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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:53 pm 


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SGnG on the GBA isn't too bad either. Granted, the difficulty level was up there enough that I didn't get all the way through, but it handles well and promised some interesting remix stages for extra replayability. The stages are short enough to make sense for portable gaming, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:39 am 


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Mortificator wrote:
Masterpiece. Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness were solidly the pinnacle of castle design, so it's sheer joy to play the 2D equivalent.


To be fair, every Igavania was like that. But the DS trilogy at least made things (more) challenging, and generally refined many issues with AOS and HOD. AOS might be a step above HOD but I don't think a single room or boss is even remotely challenging or fun to fight until you hit Balore. Hell, the bosses in the first half of AOS (giant skeleton, Manticore, Giant Armor, Golem) are recycled enemies that appear later, and it shows.

Peeps who want to see what an Igavania would be like with more punishing platforming and intricate stage/room designs should totally play Rogue Legacy though. Completely different game in terms of high concept, but its hard not to feel that a deliberate design goal in the game was to take sotn controls, let you attack and walk/run at the same time, and give it actual platforming instead of rooms with enemies.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:16 am 


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BIL wrote:
Nah. It handles much, much too sharply for this charge to stick. Someone on the dev team (executive producer my beloved Umechan, maybe?) wanted to make a solid action game, not merely cling to SOTN's coat-tails.

I do not agree with this in regards to CotM, because there is not even a single utility for the shoulder tackle or Famicom Batman-esque wall jump outside of their purpose as seldom used "keys" to reach once-inaccessible areas. If KCEK was truly committed to making a "solid action game," would they not fully integrate them into the meat of the stage design? The DSS system also shows a significant amount of superficial bloat, and to make matters worse, it's so beholden to the item drop RNG that it's entirely possible you'll complete the game having found only three or four cards.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:09 pm 


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Pretas wrote:
I do not agree with this in regards to CotM, because there is not even a single utility for the shoulder tackle or Famicom Batman-esque wall jump outside of their purpose as seldom used "keys" to reach once-inaccessible areas. If KCEK was truly committed to making a "solid action game," would they not fully integrate them into the meat of the stage design?


You're talking about map design and game progression, which as noted are indeed pedestrian. I'd never call COTM better than passable in these regards, it's very boring compared to something like Super Metroid (SOTN doesn't fare all that much better against such real excellence). If anything can be said in its favour, it keeps monsters prominent while avoiding the tedious, map-inflating hallways and shafts of HOD.

Regarding action, the efficient fighting and killing of enemies, the moves you mention do actually have purpose. The shoulder tackle is effectively a longer-ranged, slower-recovering slide (ie: counts as a full weapon hit, but will sustain contact damage if target isn't killed*). Ideal if you want to blow away an obstructing enemy/projectile while evading something simultaneously. I use the walljump all the time with pesky flying/hovering enemies who'll sometimes loiter at the top of the screen, a good compromise between doublejumping and the extreme super jump. They're peripheral moves for sure, but with such accurate controls and tight collision it's easy, useful and fun to pull them out when needed. Tackle actually saved my ass in the Battle Arena when I needed to plow through an Evil Pillar before the Devil Armour on my six could shoot me in the back.

Regularly skirting death with absolute precision like this is what forms my opinion of COTM as an action game. As far as the holy 2D trinity of collision detection, control response and general handling goes it's near-flawless, and it has lots of dangerous enemies to put its excellence to use (like the Witch and its awesome, macrododge-encouraging sweep pattern!). IDGAF if anyone disagrees, they're objectively disproven when I'm skillfully dodging lethal attacks by the tightest of margins and dropping baddies with dead-on accuracy, while occasionally slipping up and getting blasted into a bloody mess Image

I could've certainly gone for more actual platforming and stage hazards, as the Machine Tower gives a glimpse of. As flat and unremarkable as it generally is though, at least the stage design doesn't distract from combat.

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The DSS system also shows a significant amount of superficial bloat, and to make matters worse, it's so beholden to the item drop RNG that it's entirely possible you'll complete the game having found only three or four cards.


DSS is fluff, but ignoring Magician and Fighter for obvious reasons, all classes are virtually guaranteed to get Mars (weapon changer) plus Salamander and Mandragora. Bigass swords are fun and distinct from the whip, I can leave it at that with anything else a bonus. Even Fighter mode with its total lack of anything but the base whip and subweapons manages to be fairly interesting, though in this sort of longer action game I prefer a bit of fluff to nothing at all. Haven't unlocked Thief yet but I imagine drop rate isn't a problem there with its astronomical LCK.

Ecclesia is the only one of the four games (haven't tried DOS/POR) where I found the equipment selection satisfying, being a relatively small and diverse set of weapons/shields/enhancers.

*unless you master spacing and tap the enemy with Nathan's foot. XTREEM pixel-accurate shin-shattering action.

EDIT

Mission all over! LOL Thief mode. A quick rundown in unlock order:

Magician: Glass cannon. Probably the most entertaining, having the entire DSS toolset and virtually infinite MP with lots of badass and/or retarded stuff to explore. Mars+Unicorn sword rocks fucking hard, hard enough to deserve its own game. Don't be a pecky pussy, gore enemies to the hilt for mucho damage boost. Too easy to abuse summons provided you're not hopeless at command motions, though you can easily get dumped into a slide whistle-worthy demise if the animation concludes at a bad time. SUPER 1337 FRAME PERFECT input to repeat summon and dodge incoming death can wrap the abuse from cheesy right around to smoove!

Fighter: Easiest class by a million miles. No DSS whatsoever but STR and DEF quickly become overwhelming with even the deadliest boss attacks struggling to make a dent. Still pretty fun learning to work around the base whip's long but narrow range and heavy startup/shutdown delay, especially as it actually does significant damage in this class. Ironically this plays more like traditional Dracula than the Vampire Killer class.

Shooter: Enjoyed clearing this one the most - seemed the hardest and most unique. Mediocre to weak stats but subweapons get a huge damage boost and cost half ammo, plus there's a unique bonus weapon. Early on the non-Cross subweapons get some screen time, though around midway with a decent ammo reserve it's back to business as usual. Well-placed Shooter Crosses can obliterate any larger, slower-moving bosses like Camilla and Dracula's first monster form. I literally destroyed them in seconds on my first attempts.

Thief: Glass magpie. Pitiful STR/DEF/INT. Obscenely high LCK. The game will cum items relentlessly. :shock: Lots of fun farming up towering heaps of health/mp/ammo restores undreamed of by the other classes, and rare equipment + DSS cards roll in with regularity. Easiest next to Fighter. You can't afford to get hit regularly but you'll have plenty of items to fall back on.

These so should've been four distinct characters selectable from the outset, or at most, unlockable after the VK clear. >_< Oh well, spilled milk etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:06 pm 


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Admittedly I will love any wall jump purely on the basis of it being a wall jump, but I got plenty of mileage out of the one in COTM. It doesn't have Batman's precision aiming, but COTM is a lot larger and more open than Batman, so there's room for it to facilitate a lot of different approaches to situations. Like I said earlier, it made the game for me.

Popped in Actraiser again, for the first time since probably the turn of the century, and it did an admirable job of restoring the respect for it that I lost upon discovering Actraiser 2. Now that I'm a hardcore professional expert I played Expert mode. Previously popcorn enemies having increased health gives it a bit of that Actraiser 2 flavor of trying to chain together lots of hits. The giant tree stage is absolutely brutal compared to my memory of it. I have trouble with those Axe-Armor-on-steroids dudes even alone, but apparently I'm supposed to dance in between those axes while getting bombarded with eyeballs and crap.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:09 am 


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It's interesting to read such varying opinions about the GBA and DS Castlevania titles. I'll go ahead and throw out my two-cents as well.

Circle of the Moon: A bit rudimentary in design compared to SOTN, it is pretty ugly if you are playing on the Wii U VC or the GC GBA player, and the controls and animation are quite stiff. It's still a really solid game when you adapt to how the game operates though. Lots of hidden rooms, bosses require actual skill to defeat, the soundtrack is solid, and similar to what BIL said, you pretty much feel like a bad-ass when you are blazing through the game utilizing the run and double jump functions to full use. The class modes were a good way to add replay value as well and they considerably change how you deal with situations throughout the adventure. I think the DSS system is fine but in regular playthroughs I manage to get very few of the cards. If you can get the good ones though they are very worthwhile.

Harmony of Dissonance: Looked great for the time, nowadays it looks like a mess. The book/tome concept was alright but the rest of the game was poorly designed. The castle layout was confusing, the flow of the average room or hallway was absurdly repetitive and about on par with Curse of Darkness (possibly worse), the music had little to no feeling (odd for a Castlevania game), your character movement was extremely floaty and didn't offer the same kind of fast precision-movement and jumping like in CotM, and the game had some of the worst, most cryptic design choices featured in the series since Simon's Quest (for instance, requiring the player to walk through a wall, or use the upward dash function in a save room, with no hints advising you to do so). This is by far my least favorite of the GBA and DS releases and it's one of my least favorite games in the Castlevania series as a whole.

Aria of Sorrow: A genuinely good game, in my opinion. Good visuals with lots of variety, a solid soundtrack, the smoothest feel and controls of the three GBA games, lots of different abilities to choose from based on your play style, and it's just fun to play. I found the castle flow to be nearly flawless as well and I rarely found myself stuck and I made progress relatively quickly, which is a direct contrast to HoD's confusing and repetitive design. There were a few parts where I decided to consult a guide, but I don't know if those parts were even required to complete the game. To me this is the best of the three and is the most well thought out and polished game of the GBA trilogy.

Dawn of Sorrow: A good first entry in the DS line of games. Great visuals for the time and they still hold up very well today, it really does look a lot like Symphony and you can't ask for much more than that. The castle layout was slightly confusing on my first playthrough but nowhere near as bad as HoD. Now that I've played it a lot I don't have any issues progressing. From a weapon and ability perspective the game nailed it, there's just so much to do and experiment with here. The replay factor is through the roof thanks to being able to upgrade more than you could in prior games. Then there's the optional Julius mode where you can eventually play as Alucard (who can ironically aim down-forward whereas Soma cannot--one of my minor gripes with this game). The downsides to the game for me were the touch screen interaction and the anime portrait art direction. The touch screen aspects I got used to, and the art style I can deal with because in-game the story still gets pretty dark and the bosses look great. I'll admit that it's a little jarring when you see blood fly out from a boss, but then a clean, cartoon-ish character portrait pops up on the screen immediately afterward.

Portrait of Ruin: The weakest of the DS games for me. It has an interesting premise, essentially other castles/worlds within the main castle, but I found most of these areas you can explore to be relatively bland in nature and in level design. Then, at the last quarter of the game, you have to retread basically the same environments all over again with minor design changes, a pretty lazy way to wrap up this package. The combat feels solid but that's only when you intentionally utilize both characters at once. If you are playing solo, you are severely under powered. Part of this is due to the slowness of the weaponry used with Jonathan (you're stuck with whips or big-ass swords that take too long to come out). The game really requires the player to fully utilize the dual character system and if you don't play around that the game just isn't that much fun. Visually it looks great and the soundtrack is excellent at points (but I will admit, insanely bland at other points). The anime art direction is still here but I find the detail/art style worse than in Dawn of Sorrow (just look at Vincent!), and the overly childish protagonists does not help it one bit. I do like the idea of quests that the game offers up, but I feel they were less repetitive and better implemented in Order of Ecclesia. Portrait is probably worth playing through once or twice just to experience the visuals and some of the music, but overall I found it to be a pretty forgettable game. Hardly the worst of the CV series, but it's far from the top of the MetroidVania titles for me.

Order of Ecclesia: This is the most unique of the GBA and DS releases thanks to its different attacking system as well as the hub system. I found it to be refreshing overall and the return to more gothic looking character portrait designs was welcome. I appreciate that the bosses are tough (back to Circle of the Moon levels, maybe tougher in some cases) and I generally had to be on my "A" game when I went into them regardless of how much I leveled up. The soundtrack was very appealing to me, as was the visual style (although admittedly it didn't really do much there that hadn't been done before, and in some cases it wasn't done as well here). The level design in some cases wasn't super unique either, but thanks to the hub focus you're not stuck in any one repetitive design for too long so you don't really notice the shortcomings, you're just focusing on killing enemies, building your character, getting to a tough boss and progressing the story. Shanoa's arsenal is a really cool one and offers a lot of flexibility in how one plays through a game, and I appreciate that some of her main weapons are throwbacks to classic Castlevania items (like the throwing axe). I like how hearts are there to use mega-powered versions of whichever weapon is equipped, and I like that absorbing glyphs you already have adds hearts back to your count which allows you to get a little reckless with these really powerful special attacks. Overall it's my favorite of the three DS games, but I will admit to playing Dawn of Sorrow more simply because there is more to do in terms of grinding away, leveling up abilities and so forth. I think Ecclesia is the most balanced, well thought out package of the bunch though.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:23 pm 


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I agree with all your other criticisms of HoD despite my own affection for the game, but "the music had little to no feeling?" Were you even playing with the sound on? Soshiro Hokkai's OST has by far the finest and most complex compositions the handheld Draculas have to offer, even if you dislike the rough, lo-fi soundfont. It's also no mistake that the handful of tracks he did for Aria were that game's best.

Also, there was an obvious clue to the false wall, and it was easy to spot anyway if you have any experience with these kinds of platform action games. It's not even a remotely cryptic game compared to Simon's Quest.

I also agree that Portrait has few redeeming values outside of the Yuzo OST (though it's not up to his usual standards) and a few really killer boss fights, especially Brauner and the Dracula + Death tag team. Portrait was also the first IGAvania to outright swipe backgrounds from previous games, and all of the new 3D BGs are miserable. I ended up using Charlotte 80% of the time because of her powerful and easily spammed magic; her later melee books are no slouch either. I only switched to Jonathan for the few enemy types that needed it, for "puzzles" or during the boss that charms your partner.

BTW, Nobuya Nakazato of Contra fame had a hand in Ecclesia, which probably goes towards explaining why it has the most well-crafted and challenging action of all the IGAvanias.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:41 pm 


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Volteccer_Jack wrote:
Popped in Actraiser again, for the first time since probably the turn of the century, and it did an admirable job of restoring the respect for it that I lost upon discovering Actraiser 2. Now that I'm a hardcore professional expert I played Expert mode. Previously popcorn enemies having increased health gives it a bit of that Actraiser 2 flavor of trying to chain together lots of hits. The giant tree stage is absolutely brutal compared to my memory of it. I have trouble with those Axe-Armor-on-steroids dudes even alone, but apparently I'm supposed to dance in between those axes while getting bombarded with eyeballs and crap.


I initially thought I could never get into AR1, having gotten hooked on 2 and its revelatory i-frames first. Did eventually pick it up though. My soft spot for early SFC highlights and the wonderful premise/style definitely helped, but there's that certain spartan appeal in the punishingly strict action. Every clean kill and successful dodge feels hard-earned.

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If it's any help for those wanting to try out COTM's bonus classes, here's my vba-rerecording battery file with all classes unlocked. ROM used is same as the archive filename.

Mediafire link

It's the JP version cos that's what I was road testing, so uh, probably not ideal for newcomers. >_> Unless you can read Japanese ofc! Thought I'd put it up anyway since unlocking takes a while. Magician is loads of fun, I recommend it. Pluto/Griffon to speed through horrible opening crawl to the shoes! Might see about doing a hand-to-hand only Mars/Thunderbird run. A Mars/Black Dog handgun-only run could be a laugh too, and by "laugh" I of course mean suicide-inducing. Image Would certainly push slide technique.

Thief mode's rather long Dracula final form battle got me thinking about the game's shot patterns. Dracula final is a pretty tedious boss to begin with, having only his jet boost attack (=superjump over erry tyme) and the Zubat Cloud, which can be hard to zero in on and still harder to damage consistently. Thief's pitiable STR and the game's lack of bombs/oneshot weapons really drags this out. I think Dracula final should've incorporated the hidden "fallen angel" enemies' brilliant homing laser pattern, one of the most organic, challenging and plain fun to evade attacks I've seen in 2D action. Bendy Taito Lasers-good.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:29 am 


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I just learned about the DSS select glitch in CotM. It doesn't break the game as much as I thought I would, because the overpowered combinations will exhaust your MP very quickly at lower levels. I am surprised it wasn't found in playtesting, considering how easy it is to do.

You can certainly try roflstomping bosses and high-level enemies with the Big Bone Throw, but it must be used with extreme care, because it only comes out randomly and you die in one hit in skeleton form.

Also, I was reminded that it gets to be quite laughable just how often the game recycles the armor and demon enemy sprites in different colors. At least all the different types have totally distinct attacks, most of which are at least somewhat threatening, so I have to give KCE Kobe some credit where it's due. It's also the only Metroidvania where tougher enemies will replace weak fodder in some earlier areas once you reach a certain level.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:49 am 


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Wheee, Magician mode! Thing I Learned: Diana/Griffon projectile is face-murderingly powerful. Fast, strong, piercing. Very gratifying mowing down lines of tough baddies. Usually too expensive to spam but Magician can afford to indulge. Spacing can be tricky though, too close to what you're intending to kill and the weenie whip impact will pre-empt the carnage.

Pretas wrote:
At least all the different types have totally distinct attacks, most of which are at least somewhat threatening


With a couple exceptions in the Devil and White armours (Battle Arena buffs of the Dark and Holy armours, respectively).

But yeah, this is why I didn't address your comment on palette swaps earlier. Give me COTM-style families of enemies with unique, interesting attacks over a bunch of pretty cannon fodder mostly fileable under "poke->backdash->repeat" any day.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:28 am 


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Pretas wrote:
I agree with all your other criticisms of HoD despite my own affection for the game, but "the music had little to no feeling?" Were you even playing with the sound on? Soshiro Hokkai's OST has by far the finest and most complex compositions the handheld Draculas have to offer, even if you dislike the rough, lo-fi soundfont. It's also no mistake that the handful of tracks he did for Aria were that game's best.


Well, I suppose I should be a little more specific--I didn't feel much with it, haha. I could tolerate the first theme or two in the castle, but I expected it to pick up. Where are the obligatory recognizable remixes (that are strangely in the options menu but not in the game itself)? Or, some kind of catchy track here and there like the other GBA/DS ones do to mix up the monotony? I don't know, to each their own I suppose--I just expect tracks with more energy in a Castlevania game. The series has always managed this fine balance of eerie, weird tunes, alongside recognizable, catchy tunes, and HoD really only delivers in that first category. It's not really the sound quality itself that bothers me, it's just the compositions. As layered or detailed as they may be, they just don't really do anything for me at all. I want my Bloody Tears-esque music, dammit! :P

Pretas wrote:
Also, there was an obvious clue to the false wall, and it was easy to spot anyway if you have any experience with these kinds of platform action games. It's not even a remotely cryptic game compared to Simon's Quest.


Yeeeahhh.. I clearly missed that clue. Where do they actually talk about it in-game? I seriously had to consult a guide for it (along with the one that requires you to up-dash in a save room).

I definitely didn't find it easy to spot either. Really, it just looked like a plain-old wall to me. It's easy now that I know about it, but I never would have once thought to try to jump through it considering there were no other points in the game where something like that was required of me. Maybe if there was a trick puzzle in the beginning of the game that ended up teaching me I should be jumping through walls, I definitely would have tried it, but there wasn't. :P

Pretas wrote:
I also agree that Portrait has few redeeming values outside of the Yuzo OST (though it's not up to his usual standards) and a few really killer boss fights, especially Brauner and the Dracula + Death tag team. Portrait was also the first IGAvania to outright swipe backgrounds from previous games, and all of the new 3D BGs are miserable. I ended up using Charlotte 80% of the time because of her powerful and easily spammed magic; her later melee books are no slouch either. I only switched to Jonathan for the few enemy types that needed it, for "puzzles" or during the boss that charms your partner.


I agree that some of the boss fights were good too. I don't think I found many of the earlier ones very interesting, but near the end of the game, yeah, they were solid.

I ended up using Jonathan most of the way because his whip attacks are pretty powerful on just about anything, while Charlotte didn't seem as useful on as many enemies solo. I basically would just constantly whip and pull out Charlotte at the same time on just about every enemy I fought and it was easy to make quick work with just about anything in the game. I do appreciate the variety the tag system offers though--for instance, you getting a slightly different experience because you made one character your main, while I went about it a different way.

Pretas wrote:
BTW, Nobuya Nakazato of Contra fame had a hand in Ecclesia, which probably goes towards explaining why it has the most well-crafted and challenging action of all the IGAvanias.


Ahhh, very cool! I had no idea. :)
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:58 am 


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I actually like HOD's compositions to an extent. Much like the artwork in certain areas, the best parts of HOD's ost have a really moody and oppressive feel, which is completely at odds with the rest of CV. It's almost like a gothic equivalent of X-Multiply's ost in the way it sets a relentlessly dark ambiance for the whole affair.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:24 am 


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I'm lukewarm on HOD's soundtrack. Not the worst game music I can think of, offhand (Max Warrior on FC has some real clunkers), but decidedly not a favourite. A small handful of tracks I really like: I'll always maintain "Successor of Fate" (Entryway) is one of the great Castlevania Opening Tunes, and "Offense and Defense" (Marble Corridor) is an all-series highlight. Fascinating composition with its increasingly fraught call/response over a dispassionate pulsing beat; killer action/horror BGM that fuses the ethereal to a hard, dark edge. The Sky Chapel theme isn't something I'd listen to for pleasure but I enjoy the furious intricacy and its juxtaposition with the placid callbacks to Rondo's "Bloodlines."

Not gonna mince words about the Luminous Cave BGM though, I find it utterly grating, to the point I'm tempted to either lower the volume or limit my time in the area*. IV's "In The Castle," "Cellar" and "Room of Close Associates" are oppressive. Dracula 64 is loaded with bleak, atmospheric music. This one's just a dog-ugly, annoying, diseased badger of a tune I'd like to batter in the face with a shovel. I'm not fond of the Clock Tower BGM's shrill, nagging climax either, though it's not as offensive overall.

Most of the rest just fades into wallpaper. Aqueduct and Shrine of the Apostates BGMs don't offend but I find myself forgetting they're playing. The OST's generally low-fi tone doesn't bother me at all, some of my favourite VGM from the PC-88 and MSX shares that buzzy sound.

*which incidentally is ugly as fuck too. Brings to mind SOTN's lovely caverns with "Crystal Teardrops," and makes me feel the sad :[
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:48 am 


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I haven't played too much castlevania for whatever reason, but I'm playing the first nes game quite a bit the last few days. It's completely kicking my butt. Haven't been past level four so far, the knock back is killing me every time. Fun stuff though.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:33 pm 


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I'm not particularly fond of the first Castlevania, and no small part of the blame lies with the fourth stage's combo of boring and frustrating. To be fair, half the reason the game feels obsolete is that Konami has repeatedly re-used all the good bits in newer games.

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music

Offense and Defense is god tier, the rest of the GBA music is forgettable.

Gave COTM a go as a Shooter. It's excellent. Nathan feels way faster and more powerful when he doesn't have to stand around whipping to do damage. Had to stop using the cross because it was ruining the fun, but the other weapons all strike a nice balance. Homing knives are cash, I take it that's the unique Shooter weapon.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:35 pm 


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Quote:
homing knives


^ yep! Fun stuff. (with the usual homing weapon caveat that sometimes they'll disagree with you about what needs targeting)
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:39 pm 


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Volteccer_Jack wrote:
I'm not particularly fond of the first Castlevania, and no small part of the blame lies with the fourth stage's combo of boring and frustrating. To be fair, half the reason the game feels obsolete is that Konami has repeatedly re-used all the good bits in newer games.


Really? I have the opposite feeling with CV1. The first three stages are okay, fairly well layed out but a bit mellow. Its not until stage 4 and onward that the game kicks into overdrive with punshing combat and rng hell boss battles and becomes really interesting.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:50 pm 


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The Story Of Castlevania 1, as told by some chump (red) and me (green). Whiny turboscrub linked AVGN by way of proving the game was IMPOSSIBLE WAAAH. Needless to say, I had the last laugh Image

Image

Still my gold standard for methodical, harshly punishing melee combat. Creature and Death are pure RNG terror, unless you smother 'em in x3 cross/firebomb cheese like a BIG SCAREDY PUSSY. Dracula mk1 is pretty brisk too with his untelegraphed teleport.

"BWAHHH! Fight fair, BERUMONDO!"
"Thinkest thou deserve fairness, fell beast?!"
"Because principle" ;3 ;3 ;3
"FUCK"

I often die :oops: (vs Creature/Death - Dracular is good times erreh gatdamn time)
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:15 pm 


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Squire Grooktook wrote:
Really? I have the opposite feeling with CV1. The first three stages are okay, fairly well layed out but a bit mellow. Its not until stage 4 and onward that the game kicks into overdrive with punshing combat and rng hell boss battles and becomes really interesting.

The highlights of CV1 are the second and fifth levels. The first and third levels are fine but not super engaging (something that was fixed when they were redone in later games). The second stage has a lot of variety packed into a consistent theme and grorious medusa head shenanigans, within the limits of second stage difficulty. The fourth level starts with that weird underground section, where not much is happening except trying to whip a weirdly low-positioned bat so it doesn't insta-kill you by scraping your feet. Then the rest of the level is just walking and whipping enemies who aren't very interesting. To kill the dragon skeleton things you can just stand in place and whip until they die. The fifth level is the best. It really feels like the climax of the game, a perfectly paced build-up to the final hallway and Death battle. The last stage is good but navigating past the enemies is unintuitive, and it seems kind of sloppy/rushed.

BIL wrote:
Creature and Death are pure RNG terror, unless you smother 'em in x3 cross/firebomb cheese like a BIG SCAREDY PUSSY.

Super Secret Protip for Death and his hallway: Use the Axe!
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:41 pm 


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Good idea for Creature too ^_~ (lets you whack Igor in mid-leap while staying grounded and lashing Creature / his projectiles).
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:56 pm 


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Volteccer_Jack wrote:
The fourth level starts with that weird underground section, where not much is happening except trying to whip a weirdly low-positioned bat so it doesn't insta-kill you by scraping your feet.


I dunno, moving platforms, rocky terrain to jump on, a large number of mermen coming up from below you and shooting fire balls, and the bats seems like a lot going on to me, heheh.

F;eeman/bird section and bone dragons afterwards would have been better IMO if they were a bit more unpredictable ala Akumajo Dracula x86k. That game is indeed the truth.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:39 am 


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I'm not sure exactly what the loop changes about merman spawn logic, but it makes stage 4's rafting a lot more threatening (hell, stage 1's waterway as well, with the maxed-out damage scale). You go through the crowd as they spawn, instead of having them trail your raft. To avoid sudden death I actually had to realise, after eons of blissful ignorance, that the candles mark their spawn points. Alternative is using the stopwatch, booo!

I've been toying with recording a 2-ALL demonstration, would need to figure out what's up before then. The game does continue to loop, but unless you want to max out the Stage counter, difficulty remains static from the second loop. I got it to 80~ last time I was playing Dracula 1.

EDIT

BTW, hold right as stage 4 starts, get raftin ASAP and that annoying toe-nibbling bat won't spawn until you're well clear.*

HAWT visual:

Spoiler: show
Image


He be all "swiggety swooty I'm comin fo dat - FUUU" when you show up a good five seconds ahead of schedule!

*At least in the FC cart ver (AKA: teh DEFINITIVE** Image). Should be the same in others though, knowing this game's spawn routines.

** Only half joking! Do you have pals who love Darcular gameplay but paradoxically hate knockback? FC cart exclusive EZ MODO is the ticket! Also faster end-stage tally, aww yee.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:30 pm 


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Any tips for the level 4 boss in castlevania? Still haven't got past him!


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:47 pm 


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Creature is probably the game's toughest boss if not optimally shut down, no thanks to Igor. Easiest method, by far, is to reach them with triple firebombs, hop onto the platform directly in front of them and hammer up+B. They won't even get to move. Triple cross works nearly as well (this is also an easy way to shut down Death).

For the firebomb, there's one on the catacombs' midpoint island. For the cross, you'll need to bring one in from stage 3. Either subweapon can easily be levelled up to III by killing a few hoppers in the garden - just watch out for any random subweapon drops. Note the wallmeat in the first tunnel dragon's anchor block, and the shot upgrade in the last's.

If you've only got double or single firebomb/cross, you can still take a good chunk out of him (while freezing Igor) before the fight really starts. Once they inevitably escape their corner, get into the middle of the screen and try to alternate between stunning Igor and whipping Creature, which will also clear his projectiles. Dealing with Igor is a technique in itself, basically if he does a high overhead leap, let him be. If he rushes for you, whip him and then move behind him so he won't connect upon unfreezing. He's totally indestructible, as you might suspect.

The axe isn't nearly as effective at demolishing Creature, but it's good for countering Igor's overhead hops, as noted above. Weapon of choice if you want a decent fight but don't feel like struggling through unarmed (or with the marginally more useful dagger). Same goes for Death's scythes.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:18 am 


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I'm going to guess this was already talked about earlier in the thread and I missed it. Per the recommendation of some YouTubers and folks that were watching my Twitch stream last week, I loaded up Shatterhand on the NES today. It's actually the first time I've ever played it and up to this point the only thing I remember about it is the coverage Nintendo Power gave it, something like 25 years ago.. sheesh, I feel old now.

I was actually pretty impressed with the game. It plays well and wasn't too tough to get used to, it has some really solid visuals, the bosses and levels require practice, and the soundtrack isn't half bad either. The stage select option was a good idea and the power up system is interesting too with quite a few different choices at your disposal once you learn how it works (although, I found the angled projectile shot that bounces off walls to by far be the safest and most useful overall and stuck with that).

After a few hours I was able to beat the game. Progress in the beginning was slow, but it took me no more than two or three tries at first on any given level before I was able to beat it (final stage notwithstanding). The final level is the roughest of the bunch, but with patience and methodical play (as most of the game requires already), I was able to get through it. It's a gauntlet with tough level segments and multiple boss fights thrown between (with *no* checkpoints at that).

There are some concepts I like about the game, like the money system and the platforms that give you strength, health, or extra lives. It's unique, for sure. Although, there were plenty of points in the game where I wish an enemy or box would give me some health (they don't). The game keeps you on edge and forces you to play well.

There are some issues I do have with the game, such as the stiff movement. The jumping mechanics feel more akin to something like Kabuki Quantum Fighter: stiff and jerky, a stark contrast to the smooth momentum of what you would find in something like Batman. I also find the game to be unbalanced without having worthwhile pods. If your pod is destroyed before getting to a boss, good luck surviving with just your fists. Three of the seven bosses are totally doable without power-ups, but the other four are stupid when you go in fist-only. Their patterns are far too quick and dangerous to be up close and it's a case of "you might as well game over and play the stage out better next time". I'm not a fan of that kind of design at all (kind of like in some shmups where when you die, you might as well restart from scratch). This might be different had there been given some form of invincibility frames when using your fists, just like in Batman, but that's not the case here. Another minor gripe is that I found the "mega-power-armored-suit-thing-uhhhyeah" (whatever you want to call it) to be highly under utilized. When you get it, it only lasts 20 seconds (if that) and it ticks down faster if you take damage. There was a lot of potential for that suit and it sort of goes to waste.

Overall I'd say Shatterhand is a really solid game that should be experienced by fans of good, difficult NES platformers. Due to some of its issues I don't think it's quite on the same level of the greats like Ninja Gaiden or Castlevania, but it definitely sits nicely alongside games like Journey to Silius and Kabuki Quantum Fighter, even above those from an overall production standpoint (better visuals, animation, etc). That stiff movement and design focus on the pods though..
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:36 am 


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Thanks bil. I beat creature today, without a sub weapon too! I thought I was going to get there with the holy water, I hadn't died at all on the first three and a half stages - then I somehow died to the first snake in the tunnel which usually gives me no trouble :? I managed to kil him on the first try today, I just scraped through with one hit left in me.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:04 am 


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Good going killing Creature subweaponless. :smile: Very tricky fight to keep under control, absent optimal weaponry. It's definitely among my favourites in the traditional series.

For the tunnel dragons, firebomb is ineffective unless their head is near the floor. If either the bottle or resulting flame connects then, though, they're done for. If they're stubbornly not going for the floor, I keep their projectiles at bay with the whip, jump attacking if necessary (this'll also chip away at their HP). As soon as they start descending, lob a firebomb and with the right timing they'll get locked down and destroyed promptly.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 5:33 am 


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All right, I have to bump Shatterhand up a bit. Comparing it to Kabuki Quantum Fighter just wasn't fair. I ran through it again today and the game felt a lot more natural. I ended up completing it without continuing. I'm rushing into enemies without fear now (especially the gunners, I just punch their bullets away which always feels bad-ass). The more I play it and the more it becomes familiar to me, the more I enjoy it. I can see it eventually ranking up there with Batman for me, so I'll have to bump it up from "recommended" to "highly recommended".

I'm not sure about you guys, but I really need to spend more time with these games before I start forming opinions about them. It's kind of inappropriate for me to say something like, "oh, it's not as good as Ninja Gaiden", when in reality I've clocked only three hours into it, yet 26 years into Ninja Gaiden. You really have to give it time to grow on you, otherwise your opinion is just off-base (unless the game is total garbage.. that's a different situation all together).
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 6:49 am 


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I thought you might like Shatterhand more given some time. :smile: It's got the sort of complex, action-packed level designs that can seem awkward initially, but take on a rollicking pace once you're familiar with the basic layouts. Your power varying radically depending on performance and route planning magnifies this. The Final Fight-esque punch combo mechanic takes some getting used to as well, I find - whiffing the initial three jabs to "charge" the haymaker, then moving in and smacking a hard target before the combo resets becomes second nature, but it's not exactly intuitive.

Not sure if you've played Natsume's earlier Shadow of the Ninja/Yami no Shigotonin Kage*, but it's a similar learning process there. I consider their Dragon Fighter/Kage/Shatterhand a spiritual sidescrolling trilogy of increasing complexity: starting with DF's almost pure hack and slash, moving to Kage's Castlevania-esque action/platforming and culiminating in Shatterhand's elaborate wall-clinging environs and involved Option mechanics.

Kabuki I wish had featured more of the truly demanding, athletic platforming seen in stages 3 and 5-2. It's certainly a good game, very good in those highlights, but the gymnastic elements don't feel exploited to the full like Batman and Shatterhand's. There's a hidden credits message promising a sequel, which I think could've been truly great had it ramped up the acrobatic peril and refined the slightly touchy jump a little (I always find it strange that the low jump's input is so picky-feeling, given the flawless implementation of the unique hanging somersault mechanic).

*not to be confused with the Taito ninja sidescroller Kage no Densetsu, which is also on Famicom, especially not when shopping for either! As at least Mr. Oscuro and I can confirm
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:47 am 


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your biggest sin, Austin, was describing the music as not bad! it's frickin amazing. area a in particular is one of the greatest pieces of videogame music ever.


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