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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 6:11 pm 


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Cave Noire

Cave Noire is a unique roguelike made by Konami for the Game Boy. You play as an adventurer whose goal is to achieve a high ranking in the local guild by completing a variety of quests. Each quest is a self-contained adventure, nothing is carried over between them. This mission-based design is Cave Noire's only serious point of differentiation from a traditional roguelike. If you know how to play roguelikes you won't have any trouble picking this up, and if you don't, Cave Noire makes a great introduction to the genre.

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The quests themselves are pretty basic. Kill X monsters, collect Y gold, those sorts of things. Completing a quest unlocks a harder version of the same quest. After beating the 6th level versions of each quest you get the game's normal ending, and after beating the 10th level versions you'll get the best ending. Dying ends your current attempt, but any quests you've completed stay beaten. All of the quests are fairly short, most will take you between 5 and 20 minutes.

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There's a strong focus on avoiding combat. You have little to gain from most wins, and stand to lose a lot even from fights you survive. Your character doesn't recover health over time and healing items are rare. There's also no experience system, character improvement is handled entirely through items. Each enemy type has their own movement pattern, and many don't deliberately pursue you at all. If you're up against a lone enemy you can usually get past without fighting. Against two or more you'll often have to either kill one or burn an item to get through. It feels something like a randomized Lolo-style puzzle game where you can brute force your way through a puzzle every now and again.

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That stick man above the protagonist's head means you're looking at an invisible platform


Your character can't cast spells and doesn't have any special abilities, so you need to use consumable items to beat anything you can't simply overpower. They tend to be extremely powerful, even the strongest enemies in the game will go down after one or two shots from attack items. If you're familiar with Shiren the Wanderer or Brogue, Cave Noire's combat is very similar. Recognizing which consumables to use and when to use them is key to survival. It's especially tough because you only have 8 inventory slots to work with, and your consumables have to share that space with your equipment and quest items. Sometimes it's even worth throwing your weapon or shield away to make room for one more potion.

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The turn system is unusual. The sequence goes: player movement -> player attack -> monster attack -> monster movement -> player movement. In most roguelikes you often need to let the enemy come to you to give yourself the first attack. Here you always get the chance to attack first no matter who approaches whom. Nothing is faster or slower than anything else, there's no haste to give you extra turns or paralysis to take them away. Unlike most roguelikes, there's also no time limit or hunger clock, though they aren't necessary since there's no way to grind.

Spoiler: show
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That question mark means a breakable wall is nearby


Despite how simple and unconventional it is, Cave Noire manages to capture most of the spirit of a traditional roguelike. Knowing what you can and can't handle, fighting only one enemy at a time, rationing your consumable items, all of that is just as important here as any other entry in the genre. It's a solid game, I'd say it's the best coffeebreak roguelike.

A-

Cave Noire was only released in Japan, but there is a high quality fan translation available from Aeon Genesis.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:12 pm 


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Strangely a thread favorite that!


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:36 am 


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One of my NES backlog mainstays is finally eliminated. I bought Bionic Commando as one of my first choices back when I realised it was super easy to get old Nintendo games on the internet around 20 years ago now.

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I've played it shortly many times before, but never much past the first stage. Of course that doesn't give any kind of useful impression of the game whose best strength is the sheer amount of inginuity and variation in its stage design, constantly and increasingly challenging the player's mastery of the grappling hook.
The controls aren't without some expected awkwardness, but there's a pretty amazing amount of utility to them that the game straight up requires you to understand by the time you make it to the end. I'm usually not a big fan of grapple mechanics, but Bionic Commando smoothly rides the balance of utilizing it well without ever frustrating the player.

I like the "tactical" overworld map in concept, but some of the forced item collection order seems like it serves mostly to complicate things unnecessarily, and the overhead run'n'gun areas, though fun, are so incredibly easy they feel like little more than a diversion to acquire continues which are very necessary when playing the game blind, as dying is extremely easy when you aren't familiar with the stages. Also, pretty much every inventory item that isn't the rocket launcher or healing potion is kind of useless, which is a shame.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:42 pm 


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@Vanguard and Sumez, congrats on your clears.

Meanwhile, I'm really close to 1CCing Akumajou Dracula. I can get to the last stage without dying, but that last stretch and especially Dracula still gives me trouble; I'm really close though, it's just a matter of fine tuning my movement and strategies - and not replacing my Watch with that damn Knife :x


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:47 am 


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I got close to a Normal mode 1cc with Blaze in SoR2. Died and used a continue at Shiva. Mr. X was much easier in comparison. I enjoy the game quite a bit, but the slower combo speed felt odd after playing SoRR. I love the music that plays during the battle with Mr. X.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:35 am 


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Black Future 88'

Been on a cyber punk aesthetic kick lately. This one is relentless.

You have 18 minutes. If you don't reach the top of the tower by 00:00 you die. You also die if you're killed trying to ascend said tower. I mean they aren't just gonna let you waltz in and shit in the tub.

Stages are room by room. Kill all the enemies, move to the next room. You can go through which ever door suits your fancy, but there is an icon that points you towards the boss. There are a lot of weapons, of which you can carry two at a time. The more time you play, the more you score, the more weapons, items, and abilities you'll come across in your travels. The tower will also pick up whatever you leave on the ground and use it against you AI style.

You start with the choice of two characters - differences appear to be limited to starting weapons and abilities. You also have a dash that will let you go through bullets. There are a fair amount of upgrades - some of which are cursed. I am not sure what that does, but I have discovered some weapons scale the more you're cursed.

This one is a lot of fun.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:32 am 


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Mah DICK MUHFUCKA :shock:

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ACA WIZ IS OUT Image Image PREPARE FOR SHIN MAHOU DAISAKUSEN ("REAL GREAT MAGIC WAR") Image Image

What a lovely little surprise this morning! Thought we were a few months off from Seibu stuff. It's a neat shooting-fixated action/platformer from their pre-Raiden days (1985). Kinda SonSon, kinda Pac-Land. Summon Miclus from his couch in the bowels of hell, he gon eat they face.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:46 am 


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Another game I have played many times, but never all the way through. Did it yesterday, and it's a very short game, so I really have no excuse.

Natsume's Power Blade is a game that's close to being a poster boy for the kind of stuff this thread was created for, but then again not at all. It definitely fits the classic NES compact action man™️ style, but it lacks an arcade style tightness it otherwise comes close to.

Image Image

The controls are good, incredibly good in fact, almost to a fault. As you upgrade your boomerangs you'll find yourself jumping around throwing them in all directions as you obliterate enemies all around you, in super well constructed stages with a lot of fun platforming challenges that really feel like they've all been pulled out of a "best of the NES" compilation - it really is "NES Game: The Game". And picking up the power suit that allows you to fire through walls will turn you into a completely unstoppable force that's equally fun to play around with.

And I guess that's also the game's biggest issue. It's just way too easy. While you'll no doubt lose a lot of lives your first time through due to accidentally falling into holes, that's almost the only way to die. Your character is incredibly overpowered, and the stages feel like they're designed for a somewhat slower and more controlled pace, more along the lines of Mega Man.
I suppose that's not entirely surprising considering the game's origins. But Kitten's writeup some time back, covering the original Japanese incarnation of the game, is enough to convince that I don't need to ever play that. Judging by internet videos, it seems that Power Blade's western stages also got a complete redesign anyway, so it's better to consider them entirely different games.

The large stage layouts are a lot of fun, and I'm really impressed with the identity each of them are given through their open ended design, despite being based entirely on horizontally scrolling rooms. It's a little easy to get lost, since you have no indication of where you need to get the boss key, and you'll easy end up at the boss door before finding it. But if the game had enough replay value to get further into, I'd say that's still a non-issue, as you'll just remember where to go.

There's an "expert" mode, but unfortunately it does nothing to solve the game's identity crisis. It adds a much welcome damage knockback, and it decreases the time limit for each stage, but it seems to do nothing else.
My dream hack of Power Blade would severely limit the extent you can power up the boomerangs. Keep the max range a lot shorter, and maybe stick to only ever throwing one at a time. Hell, the red boomerang can probably go, too. The power armor should disappear after a single hit, and your life bar after that should only take a couple of hits at most. On the flip side, you could add checkpoints for every room, and occasional 1UP items - those could appropriately replace the "E-tanks" which serve no purpose aside from trivializing boss fights, and making analyzing their pattern completely pointless.

It actually sounds like an easy hack, but would anyone play it if I made it?


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:51 am 


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TBH Sumez-san I only partially consider Power Blade a Natsume game, it has been too greatly altered by... GAIJIN HANDZ :shock: :wink: (not sure if you've seen this article about its localisation? among many other things... might need to CTRL+F "Power Blade")

That said, Power Blazer seemed like a middling Rockman knockoff with one of the fugliest character designs I can recall (Rockman... with hockey hair... in jogging pants and a wifebeater? you fucking with me, pendejo?!), so I'm not on the warpath or anything. Blade seemed like quality work from what I previewed over the years, but I remember the open-ended stage design leaving me a bit cold. Blatant R2RKMF favouritism on my part. 3;
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:26 am 


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BIL wrote:
kinda Pac-Land. Summon Miclus from his couch in the bowels of hell, he gon eat they face.


OK, looks primitive, but definitely interested now you've mentioned Pac-Land.
Nearly done with first loop of Sunset Riders, but god DAMN those two boss brothers - not done them yet without losing a stupid life, or two. I'd be cruising if it wasn't for those two.

Also, screw Namco for their crappy attitude to comps. I have the Switch one, which of course is missing Pac-land for absolutely no decent reason I can think of.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:27 am 


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BIL wrote:
I remember the open-ended stage design leaving me a bit cold. Blatant R2RKMF favouritism on my part. 3;


The open ended stage design doesn't really compromise the R2RKMF. There are a few branches, but no exploration or stuff like that - gameplay remains straight forward action, with the only caveat that it's too easy.

I saw that same article linked in Kitten's post, but I didn't read it yet - had no idea it was Gaijin involvement, I thought Natsume had done the conversion themselves. It's so expertly handled that it's a surprise they didn't. It just plays unbelievable well.
(...)
Ok, just skimmed through, and it seems there was only one Gaijin involved doing some planning stuff, and the Japanese senseis still did the coding. No reason to worry here!

Maybe my rom hack will also add arrows pointing to the key card you need to get through the stage without detours.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:13 am 


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Marc wrote:
BIL wrote:
kinda Pac-Land. Summon Miclus from his couch in the bowels of hell, he gon eat they face.


OK, looks primitive, but definitely interested now you've mentioned Pac-Land.


Pls take that with a grain of salt :lol: I was gonna come back and say the better comparison would be Wonder Boy... both the simplicity, and the imperative to keep moving (time limit).

The shooting is totally SonSon-esque, though. Straightforward and snappy with dead-on collision. It's a simple game, rather than a primitive one - the tier-switching and shooting are elegantly done.

Incoming bruiser! ARM PHOTON CANNON Image
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While his head's hitting the floor, my head's in the game. Image

A tip - if you find yourself suddenly needing the default weapon while mid-menu, just shoot with the cursor on a blank spot - no need to cycle all the way through the eight slots. You'll grow some flowers out of your head (a harmless razz), and get your shot/club out instantly.

The default shot is a really powerful tool in this game, with the majority of enemy bullets being destructible. Rather than jumping and risking all manner of complication, it's often better to just blast straight through oncoming zako.

Quote:
Nearly done with first loop of Sunset Riders, but god DAMN those two boss brothers - not done them yet without losing a stupid life, or two. I'd be cruising if it wasn't for those two.


Actually playing SR right now, was thinking to post about my current strategy for 'em - works consistently. Start from the left, targeting the "bomb" brother. Both's munitions can be safely jumped through, but the bombs' blast zone is a lot nastier. Molotov bro is more about catching sliding players, but you won't be doing that here. Tap to the right, leading both's attacks, while doing as much damage as you can to the bomber, then rescue the girl, and use the generous i-frame burst to slide back to the left. Repeat.

Bomb bro should die shortly after, especially if you've managed to land some meaty maxed shotgun hits on him (an excellent means of doing rapid damage). The survivor's a lot easier to handle alone, naturally.

In a game full of classic voice samples, I particularly love the first brother's sendoff. "Holeh smokes!" He delivers it so amiably, before flopping dead over the railing. :lol:

Sumez wrote:
BIL wrote:
I remember the open-ended stage design leaving me a bit cold. Blatant R2RKMF favouritism on my part. 3;


The open ended stage design doesn't really compromise the R2RKMF. There are a few branches, but no exploration or stuff like that - gameplay remains straight forward action, with the only caveat that it's too easy.


Oh right, that sounds better.

Quote:
I saw that same article linked in Kitten's post, but I didn't read it yet - had no idea it was Gaijin involvement, I thought Natsume had done the conversion themselves. It's so expertly handled that it's a surprise they didn't. It just plays unbelievable well.
(...)
Ok, just skimmed through, and it seems there was only one Gaijin involved doing some planning stuff, and the Japanese senseis still did the coding. No reason to worry here!


Yeah, had that impression myself - "ideas man" only. It handles exactly as you'd expect a Natsume sidescroller to, that much is unmistakably theirs. :smile:
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:36 am 


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Cheers BiL, it's along the lines of what I'm trying to do, but invariably I panic if a bomb comes too close, jump, grab the chandelier, panic again, then die :D

Oh also of note - Contra and Castlevania Collections both on sale for £3.99 on PSN. Never played the NES games of either series properly, so I bit.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:43 am 


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Another fun one I completed yesterday. In contrast to the other two, this is one of my most recent acquisitions, and I'd never even heard of it until a few years ago.

Image Image

I expected another traditional B platformer, but Monster In My Pocket is kind of unique in its approach to platforming. Going with the theme of the monsters being tiny, everything in the game is consequently huge, Toy Story style. You'll see several wooden steps before realising what you're traversing is a gigantic set of stairs, which is a fun idea. It also means that any platforming in the game involves scrolling across the size of multiple screens, and the bulk of the gameplay really consists more of just walking forwards and punching stuff, like a Splatterhouse-style single plane hack'n'slash brawler.

Your only moves are a forward attack and double jumping, but the game gets a lot of mileage out of that just via variation in the enemy designs.

Again this is a very short, and somewhat easy game, and it could really benefit from having a difficulty setting or a second loop, but I really found it surprisingly enjoyable.

Image

And it simply does not give a fuck about the NES sprite limit. This is single player mode but the game has simultaneous co-op too because why not.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:51 am 


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Man, I'd almost forgotten those old toys got their own game...wonder if it would have been more of a Pokemon style "collect 'em all" sort of venture if it had come out on a later system.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:53 am 


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I have never even heard of the franchise outside of that game. Is there like a huge set of monsters with their own identity similar to pokemon? Because the game only lets you play as a vampire and a frankenstein monster.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:08 am 


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It's been a long time - back in the 90's IIRC - but I recall them being little rubber things that came with a brief description of what they were and where their stories came from. I don't think they had much more "personality" than that, but I do believe they were given a "power level" of one to five or something along those lines...I'd hafta Google 'em for anything beyond that, heh.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:17 am 


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Yeah that definitely sounds like a collect-them-all kind of licensed game. It's kind surprising it wasn't already like that on the NES.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:57 pm 


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Looking forward to your take on Monster Party, Sumez.

Whether you play the reference-jam-packed japanese original, or the unintentionally hilarious WTF edition american localization.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:12 pm 


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That's a hard game to find, probably not gonna be playing it any time soon :\


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:22 pm 


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There's a copy at the game store 2 blocks from here. hehe. I think I'll go grab it and give it a whirl myself

(I'm this close to getting flashcarts for NES, SNES, Genesis and HDD/homebrew for ps2. I think it'll happen this year)
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:25 pm 


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kitten wrote:
BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
why do kitten and I have to be the pubes ;w;


been busy so i log in and search my name in case i need to respond to something, see this, am extremely goddamn confused for a second lmao

edit: my 911th post, because i'm dialing it 0_0;;


I hadn't checked this thread in awhile but LOL, classic BIL.

Sumez wrote:
That's a hard game to find, probably not gonna be playing it any time soon :\


Do you mean the Famicom version? I didn't check on that but the US version is plentiful and cart only is honestly cheap.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:25 pm 


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Steamflogger Boss wrote:
Do you mean the Famicom version? I didn't check on that but the US version is plentiful and cart only is honestly cheap.

The game is a US exclusive, that's why it's hard to find.
There's a Famicom prototype or something, but it wasn't released.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:39 pm 


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Sumez wrote:
Steamflogger Boss wrote:
Do you mean the Famicom version? I didn't check on that but the US version is plentiful and cart only is honestly cheap.

The game is a US exclusive, that's why it's hard to find.
There's a Famicom prototype or something, but it wasn't released.


Well it's like $15-20 as far as I can tell. Of course, shipping to Denmark alone would be more than that I'm guessing.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:43 pm 


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Plus customs. The cheapest one I can find on eBay would cost me $60 which is a bit steep IMO.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:51 pm 


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Marc wrote:
BIL wrote:
kinda Pac-Land. Summon Miclus from his couch in the bowels of hell, he gon eat they face.


OK, looks primitive, but definitely interested now you've mentioned Pac-Land.
Nearly done with first loop of Sunset Riders, but god DAMN those two boss brothers - not done them yet without losing a stupid life, or two. I'd be cruising if it wasn't for those two.

Also, screw Namco for their crappy attitude to comps. I have the Switch one, which of course is missing Pac-land for absolutely no decent reason I can think of.


The last Namco comp with the AC Pac-Land was outsourced to the same developer who did the Taito Memories packs and wasn't up to par with the XBLA ports (and even had the nerve to charge the same price for Ms. Pac-Man DLC as the superior XBLA stand alone version).

Namco does have a switch comp with Pac-Land, but it's the inferior NES port. I had no problem with the controls of that version where the buttons are left and right and up is jump. I also heard they can be changed with a button combo on controller two (didn't test to see if it works in the compilation). Definitely don't recommend the comp for that version, though. It's cut down compared to the AC and has very simplistic graphics that don't do the AC version justice.

I actually found the Lynx port of Pac-Land pretty impressive. Keeps the nice cartoony graphics of the AC version and even has the parallax scrolling intact.

At least the Switch comp had Spatterhouse, Tank Force, and Rolling Thunder 2 in it.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:34 am 


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Marc wrote:
Cheers BiL, it's along the lines of what I'm trying to do, but invariably I panic if a bomb comes too close, jump, grab the chandelier, panic again, then die :D


Ah yes, that annoying thing. The trick (as elsewhere) is to always hit [down+jump] to drop; diagonals will cause you to vault up, which is iframed, but easily punished on landing. If I have a panic moment, I prefer to slide right and grab the girl - not ideal, but if you haul ass back to the left, you can deal brutal damage to the bomber.

I wonder if maybe going after the Molotov bro is more intuitive... since he's directly above the hostage, and you can chip at him from the left, before grabbing the girl and cashing in on iframes. It's not like either is very dangerous alone. Hmm.

EDIT: just gave it a go - blind run, no savestates (missing life = died at Hawkeye Image). I think this might be simpler. Note my botched pointblank, don't waste your i-frames! Might've taken him out without needing to go upstairs, if I'd nailed him with the full spread.

EDIT2: oh lmao. You can't hit them with the full spread while on the ground (he said, returning to his PS4 to take out the remaining bro). I wonder if it makes sense to hold off until you're in the air, or if it can't be helped. NDB either way really.

EDIT3: Loop 2 attempt (started from Loop 2, Stage 1), goes straight for the i-frame pointblank, then aggressively hogs the right corner. It's possible to bypass the barricades by attacking from atop the chandelier, but time spent getting up there seems to neutralise any gain. Pretty happy with this approach for now. :smile:

Quote:
Oh also of note - Contra and Castlevania Collections both on sale for £3.99 on PSN. Never played the NES games of either series properly, so I bit.


NES/FC Contra is one of the genre's great classics, interested to hear what you think! As a fan of both the FC and AC Contras, Sunset Riders' great triumph is unifying the former's perfect controls with the latter's pace and intensity.

I was interested to see Sunset lets you fire straight down while on a high ledge - and also fire diagonally, once you do. Haven't seen that in a sidescrolling run/gun, before - most Contra/Slug-types require you to jump, then shoot downward, or switch to alt.fire (like Contra III and Hard Corps' "locked" modes).

Sunset's specific [down] input also preserves the diagonals, for run/gunning and sliding while on ledges. They put a lot of thought into this, wouldn't surprise me if the team featured AC/FC Contra personnel. The downshot is handy in a couple spots, like Chief Wigwam's stage, specifically the ascent after the second barricade. OFC, you can't stay in one spot for long.

Incidentally, slasher/gunner hybrid Saigo no Nindou lets you fire straight down while on tree branches, for ninja-styled garottings with the Kusarigama... also, plunge the katana through floorboards to nail Molemen. There's one where you really don't want to get too comfortable.
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Last edited by BIL on Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:18 am 


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Got another one bagged. Or rather, two stinkers and a hit.

I decided to follow up Power Blade with the sequel... Captain Saver, because PB1 didn't exist in Japan. There's no mistaking it's a genuine sequel though. It's the same character from the westernized power blazer, your attack is the same, and the powerups are exactly the same.

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Lots of interesting additions, though. Most importantly going through the stages feels a lot "heavier" this time around, which was something I missed in the first game which just has you flying through willynilly and without worries. It feels more like playing something akin to Kage or Ninja Gaiden 3.
Instead of an OP power armor that doesn't go away until you've taken three hits, you now unlock different suits by fighting optional fights with a robot dragon on each stage. This actually feels like it would have been a much better usage of PB1's open ended stage design, but rather the door is just easily visible on your path through a completely linear stage. Usage of the suits is limited by an energy meter, so the game makes you think about when and where you want to use them, which is nice. Each suit gives you useful skills like wall climbing, swimming or even a jetpack.

Unfortunately the stage design is just really bad. Or rather, it fluctuates between being nice and serviceable, and areas where you are constantly forced to stop up and wait, or sit through loooong slow autoscrollers. Lots of things will insta-kill you, and often it's not really obvious when or why. I hope you enjoyed that one short section where you have to wait for crushers to retract in PB1, because that's half the game in this one. It's just exhausting to play, and it's really too bad, because the game's high points are still quite good!

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Pictured above: Agent nova's favourite pastime is sitting around waiting on a huge fan so he can time his jump right when it starts, only to get caught in the air currents having to wait for them to let him back down. Oh, and don't touch the fans of a stationary fan - it goes without saying it'll kill you instantly.



Next one was Frankenstein: The Monster Returns.
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I don't know what I was expecting from this one. It's supposedly a Tose game, but it plays more like stereotypical American kusoge. And I'm guessing it will not shy from pissing off anyone who's a fan of the source material. It starts out putting a TM after Frankenstein on the title screen (I could have sworn the name is public domain), but I don't know which Frankenstein this is. Not only is Frankenstein (of course) the name of the monster, he is also evil incarnate, interested in nothing aside form destroying villages, kidnapping maidens, and sending crazy monsters after our hero. Awesome! :D

The game feels like the typical AVGN NES experience that so many people have come to associate with the platform, complete with endless "what were they thinking?" moments.
Enemies coming at you constantly from both sides, with no real thought about how you're supposed to combat them. Your attack has a very short and very specific hitbox that's nearly impossible to aim and requires perfect timing to connect. Compare Monster in My Pocket where anything standing in front of your character would get obliterated. Every encounter with an enemy involves crossing fingers and hope you get your hit in first, and several bosses are safer to just play as a DPS race.
I think it wants to be Splatterhouse, but ends up being a cross between Sword Master and Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde.

Yet, there's something weirdly alluring about this game. I made it a couple of stages in, and it does get more manageable already on the second stage when you're given a sword to fight with. It has so much stuff going on constantly that I'm kind of intrigued to see what happens next. But make no mistake, this is a bad game.

EDIT: Lol nevermind, looks like AVGN actually already did this game. I'm not surprised.


Last edited by Sumez on Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:23 am 


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And now here's the reason I even brought up those two other games.
Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu is one of those games that are just immediately awesome when you sit down playing it, and everything that annoyed me about those previous two games was completely inversed in this one.

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I think it's no surprise that it's a good game - I've seen it recommended enough. But it also looks like one of those late-era NES games that really feel like they wanted to have been on the SNES, and kind of play awkwardly due to poorly implemented momentum, too large sprites, and bad collision detection.

NONE OF THAT HERE THOUGH! This game is tight as fuck. It's the unholy spawn of the original Wonderboy mating with Ninja Gaiden.
It's packed with melee combat, but it's also very inherently a platformer, and there's a fantastic sense of flow to the level design that matches the controls. I almost wish for a strong time limit on every stage, because the game feels like it wants you to be constantly moving forward at all times. Every enemy and every platform, moving or not, is spaced out perfectly for maintaining a constant fluid motion, and it feels great. Even the occasional autoscroller is so brisk you'll have absolutely no time to catch your breath, putting Power Blade 2 to shame immediately.

I guess in trying to adhere somewhat to the kung fu theme, your attacks (most prominently the jumping kick) have a very specific hitbox that needs to be aimed well. It's easy to miss, but (unlike in Frankenstein) you'll never feel that doing so is anyone's fault but your own. The game is short but full of fun setpieces, and maintains a reasonable difficulty that'll keep you on your toes but not challenge anyone more than you'll probably complete your first playthrough within an hour or so. Once again I'd like to try a hypothetical harder difficulty setting, but I won't be judging the game until I've tried going for a one life clear, which the game is definitely designed around - giving you a "game over" message for losing a single life.

I really want to try the (somewhat more expensive) PC Engine game - but I hear it's not as good? It really looks like just another game based on the same basic engine, so I'm curious to know more.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:42 am 


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Bangin' out the quality posts Image I loved what I played of FC Jackie Chan, the combination of big sprites and super-tight handling reminded me of Natsume's Mitsume ga Tooru.

Always been lukewarm on Saver, passed on a nice copy once and never really regretted it. Generally speaking, that Rockman-esque compartmentalised stage design doesn't work well for me. I prefer roving contiguous courses ala the Natsume Power Trio. Werewolf's a victim of my irrational No-NES collector syndrome, but remains mildly alluring for the same reason.

Aha, spotted at least two Contra alums in Sunset's staff roll! AC Super Contra director Hideyuki Tsujimoto, and my beloved Hidenori Maezawa on sound direction. Those booming FC Contra/Salamander shot+explosion SFX that slice straight through the mix, those are all his.

I'm happy at least one AC Contra dev got to make an all guns blazing R2RKMF without their flawed controls! Image Image Image

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No aim lag here pardner, these boys is stackin' varmints like a T-800 in the County Jail Image Image

Spoiler: show
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Dat dere Rocket Knight/Vampire Killer sprite mirror FX Image

Hmm, JP Loop 2 doesn't seem very different so far. Pretty sure stages 1-3 are identical. Stage 2 is still a bit sleepy for my liking, right down to its lone sniper, mostly redeemed by the shaweet BGM and classy vista. Bosses feel a bit more aggressive though. I think they and their zako fire more frequently, and Greedwell seems to have more of them (they do still stop appearing, though). Dark Horse's zako are deadly if not wiped out pronto.

Bit annoyed that there's still bonus stages, though I did get my first PERFECT. Shouldn't count, as I used autofire, but my dpad is thrice back from the dead, so meh.

Not letting my guard down just yet! I remember third_strike noting after his 2-ALL nomiss that Wampum is deadly in the loop.

EDIT: Yep, mo knives, fan spread's bigger. If your principles are sound, you can very likely no-miss him blind, but it's tightened up a lot. And holy fuck, Loop Richard Rose is gonna take some figuring out. Overall pretty happy with the loop, it doesn't tighten up stage 2 as much as I'd like, and large swathes of stage are more or less unchanged... but st2 was hardly an issue anyway, and those stages are damn fine to start with. Can always mess with the game's eight difficulty DIPs if need be.

Delighted to see the Hi Score (aka ANTI-FALSIFICARE) mode lets you choose between JP (2 Loop) and NA (endless)! <3 Hamster.

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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 Jun 26, 2020 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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