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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:51 am 


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mycophobia wrote:
the bonus stage in MD Shadow Dancer is fucking interminable yo. really breaks up the action. can't insta-fail it like the arcade games, either. its like 30 seconds long or something. argh


Yeah, I kind of hate Shadow Dancer MD's bonus rounds. Even when I'm not just cheesing with the corner exploit, the control on Hayate's horizontal movement feels a bit loose to me as well (official cart & hardware on multiple faithful CRTs... behaves the same in various emulators too, actually). Inverse Galaga's a neat concept but I don't like being ambushed by it, especially in what is otherwise a taut and considerably hardcore Rolling Thunder-esque.

Only kind of hate because at least they look neat (I like the morning-night progression over the game's course), and more importantly, Keisuke TSUKACHAN Tsukahara's signature cyber-ninja bassline takes the edge off. I would love to find a video of someone covering the BGM on a four-string, it must look ridiculously cool.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:01 am 


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Speaking of Shadow Dancer MD, the posts from GameFAQs user damin on the board there are some of my alltime faves, particularly this lengthy ode to Bladesaw Babe. It's unfortunate that the archives do not extend back further.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:34 am 


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Haha, that guy is a minor legend. :mrgreen: Didn't know his madness had extended beyond the Bladesaw Blade Shrine!

Happily dabbling with thirty-odd ACA titles at the moment, while sorting out a decent stick so I can GIT DOON. Some old favourites, some revered classics I've never tried, and some total obscurities (to me anyway). Ticking category one is Metal Slug. No news, I'm sure: it's only truly dangerous in its final stage, but holy fuck - surely among the best casually hardcore scrolling action ever, perhaps the best in arcade format. I don't say that lightly, I value my entertainments. Image I know Slug scoreplay gets ridiculously intense, but it's not what I'm here for! I just want to tear shit apart in an unbroken blasting/gashing fury. I do like how there's specifically ten POWs per stage (I think? EDIT: NOPE, definitely not!). Nabbing the four in Mission 4's boss area with a deft bit of vehicle entry/exit i-framing makes up for an otherwise trivial fight).

Prompted by Ninja-kun II's swimming demo lasting maybe two seconds before the player gets owned by a fish (to be fair, the hitboxes on those things are murder), I was going to post my displeasure with similarly shoddy attract mode play in Little Annoyed Hell! Leaving MS1 running while typing this, I'm reminded of how seriously Nazca took the matter - as you'd expect, with the world-beating quality of this thing's pixel art. Mission 5 looks as arresting as the day I saw it in that random chippy circa 1997.

Homie's spacing/spoofing game is on point throughout, and he provides a cracking example of dealing with those annoying rocket-chuckers!
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Dabbling as mentioned, reacquaintance threw up some unexpected things after a decade away. The first game's short hop aside, I recalled MS1/X/3 having near-identical handling models. Actually, they're fairly disparate. MS1's jump acceleration is noticeably more abrupt, but more importantly, its HMG sweep is much pickier - lacks the effortless drag of the latter two games (at least on a DS4 - maybe it's better on MVS/AES stick?). MSX has significant attack input blocking during its turning animation - nothing fatal, but it needs to be taken into account while negotiating dense crowds. Mash that button until the attack is safely out. MS3 seems the most refined, and with it being the one I spent the most time on by far BITD, I must've transposed its handling onto the others. Anyway, none of these games have serious control issues, but they do vary slightly.

Image ~AESTHETE CORNER~ Image

I was surprised at Mission 5's early scenery. Darker than I recalled. Not unwarrantedly so, given the indulgent carnage throughout.

Good discomforting touch, how the door swings open beckoningly at Mission Start.
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A seeming Harry Callahan (or Frank Drebin?) moment for Marco. "I shoot the bastard!" MSX has me wondering if st1's truckload of sword-wielding killers, a small baby, and Rumi Aikawa was hinting at something horribly unfortunate. Or maybe they were alright chaps who saved a lost girl from a broiling desert death, then got their war-faces on when the enemy arrived. Oh well. They're all dead now. I trampled them with my camel! Nobody helped the baby. Image


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I remembered the wrecked houses revealing dead civilians, implying you'd brought the building down on them and the Rebels alike... but no, you can shoot out the windows to reveal the carnage within. Pair of dead guys in the delicatessen.


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Yeah, getting atrocious again. Not to get too serious, bring the building down and leftmost victim loses their pants. Image


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Blast the window out to reveal the dead butcher, still gripping a nasty cleaver. Wonder if he put up a fight with it.


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Destroy the building for an abrupt shift to a scene so blackly lyrical, I'm wondering if it's a reference to something. A chef will make a run for it, guess he had better luck with the occupiers?

Legendary work on all counts. I one-lifed MS3 BITD, but only on the safest routes. Lots to work with here, and each one of these games is just sheer entertainment. I get why MS3's interminable late-game onslaughts annoy some but that is what gets me off tbh! Image It's the big obnoxious cheeseburger movie to the first game's ultra-tight graphic novel adaptation. :cool:
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Last edited by BIL on Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:14 am 


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MS1 still has the best ratio of creative details per mile of any of the games, and I think it's the only one that is really properly spaced and paced for an arcade experience. I can enjoy the shit out of the whole series, but the first Slug is the one that hits the hardest. I need to investigate the full staff roll further, but those Nazca guys knew what the fuck they were doing (see Neo Turf Masters) and I think that once SNK took over the luster was lost a little. My only quibble with 1 (subsequently fixed) is the crouch+grenade exploit that trivializes a few of the bosses. It's fun to do but I'm glad it was subsequently removed.

edit: re heavy machine gun controls, I don't think there's any significant difference between any of the games for this staple weapon when playing on original hardware. I have 1, X, 3, and 5 for the MVS and have never noticed any difference in feeling between the games for the HMG when playing with the standard AES stick or a Seimitsu stick; I doubt much changed in the code. Your instincts are probably more sensitive than mine, but in this case I'd be inclined to chalk up the difference to emulation and/or controller.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:52 pm 


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Thanks - I suspect it's 90% the DS4's d-pad, combined with marginally stricter inputs (and a dash of my characteristic tyre-kicking neurosis Image). I can do 'em, just takes a bit more conscious effort.

I like 2 SPRAY 'EM REAL GOOD Image
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MSX and MS3's sweeps are as easy as I recalled, which brings up ancient memories of KOF 97. It was the only one of the series I could KAWAKS on my god-awful gamepad circa 2001, due to its more lenient command interpreter. After acquiring a decent arcade stick, the difference between 97 and the rest became negligible (but not imperceptible! that game has some smooth-ass HCBQCF outta blockstun). I'd guess this is a similar situation.

I don't do well on Sony d-pads. A fortnight's Saigo no Nindou gave me my first sore thumbs in a decade. The last time around, it was a DS2 plus KOF 2000 (never again! got an actual goddamn blister). Recently played SOTN on a PS1 for the first time in even longer, and suddenly couldn't Soulsteal/Batsmash at will, unlike on the Hori Switch pad I've emulated it with for the last couple years.

I wonder why they dropped MS1's short hop, it's a nice trick to have. OTOH, it is kinda nice how you'll always get the "right" jump height in MSX/3, particularly when leaping through those Martian laser hoops. Air handling in general seems subtly sharper in MS1 - I was genuinely surprised to nail this blind:


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I'd assumed grabbing the items down there would require some obscure trick and was just running past.

Also, never mind my warblings about the ten prisoners per stage thing, haha. :mrgreen: Total MS1 noob here. Just saw a guy clear stage 4 leading an MS3-style mass exodus of the buggers.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:40 pm 


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I've been practicing Metal Slug 3 Japanese samurai route and yeah this path is just holy fuck.

Been a long time since I 1CC'd MS3 and I'm interested to revisit again, this time I plan to do hardest route clear I hope.

it290 wrote:
MS1 still has the best ratio of creative details per mile of any of the games, and I think it's the only one that is really properly spaced and paced for an arcade experience.


I think MS1 and MSX do have arcade experience. The latter has a bit longer length and difficulty is tightly crafted too. Except for Rugname/mothership though, No enemy chaser = instant game over.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:21 pm 


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copy-paster wrote:
Metal Slug 3 Japanese samurai route


That's the one, good god damn. Back when I was going for the 1LC, circa 2006, I was totally cutthroat and had no concept of prestige performance. So when I saw what was lurking in stage 4's lower depths I was all "Dear SNK, why in sweet fuck would anyone put themselves through that, Regs Biruford." MS3's harder routes are pretty much an entire extra game for me to get back to, at this point. :mrgreen:

Also goddamn I'm really getting into MS1 now. Image I used to find st3/IRON CAVALRYMEN IN HELL's opening climb a bit tame, having played MS4's hellish third stage first (MS4 is utter pastiche, but it's fairly good pastiche IMO). However, returning with the mindset of 1] impelled speed and 2] going for knife/grenade kills to keep your HMG for Allen O'Neil, it's a blast.

Not that you need the HMG for O'Neil. You don't even need a fully-working joystick! (CF JoshF's No Up / No Down / No Miss EIYUU SENKI) I just love 1] actually getting to use those ammo boxes and 2] the AESTHETIC Image

ImageAR-10 VERSUS M-60Image
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"GAHAHAHAHAAA! C'MON, BOY" (always snarl "SEE YOU IN HELL" along with him, it's rad Image)

He's a swell guy, Allen O'Neil. Always returns home to his family, no matter what. Also helps you to detect input lag, by shooting your goddamn nuts off if you're slow!

YOU'RE MINCE MEAT! GAHAHAHAHA
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I'm finding that a decade of scrolling action has improved my appreciation of these games. Back then, they were just about the only such things in my library, with old standbys Contra/Castlevania/Ninja Gaiden a fond fading memory. I loved MS3, but tended to get stumped by stuff that seems blindingly obvious - scratch that, seems almost instinctive now. Heli's revving up to strafe the screen! Oh noes! WTF do you mean "oh noes" you SCURRED bitch?! Dump grenades on that tank blocking your path, then get under the heli and ram your hot shell up the pilot's ass!

VEHICLE ENTRY/EXIT EXPLOIT enables some WILD SHIT. It may sound like raw cheese on paper, but in-game it's a legit tool of ultraviolent expression. Get driven into a corner by a hail of mortars and grenades -> somersault outta there and obliterate your attackers in one second of unstoppable fury -> stab & shoot and GTFO your way back to the tank, repeat. It's genuinely pretty unique, I can't recall much like it. I've grown to love body-ram/pass-through mechanics, turns out this series always had some of the best.

(I knew how to VE/EE MS3's ROOTMARS mkII, final and deadliest trial of st5/ALL ABOUT LOVE - no way in hell would I have survived the infernal gauntlet otherwise :o I wonder if people actually fight that absolute fucker sans Slug...)

OFC you should not get driven around much! Kill every motherfucker on sight and they won't trouble you later. Senjou no Okami more like SENJOU NO SHINIGAMI. Image Image The familiar pleasure of pushing the murder BPM to the limit at the risk of being a frame too slow and eating a LEAD SANDWICH. A veritable LEAD HUMBLE PIE.

THEY CALL IT A BLOCKADE, I CALL IT CONVENIENT Image
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An exceptional balance of blazing entertainment to hardcore discipline. The mad things expert players get up to generally aren't for me, but I love that such a rabidly aggressive, balls-out good-time game has this deadly-serious undergirding to rely on as needed.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:34 am 


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Second Ninja 1 CC on hard.

Not a particularly clean or pretty run. There were several occasions where I got my ass handed to me bad, but I was able to keep it together and not die.

I did notice (finally?) that Ninja, if he has room, can basically pick up bosses 2-4 on wake up with impunity. Least it feels like impunity.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:39 am 


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He absolutely can - as on SFC, that's a critical bit of info. :cool: (REALLY critical vs SFC CHAINSAW BULL, who'll corner you like Leatherface if not aggressively handled).

I'm a few weeks removed from serious TNWOA play, but I seem to recall doing that to Zelos as well. Might be wrong though, no liability accepted if I'm full of it. :lol: Versus waking Gigantos, who OFC can't be grappled by Non-Raidens and will axekick you into next Christmas if not blocked, a tumble will usually spoof 'em. That's my go-to if forced next to a waking boss I can't grapple for any reason.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:56 am 


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iirc Zelos can be chaingrabbed from behind but not from in front.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 4:39 am 


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copy-paster wrote:
I think MS1 and MSX do have arcade experience. The latter has a bit longer length and difficulty is tightly crafted too. Except for Rugname/mothership though, No enemy chaser = instant game over.


I absolutely love MSX, and as a console game I really do adore the atmosphere and play of level 2 (the pyramid stage), but as an arcade game holy balls is it a slog. I'm sure I died a million times there when I first started playing the game, but now there's zero threat in the stage and it lacks the freneticness found throughout 90% of the rest of the game. If that stage were a bit less platformy and a bit more shooting-based I'd say it was perfect. It's still great as a home experience, just not tuned to repeated runs in the same way MS1 is.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:11 am 


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Bouhou Koumakyou: Scarlet Family
Developer: Marecha

The Bouhou Koumakyou series is a set of three doujin platformers that draw clear inspiration from DORAGON SUREIYA IV DORASURE FAMIRI. All three are about exploring gigantic interconnected mazes to find treasures and defeat bosses. The first game in the series, Bouhou Koumakyou: Scarlet Family, is about Remilia Scarlet's quest to take revenge on Reimu Hakurei. Remilia, Sakuya, Flandre, Patchouli, and Meiling must find their way through a gigantic cavernous maze beneath the Scarlet Devil Mansion to ultimately ambush Reimu in her shrine. Much like in Legacy of the Wizard, you control one character at a time and can switch between them at home. Each character has different stats and will gain different equipment and abilities as you progress. The first thing you want to do after starting a new game is to enter the dungeon and then immediately return home again to save. If you die before saving you'll have to watch the long introduction again and you don't want that.

Spoiler: show
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Exploring the dungeon


As in Legacy, the dungeon is laid out with a central area near your home that branches out into character-specific sub-dungeons. If you're familiar with Embodiment of Scarlet Devil's soundtrack, you can use the sub-dungeons' background music to tell which character is supposed to be used there. You have to do them in a specific order, at least up until you find the upgrade item that the next character needs to explore her dungeon. Bouhou Koumakyou's biggest departure from Legacy's formula is that shooting costs nothing. This fundamentally changes the nature of the game, running out of resources is a huge concern in Legacy. Despite there being no reason to not be shooting constantly, Marecha neglected to implement an autofire feature. A bad call. Fortunately this is a PC game so we can easily circumvent that. I used JoyToKey to set up 4 hz autofire and that felt about right.

Spoiler: show
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The map and inventory screen. Blue scraps are really convenient and can be used to get characters into the wrong dungeons


When entering the dungeon, you can equip your character with up to two items. There are generic rings that can be used by any character and improve various attributes, character-specific weapons that greatly improve fighting ability, and character-specific upgrade items that grant new abilities. Since upgrade items are mandatory and weapons are better than rings there are essentially no choices to be made here. There is a third slot hidden in a treasure chest which grants a bit of choice, but to my knowledge it's impossible to reach until you've got Remilia's wings, right at the end of the game. Bit of a missed opportunity!

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Ganbare Meiling!


Shops run by Marisa Kirisame are scattered throughout the dungeon. She sells healing items, fast travel items, revival items, and permanent health and strength upgrades. It's not as cool as Legacy's shops that let you sequence break by buying unique items. The shops' inventories are a bit randomized but they refresh every time you visit, so if they don't have what you want you just step out and then right back in. It's a bit inconvenient and there's no reason for it. The prices are fairly high and it's always a tough call whether to buy now or save for something better later. My experience is that you'll never regret buying tickets to teleport back home and the cheapest healing items almost always pay for themselves.

Enemy design tends to overly simple. The great majority of enemies fit into one of three categories: those that fire a single bullet right at you, those that fire a three way spread where the middle bullet is aimed right at you, and those that fire a circle of bullets spread out in every direction. With that said, even painfully simple enemies like these can create interesting and dangerous situations when they attack in numbers, so it's not too bad. Each dungeon ends in a boss battle and they're not very good. I damage raced most of 'em. Each dungeon boss drops a coin and you'll need all four to get past Reimu's donation box and enter the final dungeon. I've seen claims that the box is bugged and will only let you pass if you donate all four at once. I haven't verified this but I'd say it's best to play it safe.

After passing the donation box you'll earn Remilia's wings which change her from useless to the best character. Remilia can explore areas of the dungeon the other characters couldn't reach and is good for getting treasures you missed on your first pass. She can access a few optional bosses and they're a big improvement on the main dungeon bosses. There's not much reward for beating them -- the reward money I got about covered the cost of the consumables I used against them -- but it's a nice inclusion. Reimu at the end is pretty vicious, especially compared to the other bosses. You'll want as many upgrades as you can find and a full stock of healing items.

Spoiler: show
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Sakuya doesn't want to go. The items scattered around the house are all upgrades found in the dungeon.


Bouhou Koumakyou: Scarlet Family has a lot of personality. The player characters don't want to be chosen to explore the dungeon. In some games' character select screens the characters perk up when you point your cursor at them, here they turn away or hide themselves. After you choose one, the others lift her into the air, rush to the entrance of the pit, and toss her in. Your character plummets downwards, bouncing off the cavern walls while you select your equipment loadout. Every once in a while, while exploring the dungeon, the characters back at home will start a conversation. A lot of the time they talk behind the player character's back -- Remilia considers sealing Flandre inside the dungeon and firing Meiling. Sometimes they discuss ways of using their upgrade items in everyday life. The action doesn't pause while they're doing this and you can ignore it completely if you want. It's great feature that goes a long way towards livening things up.

Bouhou Koumakyou: Scarlet Family isn't a bad game but overall I find it to be weaker than Dragon Slayer IV. It focuses a lot more on combat but doesn't do it well enough for it to work as a selling point. On the other hand, DSIV's exploration and puzzles are much stronger. Bouhou Koumakyou: Scarlet Family has a complete and high-quality english fan translation, though it's a simple enough game that you could probably get through even without understanding any of the text.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:40 pm 


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That sounds really cool - nothing I know of on contemporary consoles really approached LEGACY OF THE DRAGON-SLAYING WIZARD 4's particularly ruthless, dungeon crawler-informed sidescrolling labyrinth. (wouldn't be at all surprised to hear there's something good out there for its native Japanese PCs, though!)

Also wow, that sheer pit is intimidating, even if the party chucking the designated explorer down it keeps things farcical. :lol: I always found DSIV's unassuming little stepladder down to hell so amusing, though needless to say it jives with the game's innate Bubble Bobbly cuteness. (just typing this is making me want to revisit - every few years my memory of my favourite sequencing grows dim, and once again DSIV becomes The Real Hopelessly Stranded Miles Underground Simulator Image Image)
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:28 pm 


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Pulled Banglar's ugly head off of his rotund body again with Ninja.

Time under 3000 so getting faster:D Going to switch to Kunoichi and Yaksha now.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:43 pm 


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Official MURDER MACHINE status. Image I'm gonna go back at some point and try for sub-2500 aka MAD MURDER MACHINE Image
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2019 2:21 pm 


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Yeah I'm close to mad murder machine on normal. Maybe 150 seconds off. Definitely do able. Hoping getting better at hard will help with that.

I think clearing hard with Kunoichi and Yaksha will take me a little longer than with Ninja. We will see.

Also going to start Bloodborne this weekend. I don't love the souls games as much as others here, but I did really enjoy my first play through of Dark Souls. The second play through I went as far as beating Ornstein and Smough and then had enough. Once I knew the layout the magic was kind of gone for me. The money is on that initial blind play through.

Non repeat playing aside I am really looking forward to BB.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:05 pm 


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Particularly on Squire's recommendations, Bloodborne is the #1 "oh that'll be nice too!" game on my to-do list, since picking up a PS4 specifically for TNWOA (and being unexpectedly buried under an avalanche of ACA goodies). I'll get around to it in the summer, I imagine! BURINJU will be delighted. Image

Got my first Metal Slug 1LC. Not a very difficult arcade game, but a substantial, rugged experience nonetheless. Although you can trample 80% of it underfoot, and dash/gash through another 10 before Final Mission's grim assault, it does an excellent job of leaving the player to figure out just how dominant they really are. I remember a similar curve in MS3, just on summer blockbuster scale.

I think the difficulty is absolutely pitch-perfect relative to the action. Five globetrotting stages of rip-roaring tank massacre capped off by a grueling attack on enemy HQ. The game is amenable to targeted brute force right to the end, but the last stage palpably shifts the player from predator to... not prey, but a cornered predator. I'm going to go back and see if I can bring down more of those Flying Taras during the nautical machinegun extravaganza, was a bit passive for my liking.

I've always found Slug/Contra comparisons shaky, given the former abolishing one of the latter's most cardinal traits, enemy contact damage. I'd mentioned Slug feeling conspicuously near Saigo no Nindou's hybrid of rowdy scrums and chilling 1HKOs. Post-1LC, I'd also mention their use of durable, deadly, relentless pursuers. Although they're infinitely less menacing than Saigo's dread Ryuichis, due to being set spawns, working around the "Rebel Slug" Girida-Os gave me a similar vibe. A dangerous chaser bound by iron rules of AI. Let it get a bead on you then move in, they can't break out of that three-shot volley.

Slug is more of a Saigo-informed sidescrolling Ikari, the gun/grenade/tank trio gone quartet via automelee Shinobi knifing. I do wonder if Saigo's importing of eight-way attacks to Kage no Densetsu wuxia was influenced by Contra, though. Time like this I miss Drum, he was really into the genealogy of scrolling action.

MVP of the run is unquestionably the very, very last Rebel grunt. I was looking away while making my way back to the stairs for the final showdown, and while I would've hollered "FUCK!" had he got me, it would've almost been worth it!
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2019 5:48 pm 


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Made it to the hangar with Kunoichi. Run ended as I was about to grab a health up, some fucker clipped me from off screen. Next time.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 1:46 am 


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What the fuck! :evil: Metal Slug X removed MS1's Mario-style "hold jump for bigger bounce off enemy tanks" mechanic. God damn, just when I'd finally learned to appreciate it.

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Otherwise though, really glad I got my MS1 play in decent shape before moving onto this. Stuff that seemed unintelligible a month ago is perfectly intuitive now. Stage 5's opening street fight in particular, you really benefit from learning how to misdirect MS1's own st5 bazooka platoons. As usual KILL EM ALL BEFORE THEY SHOOT is a fine choice, but it's always good to have a contingency plan, particularly with the series' customarily smart use of ammo limits. The worst shit happens!

Strong sequel, mostly. Maintains the hard core while embellishing with tons of ideas. Not necessarily all good ones (though apart from said jump fuckery, I'm pretty okay with most of them... Fat Mode can be annoying until you learn to exploit it, and/or know where the hidden diet pills are), but the sheer effort to obliterate any notion of rehash is palpable throughout. I like Metal Slug 4, in its Official ROMhack way, but it's exactly the sort of pastiche lesser devs might've settled for.

Not a fan of the extended, extended homage to Contra Zambonis, but I was expecting those. MS3's equivalents are even worse. At least blowing up MSX's st5-2 trains is visceral as all hell. MS3 has you chipping through what looks like Martian cowpat. (poor Kiss In The Dark, a darkly soaring Draculaesque shredder, tied to buttonmashers in MSX and MS3).

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the jump nerf. That turnaround input eating is very noticeable after a week of MS1, though as said in older posts it's easily adjusted for.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:19 am 


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Bouhou Youyoumu
Developer: Marokaka

Bouhou Youyoumu is the second game in the Bouhou series. Fundamentally it's similar to its predecessor, Bouhou Koumakyou: Scarlet Family. I'll mostly focus on the differences between the two here, so if you're unfamiliar with Scarlet Family I recommend reading my review of that game before reading this one.

Spoiler: show
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I love that they kept this


Bouhou Youyoumu drops Scarlet Family's multi-character gimmick, the only playable character is Youmu Konpaku. There's also no home base to return to, instead you fully heal and autosave whenever you visit one of Marisa's shops. These two changes make Bouhou Youyoumu a lot less like Legacy of the Wizard and a lot more of a conventional search action platformer.

Spoiler: show
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The first shop is just to the right of the starting point


There's an experience system where every time Youmu levels up she gets a point in either strength or charisma. Strength increases Youmu's damage. Charisma is more interesting. Every equippable item has a charisma cost and Youmu can use any combination of equippable items so long as the total doesn't exceed her charisma level. It's a nice system, it feels like your equipment options keep getting wider as you progress, and it that prevents weaker items from being outright replaced by stronger, costlier ones. Youmu has a karma meter that reduces her damage and defense as it fills up. You gain a bit of karma every time you kill a phantom which is really easy to do by accident. Marisa sells consumables that reduce karma in exchange for dealing Youmu a bit of damage, but since Marisa's shops also heal Youmu for free, the damage isn't a serious problem. Despite those downsides, there is a point in the game where you may want a full karma meter.

Spoiler: show
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Yukari and Ran are exploring the dungeon too. You'll bump into them every once in a while


The dungeon is divided into numbered areas, each with a boss at the end. You'll have to do them more or less in order, though there's still plenty of room for exploration. The boss fights are greatly improved over the ones in Scarlet Family. They tend to be pretty strong. Usually you'll have to run away the first time you meet them, and afterwards every upgrade you find will have you thinking "Maybe now I can beat them..." By improving the bosses they indirectly improved the entire game. Normal enemies are still too basic, but the developer has gotten better at using them. The dungeon is pretty big and it's hard to navigate even when you've got all of the mobility upgrades, so my recommendation is to not cheap out on fast travel items. Money isn't too much of a problem here as long as you don't go for the insanely expensive Kirisame blade, which allows your attacks to destroy bullets. It's a good item, but you aren't likely to afford it until the end of the game no matter how much you save, and I haven't found it to be especially useful against the final boss or the optional superboss.

Spoiler: show
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A map of the first area. There are seven in total. That gigantic vertical shaft near the upper left corner is where Youmu falls into the dungeon


Two new gimmicks that weren't included in Scarlet Family are dark rooms and fake walls. Generally the dark rooms are simple enough that you can get in and back out again with a little trial and error, but they're still a pain. I'd say it's better to check back on them after you find the lantern. Fake walls that you can pass through are used extensively throughout the game. It's good about giving you clues for where they might be, though sometimes they get really obscure. Like, say you reach a dead end where you can see something on the other side of the wall, but there's no way in. What the game is expecting you to do is to circle around the dungeon and approach from the other side. There'll be no indication of a secret on that side, but that's where the fake wall is.

Bouhou Youyoumu is packed with items. Exploration is more rewarding here than it was in Scarlet Family where the dungeon was a bit too sparse. The majority of what you'll find are stat upgrade items that improve Youmu's HP, strength, and charisma. I also find it more rewarding that every item you find improves your one character rather than spreading them out evenly over a group. Youmu eventually becomes really powerful, while the Scarlet Family crew generally turn out to be just adequate.

Spoiler: show
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With the winged boots you can perform invincible air dashes


Youmu starts with the same generic, short-ranged shot type that the five characters of Bouhou Koumakyou had and there's still no autofire. Youmu's swords, Hakurouken and Roukanken are both hidden inside the dungeon and equipping one, the other, or both changes Youmu's attack to a sword slash with good range and a nice wide hitbox. It makes the game more fun to the point where they probably shouldn't be hidden in the first place, so I'm just going to tell you that you can find Hakurouken hidden behind a series of fake walls at the bottom of area 2.

Spoiler: show
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Normal attacks. Yes that's their maximum range.

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Dual wielding Hakurouken and Roukanken


There's a postgame area that culminates in a final battle against Sakuya Izayoi. The dungeon is only a small step up in difficulty compared to the rest of the game, but Sakuya's stats are sky high and you won't have much of a chance unless you're close to maxed out. You'll still be a good ways away from the level cap by the end of the game, so you'll have to do a lot of grinding for one fight. There's no reward for beating her either. If you're considering doing the postgame, it might be better to collect Cirno's soul at the entrance to Sakuya's room and then call it quits.

Spoiler: show
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Yuyuko opines on the value of Cirno's soul


All in all it's a solid and fun action dungeon crawler. It loses some uniqueness for abandoning multiple characters, but its refinements in every other area result in a stronger game than its predecessor. There's a partial fan translation for Bouhou Youyoumu that translates the UI and item descriptions, which are all you need to finish the game.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 3:51 am 


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Gravitated back to Saigo by the fatal attraction of UNFINISHED BIDNESS with st6 & BONEY-sama. I suspect the former's terrain may be the key to dialling the hellacious pace down a bit, though 6-2 will always be dangerous on account of Ghost. You can create quite the kusarigama pillow fort versus Ryuichi mk2s, Monks and Wind Demons, but even if hacked down at distance, Ghost will eventually pop up at arm's length ready to split you in half. This place is fucking haunted, Scoob! Still, a few seconds' respite is better than dead none.

That wonderful feeling when you upload a proud replay and go to watch, only to see your character eat a grenade two minutes in. :lol: On the off-chance anyone else saw that, you want to hit 'em right before impact so you sail through the initial pop. Do it like I did, and you're getting the detonation proper! Trimming and reuploading now. EDIT: Done.

I got flat-out lucky at Boney, as to my chagrin still happens sometimes. An aggressive hammering fortuitously blew his face off, right as I was about to reap the rewards of indecision in death by pincer. I've seen maestro SAIGONONINDOU take him down with similar speed, but he too had a hellacious tight squeeze in doing so. Hm. A real fucker, this one. This evening's entertainments saw me 1LC to st7 three times before sticking the win, with fading recollection of my quick 7-1 (NAZO no DEVILS AIR FRESHENER) route spoiling two, and extra-aggressive bolt RNG doing the last.

Wrote quite a bit more in the description, so will spoiler here for now.

Spoiler: show
Inadvertently quick(ish) kill on Boney-sama, owing to lots of aggressive upshotting during my usual opening gambit, followed by prolonged focus fire from the corner. Thought I was screwed VS that absolute crawling, crackling mess... looking at the footage, it seems I was headed for death by pincer, had I fallen much further. I was pleasantly surprised when he died.

Perhaps I left moving too late, or maybe an aggressive max height+length superjump would've gotten me clear? Going between bolts still scares the hell out of me. They can be deceptively quick when chasing airborne players, and Saigo's air handling isn't given to twitch evasion.

As usual, aggression seems to pay off, but it's hard to consistently attack with his volatile RNG. Note that this is a medium-rank run (two POWs, two Shadows), which will take a small but significant bite out of his HP - enough to save you in precisely such a situation. The POWs I dodged throughout this run may well have proven fatal landmines, had I settled on collecting them.

Stage 6 remains a wickedly chaotic trial, as ever. I've shifted to aggressively killing enemies in 6-1, and relying more on jump-based misdirection in 6-2. Punching straight through the Ryuichi mk1 at 8:00 was an emergency redirect - I could tell I wouldn't have made the safe jump-in. You can exploit the terrain to great effect throughout both halves of the stage... I suspect this, along with smarter use of tactical retreats, will eventually get me a bit more security on the hellish battlefield.

Proud of the ultra-close shave on the Ryuichi mk1 jump-over at 7:55, haha. Some nice jumping throughout, if I do say so myself. Saigo's jump control is superbly finessed, and critically important.

I let the Shield exhaust before entering 6-2 for the pacifistic reason mentioned above. In particular, a Ghost at your back is a situation you want to prolong! Note the rocky, uneven terrain at 8:45 - a Ghost spawning on the other side while I'm traversing it is one of my most dreaded misfortunes. Here, he's kept safely at my back. The shield will give a little sense of security at first, but it'll also keep Ghosts spawning ahead of you.

Note the Ryuichi mk2 / Jump-slasher at 8:31 - the earliest I've seen one appear. I really wasn't sure what he was until making the jump. Fortunately, leaping as shown will clear them just like their mk1 brethren, even if it produces a very different result!

Annoyed that I didn't get to show off my Contra Zamboni-style no-jump speedkill of stage 3's boss - besides positioning your shadows parallell to his head, so his sword won't eat the brunt of the grenade blast, you also need to avoid having the Shield active for it to work. Shield seems to impede the grenades' DPS. I notice something similar with st5's boss, but the Shield is much more important there, keeping his snipers at bay. You can shut down all of st3's riflemen with the positioning shown.


EDIT: Blimey, knocked 100MB off the video size. Well that's nice. :o I thought ~16min was kinda hefty, but figured it was due to getting held up a bit in st6. ~11:20 clear, that's near my fastest yet. I don't do speedrunning but I do like efficiency. One of this wonderful game's very best features is its blistering intensity-to-runtime ratio. You'll be back to the hell in no time flat!

Favourite bit: Anatomy of a counter-offensive beatdown.

God damn that was a tight hop Image
Spoiler: show
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^ Note the slowdown associated with my countering the Green Ninjas' fan spreads. As noted a while back, projectiles (player and enemies' both) take a much bigger toll on the M72 processor than characters. Collision checking, I'd guess offhand?

Runner-up: Can You Guess Who's Coming To Decapitate You?

That's right! It's RYUICHI MK2!
Spoiler: show
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^ Never seen one appear so early in the stage (the open sandy stretch between its two halves), was genuinely surprised. Good technique will clear the murderous blade, no matter its wielder - but goddamn! Jump-slasher palette and/or headswap, PLS!
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:50 am 


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Thoughts on KID/Naxat? I'm somewhat familiar with their work on the NES, but I never gave any of their games a serious try, except maybe Isolated Warrior. I don't see much discussion about them in this thread, even though they had quite an output on the system.

I've been playing Low-G-Man lately and it's very similar to the first NES G.I. Joe game they later put out in the sense that each stage consists of three levels and you get to steal enemy vehicles once you defeat their drivers. The game has quite an interesting gimmick. You shoot with a freeze gun that momentarily paralyzes enemies and you can only destroy them by stabbing them upwards or downwards. There's a risk vs. reward system where you're more likely to get a bonus item if you destroy an enemy when they're not frozen, but most of the sub-weapon-carrying enemies always leave supplies no matter what and some of the rewards you get from killing regular enemies without freezing are not always beneficial (namely the red potions, which drain your health).

Surprisingly the passcodes are easy to remember. It looks like they're hardcoded into the game rather than generated. Fonts seems to be the same type used in Double Dragon II on the NES.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:21 am 


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I know them mostly for their small but quality brace of STGs. Recca aside (main game counterstop is unfortunate, but it's hard and vivid enough to be a hell of a ride regardless, and the score+time attack modes are sound), I've always been fond of Burai Fighter's Forgotten Image Force II hybrid.

Getting onto thread-appropriate stuff... their most prominent titles being NES-only has kept them on my to-do list. Kick Master is one of this thread's most consistently high-rated games, and I loved the couple stages I've played. Yagawa/Raizing fans will notice the powerup showers immediately. Would've grabbed a FC copy many, many years ago, but for obvious reasons that's not gonna happen. :wink: Low-G Man always sounds very cool, as well, and both GI Joes have always enjoyed praise from people I trust.

Suffice to say they're something I have to check out at some point, and the most alluring thing about NES gaming to me at this point - just got held up due to a JP collecting fixation.

I really like Max Warrior (which I'd consider an on-topic borderliner due to its strong platforming element - it's basically an isometric Wolf Fang). A smartly-designed isometric shooter, actually just a smartly-designed action game in general. Collision is forgiving and generous, and it leverages that into some impressively hectic action. The double-jumping bomb always reminded me of Super Shinobi's shuriken burst... super cool move with a visceral payoff. I highly recommend that one.

I've played a bit of their sidescroller Doki Doki Yuuenchi, whose NES name I can't recall offhand (typing on fumes!), enough to note it handled pretty nicely, and more strikingly possesses what seems to be a Border Down antecedent in its powerup system. Less health remaining = more damage given, complete with colour changing. That and the striking art style (something shared by Kick Master and Max Warrior) put it on my rainy day list. Has some bangin' Recca-style DPCM drumming, too.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:14 am 


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KID's Kick Master is absolutely one of the most underappreciated NES games. It's janky, but super enjoyable.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:34 am 


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i've probably already talked about liking kickmaster a lot, but, well, i like it a lot! very highly recommended and my favorite kid game. easy to get over the initially weird/janky feel and pare it down to a really tight action game. i've 1cc'd though loop 3 and no miss'd through loop 2. imho the difficulty would be perfect somewhere between 2 & 3, but the tankiness gets extreme starting loop 3 and absurd at loop 4 (unlike most KID action games, it actually keeps getting harder after loop 3, though that's the last addition to the ending you'll get, as per usual).
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:13 pm 


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Sumez wrote:
KID's Kick Master is absolutely one of the most underappreciated NES games. It's janky, but super enjoyable.


Is that the whore of Babylon in your second screenshot? I guess she's one head short though

Quote:
I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth.

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:26 pm 


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Babylon
The scarlet whore
I'll infiltrate your gratitude!


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Looks like Scylla, a similar interpretation of the monster later appearing in SOTN.

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Though I want to believe notorious arcade purist Yagawa nicked the flying wolves from Saigo. :mrgreen:

COMIN 4 DAT BOOTY
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:48 pm 


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Congrats on the Ninja Spirit clear, BIL.

Been enjoying The Ninja Saviors quite a bit. I feel like the little changes and moveset expansions to the cast really made me appreciate characters who aren't Ninja this time around. Haven't gotten the Hard 1cc yet, but really enjoying rotating between Ninja, Kunoichi, and Yashka.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:43 pm 


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Thanks! I'd have to put this one on a desert island sidescroller list, for sure. There's a ton of stuff I could replay forever on style points, and some even for actual points (AC Rygar is looking very interesting), but I've seen nothing else so infernally replayable from a pure survival perspective.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:55 am 


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Ninja's neutral jump is one of my favorite "taunts".
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