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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2020 5:44 pm 


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Just getting back up to speed after a week away, delighted to see -

1) Arcade Archives: Sunset Riders is out, and is AMAZIN. :o I'd never appreciated how good this game's OST is. Finally having the floor-shaking arcade version running full-blast on a home console, it's apparent how much Konami's grasp of run/gun had matured in the three years since Super Contra. No more teething issues re: aim or weaponry, just instantly-obliging mayhem. Gave it a quick spin up to Dark Horse, seems as rock-solid and razor-sharp as I've come to expect of ACA.

2) Zero Team announced for ACA?! Image I'm simultaneously pleased yet unsurprised to see Seibu onboard, with Hamster having reprinted Raiden and Raiden DX all the way back on PS1. Kicking off with ZT, however - holy fuck! Shrewd never-ported-ever sense. Day 1! And bring on the 90s!

Wiz day 1 too, get some WIZARD FIRE up in this motherfucker. Image Image And Raiden obviously. It is my ambition to have a version of Raiden for every square foot of my nerdbunker.

I wonder if they'll have a go at Raiden DX, to update the superlative but naturally not-quite-100% accurate PS1 disc. Speaking of PS1-era reunions, Wolf Fang redux pls. :cool:

Also WTB Guevara already, take my ill-gotten CAPITALIST GAINZ! It stomps on Datsugoku and Ikari III (which is more like Datsugoku Topdown Rotary Ver), and ME BALLS R TURNIN BLUE waiting to go for the no-miss with them shaweet ACA rotary controls.

Now yes, there is T.A.N.K. I could be playing in the meantime, but unlike Dogosoken and Guevara, that's not an Ikari. ;3
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2020 6:56 pm 


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BIL wrote:
Just getting back up to speed after a week away, delighted to see -

1) Arcade Archives: Sunset Riders is out, and is AMAZIN. :o I'd never appreciated how good this game's OST is. Finally having the floor-shaking arcade version running full-blast on a home console, it's apparent how much Konami's grasp of run/gun had matured in the three years since Super Contra. No more teething issues re: aim or weaponry, just instantly-obliging mayhem. Gave it a quick spin up to Dark Horse, seems as rock-solid and razor-sharp as I've come to expect of ACA.

2) Zero Team announced for ACA?! Image I'm simultaneously pleased yet unsurprised to see Seibu onboard, with Hamster having reprinted Raiden and Raiden DX all the way back on PS1. Kicking off with ZT, however - holy fuck! Shrewd never-ported-ever sense. Day 1! And bring on the 90s!


I actually bought Sunset Riders for both PS4 and Switch (though I used coins for the latter). Seems to be well done on both platforms. I like how the manual explains the 4 different versions included and how the game has both 2p and 4p versions. JP version has extends and 1ups and ends at the second loop. US version has no extends or 1ups and keeps on looping. Odd how the SNES and Genesis versions never came out in Japan. The former is an especially solid port, despite the censorship. I was surprised that it even had most of the voices intact. "Burry me wit' my munny"

I hope Zero Team includes the alternate versions of the game, especially New Zero Team. I'm glad to see Seibu aboard ACA. I just picked up Raiden Project JPS1 recently and like it quite a bit so far. I was surprised to see that it even has a proper yoko mode, which so many older ports lack. It's nice to see another well done version of the game.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2020 12:23 pm 


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How do people here feel about Magician Lord?

I've been spending some quality time with it, and I feel it's legit badass. Graphics and especially the music are absolutely top notch in my book and it's definitely one of the most challenging action platformers I've played so far. Stages have great variety and require lot's of tactical finesse that encourages you to think outside of the box. I can get to the Stage 7 boss on a credit now, but it's been really tough to get to that point. The game has some unusual quirks that take some time to get used to, such as unusual stage design (with the detours and whatnot), timed enemy spawns, and sometimes infuriating RNG. The controls are sometimes criticized for being stiff, but actually I find Elta to be pretty nimble compared to say GnG and early CV and on par with contemporary titles like CV4 or Actraiser. I think what also throws people off is that the transformations are actually not that useful and it's best to mostly stick with Elta (the magician) and focus on grabbing and retaining three power ups.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2020 7:09 pm 



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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:25 am 


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I like Magician Lord a lot. The audiovisuals (outstanding music, grotesquely out of proportion environments, villain talking smack) and the gameplay (branching paths with detours, deadly timelimit, general unforegiveness) combine for a sense of utter despair and futility. The mechanics themselves are solid, Elta's jump is fast, if a bit on the vertical side. I really like the RNG resulting from constantly spawning enemies on higher ranks.

All in all, it's a personal favourite. I'd include it in my Neogeo top 5.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 5:22 pm 


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Tidying up in the week, I found the missing video cable for my Mega Drive - so decided to spend the afternoon with it. A couple of attempts at Fire Shark and Twin Cobra reminded me that a) I'm rusty b) the microswitches need replacing on the arcade stick. Will sort that out in the week, so decided to revert to gamepad and play something else:

Streets of Rage

An old childhood favourite on the Mega Games 2 compilation. Took me a while to get my spacing right and remember the boss exploits (no brain, get off autopilot and stop throwing the fat guys), but made it to Mr. X albeit not enough lives left to remember how to properly fight him.

Is there a reliable strategy for dealing with the Blaze dopplegangers? I can beat them by standing in one corner and using the back attack when they get close, but it takes ages and the clock always runs down. I'm sure I had this down years ago and could swear you could grabble/punch them when they land from a regular jump but it just led to them throwing me. Maybe I'm remembering my strategy from the SMS version instead.

Rolling Thunder 2

I bought this way back, because I was already bidding on Jungle/Urban Strike and the same seller had this and Hellfire as 99p listings with no bids (come back, 2005). I checked that it worked, thought it looked like an SMS game and died almost instantly - don't think I ever played it again. Damn was I wrong. Gradually worked through to the stage 5 boss and had a great time with it - excellent mix of strategic positioning and reflex gunplay. Will put a bit more time into this through June, once I've repaired the arcade stick.

The first one looks primitive, is it worth playing? I don't have a working machine for emulation but it is on Namco Museum...


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 5:26 pm 


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TransatlanticFoe wrote:
Is there a reliable strategy for dealing with the Blaze dopplegangers? I can beat them by standing in one corner and using the back attack when they get close, but it takes ages and the clock always runs down. I'm sure I had this down years ago and could swear you could grabble/punch them when they land from a regular jump but it just led to them throwing me. Maybe I'm remembering my strategy from the SMS version instead.


__SKYe posted his strats for Yasha and Onihime (and many other things!) in his Bare Knuckle combat primer.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:02 pm 


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BIL wrote:
TransatlanticFoe wrote:
Is there a reliable strategy for dealing with the Blaze dopplegangers? I can beat them by standing in one corner and using the back attack when they get close, but it takes ages and the clock always runs down. I'm sure I had this down years ago and could swear you could grabble/punch them when they land from a regular jump but it just led to them throwing me. Maybe I'm remembering my strategy from the SMS version instead.


__SKYe posted his strats for Yasha and Onihime (and many other things!) in his Bare Knuckle combat primer.


It took me a long time to realize that the "Blaze Twins" were the two female bosses later seen in SoR3/BK3. I have also been playing SoR1 lately and had trouble with Yasha and Onihime, as well. Thanks for the guide, _SKYe.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:14 pm 


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What's funny (and kinda cool tbh) is, they're Blaze clones even in the manual's official artwork. :mrgreen: I really like that game/page consistency.

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Manual page:
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:30 pm 


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I always wondered if there was a particular reason why Onihime and Yasha were palette-swaps of Blaze or if it was just a cheap reuse of her sprite. I like to pretend that Blaze was originally their third member before she decided to reform herself and become a cop.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:30 am 


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TransatlanticFoe wrote:
Rolling Thunder 2

I bought this way back, because I was already bidding on Jungle/Urban Strike and the same seller had this and Hellfire as 99p listings with no bids (come back, 2005). I checked that it worked, thought it looked like an SMS game and died almost instantly - don't think I ever played it again. Damn was I wrong. Gradually worked through to the stage 5 boss and had a great time with it - excellent mix of strategic positioning and reflex gunplay. Will put a bit more time into this through June, once I've repaired the arcade stick.

The first one looks primitive, is it worth playing? I don't have a working machine for emulation but it is on Namco Museum...


Absolutely. Controls are tight, and although it's simplistic, it does what it does very well indeed.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:51 pm 


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"Your day has come, Jaquio!"

I finally cleared NG1. It took me a couple of credits to get there, but it still feels like an achievement. Although a 1CC is definitely within my reach, I'll leave that for another day. I beat Jaquio quite comfortably this time, even though the consequences of a mistimed jump cost me half of my lifebar. I died at the demon, but managed to bring a spin slash for the rematch. And that was it.

Job well done. The darkness is finally over.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:58 pm 


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Good job!

I've been meaning to get on that path myself for like...15 years now, I've only played a casual credit here and there. I really should dedicate some time to it before age claims by action gaming reflexes.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:16 pm 


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Welcome aboard, Kage-san. Image

Also, I totally didn't engineer the lineup to resemble a mighty R2RKMF todger, complete with __SKYe's avatar blowing off steam at the head. :shock: But I'm glad it turned out that way! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:18 pm 


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:lol:
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:31 pm 


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why do kitten and I have to be the pubes ;w;
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:47 pm 


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That was unintentional too I swear :lol: Maybe this was all leading up to my 12,666th post :twisted:
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 6:07 pm 


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CIT wrote:
How do people here feel about Magician Lord?

Bought it recently, but never put some real time into it until this very weekend.

I really dig it. It's completely crude, controls awkwardly, and in a lot of ways not well designed. But it's totally my alley of punishing sidescrolling action with that relaxed twist that it relies mostly on just knowing the game's mechanics and stage layouts, anticipating what's coming up at every turn. I mean, I'm the guy who loves Karnov, so I should love this also.
I didn't make it far at all, managing only to beat stage 3 (which took a lot of practice to me) before getting my ass beat. But I'm looking forward to being able to set time aside for it again.

Quote:
it's best to mostly stick with Elta (the magician) and focus on grabbing and retaining three power ups.

I haven't looked into any strategies for the game at all (played it at a social gathering, and just figured my own route through the game), but what's the reason for going with the magician form over the ninja? At least changing forms heals you up to a full 4HP. I guess losing your power ups is detrimental no matter what even from taking just one hit, but I've managed to make it pretty far still, with just level 1 magic.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 6:23 pm 


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Sumez wrote:
I haven't looked into any strategies for the game at all (played it at a social gathering, and just figured my own route through the game), but what's the reason for going with the magician form over the ninja? At least changing forms heals you up to a full 4HP. I guess losing your power ups is detrimental no matter what even from taking just one hit, but I've managed to make it pretty far still, with just level 1 magic.


Only a Magician Noob meself, but Mosquito-sama talked about this in his No-Damage Clear writeup.

Also, obligatory:

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 10:31 pm 


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Nice job Herr Schaten.

@BIL

These three know what's up. :o

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:18 am 


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holy shit :lol: :lol: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 2:02 am 


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I managed a SoR1 clear on normal with Blaze using a couple continues. Still need some more practice on a few of the bosses. Garcia keeps getting in the way. iframes on throws definitely comes in handy, though. I tried hard mode. Most enemies seem to go down in the same number of hits, but they do more damage?

I find interesting that one of the twins is wearing blue in the artwork when both twins wear the same color in game.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:17 am 


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Sunset Riders is amazing. Only played as far as the ST3 boss, he's kind of an asshole, but loving it so far. Konami really hit their peak around this period between their arcade and console stuff. I do remember owning this on SNES at the time, but remember surprisingly little about the game, though I believe it was supposed to be a pretty decent port?
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:56 pm 


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Dark Horse is intimidating at first, but he's pretty harmless if you immediately get on the balcony and take out his supports. From there, just bait him into firing straight up, then downshot him as he rides away. If you're aggressive enough, a powered up Bob/Cormano can kill him in a couple reps. The trick is to never let him hem you into a corner with diagonal fire, which can force you into a tricky slide-through (of the bullets, or Dark Horse himself).

It's a beautiful game. My only criticism is the two bonus rounds, but even they're amusing enough (best score so far, 47/50... I blame my Frankensteined DS4 dpad :mrgreen:).

Admirably fair, and surprisingly mild in the first loop (hitting SIR RICHARD ROSE after a couple evenings), but it's a 2-ALL affair, so I'm not getting complacent!

Along with the stages' sharp Contra/Rolling Thunder hybrid, I like the boss duels' emphasis on tactical spacing and macro-dodging. Even two or three bullets are a lethal curtain, with your large hitbox and high jump, making herding and sharp slides key. It's a deceptively intense, proactive game.

I remembered what Perikles and Mr. Mosquito said about using slide/jump to break the camera tracking here - it's good to know at certain spots, though I'm glad to see the game is completely playable without relying on it. I use it to speedkill those annoying barricade snipers in CHIEF SCALPEM's stage. (fuck! I mean Chief WIGWAM!)

Laughed out loud at the Nuremberg defense a few stages in. :lol: "All right, ma'am, we won't shoot 'em." Supremely lovable Japanese gaming antics. Image

I hope this one does well for Hamster. A picture perfect example of ACA's ongoing excellence.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 2:03 pm 


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BrianC wrote:
I managed a SoR1 clear on normal with Blaze using a couple continues. Still need some more practice on a few of the bosses. Garcia keeps getting in the way. iframes on throws definitely comes in handy, though. I tried hard mode. Most enemies seem to go down in the same number of hits, but they do more damage?


If I recall correctly (based on a previous post of mine) the only difference in hard mode is that bosses do much more damage, but I'm not sure if enemies also have increased damage output. But the change to the bosses alone makes for a considerably tougher game.
On hardest standard enemies do more damage, have more health and potentially appear in larger numbers (I never confirmed this).

As for the bosses, one approach is to try to take out the helpers before going for the boss, as they are finite. This doesn't work on Mr. X, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 3:53 pm 


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Thanks, all. It's an honour to be part of the task force. Some unsorted thoughts about the game follow.

What I like:
- The game is incredibly rewarding: If you nail the rhythm of a segment and tear through it like a hot katana through a piece of butter, you feel totally badass, ninja-ing along like that. On the other hand, flailing about will get you in trouble really quickly and make you feel like a total noob. There's almost no middle ground between these extremes, which makes for quite a unique experience.
- Each segment can be beaten with only the tools it gives you. While bringing an extra weapon from a previous segment can make things significantly easier, it's never required.
- Even the meanest of chokepoints can be mastered if you know what you're doing and don't lose your calm. Unless you fall down a pit, you're not dead until the last bit of your energy bar is gone, and it's always worth fighting till the last breath.

What I don't like quite as much:
- Enemies appearing out of thin air instead of entering from the screen edges. It just breaks the illusion and makes clear that you're playing a game, even though it doesn't really make a difference from a gameplay perspective.
- Some booby-traped scenes, as well as the known choke-points, are unnecessarily cruel. Sure, you can just memorize those few occasions, and there's far less memorization involved than in your average R-Type, but it still feels a little cheap at times.
- RND breaking my stride. Some unfortunate RND can abruptly ruin an otherwise perfectly smooth run through a segment. The same problem applies to the last boss. Sometimes it's perfectly manageable, but on rare occasions it just showers you with shrimps, which then are very hard to avoid. That's inconsistency that feels off in a game so tightly designed.
- Jaquio aside, the bosses are quite a letdown.

After clearing the game, I watched Edmonds videos of his tries at act 6, especially his performance at Jaquio and I don't have a clue what the fuck he's doing there. Seriously, randomly mashing buttons would lead to better results. On the other hand, I watched the AVGN episode about Ninja Gaiden, and I think it was quite alright. I had expected it to trash the game based on false assumptions, but it actually just told the viewer to gid gud.


Ghegs wrote:
I've been meaning to get on that path myself for like...15 years now, I've only played a casual credit here and there. I really should dedicate some time to it before age claims by action gaming reflexes.

I can definitely recommend it, as it's immensely satisfying. Just make sure to use controllers that are up to the task.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:19 pm 


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Edmans' Jaquio attempts are fine illustrations of Ashtar's "You can never touch me with a sword so filled with hatred" from NGII. Good sport of him to leave them up. Not that I haven't archived everything linked on the front page anyway Image

I went looking for a screencap but came up short, so I will post some SHAWEET artwork of Ryu, Ashtar and Jaquio, by NGI-III lead artist Masato Kato aka RUNMARU, instead. He's rad! Click 4 full res:

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:58 pm 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
- The game is incredibly rewarding: If you nail the rhythm of a segment and tear through it like a hot katana through a piece of butter, you feel totally badass, ninja-ing along like that. On the other hand, flailing about will get you in trouble really quickly and make you feel like a total noob. There's almost no middle ground between these extremes, which makes for quite a unique experience.

This is probably the single best thing about Ninja Gaiden, and I think you worded it really well. Few games nail this experience as well. In fact, I'm not sure any other games do it as well?

BIL wrote:
NGI-III lead artist Masato Kato aka RUNMARU, instead. He's rad!

Not to mention the writer of Chrono fucking Trigger :P


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:06 pm 


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I always thought that was so cool, a guy with such obvious talent crossing over from cult favourite hardcore action to a beloved mainstream hit. (well, "mainstream" by pre-modern blockbuster standards)
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:35 pm 


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Well, I did it. I finally got the 1CC and became the next Magician Lord!! Image

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Definitely one of the more challenging clears I've managed in my gamer career, in terms of the amount of practice required. I made a mistake in the stage 8 miniboss gauntlet with the girl gang and I lost my max power. The sword knight who follows then killed me off once. On lowest power level you can't get him out of the way quickly enough. Anyway, it was still good enough to move on to the final and the last boss is kind of a joke.

The cornerstones of my strategy:
- Take the fastest route to the boss in every stage.
- Absolutely make sure to enter stages 6 and 7 with max power. On stage 6 you can regain two power icons in the room below the boss, but in stage 7 you're screwed if you only have level 1 power.
- Use only Eltas standard form (magician). Why? Fastest shot, and also travels full width of the screen, and on max power the shot hit box is super big, which is really convenient. Elta's speed and jumo are good too. The ninja isn't bad, but his shot is slower, and on max power its hitbox actually becomes smaller!
- Each stage has an enemy type that will spawn after a certain time (with some RNG involved). It's often a good idea to wait for the spawn to happen before moving into some critical area. Don't wanna get stuck with the miniboss while there are floating eyeballs chasing after you!
- In some sections it's best not to engage enemies at all, but rather to speed through.

So yeah, the other forms have all disadvantages in the long run, even if they give you more life points. As mentioned, the ninja's shot is too slow and requires more precise aiming. The dragon is a bit clumsy and his shot can't connect with very small enemies on the ground. The samurai's shot is great some situations due to its unusual trajectory, but completely useless in others. And the two watermen (why the hell are there two of them anyway!? Image) are completely for the bin. At least the dragon is best for the final boss fight (you have to choose some form anyway).

My closing thoughts:

- My score is not worth mentioning as I always took the fastest route through each stage. For those not in the know: The game takes risk/reward rather literally and in every stage (except 1 and 8) there are alternative paths and three optional rooms in which you can collect items for massive points (as well as a few that are simply dead ends). Now that I've mastered the game, I feel like going on a little tour of discovery through the game again. ;)

- The detailed and colorful graphics are top notch and a lot of flourishes really add to the mystique of the game, such as the floating obelisks and strange statues in stage 1, or stage 3's R-Type-esque organic horror.

- I absolutely adore the catchy and rather unique OST, and it really goes a long way to keep you motivated.

- Although the stages can all be memorized, there is always also some aspect of RNG, so you constantly have to be on your guard and keep your wits about you. Even early in the game, especially with the stage 1 and 2 bosses, you can run into some hairy situations, so it really keeps things interested, even on the umpteenth run. Some enemies also exhibit some comparatively complex behavior that takes a while to really learn.

- Bosses are varied and a real highlight of the game, if a bit on the easy side. Some of the mini-bosses gave me a lot more trouble.

- I think in general it's a really well designed game, but I can see that it can be hard to get into. Controls feel a little bit stiff at first, you can't make sense of enemy behavior and the stage layout, and of course the game is generally brutal. Once you kind of know what you're doing Magician Lord really opens up though, and you feel much more capable and nimble.

- All three versions of the game actually have some small dfferences and use different roms, unlike every other Neo Geo game.
MVS: gives you max 4 life points, has no intro sequence, and you instantly respawn on death
AES: max 6 life points, long intro sequence, stage time displayed, return to check point on death. However, later prints of the game actually use the MVS rom, so there are two different AES versions out there.
CD: max 5 life points, long intro sequence, instant respawn - so a bit like the mix between MVS and AES. Also, the sound is slightly different.

- Definitely one of my top games for the Neo Geo. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for some really severe R2RKM badassity that'll keep you on the edge of your seat and can rival any GnG, imo.

I give it 9/10 magic wands.


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