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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:39 am 



Joined: 25 Jan 2005
Posts: 3049
Quick One:

CIT:

The Rayforce booklet should have an explanation of the VCO philosophy, if I recall correctly (read: I am too lazy to find the source online and my own physical copy is in a different continent).

I also effortlessly agree that Taito were masters of world-building, before the term became even a trendy buzzword. Their F3 line-up could be dissected and studied in a "game design" course, in a lecture/seminar entitled "How to create a vivid, pulsating, and playable world with a few smart choices" :wink:

Students who would complain about game systems creating forms of "gate-keeping" could be executed on the spot ("you're fired", Orange Donald T.-style).

Here is an old bit: my uncle mentioned that when he bought the board, he thought that he was going to make happy just me and him.

At the time, he owned an arcade in L'Aquila, NE of Rome. He saw the game at the gigantic arcade in the EUR Luna Park in Rome (more than 1000 sq. metres, 400+ cabs at any time), and fell in love with it enough to drive me and himself to the place on Sundays, for 4-5 weeks in a row. The big arcade owners were also acting as distributors for central Italy, so uncle managed to get a board quickly.

The game turned out to be the "steady provider". Although most people coould easily complete it, there was a sizeable crowd of people who would enjoy the daily 1-CC if only because the game is a class act.

My uncle remembers paying the board around 800k lire (roughly 420 euros today? What about inflation? Who cares!), and getting roughly 3.5 M out of it over 7-8 months or so (1700 euros? See previous comment!).

When the game outlasted its arcade cycle, he took the board to his place, as he had two cabs in the garage :wink:

...hold on, here is a second old bit.

I remember spending quite a bit for the Scitron OST and the SS (Sega Saturn! Why are you looking at me with evil smirks?!), but aside being money well spent, the OST plays a dream on a proper stereo (i.e. anything in steel, not older than '80 or so). My late grandpa loved listening to it while drinking Montepulciano wine on warm (central Italy) countryside Sunday afternoons.

Well, he would be rather drunk by that hour and day of the week, so I could have played just about anything, I guess.
_________________
Chomsky, Buckminster Fuller, Yunus and Glass would have played Battle Garegga, for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:44 am 


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Joined: 10 May 2007
Posts: 12644
Location: SODOM
From one legendary design house to another...

*ANGRY METAL SOUNDS*
ImageImageMETAL SLUG... ECKS ImageImage

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MISSION, ALLL OVER 4 NAO (■`ω´■)

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Got a Metal Slug X 1LC recorded. Was surprisingly intense nailing this down! I was on the cusp of regaining MS3's 1LC a fortnight ago, but it felt wrong skipping MSX, with it being the only Nazca I'd never managed. Plenty of 1CCs over the years, so it wasn't a cold start, but I still had more learning to do than I thought.

Mostly happy with this run - only real screwup was my st5-1 exit. Usually I blow away the helis while freeing the tunnel POW, nabbing his grenades for train demolition. This time my Slug got hitstunned onto them, wasting the stash. Looked sloppy, but ultimately didn't matter much, as I always have a surplus to fall back on.

Also made a small but potentially lethal mistake in 6-2, while rescuing the Grenade POW. I like to free him, then let him come to me while I nail the rebels up top with an Iron Lizard. Going too far right, like I do here, spawns those grenadiers behind the UFO - dangerous while you're on the other side. I quickly squash 'em with grenades, but I prefer to rush up the UFO and downshot 'em. Looks cooler too.

I'd like to get a sub-30minute 5mil 1LC - missed it by a couple hundred thousand, this time. Either better st2 luck (overlapped Genies, 30k gems) or more food in st4 would've put me over, but I can't help the former, and the latter makes for a boggier run (I like dodging Big Mode in st4-1, and only trigger it in st4-3 since it's all Slug from there on). Oh, and not screwing up the 50k train jump would be good too. :oops: Usually I don't care for the series' scoreplay, given all the milking and randomness, but I warmed up to MSX's under this set of rules.

---

I'd call MSX's 1LC a bit trickier than MS3's, though nowhere as draining. While MS3's Final Mission is punishingly lengthy (and involves far more plinking), its individual scenes aren't too harrowing. Lots of single-target speedkills, and mowing down oncoming hordes, plus plenty of Slug time. MSX's Final Mission is on-foot until its climax, and more consistently advances into danger, kicking off with some unforgiving platforming, the lethally capricious bridge, and the unpredictable Allen and his zako.

Its remainder is more passive and amenable to practiced speedkilling - but it's the multifactoral sort, where a misstep can spiral into swift death. The massive defensive lines are ammo-sapping hardcases at a distance, hydras of lurking death up-close. The corridor's hordes encroach from all sides, keeping the player scrambling for escape between do/die rushes. The final boss is hellishly dangerous - as is MS3's - but its counter is perilously easy to drop and often nigh-impossible to regain, versus the third game's steady groove.

By this same token, I'd rate MSX Nazca's best Slug, by a nose. All three's opening four stages are easy, feelgood affairs (MS3's most deliberately wicked alternate routes excepted). Their finales are likewise deadly trials, but only MSX uses its intervening fifth stage to smooth out the spike. While the five-stage MS3's final terrestrial sortie is effectively a stealth equivalent, its breezy shooting just isn't as engaging as MSX's deceptively lethal city skirmish.

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---

My few complaints are mostly on the technical side. While MSX's speed dramatically improves on MS2's dispiriting, nerfing trudge, the slowdown at a few points still takes a bit of its edge - Mission 5-1's streets and Mission 6-1's densest crowds, in particular. It should be stressed that neither section is at all easy, despite the assist - in fact they're insidiously easy to lose control of, thanks to relentless pincer pressure and sheer firepower, respectively.

The turnaround attack input drop, inherited from MS2 and excised by MS3, is a niggling flaw given greater prominence by the otherwise super-smooth handling. It's also legitimately deadly to distracted or tired players. I'm proud of the speedkill on the finale's Girida pincer - so satisfying cancelling the Molotov into the shotgun! - but one of my more memorable late downfalls saw Marco refuse to fire as the second tank blew his head off. st5-2's encircling knifers benefit dangerously, too. Ultimately, a "safety tap" is trivial to master, and a far cry from some of the true damage cases I've encountered (insert neat irem segue to Holy Diver Image).

Echoing Ilpalazzo, I don't like st6-1's very first challenge, the rocket chuckers - the joint nadir of the game's coding and design. They're too dangerous to be engaged with as anything but binary speedkills - let one attack, and at best, you're gonna waste a ton of grenades escaping the slideshow shitshow. The slowdown also causes input lag (on hardware and good emulation alike), impeding more elegant solutions. The trick I use to break the ice in this run works great, but always feels a bit tawdry. While I prefer to hop straight across and start blasting, I've had too many runs end to a toxic mix of a loose rocket and a tanking framerate.

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Pace-wise, MSX's long, easy second stage arguably undoes the gains of its bloodening fifth. I've come to enjoy 2-3's optional perils, and even 2-2 at least offers some visceral burn/blast amidst stirring scenery (I love the implication of a grand staircase beneath its sandy ascent, hopelessly obscured but for its very summit). I'd be happy enough if it incorporated a little of Daikmakaimura's st2 mortars, though not necessarily to such intensity.

As with the 6-1 rocketeers, the final boss, or rather his lethal minions, definitely goes a bit far into all/nothing dominate-or-die. While you can certainly recover from a dropped shutdown, the black UFOs' mobility, durability and firepower is so utterly dangerous, letting them escape the stranglehold simply cannot be countenanced. I'd have preferred a more organic final stand, though there's no denying the adrenaline rush of holding on for dear life. As with the broadly similar Boney-sama of Saigo no Nindou, it's a sub-optimally routine-dependent finale with the brute compensation of sheer intensity.

Although the finale's random drops are undeniably lopsided, I honestly ignore them at this point. They're a pleasant surprise, but not something I ever factor in - pistol and grenades are all I need. Likewise the final battle's reinforcements. It does feel rad when the Slug, Hyakutaro, some grunts and a couple of Giridas are hammering the shit out of the Martian Scum!

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I Wish To Believe In Love [FINAL ATTACK ♫]

---

Sir Ilpalazzo wrote:
-Is the wavy bridge setpiece especially prone to randomly fucking you over? I usually have a relatively easy time there but have had a few attempts where I got an awkward formation of soldiers + missiles and blew it. It feels like it should be a fairly doable bit, and it feels to me like my deaths there were pretty avoidable, but watching replays online I see way better players than me waiting at the start of the bridge until all the enemies and missiles stop spawning. I don't really like the idea of basically pausing the game for a minute every time I get a run that far, but is the bridge really that volatile that it's not worth going for?


I know it's been a while, but I wanted to revisit now that I've more to contribute. In my experience, the bridge is definitely MSX's single deadliest RNG hazard. Having said that, while some runs are much nastier than others, I never felt truly screwed by it, and I've a few consistently effective tactics.

1: Enter with 15 Iron Lizards, minimum. It's pretty easy if you conserve your ammo, and grab the hidden POW. You can easily get more by clearing out the preceding squad with the HMG, before grabbing the first Lizard. Liberate the secret POW from far enough away that the bridge forces don't trigger.

2: Keep a consistent "carpet" going throughout. Don't mash, it'll just waste ammo. I send a Lizard ahead of me on entry, and refresh every second or so. This'll kill Bowling Ball rebels before they can lay down any nasty surprises of their own. However...

3: Watch out for rockets that intercept your Lizards - they can't kill what they can't reach. Slow and steady is best, but if you're being blocked, prioritise a prompt advance.

4: Speaking of slow and steady, try to keep a steady eye on the upcoming rockets and rebels - the latter are especially deadly if they manage to get a bowling ball deployed, as it'll often be obscured by the bridge itself. Even if you can't prevent an attack, knowing it's there is life-saving information.

5: Vertical jumps up and onto rockets are preferable to advancing leaps. The game is quite forgiving at letting you board a rocket after you've gained a superior Y coordinate, but it can be wickedly harsh about frontal contact. Finally...

6: Be careful at attempting to crawl under rockets. Even if you make it past the warhead to the "safe" body, the game will sometimes dump you straight through the bridge, autokilling you in the process.

Quote:
-Are there good strategies for the final bosses that don't involve saving up all your grenades and going on a bombing spree? I'm still getting the hang of that strategy, it seems like the obvious safest way to handle the powerful UFO enemies, but I don't really want to have the whole run hinge on a plan that leaves the entire run hinging on being able to do the final alien corridor perfectly.


As noted above, I consider the black UFOs too dangerous for anything but a swift, brutal bombing. There's a fair bit to elaborate on where certain victory is concerned, however.

Phase 1 / Dai-manji

Image Image

- When mini UFOs drop, they're invulnerable. Learn the timing to nail them with a bomb, before they escape and start to attack.

- Grey UFO HP is determined by their number. A single spawn will take three grenades to die. Groups of five take one apiece. If you nail a GUFO and it dies instantly, get ready for his four pals. A big mistake in my run is breaking off the attack after killing a #3 to grab weapons. This gets me pincered by #4 and #5 - I quickly take one down, but for a few seconds, I was scared shitless of getting dragnetted in the corner.

- If you're unlucky enough to have to fight with UFOs... jumps are useful for evasion, but very dangerous for advancing. Use them to evade and create space, when necessary, but beware approaching lest they pick you out of the air, or put a slow-moving laser underneath you.

- Once I've done significant damage, I get onto the roof of the building, or at least get onto the platform. I don't want to be stranded in the center or right when Phase 2 kicks off.

- Black UFOs spawn in pairs after Dai takes enough damage, and take four grenades apiece. I try to end the fight with a grenade dump, at this point (with no lifebars, it's an abstract kind of feel Image), and again - best to be up on the platform.

- I don't care about weapon drops at all, now. Pistol, grenades and a little patience is more than enough, anything else is just a welcome boost. It's very possible to farm GUFOs for weapons/bombs, but partially for fear of BUFOs and partially for just wanting this over with ( :mrgreen: ), I don't actively do this.

Phase 2 / Rugname

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- As long as I enter with 25 grenades, I know I'm good. To help ensure this, besides my in-stage performance, I also do the majority of my Phase 1 damage with shots - grenades are for shutting down UFOs, and the aforementioned anti-BUFO speedkill.

- BUFO spawn timing is identical to Phase 1. Invincible drop, vulnerable pause, then they take flight. They spawn in sets of three, each taking four grenades. The attack demonstrated here is critical. Don't panic if you miss a grenade or two - even a couple will take a chunk out of their freakish HP, greatly improving your odds of killing them later. Stray grenades aren't good either, an execution error on my part.

- That said, I'm also trying to hit Rugname itself with grenades. Slug seems to arrive once I've landed 20 or so. Clobber Rugname while it's firing its lazor.

- As before, if all hell breaks loose, use jumps sparingly, and only to escape. Jumping in a BUFO's vicinity will often get you countered hard.

- Allied Giridas are good peoples! One shot = one dead BUFO. Shield troops likewise can give you an escape from BUFO dragnets. Pay attention to the help you're given, in case you have to make a break for it.

- With good exit/entry timing, the Slug renders you effectively invincible. If you're forced to enter it before it's near the platform, or it looks like you're gonna lose it, you can tread water while waiting for the situation to improve.

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I fell in love with this particular explosion all over again. Image

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Kimochi indeed Image
_________________
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STOMP EM IN THE NUTS
[THE MIRAGE OF MIND] Metal Black ST [THE MASSACRE] Gun.Smoke ST [TRAGEDY FLAME]


Last edited by BIL on Fri Apr 24, 2020 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:21 pm 


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Joined: 24 Nov 2014
Posts: 1500
Location: Germany
""An item", he said softly, his eyes on the disc, "that passes without provenance, pursued by many who thirst for its cold kiss, on which life and all that lay within life is often gambled. Alone, a beggar's crown. In great numbers, a king's folly. Weighted with ruin, yet blood washes from it beneath the lightest rain, and to the next no hint of its costs. It is as it is, says Kruppe, worthless but for those who insist otherwise."
[…]
"You speak," Baruk said slowly, fighting to pull back into reality by focusing on the wax disc in Kruppe's hand, "of a coin.""

Spoiler: show
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In light of having steadily, nay, inexorably worked on the SFC again these last few months in quest of finishing them with the above-mentioned single coin, it is with such apposite aplomb that I resume and revise my recommendation list. Aside from a very small handful of games which I haven't cleared (yet) for some reason or another even though I would like to do so (more on that later), I feel confident that this particular sermon now has the potential to make recourse to as ideal a foundation of information as I personally will ever have access to; obviously, such endeavours are never truly finished, I'm undeterred all the same.

I've decided to alter the original design of the recommendation list ever so slightly: recommended games still proudly bear a green hue, games I would dissuade anyone from trying are likewise presented in red as before; to differentiate further, I've thrown in the orange colour for some healthy average games that sit somewhere in the transitional state: more so for inveterate enthusiasts than fastidious epicures. Italics signify that a game is on the lesser end of its spectrum whereas a bold font expresses the full entelechy, for better or for worse. In other words:

Excellent
Very Good
Good
(Slightly) Above Average
Average
(Slightly) Below Average
Bad
Terrible
Unimaginably Horrendous

Quite a few games were added (new clears and older ones which I didn't mention on the list previously, although I still omitted self-evident jump 'n' runs like the DKC series), I likewise occasionally changed my mind marginally or even considerably. Only games I've cleared on one credit are given below in the main list, the rest follows afterwards.

To round off this post, I've also decided to give a few droll stories about my overall experiences and musings, perhaps someone will find it useful or enjoyable.


The List

Acrobat Mission (peculiar port of a peculiar game; one of the two weapons is bugged thanks to the consuetudinarily excellent work of Micronics, most of the rest of the game is replicated duly; I also enjoy the SFC instrumentation of the soundtrack a lot more - while it may look like an awkward game, it is unexpectedly good for survival and score play alike and a considerable challenge in either wise)

ActRaiser (enchanting melange of competently stiff platforming and God simulation parts which is arguably - and magically - better than the sum of its parts; it should be noted that the US version is both slightly superior in certain aspects (controls, graphics) and considerably easier during the action parts, which I personally prefer over the sometimes downright mean SFC version - the aforementioned slightly clumsy controls don't lend themselves to harrowing platforming with a plethora of spikes, I'm afraid)

ActRaiser 2 (one of my favourite games on here; the quintessential representation of beautiful SFC graphics, replete with appropriate symbolism, and a ponderous, august score to go along with it; salient among the gameplay is the judicious use of invincibility frames, deactivating enemies' hitboxes and magic utilization is key to victory in this fittingly tough quest; in this case, the US version is considerably harder than the SFC original, I'd recommend trying both out, the perfect difficulty would lie somewhere in-between in my opinion)

Akumajou Dracula/Super Castlevania IV (while it does lack the tautness and intensity of other games in the series to reach accustomed lofty heights, it's still a suitably moody, decent adventure if you happen to fancy a long credit which only slowly builds up difficulty)

Akumajou Dracula XX/Castlevania: Dracula X (while overall clearly inferior compared to the source material, it's still a quality game with some eminent standouts such as the Clocktower)

Archer MacLean's Super Dropzone (probably could've been a fun Defender/Fantasy Zone type game if not for the careless construction of enemy movement patterns and such which require you to constantly use the invincibility item)

Area 88/U.N. Squadron (vastly improved over the rather bland arcade game, with materially stronger stages & epic boss fights; grinding/repeating convoys can be a trifle annoying, but you don't have to do much if you don't want to)

Assault Suits Valken/Cybernator (essential mecha cinematic experience with commensurable bouts of utter destruction, inimitable balance between short range and long range weaponry as well as a keen exigency regarding the utilization of offensive and defensive tools)

Axelay (some great horizontal stages paired with so-so vertical ones, betimes incredibly tense atmosphere (final stage!) and unusual - for better or for worse - weaponry; gawking at & imbibing the majesty of all the vignettes becomes a good deal easier with experience, as some of the design choices in the vertical stages can be unnerving at first)

Batman Returns (immensely Final Fight-esque when it comes to the kinetic impact of your attacks (which also do a lot of damage usually) and cracking sound effects; would've been excellent if not for a few frustrating boss fights)

Battletoads & Double Dragon (while not a must by any means, I am fond of the focus on nimble dash attacks - game also has fantastic music and a few surprisingly fun boss fights)

Battletoads in Battlemaniacs (I do enjoy the memorization-heavy, variegated style of Battletoad games myself, and this game in particular is a great ad usum delphini re-imagination of the very first game in the sense that it only has six true stages, making the necessary memorization very bearable)

Battle Zeque Den (stunningly gorgeous game with hideous gameplay; you either try to play it in a dynamic way and get slaughtered as early as stage 1 or you stick to a couple of strategies (exploiting high ground, abusing the jump kick) and have an extremely easy time - the game is also absurdly long at about 90 minutes; this allows you to soak in the ambrosial visuals, I suppose)

BioMetal (the best console-exclusive shmup on the system as far as I'm concerned; the utmost focus on belligerence, the solemn soundtrack (play the SFC version!), the oppressive bio-horror, the swift ship speed, everything is superb)

BlaZeon(: The Bio-Cyborg Challenge) (has segments in it where virtually nothing happens at all for 45 (!) seconds; I'd comfortably call the arcade game a hidden gem, and there are infrequent flares of that to be seen in the port, the sheer viscosity successfully ruins most of that; the only consolation here is that the music is still terrific, giving you something to experience during those gameplay nullibieties)

Captain Commando (shoddy port of the arcade game with unfair hitbox properties particularly during boss fights - I had to rely on a cheesy trouvaille to barely clear the game and can't even imagine getting through this on one credit in what would be the intended way; for example, of the last four stages, only one of them has health upgrades (three, in fact!), you have to make it with two lives total, the final boss can kill you in two hits...)

Caravan Shooting Collection (not a disaster (strictly comparatively speaking) like the Ninja Ryukenden trilogy, but the graphical improvements are either imperceptible or even slightly detrimental; having said that, it is a convenient way of having the excellent Hector '87 and the unswervingly solid SFC Star Force in one cart, just ignore that godawful Star Soldier game)

Chou Genjin/Super Bonk (not really horrible, only about 50-60 minutes too long for what it actually has to offer; attacking enemies and particularly bosses is too fickle to be called anything other than frustrating, you're usually better off just staying on top of them and take a few hits in the process instead of backing away - has a few noteworthy moments during the stages, not nearly enough of them to hold the sesquipedalian length, unfortunately)

Choujikuu Yousai Macross: Scrambled Valkyrie (very mild memorizer for practical purposes, most of it can be circumvented with a bit of dexterity; remarkably multifaceted with creative stages and bosses, rounded off with a top-notch audiovisual presentation; definitely one of the best shmups on the system - withal has one of the most interesting higher difficulty settings on the list, which, while not outright revolutionary, necessitates perspicacious actions from the players to be overcome)

Choukou Gasshin Xardion (average platformer beset by mild RPG elements (which either force the player to grind for a few minutes or to face unduly durable bosses, misspending the player's time in any scenario) and occasional lag which seems to be deliberately aimed at the jump command, receives somewhat of an apollonian state by way of a memorable art direction)

Choumakaimura/Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts (a lot more methodical and slower-paced than other games in the series, making this one considerably easier than those in my opinion, although still demanding in its own right; fundamentals & theme are expertly implemented as per usual)

Contra Spirits/Contra 3 (culmination of RNG-/adrenaline-driven action without surcease, one grand setpiece followed by the next one; I even happen to like the vertical stages myself - keep in mind that you fight the TLB on the default settings only in the SFC version, it appears exclusively on Hard in other versions)

Combatribes, The (customarily violent Technos brawler with succinct, poignant stages that don't waste time whatsoever and throw you right into the action; the learning curve is rather steep at the beginning, but there are reliable strategies for every and all encounters, including the infamous final boss, which allows players to revel in said orgy of brutality, getting through the game in no time at all; my only complaint would be a handful of instances where a double occupancy of buttons lead to frustrating moments, it's fortunately nowhere near bad enough to seriously harm the experience)

Cosmo Gang: The Video (when I first played this game with considerably less experience in the genre, I hated it; now that I can also appreciate fixed verticals, my evaluation has improved significantly - while doubtlessly a degraded port of the original arcade game, the decrease in difficulty is warranted for the original Cosmo Gang is excruciatingly tough; instead, this one is an austere score rush which is quite a rare feat for 16-bit systems)

Cosmo Police Galivan II: Arrow of Justice (harmlessly terrible & altogether trivial if you can figure out how to perform the turret gun attack with the robot, unplayable otherwise; does have some wonderfully weird enemy sprites as compensation (?))

Daioh Gale (part of Kaite Tsukutte Asoberu: Dezaemon) (harbours none of the rancour or ire of its arcade predecessor as it is scant more than a sample game; what little there is of the game is none too shabby, with resonant sound effects & explosions as well as catchy tunes)

Darius Force/Super Nova (has a much stronger stage design than many other games in the series, also a powerfully wistful soundtrack to go along the customarily strong boss battles)

Darius Twin (fairly average, admittedly toothless entry in the renowned series, still has a handful of memorable boss fights and some decent tunes; can certainly be skipped, though)

Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban (heavily inspired by the Cho Aniki series, with a verisimilitude to its unique blending of first-rate graphical prowess with questionable art direction; in parts fairly fun aside from the capricious presentation, although mostly somewhat stale)

Demon's Blazon/Demon's Crest (hauntingly gorgeous action adventure that does make a few concessions on the gameplay front for said unmatched style; not as uncompromising as its predecessors, yet still offering a fantastic array of stages and particularly bosses)

Dimension Force/D-Force (indubitably the worst shmup on the system and one of the worst 16-bit specimens of the genre, period; the helicopter has a heinous hitbox which is even larger than the already gargantuan size of the sprite, rarefied by constant lag and other programming crimes)

DoReMi Fantasy: Milon's DokiDoki Adventure (insouciant hop 'n' bop nurtured by inventive stages & enemies, enfeebled somewhat by slightly plodding controls, a few middling boss fights and an immense running time, only stretched by a handful of uneventful auto-scrollers; seldom aspires to exceptionalism gameplay-wise in lieu of the presentation which might've been the best course of action all the same)

Edono Kiba (one of the most unique games I've ever played; it looks like a compositum mixtum of Ghost Chaser Densei and Hagane (even has some of the hoverboard stages of the latter), plays mostly like a brawler with forced scrolling - the execution is somewhat mediocre and marred by repetition to even achieve some 25 minutes of gameplay, yet some of the segments are surprisingly excellent, I'm glad I sticked with it)

Final Fight (superseded by the more polished Final Fight Guy, although the only way to play as Cody on the SFC; unduly anguished by lag which can eradicate inputs despite mostly being playable)

Final Fight 2 (I feel like this one is by far the worst of the series; not an entire mess like e.g. Cosmo Police Galivan II, the fundamentals are just fine, but immensely tedious - you're constantly chipping away at enemies' health even when using infinites, that's at least the impression I got out of it, even so, I can't shake the feeling I'm being too harsh on the game)

Final Fight Guy (performs better than the vanilla Final Fight SFC port, meaning that dropped inputs are rather rare; while still not a particularly faithful or adequate conversion, I personally cherished the mixture of lowered difficulty (which is still not easy whatsoever!) and resemblance of the arcade game on an audiovisual level, it was a very satisfying experience to clear this game for me)

Final Fight Tough/Final Fight 3 (perfect consolization of the brawler formula - favouring flashy, tremendously satisfying super moves and sthenic combos instead of overtly precise manouevering and proper spacing for an entertaining, explosive romp)

Firemen, The (incredibly cinematic & expressive top-down shooter with an enviable sense of dramaturgy; while not a difficult game, the timer, setting and assessment at the end of the game create real, palpable exigency at any given moment - not only your own character controls well, your companion is almost distressingly astute, consistently providing help during busier moments)

First Samurai (rather bad gameplay paired with some of the most amazing artistic decisions on this list (such as bosses bellowing Suburban Sasquatch noises when hit or a threefold hallelujah resounding out of nowhere if you open/destroy chests and boxes), certainly an experience if nothing else)

Flying Hero: Bugyuru no Daibouken (complaisant, cute vertical shooter on a system that does lack in this particular niche; mayhap a little bit too simple, yet consistently well-designed and blessed with an impeccable sense of pacing)

F-Zero (flagship racing game on the SFC for good reason - the vivacious sense of speed, the imaginative visuals which manage to combine mode 7 excess with a spotless presentation, the iconic soundtrack, it's all handled masterfully; my only complaint as a layman of the genre is that the non-participant cars/drones can completely demolish an otherwise great run of yours, and they seem incredibly superfluous to me)

Ganbare Daiku no Gensan (adorable whack-a-mole platformer that's restrained by slightly awkward controls (to toss the hammer, you have to press U, UF, F instead of the much more conventional Hadouken motion, for reasons unbeknownst to me) and idiosyncratic boss battles where you're best off to abuse the atomic hammer special; effulgent visuals and some neat levels near the end of the game on the other hand)

Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyuushutsu Emaki/Legend of the Mystical Ninja, The (wholly sensational adventure/action platformer - I unconditionally love how creative they were to craft not only clever stages, but make them visually splendid and distinct from one another every time; the balance between tossing coins and using your main weapon is likewise sagaciously handled, I find - if I had to utter one complaint, it'd be that the hit detection during the adventure mode can sometimes be questionable, a minimal amount of memorization and proper weapon usage shuts your foes down immediately, though)

Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shogun Magginesu (appropriate time must needs be invested in order to succeed at the manifold instant kills in this game, once that procedural hurdle is overcome, this is an excellent, most multifaceted game; took me quite a while to get to that point, I now esteem it almost as high as the first Ganbare Goemon)

Ganbare Goemon 3: Shishijyurokubei no Karakuri Manji Katame (incredibly easy while at the same time as innovative and vigorous as the first two entries; maybe a tad bit too long to be cleared in one session for most players)

Genocide 2 (catched me completely unawares; I was afraid it might be a complete damage race affair like Makeruna! Makendou or First Samurai, turns out it is only mildly so - the Sword Maniac/X-Kaliber 2097 and Solbrain/Shatterhand influences are surprisingly deftly interwoven for a stylish, brisk campaign consisting of many short, pithy stages)

Ghost Chaser Densei (stupendously deep & technical brawler; everything can be juggled, usually even several times in a row, meaning that you have a stellar combo system at your hands, only cemented by an incredible move set available; also a tough clear on account of a tricky final stage where crowd control is just as important as proceeding quickly due to the timer; my only gripe is with the final boss against whom I had to use the infinite throw trick to stand a reliable chance, perfect game otherwise)

Gokujou Parodius (debonair conversion of the sanguinary arcade game; slowdown and flicker can get intense, just like in Gradius III, it's always predictable, mercifully - this is also one of the few games where I actually enjoy checkpoint milking, the Special Stage of this port has the perfect difficulty for that in my opinion)

Gourmet Sentai Bara Yarou (bizarre brawler from the Cho Aniki folks with outstanding visuals; stunning enemies and doing a cataclysmic pile driver as a follow-up is always delectable as well, naturally)

Gousou Shinrai Densetsu: Musya/Musya (regrettably leaves an extremely bad first impression with its awkward controls and a protagonist that is pitifully weak; however, if you pick up all the upgrades, you go from underpowered to overpowered in the span of three stages, and the game is relaxing from there; the insolent recycling of the selfsame first three stages is frankly a joke, too; I was nevertheless regaled by the supreme visual design and some of the finer points in the game design to a point that I could ignore those issues)

Gradius III (exponentially easier conversion of the legendary arcade game, all whilst keeping the grandiose space opera essence intact; I absolutely love the game for it, the abundant slowdowns effectuated my italicizing all the same)

GS Mikami: Joreishi wa Nice Body (howbeit one of Natsume's weaker outputs on the system, this is still more than adequate; striking with the staff is a snappy, agile affair, switching between quick platforming and swiping away a few enemies feels very organic, boss fights are perfectly suited for the overall parameters of the game)

Gunforce - Battle Fire Engulfed Terror Island (moderately amusive port of the eponymous arcade game deadened by inverted controls, the incidental odd hitbox and weak acoustic accompaniment)

Hagane (absolute favourite of mine; charismatic ninja action which handsomely rewards players to successively become better; while the basic controls are more than enough to efficaciously clear the game, it always leaves room for improvement on grounds of the extensive move set, thus creating countless opportunities to find stylish solutions against the cornucopia of bosses)

Hansei Zaru Jirou-kun no Daibouken/Spanky's Quest (another startling candidate; the ball juggling mechanic might look cumbersome at first, becomes incredibly natural and involved in no time at all, propitiously - can be played for mere survival, score or time alike thanks to the intelligent level design and said mechanic)

Hiryuu no Ken S: Hyper Version (vibrant Spartan X epigone with entirely unresponsive controls and sumptuous lag; due to the high priority of the protagonist's moves as well as a surfeit of healing vials, the game is at least extremely easy and thus rather harmless; interesting insofar as there are three versions of this game: the one described here, the predecessor Hiryuu no Ken S: Golden Fighter, which is nigh unplayable on account of its stone-still frame rate and the US version Ultimate Fighter which does run a bit faster than the Hyper Version and improves upon the visuals in various manners, yet also adds highly annoying traps/stage hazards and increases the difficulty considerably which makes it a chore to play (as the fundamental problems are still very much present), hence, the Hyper Version is the "definitive" one)

Hook (this has to be one of the most miserable games I've ever suffered through; it looks and sounds fine to great, it's also very similar to the fabulous Karuraou, thus, I was very much intrigued to try this one out - turns out it fails on every gameplay level: the character is laughably slow and has basically no reach whatsoever, simple things such as turning around is unresponsive, there are sections where you have to constantly take hits, many stages seem to be annoying on purpose (such as the cave stage where you're mostly walking through blindly, stepping into spikes), the hit detection is terrible, it's all around awful; extremely easy on account of a myriad of extends, yet irredeemably terrible)

HyperZone (clement exemplar in an otherwise hostile subgenre; fairly forgettable and arduous at times, woefully, as it is a great way to start with rail shooters for novices such as myself)

Ikari no Yousai/Operation Logic Bomb: The Ultimate Search & Destroy (top-down shooter which thematically resembles a weird gallimaufry between a sci-fi board game like StarQuest or Space Hulk and Soul Blazer (what with the weird analepses and recreating of the world); while a decent strafing and across-the-corner shooting experience from the get-go and especially after obtaining some of the juicier weapons, it only has a handful of enemy types and a minuscule amount of bosses, among them a single threatening one; as is, it is a solid framework with a lamentable paucity of intense or clever moments)

Iron Commando: Koutetsu no Senshi (might've had the capability to rank among the best brawlers on the system (judging by the actual brawling action against most regular enemies (not those annoying animals)), has to settle for a disappointing placement somewhere in the middle by virtue of abominable auto-scrolling stages which mirthfully deplete your life stock instead)

Jikkyo(u) Oshaberi Parodius (while overall a great game, the slowdown in this particular version is sometimes even worse than in Gradius III; thus, I'd recommend playing the 32-bit iterations instead as they are bereft of those deficiencies, also sporting some alterations in stage & boss design)

Kaizou Choujin Shubibinman Zero (fabulously expressive Satellaview platformer with barely any difficulty at all; setting up infinite combos was never easier, although it is still satisfying due to the meaty sound effects and visuals; thanks to the nimble movement speed, there is a sense of having crossed a lot of ground in short time, all the more highlighted by the fact that you seldom have to stop)

Karuraou/Sky Blazer (one of the bigger surprises for me on this list; this is an exceptionally undemanding game, the implementation of deft, adroit climbing, jumping, dashing is always wonderful on the other hand; I also feel that the fiddling with Mode 7 and such is tastefully done here, I love the visuals and effects in this game, such as the spinning wall boss)

Kidou Soukou Dion/Imperium (Compile/Musha Aleste plagiarizer in the best possible sense - the score also acts as an experience bar which grants you health & upgrades, thus justifying the length of the stages since you either fight for dear life or try to get back on your feet; much harder than most Compile efforts as well, and consecrated with a bombastic soundtrack and some great bosses; note that the US version Imperium is different - instead of a homing weapon, you have a much stronger wave shot, enemy waves and score values were changed, some graphics are also puzzlingly worse)

Kiki Kaikai: Nazo no Kuro Manto/Pocky & Rocky (my favourite multidirectional shooter of this kind across all systems; as usual with Natsume, the deep understanding of how to construct abilities/properties really shines here - bombs do more damage depending on proximity to enemies, slides have the perfect duration/cover the perfect length in view of the stage design/boss patterns, the defensive capabilities are likewise superbly crafted; just an all-around awesome title)

Kiki Kaikai: Tsukiyo Soushi/Pocky & Rocky 2 (not nearly as frantic, concise or exhilarant as its prequel, aiming for a more casual crowd with the shop system and leisurely pace, though still a professionally crafted game in all important matters)

King of Dragon, The (fabulous conversion of the arcade original; the game doesn't even stutter with as many as five or six enemies on-screen at once, thus setting an enviable standard for this system - engaging if expectable fantasy atmosphere, great challenge, just a supreme package overall)

Kishin Douji Zenki: Rettou Raiden (splendid blend between regular platforming via small Zenki and earth-shattering carnage against numerous enemy types with big Zenki; the second loop improves upon the first one in several regards unlike Hagane, even)

Knights of the Round (gelid, farouche, inassailable challenge sui generis, only to be overcome with lots and lots of practice and adjustments; if you can look past the harsh demands of the game and master spacing, blocking & executing the swing around strike, you'll be rewarded with an uniterable brawler where you both have to valiantly hold your ground and learn to lure enemies ever so carefully into your filigreed net - you'll have to fight against lightsome knights and grave giants, savage birds and lowly knaves, every single one of them a veritable threat on your fantastic journey)

Legend (the hardest stage in the game is the first one by far, afterwards the clear is almost guaranteed for as long as you constantly use the jump kick and magic against the bosses; dreadfully boring in defiance of the compelling board game fantasy aesthetics (the final boss could be straight out of HeroQuest))

Märchen Adventure Cotton 100% (vibrant, lovely little shmup with a rather irritating bonus round for scoring purposes; the highest difficulty setting turns an otherwise unchallenging game into a veritable nightmare)

Magical Pop'n (cheerful sword 'n' sorcery platformer with several jaunty upgrades like a grappling hook and roll; while it offers a lot of variety in both the stage design and the bosses, steadily and slowly increasing the difficulty, I do feel it ultimately falls just short of true excellence; the final stage's labyrinthine structure as well as a lot of systematically annoying rooms (where considerable lag and mean enemy placements can knock you off of platforms, not really endangering you yet undoing several seconds of work) weren't the wisest decisions in my book)

Magic Sword (the pinnacle of rock 'em sock 'em barbarian bravado; while certainly not nearly as fluid as the arcade original, I found this to be bafflingly addictive once I got used to the core concepts and made myself an itinerary through the stages; it feels a lot shorter than its 60+ minutes due to the copious amounts of short stages, just watching a video won't transport that impression)

Majuu Ou (rich in variety despite the short length, outstanding execution of the horror theme; getting the best (normal?) ending is somewhat counterintuitive, some forms are also certainly stronger than others, doesn't really detract from the zest)

Makeruna! Makendou/Kendo Rage (not quite as disastrous as Hook, albeit not too far off either; I assumed this one the be a weaker GS Mikami what with a resemblant character wielding a staff that can be used in several directions, it plays a lot worse, though; you have to hit enemies to deactivate their hitboxes in order to not take damage from them, the window of time and execution thereof is so maladroit that it will of course fail most of the time, turning this into a damage race against supremely annoying bosses)

Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (not entirely without its merits, a poor man's X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse all the same; character balance is not nearly as smooth, a few stages and enemies are just annoying (particularly the midgets in the underwater stage), the first gems are inexplicably randomized...; none of these issues are major on their own, nevertheless problematic in a cumulative sense)

Melfand Stories (under the edulcorated visuals lurks a devious killer, demanding correct spacing and application of spells to be overcome successfully; every screen and step is a victory in its own right)

Metal Warriors (accentuates the strike force disposition of the mechas a lot more than Valken, including a much, much, much higher difficulty; some of the traps and set-ups can feel overwhelming at first, but man, is it a glorious reward to successively become better at this game)

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (the one without the "The Movie" moniker; while it has very mild platforming elements, this is more so a brawler on one plane, unfortunately an incredibly dull one at that, especially during the first part of a stage where you have to play in the teenager form; the worst thing about the game is that the final two stages are dreadful fighting game bosses which come down to having luck with manipulating the enemy AI - regardless of how many lives you have before getting to those bosses, losing once is an instant game over, meaning you lose a 40+ minute credit in a few seconds if you're unlucky)

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers - The Movie (a decent game overall, with some occasionally great anomalies such as the final boss as well as a bombastic presentation; it lacks both intensity and a nuanced moveset to truly shine, thus regrettably poising somewhere in the good territory instead of being a classic like the very next game on this list)

Ninja Warriors Again, The (maybe the best game on this list, emblematic symbol of Natsume's grandeur; perfect blend of RNG and structural concatenations, enemy design both on an individual and collective level, boss presence and goon support; using Ninja or Kunoichi drastically alters the parameters while Kamaitachi is effectively the easy setting even on Hard; note that only the SFC version has the kunoichi enemy, so play that version!)

Ninja Ryukenden Tomoe/Ninja Gaiden Trilogy (listless, unloving translation of the venerable FC trilogy; aside from the lurid colouration, lacking graphical details and weak instrumentation of the soundtrack, the controls are also mystifyingly reversed; doubly a shame for Ninja Ryukenden III on this collection is somewhat of a hybrid between the original Famicom version and its NES counterpart)

Parodius Da! (absolutely fantastic port of the arcade game with optimal difficulty tweaks; unlike the other SFC Parodius games and SFC Gradius, this one does not suffer from inordinate slowdown; second loop and onwards/higher difficulty settings are still extremely brutal, yet without the tantalizing traits of the arcade game (barring the hidden eighth difficulty setting, which actually comes close to the arcade's second loop))

Phalanx (consistently sound even if it is a bit too long-winded and bloated for its own good, recoveries after a death can be a bit aggravating as well; has an interesting & challenging highest difficulty setting to spice things up)

Pirates of Dark Water, The (would've been amazing if not for its inordinate length; 75+ minutes are simply too many even for a brawler (barring exceptional cases), much more so since there is quite a bit of recycling at the end; the setpieces themselves are mostly great, as is the balance between combos, desperation attacks, grabs and such, most of the mild platforming elements work also surprisingly well)

Plok (imaginative, spirited and dignifiedly demanding platformer with some suspenseful and chaotic boss battles; for reasons completely unbeknownst to me, the developers decided to throw all that out of the window for the last third of the game, where you have to play through vehicle stages with ineffably atrocious controls)

Pop'n TwinBee (very easy on the default settings/first loop, incredibly tough on higher loops/difficulty settings, thus allowing players to pick their preference regarding scoring/survival, also a lovely atmosphere and smooth framerate throughout; certainly too long a game in either case to be quite called excellent)

Psycho Dream (almost average until the final stage which is appaling; you're either severely underpowered (in any form except the ultimate one) or overpowered, and after three hits you will be reverted from your best form to the worst; problem is that you cannot gain your best form in the final stage for some baffling reason, meaning you have to proceed very cautiously there thanks to bad hit detection, cheap environmental hazards and lag-infested controls)

Raiden Densetsu/Raiden Trad (travesty of a port; while more playable than Dimension Force, the sheer slovenliness from everyone involved deserves but the most scathing adjudication)

Rendering Ranger R² (nowise a classic as some people would have you believe (mainly thanks to the flat, monotonous design of the run 'n' gun stages), yet the sheer sense of destruction, supported by appropriately reverberant sound effects, is somewhat unparalleled on the system; some very distinct boss fights in the shmup stages to be had, as well)

Return of Double Dragon (try as I might, I just think this is exquisitely boring; whenever you try to play normally, you'll find yourself surrounded from both sides, outmanoeuvering them does not seem possible due to your rheumatic pace; hence, spamming special attacks is the key to success which is a shame since the actual core engine is more than solid; maybe I'm just too clumsy)

RockMan 7/Mega Man 7 (the colossal player sprite and cumbrous pace take some time getting used to, almost every section in the game is tailor-made around those facts - there are some genuinely great platforming setpieces and boss fights, demanding precise timing and an unerring eye for distance; the music is also fantastic in this game, I find)

RockMan X/Mega Man X (invites even unhasting players such as myself to finish the game as quickly as possible thanks to the ingenious dash and wall jump mechanisms which are amply supported by the stages; a pleasing amount of the special weapons is useful in various situations, being able to switch between them via the shoulder buttons likewise only increases the speed of the game)

RockMan X2/Mega Man X2 (even faster paced than the first game, and just as innovative with the stages & gimmicks; it's not quite as powerfully aurally and I find the difficulty to be a slightly bit more even in the first one, it's still almost as good as its predecessor)

RockMan X3/Mega Man X3 (palpably weaker than the first two games on account of the iteration - there are entirely too many boss fights where you dash from one side of the room to the other -, it's nonetheless a solid, fast-paced obstacle course)

R-Type III: The Third Lightning (abysmal first stage aside, this is a true Irem shmup (rearing its ugly head in stage four, unfortunately), especially in the second loop, especially in the last two stages of the selfsame loop; checkpoint recovery can be grueling, although never as excruciating as in loop 2 of Image Fight or R-Type II, which I consider to be a good thing)

Run Saber (largely sure-footed Strider epigone with various other eclectic vignettes, its biggest downfall are various sections where you either have to use the (plentiful) bombs or take almost unavoidable damage since your character is not able to dodge a lot of attacks thanks to lacking invincibility frames)

Rushing Beat/Rival Turf! (you have to use the slide and grab for 80+ minutes in order to clear the game, with the odd jump kick interspersed here and there; due to the untrustworthy grab/hit detection, even this safe strategy can fail at any given time, usually leading into a throw or a few hits that easily drain 60-70% of your health; minimally better than Legend by dint of the careful positioning the player has to do to in order to overcome this tough game)

Rushing Beat Ran/Brawl Brothers (this one can rightfully be called an acquired taste; you have to minutely study the wonky grab/hit detection the entire series suffers from, and also work around environmental hazards such as landmines, electric floors and chasms that span two thirds of the screen in order to stand a chance; in spite of myself, I grew to tremendously enjoy both the procedural aspect of planning ahead during trickier sections as well as executing those, it made for a daunting 1CC project while not feeling insurmountable at any point in time; still a lot of provisos for this one - also keep in mind that the US version drastically alters stage layouts and such, although I believe you can access the original version with a code!)

Rushing Beat Shura/The Peace Keepers (while it suffers from the same issues that this entire series is afflicted by, its severely overpowered grab allows you a simple solution for many problems while still keeping things interesting for you only have a single life per credit, meaning that later boss fights might get nail-bitingly close; overall, I've enjoyed the game a bit more than I thought I would, although it comes with substantial reservations still; also keep in mind that they made unnecessary changes in the US version, such as altering graphics)

SD Kidou Senshi Gundam 2 (one of the easiest games on the list, in an insubstantial, inconsequential way instead of the cheerful one (e.g. Ganbare Goemon 3 or Karuraou), the sweet visuals and a few nice tracks manage to alleviate ennui)

SD Kidou Senshi Gundam: V Sakusen Shidou (one nasty critter - this game scrolls automatically and advances in a power-up sequence where you can activate whatever you want once you are on a specific tile (just like Gradius); the problem is that some bosses will completely destroy you on account of them moving in fast, erratic patterns you can't handle with your ponderous little mech even if you know they are coming; if you're going to craft a mediocre-at-best title, make sure it's at least not too hard for what it is (see SD Gundam 2))

Sengoku Denshou (brawler whose level & enemy design lacks any and all coherence and resembles a child's stream of consciousness; while assuredly not great by any means, I find it fairly satisfying on a fundamental level: you don't have many options available (no dash, desperation attack, special techniques etc.), proper spacing, adequate grabs leading into devastating piledrivers and item usage are rewarded on the other hand)

Shounen Ninja Sasuke (has loose, chaotic basics which could've spelled doom over the entire experience, mercifully countermanded by the astonishingly fast pace and kinetic action expressed with dive kicks and dash shoulder checks; I've played the arcade mode equivalent, there's a RPG-laden story mode for those who want to blend their brawler with that, as well)

Sonic Blast Man (glad I persevered with this one - while it has a fairly glacial pace, there is more to the precise positioning and combo finishers than meets the eye at first; it is difficult to discern what the difference might be between some of those nuances, and it certainly takes a bit of forbearance to let the game imbue the player with that distinction; just make sure to take a bottle top or some other device for those infernal mini games between the stages, you'll need the extends for the final boss)

Sonic Blast Man II (this one was embodied vicissitude for me in terms of appreciation; I really enjoyed the core concept at first glance, yet got repelled not too far into the game only to get better only to find other, nastier enemies and so on and so forth - it demands both specific knowledge and resource management (use your blast energy!), but once you put in the effort, it becomes a stylish, elegant tryst with some suspense-packed boss fights)

Sonic Wings/Aero Fighters (outstanding from a porting perspective, I much prefer it over the original arcade game by dint of the superior soundtrack alone; remarkably tough 2-ALL just like the source material, external autofire is highly recommended - also make sure to play the SFC version since the US version lacks the second loop)

Soul Blader/Soul Blazer (while somewhat appurtenant to the RPG genre, I like to think of it as a vertically oriented ActRaiser; simple yet endearing combat with a large roster of monsters, intelligently interconnected stages and usually similarly clever enemy placement/behaviour; story is thankfully frugally interspersed)

Sparkster (hot-tempered, alert game which allows for an abundance of stylish sword technique once the player gets accustomed to the controls and the stage design (the latter of which contains quite a few instant death traps, preventing unexperienced players to just dash around all the time) - the amount of graphical detail is stunning and the sound effects have the punchy quality of an MD game, most likely due to the roots of this title, of course; there is one utterly gimmick boss which fortunately can be annihilated with autofire, I wouldn't have had the patience to finish Sparkster otherwise)

Spriggan Powered (shockingly inept even from its inception - Micronics had a bad idea and managed to execute it poorly; it seems like you're supposed to elegantly graze bullets for scoring purposes, thanks to the rather large hitbox and clunky handling of the mech you're forced to persistently use the invincibility shield to survive, particularly during the nerve-splitting boss fights)

Star Fox (I'm having a tough time getting into rail shooters since I can't really perceive what's happening most of the time, I did manage to warm up to this game, though, in spite of it taking a good while; I was quite shocked how tense and serious I got during nastier boss fights, the frame rate is also not nearly as horrendous during large stretches in the game as a lot of people claim it to be)

Strike Gunner S.T.G (cabin fever in cartridge form; stages unfurl with almost no excitement or action whatsoever, unless the game is played on the highest difficulty setting, wherein the player has to memorize every enemy wave to stand a chance; little to no thought was put into the balance of the weapons (some of which are massively overpowered whilst others are useless), proper distribution of power-ups or progression of the difficulty)

Sunset Riders (exquisite port of the arcade game; getting used to the somewhat unusual hitboxes during the rougher boss fights might take some time, it's an organic learning curve, however, and proper sliding/jumping/floor swapping for invincibility frames will become second nature before too long)

Super Aleste/Space Megaforce (passable on default settings, frantic mayhem on its highest difficulty whose iniquitous clouds of suicide bullets will result into different constellations on every credit; possibly still a bit too long even with those conditions, though - I personally slightly prefer the US version here, it plays exactly the same as far as I can tell, but the announcer's voice is clearer)

Super E.D.F.: Earth Defense Force/Earth Defense Force (didn't like this game the first time I've played, grown to appreciate it more and more and more; while not inordinately deep, trying to chase after high scores is immensely fulfilling in this one due to its simple, elegant system; reducing the substantial difficulty of the arcade game was a wise decision for this title to shine in that regard; note that the US & SFC versions differ in terms of enemy placement & score values)

Super Ninja-Kun (cute sidescroller with perplexingly strong fundamentals and level design - its biggest issue is the fact that the difficulty is almost non-existent, hence, there is a severe lack of actually testing the player's ability to use all these abilities and weapons; be that as it may, it's still a diverse and fast-paced game with sickeningly adorable characters)

Super R-Type (neither quite adequate as a 16-bit port nor as a game in its own right, plagued by erratic slowdowns (unlike e.g. Gradius III's which are at least consistent) which lead to you crashing into walls only to send you all the way back to the beginning of the stage, also contains some ridiculous other things such as boss projectiles which still kill you long after being off-screen)

Super Turrican (highly delightful adventure through a vast gamut of places, assisted by a spectacular, majestic soundtrack; while the lack of camera fixation is certainly less than optimal, it never bothered me all that much in this case)

Super Turrican 2 (suffers from the occasional overbearance of including long, flat stages, where and when the grappling hook is used throughout levels and boss fights, the game becomes tendentially excellent; most of the other attractions (like the Axelay-themed vertical lava stage, the Gyruss tube stage, the SNES Star Wars jetbike stage...) usually contain more good aspects than bad ones, too; unsurpassed treat for the eyes)

Super Valis - Akaki Tsuki no Otome/Super Valis IV (early stages consist mostly of nothing at all, there are stretches of five to ten seconds where you just gallivant around without seeing anything whatsoever; seeing enemies and obstacles in later stages isn't exactly an amelioration since they generally exist to enervate players either by being invincible for a few seconds, exploding when being hit (resulting in unavoidable damage), pushing you back from them etc.; also has a final boss which can absorb your health if you don't cheese the guy)

Sword Maniac/X-Kaliber 2097 (goofy game with ridiculous knockbacks on hit which can seriously demolish the enjoyment you might garner out of it; on the other hand, the aesthetical theme is handled very well, even some of the (mid-)bosses can be dispatched with something other than AI exploitation; I recommend the Western X-Kaliber 2097 on account of the soundtrack (inverse BioMetalism))

Takahashi Meijin no Daibouken Jima/Super Adventure Island (diversified little title with some neat ambiance music and nice boss fights, the final boss is pretty horrid, unfortunately)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IV): Turtles in Time (impulsive brawler whose primary focus is to cut countless enemies to pieces or hyperbolically hurl them around instead of carefully proceeding through stages; do yourself a favour and play as Raphael to accentuate the selfsame tendency)

Uchuu no Kishi: Tekkaman Blade (definitely the guilty pleasure on this list, I wouldn't actually recommend this at all, outside of the magnificent music; it's fortunately really simple to clear, so you can just have some mindless fun cornering idiotic bosses whilst listening to energetic tunes)

Undercover Cops (hectoring port of the arcade brawler with absolutely stunning visuals to limn your suffering with exquisite nuances; the game is replete with memorization just like an Irem shooter, demands uniformly steady execution, proper resource management and intrepid nerves - since you start with one life less than in the arcade game and food/health is more scarce, your leeway in error is conceivably slim; actually getting successively better at the game is an exalted experience as a result, for this is without a doubt one of the hardest clears on the system)

Wild Guns (flamboyant, excessively vitalistic evolution of the Cabal recipe with expectedly stunning presentation; about everything in this game is uniquely gratifying, whether it's remodeling knifer's faces with a quick blow of a rifle butt, incinerating the entire screen with a bomb or pulverizing a boss with a fully charged special gun)

X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse (platformer with several fighting game inputs, not entirely unlike Zenki; all five characters add something unique to the table, enticing players to experiment in later stages to find out just how their own proclivities can shine; I would've called this excellent if not for a fairly dull (and unfortunately rather long-winded) final boss and comparatively anemic stages; nonetheless a very good game)

Zombies Ate My Neighbors (grueling top-down shooter where you have to exert sagacious resource management so that you can open doors, fight profusely robust bosses and reach exposed victims at least somewhat reliably; the game is undeniably both really cheap at times (e.g. when a victim dies without you having any chance at all to safe it, or at the very least not without some involved RNG manipulation/sheer luck) and overstraining (48 (!) regular stages plus a short credit level afterwards plus some hidden bonus levels, some of which you probably want to enter), the apropos tension when you finally get to higher stages and only have a handful of victims left is expertly done and mirrors the theme, however; partially great, partially questionable, not for everyone, yet undoubtedly a title with substantive, imperturbable personality)



Other Noteworthy Games

I'm patiently waiting for the translation of Ganbare Goemon Kirakira Douchuu: Boku ga Dancer ni Natta Wake, which, as far as I'm aware, is a major hassle without some knowledge of the Japanese language. From what I've gleaned so far, it does appear it might have a few too many potentially annoying (ruinous?) mini games as well as a vexing cornucopia of set-ups instantly leading to an ignominous death, but perhaps it's just a matter of getting used to all that as you would with similar sections in part 2. I've no doubt it occupies a spot located firmly above average territories at the very least.

One game I have to extol here even though I've not come close to a 1CC yet is Kouryuu no Mimi, a single-plane brawler similar to Spartan X or TNWA, although closer in style (if much more complex) to the former. The game can be beaten in under 20 minutes from experts, such a feat will probably take a very long time, however. You have an enormous portfolio of moves available by pressing various d-pad constellations (up, diagonally up, down, diagonally down, down twice in succession etc. pp.) and the attack button, but you're also required to efficaciously handle that repertoire at a moment's notice. The enemy AI is savage, going from full health to almost nothing at all in seconds is not a rare sight in this game. Every enemy type, screen and boss must be studied and understood thoroughly, the RNG/mercurial proclivity of the game requires an imperturbable intuitive understanding of every specific situation you're in addition to that. It is hard to a point that it might be horribly frustrating even to otherwise inured players, I'll definitely recommend it here all the same, I think it might be one of the best action-related games on the system. Wanton subjectivity manifests itself here, but I'll aver that this game incites the productive sort of dread and then resistance, whereas Knights of the Round only bequeaths despair.

Still can't get into Umihara Kawase at all, 'tis nevertheless a sterling game, of course.

I've dabbled with some other obscure platformers, most of them were outright horrible, I dare say. Kikou Keisatsu: Metal Jack and Ushio to Tora in particular looked somewhat intriguing, the initial impression faded after mere seconds of playing.

Super Smash T.V. and - to a lesser degree - Total Carnage are rollicking, relentless multidirectional shooters, albeit a trifle too cheap and long for my personal liking.



Collectanea

- I initially started out with clearing shmups and action platformers, some of the most enjoyment I had ex post was with brawlers, though. Similarly to my experience with shmups, it was a most sapient decision to start with console games before assaying formidable arcade behemoths like Final Fight. The specific amalgam of structural knowledge (what moves are generally more useful in this game, what gives you (how many) invincibility frames, which exploits can be imposed on otherwise inimical bosses...), stage/enemy-specific knowledge and situational awareness is rarely to be found in other genres on the SFC, where intuition/reactions and/or memorization might suffice.

- I've mentioned it several times before, it nonetheless bears repeating: I think that the shmup department on the SFC is usually severely underrated when it comes to 16-bit comparisons. It is uncontested that there aren't quite as many excellent verticals here compared to the PCE and the MD (although I find that Kidou Soukou Dion, Pop'n TwinBee and Super Aleste all belong to that category), formulating desiderata likewise is a straightforward task (Spriggan Powered could be a solid game with enough tweaks; Daioh Gale materially more fleshed-out, perhaps with a grueling second loop...). For all that, the SFC has several of my favourite horizontal shmups, console-exclusive or ported. If you consider the sparse quantity, you have to accede that the quality is undeniably there: at minimum one good or great entry for all the main series (Darius, Gradius, Parodius, R-Type), superb originals (BioMetal, Macross), stalwart ports (Area 88, Super E.D.F.), some perfectly playable other games (Cotton 100%, Phalanx). And then there's The Firemen and the first Kiki Kaikai!

Furthermore, while I'm usually not that interested when it comes to higher difficulty settings, it only deepened my appreciation for the shmups on the system. Macross deserves a special recognition: selected enemies fire suicide bullets, a few boss projectiles which are destructible on Normal are not anymore on Hard, more enemies appear in but a few neuralgic places, the added belligerence is finely attuned to the stage layout, it has to be one of the most thoughtful, smartest higher difficulty settings that I've seen as it requires a much more careful approach even though every change unto itself would not necessitate that. I also finally got around to clearing Super Aleste on its highest setting, which was just as stimulating as BIL and some others have been saying all these years. I was, on the other hand, utterly unequal to the task of clearing Parodius Da! on its hidden difficulty 8 (which I did manage with the other Konami shmups); some savestate practice revealed that this would require strategies you typically only have to apply for the infamous second loop of the arcade game, it's stupendously difficult. And while you can recover from a death on difficulty 7, you simply have to clear the game on one life in difficulty 8 for the enemy speed requires you to have at least three speed-ups. Cotton 100%'s highest difficulty setting might be in a similar realm difficulty-wise, I haven't bothered much with it because it seemed rather stupid.

All in all, I would always expostulate the notion that the SFC is much weaker than its 16-bit brethren when it comes to the genre; I wholly understand personal preferences on the subject matter (specially if you flock towards verticals), holistic condemnations of that sort are flat-out wrong, though.

- Since I started out with this console regarding the quest to actively get 1CCs, there were numerous games that I had to re-assess over the course of the years, mostly due to lack of familiarity with the genre when I started out. I didn't like Super E.D.F. and Cosmo Gang very much when I first played them, for example, now I really enjoy them both. Axelay tardily yet steadily rose higher in my existimation - soaking in the peerless atmosphere is considerably easier if you know all of its annoying foibles and are able to completely circumvent them. As I started to take a liking to brawlers, TNWA obviously got all the way to the top. Even some of the later games needed a bit more time to ripen: when I first played through Ganbare Goemon 2 (whilst credit-feeding without scruples), I got annoyed by its predilection for one-hit kills everywhere (you practically never die because your energy gets depleted), more conversance with the hazards staved off that frustration entirely. The first Sonic Blast Man also needed several attempts before I learned to truly value what it is going for (although I still don't like the bonus rounds, quaint replication of the original arcade game or no). Most recently, Knights of the Round filled that bill. As such, I would personally advise to be longanimous with some games, they might just grow on you over time.

- The greatest serendipities overall were probably The Firemen, Genocide 2, Ghost Chaser Densei, Hansei Zaru Jirou-kun no Daibouken, Karuraou, Rushing Beat Ran, Sparkster and Star Fox (I even grew up with the latter!). I didn't necessarily think little of them beforehand (I admittedly had a lot of reservations in the case of Genocide 2), they far exceeded my expectations all the same, even if it was in a more circuitous way on occasion of Rushing Beat Ran.

- Speaking of Rushing Beat: hereto goes my nomination for the weirdest series on the system. The very first game illustrates innumerable oversights by the developers, such as completely vague hitboxes when trying to grab enemies (90-95% of the time it works, the other times you run straight through them), the inability to knock down a particularly dangerous enemy with your slide every so often (and you have to use the slide in order to grab them in the first place safely), enemies that teleport from one side of the field to the other if you scroll the screen too fast, a denial of your invincibility period when losing a lot of life every so often... You'd think that fundamental problems such as these would be fixed with the next game, but naturally, both Ran and Shura still have a fair share of these. Those people over at Jaleco sure were an enviably assertive bunch, that's for sure.

- One eminently gracious quality of the SFC is the relationship between difficulty & quality of most games. A lot of the misfits, eccentrics and goofballs had the potential to be uniquely fraught if the overall parameters would've been tightened. Luckily, Choukou Gasshin Xardion, Deae Tonosama Appare Ichiban, First Samurai, Gunforce, Hiryuu no Ken S: Hyper Version, Super Valis, X-Kaliber 2097 and its ilk were not exuberantly taxing, nor were games like Genocide 2, Gourmet Sentai or Shounen Ninja Sasuke as they would've gone from good to unplayable were they endowed with arcade difficulty. I don't want to speak too soon, but from my recollections, this is not quite the case with, say, the Famicom or the MD, where quite a few of the questionable/otherwise lovably odd titles have a tendency to kick over the traces.

- The hardest games (second loops/higher difficulty settings notwithstanding) I've cleared were Acrobat Mission, Captain Commando, Knights of the Round, Metal Warriors, Spriggan Powered, Undercover Cops and Zombies Ate My Neighbors, all of those took extended periods of time, especially Captain Commando, Knights of the Round & Undercover Cops. Brawlers in general were by far the toughest clears on the system for me, that may or may not stem from my inexperience with the genre, I do genuinely believe that the length of the games as well as the usually harsher conditions regarding health, extra lives etc. are a main factor - while e.g. SFC Gradius III, Gokujou Parodius, Parodius Da! or even Raiden Densetsu are considerably easier than their arcade originals, SFC Combatribes, Final Fight or King of Dragon - not to speak of the aforementioned three brawlers! - still have a lot of challenge in spite of the tacit admission for the console audience.

- My biggest disappointments were Battle Zeque Den, Captain Commando, Hook, Iron Commando, Makeruna! Makendou and Run Saber. Most notably Iron Commando and Run Saber could've been stellar games had more polish been applied, there are plenty of adumbrations scattered all over them to presage that. Whoever did the gameplay for Battle Zeque Den should be deeply ashamed to waste so much talent from the fine artists who did the graphics, what an ineffable waste.

- I'm very much looking forward to doing something comparable with the MD and, ideally, the PCE, to contrast and compare the systems properly, especially when it comes to their respective platformers. Maybe we'll see each other again in a few years when such a comprehensive comparison will be feasible. :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 2:44 pm 


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Quote:
Area 88/U.N. Squadron (vastly improved over the rather bland arcade game


This was my impression as well; I was worries I was committing some kind of arcade blasphemy by thinking the SNES version was an improvement!

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Firemen, The


What's your impression on The Ignition Factor? It's another firefighting themed game. It's cool, but I don't like some of the scoring which relies on finding invisible items on the ground and not breaking them which is determined via some esoteric means. I'm not sure what to make of it.

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F-Zero - the non-participant cars/drones can completely demolish an otherwise great run of yours, and they seem incredibly superfluous to me


Agreed. This is actually why I prefer the more tame/static traffic layouts in games like Outrun, Outrunners, and Outrun 2/2SP to Rad Racer / Rad Racer 2 which have YOU'RE GOING TO DIE traffic that actively tries to attack you and ram you. The traffic should be a minor obstacle, not the main, direct threat to manage in lieu of the actual racing.

Quote:
Zombies Ate My Neighbors(e.g. when a victim dies without you having any chance at all to safe it, or at the very least not without some involved RNG manipulation/sheer luck)


I never got very good at the game, and I'm aware some levels have "safe" hostages that can't be killed, but I think I enjoy the game a lot less because of the non-standard gameovers you get from losing all hostages. It feels surprisingly hard to keep them alive while also trying to keep yourself alive and not rushing in to take damage. Spoiled the game for me I think.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:06 pm 


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Perikles wrote:
One game I have to extol here even though I've not come close to a 1CC yet is Kouryuu no Mimi


i have been after that one for quite some time, but it's obnoxiously rarely listed and i've not been buying much the last year. have you watched the OVA for the manga that it's based on? really high recommendations on that front, it's quite absurd and surprisingly engaging. nearly certain BIL would get a kick out of it, too. there's two episodes and they're both on youtube (one link, but the second episode should be the first recommended video).

thrilled to see you in here again, btw!
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:39 pm 



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How exactly are the controls and the graphics improved in the US Actraser? Would love to know - I found the JP version's action scenes already too easy.


I can't disagree more on Area 88. They did a very good job with the "port" until you realize you can exploit(?) the extra missions for unlimited lives. The arcade game was finely tuned difficulty-wise, it was a tense experience, hard but fair, a bit simplistic if anything, but way more enjoyable than the cut-down console version.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:55 pm 


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^ just don't do extend farming? the ethos of this thread is often paring down runs - i don't think anyone is going to agree the ability to grind extends hurts the performance capacity for a game, which is typically what is valued, here.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:13 pm 



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Take it as the opinion of somebody who doesn't play with artificial boundaries, then (I think I've recently mentioned it here). Hopefully I'm not alone, but whatever.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:54 am 


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You're the one who convinced me to give another try to ActRaiser 2, Perikles.There's a cheap-ish boxed copy local and I need to stop procrastinating and grab it.

That's one I rented as a kid, and it left a haunting impression on me. The '7 sins'' theme was so vile, complete with very organic looking stages and monsters, and especially : disgusting bosses. And because it's got this religious backbone, it has this gravitae to it. And this heavy occult, brooding atmosphere, yet is carried by promise of redemption and salvation, creating this weird duality. Peace and benevolance via sword slashing action, now how about that! Extremely eerie, I'll never forget seeing this arch-angel warrior (well, this god in physical form I guess) descending upon that wretched world, his wings being touched by the fading rays of sunlight as he dove deep into the dark pits of hell, and unleashing his wrath by slicing every single living creatures with his holy blade, exercing revenge under that biblical soundtrack. Fucking epic!!

Never have I touched it until those years, and it's time I pick up the sword again. And slay those 7 sins of Man, once and for all!!!!!

In the years since then, I had seen plenty complaints of bloggers and Youtubers (who seemed like not that good players tbh) complain about the controls. But I was rejoiced to read your solid endorsment. Definitely picking it up now, I love the grafx so much in this (that's actually the quintessential SNES graphic style to me, always has been. first game that pops to mind when I think action game on that platform and yummy SNES grafx), and I'm in the mood for that kinda gameplay nowadys.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:37 am 


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Wow you're annoyingly pretentious Perikles


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:20 am 


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What is he pretending to be? A guy who loves sharing his appreciation of videogames? A pernicious ruse indeed.

Perikles is my favourite poster. Image
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:58 am 


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I guess Kiwi's never met a German who wields a massive English-Vocab dong.

as that girl said in that film; if you've got it, flaunt it. :wink:

LMAO I have never seen the word "Collectanea" in my life.

kitten wrote:
^ just don't do extend farming? the ethos of this thread is often paring down runs - i don't think anyone is going to agree the ability to grind extends hurts the performance capacity for a game, which is typically what is valued, here.


Ahahah. you must be new here!
Or was that in other discussions about FromSoft or Ys games..
..if there's something that makes your life easier in a game you must use it. and then blame the game for poor design.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:43 am 



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Welcome back Perikles!

I really enjoy all your mini reviews, your gameplay oriented port comparisons, and your difficulty assessments.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:45 pm 


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Blinge wrote:
Ahahah. you must be new here!
Or was that in other discussions about FromSoft or Ys games..
..if there's something that makes your life easier in a game you must use it. and then blame the game for poor design.


ehehe. you know, sometimes, in total honesty, i am a bit into that camp - i've probably argued it in the thread a few times. when a game has a lot of stuff you aren't "supposed" to use to have a good time, it feels like you're almost designing it yourself and it's a huge detriment to play around all the broken stuff. i usually only argue this when i think the game isn't actually that good when you ignore all the broken stuff as evidence it's not well-designed, though. e.g. i think an e-tank in rockman is an easily ignorable handicap crutch to a skilled player, but staying under-leveled and avoiding certain weapons or spells in an rpg/adjacent usually means it's bad.

i mean, nearly the entire forum agrees most JP games from the era are designed around the 1 credit or 1 life as the "high level" play method, though, and that's a boundary you have to decide from outside of the game. devs commonly speak of the ethos, as do the majority of game center/arcade design ethusiasts. does bassa-bassa not agree with this, sincerely?

Bassa-Bassa wrote:
Take it as the opinion of somebody who doesn't play with artificial boundaries, then (I think I've recently mentioned it here). Hopefully I'm not alone, but whatever.


are quarters an "artificial boundary?" do you immediately ratchet up continues and set to easy regardless of the game? do you pause/unpause frequently when there's too many bullets on a screen - use a turbo pause button for simulated slow motion? how far does this go? i imagine everyone in the thread has a slightly different idea of when something becomes cheesing a game, but isn't farming extra lives when you can just not farm extra lives a very silly thing to criticize? i'd probably consider it a plus since it's some easily accessible training wheels while trying to learn the game for a better clear.

- - - - - - -

FinalBaton wrote:
I love the grafx so much in this (that's actually the quintessential SNES graphic style to me, always has been. first game that pops to mind when I think action game on that platform and yummy SNES grafx), and I'm in the mood for that kinda gameplay nowadys.


this was one of the really early games that one of my favorite mangaka, hitoshi ariga (rockman megamix, klonoa [manga and was working on the anime], big o [manga only], pokemon [card game artist & pkmn designer]), worked on. i think his very first game work was dragon egg for the pc engine - when my roommate pointed out to me the "h. ariga" in the credits, i couldn't believe it. later caught him on actraiser 2, then @'d him on twitter with photographs of him in the credits of both games i'd taken and had him respond to me about his experience, a bit. cool guy, great artist. the little interviews with him in the megamix/gigamix volumes are awesome, he actually gets to interview akira kitamura, too.

didn't give a toss for actraiser 2, itself (credit fed through US hard mode was as much as i did with it), but peeps here do seem to love it.

- -

ah, man, saying that about hitoshi ariga reminds me of an even weirder credits find. a few weeks ago, i was watching a longplay on youtube, tabbed out, came back to it, and i could not believe the name i saw where i'd left it paused in the credits. it's really him, too.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:50 pm 



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kitten wrote:
i mean, nearly the entire forum agrees most JP games from the era are designed around the 1 credit or 1 life as the "high level" play method,


My bet is on that nearly the entire community agrees that it's around the 1 credit, and that the 1 life run is indeed an artificial boundary.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:20 pm 


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i'm curious, really. maybe that's a difference between this specific thread and some of the rest of the forum? action games feel like they benefit a bit more from paring down to a nomiss than a lot of shooters designed around the 1cc, where a nomiss is just showing off or even means sacrificing scoring opportunities. i usually think of a nomiss as the next logical step after a 1cc, and it's generally my imagined goal any time i pick up a new game before getting a feel for it and knowing whether or not that's necessarily where to take it.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:27 pm 



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Quick comment:

on some titles, the 1-LC/nomiss is possibly the only way to get the best scores. Obviously, for titles giving bonus for each life in stock after the 1-CC, the 1-LC/nomiss is a musy. BIL can probably write quite a bit on why this should be the case for, e.g., the Slug titles. Or maybe he can explain why this is not necessarily true, and so on.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:41 pm 



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I'm sure there're arcade games in general where you can see for this reason or another that they're ultimately designed for no-miss clears. But it doesn't make of the boundary any less artificial. Credit-feeding on the other hand can easily be seen as a natural boundary being broken.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:46 pm 


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Bassa-Bassa wrote:
kitten wrote:
i mean, nearly the entire forum agrees most JP games from the era are designed around the 1 credit or 1 life as the "high level" play method,


My bet is on that nearly the entire community agrees that it's around the 1 credit, and that the 1 life run is indeed an artificial boundary.


What about games that don't have continues? Or games that uses continues, but don't have a lives system? There's clearly a game-by-game basis and ideally you should you should be striving for a no damage run in all of them (although it's impossible in some games).


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:49 pm 


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I wanna do a no-damage run in Ninja Gaiden but last form of last boss makes this impossibru :( cruel...

also malt's fireballs seem possible to dodge but only longplays I've seen pull this off without resorting to spinslash, are TAS ones. Wonder if a good ol' pile of flesh and bones and nerves can pull it off :?:

Aside from tose 2 spots it's absolutely within my reach to acomplish this run

I guess I could go for a 1-Hit run. I'd have to practice on Malt a ton tho (if he's even possible to beat without taking damage and whitout using spinslash).
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:01 pm 


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I think anything that gives players more freedom in terms of options how to play is a good thing. We may scoff at the idea of using continues to get through a challenging platformer, but having them present at least allows for less skilled players to still enjoy the game without resorting to being frustrated, whereas skilled players have the option to aim for a no continue, or a no death, or restricted weaponry, etc.

Games that offer rewards to encourage playing at a skilled level aren't bad either though, just as long as it doesn't alienate beginners either and makes sure any content given out by skilled play can be accessed/unlocked by alternate means.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:06 pm 


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I was just thinking about the Metal Slugs, Rando. :smile: It's such a goddamn drag dying at a boss and seeing that barren "NO PRISONER" window. I wanna hold down the fire button for a cacophony of chirpy SFX and a hearty UR GR8

Having said that, even if the designers didn't promote survival this way, I'd still be drawn to no-miss runs, purely on cinematic value. It undeniably demonstrates competence at a game, when you can complete it without ever relying on your "extra lives," but moreover: it just looks cooler. A powerful motivator, in even the geekiest of contexts. :wink:

I don't know if there's a scrolling action equivalent to Garegga or Bakraid, where death is a bona fide game mechanic. I consider those games differently, since scoring well means skillfully burning your extra lives. There are plenty of checkpoint/timer milkers, but they don't interest me as much as the aforementioned STGs where death is skillfully woven into an ongoing performance.

The best scrolling scoring system I've seen is Gigantic Army's. It's basic, but it provides a sound basis for authoritatively aggressive play. Maintain max HP, so life restores convert into bonus points. Finish stage quickly, since more seconds = higher multiplier. It's literally not worth your time to milk enemies, but you can't let them hit you either, so good fighting is still rewarded.

FinalBaton wrote:
I wanna do a no-damage run in Ninja Gaiden but last form of last boss makes this impossibru :( cruel...

also malt's fireballs seem possible to dodge but only longplays I've seen pull this off are TAS ones. Wonder if a good ol' pile of flesh and bones and nerves can pull it off :?:


Malth's bolts can be dodged, IIRC, it's just difficult enough that jumpslash (or plain old kamikaze sword) is preferable, especially with the full HP restore provided. Jashin's severed head is definitely a mandatory -1HP, unless you're a TASbot. :mrgreen:
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:31 pm 


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BIL wrote:
I was just thinking about the Metal Slugs, Rando. :smile: It's such a goddamn drag dying at a boss and seeing that barren "NO PRISONER" window. I wanna hold down the fire button for a cacophony of chirpy SFX and a hearty UR GR8


I remember this from my salad days of MS3. Metal Slug y u no validate mi anymore :( :( :(

As for No miss? I respect it but.. just can't put myself through it for 99% of games. I need to allow myself at least a credit's worth of breathing room.
So God knows what I was tripping on when I got it for NG.

Ahh that head always hits you!? I'd just assumed I wasn't pro enough to jump it!
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:42 pm 


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i've definitely inflicted some unnecessary psychic torment upon myself by going for a nomiss in games i really shouldn't bother with (still traumatized by bothering to do so with cross wiber lol), but it's usually how i push myself to have the most fun with a game. i very much do not vouch for unilateral application, but i think it's a good rule of thumb for most earlier action titles to be where you're ideally heading, even if you don't make it there.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:47 pm 


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Nice game by game breakdown Perikles, some of those I own, some are little too pricey to add to my collection (that's where emulation comes in handy). The 16 bit generation spoiled those of us who lived through them.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:02 pm 


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Nice game rundown. I own a handful of these, but also have a SD2SNES. The Battletoads games have some incredible music, especially when played with stereo speakers.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:40 pm 


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I can't remember if I gushed about these beforehand but there's some cool videos I saw a while ago that might be of interest:

Mega Man "Gadgeteer" runs (boss weapons only run)

Basically, as soon as you get your first boss weapon, you avoid using the default mega buster at all for the rest of the run. Rush and Beat and so on are allowed so long as you have the ammo to use them but not as an excuse to be able to fire the normal arm cannon (as that's against the spirit of the run), but firing when in Rush Marine or using Rush Jet in Mega Man 3's mandatory flight sequences later on is fine. Power and Jet Mega Man in MM6 are OK too if you're wanting to make things easier but you don't have to use them. This adds a surprising challenge to some of the games in terms of boss order, as the first weapon you get has to be powerful enough to deal with the next stage as well as the next boss. Mega Man 5 is possibly the most interesting of the bunch due to the particular challenge involved in the early stage order selection.

Mineyl had an entire playthrough of these in MM1-7, with tons of detailed annotations in what went into determining the boss order. Sadly, Youtube killed video annotations so they're gone, but here are the links and paraphrasing of what I remember from the video annotations:

Mega Man 1 Gadgeteer

Spoiler: show
Several useful and powerful weapons to be found here including Elec and Fire Man's weapons. Cut's decent too, though Bomb Man's is possibly one of the worst in the entire series due to its abysmal speed and low payoff for its difficulty in using it.


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Mega Man 2 Gadgeteer

Spoiler: show
The best weapons in the series, largely dominated by the ridiculous Metal Blade which allows 8 way multidirectional spam on an ammo efficient weapon. Even without Metal Blade, Quick Boomerang can still be an effective workhouse due to its ammo capacity, and Bubble Lead works well on a number of specific targets too. Other weapons such as Air Shooter and Leaf Shield are quite powerful, but ammo drains pretty quickly on a lot of weapons.


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Mega Man 3 Gadgeteer

Spoiler: show
Needle Cannon is efficient and spammable, Top Spin is amazingly useful and efficient with the sole caveat that you have to know what it works on and what it doesn't to push it to full potential, Shadow Blade is a non-gamebreaker version of Metal Blade, Hard Knuckle and Search Snake are helpful... only Spark Shot and Gemini Laser are truly bad. Spark Shot, like Ice Slasher, doesn't remove enemy hitboxes when they're hit, and Gemini Laser is too slow and ammo hungry to really play with its reflection capabilities effectively.


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Mega Man 4 Gadgeteer]

Spoiler: show
Amazingly powerful set of weapons. Possibly the best overall set in the entire series in terms of general purpose usefulness. Many of the weapons feel like revamped/improved versions of the Mega Man 2 weapons, and several are very good on ammo for the damage they provide.


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Mega Man 5 Gadgeteer

Spoiler: show
Generally bad weapon set. The stage order for this run deliberately does Gravity Man's stage without his weakness because of how poor the starting weapon order choices are. Power Stone is a bit underrated I think; each rock does only 1 damage when not used as Charge Man's weakness, but the 3 rocks fired cover a decent area and lots of smaller enemies can be hit at a distance with it. Having two weapons that force you to use them grounded (Charge Kick, Wave Cannon) is a major limitation of Mega Man 5's weaponry, and Napalm Man's weapon is simply a worse, limited range version of ground travelling weapons like Bubble Lead or Search Snake. Damage is decent though.


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Mega Man 6 Gadgeteer

Spoiler: show
Some very powerful weapons here, but the weapon selection tends to be underrated due to the overwhelming dominance and cool factor in the Rush armours. Power Mega Man and Jet Mega Man are hard to resist, but this game has lots of very solid weapons such as the powerful and fast Flame Blast, the multidirectional Knight Crusher, and the useful and reliable Silver Tomahawk, Wind Storm, and Yamato Spear.


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Mega Man 7 Gadgeteer

Spoiler: show
I don't know much about Mega Man 7 aside from one playthrough ages ago, but Junk Shield is darn good, and there are some other decently usable weapons in the mix.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:15 am 


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Bassa-Bassa wrote:
How exactly are the controls and the graphics improved in the US Actraser? Would love to know - I found the JP version's action scenes already too easy.

IIRC the US version has a dedicated magic button, while the Japanese uses up + attack. I definitely liked the action mode better in the US version (though perhaps I liked simulation mode better in the Japanese... I want to say the monsters were more aggressive in their town attacks there, but it's been a while).
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2020 1:22 pm 



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BIL wrote:
I was just thinking about the Metal Slugs, Rando. :smile: It's such a goddamn drag dying at a boss and seeing that barren "NO PRISONER" window. I wanna hold down the fire button for a cacophony of chirpy SFX and a hearty UR GR8

Having said that, even if the designers didn't promote survival this way, I'd still be drawn to no-miss runs, purely on cinematic value. It undeniably demonstrates competence at a game, when you can complete it without ever relying on your "extra lives," but moreover: it just looks cooler. A powerful motivator, in even the geekiest of contexts. :wink:

I don't know if there's a scrolling action equivalent to Garegga or Bakraid, where death is a bona fide game mechanic. I consider those games differently, since scoring well means skillfully burning your extra lives. There are plenty of checkpoint/timer milkers, but they don't interest me as much as the aforementioned STGs where death is skillfully woven into an ongoing performance.


Well, you can always suicide before you rescue any prisoner and still go on to ace a stage, right?

There is however one case that might qualify under the banner of "suicide-driven action game": Magic Sword. I remember that top-scoring runs involve the players quickly reaching st 45 (or 46?) with as many lives as possible. Then, the players kill a re-spawning enemy with the energy/life-consuming special attack as many times as possible.

Please keep in mind that every 300k or 400k, the game gives half a life of energy back, so the energy-draining technique can be slowed down (you don't "die" but lose one stock, in this game). The game seems also to have a mild-form of rank that maxes out quickly (3 lives?). So, technically top scores can be achieved by stocking lives, reaching a key spot, suiciding as much as possible via the special attack, reaching the final half a bar of energy, and then go on to complete the game.

I am convinced that other earlier titles involved similar strategies, but my memory is far from a trustworthy source of information.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:22 pm 


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Randorama wrote:
Well, you can always suicide before you rescue any prisoner and still go on to ace a stage, right?


Yup! I'd have made the end-game tally include "lives used" in addition to "continues." Image Would be strictly for vanity purposes, ofc. Slug scoring runs are essentially master level no-misses, since any unintentional deaths will torpedo your score.

I guess you could award some crazy No Miss Bonus, but eh. To be honest, although I respect the dedication and skill of its high scorers, I sometimes suspect Slug's scoring is partially tongue-in-cheek (MS1, stage 2 riverbank - randomly awards a valuable doll, or a literal hunk of shit :shock: worth 10pts :lol:), and partially meant as a little friendly 2P rivalry (with the players already competing for # of POWs rescued). I'm glad it's there, regardless.

Not like the Slugs need to pay me. I do it FO FREE Image

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Alright lads, got some food up in this motherfucker :cool:

What a great touch, that end-game continues tally.

Quote:
There is however one case that might qualify under the banner of "suicide-driven action game": Magic Sword. I remember that top-scoring runs involve the players quickly reaching st 45 (or 46?) with as many lives as possible. Then, the players kill a re-spawning enemy with the energy/life-consuming special attack as many times as possible.


I'm looking forward to putting some time on Magic Sword, now that Saigo no Nindou is in the bag. Those two were always my big arcade sidescrolling nemeses. The SFC conversion is alright as a Black Label affair - newbies are a bit freer to experiment with inefficient routes and weaker partners that'll get them savaged on AC - but it doesn't have the crushing pressure of the arcade. Also the AC's way purdier!
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