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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:55 am 


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It'd be nice if people stopped throwing around phrases like "plays like a fangame" or "reads like a fanfic". These phrases mean the same as "lacks polish", i.e. nothing. Different people just have different predispositions. When you start bringing out the "fan-" words, you sound like you're attacking someone's predispositions because they happen to be different from yours.

I am indeed talking about this weird R&F to Dracula XX comparison, as well as earlier examples in this thread. Back and forth like this can't go on forever, though I know many would love to do just that.

The correct answer, of course, is that both are great games but easy targets for janky "criticism" by people who have a very specific (and very limiting) idea of how each series is "supposed" to work. Any exceptions to these master rules that happen to be brought up tend to be targeted as problems in their own right... Good God, I'm describing the Sonic fanbase. Oh well.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:38 am 


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it290 wrote:
but it also has great production value (something which XX kind of does in half measures).


I'd agree R&F looks super sweet, and that's definitely something that turned me on to it originally (even if I'm not a fan of NG-style deep, slanted platforms for a Mega Man game).

Dracula XX meanwhile. I've wasted enough time trying to defend the gameplay and controls on this forum, and I don't feel like repeating myself anymore, but no matter what you think of Richter being "sluggish", I'll be damned if that game isn't one of the best looking Castlevania games ever!
It takes the amazing spritework of the PC Engine game, and adds in more colorful, multilayered SNES backgrounds that fits the mood perfectly, meanwhile the redbook audio soundtrack is recreated for the SPC soundchip better than I would have expected possible.
It's one of the best-looking and best-sounding SNES games out there. The first stage alone is a feast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LuFBlUNoRY

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:23 pm 


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played a couple of sentai games on the fc, yesterday.

chojin sentai jetman -

was released in late 91 and developed by natsume toward the end of the show's one year run. play through 6 stages (with a stage select very reminiscent of shatterhand for the first 5) that all end in a fighting-game-esque boss fight with one of the show's overgrown monsters. die during the stage and you merely have to switch to one of the other four rangers (who restock after a stage), but die during the somewhat awkward boss fight and you're forced straight into continuing back from the stage select. that can be a little frustrating, at first, but the game fortunately has a training mode for the boss fights (complete with a cutesy, chibi victory screen not seen in the main game) if you're not getting their rhythm down, and their patterns are readable enough to be consistently manipulated into victory with a little practice. though they're nothing substantial, these bosses do at least lend the game a little bit of unique flavor, at least for the famicom.

the difficulty on this one is otherwise ridiculously anemic, and i would strongly suggest inputting the code on the title screen to access very hard mode. in very hard mode, enemies no longer drop health and every ranger has 1hp... which is actually the only way i found out what happens when you die while playing as them. this turns the stages - as lean as they may be - into something a bit more tense and challenging, and trying to grab a 1CC on top of it adds some necessary excitement to the game and an actual urge to plan when to use your screen wiping attack. the play ends up feeling somewhere slightly between shatterhand and dragon fighter, and though nowhere near as good as either of those, it at least deserves a spot as their retarded cousin.

though this definitely hits a low par for natsume, in general (specifically visually), i'd say that this is still a game that is worthy of a couple of hours to fans of FC natsume, particularly those that have played the power trio to death. it's fairly decent, just very lacking. the lead programmer went on to be director of both of the SNES power rangers games, as well as doing some work on a personal favorite, shippo de bun/tail'gator.

- * - * - * - * - * -

kyoryu sentai zyuranger -

is a late 92 title developed by arc system works, a whole year after they'd already been making stuff like hiho densetsu, a full-blown pce cd game with numerous cutscenes (that this shares some staff with). like jetman, it was released toward the end of the show's run, and it hits a pretty damn low visual par for some of the outstandingly good-looking games getting released this late in the life cycle. you play through a series of five stages with each of the five rangers, all with 12 (10 on hard mode - the required amount to get the bonus on either difficulty) dinosaur coins to collect, a special weapon to power up to from your basic blaster, and a boss at the end. unlike jetman, there's not a stage select and not a ranger select, either.

curiously, its first stage is its most difficult because of its boss (and curiously useless weapon power-up that likes to attack opposite the direction you're facing). the boss is not only vulnerable for only a deceptively short amount of time, but also has a weak point located weirdly in the center of his face on his beard. i think i wound up starting the game over twice before i even found out where you were supposed to hit him or that you could even hurt him, at all. once you're past that, it's a pretty bog-standard action game with some strangely oversized sprites. die during a stage and you start it over, die during a boss and you respawn instantly with one less stock, run out of lives and you're toast and it's back to the beginning.

between stages, there's a total of 4 mini games - two different quiz questions, one game of hot potato, and one game of pong played against the green ranger's robot (he himself does not appear in the game aside from a splash screen before the bonus game). i... don't know what they were doing here, other than following the wagyan land trend of goofy bonus games in something released for specifically for children. all-in-all, this game is pretty much just for the totally starved or obsessed - almost exclusively for famicom action junkies willing to forego taste for a brief jaunt of the unplayed. i admit i find some kind of comfort in titles like these, but i could hardly recommend them. i'm kind of surprised this wasn't an sfc game, given we were two years into the lifespan, here.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:12 pm 


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Sumez wrote:
it290 wrote:
but it also has great production value (something which XX kind of does in half measures).

Dracula XX meanwhile. I've wasted enough time trying to defend the gameplay and controls on this forum, and I don't feel like repeating myself anymore, but no matter what you think of Richter being "sluggish", I'll be damned if that game isn't one of the best looking Castlevania games ever!
It takes the amazing spritework of the PC Engine game, and adds in more colorful, multilayered SNES backgrounds that fits the mood perfectly, meanwhile the redbook audio soundtrack is recreated for the SPC soundchip better than I would have expected possible.
It's one of the best-looking and best-sounding SNES games out there. The first stage alone is a feast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LuFBlUNoRY

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Preach it, brother!

XX rules. End of story.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:42 pm 


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In a perfect world people will stop comparing XX to Rondo and enjoy it as another rad game. Amen.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:30 pm 


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Ah mann.
I've always been meaning to come back and give XX a fair shake. Need to do the upper route and get a 1cc.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:31 pm 


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Megaman and Bass is garbage. It has possibly the weakest level design in the series and does everything it can to ruin its own pacing and waste your time. Wait for the centipede to pass by. Wait for the slow autoscroller. Wait for the train to carry you over the pit. Wait for Ground Man to come back on the screen. Wait for the spiked blocks to face the right direction. Wait for the sisi rolls to dig through the floor. Wait for Astro Man to turn off his invincibility. Wait for the light to show you where the spikes are. Wait for King's tank to move out of the way and expose one of its weak points. Wait for Protoman to break King's shield for you. The game is full of heavy enemies and the small enemies had their health bumped up too. Even mettaurs don't go down in one hit. It makes your weapons feel pathetic. Also the sprites are too big. Everything feels cramped and dodging is a lot more aggravating than it should be.

The game's a bit better if you play as Bass. His movement mechanics are kinda fun and while he can't fix the level design, he can circumvent a lot of it. His rapid fire gun is much better than the mega buster against heavy enemies like the rhinos with 120 HP (lmao). The downside is that he has to tickle the early robot masters to death for 1 damage per shot. This is made much, much worse by the fact that bosses get like, a full second and a half of mercy invincibility. More waiting. I don't know why they felt the need to do that. In the first three Megaman games you only do 1 damage per shot, but the boss fights still move along quickly because their mercy invincibility only lasts about half a second. Anyway, once you've got the super bass buster, which straight up doubles your damage, the game is at least tolerable.

Speaking of upgrades, there's an item shop where you can grind for randomly-dropped bolts and use them to buy items. They made megaman's charge shot slower and Bass's attack power abysmal so you can buy upgrades to fix them halfway into the game. Nothing good comes of it but at least you naturally get enough bolts to afford everything important.

The only part of the game I like is king's jet. It has too much health but it's exciting and varied and feels dangerous for reasons other than the cramped screen.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:38 am 


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Despatche wrote:
It'd be nice if people stopped throwing around phrases like "plays like a fangame" or "reads like a fanfic". These phrases mean the same as "lacks polish", i.e. nothing. Different people just have different predispositions. When you start bringing out the "fan-" words, you sound like you're attacking someone's predispositions because they happen to be different from yours.


Fair enough. Everything I said is strictly 'IMO' of course, but using the term 'fan hack' is a bit dismissive of the many excellent fan projects out there—it was just meant as a commentary on the production value (which falters in some places) and moreso the fact that it lacks a certain 'built from the ground up' quality that Rondo has in spades.

Sumez wrote:
It's one of the best-looking and best-sounding SNES games out there. The first stage alone is a feast.


Agreed on the soundtrack for sure. I picked up the Rondo/XX vinyl soundtrack release that came out a while back, and XX's soundtrack might even slightly edge out Rondo for me. That funk guitar from the first level is some of my favorite instrumentation from the SNES. About the visuals, I played XX before I ever touched Rondo, and Rondo's first stage certainly felt like a downgrade compared to that great fire effect from XX, but there's so much personality going on in Rondo's backgrounds (enabled by the CD, for sure) that XX seems to eschew in favor of flat tilesets. I've played Rondo dozens and dozens of times over the years, so I've seen everything the game has to offer at this point, but for the first dozen or so playthroughs I felt like I discovered something new about each stage every time. Can't say the same about XX.

Vanguard wrote:
Megaman and Bass is garbage. It has possibly the weakest level design in the series and does everything it can to ruin its own pacing and waste your time. Wait for the centipede to pass by. Wait for the slow autoscroller. Wait for the train to carry you over the pit. Wait for Ground Man to come back on the screen. Wait for the spiked blocks to face the right direction. Wait for the sisi rolls to dig through the floor. Wait for Astro Man to turn off his invincibility. Wait for the light to show you where the spikes are. Wait for King's tank to move out of the way and expose one of its weak points. Wait for Protoman to break King's shield for you. The game is full of heavy enemies and the small enemies had their health bumped up too. Even mettaurs don't go down in one hit. It makes your weapons feel pathetic. Also the sprites are too big. Everything feels cramped and dodging is a lot more aggravating than it should be.


Going to assume you're not talking about the GBA version here, since that one is obviously cramped. I agree on the 'hurry up and wait' problem but I think most games in the series have that to some extent, MM2 Air Man to name an obvious example. Autoscrollers always suck, nothing can ever change that.

Edit—I don't want to beat a dead horse on this one, either. I like both R&F and XX, was just curious about people's gripes with R&F, which seem to mostly boil down to level design—totally valid, I guess the perceived faults just don't bother me to the same extent.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:45 am 


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it290 wrote:
About the visuals, I played XX before I ever touched Rondo, and Rondo's first stage certainly felt like a downgrade compared to that great fire effect from XX, but there's so much personality going on in Rondo's backgrounds (enabled by the CD, for sure) that XX seems to eschew in favor of flat tilesets. I've played Rondo dozens and dozens of times over the years, so I've seen everything the game has to offer at this point, but for the first dozen or so playthroughs I felt like I discovered something new about each stage every time. Can't say the same about XX.

I can't really argue much about that. Though Rondo is obviously built on weaker hardware, and the backgrounds tend to feel more repetitive, there's a ton more care put into a billion tiny little details littered throughout the entire game.
Honestly, that's just one of the reasons Rondo is a godlike game. I have never seen another 2D action game with the same ridiculous work put into these things. It's an unfair standard to use for comparison.

Dracula XX still looks better than nearly every other pre-SotN CV game, and certainly a lot better than CV4. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:15 am 


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Rondo's upper stage 4 is making me it's bitch :(
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 Post subject: Re:don't ignore me HEY!1!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:29 am 


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Sumez wrote:
Dracula XX still looks better than nearly every other pre-SotN CV game, and certainly a lot better than CV4. :)


That's precisley the point, isn't it?
[XX], the last of the classic Vania. Some feel that, in the progression of the series, this one didn't get its due.
BLOODY TEARS, I had no idea it existed 'till I found it by accident. Compelled by the name alone and the snazzy art on the loose cart (Vampire's Kiss, PAL) it was an instant purchase. Merman, was I whipped to cream when I played it.
No, I don't like it. But enough do.
I think it's because they're of the opinion that Super Vania has too much acknowledgement for too much fluff and XX gets less to none for a more streamlined, back to the boots direction.
The thing that slightly ticks me off, is the little word "great". Hold all your arguments and criticism, have fun playing. Just don't call it great. Super isn't great neither. It's... super, but not great. Only call great things great.
You ask what are the Vania's that apply for that?
Easy. The original NES one and the Sharp remake. Because they define it. All the others just muddle with the 'formula'.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:08 am 


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Nah, XX is great.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:12 pm 


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I wholeheartedly agree with Vanguard regarding Rockman & Forte - concededly, I haven't played the game all that much, but the downright absurd resilience of several enemies completely stopped any momentum I might've gained otherwise. The first time I got to one of the bosses with Forte, I honestly thought the game was broken somehow. Surely, the developers of a prestigious series such as this wouldn't subject you to such a display of impuissance, or so I figured.

Now, MM7 admittedly isn't as fast-paced as some of the early games and most certainly not as brisk as the X series. However, once you acquire a few of the robot master abilities, you seldom have to stop, even bulkier enemies die in a matter of seconds. As such, I don't share the view that both games can somehow be subsumed into the same category. The larger sprites are not an issue for me in either game eo ipso, and at least in 7, the level design and boss patterns are clearly designed around that fact. I do understand if you don't want to get used to it after being accustomed to so many other entries that play considerably different, though.


Despatche wrote:
Konami also did this with the The Hyperstone Heist and the Mega Drive Sunset Riders.

Sunset Riders on the MD is a fascinating case for me. It has by far the most aggressive regular enemies out of all the versions, to a point that I at least only advance the screen step by step during trickier sections since a couple of enemies at once can easily overwhelm you in a snap. On one hand, I appreciate the idea: both the arcade and the SNES versions are mainly about the boss fights, the goons seem to be crafted around their function as support for those bosses first and for the stages second. Handling the bosses and a belligerent retinue would've been problematic, hence their moderate behaviour. However, this makes for comparatively sedate stages. Changing that is definitely a valid approach. On the other hand, I believe they went too far into the other direction. Considering how massive your hitbox is, even a couple of shots on-screen can trap you sometimes, not to speak of four or more. If you cannot slide or change levels for invincibility frames, there is scant little left in terms of evasion. It seems like the extend shower in the bonus stages might've been the redress for that. I also find it amusing that it's nigh impossible to beat the default high score in the MD port, I've cleared the game a few times and never managed it so far. :mrgreen:



As a concluding note, I'm probably finished with the SFC/SNES recommendation list for now. As I've amended in the last post, I've added Kaizou Choujin Shubibinman Zero (which I've discovered and quickly cleared) as well as Zombies Ate My Neighbor (long overdue, that one). Undercover Cops will still take weeks or even months if it happens, but I'll try!

I also took away the denouement of the first 1CC collage to make the post slightly leaner. I'm instead going to post my latest one (now with a 11x11 structure!) in the below spoiler, with the names of the game in the spoiler below that, so that it is all in one place.

Edit: now with Undercover Cops. Image

Spoiler: show
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Spoiler: show
1. Metal Warriors
2. Cosmo Gang: The Video
3. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
4. Kidou Soukou Dion
5. Ninja Ryukenden III/Ninja Gaiden III
6. Pop'n TwinBee
7. Sengoku Denshou
8. Makeruna! Makendou/Kendo Rage
9. Dimension Force
10. Super Genjin/Super Bonk
11. Final Fight 2

12. Return of Double Dragon
13. RockMan X3/Mega Man X3
14. Phalanx
15. Sunset Riders
16. Star Soldier
17. Kaizou Choujin Shubibinman Zero
18. Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems
19. GS Mikami: Joreishi wa Nice Body
20. Daioh Gale
21. Battletoads in Battlemaniacs
22. HyperZone

23. Jikkyo Oshaberi Parodius
24. Ganbare Daiku no Gensan
25. The Combatribes
26. Earthworm Jim
27. Kishin Douji Zenki: Rettou Raiden
28. Area 88/U.N. Squadron
29. SD Kidou Senshi Gundam: V Sakusen Shidou
30. BlaZeon: The Bio-Cyborg Challenge
31. Plok
32. Darius Twin
33. The Pirates of Dark Water

34. Super R-Type
35. Thunder Spirits
36. ActRaiser
37. Super Turrican 2
38. Final Fight Guy
39. Contra Spirits/Contra 3
40. Axelay
41. Magical Pop'n
42. Battle Zeque Den
43. Raiden Densetsu/Raiden Trad
44. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers - The Movie

45. Edono Kiba
46. Sparkster
47. Ghost Chaser Densei
48. Kiki Kaikai: Tsukiyo Soushi/Pocky & Rocky 2
49. Akumajou Dracula XX/Castlevania: Dracula X
50. Hector '87/Starship Hector
51. Donkey Kong Country
52. Strike Gunner S.T.G
53. Run Saber
54. Rushing Beat Ran/Brawl Brothers
55. Archer MacLean's Super Dropzone

56. RockMan 7/Mega Man 7
57. Parodius Da!
58. The Firemen
59. Undercover Cops
60. Super E.D.F.: Earth Defense Force
61. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IV): Turtles in Time
62. Psycho Dream
63. X-Kaliber 2097
64. Spriggan Powered
65. Gourmet Sentai Bara Yarou
66. Melfand Stories

67. Gousou Shinrai Densetsu: Musya/Musya
68. Takahashi Meijin no Daibouken Jima/Super Adventure Island
69. Star Fox
70. ActRaiser 2
71. R-Type III: The Third Lightning
72. Super Valis - Akaki Tsuki no Otome/Super Valis IV
73. Battletoads & Double Dragon
74. Darius Force/Super Nova
75. Earthworm Jim 2
76. Ikari no Yousai/Operation Logic Bomb: The Ultimate Search & Destroy
77. Final Fight Tough/Final Fight 3

78. Gradius III
79. Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyuushutsu Emaki/The Legend of the Mystical Ninja
80. Majuu Ou
81. Captain Commando
82. BioMetal
83. Magic Sword
84. Cosmo Police Galivan II: Arrow of Justice
85. Wild Guns
86. SD Kidou Senshi Gundam 2
87. Flying Hero: Bugyuru no Daibouken
88. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island

89. Batman Returns
90. RockMan X/Mega Man X
91. Acrobat Mission
92. Super Ninja-Kun
93. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
94. Choumakaimura/Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
95. Star Force
96. Karuraou/Sky Blazer
97. Sonic Wings/Aero Fighter
98. Super Turrican
99. The Ninja Warriors Again

100. Choujikuu Yousai Macross: Scrambled Valkyrie
101. Assault Suits Valken/Cybernator
102. Super SWIV/Firepower 2000
103. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
104. Märchen Adventure Cotton 100%
105. Sonic Blast Man II
106. X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse
107. The King of Dragons
108. Hook
109. Rendering Ranger R²
110. Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble

111. Final Fight
112. Akumajou Dracula/Super Castlevania IV
113. RockMan X2/Mega Man X2
114. Gokujou Parodius
115. Rushing Beat Shura/The Peace Keepers
116. Ninja Ryukenden II/Ninja Gaiden II
117. Kiki Kaikai: Nazo no Kuro Manto/Pocky & Rocky
118. Super Aleste/Space Megaforce
119. Hagane
120. Uchuu no Kishi: Tekkaman Blade
121. Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
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Last edited by Perikles on Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:57 pm 


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Excellent stuff sir. Those screens are a thing of beauty. I miss a proper CRT.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:04 am 


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Looks like The Messenger managed to evade Strictly Limited:
https://specialreservegames.com/?fbclid ... acptV64Mx0

On the flip-side, huge customs fee guaranteed. :(
EDIT: Limited Run Games will be distributing the games too, and taking preorders from the same date, which is good news.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:27 pm 


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Speaking of The Messenger -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRyC0RUfMkg
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:57 pm 


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Azure Striker Gunvolt (Switch)

Cleared the true final boss and the whole thing has left me with mixed feelings. I don't really know what they were aiming for with this game. On one hand you have perfectly serviceable, albeit sparsely populated (like SMS port of Strider sparse), stages. On the other, multi-phase bosses with incredibly cheap and non-choreographed attacks (including two one hit kills). You're given so much health that it ends up being trivial until right at the end of the game - so what's it actually aiming for? You don't get anything worthwhile for speed running or high scoring (racking up combos and not taking a single hit) and it's such a Sonic the Hedgehog-esque chore to memorise that it's not especially fun to attempt anyway. It works best lightly memorised and briskly played, but that falls apart at the bosses anyway. It's not far off being so much better with - bosses choreographing attacks, more limited hit points, everything with less health, 3 lives then back to the title screen (so you actually have a good reason to replay stages)

The main mechanic of tagging enemies with gunfire and then electrocuting them would work if enemies were more numerous and had less health. As it is you walk forward slowly, tag one or maybe two (if you're lucky) enemies and stand still electrocuting it until it's dead. The execution is nowhere near as fun as the concept, I can't help but think "leave it as a standard platform shooter".

The endgame really dials up the nonsense as you fight minor variations on the same boss, every other boss all over again, and three very cheap new bosses. The true final boss goes to 11 as if any of his attacks land, not only can you not attack him - you're also defenseless while he knocks 25% off your health.

I still had some fun with the stages so it's not a total loss. Just a massive missed opportunity.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:09 pm 


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TransatlanticFoe wrote:
As it is you walk forward slowly, tag one or maybe two (if you're lucky) enemies and stand still electrocuting it until it's dead. The execution is nowhere near as fun as the concept, I can't help but think "leave it as a standard platform shooter".


That was my main gripe about the game. Not as "intense high-speed action" as the back of the box puts it, more like "stop 'n go". I did play through the first game (only bothered with the bad ending, though) and haven't even tried the sequel yet. Does it have the same problem if you play as the other guy?
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:16 pm 


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One more round of flagrant gushing and disjointed warbling, for I was thankfully wrong:
Perikles wrote:
Undercover Cops will still take weeks or even months if it happens, but I'll try!

I did some intense grinding and just got the clear! Open the floodgate, more pictures ahead:
Spoiler: show
ImageImageImageImageImageImage


It's been a while that I studied a video game this thoroughly. I even made myself a couple of sheets with some annotations:
Spoiler: show
ImageImage

The first slip denotes where all the bikers in the fourth stage spawn. I've made myself a little grid in the upper left and enumerated from which plane the bikers appear and from which side. The second piece of paper remarks every enemy/wave in stage 5, which I perused quite a lot at first to gauge the resource management a little bit better.

Aside from the gorgeous graphics and the tense, existential struggle against towering guys with batons, terminators and those lurid flying guys (Madcas) that consist of blade extremities (reminded me a bit of the K'Chain Che'Malle from Erikson, if anyone knows this fabulous series*), I also discovered that I love this game so much because daunting memorization is key here, just like it is in your emblematic Irem shooter. It should've occurred to me much sooner, I suppose, yet it made for some appropriate theophany. Knowing in advance where all the bikers would come from not only reduced a lot of the difficulty, it accentuated the fluid, relentless destruction you want to dole out in a brawler. Routing the game in such a way that I could obliterate all but two of the flying pests (which I safely killed with a pillar) with the super special was poetry, so succulent was my revenge. Knocking the second boss around without surcease after getting trashed at first was retaliation pertaining to the Old Testament, nay, the Code of Hammurabi.

This is what the best Irem games (Image Fight, Mr. Heli no Daibouken, R-Type II) consistently do right: they completely shut unaware/unobservant players down, with the correct plan on the other hand (and a bit of propitious momentum), you can completely shift the helm. Granted, I'd still argue that subtracting one life from the arcade game and distributing less health (which furthermore doesn't follow you around for as long!) was remarkably cruel, it's fortunately still a feasible clear provided you invest the time and hone your execution. Crucial recommendation: in the options menu, you'll find a so-called "extra joy 1" set to "on" (that's your regular special which you can activate by pressing a single button) as well as an "extra joy 2" which is off by default. Do yourself a favour and activate it. This enables you to dash by pressing L. While dashing by pressing the directional pad twice in quick succession is perfectly responsible, the addition of accuracy helped tremendously to set up my dashes correctly in nearly 100% of the cases instead of failing occasionally, which usually leads to you bleeding dry.

Speaking of the dashes, I love the concept of the empty dash in this game. You can use a dash attack or jump while dashing which you can use for an extremely useful jump attack, but you can also use it without attacking/jumping to stun certain enemies. I used this quite a bit to bump into isolated baton guys in order to get a safe grab and to then throw them into their friends, thus agglomerating them together. The balance of the super special is likewise phenomenal: you lose a lot of health for doing it, yet you do a massive amount of damage, too. It seems like getting close to enemies so that the wave hits them directly deals even more damage, and if you space yourself correctly against bulkier enemies (especially bosses), you can even hit them twice. Taking out the final boss otherwise was definitely not an option for me, it's also the reason why Rosa is a lot better than the other characters, whose super special is not nearly as powerful.

That you have to competently score in the second stage (all the while surviving the crumbling bridge and relentless swarms of enemies) in order to reach the second extend furthermore adds pressure to the player early on**. I'd argue that the second stage is trickier than the next couple for that reason, you have to be able to extemporize and quickly decide whether to quickly hurl enemies over the side for survival reasons or keep them around for some more points. Truly devious design, again worthy of the Irem brand. It's also neat how you can eat the skull of the fourth boss to regain all of your health back, yet you lose all but a sliver shortly thereafter. You have to pick it up just as the screen fades to black so that you don't suffer from osseous indigestion. :lol:

What might be able to help a little is that there are at least three hidden health pick-ups (two in stage 4, one in stage 5) even though they don't restore a lot of health. The two in stage 4 are behind the shattered parts of the wall in the foreground, the one in stage 5 is diagonally left from the crate with grenades you can pick up in the first section of the stage. It's likewise important to keep whatever animal you get in the second section of stage 5 so that you can use your super special twice in a row when you got two flying guys at once for a couple of times and then restore some of that health. These enemies will do about as much damage as performing a super special with one hit, and they can easily hit you several times in rapid succession, which is why I would recommend unscrupulously using the super specials against them, routing everything else perfectly is much easier by comparison in my opinion.

As my incoherent tirade hopefully conveys, I love this game. Will check out the arcade original soon!

*I immensely enjoyed these Moguralians & Madcas in general - the former are certainly inspired by Star Wars, the alterations and quirky behaviour of the guys elevated the source material; they do give the impression of being some twisted, grotesque race with some adequately bizarre background instead of being mere deformed enemies on the screen.

**You could play this game for score in general. Every surplus life is worth some 1,000,000 points! 'twas a grand feeling to have one excess life to convert for score, irregardless of the fact that I don't play this genre for score.

__________________________________

On a different subject matter regarding 16-bit brawlers: am I the only one to think that Bare Knuckle II/Streets of Rage 2 is somewhat overrated? I've cleared the game twice and thought it is definitely a good game, but not stellar. I'll concede right away that the debonair-disreputable atmosphere is excellent, the driving soundtrack underlines the callous, coarse visual presentation masterfully. I don't particularly care for the amount of nuisance enemies in the game, though. It's obviously not a difficult title, yet you still have to abuse your special in a lot of situations because the AI loves to counter most of your other moves later in the game. Playing on higher difficulty settings piercingly exacerbates this issue. As is, I'd call the game competent, firmly above average and all that, nowise near essential, however. I'd love to hear your reasonings why that is completely wrong all the same!
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:16 pm 



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Congrats Perikles, knew you could do it :wink:. When you try the arcade be sure to check out the western version as an odd curiosity, it's kind of a beta version with some different backgrounds and reduced moveset that makes it more difficult (for the wrong reasons). Also features FM synth music instead of the sampled music in JP/Renewal version which I find interesting.

As for SoR2 it's above average but my issue with it is the enemy behavior/speed and input reading, I never liked the feel of it especially on higher difficulties where enemies move twice or thrice faster than your character. I prefer SoR3 because it plays more like an arcade brawler: the enemies are more controllable (just right imo) but deal higher damage to compensate.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:43 pm 


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I think SoR2 is a legit great game. The moveset is great and fun to use (a backwards throw that hits enemies behind you is an essential tool and should be in all brawlers. having the flexibility to oriente yourself on one side of the enemy or the other for throws is really appreciated and allows you to better position yourself post-throw, just lots of moves in your arsenal which is good) and the boss battles are so good, you gotta learn how each boss counters which of your moves/specials, i.e against Abadede a 2 hit chain is fine but a 3 hit chain or a special gets countered, so you gotta adapt and make frequent 1-2 normal hits rounds on him, etc

Maybe clearing the game itself is not that hard but I thought doing it in 1 credit(not continue) was pretty good challenge even at normal difficulty. And no I don't feel like spamming the special gets you out of all situations


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:31 am 


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Vludi wrote:
When you try the arcade be sure to check out the western version as an odd curiosity [...]

Will do for sure!

Vludi wrote:
I prefer SoR3 because it plays more like an arcade brawler: the enemies are more controllable (just right imo) but deal higher damage to compensate.

I assume you specifically mean the harder Streets of Rage 3, not the Japanese Bare Knuckle 3? Haven't played either yet, but I have heard ghastly stories about the US version. :mrgreen:


FinalBaton wrote:
Maybe clearing the game itself is not that hard but I thought doing it in 1 credit(not continue) was pretty good challenge even at normal difficulty.

I'm a bit mortified you would assume I meant anything other than a 1CC when I wrote "clear(ed)", we all know that's the rightful standard for these games. :o And while I have not much experience with brawlers on the MD (there's only a small handful to begin with, anyway), I can safely say that a 1CC of SoR 2 is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum as far as 16-bit brawlers are concerned. It's not even close to arcade ports like Captain Commando or Undercover Cops, still bounds and leaps away from the likes of King of Dragons and The Combatribes or even demanding SFC-exclusive console titles such as Rushing Beat Ran or Sonic Blast Man II. I'd rank it as an easy clear together with, say, Pirates of Dark Water or Final Fight Tough. Given that most people (myself included) struggle quite a lot with brawlers - at least initially -, this doesn't mean it's as trivial as clearing an average platformer for example, for those usually grant you a copious amount of lives, health, consumable items/magic/subweapons etc. However, I did manage to clear the game on my first attempt, I am concededly playing a lot of brawlers lately, though, so that helped a lot.

I also want to stress that I personally don't mean that lower difficulty is a priori a bad thing whatsoever. I like having variety, and not every game should take weeks to clear. My point of critique wasn't geared towards the difficulty itself - which is fine - and moreso towards the aforementioned nuisance enemies in a generally relaxing game. The boxer boss for example is capable of countering a lot of your regular moves and you're much better off just constantly using your special. It will not hit all the time if you spam it with reckless abandon, but even if you miss/get punished, the damage you deal whenever you do get a hit in is more than worth it. Maybe it's just that Axel's uppercut (I don't mean the special that consumes health, should've phrased that more carefully) is overpowered - I get the suspicion it is -, but it's definitely your best option in most cases provided you don't want to use the infinite jab combo against the enemies that are susceptible to it/you're not surrounded.

FinalBaton wrote:
The moveset is great and fun to use [...]

Your point about backward throws is a bit odd since that is incorporated in almost every brawler in existence. Granted, you can't readjust yourself in most of them after you've grabbed an enemy, but that's where your own positioning/spacing comes into place. It's neat to have yet not particularly significant, I find. And as I've mentioned above, you really don't need to exert much crowd control if you can just uppercut/link into uppercut after a few jabs/punch indefinitely with jabs since it is much weaker and doesn't give you any tactical advantage. Might be more important with characters other than Axel, for sure, I can't comment on that aspect.

Abadede can be caught in a very simplistic jump kick pattern, and during the refight, you can just uppercut him to death for he is trapped against a wall. Since this is your most devastating move and enemies do gain a trifle too much health at that point as far as I'm concerned, I don't see a reason not to use it, either.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:42 am 


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Well I'm not a super good player, that's why the difficulty seemed hard enough for me :) besides, can't you just crank it?
The credit/continue bit was not a personal attack... I don't know how you got that out of it. It was just me saying that while a continue clear is easy, a credit clear is a good challenge (IMO).

I like the fight with boxer. I move around a lot on the Y axis and kinda bait him to use his jump attack and after his landing(he doesn't seem to get iframes for long) I get a few hits in. I like that he counters a lot of your stuff and instead you're forced to rely on movement in this fight, instead of just spamming specials. It's a tough one but I still always enjoy it, even though I usually loose a decent amount of health in the process

It's probable that most belt scrollers let you throw backwards but there are a couple for sure that don't let you do it. Besides I just wanted to hammer home that I like the moveset in general, not just the throw/throw position option, but also the number of options is nice and useful


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:06 am 


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I replayed Dracula XX so I could properly join the other half of the recent discussion. I was all ready to hate on it but honestly it's not that bad. It's one of the weaker Castlevanias but that doesn't stop it from being better than most games. I tried the bad ending path this time and there's some good stuff in there. Not big on the swamp level but I like the necromancer boss. He plays out pretty differently from Shaft's ghost. The werewolf's level is great. Lots of medium and heavyweight enemies that the rest of the game is short on and a fun boss at the end. Dividing XX good and bad paths was a mistake. They should've either concentrated all of their best ideas into one path or made two equivalent paths you could switch between freely like in Rondo of Blood. (XX is the bad version of Rondo and I am going to compare the two.)

There are a few areas where I feel that XX improves on Rondo. It's got a good baseline difficulty - the easier parts aren't so easy you can sleepwalk through them. They made Death really scary, and while I wouldn't say I like XX's Dracula, he's certainly less of an anticlimax. I like that you get to keep the key for a long while, and the level design does a good job of showing off its power. Special mention goes to XX's excellent use of spear enemies. They were present in Rondo but weren't really a big deal. XX puts them into a variety of contexts and makes them matter.

A few problems keep XX from standing among the better Castlevanias. First and foremost, Richter is too slow. You can speed up a bit by jumping everywhere, but this is made very frustrating by the game's love of respawning pests. Trying to backflip through the game means you'll constantly be jumping into medusa heads and such. Speaking of pest enemies, I hope you like them because about 60% of the game is either climbing stairs or jumping across platforms while being harassed by bats, mermen, etc. Most Castlevanias will stop spawning enemies when you get close to the edge of the screen, or at least start spawning them from the opposite side. XX is perfectly willing to drop them right on top of you. XX is also ridiculously stingy with mercy invincibility, to the point where it's not uncommon to take a hit and get knocked into a second, completely unavoidable hit.

I used to think XX was one of the hardest games in the series. Now I'd say it's about average, though it's a bit more memorization-heavy and it punishes deaths harder than most of the others. There are a lot of pest enemies whose spawn timing is perfectly set to clip you just as you jump over a bottomless pit. Once you know about them they're just an annoyance, but you're almost certain to die the first time you encounter them. XX is full of obstacles that are difficult to approach with the whip and trivial with subweapons, especially the axe for all the times you need to climb upwards. You can carry over hearts from previous stages, so if you don't die you'll quickly accumulate a ton of them and the difficulty will plummet. If you do die then you'll lose your axe and things might get rough.

Visually, XX can't compete with Rondo. The sprites look good of course, but the stages and backgrounds are wildly inferior. Rondo put a huge amount of effort into making its stages not only look good, but making them look and feel like real places. It uses things like the the sea monster rearing up in the distance at the end of stage 1 and the lightning flashes in stage 6 to reinforce the idea that the game takes place in a three dimensional world. It even bothers to explain the perpetual motion setup that keeps the boulders rolling down that staircase - I don't think any other game does anything like that. XX on the other hand is fairly sloppy in a number of ways. Climb up one staircase and when you get to the screen transition, Richter's suddenly on a very different looking staircase, or in a room with no staircase at all. Sometimes Richter walks through a screen transition and then finds himself in a room he could not possibly have entered. The cavern background in stages 4 and 4' and the castle at the beginning of stage 7 look totally flat. Richter's not in a cave or in front of a castle, he's in front of drawings of caves and castles. Could've really used some parallax scrolling there. There's a bit of conspicuous copy-pasting going on as well. The prison cells in stage 4 are the worst offenders. They all feature the exact same two hands gripping the bars and animating in the exact same way at the same time. It wouldn't be a problem if they had spaced the cells out a bit so there was only one visible at a time or if some of the cells had been empty or if they had drawn more than one type of prisoner. As is it says "I'm in a video game" rather than "I'm in a hellish dungeon run by an evil vampire." To be clear, Dracula XX is not a bad looking game. Most of it looks good and its first stage is even arguably better than Rondo's version. It's just that XX gets a lot of things wrong that most Castlevanias do well and that Rondo of Blood does outstandingly well.

Perikles wrote:
Now, MM7 admittedly isn't as fast-paced as some of the early games and most certainly not as brisk as the X series. However, once you acquire a few of the robot master abilities, you seldom have to stop, even bulkier enemies die in a matter of seconds. As such, I don't share the view that both games can somehow be subsumed into the same category. The larger sprites are not an issue for me in either game eo ipso, and at least in 7, the level design and boss patterns are clearly designed around that fact. I do understand if you don't want to get used to it after being accustomed to so many other entries that play considerably different, though.


Yeah Megaman 7 is nowhere near as bad as Megaman & Bass. For all of 7's problems, it's full of ideas and variety which I can't say for MM&B. The big sprites hurt Megaman 7, but they manage to be even worse in Megaman & Bass because of how badly they interact with its HP bloat. In the NES Megaman games you have a good amount of leeway on whether to shoot or avoid most enemies. Megaman 7 is too cramped to avoid much of anything, but at least you can kill them in a reasonable amount of time. In Megaman & Bass there's no room to jump over anything and they also take forever to die. If the character proportions were like the NES games or first three X games you'd at least have the choice to go around the bullet sponges. It wouldn't be good but it'd be a bit less bad.

7's item shop is also way less bad than the one in MM&B. You could ignore 7's shop entirely and you wouldn't suffer too much. In Megaman & Bass you're crippled without the shop upgrades and the most important ones don't become available until near the end of the game.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:24 am 



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Perikles wrote:
I assume you specifically mean the harder Streets of Rage 3, not the Japanese Bare Knuckle 3? Haven't played either yet, but I have heard ghastly stories about the US version. :mrgreen:

Either is a fine, but I'd recommend you start with SoR3 on Normal as it's a pleasant experience and not that hard, if not then play Bare Knuckle 3 on Very hard which is almost as difficult as SoR3 normal. Censorship and translation aside I appreciate the gameplay changes in SoR3, it's overall harder but also has some balance changes such as low penalty when using the special attack and faster evasion move, these just make the game faster, more aggressive and exciting. SoR3 Hard is probably the closest thing I've played to an arcade brawler on 16-bits consoles even if it had some issues here and there.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:17 am 


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Sumez wrote:
I can't really argue much about that. Though Rondo is obviously built on weaker hardware, and the backgrounds tend to feel more repetitive, there's a ton more care put into a billion tiny little details littered throughout the entire game.

Pretty sure the Super CD-ROM² is better than the SNES. It doesn't have pointless Mode 7 tricks, but hardware designed specifically for games plus a stupid amount of RAM is worth a lot. Add even more RAM and you get Garou Densetsu Special, a monstrous port that should not be possible on any of this hardware. Never underestimate the power of downloading more RAM.

Far as I know, the Mega-CD (not sure about 32X) beats the Super CD-ROM², but the Arcade CD-ROM² beats the Mega-CD significantly. The Mega Drive by itself is also a mostly better platform than the SNES. The SNES is really not that great without designing custom chips for specific games, and even then the vast majority of those chips didn't do much. XX did not use a chip.

(Mind, the SA1 and the Super FX are basically hardware upgrades in their own right, great chip standards that allow the SNES to threaten other things. Except... the Super FX was used even less than the 32X. What does that tell you?)
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 Post subject: Re: Lickter, my love
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:17 am 


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Vanguard wrote:
I replayed Dracula XX so I could properly join the other half of the recent discussion.


:lol:
Same here. I gave it the rest of an afternoon. So the hard lobbying did at least that, huh?

I'd like to add something if I can.
You all know the part of any Vania where you enter a part on ground level on one side and the exit is exactly above. To get to it you have to cross to the other side over or under traps, bones or bats, find the stairs, get up and back over to the exit. Right? I don't know if it's dubbed yet.
Well, Double X does that. A lot. And not subtle.
'No straight line to follow?', 'Weary thighs from going up lots of flights of stairs?'. "Sure, give 'em the thing that's not dubbed yet!"
I just can't find the care.

And I find the final stage offensive in dullness.

First screen nothing but the backdrop of the map I can see betwixt every stage. Some stairs.
Next screen. Some ghouls. Some leaps. Some boneheads. Stairs.
Next screen. A bone dragon. Option to skip it by, uhm, stairs.
Next screen. Get down fast and rush the bone tosser. Exit.
Next screen. Go up. Levitating platforms. Lancers. Medusa heads. The danger in close proximity. Exit left.
Next screen. Stay on one horizontal plat while whipping M-heads and the one axe armor occupying the exit plat. Drop and you return to the middle of the prior screen. Return.
Next screen best screen. Preparation. Snatch your sub-weapon. Have a heart. Or more.
Last screen. Have at you! Mind the gap!

Uh-huh.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:23 am 


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Despatche wrote:
[
Pretty sure the Super CD-ROM² is better than the SNES. It doesn't have pointless Mode 7 tricks, but hardware designed specifically for games plus a stupid amount of RAM is worth a lot. Add even more RAM and you get Garou Densetsu Special, a monstrous port that should not be possible on any of this hardware. Never underestimate the power of downloading more RAM.

"Better than the SNES" is a pretty vague pointer. It has advantages, but it's definitely not unanimously "better".

The Super CD-ROM² allows for storage of a lot of data in RAM due to being unable to access CD data directly (this goes for any disc based console). This is comparable to the SNES cartridge (ROM) size which can technically be gigantic (people have released homebrew FMV games on the SNES), but kept limited at the time due to production costs.
The SNES actually has a crapton of built in work RAM, but they both have the same amount of video RAM. However, the SNES has a lot more graphic capabilities, most obviously due to multiple background layers and a high amount of palettes and colors to make use of.
EDIT: I don't know too much about the PCE's hardware, but the SNES also has DMA channels which can be used to populate VRAM extremely fast and change out graphics as a stage progresses, I don't think the PCE is able to do that as effectively without forced blanking.

Rondo's biggest advantage is being able to store a huge amount of data on the CD-ROM, allowing it to load in completely new assets between each stage, allowing more variation and extra details in the long run, while individual backgrounds tend to repeat themselves a lot more. This difference is very apparent between XX and Rondo.

Despatche wrote:
The Mega Drive by itself is also a mostly better platform than the SNES.

It really isn't. It does have some advantages over the SNES, but it's not what people tend to think. The fact that the MegaDrive supposedly has a much faster CPU is pure misinformation. Even the NES is easily capable of scrolling at "Sonic speeds".


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 Post subject: Re: Lickter, my love
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:35 am 


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Ronyn wrote:
You all know the part of any Vania where you enter a part on ground level on one side and the exit is exactly above. To get to it you have to cross to the other side over or under traps, bones or bats, find the stairs, get up and back over to the exit. Right? I don't know if it's dubbed yet.

I love it :3
To be fair, Rondo also does this, wholesale.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:49 am 


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Vanguard wrote:
It's one of the weaker Castlevanias but that doesn't stop it from being better than most games.

I deliberated to say just that, too. Even a second-rate Castlevania game (an attribute I'd give to SFC Akumajou Dracula/Super Castlevania IV as well) is still head and shoulders above most other action-platformers.


FinalBaton wrote:
besides, can't you just crank it?

As Vludi mentioned, that is possible - and it doubtlessly boosts the difficulty by a good bit -, it unfortunately only serves to compound what I at least perceive to be problems in the first place. Since enemies can read your inputs and react frame-perfectly, you will have to know the perfect counter to their AI on the highest difficulty setting - they're also flat-out much faster and have ludicrous amounts of health on top of that. In short, what was annoying before now mutates into a horribly frustrating nightmare, at least to me.

FinalBaton wrote:
The credit/continue bit was not a personal attack... I don't know how you got that out of it.

It wasn't taken as one in the slightest, all in good humour - I pondered a while over which vocable to pick for a facetious "entrüstet", and this was the best I could come up with. I find it sometimes fiendishly difficult to translate a sentence which would blatantly carry its cheerful exaggeration on its sleeve into English. We're all enthusiasts here, and I certainly wasn't offended, just "piqued" (again, in a hyperbolic sense, not in earnest) that you might think I wouldn't hold our tenet of 1CC'ing games as proper standard. Image

I also just want to reiterate that it's always very easy to sound overtly negative. I don't think that SoR 2 is an insufficient game at all, I would definitely recommend it to 16-bit fans, especially when you consider the context that there is a lamentable paucity of brawlers on the MD in the first place. In fact, it is a really solid title. I'm just not personally convinced it can be hailed as one of the best brawlers of this generation, much less the pinnacle of the genre, period.
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