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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:10 am 


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Xenon 2 X68k is at best a curio for OCD ebay collectors, live with it. :P Nice cover though.
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:26 pm 


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Xenon 2 itself is at best the curio for OCD collectors, period, especially if you're crazy and want all the versions. The X68000 version is the only object attached to the Xenon 2 name that has any worth, and only because an actually good unique soundtrack was created for it. The new music doesn't fit with the trashy game at all.
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:40 pm 


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Sounds like it's time to start a thread in Hi Scores!

SCC - 1,033,810 - 3R-4-2 - Autofire

Has anyone messed with the infinite milking on 4-2? I thought your cash maxed out at 12,000 but wiki says it's possible to roll it over back to 0. This is hard to do because your cash isn't shown on screen during the level.
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:56 am 


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Sly are you familiar with the megadrive version? It loops as in the original, but stops at 4-2. I guess that kind of solves the Coin milking? Also I'd be interested to understand if they ramped up difficulty in 4-2 to make it more "final"...
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:50 pm 


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No, I played the dos version for a while when I was sans Amiga - but otherwise stick to winuae now. So the final boss would be that wobbling chameleon face?

If I didn't make it clear before: you can also milk points on 4-2. Is that it for scoring or is there something I'm missing? There are some other weird touches in this game - like something kills you instantly if you go to the top of the screen against the last boss. (if you wanted to easily take out the weak points before they can fire back) Also, the enemy rush on 2-2 has scoring removed to prevent milking.

Hybris has some bizarre stuff going on in it as well but I don't think I've ever seen any discussion about that game.
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:47 am 


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Sly Cherry Chunks wrote:
No, I played the dos version for a while when I was sans Amiga - but otherwise stick to winuae now. So the final boss would be that wobbling chameleon face?

If I didn't make it clear before: you can also milk points on 4-2. Is that it for scoring or is there something I'm missing?


Yep, Chameleon is the endboss. The game does loop however after It. In which part of 4-2 you have milking exactly? Also, are there any graphic changes in subsequent loops? I thought I spotted a differently colored bullet somewhere...
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:49 pm 


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Second half of 4-2 has an endless stream of orange butterflies coming from both sides of the screen that will give you points and a large cash each.

There is a noticeable increase in enemy hp in the second loop and again in the third. I haven't noticed anything else though.
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:46 pm 


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Turrican wrote:
Also I'd be interested to understand if they ramped up difficulty in 4-2 to make it more "final"...
Thinking about it... 4-2 is actually the hardest level anyway. Theres a massive difficulty spike for level 5 but it's offset by that lame 'protection' powerup that seems to double (maybe triple) your hp. Perhaps the whole sequence was cut because it was so badly designed.
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:16 pm 


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Sly Cherry Chunks wrote:
Perhaps the whole sequence was cut because it was so badly designed.


I'd place my bet on just cutting costs using a standard 512k rom. But you know, I'm playing this on MD just due to laziness (my 500 has the floppy drive out of order at the moment), and I'm thinking to this shortened version as a kind of "caravan" release :P

The game doesn't have an hiscore thread, nor a strategy section, which is kinda absurd, considering the age of this forum. I'm thinking to write down a couple of hints & tips just for the sake of it, because I realize that in 2019 noone really knows how to play it anymore.

Xenon 2 comes from the age of the single-button sticks. In this sense, it feels more ancient than Famicom stuff. When you browse the weaponry at your disposal, you'll see there's an uncanny variety of stuff that tries to circumvent the single button issue.
You have regular shot, purchase autofire that nevertheless has a rate lower that what you can achieve by button mashing; then you have the "move stick while hold fire button pressed" electro-ball which sends an invincible drone off the screen at great speed (the best answer to Irem's Force to have ever been devised in the west); then you have a couple of mine placers, taking a cue from Bomberman, than use the "hold fire button to place and release it detonate" method. All these nuances are pretty much destroyed if one resorts to external hardware autofire, so I rest my case that it shouldn't be used for this game. I think the only powerup that makes use of a second button on the MD controller is the "Dive" powerup (required the space bar on home computers).
By the way, I think this was the first western game that tried to capture the feeling of having a variety of arsenal at your command for the simple enjoyment of it.

Speaking of the electroball... Anyone has a clue about the manual salacious description? "Sticks like Sharon to Darren..." and also about it, is there in the game an enemy that gobbles up it? Mine just disappeared at some point, leaving me clueless.
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:28 am 


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I wrote a blog some years ago: https://slycherrychunks.livejournal.com/121610.html Lets face it though, theres only maybe three of us who care about this.

Unfortunately, there only seems to be one "route" through the game weapon-wise. There's no part where its advantageous to use the flamer or mines instead of regular shots and I'm sure theres no expert play-through where someone beats everything down with the electro-ball. IIRC, the ball is only "active" and damaging enemies while youre holding the fire button down and moving it around. It would actually be useful if it provided some rear protection while it was just hanging there, a lot of stuff comes from behind. And yes, it does seem to vanish halfway through the game.

I beat this with hardware autofire and then went back to see if I could do it without any autofire whatsoever. I dont think that the bought autofire ever really gets up to the rate that you need for this.

I think Sharon and Darren refers to those stereotypical 80's couples with track-suits and their names in the window of their Ford Cortinas.
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:45 am 


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I really enjoyed your writeup. Thanks for linking it.


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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:26 pm 


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Indeed, thanks for sharing, it's a good read.
It's true, the game weapons aren't really evened out. But I don't consider this a major crime, because in my experience, even with games that offer a wider variety of perfectly balanced weapons, I tend to stick to a working setup. The extra stuff is a la SotN: fun to try and break the monotony.

That doesn't mean they didn't plan their moves... The game basically is winnable with a switching forth of rear and side shot. And it's precisely for that that they are mutually exclusive. There's also minor cashback strategy involved, which requires getting whatever the game throws at you for free, powering up once, and sell it (gaining 1000 real cash for free). [edit: on a second thought, this is bollocks: all the shopping you do seems to work in a zero sum logic]

The 2level ingame autofire doesn't prevent you to button mash in the more hectic moments, and by sticking to it you have not only all the weapons technically working (mines, flamer, electroball and probably the drone just don't work correctly with external autofire), but you also avoid the game to run in a deplorabile state, with several non-intended slowdowns and multiple sprites disappearing. It certainly works as an incentive for the 1LC. (since unlike the speedups, autofire defaults to zero when a life Is lost). :D

Anyway, the electroball isn't good as a rear shield but It works like a charm in 3-2, the split pathways section that also require you to scroll backwards.
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:11 pm 



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Sly Cherry Chunks wrote:
I wrote a blog some years ago: https://slycherrychunks.livejournal.com/121610.html Lets face it though, theres only maybe three of us who care about this.



Yeah, I guess it's a nostalgia thing since it was the first shmup I've ever played and I've been playing it (on and off) since about 1992. Out of curiosity what are your other favorites (both vertical and horizontal)?


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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:56 am 


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I'm trying to complete at least a loop on MD. I'd swear I noticed something funny with the 3-2 boss (the snake). A palette swap. Problem is I don't know how to trigger it. I'm pretty sure it's him that swallows the electroball, wonder If it's intentional or not. Also, lose a life against it and you might face two snakes at once... What the heck?!?
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:40 am 


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^Any progress with this?
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:09 pm 


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Sorry, had to leave a bit due to real life. I think I'll retry in the weekend. I'm planning to change my shop priorities, and keep the free cannon instead of selling it...

In the meantime, I'd be curious to see if the double snake has always been there and what exactly triggers It...
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:57 pm 


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C.S - 362360 - 2R-1-2 - easy - no autofire - 50hz megadrive.

Lost just a life at Chameleon before remembering It had a safe spot. I didn't try anything fancy with the rear powerups though, just the standard 2 cannons, 2 lasers double shot and side shots.

The game has a difficulty selector which wasn't in the original and i'm unable to determine now which is the default setting on st/Amiga, so I just started at Easy. At this level, it's definitely doable without any external autofire, although yes, I did a lot of button mashing and I'd be lying if I'd say that electroball use could compensate It...probably not.

Also, being stripped out of two stages means this must be the only version out there that doesn't have the bitmap shades nor the extra life for purchase... Something that definitely affects subsequent loops as I think shopping is the only source of lives and lives are the one thing that carried over...
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:41 am 


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Anyone in for a small casual friendly highscore competition for Xenon 2?

We probably have to keep scoreboards platform specific, I would be up for submitting for the amiga version :)


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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:16 pm 


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Still haven't had any luck with getting that palette swap again, I'm sure I've fought this snake which was in all grey / blue hues, with no copper / orange at all.

Anyway, I uploaded a snapshot of the twin incarnation at Sega-16:

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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:54 pm 


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Awesome glitch!
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:46 pm 



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Love to read you guys about your knowledge of Xenon2, I would only say that this is one of my favourites because of personal experience, having played it with a friend during long hours in an amstrad PC1512.. long ago.
By the way, now playing it in dosbox or the Genesis version in retroarch with better colours than DOS version.


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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:47 pm 


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I'm sure Sly doesn't need this little piece of advice, but to all the curious newcomers wanting to try the game a little bit, here's the single most important thing to keep in mind:

Your cash wallet resets at every level. So, as counter-intuitive as It may seem, the rule to do shopping in this game is that every two bosses, you MUST spend every cash you have because it's not carried over to the next stage. You are free to spend or save at the middle shop, but you must empty your wallet in 1-2, 2-2, 3-2 and so on.

@Sly: glitch or feature though? I'm on the fence... Many occurrences in Gods are like this, apparently random and never precisely explained to the player...
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:35 am 



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Hmm I’ve never played this mega drive game. I’ll have to load up my everdrive and give it a go!


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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:51 am 


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^That's really strange. I never knew this! I suspected you could max out cash and I read that you could accidentally roll your money back around to 0 but this explanation makes much more sense. Very hard to test this when there's no indicator on screen. I guess this lessens the 4-2 cash milking. But there was never any point in saving money anyway though (Imagine trying to do a X-Out score run though :shock: )

Weird seeing you take on the twin snakes with virtually no weapons. I never saw a reason to sell that first cannon the game gives you and you can get at least a couple more by this stage.
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:52 am 


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Sly Cherry Chunks wrote:
^That's really strange. I never knew this! I suspected you could max out cash and I read that you could accidentally roll your money back around to 0 but this explanation makes much more sense. Very hard to test this when there's no indicator on screen.


You can easily test this in the first two levels. You can end 1-2 with some 5000, or more if you sell the freebies. However, don't spend anything and by the time you reach 2-1 shop, you should have 3850 or so. Here's some notes from one of my recent playthroughs:

1-1 free rear
Shop 1-1 cash circa 1000 (just the perfect amount to max autofire, provided you don't need a health)
1-2 free cannon
Shop 1-2 cash circa 4450 (all must go)

2-1 free powerup
Shop 2-1 cash circa 3850 (+2000 sell cannon) [sell rear]
2-2 free side
Shop 2-2 cash circa 8200 (all must go) [sell side]

3-1 free rear x2
Shop 3-1 cash circa 4500 [sell rear lvl2]
3-2 free side
Shop 3-2 cash 12000 (sell stuff and you can go higher than 12000) (all must go)

Shop 4-1 cash circa 3500 (this Is the last megadrive shop and thankfully they remembered to apply the 50% discount on everything) (all must go)

4-2 free rear x2 (poison, avoid!)

Sly Cherry Chunks wrote:
I guess this lessens the 4-2 cash milking. But there was never any point in saving money anyway though (Imagine trying to do a X-Out score run though :shock: )


The money saving is for ocd people like me obsessed with pod simmetry :wink: . I stubbornly managed the buy/sell transactions in order to reach 4-2 with four laser megablasters, although It really wasn't worth the hassle.

Sly Cherry Chunks wrote:
Weird seeing you take on the twin snakes with virtually no weapons. I never saw a reason to sell that first cannon the game gives you and you can get at least a couple more by this stage.


I was trying some shopping extravaganza in order to trigger again the differently coloured snake... The cannon unlike the laser can't be powered up, but I concur that, at least in this truncated MD version, It isn't worth the 2000 cash loss in order to replace It.
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:15 pm 


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Turrican wrote:
Shop 3-2 cash 12000 (sell stuff and you can go higher than 12000) (all must go)
Ah, now we're getting somewhere. I'm sure I'd maxed out cash myself somehow, I couldn't remember where I got the 12k figure from because I have screenies of myself with over 16k. Not sure how I pulled that off, selling the homing missiles maybe?

Quote:
4-2 free rear x2 (poison, avoid!)
Really the meanest trick the game pulls on you.
Quote:
The money saving is for ocd people like me obsessed with pod symmetry :wink: . I stubbornly managed the buy/sell transactions in order to reach 4-2 with four laser megablasters, although It really wasn't worth the hassle.
You have to power up those megablasters individually, so now I'm wondering if it's possible to max out all four of them by 4-2.

Anyway, great work cracking this game open, Turrican. Would like hear from you about stage 5 someday.
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:41 pm 


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Sly Cherry Chunks wrote:
You have to power up those megablasters individually, so now I'm wondering if it's possible to max out all four of them by 4-2.


Not a chance. :x

That's another issue with hardware autofire. I understand that this game is loathed by many simply because very soon shooters evolved in a completely different path, and this plays like little else around. However, exploiting the autofire to make it similar to Truxton, when it's not, alters the flow of the game. Having a constant wall of bullets in your aid means that you very rarely miss a single cash bubble, so you can maximize cash and likely save a lot of health. Button mashing through It conversely means you'll get less cash than what I wrote, especially in later loops, AND you'll be forced to use some of that hard earned money for health refills...

Sly Cherry Chunks wrote:
Anyway, great work cracking this game open, Turrican. Would like hear from you about stage 5 someday.


Sure, several paths do open for me. I can fix my beloved 500, or else install a gotek into It. But at this point, if there's a good Jaguar emulator around, I wouldn't mind to try the latest port.
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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:39 am 


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Turrican wrote:
Sly Cherry Chunks wrote:
^That's really strange. I never knew this! I suspected you could max out cash and I read that you could accidentally roll your money back around to 0 but this explanation makes much more sense. Very hard to test this when there's no indicator on screen.


You can easily test this in the first two levels. You can end 1-2 with some 5000, or more if you sell the freebies. However, don't spend anything and by the time you reach 2-1 shop, you should have 3850 or so. Here's some notes from one of my recent playthroughs:

1-1 free rear
Shop 1-1 cash circa 1000 (just the perfect amount to max autofire, provided you don't need a health)
1-2 free cannon
Shop 1-2 cash circa 4450 (all must go)

2-1 free powerup
Shop 2-1 cash circa 3850 (+2000 sell cannon) [sell rear]
2-2 free side
Shop 2-2 cash circa 8200 (all must go) [sell side]

3-1 free rear x2
Shop 3-1 cash circa 4500 [sell rear lvl2]
3-2 free side
Shop 3-2 cash 12000 (sell stuff and you can go higher than 12000) (all must go)

Shop 4-1 cash circa 3500 (this Is the last megadrive shop and thankfully they remembered to apply the 50% discount on everything) (all must go)

4-2 free rear x2 (poison, avoid!)

Sly Cherry Chunks wrote:
I guess this lessens the 4-2 cash milking. But there was never any point in saving money anyway though (Imagine trying to do a X-Out score run though :shock: )


The money saving is for ocd people like me obsessed with pod simmetry :wink: . I stubbornly managed the buy/sell transactions in order to reach 4-2 with four laser megablasters, although It really wasn't worth the hassle.

Sly Cherry Chunks wrote:
Weird seeing you take on the twin snakes with virtually no weapons. I never saw a reason to sell that first cannon the game gives you and you can get at least a couple more by this stage.


I was trying some shopping extravaganza in order to trigger again the differently coloured snake... The cannon unlike the laser can't be powered up, but I concur that, at least in this truncated MD version, It isn't worth the 2000 cash loss in order to replace It.


I've 1CC'd amiga version countless of times, and I was always 100% certain that you don't lose your money on next level. But like said before, there is no indicator for money during in-game. Good that you included that table to test it on, I will investigate into this, because if it's true, I can actually alter my play style a bit, making the game easier than it already is.


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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:08 am 


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Turrican was right, even in amiga the amount of money is zeroed after exiting the shop. Manual tells nothing of this.

Oh my. If I had known, back in the day, it would have been soo much easier to 1cc this game, because I would have always had enough left for autofire/extra heart/nashwan/you name it :D


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 Post subject: Re: Xenon 2 Megablast - Mega Drive vs. Master system or Neit
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:43 pm 


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MJR wrote:
Oh my. If I had known, back in the day, it would have been soo much easier to 1cc this game, because I would have always had enough left for autofire/extra heart/nashwan/you name it :D


Yeah, nashwan, advice, everything Is fair as long as you empty your pockets, otherwise you're losing It anyway.

Getting back to the twin snake boss a moment... Here's a possibile explanation for this. I think it's just too clean for this to be a bug...

I'm sure you all have noticed that Xenon 2 is guilty of another "blasphemy" for genre aficionados: the game takes record of how much damage you inflict to bosses, and respawns you with a convenient checkpoint at them. Basically, if you take out 90% of energy from a boss and lose a life to It, you respawn there and destroy the remaining 10% with a few shots...

Maybe in this mechanic lies the secret of the twin snake, because It occurs to me when I die... Maybe they just wanted to make sure that the snake fight did pose a challenge regardless of life loss... MJR, could you try on the Amiga to see if you can get the double snake at all?
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