bullets that look like shrapnel but otherwise stand out from the BG have nothing on TS's flying semi-visible doom. I genuinely die without knowing what/who hit me if I'm at all distracted. A "black bullets" hack would fix it right up. I particularly like how erratic the enemies' aim can be. Sometimes they're dead-on, others a bit off, others WAY off - not quite deliberately leading the player, but certainly making careless strafing lethal. Good memories of Gun.Smoke's PIG JOE DYNAMITE. Shame there's this needless layer of obfuscation.

Cranking the scanlines to max (A5/B5) seems to help a bit. Don't really wanna start fiddling with my TV's picture settings but I may bloody have to. Image Drum you absentee shitbird, it's always like this! Image You have an admirable eye for the novel, and an appreciation of algorithmic action that influences me to this day, but you always tended to overlook the fundamentals! I perhaps am overly focused on them. Image Still though, bromance from beyond the grave abides - Mach Rider homies 4 life! Image (that's not an endorsement - approach Mach Rider at your peril Image)
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:19 am 


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Stevens wrote:
Imagine my surprise when today I discovered that you can in fact get him to do what you want at least to a point. I will test further, but it might be possible to fuck with his AI even further.

On stage three I was consistently able to get him on the ground for an easy kill. If I ran under him he would land and follow. If he was in front of me (there are several) I would jump up to him and move towards him. That seems to keep him grounded. The one before the dragon again is a run under and he lands behind you.

I'm sure there are at least one or two of you here who can elaborate? Maybe?


It's been a while, but for the two trickiest ones on stage 3 (the one at the checkpoint and the one right before the boss) my trick has been similar, walking below them as they fly over me, and then stopping at what feels like the right spot, and then I'll know what they do afterwards. The other ones you can all maul to death before they even take off.
I never got 100% confident with their AI, but it's no secret that everything they do is based on what Arthur does.

One thing that I find interesting about this game is how most people seem to have their own personal approach to how to deal with everything in the game, but most notable is the stage 3 routing. I don't think I've seen two people play it the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 2:08 pm 


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Sumez wrote:
Stevens wrote:
Imagine my surprise when today I discovered that you can in fact get him to do what you want at least to a point. I will test further, but it might be possible to fuck with his AI even further.

On stage three I was consistently able to get him on the ground for an easy kill. If I ran under him he would land and follow. If he was in front of me (there are several) I would jump up to him and move towards him. That seems to keep him grounded. The one before the dragon again is a run under and he lands behind you.

I'm sure there are at least one or two of you here who can elaborate? Maybe?


It's been a while, but for the two trickiest ones on stage 3 (the one at the checkpoint and the one right before the boss) my trick has been similar, walking below them as they fly over me, and then stopping at what feels like the right spot, and then I'll know what they do afterwards. The other ones you can all maul to death before they even take off.
I never got 100% confident with their AI, but it's no secret that everything they do is based on what Arthur does.

One thing that I find interesting about this game is how most people seem to have their own personal approach to how to deal with everything in the game, but most notable is the stage 3 routing. I don't think I've seen two people play it the same.


I'm good with everything up until the last stage, but still find the second half of 3 an absolute arse!
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 7:58 pm 



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Double Dragon 2 arcade question: what are the factory settings in the Japan Arcade Archives version? Only found online the ones for the US PCB version, and doesn't seem likely that they're the same (difficulty at 3 of 4 when 2 is called "normal" looks like your usual US publisher paranoid correction):

https://www.gamesdatabase.org/Media/SYS ... echnos.pdf

Can't manage to pull off the hurricane kick with consistence, but I'm at stage 5 just with basic combos (difficulty at 2, time at 70). Fun game, but only because it's short and visceral. Too unpolished and too little (new) content to call it good, imho.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:21 pm 


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Full defaults (click for full res):

Image

From the top (translated with Yandex Images):
Number of Lives = 3 (can set 1-4)
Difficulty = Normal (2 out of 4)
Time Limit = Normal (2 out of 4)
Tatsumaki Input = Normal (vs Easy)


Incidentally, I went looking for clarification on Ninja Ryukenden's JP defaults, since the ACA version defaults to "Easy" (1 out of 4). Which is not easy at all - enemy AI is brutally punishing from the get-go. The US manual labels the settings as "Normal/Special1/Special2/Special3." ACA Star Force is similar.

From that point on I quit worrying about Tecmo, SNK and some others (like VS Castlevania)'s use of "Easy" for their defaults, which again are not easy in the least.

I rarely bother with jacking up arcade games' difficulty, notable exceptions being Elevator Action Returns (default AI is a bit snoozy, max difficulty 1LC feels very reasonable) and Shock Troopers (ditto, unless you're playing for score, which I don't). In my experience it's usually an invitation to quarter-munch (see Metal Slug 3's Level 8, which turns the fourth boss's already deadly Angry Golden Needles into a near-impossible shitstorm).

---

For DD2AC's advancing Tatsumaki input, I like to think of the jump arc as a steep diagonal climb, with the Attack button cutting off the ascent quite early in:

Spoiler: show
Image


Neutrals, you want to activate a bit higher up (vital for surviving Doppelganger's bullshit Shun Goku Satsus):

Spoiler: show
Image


Dragon Wind Leg, etc etc... Technos have some badass move names, like that absolute monster that's the official name of the DD2FC knee, I'm just going for ease of reference. Image
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:38 pm 



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Many thanks. So this is interesting - as I suspected factory settings (according to Arcade Archive release) correspond to the PCB's "off" dips position as it's usually the norm, like this:

Code:
Number of Lives = 3 (can set 1-4) >>>>>> off - on
Difficulty = Normal (2 out of 4) >>>>>> off - off
Time Limit = Normal (2 out of 4) >>>>>> off - off
Tatsumaki Input = Normal (vs Easy) >>>>>> off


That's why I set (in Mame) Time limit at 70 (2nd out of 4) and Tatsumaki input at normal despite Mame's default settings, which just follow (erroneously) the US manual. For the number of lives there's a discrepancy, though. I set it at 2 (on - off), though, if only because the original Double Dragon only has 2 lives with the factory settings and the sequel feels so similar (and 1 live (off- off) is just unlikely). Nevertheless, DD had an extra life system which is absent here, so it makes sense if they just give you one more from the beginning. Though I'd love to confirm it with the manual, you never know if Hamster just went with 3 lives for whatever reason and didn't have access to the original manual either, and I'd hate to find out later that I was playing with one more life than intended (the game doesn't seem too hard anyway since the bosses all die with the same technique, essentially...).




Quote:
Incidentally, I went looking for clarification on Ninja Ryukenden's JP defaults, since the ACA version defaults to "Easy" (1 out of 4). Which is not easy at all - enemy AI is brutally punishing from the get-go. The US manual labels the settings as "Normal/Special1/Special2/Special3." ACA Star Force is similar.


Yeah, for Tecmo's games from those years you usually find "Normal/TBL1/TBL2/TBL3" in the Japanese manuals, with Normal being the off - off (and factory) position.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:46 pm 


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Bassa-Bassa wrote:
That's why I set (in Mame) Time limit at 70 (2nd out of 4) and Tatsumaki input at normal despite Mame's default settings, which just follow (erroneously) the US manual.


I can't find an image of it online anymore, but the Japanese factory settings for AC Double Dragon 2 were identical to the US version if I recall correctly. In fact, the game actually came out first in the US and was released a bit later in Japan. In either case, the ACA version differs from both versions.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:05 am 


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Interesting... so EZ Tatsumakis are the default? Gave it a quick go this morning, one-lifed to the last stage before packing it in for now. Being used to 1LCs on the ACA defaults, a one credit clear on the manual's settings feels very doable. st4's time limit seems the biggest threat to a 1LC, as ever. I wonder if that comfy minute I freed up by the end of my default sessions could suffice. Might give it a shot on the weekend. :smile:

Difficulty 3 seems to exclusively affect enemy HP. St1+2's enemies have late-game toughness, and st3+4's are able to survive an extra knee bashing / Tatsumaki. No more cutting motherfuckers down with a single well-placed boot to the temple, booo. Enemy numbers + wave designs are totally unaffected. Flashbacks to DD2FC Hard mode.

Unlike DD2FC Hard, enemy AI is completely unaffected. It's exactly the same as on Difficulty 2, ie bloody vicious.

So the manual's recommended settings make the early stages slightly Euro-bmuppy, and make st4's time limit an even graver threat to one-life clears, but it otherwise doesn't seem that different. I find DD2AC a bit less likeable this way, deprived of its articulately savage early-game knockouts.
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