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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:10 am 


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Got the VS. Castlevania 2-ALL; no-missed to, yep, 2-4 Image where I took a couple of spills. The first was a "this thing loaded?" mishap with the first on-land Fishman spawn which knocked me back into the drink.

Roughly dividing the catacomb into thirds: although the first, from the start to the first island is easily dealt with by Stopwatching, and the second, up to the Holy Water's candle, is simple in theory with it taking place on solid ground, my approach to the final third still needs polishing. Subtly inefficient play can affect that first raft's Fishman timing to deadly effect. Using the Stopwatch is probably safest, but that's no magic bullet either, with a lurking Fishman spawn right in front of the alcove.

Once I reach the alcove, I'm pretty much home-free. From there the bats stop spawning, and the Fishmen spawns can be reliably skirted around using the method shown here (VSC) and here (FC).

Had a couple more deaths in the remaining two stages, to Death (bwaaa! tried to enjoy a bit of autofire Up+A+B with my HW cheese, bungled it and had to come back with Triple Cross) and Dracula respectively (nailed an amazing triple backwards jump VS his first form that'll haunt me forever, for not being in a no-miss). All in all an illustrative run, will get it uploaded today for reference.

Played a bit into Loop 3, up to stage 2-2. Didn't seem any different, as expected, though I never quite like writing this stuff off. Speaking of the loop's stage 2, besides the deadly Medusa presence in 2-1's second floor, those formerly-trivial knights really reveal their purpose as stubborn, potentially lethal impediments.

On the matter of input lag - whatever black magic they're using with these releases, I approve. Only mentioning this since, just like when I was first going for ACA Saigo's no-miss, it got to the point where watching out for lag was getting me killed more than any perceivable input delay ever did. Whatever delay may be present, it must be utterly minimal. Pullin' off Dracula mkII normal jump run-unders like nothing. One time he even chucked a whip on the floor as bait!

"BERUMONDO-kun. Tsukae yo." Image
Spoiler: show
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"Koukai suruzo kora!" Image


Oh also, ACA Black Panther pls.
Spoiler: show
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IDK if it's even any good. I just like the thought of a playable Y & T album cover!
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Last edited by BIL on Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:46 am 


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Got the 1 CC with Kunoichi. Post clear I wondered if you could hair flip into jumping slash to do extra damage on Banglar. Hmm?
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:51 am 


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That's an interesting thought... offhand, I'd guess hitting the falling enemy would take them out of "thrown" state, and thus prevent them from damaging Banglar. That's how Yaksha's [up] grapple flurry works - despite it beating the shit out of rather than throwing the target, as long as you leave them untouched afterward they'll count as a missile and slam into other enemies. If you hit them though, no dice.

(incidentally this is incredibly useful for Yaksha - with minor finesse you can flurry an enemy straight into the heart of laser column hell and score hits with impunity, provided you make it through to the other side - not hard with her generous airtime. The whiplash effect of her [down] slam gets free damage at center-screen, too. my favourite character for Banglar-battering.)

I could easily be wrong about Kunoichi though. The air-slash techniques Zaarock demonstrated here blew my mind the other day.
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Last edited by BIL on Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:17 pm 


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HELLEPHANT wrote:
Turn off Vsync if it's on, I had absolutely insane delay until I did so.


i'm playing on ps4, so it's on by default and can't be turned off :/ i think it says a lot to how compromised the design for this game is that the devs themselves responded to a resetera thread about the input delay and confirmed that it's due to designing in unity. they also said it's deliberate and that the game is "designed around" the input delay. just. eugh!!! can you imagine???

what's funnier is the threads on reddit/era/etc. about the delay and how many drooling idiots show up to go "didn't notice" or "doesn't effect me" or "git gud" or even better yet - "it doesn't exist." people would say this after others directed to the dev post acknowledging it! the sheer amount of apologism or outright denial despite numerous people posting video proof and analyzing the frame delay is fucking out of this world. you even see people saying "don't talk about this or it will damage the game's reputation." damn, the travesty people might not buy something if they saw transparent information about it before buying. gee and i thought era was too woke for brain-dead, push-the-product shilling :[

Sumez wrote:
That said, the game isn't really much about the combat gameplay.


it would be extremely cool if the game itself realized this. i'm at wit's end on some of the post-game content and genuinely think i'm just going to not do the majority of it because of how obscenely demanding these boss fights get. the speed with which you're meant to react to some of these telegraphs and patterns (e.g. with nightmare grim or most of the dream refights) turn everything into an unpleasant hell of severe rote memorization, and that's before factoring in how much the input delay makes the constraints outright offensive.

i'm reminded of games i've speedrun or playing something dreadful like battletoads - like all my history with games is ground away in favor of the sheer roadblock of the grind. you cannot just stumble into many of these boss fights and win, they all just wear you down to the exact same routines everyone else ends up doing. you're forced to spend spans of seconds frequently entering the double digits before you get to stop and pop them one or two of the 40+ times you'll ultimately need to hit them to finish the fight - successful fights end up taking around 5 minutes of this tiring routine (again, post/superlate game stuff - early bosses can largely be attritioned). doesn't help that the other 90% of the game is truly obscene amounts of backtracking through turgid enemies that exist almost solely to stop and force you to pay attention to them. the lack of fast travel points (20 hours in before i hit all ten of them, and one is to a middle-of-nowhere as a bonus) and otherwise either annoying or soporific combat outside of bosses just make the game this awful slog.

why are there so few fast travel points? why are they spaced so far from the stuff you'd be teleporting to a place to do? this is like dark souls keeping andre, or any npc in dark souls, like a five minute walk from their relevant bonfire. just... why?? the game even gives you a teleport after a while, but you can only set one teleport point at a time. aside from farming uses or being handy in a couple quests, this mostly just acts as a warp back to a fast travel station - but you still have to depart from one and take the unnecessarily long journey to get wherever the hell you want every time.

one of the things i most hate about games that have taken after dark souls is their tendency to borrow the worst elements of dark souls' level design, where a difficult boss is something like a minute long walk away and filled with enemies that pose no threat to the patient, but a lot of threat to you if you just try to zip past them. that's not level design, that's just work. the "boss" in a souls game is so frequently its own entire game divorced from any conceivable pacing in the dungeon, so why not put checkpoints just before them? beyond this, the game copies other weird things like an abundance of elevators (which souls mostly just used to mask loading times, now they're just a completely unnecessary nuisance), a totally pointless soul retrieval system, a health system obviously aping the estus flask system, a quest system dependent on finding and talking to npc's who just like, wander off to different points in the world, etc.

there's an inarguable amount of love and care put into this game's art, world-building, music, characters, environments - almost everything spanning what falls under its presentation. it lives and breathes and is sometimes gorgeous when it's not repetitively stringing you through an area bloated two-to-three times the size it needed to be (which is... a little too often). there's some precious little moments, here and there - unique things you'll only see once a playthrough or maybe never find. the people making this very obviously loved making it, and even when it's trying a little too hard to be cute and coming off a little offputting, it's still got that base charm. but sheesh, everything about playing it could be monumentally improved or redesigned entirely.

- -

in better news, my titanium chopsticks got here today! along with them, some soundtrack by "zoon tata" and a blu-ray disc i've yet to decipher the purpose of.
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Last edited by kitten on Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:19 pm 


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kitten wrote:
in better news, my titanium chopsticks got here today! along with them, some soundtrack by "zoon tata" and a blu-ray disc i've yet to decipher the purpose of.


Nice. Image
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:47 pm 


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Dang, my giant review got buried at the bottom of the last page!

BrianC wrote:
Yes, but the Vs. System, including Vs. Castlevania, was separate from Playchoice-10 and used standard credits. Playchoice-10 games were mostly the same as the NES versions and the Vs. System games usually had differences (with a few exceptions). Vs. Castlevania is not a PC10 game. The CV on PC-10 is very similar to the NES version and, AFAIK, lacks the time and damage changes of the Vs. version.

I think the PC-10 at Too Many Games one year had the timer disabled, but the smaller one had this horrible joystick (emphasis on stick).


The PlayChoice 10 doesn't play VS. games? I could've sworn I had seen them on there. Well nevermind then.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:53 pm 


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kitten wrote:
it would be extremely cool if the game itself realized this. i'm at wit's end on some of the post-game content and genuinely think i'm just going to not do the majority of it because of how obscenely demanding these boss fights get. the speed with which you're meant to react to some of these telegraphs and patterns (e.g. with nightmare grim or most of the dream refights) turn everything into an unpleasant hell of severe rote memorization, and that's before factoring in how much the input delay makes the constraints outright offensive.

I agree completely. The game kind of acts like it's a hardcore action game, but it's never particularly challenging, and dying has little to no consequence. And when the game occasionally does show its teeth (like you said - postgame bosses and those optional dream fights) it just ends up as more of an annoyance.

Like I said, the game's qualities as I see it is entirely in its atmosphere and visual direction.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:54 pm 


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Vs. are their own arcade PCBs with hardware based on NES architecture. PlayChoice is a motherboard of its own that takes tiny daughterboards which are essentially NES cartridges with an added header ROM.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:54 pm 


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Vanguard wrote:
Dang, my giant review got buried at the bottom of the last page!


I'd just copy/paste it onto this page if it were me. >;3

kitten wrote:
i'm playing on ps4, so it's on by default and can't be turned off :/ i think it says a lot to how compromised the design for this game is that the devs themselves responded to a resetera thread about the input delay and confirmed that it's due to designing in unity. they also said it's deliberate and that the game is "designed around" the input delay. just. eugh!!! can you imagine???


I'm near-illiterate on tech stuff, but incidentally, TNWOA's startup sequence says it was created in Unity, too. Its response seems just as instantaneous as the SFC game's, actually if anything it's a bit too keen with a midly annoying new input glitch. Which could almost seem like a combo-assisting "read ahead," but when my quick getup mashes are translating into squandered grapples, imma get pissed! Image

I really hope it can be patched out, I'm gonna see if I can get the ball rolling soon. Assuming nobody else has noticed it, OFC.

(maybe it's just my setup? >_> ie vanilla PS4 slim, dualshock 4, JP digital TNWOA and a random JVC flatscreen I watch Maury on. I'd love to think it's just me. but all the life/death dicking with Saigo, Argus and VS Castlevania in the last few months suggests not. it certainly isn't a game-killer but it's a shame coming off the SFC's virtual perfection... and TNWOA otherwise genuinely handles even better than the original, it's ineffably smooth and visceral with absolutely godlike i-frame sense)
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:13 pm 


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While searching for worthwhile doujin games, I came across an interesting fangame called Touhou - Wandering Souls. It's a platformer brawler collectathon RPG, made in RPGMaker of all things. After downloading I found out it's actually western and not a doujin game at all. A western, Touhou-themed brawler made in RPGMaker sounds like the king of all losing propositions, but I gave it a fair shake and ended up liking it a lot. In Wandering Souls you play as Reimu Hakurei, Marisa Kirisame and Sakuya Izayoi on a quest to gather the titular wandering souls and discover their source. You start out with just Reimu, but you'll unlock the other two in short order. The gameplay is a hybrid of many different things. You explore sidescrolling platformer stages with enemies, hazards, secrets, and sometimes alternate pathways. Most but not all enemy encounters will lock you into an arena until one side is defeated. Your characters level up from fighting, and you can also increase your strength by finding or buying weapons and accessories. The wandering souls you're looking for are essentially the same as stars from Super Mario 64. You gather souls and defeat a boss to move on to the next area, where you do the same thing until the end of the game.

Most of the assets in Wandering Souls are lifted from other sources. The player characters' and bosses' sprites have been taken from Immaterial and Missing Power and other Twilight Frontier fighting games. A lot of the normal enemies are from Maple Story. The music largely comes from Touhou shmups.

Spoiler: show
Image


Each character has a basic attack combo with different finishers depending on whether you're pressing up, down, or neither. I find you're almost always better off doing faster, safer combos even if it means less damage. You can't always reliably stun your enemies, and you usually can't stay in one spot for more than a few seconds without a million bullets coming your way, so it's best to do what damage you can and move on quickly. Over the course of the game your characters learn spellcard abilities which need to be charged up before casting. Spellcards cost MP, which regenerates slowly. Every weapon comes with a set of different skills which can be activated with fighting game-style inputs. Skills cost SP, which regenerates quickly.

Spoiler: show
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You can double tap to dash, both in the air and on the ground. Dashing doesn't grant any invincibility frames, but you do take half damage while dashing, so if you can't avoid an attack, dashing through is better than nothing. You can block by holding down. Blocking prevents all damage but repeated attacks will break your guard and leave you vulnerable. It's good for defending against small amounts of damage here and there, trying to block big attacks will get you killed. Wandering Souls does that Getsu Fuuma Den thing where if you walk off of the edge of a platform you can do a single air jump. It's very convenient in general and often necessary in platforming segments. You can freely switch between your three characters, but after doing so there's a cooldown period before you can switch again. The two characters you aren't controlling will gradually recover HP, MP, and SP, and if one dies they'll revive given enough time.

Enemies tend to be heavy on ranged attacks and, per Touhou standards, they favor large numbers of relatively slow bullets. Your hitbox is much more in line with platformer standards than danmaku standards, and when fighting multiple enemies, it won't always be possible to dodge everything. You don't get any mercy invincibility for taking damage, but attacks can stun you and it's not rare for a single mistake to cost a character's entire life bar. This is admittedly a bit euroshmup-like, but it's mitigated by the three character system. When a character dies, their replacement gets a few seconds of mercy invincibility so even in the worst case scenario you've got 3 hit points. Some equipment gives you super armor and using those to prevent stunlock kills does more for your defenses than HP increasing items would. Enemies have their own spellcard attacks and just like yours, they need to be charged up. Their spellcards tend to be far more dangerous than their other attacks. When you see that yellow meter filling up, you need to kill or stun that guy asap; even minor enemies can be really dangerous if you don't give them the attention they deserve. Killing an enemy immediately cancels all of their shots so, even after they've finished charging their spellcard, it's worth finishing them off as soon as you can. Given that your HP, MP, and SP regenerate over time and that being aggressive can put you at risk of stunlock kills, Wandering Souls's combat tends to be fairly defensive, so the spellcard system is greatly appreciated for occasionally forcing risky aggression.

Spoiler: show
Image


Your normal attacks stay the same throughout a playthrough, but your skills and spellcards improve, so over time your normals become less useful. In the early game your SP and MP are low so you mostly use a combination of normals and low cost abilities. Late game combat is almost entirely about skills and spellcards. Some characters, like Marisa, end up being all about avoiding enemy attacks for long enough to charge up and cast an expensive screen-clearing spell.

Enemy design tends to be very good and there's a ton of variety. There are weak enemies who are individually harmless, but attack in numbers. Some enemies have relatively weak normals but brutal spellcards. Some can't hurt you very much, but instead focus on trapping you or disabling some of your abilities. There are enemies who exist entirely to support the others, such as by healing them or granting invincibility. One memorable enemy type is a ghost who casts an instant death curse on you. It takes about 3 seconds to take effect and doing any damage to them will stop it, but a lot of the time that means rushing into danger. If you've been cowering in a corner, you might not be able to make it in time. In the worst case scenario you might have to switch to your lowest health character and sacrifice them to protect the other two. My only real problems with enemy design are that the first world's enemies are too tame, and that many enemies can't be stunned reliably, which is part of what necessitates defensive play.

The stages in Wandering Souls are nicely varied and full of secrets. Unlocking a new stage and searching for its hidden items is my favorite part of the game. There are a lot of platforming sections that require skillful dashing and jumping to get through, but they're nearly all optional. Some skills, like Reimu's Fantasy Seals or Marisa's Flight of the Witch, boost your character upwards and can be used to essentially cheat through those parts. One nice feature is that finding a soul doesn't take you out of a level so you can get several, potentially all of them, in one trip.

Every character can equip one weapon and four accessories. Weapons are character-specific, accessories are universal. Equipped items gain experience and power up as you use them. Fully leveled items are something like twice as powerful as unleveled ones, so you aren't always better off switching when you find a stronger item. Definitely do not replace your entire team's weapons all at once as that will leave you with poor attack power and only basic skills. You want to switch one character's weapon at a time and have the other two characters carry her until her abilities are back online.

The item system adds a lot to the game, character leveling does not. As with most RPGs, all it accomplishes is occasionally making your team either too weak to win or too strong to be challenged. Fortunately, Wandering Souls is at least good about convenience features to make leveling relatively benign. Every character on your team shares experience, both for their experience level and for their equipped items, so there's no need to switch someone in to keep them caught up. If your team gets wiped out you also get to keep all of the experience, items, and souls you've found. In some games those kind of rules might kill off most of the tension and difficulty, but here it's definitely a good thing. Should you find yourself overwhelmed by a difficult stage, there's no need to go somewhere easier to grind. Just keep trying. Either you'll figure out how to win as you are, or you'll gain enough items and experience to make up the difference.

Spoiler: show
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This plays out much like it did in Perfect Cherry Blossom


After beating the game you unlock Chaos Mode, which is essentially a second loop with stronger enemies and a few new stages. There are 100 souls in the main game and Chaos Mode adds 100 more. One interesting addition in Chaos Mode is that you can unlock new characters and switch them in for your original 3. Wandering Souls is a long game and introducing such a big feature so late is a cool surprise, but I'd rather they had made at least a few available earlier to bring in some much-needed variety. The unlockable characters are less developed than the main three. Reimu, Marisa, and Sakuya each have a total of seven skills and four spellcards, all of the unlockable characters I've seen have around three skills and a single spellcard. They all come equipped with the only weapon they can ever use, but they're endgame-worthy. Most unlockable characters seem overall less useful than the main characters, though I find Sanae to be outstandingly powerful and easily worth swapping a main character out.

The first few stages are unfortunately a bit dull and give a bad impression of the game. You start with only Reimu and she has no skills or spellcards until her weapon levels up. I find her standard combos to be a bit awkward to use, too. Probably her most useful one is her up combo, which is two quick strikes followed by a kick with a lot of knockback. Pin the enemy against a wall and kick them to death. Once her weapon levels up she gets a useful, shotgun-like skill that does a lot of damage up close, and once you finish the second stage you can use Marisa and her Master Spark. The enemy design also improves quite a lot once you hit the second world. Playing at a higher difficulty won't help in that regard as it seems to only modify stats rather than changing enemy attacks or behaviour. Speaking of, you can't change the difficulty after you've chosen one. I can vouch for lunatic difficulty being fun, challenging, and well-balanced throughout an entire playthrough. Hard difficulty should be a good bet if you don't want to deal with being underleveled. Anyway, if you feel let down by the first few levels, stick with it, it'll pick up soon.

It's definitely a flawed game, but I'm really enjoying it.

You can download Wandering Souls here. I've uploaded a brief gameplay sample to demonstrate the basics of how the game works.


Last edited by Vanguard on Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:00 pm 


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Yarr! Scissor me timbers, kusoplay ahoy. I be raftin' the briney depths in search of a ways to not get Owned By Fishmans. Image

As said, despite the goofs in 2-4 onward, it may be illustrative! VSC has no mercy, show it none in return! Image

Also THIS were the freshest move I ever seen Image That's it boys I'm hanging up my Popehat and retiring to me h-games. I nominate EDMANS new R2RKMF Pope if he posts here within the next twenty-four (24) hours. Pls, DON'T let him know I'm fucking lying lmao Image Image

Oh and check out this neato glitch! Was worried I'd crashed the game, haha (was still in contention for 1LC at that point). I seem to have seen more glitches with VS than I'm used to with the FC cart, but I'm not sure if they're exclusive to this version. Worth noting that even the much later FC cart has a crash bug, triggerable with the assistance of a friendly bat while exiting the catacombs. Everyone must suffer!
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:30 pm 


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By the gods, loop 2 fishman gangbang is terrifying! I'm kinda watching bits and pieces here at work; any other notable things? (apologies if you already discussed, I haven't been following completely :oops: )


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:36 pm 


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The Loop 2 Fish Fuck is truly unparalleled punishment, everything else sharply declines from its briney peak! However, since this is VSC, the damage scale is BROOTAL and you need to treat the entire loop like a 1HKO game. It's not, but you'll be glad you did, because that Bump Budget™ will vanish quick!

TBH, I don't consider it the game's best format... makes things a bit too punishing and rigid, where NES/FC loop lets you take a few (just a few!) swats and Capt Kirk shoulder-roll your way back up to victory. NES Castlevania III Loop (not FC Akumajou Densetsu Loop!) is still the ultimate Hard Trad CV in my book, followed by high-loop X68k and perhaps even Dracula XX, were you to play its very best stages+bosses back to back (you can't though :[ er well I guess you could use PWs, just not the same though...).

However VSC is still an intense test of control, in the literal sense! A "bust out every dirty trick in the book and make up a few new ones while you're at it" sort of affair. :cool:
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Last edited by BIL on Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:21 pm 


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kudos on recovering at the tail end of 2-5 there. hallway of doom + grim reaper looks like pure anxiety with the 2-hit deaths and all
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:10 am 


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Thanks! I'm comfy as hell in the hallway tbh, I love it. :mrgreen: All about the rhythm and spacing! Plus, levelling up the Cross for Death while dodging suicide bullets AKA random subweapon drops is a handy microcosm of the Metroidvania's ARPGing. Image (In these sessions I received a grim reminder: standing Cross will miss low Armour axes! just whip 'em :shock:)

But yeah VSC Loop Death is no joke - a split-second's lapse will see him dragnet and/or body-slam you into next Christmas. His post-mortem sickles aren't to be trifled with either! I had a good time really hammering in those early crosses in the successful attempt... I love the element of sheer risk, with it being possible he'll gash you right out of the air, but holding back too much inviting a treacherous protracted battle.

It's a real knife fight. No fifteen-minute sleep aid! With heavily-armed combatants bent on bloody murder, someone's getting killed fast! Double fatality a real possibility, seen it happen plenty of times! :o I prefer having the option of strategically tanking a hit without immediately going to critical HP, but there's no denying the riveting pressure of this format.

An important thing to note with Death, in case it helps anyone - he's a very methodical enemy. Summons, moves, summons. The specifics of those attacks are completely random, but as long as you're staying in the rhythm you should have time to improvise. Going balls-out at him will almost certainly get you trapped as you end up having to deal with his dragnet and body slam simultaneously, and BERUMONDO ain't designed for that. Of course sometimes shit happens and you will need to draw fire while also evading a slam, but this must be minimised! This is twitch/method action at its finest. Unless you cheese him! If they put ME in charge I'd promote him to TLB. :cool:

Spoiler: show
Move Dracula mk2 to st5 (omg! it is GIGABAT, the result of the lab's dark research!), then install a holy water combo-proof Death as the last boss. ¦3

Dorakyura's head: "FUUUCK"

Berumondo: "At last, tis truly over. O Death, where is thy sting?"

Death: "GOT IT RIGHT HERE YOU HOTPANTS MOTHERFUCKER"

*REAPER W/ BURNING RED EYES EXPLODES THROUGH WINDOW AS THE KEEP DERANGES UNDER DIMENSION-WARPING POWER, CONVENIENTLY REPLICATING ST5's BOSS ROOM*

Berumondo: "What!!!"

Death: "hw cheese banned btw"

Berumondo: "shit is for pussies anyway tbh"

Death & Bermumondo: "LMAO!"


(the room transformation should reflect the cataclysmic intensity and heft of PULSTAR's Crash Course In Future Feng Shui. Image I don't want to hear "but that is MVS wa wa wa" Ninja Gaiden I & II do balls-out earth-shaking demolitions just fine! tbh, NG Castle Collapse Sequences > CV ones!)

This said, when I go for another serious 1LC attempt I'll almost certainly cheese him with Holy Water. I stuck with Cross in the FC equivalent - I don't consider it a handicap, it's tremendously entertaining pitting your dragnet against his. For HW's part it's pretty satisfying obliterating Axe Armours with one well-placed shot apiece. Axe is pretty good fun too, and probably safer than Cross since it'll save you from deadly overhead sickle spawns. But VSC is so vicious that foregoing cheese can feel more suicidal than gutsy. Master Of The Knifing 2-ALL 1LC would be pretty goddamn hardcore, possibly the hardest traditional CV challenge? Then again the arcade Dracula's supposed to have that batshit evil "Version M," been years since I've played that variant.

EDIT: oh, rewatching - I think Loop 2 Stage 6-1's bat fireballs might move a bit quicker. Noticed less wriggle-room with the bat that typically fires at me (right before getting the Stopwatch). Can't recall if this is how the NES/FC do things. Between NES/FC and VSC, the distinctions are quite fine... I'd need to see 'em side by side to catch everything.

---

Oh rad. :o I think I discovered Ultimate Killing Power for Saigo no Nindou. Rank (= large enemy HP) doesn't fully kick in with two shadows and a pair of powerups. So sticking with a pair of buddies and POW Grenades + Kusarigama would appear to be the optimal setup... the Sword can be handy in spots (esp. st3-2), but you can learn to substitute Kusarigama, while Shurikens' extreme DPS is nice but nothing Grenades can't approximate.

Heavies detonate just a tick earlier in this mode, freeing up vital spacetime in the eternal meat-grinder that is stage 6/BATTLE OF RONIN. Most noticeably of all, it cuts vital seconds on the nightmarishly dangerous Boney-Sama. At this point a 1CC ain't shit, while a 1LC remains some shit indeed (probability of success: VERY LOW :shock: :oops:) so I will see how things improve!

(tbh I consider a very low probability of success ok and aesthetic, because even a Shinobi Werewolf fighting this many motherfuckers singlehandedly is goddamn suicide! also I have a pet theory that the final, Game Over death animation isn't Tsukikage's spirit departing his mortal vessel, but the classic "you thought it was ninja, but it was actually me, Random Log™!" escape trick - which just makes the player look an even bigger dumbass! Tsuki was all geared up to do legendary shit but for some reason he fell on his ass! Image)
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:25 am 


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those loop 2 fishmen hot on bil's ass as early as the first stage Image

Image

god, i hate those bastards. iirc i've 2-all'd the nes game, but i never got loop one down to a nomiss because i'd keep getting to the last stage and getting unlucky on the bats right at the start. do you actually consistently avoid them or do they sometimes nip you and send you into a pit?
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:39 am 


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Ohshi, is that my replay? :o It looks rad! I'm on autopilot there - what's that beltscroller I'm remembering with the rad "GO! GO! GO!" yell between waves... :mrgreen: Best to just book it straight through.

(man... where did people get the idea this series was ever slow/trudging/etc? did they get scared off by the frickin' intro sequence?! the loop is like the goddamn Terminator at points... check out st3's very first Ghost, homie is tearing after you with Medusas inbound and Fleamen in ambush perches up ahead! it's friggin rad!

Also, check out the "lightning flash" glitch from grabbing the Rosary right before the stage clear crystal! I could swear Rosaries vanished like every other item on NES/FC, but maybe I'm wrong... was fooling around with ACA's CARAVANIA mode - #7 worldwide baybee! - and noticed they remain stubbornly unvanished there, too)

Yeah, st6-1 is no big deal at this point, though by its overpowering nature (plus VSC's vicious scale), it always feels a little touch and go. Mercifully, the giant bats always give you good starting RNG if you hold [up+left] from the map screen, so Simon books it up the stairs from Frame 1. From there to the Stopwatch is usually very consistent, though I suspect frame input differences may cause the Bat to shoot earlier/later. Sometimes I can outrun the fireball, others I need to jump, or grab the Stopwatch to freeze his pal. Either way it's not too bothersome.

Once I've got the Stopwatch, I expect a little bat RNG variation - but you're well underway by then, and the watch will of course provide a buffer against worst-case charges.

The very last bat won't always dive at me, so I'm always tempted to rush under him and save on ammo. I get whacked on this replay, IIRC - I don't think I'll risk it in the future. You can recover a single bump via the Clock Tower's wallmeat, so it's not the end of the world if you get hit on the bridge... but getting said wallmeat without promptly taking another bump isn't easy, and may well demand another Stopwatch - not ideal!

An aside, I used to think the two bats seen hovering around the upper floors in the game's opening scene were drawn out of scale... but now I like to think they're actually two of those jumbo fledermäuse. :cool:

What I worry most about in the last stage is actually the Boney-kun Tag Team Champions. Not so much them, but falling down the stairs like a dumbass while dodging their bones. It happened to me twice in a row before I got my current FC 2ALL/Nomiss. :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:04 pm 


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God damn, I want to 2-ALL VSC now. Maybe at my next visit at my friend who owns it.
But I don't think I've ever been as out of the loop with the game as I am right now. I don't think I'd even be able to survive the rooms before Dracula at this point - I remember there being a trick to it, but I don't remember the trick at all.

edit: Oh right, the stopwatch


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:28 pm 


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^ yeah - I used to prefer keeping my x3 Cross from stage 5 all the way up to Dracula, which meant lots of ammo... but gradually I decided it wasn't worth it. mkII's not that big a threat, provided you know the timing to counter his fireballs, and the superjump trigger. And mkI's very dangerous, but less likely to kill me than Stage 6 sans stopwatch.

Stage 6 is the game's only real flaw in my book, it's way overmatched on the player and gradually becomes very routine... albeit a sprint-paced, perilous routine that's never dull.

I'd have made the bridge more of a precision platforming exercise than a sprint, with the bats 1) less durable and 2) in more of a sniper interference role. For the Clock Tower, just slightly less rabid Eagle spawn rate, maybe make up for it with a few Bone Pillars or Knights to stop the player from just waltzing through.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:59 pm 


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My kuso strat for dracula is just to pick up the holy water in his room and hit his fireballs for x2.
Am I banned forever?


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:05 pm 


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Hell no, that qualifies you as our inside man on scrub gaming practices. Image Set a thief to catch a thief. Image Image Image

TBH that sounds tempting, and just like Super Fresh Mummy Step I'd legit forgotten about it... I nix the HW candle on entry just so it won't steal my rovely x3 Cross! But I've actually tried to HW cheese him in the past and fucked it up somehow, like Homer Simpson setting that bowl of cornflakes on fire. :lol:

And what the fuck. I just no-missed Saigo... or I would've, but I was dancing all over Blocky-kun's face and he spontaneously killed me when his halves overlapped. Image Lesson learned: it's the "photocopier" blue laser effect that kills, not being smooshed. Oh wellz. :mrgreen: Will upload unlisted as, again, it's an illustrative run. 50% power strat worked great, at least I think it did. Boney-sama ran me all over the room, but by that point I had three weapons @ POW. I feel a little better at reading his shots, still scary though. I think I can more quickly spot the faster ones that'll barrage/pincer, now.

I guess the most beneficial illustration is stage 7-1, which was my most furious yet, driven with the sorrow of a man whose no-miss has been robbed by a lousy-ass cheating KARAKURI!

On one hand, I wish they'd had a Metal Storm-style chasing death barrier, or at least a tighter time limit, to discourage overly wait n' see st7 play.

On the other, I remember all too well the cacophony of "HNNNNGH" *death jingle* *insert credit sound* that was learning st7/WORLD OF KESSEN aka NAZO NO DEVILS AIR FRESHENER, so I will not pull the ladder up after me! I will bung together a quick guide using my invisible pals SLEEPY, DICK #1, DARK STEPS, THE SPIKE, DICK #2 and THE CRACK. They will guide you around the DEVILS AIR FRESHENER!
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:19 pm 


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I wish I could get into Saigo.

I admit I haven't spent too much time with it, but every time I've tried it, it just felt chaotic and not satisfying to me. Is there anything I need to understand for it to click with me?
Should I stop playing the PCE mode and jump straight to arcade?


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:36 pm 


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Saigo is basically Legend of Kage's wuxia combat meets Spartan X's simple, driven stage design meets Daimakaimura's deadly-yet-controlled unpredictability. With a bit of R-Type/Image Fight weapon select chicanery.

It may appear chaotic and formless at first, but actually, stages are sharply delineated into halves via a checkpoint apiece. And while enemy spawn timing within those sections is completely random, the behaviour of the enemies themselves is always consistent and simple to work with. Monks love anti-airing the slightest hop, White Rain can't hit you while you're moving forward, Ryuichi-san lashes out uncontrollably when you overlap his Y value, etc.

Once you've got a stage layout down, the challenge comes from adapting your tactics on the fly. From what I've played, only Dai equals it for this sort of structured sidescrolling chaos. I would give it a go with an eye towards the structure I mention. I'm not sure about PCE vs AC mode... I would just go with AC, or at least work up to it. It's not a particularly great casual sidescroller imo, but it's a wicked 1HKO game. Monster firepower vs Monstrous odds.

I've been wondering lately how influenced Nazca may have been, or if there was even some shared staff. Lots in common with Metal Slug, on both aesthetic and mechanical levels. I love the Slugs and other combat sidescrollers where there's no contact damage on enemies, and instead they need to raise guns, draw swords etc to hurt you (unless contact damage is their attack, say if they're a flying wolf or a ball of white-hot plasma). So "Ninja Slug" was my goddamn catnip from day one. Can't give the most objective opinion. :mrgreen:

Its final stage harbours one of the most astonishingly brutal falls from grace ever seen in hardcore scrolling, which anyone who finds themselves enjoying Saigo will need to reckon with. Use this to excise it like the kusoge aberration it is. Image It seriously put me off the no-miss for five years or so - absolutely loathsome. However, and this is objective, the Pit is absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. Stage 6 OTOH is immortal. EDIT: referring to the arcade game - the PCE conversion's sixth stage is one of its very few weak points.
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Last edited by BIL on Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 2:03 pm 


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BIL wrote:
I've been wondering lately how influenced Nazca may have been, or if there was even some shared staff. Lots in common with Metal Slug, on both aesthetic and mechanical levels. I love the Slugs and I absolutely adore combat sidescrollers where there's no contact damage on enemies, and instead they need to raise guns, draw swords, throw knives etc to hurt you. (unless contact damage is their attack, say if they're a flying wolf or a ball of white-hot plasma). So this game was my goddamn catnip from day one. Can't give the most objective opinion. :mrgreen:

Being an Irem game, what's the chance it was made by the same people? Are there any public credits for Saigo?


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:48 pm 


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It's odd. Saigo has no staff roll whatsoever, other than perhaps the default Hi Score table... (I should follow up on that!), and from what I've read, the former members of Nazca who've gone on record seem loathe to name their old colleagues, citing a desire to let them have their privacy. So I never really looked into it further.

I get the impression Nazca's work is thought to have started with the M92 series, though again this is all hazy recollection on my part. I recently read that contrary to popular belief, nobody from IREM worked on Pulstar, rather it was Top Hunter and Last Resort that ex-IREM members worked on for the Neo. (ignoring Nazca themselves, obviously!)

IREM's sound guys seem fairly visible, blackoak posted a great interview with Masahiko Ishida. It's been years but I think he may have posted stuff with R-Type's designers too? There's so much to catch up on. :o I always tell chaps, gaming's the sort of hobby with niches within niches within niches, no different from film or music...

As far as Saigo/Slug resemblances - the way they approach armed combat is a giveaway, with super-generous hitboxes on your slashes, shots and explosions and a total lack of collision with enemies, creating that distinctly comfy "rugby scrum" handling and outsized "press the button = five dudes die" feel - balanced by the shocking suddenness with which you can be 1HKOd by the lowliest grunt for a split-second lapse. The floaty jumps are familiar too (MS isn't quite that extreme, obviously, but it's definitely pretty wafty).

Also the slight delay on the HMG aiming, resembling that of Saigo's shuriken... and the heavy prominence of "potato masher" grenades - more of a visual thing, I know. Saigo's slightly cartoony walk cycles ring a bell too, as do the character proportions - it's not outright Slug comical, but it's not Dracula/Ryukenden "compact action man" either. And finally, there's those glorious large explosions, peppered with solid-coloured spheres to convey individual detonations. Common to countless classic IREM titles, but they seem uncannily 1:1 between Saigo/Slug.

Spoiler: show
Image


As an aside, total flashbacks going between Saigo and Metal Storm. The latter's boss explosion sequences feel lovingly copied - the timing of the BGM cut-out, the stutter-firing "snap/crackle/pop" SFX with lots of hiss interspersed by the odd big bang, and the bounteous amounts of fullscreen pyro... Metal Storm actually does have a detailed staff roll (though the only name I recall offhand is the wonderful Utata Kiyoshi). That might be another lead.

EDIT: aha, here's the Nazca stuff I was reading recently. Please take w/ grain of salt, haven't looked into any of it further!

---

Peak Saigo in a couple GIFs.

Stage 4-2: BAMBOO BASEMENT BACKSHOT
Spoiler: show
Image


Took a risk on attempting to cross the bamboo pit with only one Ryuichi onscreen (of two max). As feared, Ryuichi in front. Solution: stop moving. Black Ninjas can't hit a stationary player (HEADCANON: tracking your footsteps :cool:). Use focused grenades to kill Front Ryuichi. Use shadow trail to do whatever damage possible to Back Ryuichi, while GTFO the ceiling ASAP. Result: made the platform by the skin of my teeth, possibly dodged Back Ryuichi's sword (crouch available), but as insurance the shadow grenades killed him anyway. Each credit is packed end-to-end with deadly little blips like these, it's just superbly replayable. Eternal danger + ultra-smooth, punchy, visceral handling in a super-lean runtime. It's wonderful. Image

STAGE 4-1: METAL SPARTAN STORM... X!!!
Spoiler: show
Image


This looks harried but ala Death's hallway in CV1, it's so comfy! (^ω´ )BUT DANGEROUS (`ω´メ) Look at Ryuichi bustin' his ass to catch up even after eating a grenade, lmao. Saigo's T-800. He'll catch and kill you but the Kusarigamas can only react on proximity. Black Ninjas and Ground Ninjas, yeah, mind 'em. Splash ceiling/floor liberally to keep their numbers down. Oh shi- Ryuichi in front! Slam it into reverse. Ryuichi is RELENTLESS_PURSUER.EXE but will pause to follow you up/down the ceiling, give him some busywork while you pummel him with grenades, and yeah, don't hang around for the Kusarigamas! Everything's pretty much a foregone conclusion once I know the scenario, but the scenario itself = nobody knows :o

WHAT THE RNG IS THINKING ABOUT, NOBODY KNOWS
Spoiler: show
Image


God only knows where the Pit came from, but once the routine is down cold it's laughably harmless next to stuff like the above.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:18 pm 


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BIL wrote:
what's that beltscroller I'm remembering with the rad "GO! GO! GO!" yell between waves... :mrgreen:


Cadillacs and Dinosaurs?
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:32 am 


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BIL wrote:
Yarr! Scissor me timbers, kusoplay ahoy. I be raftin' the briney depths in search of a ways to not get Owned By Fishmans. Image


2-4 is such bullshit. Stages 5 and 6 with 2 hit points sound almost as bad. A 2-ALL with a few deaths is still plenty impressive in my book. Didn't know you could pass through enemies like you do at 31:58. Sick backwards triple jump.

Sumez wrote:
My kuso strat for dracula is just to pick up the holy water in his room and hit his fireballs for x2.
Am I banned forever?


I always use the cross. Taking potshots with even a level 1 cross can easily remove a third of Dracula's health without interfering with your whipping. It's the second best weapon against HITO NO NOROI too.

Sumez wrote:
I wish I could get into Saigo.

I admit I haven't spent too much time with it, but every time I've tried it, it just felt chaotic and not satisfying to me. Is there anything I need to understand for it to click with me?
Should I stop playing the PCE mode and jump straight to arcade?


You said before that you didn't care for Dragon Fighter, that and Saigo are both similar in that they don't put much importance on level geometry. They're both about repeated, slightly differing encounters with the same enemy types. You don't learn the specific way to approach each segment so much as you learn the principles of how each enemy type should be dealt with and then try to keep the different mixups under control. Maybe that has something to do with it?

I don't have experience with the PCE version, but Saigo no Nindou with a life bar would be an entirely different game. Go straight to arcade mode.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:52 am 


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kitten wrote:
god, i hate those bastards. iirc i've 2-all'd the nes game, but i never got loop one down to a nomiss because i'd keep getting to the last stage and getting unlucky on the bats right at the start. do you actually consistently avoid them or do they sometimes nip you and send you into a pit?


I don't think the bats are too bad, you can pretty consistently stun them or jump over them and it's all about persistent leftwards movement and scrolling them off the screen. Where I always stumble is either the clock tower section immediately after (where RNG gets really brutal) or Dracula himself. I really need to work on my Drac—he's predictable and if I can get him down then the clock tower is really my only stumbling block for a 1LC of the first loop.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:54 am 


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Kusoplay no Nindou is up! Image Blocky-kun, what a bad sport eh? Next time I'm gonna smash you to gravel and turn you into a new driveway, motherfucker. I'll turn you into a fucking countertop. I'm gonna eat my breakfast and entertain colleagues off what's left of your face. Cunt. Image

...I have to be more merciful to Blocky-kun, he's the only capable lieutenant in a bunch of useless tossers. :oops: What is this, NINJA RYUKENDEN for the NINTENDO FAMICOM? :shock:

Besides an aggressive st7-1, this run also showcases HOW 2 PWN the fifth boss without shadows. The boss himself can't attack, and your shield's MONSTER HITBOX will take out his men as long as you're overlapping him. Even if you've got no POW whatsoever, you can do a good chunk of damage this way (assuming you reach him with lots of Shield remaining - see route in replay). In that case I would whap the Sword around to swat any stray kunai!

WelshMegalodon wrote:


Bang-on, thanks! I love that one, haha. Along similar lines, although it's only heard at the start of a credit: Dynamite Deka 2's "GO, MOVE IT!"

Dead serious: Deka 2 is an audio masterpiece. Left that video playing in a tab and I'm dying here. :lol:

"FREEZE!" "NAWWW!" "YOU LOSER!"

Vanguard wrote:
2-4 is such bullshit. Stages 5 and 6 with 2 hit points sound almost as bad. A 2-ALL with a few deaths is still plenty impressive in my book. Didn't know you could pass through enemies like you do at 31:58. Sick backwards triple jump.


Thanks. :mrgreen: Learned about the HW pass-through fairly recently, from Perikles. Apparently HW disables enemy contact, a powerful trait for an already devastating subweapon... tbh, if it didn't cheese bosses quite so unstoppably, I'd like HW's balance of puny range to incinerating potency.

Quote:
HITO NO NOROI


I'm adopting this as canon for all CV1-exclusive discussion. It's just too damn KVLT that the last boss is the utter evil lurking within the guy whose head just burst off of his exploding body. Image

Quote:
Dragon Fighter


Excellent comparison point - very much the same tone, where stages may not be Spartan X-flat, but the focus on combat is similarly near-absolute.

Quote:
I don't have experience with the PCE version, but Saigo no Nindou with a life bar would be an entirely different game. Go straight to arcade mode.


I'm lukewarm on PCE Mode - I like the principle, but it goes too far in spots. Zako fire is generally -1HP, which is fair, and large enemy attacks can still take most/all of your HP, cooler still (Ghost Of Fugitive Warrior remains an inexorably advancing wall of death, and Ryuichi is still to be feared). However, you can do really goofy shit like tanking through Boney-sama's Palpatine Lightning, which turns a fearsome run-killer into a moderately interactive cutscene. And Ryuichis vanish entirely from stage 4, making it less Spartan X In Hell, more Spartan X With MASSIVE HONKING GUNS. Would've been better to chop their spawn rate, or cap them to one onscreen. Echoing Ex_Mosquito, it's a not quite happy medium.

(conversely, Arcade Mode st4 is magnificent. Image As with the similarly dead-on st3, it actually makes a subtle gain on the PCB with its 60hz refresh rate)

Spartan X In Heck
Spoiler: show
Image


Actually I'm wrong, Ghosts don't inexorably advance on PCE - they now swing at set intervals. Which is initially menacing, since you need to work around their timing, but eventually hobbles them, keeping them from closing in. I wonder if it was a deliberate change to avoid the AC's quasi-memoriser Ghosts - nobody is going to survive their first close encounter with one, unless they're jumping over them at the time. It wasn't worth it, if so.

Not to be down on the PCE conversion, it's excellent overall and outright phenomenal when adjusted for its time. I picked up a ton of ideas directly transferable to the PCB after 1LCing it.

I think even the PCB could've maybe allowed one (1) hit, perhaps ala Metal Storm's armour pickup - it'd take the edge off its sometimes howlingly cruel RNG. But I'd be incredibly loathe to tinker with Saigo, beyond my (super smart and good Image) Pit Fix. It's the most convincingly unlovely one man war I've seen in any videogame, any genre, period. No Game of Thrones plot armour or hollow spectacle here - you are surrounded by a sea of armed killers, bet your ass it's cruel! Falter, and they'll grind you up into Wolfman Chili! At the same time, with the brilliant handling model and big guns, you can finesse some astonishing escapes and bloodening rallies. Having even the smallest License To Tank could shatter the priceless illusion of mortal danger, the Desperate Fight of Tsukikage. Image Image
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:34 pm 


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Joined: 01 May 2014
Posts: 2515
Location: Brooklyn NY
Few run this morning.

Made it back to Banglar with Kunoichi but fell just a little short of the 1 CC this time.

Yaksha run fizzled out on stage five, which not surprising since the whole run was rather meh. I did discover if you meter grab you can throw them in either direction. This was unknown to me for some reason.

Also (and this was one of the first things I realized about her) her hit box on down + jump is insane. It extends around the width of her foot in front of her. It's one of my favorite ways to get in.

Haven't played much in the past few days but would like to get a few more runs in this weekend.
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