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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 6:25 am 


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Renny Blaster meditation of the day: FakeDrac has that XX thing going on (blond hair in the cover, black hair ingame). Not an entirely random thought, as it's sponsored by...Nihon Bussan.

It's been some years, so I played Iga Ninden Gaou again...much worse impression than last time. Such a split personality! On the one hand, there's a ton of work and skill put into the polish of the cutscenes; it's pretty obvious much of Nihon Bussan's work involved pretty pictures and not so much gameplay. There's even a "speed up text" button hold press + skip to next button press combo, and animated talky portraits even sync up to this faster rate. Story-wise there seems to be a lot going on and the game makes time for a pretty big cast.

The actual game part, however, is far less satisfying to play than ol Renny Blaster, because here you're just playing a stripped-down ninja action game through godawful My First Test Levels. Mechanically: There's an up+jump move, including a upward-leaping sword thrust - in addition the usual regular and crouching attacks, and finally an apparently useless downward sword strike. This sounds well-rounded but doesn't do enough to keep the gameplay from being simply remembering where enemies are, and quickly bashing them when they get close. There's a ninja power counter, which wraps around from the last power to the first should you pick up another item at full power. I didn't play with them for progress, but they don't seem well-designed as a mix. One throws the usual phoenix onscreen to do some damage, there's a screen-clearing power for the first level, but one of the middle (more expensive, in terms of powerup talismans) levels just gives you a free hit. That's it - one hit and then your sprite crumbles into mannequin parts before reappearing. Not worth saving up for, it goes without saying. The final level seems to be invincibility - I say "seems" because I really can't be bothered to test this out properly. In addition to the other drops, there's some kind of talisman items which I don't understand. (Total number of ingame item drops seen: Five.)

Difficult game if you don't take it slow and grind for healing items, because the game loves things that move quickly from above and below, and to mix combinations of these things together. It sounds good in theory, but it feels really shitty in practice, and there's a lot of not-spot-on design decisions. Bosses get weird vulnerability windows, the crouch has leading and trailing frames (lag), etc.

The most obvious of the offenders is the really spartan, even primitive level design which would look poor even on the NES. Almost every area is traversed left-to-right, or riding/jumping platforms - the most interesting variations on this theme mostly seem to come fairly early on, but are abandoned later for simple enemy type combination play, in most cases without any environmental hazards whatsoever. Late in the game you spend a lot of time simply watching your character ride platforms or fall through entire screens, without any enemies (fun pointer: Not only can you execute moves in a fall, but when you're locked onto a platform elevator, you still can make the shuriken meter rise).

Well, there's one more thing to the mechanics - this is how forgettable this game is - the shuriken meter. Hold attack, eventually a shuriken is ready to be pooped out. They're almost entirely useless unless you want to safely fight some of the more annoying bosses (extremely slowly, however). Everything is upgraded as you button-mash your way through more weepy cutscenes.

There is a data save option, but on winning the game and watching the tons of cutscenes (including sepia "photographs" of all the major cutscene elements before, of course) you just get a game over screen, with a precisely animated brushwork final screen. No pretense of replayability here.
It's cheesy, but I still semi-like some of the music.

I'd better not play Kaze Kiri after this...don't need to die of a broken heart. Need to find something that actually lives up to its promise next. Here's hoping Son Son II lives up to the hype, at least a little!


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 7:16 am 


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Obscura wrote:
Castlevania Rebirth is just shitty. Since the difficulty levels don't affect bosses, on Hard difficulty, they're all complete jokes. There's at least one path that requires you to make a jump onto a moving platform that's off the screen when you make the jump, so making the jump or not is entirely luck. Then the door maze in stage 3 is some of the most worthless time-wasting shit level design I've ever seen.

Fuck Rebirth.


The door maze is in stage 3, not 4, and it's fairly short (plus plenty of tricky enemies to fight). Don't remember the moving platform, and I concede the bosses are just ok. But the real meat of it imo is stuff like dealing with skeleton rng bones while jumping past moving spikes in stage 3.

I will admit though, I've been practicing the "no credit feed adventure" policy, so I haven't seen beyond the stage 4 boss. I don't know if the game completely collapses after that, which is one reason why I won't vouch for it completely. However, my experience with it up to that point has been extremely favorable (with the exception of that one pesky Skeleton ledge camper).
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 10:35 am 


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CV Rebirth and Hard Corps Uprising are both so divisive. :3 And I can't play either for the foreseeable future, oh wellz. 3:

Incidentally, the nearest I've seen to Rondo's traditional/modern hybrid myself is Gimmick. Got a very similar (ie ROVELY) vibe hunting down its treasures for the true final stage - that sense of not merely swiping at random blocks, but going on a lovingly prepared easter egg hunt. The last in particular is masterfully audacious, inspiring (and rewarding) the optimism and trust of a child. ;-; I went "that can't be it" then "hmm" then "GAWD I LOVE VIDEOGAMES"

Everyone should play Gimmick btw. Don't be like me and put it off bcos its cute! Chop the extend frequency, add a time limit, and you'd have focus and technique right at home in an arcade. Having said that, the meld of classic action/platformer tension and low-pressure experimentation is definitely part of the game's charm, not something I'd ever change.

FOOD 4 THOUGHT: is that what (or should I say WHO ;3 ;3 ;3) I think it is lurking in the background of Vampire Killer's munitions factory? :shock:

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Spoiler: show
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edit: wow, Johnny likes his grub. :lol:


Spoiler: show
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Last edited by BIL on Fri May 15, 2015 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 11:40 am 


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Adventure Rebirth isn't bad. I just can't think of much that's terribly memorable about it. I also remember it having weird design choices, like making sub weapons use up way more hearts than they should, giving you less flexibilty in how you can play the game.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 9:21 pm 


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Ed Oscuro wrote:
I'd better not play Kaze Kiri after this...don't need to die of a broken heart. Need to find something that actually lives up to its promise next. Here's hoping Son Son II lives up to the hype, at least a little!


How about the ambiguously, lovably yet menacingly titled B R O W N I N G ? :3 I've been wondering about that one, along with Veigues Tacticool Gladiator on HuCard. Gotta get those mecha sidescrollers vetted. A subgenre of soaring Valkenesque highs and numbing "is actually mario swapped for robot" mediocrities!

Rondo's been my sole PCE-CD sidescroller for a good few years now... actually it's my only CD title that's not a traditional STG. I've not put anywhere near the time into the collective PC Engine canon that I have with its contemporaries, though, so I'm guessing I've missed out on at least a couple goodies.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 11:30 pm 


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Cool, thanks! I'd like to look both those up. Veigues is a name I've run into multiple times. Browning, according to YouTube longplayer comments, is short but "really difficult" so I'll probably just have to savestate grind it - unless it turns out to be a gem worth playing through properly (really rare that I feel that way).

Aside from Iga Ninden Gaou, which I probably just found trolling eBay years back (and making an astonishingly bad purchase - at least it's roughly the same price as it was, so I'm just losing to inflation), I've been looking through the "Brothers Duomazov" website for clues. I take their commentary with a grain of salt*, and they're certainly capable of ratting out the worst offenders (Renny Blaster gets a "just mediocre" rating, which really is too easy on it, though they do acknowledge most people will have a visceral reaction - in that sense, my feeling is just [i]melancholy[i/i]). I don't think Browning is listed there, so I've missed it thus far.

*too many examples of iffy commentary and thoughts on platformers - for example Rondo gets a slight ding because it's "just" a classic Castlevania control scheme, while one of the platform's multi-way attack control platformers gets a "best game ever" rating - and I didn't even mention that one of the Brothers considers Legendary Axe better than Castlevania in a rather horrific "NES vs TG16" featured article.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 12:58 am 


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Replay up!

"Ninja Gaiden? More like Ninja Goddamn" -egm

The game moves a bit too fast for good commentary, and a lot of it comes down to subtle execution and routes, so there's not a lot of strategy to share. I tried to share what I could though.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 2:09 am 


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Oh wow, I didn't know you'd included cutscenes! Excellent work on the annotations, hopefully a few newbies will come for the cinematics and pick up a thing or two. :3 Adding to OP!

This is almost certainly my desert island sidescroller. Just watching the near-instant air sword kill stuff frames before the landing cancel makes me want to fire it up.

-yeah that was a pretty fun thread (or two) on the trials of NG 1CCing, wasn't it. :mrgreen:

-preemptive shurikenning in 5-3 looked ninja as fuck.

-holy crap, I'd never seen that 6-2 bird-boost before. Landing on the ledge, taking out the gunner (without burning JS ammo), then dealing with a momentum-gathering birdie is always one of the more harrowing parts of the game for me.

-I was wondering why you weren't just grabbing the windmill star to take out that column-mounted pumpkinhead in 6-3, haha. ^_^

This is actually the first time I can remember that I've watched NG1's story. The writing holds up pretty well for its time... only a few typos, no spelling errors that I could see and generally pretty readable. I do wonder how close Jaquio's flawlessly timed "have a nice day" was to the JP script. BAM, trapdoor!

For a ninja Ryu sure gets sneaked up on a lot.

The eclipse sequence still feels pretty intense. I love that primal groan of rumbling earth Tecmo mustered from the FC. Way the hell more climactic a castle collapse than the FC Draculas', too (better than most oldschool Dracula demolitions actually, outside of Maria's ending in Rondo obviously).
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 2:40 am 


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BIL, check out the IGA thread 8)
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 2:57 am 


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Glad you enjoyed, might take another look to see if there's anything I can spruce up or work in to make commentary a bit better.

BIL wrote:
-yeah that was a pretty fun thread (or two) on the trials of NG 1CCing, wasn't it. :mrgreen:


"You can't melt the cartridge with sheer hatred"

BIL wrote:
.
-holy crap, I'd never seen that 6-2 bird-boost before. Landing on the ledge, taking out the gunner (without burning JS ammo), then dealing with a momentum-gathering birdie is always one of the more harrowing parts of the game for me.


I saw it in a speedrun a while back, but forgot, then rediscovered it when I accidentally walked off the ledge once lol.

BIL wrote:
This is actually the first time I can remember that I've watched NG1's story. The writing holds up pretty well for its time... only a few typos, no spelling errors that I could see and generally pretty readable. I do wonder how close Jaquio's flawlessly timed "have a nice day" was to the JP script. BAM, trapdoor!


First time reading it for a while for me too. I like to think of it as "Film Noir...WITH NINJAS!!!"

Also love Ryu's confidence prior to the final battle. "No one can defeat me!" - damn son, that kind of talk is usually reserved for villains.

Also holy shit Bloodstained.
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Instead I am stuck in the America's where women rule with an iron crotch, and a man could get arrested for sitting behind a computer too long.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 1:13 pm 


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Heya mate, whoops I must've missed that. I'll give it a go, I've not played Ninja spirit in quite a while mind.

The chain Weapon certainly makes the majority of the game easier but I would'nt totally rely on it. As BIL mentioned a few pages back the popcorn enemies as far as I can tell are random, but to be honest because there are so many of them I doubt it would make the game any easier if they were all static from game to game. Mid-level enemies are also semi-random (staff monks, running/jumping samurai, zombie swordsman. From my experience they have a few variables when they'll appear, but they always do... somewhere, but you can never guarantee them spawning in the exact same place every time by using background graphics as a landmark when they'll appear, which makes the game extra tricky. Like I was saying earlier the 360-attack powered-up chain is a must for controlling the popcorn enemies, mainly on stages 1,2(not so much) 3, 5 and 6. For stages 4 and 7 the grenades are a must.

It's a pretty brutal game. It feels as if it tuned and inch between being possible and impossible with almost no wiggle room for sloppy play. The game is just chaos all the way through with no time to relax. It's worth spending time with, it's a pretty unique game when you think about it with a killer soundtrack and art style.

And when you finally do get to the end you have the dreaded 'Ninja Pit' :/ bloody nightmare! I found a map a good way of visualising a path.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 11:48 pm 


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Even without the pricelessly ghoulish necro-feudal aesthetic, Ninja Spirit is the closest I can think of to a nightmare via sidescrolling action. The lunar gravity making every jump last an eternity, the endless hordes of pursuing killers, and the regular excursions into claustrophobia give it an air of pure doom and terror.

I wish the ninja pit hadn't gone quite so far with the memo, that bit is just annoying. >_< The other 95% of the game is first-rate, though.

Squire Grooktook wrote:
Glad you enjoyed, might take another look to see if there's anything I can spruce up or work in to make commentary a bit better.


I rewatched Acts I-III this evening, to catch some annotations I'd partially missed - that's an excellent point about NG1's strictness of execution, and how the very tightest maneuvers will still feel tense even once you've mastered the engine. I think some new players get ahead of themselves... besides Act VI having the lion's share of chokepoints, reaching even the boss rush is no guarantee you've got the engine and innate "feel" down. That's another difficulty curve in itself.

The deadly precision is one of the game's finest qualities, certainly for longterm replay, but it's gotta be respected and brought under control. A newbie who's just barely struggled through VI on brute memorisation, only to get owned by the rush knockback, may just lose hope and give yet more credence to the already immensely exaggerated legend of NG1's heart-shattering, soul-crushing, fundament-ravaging impossibility! Image

Or even worse, go thermonuclear on a hapless forum. :mrgreen: Image

trap15 wrote:
BIL, check out the IGA thread 8)


giant robot boner

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Will back. ^__^

CALM DOWN PRETAS WHATS THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN ;3 ;3 ;3

maybe a grizzly bear will bite my dick clean off before release date :O
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 12:52 am 


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BIL wrote:
Even without the pricelessly ghoulish necro-feudal aesthetic, Ninja Spirit is the closest I can think of to a nightmare via sidescrolling action. The lunar gravity making every jump last an eternity, the endless hordes of pursuing killers, and the regular excursions into claustrophobia give it an air of pure doom and terror.


I also think it evokes the feeling of a chaotic, inhospitable battlefield in much the same way Assault Suit Leynos does. On the other hand, the floaty physics and more super human feeling protaganist and enemies probably move the gameplay "feel" closer to surreal dark fantasy.

Speaking of art style and atmosphere, it really is amazing how well Irem's uniquely grim aesthetics transferred between Sci-Fi and dark fantasy (same could be said about Dragon Breed, but Ninja Spirit doesn't even have any biohorror). It's interesting to compare Irem's style to some of the more optimistic competitors like Gradius or many action platformers of the day. I wonder what the dev teams were fans of that inspired the aesthetic, or what convinced them to go with it as something of a calling card in their games?

Oh yeah, back to gameplay: I'm actually finding the sword to be the second most useful weapon after the chain. It has a faster start up and recovery, and has a huge hitbox that nearly surrounds your entire characters front (even before being upgraded). You can't kill many enemies behind you, like with the chain, but you can more safely run through defending against bullets and mincing anything that gets too close.

BIL wrote:
I rewatched Acts I-III this evening, to catch some annotations I'd partially missed - that's an excellent point about NG1's strictness of execution, and how the very tightest maneuvers will still feel tense even once you've mastered the engine. I think some new players get ahead of themselves... besides Act VI having the lion's share of chokepoints, reaching even the boss rush is no guarantee you've got the engine and innate "feel" down. That's another difficulty curve in itself.

The deadly precision is one of the game's finest qualities, certainly for longterm replay, but it's gotta be respected and brought under control. A newbie who's just barely struggled through VI on brute memorisation, only to get owned by the rush knockback, may just lose hope and give yet more credence to the already immensely exaggerated legend of NG1's heart-shattering, soul-crushing, fundament-ravaging impossibility! Image


The real proof of the pudding, is that even after making some of the most perilous jumps and mid air swats, I still sometimes fail to nail it on first stage enemies lol.

I'm almost terrified to go back to the game, might develop into a full on obsession for S-Ranking everything.

BIL wrote:
Or even worse, go thermonuclear on a hapless forum. :mrgreen: Image

Might be relevant, but here's a convo I had with a friend about the game recently

Spoiler: show
Nico Nico Nii~: see i like ninja gaiden as a speedgame
Nico Nico Nii~: as a video game i htink its ot that great
Nico Nico Nii~: and suffers from some poor level design choices
Squire Grooktook: Nah
Squire Grooktook: It's just an execution favoring game, but it's pretty nice in its sense of speed.
Squire Grooktook: I didn't like it at first, but BIL on shmups forum opened my eyes to its merits
Nico Nico Nii~: its not entirely the game design but the way enemy respawns work
Nico Nico Nii~: doesnt matter if iys xecution or not, the places enemies respawn and how some act is just poor
Squire Grooktook: I wouldn't call it poor. It's more that enemies can get momentum the same way you do
Squire Grooktook: If they get momentum, you need to start playing defensively. The game is all out offense, but once that happens is when you start looking for windows to dodge and weave through rather than attack.
Nico Nico Nii~: the boxing enemies are super inconsistent and often times you will get hit by an enemy and put in a place where you get knocked into other hazards and have no options whatsoever
Squire Grooktook: The boxing enemies are a great primer how you're supposed to play it in that area.
Squire Grooktook: Basically you don't try to counter attack. You don't have a long enough invulnerability period, and you don't just try to run past them either. You go for the safest spot that gives you some distance immediately and regroup.
Squire Grooktook: I think most bad situations you can end up in are escapable, but some of them are really tough, and probably require a bit of in depth memorization. But it's easier to just memorize how not to end up in those situations anyway lol.
Nico Nico Nii~: ok thats understandable
Nico Nico Nii~: my issue is that by the time you can come back your often rediculously low on health
Nico Nico Nii~: it doesnt help when some of the enemy behaviour is really bizzare
Nico Nico Nii~: like those running dudes for example
Squire Grooktook: Almost everything is static. Only the CV Skeleton rip off arc throwers I know are random for sure. The dashing/jumping ghouls might also be too, but I haven't confirmed.
Squire Grooktook: I feel like HP isn't really a big issue. You get a ton, really. The last two stages are long, but they give you like 5 health ups and full restores lol
Squire Grooktook: the main thing that makes the game harrowing is the bottomless pits
Nico Nico Nii~: so why is that the enemy will sometiumes run back or jump over a platform when i always run forward
Squire Grooktook: Oh, which running dudes?
Nico Nico Nii~: bpttpmless pits?
Nico Nico Nii~: olike the ones in stage 2
Nico Nico Nii~: they act real fuckin weird
Squire Grooktook: (well more getting knocked into bottomless pits by enemies lol)
Nico Nico Nii~: also alot of things are static
Squire Grooktook: green beret chargers?
Nico Nico Nii~: like spawns for example
Squire Grooktook: Yeah, pretty much everything is
Nico Nico Nii~: which again, where enemies can spawn can be issues if something goes bad
Squire Grooktook: never experienced anything weird with the green running men. They seem pretty consistent to me.
Nico Nico Nii~: not the green ones
Nico Nico Nii~: idk i wish i could just point out
Nico Nico Nii~: i dont remember their exact color scheme
Nico Nico Nii~: there are these issues which is sad for me cuz the game does a lot of things incrediblt well
Nico Nico Nii~: for example, the visuals and cutscenes
Nico Nico Nii~: fucking great
Nico Nico Nii~: the controls
Nico Nico Nii~: very responsive
Nico Nico Nii~: the music
Squire Grooktook: I know what you're talking about with the spawns at least. It's extremely maneagable if your'e just dashing through for a perfect run, but if you screw up and end up in a bad place, things get SUPER hectic.
Nico Nico Nii~: totally amaxzing
Squire Grooktook: Their escapable but yeah it's pretty damn insane at times
Nico Nico Nii~: yeah they get hectic
Nico Nico Nii~: thats not really a good thing imo
Squire Grooktook: I think to really appreciate the game, you have to memorize it over a few play sessions
Nico Nico Nii~: see thats the thing
Squire Grooktook: It's doable without doing that, but it just "feels" better
Nico Nico Nii~: i shouldnt have to memorize a game to enjoy it
Squire Grooktook: Once you know how everything works, it really clicks
Squire Grooktook: I actually agree, but given the game feels so unique and fun when you do, I think it's worth it.
Squire Grooktook: Plus I don't mean "hardcore" memo. More like just "credit feed" through the game 2 or 3 times
Nico Nico Nii~: i could do that
Squire Grooktook: after that it just feels a lot more intuitive
Nico Nico Nii~: or i could just play games i think handle difficulty and general design more accesibly
Nico Nico Nii~: like contra
Nico Nico Nii~: memorizing can also take fun away too
Nico Nico Nii~: battletoads is a perfect example
Nico Nico Nii~: the games hard but when you learn where verything is alot of parts are incredibly simple
Squire Grooktook: Yeah but Contra is a completely different experience
Squire Grooktook: Ninja Gaiden just brings a fun and unique playstyle to the table. I can't quite think of any other games that feel specifically the same.
Squire Grooktook: I also don't think the memorization is TOO bad. I think the stages themselves feel intuitive enough, it's just some of the "recoveries" when you get hit that are tricky.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 1:48 am 


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You're doin the lord's work. ;-; That guy sounds reasonable too, always good to see. From outside looking in, it's a fairly subtle distinction between pure rote memorisation and stuff like NG that's far less open-and-shut.

Boxers are a good microcosm for the game's static/RNG balance, I think. They're set spawns, and outside of their striking range will reliably jitter towards Ryu. Once you're in range, they'll launch attacks at random intervals. Generally you can simply hack them down with proper zoning - AFAIK, even with the worst luck your sword will be out by the time their jab reaches you, provided you've not gone too far into their zone. So for the most part you can treat them as stable*.

If for whatever reason (interference, player error, distraction etc) they do sock you, though, suddenly you're dealing with an erratically moving enemy whose reach and speed beat yours, and who might easily slap down your next attack ad infinitum. It's by no means insurmountable, but it's the kind of situation that'll easily spiral into frustration and/or disaster without a skilled extricator at the controls.

The game as a whole is like that - for assured play, you absolutely need to know the basic layouts. You also need to contend with a small but lethal RNG element, both to keep on course and to escape the world of hurt it'll sometimes plunge even a skilled player into. Even the most serious mis-steps can generally be corrected with a little footwork and luck (especially with the low damage scale - I've salvaged some atrocious ping pong scenarios born of casual 1LC attempts). The better you get, the greater the scope for both freewheeling play and recovery become. It's that rough n' tumble danger and fun that puts NG far beyond the level of a mere rote memoriser.

*amateur observations, may not hold up to TAS scrutiny ;3
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 9:37 pm 


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I've been playing a good deal of Castlevania still.

x68k / Chronicles - yeah, this is the coolest one so far. Excellent stage design all the way through, the downward whip angles and air control give you a perfect amount of extra control without dialing things down too much (also, I really appreciate how every Castlevania from this era gives you different degrees of control over your whip and jump. Really goes a long way towards giving every game its own identity.) The boss battles (barring the second and third) are pretty consistently excellent too (too bad Death seemed a little weak), although maybe not as cool as Rondo in that regard. The fact that the game loops six times is pretty alluring too; I'm probably going to try and beat the second at the very least.

On my successful run, I made it up to Death before I had to use a continue, and then used several more to learn the final stage and Dracula (his second form gave me a good deal of trouble; seems like a really satisfying final battle).

Bloodlines - absolutely a great game, but - 2 aside, of course - this is probably my least favorite of the Castlevanias I've played (although again, I still think it's pretty excellent). It lacks the focus of the original or x68k and the strong boss design of Rondo (which is unfortunate since it's packed full of subbosses and bosses). A lot of the smaller mechanical changes they tried out with this are fun though - the swing is fun to use offensively (when you get to), the upward whip strike is excellent, the paring down of subweapons is actually appreciated (the item crashes don't seem very useful, but I think I kind of prefer that to Rondo's approach, which makes them too strong and uninteresting). The super subweapon / weapon upgrade is actually really awesome and adds a good deal of tension, too. That said, nothing about the game really stood out to me; it felt like another very solid Castlevania rather than one that totally excelled in any area. Admittedly though, I'm not the kind of player to go for speedkills or things like that, and I do get the impression that's where the game shines.

When I beat it, I made it up to Dracula on my first "credit", so I'm sure I could 1cc this without much difficulty. I played with John primarily (it seemed like it'd be more interesting to learn the game with him first rather than Eric, who might have just a little too easy of a time picking off popcorn enemies. But I really like Eric's super jump.)

Castlevania - did a quick and dirty "1cc" using holy water, like I planned on. I definitely intend on getting a legitimate run sooner or later - I have Dracula down fairly well, but Frankenstein and Death still give me a lot of trouble. Maybe sometime.

I want to play 3 next. I'm having a lot of trouble deciding between the JP and US versions. The upgraded soundtrack is really a small factor for me; what I'm wondering about is whether the US version's increased difficulty ends up making the game feel less fair. To be honest, I'd rather the game feel a little bit too hard than a little bit too easy, and I know (to bring up one of the most well-known changes) US Grant sounds like he's more fun to use than JP Grant. I'm leaning towards playing that version unless someone convinces me that its difficulty is broken - everyone I talk to has been telling me to play the Japanese one instead but I'm not really sold.

I have some interest in Symphony of the Night and Super Castlevania, too. At this point I don't think Super appeals to me that much (I don't see it beating what I've played in the series in any way other than cool visuals and music). It looks solid, but I don't really feel like playing Castlevanias that don't offer much over what I've played. SotN is a totally different thing of course, and I can't imagine it being better than a lot of the classic ones, but it'd be nice for a change I suppose. Mainly I feel like it'd be weird to play a bunch of Castlevania and skip over the two most beloved games.

This is kind of a slowpoke.jpg complaint - but I kind of wish they wouldn't copy-paste the CV1 Dracula phase 1 all the time without adding anything significant to it. I have zero problem with how Castlevania constantly references its legacy, I really find that kind of thing appealing - but it bugs me that every game has a throwaway phase 1. The first game's version was not extraordinarily difficult, but it was at least tense.

It's not Castlevania but lately Holy Diver has really caught my attention. I think I'll try it out fairly soon; it seems like an excellent and devious game.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 10:02 pm 


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I wouldn't call Dracula's Curse overly hard, at least not the first loop; I've never played the second. Personally I don't find "you take more damage" to be interesting, but if you go for that sort of thing, play the US version. I think Grant is pretty terrible in both versions, and can't even bear to listen to the US music having heard the grorious Nippon tunes. CV3 has an awesome first phase Drac, but unfortunately it's also his best phase.

Symphony of the Night is a masterwork, but not in remotely the same way as the classic games, and if you want/expect it to be, you will be sorely disappointed. Super Castlevania on the other hand is just bad.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 11:31 pm 


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Yeah, I'm not expecting SotN to be good in the same way that the older games are, and I'm sure it's a good game. And I'm someone who definitely appreciates Super Metroid. I just have to admit that I hear "just by killing enemies at a normal pace, you become so powerful that nothing in the game can touch you" and get sort of turned of. But the game clearly has merit at least, I'll play it sometime.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 11:53 pm 


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Devious vastly under-sells Holy Diver :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 12:13 am 


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Sir Ilpalazzo wrote:
; it felt like another very solid Castlevania rather than one that totally excelled in any area. Admittedly though, I'm not the kind of player to go for speedkills or things like that, and I do get the impression that's where the game shines.


Speed and aggression are really where it shines, yes. It might take a bit of time to appreciate though, as one of the most interesting additions to the game (being able to choose between a faster recovering strike and one with more hitstun and damage) is very subtle until you learn how to really put it to use. Same with the item crashes, which can really tear up shit through stages and bosses once you figure out good places to use them. I actually feel its the most unique Dracula, playstyle wise, while still staying true to the series tenets of commitment and measured action.

Sir Ilpalazzo wrote:
I just have to admit that I hear "just by killing enemies at a normal pace, you become so powerful that nothing in the game can touch you" and get sort of turned of. But the game clearly has merit at least, I'll play it sometime.


It's certainly not that bad. I suppose if you took your time thoroughly exploring, or took a wrong turn into a difficult area in the Upside Down Castle and braved it before returning to the easier sections. It's not a hard game (at least, not by this forum's standards), but it's not Kirby's adventure either. Bosses and a few of the more potent enemies later can kill you for playing bad if you don't grind or whatever.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 5:50 am 


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trap15 wrote:
Devious vastly under-sells Holy Diver :lol:


More like HELL DIVER mirite Image

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Also, latest ep of Half In The Bag:

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Aww. :mrgreen:
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 9:43 am 


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Good stuff.

Put a bit more time into Ninja Spirit. Lost a bit of faith in the sword. It has a gigantic hitbox, rapid recovery to guard you from bullets, and it can actually stun and knock back some bigger enemies (the monks in particularly, though it feels inconsistent), but it actually does way less damage per hit compared to the chain. For example, it does an amazing job protecting you from bullets on stage 3, but it doesn't actually kill the gunmen in one hit like the chain does, which can result in you getting point blanked.

I'm consistently making it to stage 4, rarely losing more than one life on stage 3 (I would advise new players to just learn the spacing on jumping over the zombie samurai, it's too risky to back up and try to focus them down while other enemies crowd around you). My big problem area is the samurai dudes in stage 4. Tons of health, huge hitboxes on their swords, and they seem to move faster than you do. Preemptively taking to the ceiling seems to be the best bet to escaping them, but once I hit the basement where death traps prevent me from switching freely, all bets are off. I have to wonder if maybe I can just walk backwards to outspace their sword, haven't tried that yet.

One thing that slightly bugs me about the game, is there doesn't seem to be a ton of room for grounded attacks. In theory, being able to cancel to a jump or recover sooner to move left or right is advantageous. But the game has such an overwhelming emphasis on pushing forward, that it feels like bunny hop attacking is the main way to go 99% of the time. Not sure if this'll change when I get to later stages though.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 2:26 pm 


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I'm pretty much at the same point. The sword is an excellent shield for just ignoring enemies because fuck if I'm going to try to deal with everything in the last stretch of stage three, but stage four's chain-wielding enemies and enclosed space really put a dent in that tactic. My best attempts have been with the bomb, but it's real easy to slip and take a stray hit, and real hard to recover with no powerups.

Sir Ilpalazzo wrote:
I just have to admit that I hear "just by killing enemies at a normal pace, you become so powerful that nothing in the game can touch you" and get sort of turned of.

You're fragile enough that you can't sleep through the game. It's mostly just that your tools are so good that every situation can be trivialized. The one genuinely very difficult boss can be neutered by equipping the lightning-immunity item, for instance.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 5:55 pm 


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Ninja Spirit's third stage (BGM "MOON") is one of my favourite things ever. Masterful minimalist design. All that open space and nowhere to run.

Magical Vacation Dracula starring DRACULA-KUN is a wonderful experience and a game I'll never be without, but yeah, it excels despite rather than because of the underlying design. I replay it every few years, and always spend a solid week fooling around with the immense toybox of weapons, items and miscellany it left in its sparkly wake.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 5:57 pm 


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I checked off a longstanding bucket-list item by clearing SMB 2 JP (Famicom). Highly recommend this gem---accept no All-Stars substitutes.
First of all we're back in the pre-cute days of the SMB1 engine (w/ slight tweaks), appropriately enough given the sequel's fundamentally mean-spirited level design. The Famicom version also sets you back to the beginning of a World on continues, making credit-feeding a much greater challenge than in All-Stars with level-by-level continues.

The game's few truly novel ingredients, like negative warp-zones and poison mushrooms, are essentially throwaway gags rather than lasting sources of challenge; but they prepare the player and effectively humanize the game's trials by setting a tone of jocular assholery.*

*(though this does somewhat offset the feeling I like from SMB1, of being an ur-hero in an austere ancient world)

The main sources of challenge are taken and amplified from the original: unhappily-placed enemies who appear suddenly to punish an overly-eager running Mario; sudden gaps that do the same; a weaponized left screen-edge that devours useful running space and powerups; and so on. All of these tricks are quite economical and don't draw attention to themselves; you have to stop and think to see the concentrated evil intent.

But above all, you get loads of perilous leaps and quick stops in a momentum-based physics environment. Others have spoken aptly about how Ninja Gaiden needs more than memorization, but also a knack for fast improvised recovery from combat errors; similarly, for me SMB1/2 are elevated beyond memorizers by their demand for plenty of subconscious calculation and muscle memory, almost like a racing game (but often less forgiving).

The full-bodied engagement that comes of this (witnessed by the tendency to jerk your controller wildly, hold your breath on big jumps, and so on) is IMO some of the best stuff in gaming. And I have yet to find a classic title that does harrowing platform-jumping better than the NES/FC Marios. This one matches or exceeds the challenge of SMB3's hard levels (though admittedly with much less variety); gets you in the challenge zone much more quickly; and keeps up the pressure. It's also humanly possible and doesn't pose any single challenge that will utterly demoralize you. I would love to 1CC it someday.

I also fantasize that, rather than becoming a strange black sheep of the Mario series, this game had instead starred a *different pair of brothers*, with just a slightly darker tone, and had become the source of a whole 'nother Nintendo series focused on intensely hard hop-n-bop. Which I suppose, in the rom-hack scene, it kind of did. Anyway. Desert island pick? It's not such a stretch...


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 6:27 pm 


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I wish SMB2J was on cart instead of disk. I have it on 3DS and WiiU VC and like it quite a bit, though. Aside the lack of FDS loading screens, it seems to be unaltered from the original, right down to the title screen saying "Super Mario Bros. 2".

Have you played Vs. SMB (Arcade, but there was an unofficial hacked version made to work on NES)? I like it quite a bit. It's a harder version of SMB1 where some levels were replaced with levels later used in slightly altered form in SMB2J.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 6:47 pm 


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dojo_b wrote:
The main sources of challenge are taken and amplified from the original: unhappily-placed enemies who appear suddenly to punish an overly-eager running Mario; sudden gaps that do the same; a weaponized left screen-edge that devours useful running space and powerups; and so on. All of these tricks are quite economical and don't draw attention to themselves; you have to stop and think to see the concentrated evil intent.

But above all, you get loads of perilous leaps and quick stops in a momentum-based physics environment. Others have spoken aptly about how Ninja Gaiden needs more than memorization, but also a knack for fast improvised recovery from combat errors; similarly, for me SMB1/2 are elevated beyond memorizers by their demand for plenty of subconscious calculation and muscle memory, almost like a racing game (but often less forgiving).

The full-bodied engagement that comes of this (witnessed by the tendency to jerk your controller wildly, hold your breath on big jumps, and so on) is IMO some of the best stuff in gaming. And I have yet to find a classic title that does harrowing platform-jumping better than the NES/FC Marios.


One helluva writeup. :o :mrgreen: Agreed, SMB2J has always felt like the apex of brutal hop/bop. Now I *really* wanna pick up that SMB2 GBA cart I've been eyeing. As usual the resolution's a bit smooshed but otherwise it seems accurate (been messing around with Dracula from the same line - almost wish they'd released Dracula II as well, just for completism's sake). Not ideal, but whaddaygonna do? ("Get an FDS") NAWWW

Sir Ilpalazzo wrote:
I want to play 3 next. I'm having a lot of trouble deciding between the JP and US versions. The upgraded soundtrack is really a small factor for me; what I'm wondering about is whether the US version's increased difficulty ends up making the game feel less fair. To be honest, I'd rather the game feel a little bit too hard than a little bit too easy, and I know (to bring up one of the most well-known changes) US Grant sounds like he's more fun to use than JP Grant. I'm leaning towards playing that version unless someone convinces me that its difficulty is broken - everyone I talk to has been telling me to play the Japanese one instead but I'm not really sold.


CVIII is sound - in the first loop the difficulty change isn't that drastic either. Basically the damage scale is tied to game progress, so enemies later on hit harder. In Akumajou Densetsu, enemies do set, varying amounts of damage. So AD's actually a bit more dangerous in its earlier stages. The main reason I'd play the first loop of CVIII is for Grant - I love his risky, agile fragile flurry stabber game. AD Grant is a boooring peashooting sniper.

Second loop, CVIII parks its damage scale at "brutal" and leaves it there. Not my cup of tea really - I always shoot for authoritative play to begin with, and prefer the freedom to screw up a little. More of interest are three exclusive enemy upgrades to the spear knights, zombies and medusas. You don't see the first two much but the latter will frequently make life difficult. Anybody who ever complained about regular ol' sine wave medusas will run screaming. ;3

AD's second loop is still a pretty good challenge, certainly to no-miss. Doesn't have the bionic medusa bouncers, but still amps up the monster count considerably. I'm happy enough with it but CVIII's loop is definitely the final frontier.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 7:25 pm 


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BrianC wrote:
I wish SMB2J was on cart instead of disk. I have it on 3DS and WiiU VC and like it quite a bit, though. Aside the lack of FDS loading screens, it seems to be unaltered from the original, right down to the title screen saying "Super Mario Bros. 2".


I tracked down the best repro cart of the game a year or two ago. The only thing different from the original (other than the lack of loading times) is that there's a level select, allowing you play the Letter Worlds without first having to beat the game eight times. World 9 is selectable right away as well, of course. One of the very few repro carts I own, but I don't want to deal with the FDS.

I do own the game on Wii VC as well, but prefer the cart one.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 7:46 am 


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Oh hey, found a Rondo control glitch that was actually fixed in XX. Start a neutral jump, then pivot and try to backflip. Only possible when you start while facing left in Rondo; either direction works in XX. You can also use this to backflip out of a neutral->forward jump in Rondo... as long as you're going right, haha. Pretty minor - can't imagine a capable player regularly needing to pivot+cancel neutral jumps into backflips - and no substitute for Rondo's backflip out of a retreating jump, but it's somethin'!

More interestingly, XX actually contributed something not in Rondo at all. I didn't realise until now you could dampen the momentum of an advancing jump, by hitting forward again in the air (provided you've not relinquished air control by releasing [jump] ). I was wondering why sometimes a jump would putter out... glad it's not random, and actually it's a pretty neat option. Fills the gap between neutral->forward and a full advancing leap nicely. Whether deliberately or not. :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 1:10 pm 


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Ah SMB2J.... without save states I only get pass world 3-4 and never played it again

This game was like arcade games, brutal and unforgiving. All levels fill with full of deathtraps and tough obstacles makes this was a true challenge to beat for everyone ( especially for who loves 'Masocore' games like IWBTG )
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Sidescrolling Action Miscs
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2015 11:29 pm 


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Finally made it to stage 4 of Ninja Spirit. You really need a completely different strategy for the second phase of stage 3 (Marsh). I find it most useful to stick to short hops when attacking and moving, since the monk's anti air staff and wolf/jumping ninja enemy composition makes the top half of the screen ultra dangerous. Best strategy seems to be stick to the ground, and respond to the monks by either focus attacking them when they throw the anti air staff, or jumping over them once it returns and continuing onwards

Also to expand on what BIL said about the games jumps giving a nightmarish feel, I think in the first 3 stages it can also feel like a dream too, since the jumps are as exhilarating as any in Mario once you get into the groove of the stage and are doing well. Once you reach the marsh though, the nightmare begins :evil:

Tried out using Bombs on stage 4 like Jack suggested. I think their useful on the first part of the stage, since there aren't a ton of zakos and they take down samurai and hook ninja fast. You can also preemptively throw them diagonally to clear a safe path on the ceiling with their lingering explosion, before taking to the ceiling. but my problem area is still 4-2 in the basement, where they don't help as much due to the larger swarms of zako.

I think Sword might actually be the best tech for the basement phase. Not being able to jump on the ceiling invalidates the hook, since it's longer recovery will often make either zakos or samurai catch up with you. Running through and slashing as fast as possible to keep zakos and bullets at bay seems to be the best option, since the samurai likely won't catch up with you till you have an opportunity to switch to the ground again and escape them.

Also about the samurai in stage 4: I was wrong about being able to back step away from their katana, it's too long and far reaching. Also you cannot land behind them when they miss a slash, the cooldown on their attacks is practically non existent and they will hit you again before you can get away X_x

Also managed to beat the stage 4 boss blind, which is funny because from seeing brief clips of it, I figured it'd be memo hell for sure. Moves just slow enough for you to escape unexpected moves, I think. My heart was thumping pretty fierce though, I tell you what

I love how much more aggressive the music on stage 5 is, reminds me of some of the more pumping tracks in X-Multiply (2,7). After the more subtle stage 3-4 themes, it's nice to have something with more punch. Love those thumping drums too.

The purple gas traps from stage 4 are fierce too. Looks like you have just enough time to reverse direction from a jump if you see one though, since it looks like only the center is a hitbox.


*edit* Made it up to stage 6! The Gas Traps in stage 5 aren't so bad, since their always going. If you look before you leap, you can spot them from a distance. Dark Blue is also an amazing track. Stage 6 really pulls out all the stops. Talk about a battlefield.
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