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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:09 pm 


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louisg wrote:
Here are some I don't think have been mentioned, though I don't know if this thread is limited to RPGs/strategy or not.

- Splash Lake, a great puzzle game
- Alzadick, a time attack-only game. It's fairly neat, but there was never a full version.
- Dynastic Hero, which is a CD version of the Genesis Wonderboy game and has a brilliant CD and well-produced soundtrack
- Moto Roader MC, a good one-screen top view racer. Don't be put off by the Moto Roader name, it's much better than the first two.
- Space Fantasy Zone (unreleased, you'll have to find a leak)-- mash-up of Space Harrier and Fantasy Zone, and as charming as it sounds


There's no real limit on discussion, though there is far more information about shmups out there than other genres so I like hearing about what is out there. Perikles, who might have played every PC engine shmup in existence is helpful for a quick reference.* 8)

Is Splash Lake a different name of Buster Bros.? Or am I misremembering? Space Fantasy Zone does look like cutesy fun; I've actually thought about picking up the more-serious ThunderBlade HuCard, but that's a different topic.

@alamone:
I'm actually on the fence with many RPGs out there, on account of no language experience. That's why I've stuck with Action RPGs (Xak/Fray, Exile/XZR, etc.). I've thought about some strategy RPGs but I worry that I might lose something critical without the story. Gensou Tairiku Auleria has so much text that it's hard to enjoy the side-scrolling action side of things when I don't know who to talk to to advance the game, for example.

*On that note I ordered Pyschic Storm. At this point I am starting to get very wary of Telenet games, but this was so cheap I felt a surge of "why not?" well up in me. To be fair though, Telenet/RIOT/Renovation/LaserSoft/WolfTeam do have some underrated gems under their belt.

I'm about halfway through Valis IV and I am liking it a whole lot more than Valis II and III so far. Maybe it's the fact that enemies are actually animated, or that you aren't knocked back halfway across the screen when hit. Or that an action-platformer has platforming!
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:27 am 


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Hihou Densetsu: Kris no Bouken finally arrived, and my initial impressions are mostly positive. The much-talked-about time-limit does feel aggravating, but I haven't had too much trouble with it. Kris seems to control well, and whipping knives at thugs while cautiously making your way through ruins feels nice and solid, if not exemplary (a poor man's Dai Makaimura?). The cinema scenes have some pretty mediocre amateurish art. But the music is great!

I've become somewhat interested in a few shooters for the system:

Avenger
Hawk F-123
L-Dis
Metamor Jupiter

I have a feeling that I might get burned on them though. A shooter without score always feels a little like a kick to the pants, even though I don't really play many shmups "for score" anyhow. Hawk and Avenger look kinda mediocre but for some reason there looks to be some sort of quality about them that is appealing... I'm also curious to see how Masaya handles a shmup (L-Dis), since they have a pretty solid 16bit shmup record (Gynoug, Gley Lancer).

===

Do you need more opinions? I've got 'em!

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Kaizou Coujin Shubibinman 3: Ikai no Princess

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NOTE: I played on Normal; I hope Hard Mode is a different tune.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other game so suffused with creativity and quality - and so undone by its lack of difficulty. Your charge shot feels like fighting Iron Maiden in Thunder Force V with the overdrive Free-Range. It just rips everything to shreds in seconds. The only exception to this rule are the eponymous princess (who is still a pushover) and the final boss (who is only slightly challenging). It's a shame to kill these beautiful-looking bosses so quickly, since they have a lot of charm and personality. It's clear Masaya was inspired by Treasure games (boss-heavy, multi-formed sprites), but Treasure knew how to balance style and substances, once upon a time!

If that first paragraph is harsh, it's because the game is a lot of fun. Everything, with the exception of aiming your almighty death ball (this is annoying for the final boss), controls smoothly and fluidly. The levels are long, continuous affairs, shifting through many settings, music tracks, and enemies. There are only perhaps 5 levels in the game, but the actual content and screen transitions are probably closer to double that.

You only have one life, perhaps to account for the lower difficulty, but health is abundant and you can get continues if you collect enough power chips (100 I believe). Your deaths might come more from you brute-forcing your way through bosses and being careless than anything else! Despite that, the game moves at a frenetic pace and contains a good sense of zany adventure - from phantom trains to killer snowmen to demon shenanigans. You end up handicapping yourself to enjoy things more thoroughly. A funny oversight is that you can kill the bosses that give out long monologues during their speeches, since the game doesn't pause - imagine my surprise when the I killed the final boss only seconds after the battle was officially supposed to "start" (boss music wailing and everything).

Despite the disappointment of its extremely low difficulty, I still have to give the game some credit for having just a spark of greatness.

Quality Ranking:

High
Middling
Low


EDIT: Revised my earlier assessment of "high" upon reflection. The game's lack of thought-out difficulty makes it a harder recommendation, and more of a "try this out on a burned CD" sort of thing.
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Last edited by EmperorIng on Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 7:27 am 


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Quote:
Perikles, who might have played every PC engine shmup in existence is helpful for a quick reference.* 8)

That's not the whole truth - I've cleared every PCE shmup in existence (with the exception of a few borderliners and the two Space Invaders ports; I'm not really interested in vertically fixed shooters, I did thoroughly enjoy Galaga '88, however!), similarly to the SFC/SNES and MD/GEN library. A man's gotta be obsessive, if you don't clear gems like Legion, Toilet Kids, Dimension Force and The Earth Defend you're never able to appreciate the good games. :lol:

Quote:
Avenger
Hawk F-123
L-Dis
Metamor Jupiter


Avenger is a prime example of an average 16-bit shooter (think Arrow Flash, Burning Angels, Phalanx). It has no downright galling properties (bar the PCE syndrom, that is to say insubordinately loud sound effects that constantly predominate the BGM) but no outstanding characteristics, either. I do like the fast-scrolling stage with the tank in the middle where the catchy boss music plays constantly. Control's a little bit awkward, it's very easy to waste the bombs during the process of fixing the angle of the helicopter. Not that it really matters, game's not a challenge.

Hawk F-123 is basically Power Gate with an audiovisual overhaul. It's brazen as brass to be honest. Completely forgettable stage design, the bosses will die almost immediately if you use the shields against them. Not horrid, but certainly below average.

L-Dis is great! One of the overlooked shooters on the systems in my opinion. It's a tad bit too long like almost every Masaya game, and the length is very uneven (the ultimate stage is as long as the rest of the game combined), there's also some massive flickering on certain parts (namely during boss fights), other than that it's excellent. People tend to vastly overstate its difficulty - you have to come to grips with the Japanese signs on the power ups and hoard shields, that's all. Astute design of the little options that resembles classic Konami goodness which is always very welcome.

Metamor Jupiter... Could've been truly great. It's frustrating in more than one aspect, to say the least. First of, this is one of the hardest shooters on the PCE CD (at least on Expert, I don't do Beginner 8)), right after Legion and Rayxanber II. Not for good reasons, mind you. This game tells the story of cheap shots, enemies materialise on top of the ship without a soupçon of guilt, thus almost emptying the energy bar in one go. Bosses are scandalously unsportsmanlike and teleport around, explode projectiles from off-screen and hit with lightning fast tentacles. The game's length is exhausting (about an hour). It has, on the other hand, one of the most expertly crafted atmospheres I've seen in a shooter, rivalling even Crying/Bio-Hazard Battle. Some of the locations and especially some of the tracks (I love the stage 9 theme which sounds like a deranged Greek chorus) are magnificent. The unfair tricks almost lend themself to the horror of the game. :lol: Frustration-resistant players that have a knock for Metal Black and its ilk will certainly get some enjoyment out of it.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:08 am 


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Perikles wrote:
I'd love to hear BIL's thoughts about this particular game seeing that he is not too fond of Dracula XX's movement which, in comparison, is blazing fast. :mrgreen:


Dunno if my heart could take another of those, after Dracula XX and Dracula Densetsu II blagged their way onto my shelf. Image Following this thread with interest though. ^_~

Definitely giving L-Dis a look. I've never so much as seen Toilet Kids, but wow, that title does makes me chortle.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:16 pm 


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L-Dis has a great Motoyama soundtrack. Really adds an enormous sense of speed and energy, most obvious in stage 2 where the screen scrolls super-fast. The action is surprisingly competent as well. In my opinion, the theme and graphics style almost kills the game though. Every character and every object in it looks stupid. If I remember correctly there's a weapon that shoots high-heeled shoes. Such a shame, I wish it had been developed with grown-ups in mind, it could have been a classic with a Gynoug or Gleylancer type of theme. Or, at least with a more tasteful visual approach, like Star Parodier, which is bright and cute without being stupid.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:58 am 


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Hawk F-123 is terrible. Slow pacing, weak visuals, and expect to get destroyed by bullets that disappear with the nasty flicker that occurs.

Avenger was better, but still relatively average. I'd give it a pass.

Spriggan (both the first and second), R-Type Complete, Gradius 2 and Raiden are my favorite shooters on the CD format. (Not that I have played them all.)
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:07 am 


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zinger wrote:
I wish it had been developed with grown-ups in mind, it could have been a classic with a Gynoug or Gleylancer type of theme. Or, at least with a more tasteful visual approach, like Star Parodier, which is bright and cute without being stupid.


I said this just recently, but Rabio Lepus Sp. does the cute-em-up right in my book, by having an adorable ship facing off against grossly-detailed monsters (rotting corpse of the final boss for the win) and realistic-looking mecha. I appreciate the strangeness of the contrast more than the usual "look, so wacky!" approach by most cute-em-up developers.

Austin wrote:
Hawk F-123 is terrible. Slow pacing, weak visuals, and expect to get destroyed by bullets that disappear with the nasty flicker that occurs.

Avenger was better, but still relatively average. I'd give it a pass.

Thanks; I just might stick to emulation and see if they are worth my time to clear. Lasersoft, as I find, is a somewhat erratic developer on the system, but being as they were a part of Telenet, I suppose that is par for the course.

Perikles wrote:
Frustration-resistant players that have a knock for Metal Black and its ilk will certainly get some enjoyment out of it.

You know, I like Metal Black, so I am dangerously close here to getting my balls kicked in by giving this game a shot. :cry: If I buy it before emulating it it's my own fault.

Thanks for the overview on the other shooters. I was watching a longplay of L-Dis and one of the minibosses was almost a direct copy of the iconic Gradius carrier boss, with 4-way laser spread and all.

===
Now I should get my thoughts straight on the Valis series. Yikes, that might entail replaying the Valis games! Which game will come out on top? Who knows!
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:43 am 


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I thought Rabio Lepus had decent enough graphical designs... until I noticed the front teeth that protrude from the protagonists mouth. :mrgreen: :? :cry: It's been maybe ten years since I played the arcade version, but I remember the action being pretty bland. Haven't tried Special though, maybe that's better?
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:15 am 


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EmperorIng wrote:
realistic-looking mecha

Those must be up there with "realistic space combat sims".
Someone who liked Rabio Lepus was into Mr. Heli as well (pretty sure the first time I read both titles was in the same post on a certain video games forum).
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:18 pm 



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EmperorIng wrote:
louisg wrote:
Here are some I don't think have been mentioned, though I don't know if this thread is limited to RPGs/strategy or not.

- Splash Lake, a great puzzle game
- Alzadick, a time attack-only game. It's fairly neat, but there was never a full version.
- Dynastic Hero, which is a CD version of the Genesis Wonderboy game and has a brilliant CD and well-produced soundtrack
- Moto Roader MC, a good one-screen top view racer. Don't be put off by the Moto Roader name, it's much better than the first two.
- Space Fantasy Zone (unreleased, you'll have to find a leak)-- mash-up of Space Harrier and Fantasy Zone, and as charming as it sounds


There's no real limit on discussion, though there is far more information about shmups out there than other genres so I like hearing about what is out there. Perikles, who might have played every PC engine shmup in existence is helpful for a quick reference.* 8)

Is Splash Lake a different name of Buster Bros.? Or am I misremembering? Space Fantasy Zone does look like cutesy fun; I've actually thought about picking up the more-serious ThunderBlade HuCard, but that's a different topic.

@alamone:
I'm actually on the fence with many RPGs out there, on account of no language experience. That's why I've stuck with Action RPGs (Xak/Fray, Exile/XZR, etc.). I've thought about some strategy RPGs but I worry that I might lose something critical without the story. Gensou Tairiku Auleria has so much text that it's hard to enjoy the side-scrolling action side of things when I don't know who to talk to to advance the game, for example.

*On that note I ordered Pyschic Storm. At this point I am starting to get very wary of Telenet games, but this was so cheap I felt a surge of "why not?" well up in me. To be fair though, Telenet/RIOT/Renovation/LaserSoft/WolfTeam do have some underrated gems under their belt.

I'm about halfway through Valis IV and I am liking it a whole lot more than Valis II and III so far. Maybe it's the fact that enemies are actually animated, or that you aren't knocked back halfway across the screen when hit. Or that an action-platformer has platforming!


I bought the TTI Duo version of Splash Lake from my local Toys-R-Us store for a mere $19.99 spanking brand new back in early 1994 (when it was on clearance when the original MSRP was listed at $29.99 USD back in the day) and have to say that it's cute little puzzler type of game (there's no relation to the arcade puzzler of Buster Bros. on PCE CD-Rom2 format). You can continue on the same stage where you left off (as a cool bonus). The front cover of SL would lead the prospective puzzler gamer to believe that the Duo could do rendered sprites on the CD-Rom2 format but that's a bit misleading -- it's all 2-D hand drawn sprites at best, of course (and plently of charm/cuteness). Trying to snag the bonus fruit icon on any given stage will net you a nice hefty bonus (especially on the higher stages, indeed) to your overall score. As a bonus, your high scores are saved for posterity via the internal Duo's Backup Ram functionality -- how cool is that?

There's a slick hidden mini shmup game found within the Mesopotamia hybrid shooter/puzzler type of game (aka released under the name of "Sommerassault" in the USA courtesy of TTI back in 1993 for the TurboGrafx-16/Turbo Duo gaming platforms). Considering that the mini shmup doesn't have a title, it doesn't save your high score upon powering it down for the night -- hence it's best to take a digital JPEG of it for posterity is your best bet).

The classic Gunhed/Blazing Lazers shmup is a must have in anyone's PCE/TG-16 gaming collection alrighty. The February 1990 issue of Video Games & Computer Entertainment magazine had a cool Blazing Lazers strategy walk-though. Still have it in my gaming stash to this day.

PC Engine Fan X! ^_~


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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2015 3:52 am 


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EmperorIng wrote:
I'm about halfway through Valis IV and I am liking it a whole lot more than Valis II and III so far. Maybe it's the fact that enemies are actually animated, or that you aren't knocked back halfway across the screen when hit. Or that an action-platformer has platforming!



I couldn't really get into the other ones. IV, I thought was better. I don't know if that's the popular opinion or not.
It has an awful port on the SNES.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:45 pm 



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Shameless interjection - If anyone is in the market for some of these impossible to get / underrated PCE games PM me. I have Sylphia in front of me (and plenty of other interesting games. Someone mentioned LDIS, Gunhed........)


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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 11:51 pm 


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Fortuitous nonetheless as I've been thinking of sharing a few more clears for the ever-curious.

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Fiend Hunter

Image

Above: this accurately captures my reaction to the story sequences in Fiend Hunter.

ImageImageImageImage

Oh boy, a game whose main character shamelessly rips off Earnest Evans, of all people. Too bad he couldn't get a cool name: "Feed Sluster" might be the worst name for a video-game hero I've ever heard.

Prince of Persia-style deliberate platforming given the Japanese anime twist, with middling results. The platforming is serviceable, but nothing that wasn't done and better in SFC Prince of Persia. The visuals occasionally rise out of ugly mediocrity into something resembling a setpiece (the underground waterfalls stick out in my mind), but most of the time Feed wanders a very dull and ugly world. All the design has instead gone into the 40 different boss fights against various "fiends" that Feed "hunts." Eh? Eh? There's only a few re-used/reskinned demons, which is impressive.

What is less impressive is fighting them. Prince of Persia platforming doesn't lend itself well to encounter after encounter of enemies who spend most of the time blocking your attacks. Most fights consist of pushing the enemy to the edge of the screen and mashing the attack button. This becomes a drag as there are so many of them, whose strategy rarely differs. Blocking? Mostly a waste of time. Only a few of the monsters will kill you over and over again, so save those healing items. These fights became boring 1/3 into the 40 bosses. Your fiery companion does nothing but shriek and impotently attempt to hit the bosses once every minute or so. Good going kid!

The game is in love with its story. Some cutscenes, consisting only of portraits+text boxes (with voice acting over the text!) go on for LITERALLY FIFTEEN MINUTES. And no, asshole, you can't skip them. This happens multiple times throughout the game. It's infuriating. To the game's credit, there is an option in the Config to turn off all story scenes (I didn't discover this until towards the end of the game). I didn't experiment with it to see if it only skipped the talking scenes or the nicely-animated cinemas. Still, it's inconceivable how Right Stuff would think people would care about such a long-winded plot in a short sub-par PoP clone. Look at the above image I posted. Those ellipses constitute and entire 60 seconds of unskippable slow crawling, while the VA makes gurgling noises. Was I as bored/mad as hell? You bet.

So without the story to enjoy, and the fighting that is lackluster, is there anything good here? Uh, well, sometimes the graphics are nice. The chiptune music for the stages is very upbeat and enjoyable, and the redbook audio for the fights is all varied and well-composed by Tadashi Sawashita. Character design and monster design is good. Sometimes the linear platforming challenges proved to be enjoyable but the character is far too finicky and eager to fall to his death repeatedly. However, while I didn't hate Fiend Hunter (well, I certainly hated it wasting my time so much with cutscenes), nothing about the game is really exceptional. Fans of action or even methodical platforming, look elsewhere.

Quality Ranking:

High
Middling
Low


(for aesthetics though I'd give it Middling, maybe even High for the cinema. But yeah the game blows)
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 1:32 am 


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Perikles wrote:
No real point in playing R-Type Complete CD or Side Arms Special if you happen to own the HuCard ports (which are significantly better), they're still fine on their own, though. Some of the other ports are stupendously solid (Gradius II, Super Raiden, Forgotten Worlds) and should be checked out even if one has the opportunity to play the original arcade games.


I love Side Arms Special. Here's a review that talks it up quite a bit: http://www.thebrothersduomazov.com/2009 ... ecial.html
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 3:27 am 


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Play Energy
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:00 am 


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Feed Sluster? That is pretty bad.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:32 am 


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Well in-game he's portrayed as something of a ladies' man, bagging several chicks throughout the game. But I can't help but wonder if it's all because of a certain chip on his shoulder, like how really short guys always act tough...

The amount of pathetic deaths/game overs an average Feed Sluster has over the the course of Fiend Hunter definitely dents the image of a cool suave adventurer.

ELabit wrote:
Play Energy

1, this thread is for CD games only
2, unless the videos on youtube lie to me, I don't see much worthwhile in Energy. The slow scrolling would probably drive me nuts in minutes. But maybe I'm wrong? (probably not)
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 2:53 pm 


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Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou

This is a God Port. :shock: Feels like they tightened up the Vic's hitbox a bit too...? The new stage is a masterpiece of ball-breakingly tight terrain, and plays like a dream. Crisp as hell.

Even having the more or less perfect PS1 Deluxe Pack, I had to snap this one up. Still have yet to pick up a second non-STG CD game, Rondo being the Summer Carnivals, Thunders and Gradius II's only company. Imma look into stuff though!
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:30 pm 


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You may like Hihou Densetsu: Chris no Bouken as a semi-decent foray into action platforming. The game is sort of sloppy, but that's what emulation/burning discs is for. I need to do a longer write-up of it since I beat it (almost, lol, "1CCd" it if not for being unprepared for the final boss).

I've beaten quite a few more games so I should fill up this topic with my cool opinions. TLDR/preview: Valis I, good! Valis II, bad! Valis III/IV: ultra-fucking-cheap
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:53 am 


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EmperorIng wrote:
ELabit wrote:
Play Energy

1, this thread is for CD games only
2, unless the videos on youtube lie to me, I don't see much worthwhile in Energy. The slow scrolling would probably drive me nuts in minutes. But maybe I'm wrong? (probably not)

I'd rather play the PC-88 original, ASHE, than Energy myself. That version seems to be less flawed aside from having 1987-grade visuals with choppy movement. By most accounts both games are silly, but the original has more excuses for its failings given when it came out and on what platform. And I like what I've tried of ASHE thus far, so maybe Energy's kusoge reputation is deterring anyone who might be interested.


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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 1:25 am 


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I used to have a small but decent PCE CD library 'bout 10 years ago. Most were shmups, though. Here's what I remember

My favorite shmups - L-Dis, Spriggan, Star Parodia, The Thunders, Super Darius
Meh - Daisenpu Custom (good game but HuCard is better), Cotton, Nexzr
Bad - Hellfire S (should have bought Zero Wing instead), Avenger, Rayzanber II

Non-shmups - Drac X, Shubibinman 3, Yoshimoto Comedy, Exile, Ys 1-3, Monster Lair, Valis II. All of these are pretty good.

IIRC, my next purchase was going to be Dragon Slayer but then life happened and I sold all my shit. The End.


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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:00 am 


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BIL wrote:
Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou

This is a God Port. :shock: Feels like they tightened up the Vic's hitbox a bit too...? The new stage is a masterpiece of ball-breakingly tight terrain, and plays like a dream. Crisp as hell.

Even having the more or less perfect PS1 Deluxe Pack, I had to snap this one up. Still have yet to pick up a second non-STG CD game, Rondo being the Summer Carnivals, Thunders and Gradius II's only company. Imma look into stuff though!

Oddly I was the same, I had both PS1 and Saturn Deluxe Packs before I bought the PC Engine CD version, and it's worth it for some of the changes. An extra difficulty mode with different ending, an extra stage with boss, and an intro not seen in any other version, not to mention a game over and continues means starting an entire stage over. Bad because you have to do a stage all over, good because it gives you an option to actually recover in a Gradius title.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 2:04 am 


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I tried playing L-Dis a couple of months ago, it looks nice but I found it a little bland overall with long sections of nothing really happening and uninspiring enemy placements.

I had a quick 10min blast on Paranoid (while flicking through the everdrive.. ) an excellent Naxat precision hori shooter. I remember seeing it in an old cvg back in 1990 and I remember it looking interesting even back then.

*For the L-Dis players, I made table of the power-ups and what they mean in English.

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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 5:35 pm 


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BIL wrote:
Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou

This is a God Port. :shock: Feels like they tightened up the Vic's hitbox a bit too...? The new stage is a masterpiece of ball-breakingly tight terrain, and plays like a dream. Crisp as hell.

Went back to this port after my arcade Gradius II run. Here's what I found out after getting a quick 2-ALL:

The ripple laser has a significantly improved accuracy. This can be easily tested on ground enemies (take those in the second stage for example) which are tricky to hit in the arcade original.

The Force Field is not nearly as sensitive towards terrain, you have to be very close to it in order to lose it.

The shot frequency is quite a bit higher with the default pea shooter, helping out a lot in the beginning or in cases of recovery.

The more generous extend routine enables players to counterstop the game at the boss marathon at least in theory. It's extraordinarily finicky to do, however, as you'll see below.

Some of the impossible checkpoints are still impossible, but easier. Yay on that!

First stage has a lot less dragons no matter how you play it. This makes subsequent loops a hell of a lot easier, but deprives you of some power up capsules. Enemy pugnacity (including suicide bullets) is severely toned down in higher loops, too. The boss on the other hand is faster and not as static as he is in the arcade version.

Second stage is pretty much the same. A tad bit easier on higher loops than in the arcade. I don't know if it is merely a graphical matter, but it seems like I can't hit the boss sometimes. I'm pretty sure he dies about as fast as he does in the arcade, though.

Third stage is a lot easier in the PCE due to the reduced durability of the ice blocks. Even higher loops don't pose any threat since it is no problem to take out every block and shard before they will come close to you. The ripple laser is no longer able to hit the boss when he folds his tentacles in front of him.

Fourth stage is very similar to its original version. The boss is a bit easier on higher loops because you get a bit more space (one less volcano on-screen), but that doesn't matter either way. The second phase has a lot less health, too. I do think that the volcanoes spit out less fireballs during the stage, it's not all that significant, though.

Stage five is interesting. Moai heads shoot more rings, yet they travel slower. It's considerably simpler to hit and destroy those moais that are lying on the floor and ceiling. They are allowed to assassinate you from off-screen which will not happen in the arcade version. The boss fight is harder for the available space is reduced, but he still doesn't stand a chance against the ultimate herding technique. Image

The new sixth stage simply rocks, especially on higher loops. Superb level design, magnificent soundtrack, just like the new MSX-inspired stage in the first PCE Gradius. Fairly challenging on higher loops, too, with a very aggressive boss to boot.

High speed stage remains mostly unaltered. Turrets still don't fire suicide bullets on higher loops. The boss is a tad bit more resilient for some reason.

Boss parade is harder, chiefly on higher loops. Zub rush is even nastier in the PCE (more of the regular ones, even worse spawn conditions regarding the active hitboxes of those pests), Covered Core is flat-out more dangerous. Gau's eyeballs are easier to hit which ironically makes him significantly harder on higher loops (constant stream of suicide bullets), especially considering that his first phase has more health. Brain golem is scarier due to the reduced space.

Final stage is harder on the PCE, particularly on higher loops, jeez. Less space makes it hard to maneuver, you need an entirely different approach for Club as well. Maybe I'm imagining things but I could swear that the tiles are extremely aggressive in this version. Gun wall is not nearly robust anymore on the other hand. Gofer is still the strongest.

In conclusio: a miraculous port, indeed. I would've eased both the zub rush and the final stage a tiny bit as to accommodate it to the rest of the game, 's not a huge issue, however. Konami had an amazing streak during the 16-bit days, a lot of their PCE and SFC ports are incredible (SFC Parodius Da!, SFC Gradius III, PCE Gradius, PCE Salamander, PCE Detana!! TwinBee, PCE Gradius II) and even their weaker outputs are still good at least (SFC Gokujou Parodius, PCE Parodius Da!).
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:12 pm 


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You're great to have onboard, you know that? :mrgreen: Excellent report! I did think the zub rush and brain golem felt pricklier than usual... agreed on the extra boss, that thing's bloodlust is palpable.

Since my last post I've picked up Forgotten Worlds and Cotton. The Super CD feels almost like a mini Saturn with these late 80s/early 90s arcade titles... I'm drawn to heroic porting jobs regardless, but I specifically avoided PS1 Cotton after reading it omitted the loop - WTF?
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:46 pm 


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Ex_Mosquito, thanks a lot for the item guide pic for L-Dis. It's hard to keep all the kanji(?) in your head when you are flying around. It's a big help and I appreciate it!

Perikles wrote:

I think this has reinvigorated my hope in clearing Gradius II one day. :mrgreen:

Cotton SCD is indeed excellent, even if Cotton's hitbox has me grinding my teeth in despair sometimes. The stage 3's boss, with its floor attacks, always kills me. There's a lot to love in that game. As opposed to...

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Gensou Tairiku Auleria

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CLICK HERE FOR THE ULTIMATE TAITO ENGRISH RPG STORY-SETTING INTRODUCTION
Spoiler: show
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With Taito involvement, Tamayo Kawamoto/Zuntata soundtrack*, and great-looking sprites/backgrounds, how can this game go wrong?

There are some of the usual pitfalls of playing an older JRPG that are annoying: not caring about the story (since you can't understand it), weapon/armor shops don't tell you if what they are offering are any better than what you've currently got equipped, and not knowing where to go. That I don't mind; I can fumble my way through some Japanese RPGs with little fuss or muss. My personal moment of triumph was figuring out that a certain dreamlike section that endlessly looped could only be solved by moving left or right according to frozen soldiers pointing in different directions. 8) The thing I liked most about the game is that as you leveled up, weaker enemies just disappeared from the map. Saved me a lot of time. :mrgreen:

Despite the quality put into the game's aesthetics, WinkySoft decided on some truly aggravating design choices. Little invulnerability between enemies hitting you means that when foes come at you from both sides be prepared to sacrifice your lifebar. Try jumping over them? Sorry, not good enough. Enemies spawn constantly, randomly, from any direction, often times outside of your camera view causing instant cheap hits when you jump down (or up onto) a platform. Stairs are handled Castlevania style. This is very bad news if a flying enemy (or two) spawn and barrel into you, resulting in your death unless you are using the purple-haired chick whose magic attack creates orbiting spheres that damage enemies on contact (you'll be using her despite her lousy ATK/DEF a lot). Or maybe you'll be walking down some stairs and an enemy will spawn underneath you just as you near the bottom, again making you lose a third of your health. Blech.

WinkySoft also included a true pet-peeve of mine: making bosses and enemies invulnerable to you if your stats are too low. Why punish the player for not being at the precise level necessary to progress? It's not like this is used to underline a boss's strength: too often it was a small gray rat or insignificant animal or slime puddle that walloped my ass with no recourse to retaliation. The end of this game should have been fighting with the best of the best of the evil demon army, not getting constantly gang-banged by small rats in a dungeon whose only method of attack is running into me and ignoring my invincibility-frames.

The dungeons consist of winding, confusing side-scrolling labyrinths with gray, brown, and the occasional splash of purple thrown in. So many uninteresting dungeons. So many empty samey hallways. The backgrounds, while beautiful, are flat and suffer from a lack of parallax that makes it seem as if you are walking behind a scrolling projector rather than in a game-world. Bosses require very little strategy - usually crouching in front of them and stabbing their dicks is enough to send them back into oblivion. Only a few bosses required me moving around to conserve my HP for long enough to bring on a death-dealing dose of dick-stabbing. The penultimate boss was content enough to walk into my spear-wielder's attack range, fly back from the impact, and try again. Long before that point I just wanted the whole thing to be over.

Quality Ranking:

High
Middling
Low


*PM me if you want the soundtrack; most of the tracks are lame atmospheric tracks that are woefully inadequate (a bright, sunny field shouldn't have some weird low-pulsing synth ominously playing in the background), but a few are quite nice - the boss track and the SHIP THE STRAWBERRY track sound right out of Tamayo's Ray- trilogy. Interestingly, the game has a double soundtrack: all the tracks are both present in chip and redbook form. The CD only rips the redbook audio, of course. However, it makes me wonder if the game started out as chiptune-only, and then getting Redbook arrangements when there was room.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 5:22 am 


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Double Dragon 2: The Revenge

Instead of a port of the NES or arcade version, this is more of a remake taking elements from both.

Control is spot on, with none of the slowdown found in the arcade or Mega Drive versions. The gameplay is a bit faster than either of the above. Elbow punches are out (maybe they thought that move was cheap- anyway the left/right attack system kills the need for it), but the cool "while rising" specials from the NES version are available. Platforming elements similar to the NES game make it here as well. It's even got an elevator battle. When you fight in the helicopter, the pilot will be opening the doors in an attempt to get you sucked out. Most of the enemies make it in. The 2nd boss from the arcade game, who looks somewhat like Hank Hill cosplaying as a Terminator, has been redesigned to look less goofy. He'll show up at about halfway through. Absent from the NES DDII but making a return here is the timer from the arcade.

While Kazu Yamane's BGM isn't used here, the new tunes aren't bad either. There's even some Rolling Thunder 2 style jazz in the 2nd stage, and something that seems influenced by 60's spy movie music in the game. Between levels there are some decent cutscenes. Sound effects feature some decent punch/kick hit impacts and mechanical noises. Unfortunately, the enemies' KO voices and Kali stick fighter Chin Taimei's yells when attacking are gone. Jeff, the Billy/Jimmy palette swap, is MIA.

Overall, this is the BEST version of DD2. Ever.

Quality: HIGH
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:33 am 


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Famicom version is best.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:38 pm 


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At the very least, PCE DDII plays far better than it looks or sounds. How broke were Naxat by 1993 that they hired Chris Chan? Those are some goofy-ass sprites! The engine's a pretty fun AC/FC hybrid, though. Not as rock-solid or comprehensive on that front as Double Dragon Advance, nor does it have the FC's priceless combo of flexibility and precision (forget spinkicking one chump and knee-blasting another in a flowing attack - the latter is empty jump/knockdown only, here). But it's fast, smooth, and the bizarre reverse knee bazooka (hold [away] and hit I+II) is good fun to abuse enemies with.

Wouldn't call it a must-have Technos beater like DDA or FC DDII, but it's worth a look and most certainly not a FC->PCE fiasco ala Hudson's Ninja Gaiden port.

Picked up Image Fight II after getting promptly hooked on the pitch-perfectly consolised pain. Had to check it out after Perikles mentioned Irem addressing the original game's jumbo PCE hitbox. Feels great - reminds me of Metal Black's judicious give. It's clear they really leveraged this change into making the yoko format more palatable; I was surprised at how quickly it became a non-issue. Still pretty tough, as it should be. Found "Normal" quite clearable after a week's casual play - favourite stages by far are 8 and its proximity minefields (with gorgeous line-effect BG and inexplicably perfect chillout BGM), and 9.2's calculated broadside of laser/spreadshot/missile death. Thought st4/Normal was a bit snoozy but on Hard the mechs are spewing bullets exactly like I wanted, looking good!

Nice to finally get an Irem PCE title with strong audio; some of the larger enemy explosions are thunderously satisfying. Superb soundtrack too - even if quite a bit is reheated from the first game, the redbook quality is awesome. Also (and this goes for PCE DDII as well), god bless games with CUTSCENE SKIP option. Hooo boy, I appreciate that.
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 Post subject: Re: PC-Engine CD: The Search for Quality
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:56 pm 


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OmegaFlareX wrote:
I used to have a small but decent PCE CD library 'bout 10 years ago. Most were shmups, though. Here's what I remember

My favorite shmups - L-Dis, Spriggan, Star Parodia, The Thunders, Super Darius
Meh - Daisenpu Custom (good game but HuCard is better), Cotton, Nexzr
Bad - Hellfire S (should have bought Zero Wing instead), Avenger, Rayzanber II

Non-shmups - Drac X, Shubibinman 3, Yoshimoto Comedy, Exile, Ys 1-3, Monster Lair, Valis II. All of these are pretty good.

IIRC, my next purchase was going to be Dragon Slayer but then life happened and I sold all my shit. The End.


I was excited to get hellfire s on the PC engine. Any reason why the game is bad ?
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