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 Post subject: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:12 am 


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PS4/Switch/Steam releases have been out for a couple of days I believe — just received the Mega Drive ROM file myself. Anyone given it a go yet?
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:25 am 


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Ok — Having played for just a few minutes, I'm gonna do this GamePro style:

GRAPHICS - 5.0
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Beautiful. Henk Neiborg's work here is superlative and the animation detail is great. Feels like the classic Euro games of the 90s with an extra layer of smoothness. The boss creatures and environments are wonderful (so far) too. I'm going to go play Lionheart again just to look at more of his work; he's always been a genius with color and detail but the animation on display here is a step up from his 16-bit stuff. Catherine Menabde's cutscene graphics are very cool too and add a lot of spice and production quality to the intrastitials.

SOUND - 5.0
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Superlative. This is probably the best overall sound package on any Mega Drive game ever released. Savaged Regime's soundtrack is brilliant and of wonderful quality, but what I wasn't prepared for was the overall cohesiveness of the sound and how fucking good the sound effects are. It's no stretch to call the overall sound presentation arcade quality, and it really just makes you feel awesome while playing.

CONTROL - 3.5
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This is where I have to be mildly critical—the game clearly wants to be played as a twin-stick style shooter and the Mega Drive's pad just isn't designed for these sorts of games; actual twinsticks or SNES-style pads are always preferable for these types of experiences, and I just can't get used to using the A,B,X,and Y buttons of a 6-button pad for Robotron style control, not to mention that doing so makes the roll and grenade buttons (both essential) harder to reach. The 3-button control style fares a bit better but doesn't work quite as well as something like Shock Troopers, which pulls off non-twinstick multidirectional shooting and rolling better. I would have also preferred for the melee to be activated by pressing attack close to an enemy as in Shock Troopers, vs Xeno Crisis's 'no input for melee' style which feels rather passive by comparison. These beefs are relatively minor but probably mean that most 'serious' play will happen on the newer platforms, which is a bit of a shame. If you have an SNES style input option for your MD it's probably less of an issue but I don't and I'm not really aware of any.

FUNFACTOR - 4.5
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Said control beefs aside, my only other (really minor) quibble with the game in my super brief experience with it thus far is the popup/iframe window on some of the projectile based enemies that appear out of the ground is super short and sometimes leaves you feeling like you had no opportunity for evasion. That's probably just me sucking at the dodge mechanic without having learned the game yet, though.

That aside, Xeno Crisis is a blast to play. The visceral experience punches you in the gut from the word go, the shooting is tight and crisp, and the ammo and dogtag mechanics are great. Each room is pretty brief (at least in the initial levels), which keeps the pace brisk. You don't feel like you're up against endless Smash TV-style waves. You have a split second to plan out each room before the waves pour in, which gives you a brief amount of time to plan out your strategy with regards to environmental hazards, destructables, and barriers. Finally, the procedural layouts are a godsend and seem to stand a good chance of keeping the game interesting for quite a while.

CHALLENGE - ADVANCED
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I've only played the default HARD difficulty so far, but this game is not messing around. You will lose very, very quickly if you're not paying attention, at least in the single player mode. The difficulty feels mostly fair other than that points mentioned above. I would personally like a slightly longer iframe window on hit to give the player a chance to regain their bearings and position (and maybe snag some ammo), but what's here works well enough.
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:54 am 


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Do you have an 8bitdo M30 or that SNES styled Ascii Pad? They have Z and C placed like L and R buttons and it works great for this game. 8bitdo has the best of both worlds by having 6 face buttons, as well as Z and C mapped to the L and R buttons. I'm used to using ABXY from playing Robotron on the Genesis in that Williams collection, though. I'm liking the game quite a bit so far (I also bought the rom) and I'm loving the attention to detail in the graphics and cutscenes.

I also tried Flink on the Mega SG and was amazed by the graphics in that game.


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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:10 am 


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I'm playing on an M30. Didn't realize that L/R worked for Z/C but that will definitely help if I switch to the 6-button scheme. Mainly though I've just never been able to wrap my brain around having ABXY as directional buttons due to the placement. ABCY (left/down/right/up) might work better for me, but it makes the diagonals challenging and this game can't be configured that way anyway. I'll have a go with ABXY and L/R while holding the pad at a slight angle and see if that helps.
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:25 am 


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Ok, yeah, L/R helps a lot. Still a bit challenging from an ergonomic perspective but way more doable. Almost makes me want to get that Ascii Pad now.

edit - final update for the moment. After playing several more rounds I probably would boost the gameplay score up a bit. The way this game hands out extends is almost miraculous, it tosses them out like candy but you have to be super diligent to get them and keep them. I feel like the core loop in this game is refined in a way that I haven't really seen before and that adds a really innovative twist to the classic arena shooter that could be transcribed to a number of genres. The Bitmap Brothers style shop feature is also pretty cool and makes a lot more sense here vs. something like Chaos Engine.
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:42 am 



Joined: 05 May 2014
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I'm already having a tough time with the game myself. You're not wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:26 am 


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Did a couple of rounds in easy mode last night, and am switching back to Hard for tonight's session. The game feels a lot more manageable now after playing for bit, and although a 1cc will certainly be a long way off, so far I'm halfway through level 6 (hard) using the continue system. Playing the game on a small CRT definitely helps as keeping everything in your FOV for this game is essential for picking up items as soon as they drop and reacting to spawns on all sides of the screen.

I also really recommend picking the female marine as mobility is paramount in this game. I'm not sure if her hitbox is actually smaller, but it definitely feels like it with the smaller sprite, and the ammo capacity advantage of the male marine isn't really worth it (not sure if these differences are completely ironed out when each character is fully leveled up or if some differences remain at max power).
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:51 am 



Joined: 05 May 2014
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I only made it up to Stage 4 on Easy Mode. When I was about to lose I gave up.


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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:05 pm 


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After hearing everyone's thoughts this is definitely on my to buy list now.
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 2:42 pm 


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it290 wrote:
... (not sure if these differences are completely ironed out when each character is fully leveled up or if some differences remain at max power).


So how the powering up system works ? Do your upgrades reset with every new run ?
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:34 pm 


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guigui wrote:
So how the powering up system works ? Do your upgrades reset with every new run ?


Yes. It's like Chaos Engine—you collect dogtags that are dropped by enemies during the stage, and after the level you can spend them as currency to purchase upgrades improving max health, ammo capacity, shot power, speed, grenade capacity, grenade power, extra continues, and one item that I think protects you from poison gas clouds, not sure if it's persistent, limited to one stage, or one use as I haven't purchased that last one yet.

These upgrades are preserved if you continue—the continues basically leave you exactly where you left off. If you whittle away half of a boss's health and then continue, you'll start again and the boss will have half health (this in spite of a game over screen; the game state doesn't just pick up exactly where it was like in Final Fight or something). You start every new run from scratch, though (and the levels and enemy spawns will be slightly different each time due to the procedural generation system).
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:48 pm 


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I also purchased the Switch version. That version has a few extra voices, enemy point values when they are killed, a dedicated punch button, and a flamethrower weapon that I don't recall seeing on the Genesis version.


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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:45 am 


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BrianC wrote:
I also purchased the Switch version. That version has a few extra voices, enemy point values when they are killed, a dedicated punch button, and a flamethrower weapon that I don't recall seeing on the Genesis version.


Dedicated punch button sounds cool. The flamethrower is in the Gen/MD game though.

edit—I had to double dip too. The Switch version (and I assume all the current gen versions) also changes up the enemy patterns a fair bit; they seem a bit more gratuitous in number in general (tho I think behavior may have been tweaked also), probably due to sprite limits. This is immediately noticeable on the Stage 1 boss — instead of spawning two green Arkanids that are bullet sponges, he spawns a bunch of regular ones that die quickly.. it seems they also stop spawning eventually which I don't think happens on the MD version. This has the effect of making the boss significantly easier. Will be interesting to discover what other tweaks exist between the versions.

It also looks like the Switch has an infinite mode, which is a cool feature that I wish the MD version had. Would be great to play this as a Robotron-style score game. (... actually I think the MD _does_ have this, just is unlocked via code)
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:21 am 


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Some codes for those interested:

* Highlight options, hold LEFT + B + C + START: cheat menu
* Highlight options, hold RIGHT + B + C + START: backer menu (lets you pick a backer and have them guaranteed to show up as a hostage in a given area)

Haven't unlocked the infinite/boss rush codes yet but I'm fairly confident they're both in there.

Speaking of backers, lookah here! Who dat?

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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:14 am 



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Nice. :)

It seems that the current-gen versions are using the same soundtrack, but sound just a bit cleaner without the limitations of the MD's setup? Am I right on this? Not 100% sure just from switching YouTube videos around..


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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:35 pm 


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I was considering the DC version, but figured for the same price I can pick it up for PS 4 and Steam.

Does anyone know if there is a scan line option?
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:31 pm 


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bigbadboaz wrote:
It seems that the current-gen versions are using the same soundtrack, but sound just a bit cleaner without the limitations of the MD's setup? Am I right on this? Not 100% sure just from switching YouTube videos around..


Yep, it's the same soundtrack. There are more and cleaner samples on the modern platforms (and a few incidental extra sprite effects like ejected bullet casings), but the soundtrack sounds quite similar across all platforms and the MD sound is astonishingly clean. So far my favorite version of the music has been on the Mega SG thru headphones, but MD1/2 sound great too as long as you have one of the good revisions.

Stevens wrote:
Does anyone know if there is a scan line option?


Not on the Switch version at least, but honestly you don't really need it, game looks great with or without scanlines.
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:33 pm 



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it290 wrote:
Some codes for those interested:

* Highlight options, hold LEFT + B + C + START: cheat menu
* Highlight options, hold RIGHT + B + C + START: backer menu (lets you pick a backer and have them guaranteed to show up as a hostage in a given area)

Haven't unlocked the infinite/boss rush codes yet but I'm fairly confident they're both in there.

Speaking of backers, lookah here! Who dat?

Image

Do those cheat codes apply to the other versions as well?


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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:37 pm 


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Yes. On the Switch, use the input LEFT (or RIGHT) + X + ZL + ZR + Start.
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:59 pm 



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How about on the PC?


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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:09 am 


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No idea man. 2 platforms is enough for me w/this game. I imagine something similar exists there, use your imagination...
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:23 am 


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europeans couldn't make a good mega drive game in the 90's and i refuse to believe they could now :<
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:37 am 


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^ Sub-Terrania is good! 3;<
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:40 am 


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Not to mention Micro Machines TT 96 and Mega Turrican.


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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:12 am 



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They were looking into a “retro-filter” or scanline option for a future update. Can’t say i personally miss it but i guess some people do :)


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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:48 am 


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kitten wrote:
europeans couldn't make a good mega drive game in the 90's and i refuse to believe they could now :<


Red Zone. Puggsy. Soul Star. (That's Sega CD, but you still need a Genny/MD to play it)
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:01 pm 


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Specineff wrote:
kitten wrote:
europeans couldn't make a good mega drive game in the 90's and i refuse to believe they could now :<


Red Zone. Puggsy. Soul Star. (That's Sega CD, but you still need a Genny/MD to play it)


...Mega Turrican (Germans), Ecco (Hungarians), Speedball 2 (Brits) :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:21 pm 


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Necronom wrote:
Specineff wrote:
kitten wrote:
europeans couldn't make a good mega drive game in the 90's and i refuse to believe they could now :<


Red Zone. Puggsy. Soul Star. (That's Sega CD, but you still need a Genny/MD to play it)


...Mega Turrican (Germans), Ecco (Hungarians), Speedball 2 (Brits) :lol:

Chaos Engine.
Batman & Robin.
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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:32 pm 



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There just has to be one for the PC...


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 Post subject: Re: Xeno Crisis [MD/NG/PS4/Switch/PC]
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:04 pm 


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Congrats Bitmap Bureau. You have succeeded in making one of the best Aliens games of all time.

The graphics are beautiful. Top notch sprite work in game and the intro/cut scenes pop with colour and personality.

The music makes me glad I have ears and helps elevate an already great experience.

The gameplay is tight, responsive, and oh so edge of your seat. I love how the ammo system has been implemented. It's gratifying to run dry, dodge a bunch of attacks, and then dive through a pack of baddies, reload, and shoot them in the face. It feels as frantic as 2084 and I don't say that lightly. That is arguably the greatest twin stick ever.

I normally loathe upgrade systems, but here it works well. It's simple and you can build your character lots of different ways. I'm sure some builds are better than others, but so far nothing feels useless.

The only thing seemingly missing is Hudson yelling "They're coming out of the God damn walls!".

Seriously this one is (as I think Bil says) all killer no filler.
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