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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:19 pm 


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Power Blade is a rad game. I share the same general sentiments; it's an incredibly fun game, but it feels like it's also much easier in terms of combat than your average platformer. Not an entirely bad thing to have easier games out there that are more accessible, and the platforming and exploration are interesting enough to keep it enjoyable. The screen feels more cramped in the sequel which I wasn't entirely fond of though.

How do Cadash's ports stand up? I got to try the TG-16 version recently, got kinda wrecked with the mage early on when playing with a friend and the skeletons showed up in the diagonal ramp-like area. Seems like the mage isn't the ideal character to start with as those fireballs are awkward to use!
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:31 pm 


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Some good info on Cadash AC/MD/PCE here, by our resident expert Vanguard. AC Japan vs AC World, too! Console war AND region war! Image
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:36 pm 


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I should have known someone here would have written about it, cheers!

"First cave is much harder [in the TG-16 port], it's probably the hardest part of the game."

o_O Yikes, no wonder.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:08 pm 


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Speaking of Sunset Riders' superb ledge downshot: Dark Horse one-pass kill. He's easy anyway, but no reason to keep him around longer than you have to. Image

X-TRA REFINED Smith Bros takedown (Loop 1; second seems identical?)

Man I love Compile-style Burst Pickup Invincibility.

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Make a RIGHT FOOKIN MESS of the final stage's front line and look SUPER SMOOVE Image Sure to have the no-game noobs going FALSIFICARE
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:11 am 


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Alright, I got my V1.1 of * Power Blade - R2RKMF Edition * ready!
(click the big text to download)
It's an IPS patch that applies to the US version of Power Blade - Either use an emulator that supports it, or patch using Lunar IPS.

Image

I've done very little testing on this. I did tweak the damage values a little as I went along, as I think the initial ones made the game a bit too hard(!). And I quickly found out several enemies in the game really rely on you being able to throw multiple boomerangs, so even though others were made much more interesting by being limited to just one (you need to actually adapt to their patterns instead of just spamming attack), there are others that'll just block your path when you spawn powered down. So I've ended up with the following changes so far:

v1.1 changes:
- "E-tanks" can no longer be picked from the start screen, giving the illusion that they are still a thing.

v1.0 changes:
- Knockback always occurs on damage from any object, even while jumping or climbing stairs
- Final Boss no longer sets a checkpoint at the beginning of that stage (respawn at the ladder before his door)
- Fixed the grenade instakill bugs on certain bosses from the vanilla game

v0.3 changes:
- Boomerang is now always at max damage (red)
- You can drop down from ladders no matter how far down you are on the screen
- Picking up a power armor when you already have it adds another hit point

v0.2 changes:
- 4 hits from anything will kill you.
- Can't increase the number of boomerangs at all, but you can level up the damage level to the red boomerang (level 3)
- You start the game at the second damage level and can't drop below that
- Fixed missing 1UP graphics

v0.1 changes:
- All enemies do increased damage, 2-3 times as much as normally.
- Conversely, hamburgers will now also heal a bit more.
- Dying will respawn you at the last screen transition (this ended up being way harder to make than I'd anticipated, as the game doesn't have a dynamic checkpoint system, and always expects to spawn you in the middle of a room)
- "E-tank" rations are all gone. You'll find 1UPs instead where they were (the original game didn't have any, so I had to create the item)
- You can now only power up damage once, range twice, and throw two boomerangs at most
- Dying however, does not decrease the boomerang count. The other powerups will still decrease
- It only takes one hit to lose the power armor
- Dropping from an ladder no longer kills you as long as you fall through the floor where a ladder is located. It makes a couple of shortcuts on stage 1 a lot easier to pull off, but more importantly, it avoids unintuitive cheap deaths. You'll still cling to the ladder on the next screen because if you didn't, Nova would just stand on it like it's a platform, which was pretty dumb. It's the best fix I could come up with, and I might go back and try to improve it.

Other stuff I'd like to add later on: In-stage pointers that lead you in the direction of the key so you don't need to get lost.

The checkpoints for every room and the dropping down without dying were both a little awkward to implement, so they might result in some bugs, but I haven't discovered any so far. If anyone is interested in trying this out, I'd appreciate feedback. Especially in terms of the difficulty adjustments. Every enemy in the game has its own damage variable, so they can be tweaked quite a lot.


Last edited by Sumez on Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:59 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:36 am 


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:mrgreen: Image

Unfortunately I don't really know the game, so I might not be the best to test it out. Nicely done, at any rate - indexed!
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:23 pm 


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Ow, definitely still needs some tweaking.

Just played a run through, and the bosses on stage 1 and 2 are quite hard now (there's not a lot that can be done about the others due to their simple attack patterns), but the stages are still quite easy.
I'm thinking of either going back to only single boomerangs but allowing the full damage upgrades, or maybe just removing healing hamburgers completely. Or maybe both?

Also, the new 1up graphic is missing in a couple of stages.

EDIT: Fixed it up a bit. Still need to test it more thoroughly, but now anything will kill you in four hits, no matter if it's a bullet or a beefy boss. Hamburgers are still in the game, and I put the red (strongest) boomerang back, but now you can never toss more than one boomerang at a time. Feels like it makes the game a little more rigid, which is nice.

The game still isn't too hard, but it's a lot less willynilly blasting OP through the stages, which I like. Again, hoping someone somewhere is able to enjoy this. :) I haven't ran into any bugs yet myself.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:14 am 


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BIL wrote:
That said, Power Blazer seemed like a middling Rockman knockoff with one of the fugliest character designs I can recall (Rockman... with hockey hair... in jogging pants and a wifebeater? you fucking with me, pendejo?!)


he's trying his god damnedest ; __; gosh

i actually kinda like the stout little guy! his stern expression, weird proportions, and total lack of body armor combined with that american gladiators-esque cyber helmet & boxing gloves makes him really interesting. he's not good character design, per se, but he's very memorably weird-lookin'. something about him evokes this sense of affection in me, though maybe it's just because he's rockman's retarded cousin? i do really like how much effort is in his boomerang toss.

how much i'm willing to go to bat for this definitely-not-good game makes me wonder if i've lived long enough to turn into one of those kusoge defenders or something, tbh. it's not quite hiho densetsu territory in "mediocre game i really and truly adore," but i'm all defensive when people are mean to it lol.

Sumez wrote:
Unfortunately the stage design is just really bad. Or rather, it fluctuates between being nice and serviceable, and areas where you are constantly forced to stop up and wait, or sit through loooong slow autoscrollers.


yeah :[ i love captain saver, but it's got some serious problems in its turgid stage design. i had someone on my youtube channel remind me my run was apparently what would be 4th fastest in speedrun records if i submitted, and i was just like... "huh." lol

i think the game is really foundationally solid and that it's a worth looking in to for action fans, but it could have been so much better if they'd have just gotten rid of some of that uselessly dull shit. once you get them down, you can skip a cycle or two here and there, but you're still sucking it.

Sumez wrote:
NONE OF THAT HERE THOUGH! This game is tight as fuck.


hell yes! this is one of the most undersung and worthy action titles on the famicom, imho. weirdly good shit and an incredible showing when compared to fc genjin. it's a bit fluffy but it plays just beautifully C:

Quote:
I really want to try the (somewhat more expensive) PC Engine game - but I hear it's not as good? It really looks like just another game based on the same basic engine, so I'm curious to know more.


man, with how much i've totally fallen in love with the pc engine, this is still one i've not gotten around to, either! lol

i've heard the same as you and mostly stayed away from it because of that, though. i believe several people on here have at some point spoken against it and i'm forced to believe a consensus. i want to imagine it's better than people have given it credit for, but given i've never heard a single person say it's even on the same level... i doubt it :[
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:30 am 


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kitten wrote:
something about him evokes this sense of affection in me, though maybe it's just because he's rockman's retarded cousin?


I was thinking more middle-aged Rockman going through a brutal divorce and trudging out for one last romp to make alimony, but yeah, this works too. :lol: Definitely a memorable design at the least, I really was not expecting him at all - and that counts for something, in his naturally iterative genre!

Just learned, in hilarious fashion, that Sunset Riders has rank. Make it to CHIEF WAMPUM (nee SCALPEM) on one life, and you'll be rewarded with his Loop 2 knife spread. :shock: Whooops! Oh well. Image I wonder if the later guys rank up too, could be a bit of a pain! I love it! Image FUCC, I wondered if avoiding the 1UP (staying at rest:05) might cool it, but nope. Only way out (AFAIK) is suicide, and that shit ain't Ruff Rydin!

Holeh smokes! TOTAL EXECUTION METHOD FOR SMITH BROS

Neutralised p.much. Assuming MAX POWWA with Bob/Cormano. Dunno about Steve/Birry, I don't use em! I plan to after I get that there 2-ALL 1LC though, pretty sure they're generally weaker with the lack of pointblank, but their pistols have some interesting sweep properties. That pointblank feels damn good though, especially the i-frame shotgun assassination on Bomb Bro.

Second stage is a bit dull (seventh, OTOH, is good fun), and the two bonus rounds (four in a 2-ALL) are a bit annoying, though perversely addictive with their POYFECT bonus. Otherwise I'd call this the best Contra I know of. Easily tied at top rank, as-is.

God bless Hamster for their continued diligence - whatever voodoo they do to get these controls so mahfuckin tight, I VEHEMENTLY AND VORACIOUSLY APPROVE Image ACA Hard Action makes me feel like I can execute a flawless Triple Epstein (=NINJA BACKFLIP) and smash my cock straight through a granite driveway once again Image MAN/MACHINE SYNERGY RIVALLING THAT OF CRT+CART Image And I'm playing on a pitifully Frankensteined DS4 and my grandma's MAURY TV! :o Bravo chaps, keep it (AND ME Image) up long and hard.
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Last edited by BIL on Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:28 pm 


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I think Power Blade is just ok. Nothing special. The semi-linear exploration isn't handled well at all. Multiple paths through a stage are great, but not if only one of them contains the key to the boss's room. I do like the precision mechanic of ending your boomerang's arc right on top of an enemy for extra damage.

I tried out the first four sectors in your hack. Set it on expert mode but I don't know what difference it makes. This seems pretty hard. More in line with the later stages of Castlevania 3 than a Megaman game. The harsher damage scale really changes the way you need to approach everything. Vanilla Power Blade is about mindless, carefree blasting, R2RKMF edition demands a cautious, methodical approach.

The higher damage scale combined with powerdown on death creates a vicious cycles where once you start losing it's hard to turn it around. That's largely well and good but it does get out of hand if you die right before a boss battle. I don't want to backtrack and farm enemies for upgrades, but I also don't want to fight the boss with the piddly default attack. Even if I can win it isn't fun. Maybe you should keep your damage upgrades after death? They don't seem to make a huge difference outside of boss battles. Or maybe the default attack could be bumped up a bit? Bringing back the second boomerang would also help.

Speaking of, I'm not sure if I like the second boomerang's removal. That second shot helps a lot in reacting to surprises. Removing it increases the need for memorization which is already a lot more important here than in the base game. Without a second boomerang the charge up meter has become pointless, but I never saw much value in that thing in the first place. With only one boomerang, range upgrades are often downgrades. With the shortest shot you can still fire pretty quickly, fully upgraded, there's a sizable vulnerable period. It does force you to play more responsibly, but I'm against changes that reduce the player's murder potential.

1 HP armor feels bad but you made the right call. The wave shots are way too dominating for something so easily obtained and retained. If you pick up a suit of armor while already wearing one does it give you a second hit point of armor? Because it should. Removing the final range upgrade was a good choice. Even with the base game's second highest range upgrade, sniping is a little too effective, but reducing it any further would likely mess up the level design and bosses. Besides, with only one shot that last range upgrade would be more trouble than it's worth.

The ladder drop change is a tremendous quality of life improvement. Would it be possible to modify the ladder controls so that pressing jump always lets go of the ladder and drops down? It works in some places and doesn't in others and it isn't clear to me what the cause is. Mostly it's ladders at the very bottom of the screen, which aren't too big of deal.

Overall this is promising! I'm enjoying it much more than I ever did vanilla Power Blade.

I don't believe this has anything to do with the hack, but I don't understand how damage knockback works. Sometimes I get knocked back and sometimes I don't. I don't think it has to do with what I'm getting hit by. Does one of the powerups grant super armor?

BIL wrote:
I was thinking more middle-aged Rockman going through a brutal divorce and trudging out for one last romp to make alimony, but yeah, this works too.


lmao yes! He totally looks like a grown man stuffed into a child's costume!


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:38 pm 


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Thanks a lot for taking the time to go through it!

Vanguard wrote:
This seems pretty hard. More in line with the later stages of Castlevania 3 than a Megaman game. The harsher damage scale really changes the way you need to approach everything. Vanilla Power Blade is about mindless, carefree blasting, R2RKMF edition demands a cautious, methodical approach.

That's exactly what I'd hoped for. I thought it's still a little easy with the hack, but I think that can probably be credited to me playing several stages through a couple of times during testing. :P So if the game does provide a sizable challenge going in a little more fresh, I think that's pretty much what I hoped to achieve.

Quote:
The higher damage scale combined with powerdown on death creates a vicious cycles where once you start losing it's hard to turn it around. That's largely well and good but it does get out of hand if you die right before a boss battle. I don't want to backtrack and farm enemies for upgrades, but I also don't want to fight the boss with the piddly default attack. Even if I can win it isn't fun. Maybe you should keep your damage upgrades after death? They don't seem to make a huge difference outside of boss battles. Or maybe the default attack could be bumped up a bit?

The game has three damage levels, but the first upgrade isn't really obvious because it's a blue boomerang identical to the one you start with. I already removed that and made it impossible to go below that level for exactly the reasons you mention. But honestly, I wouldn't be opposed to just starting with the red boomerang and never losing it. I might make that change.
I think the game makes you spawn outside boss rooms exactly to give you the chance to go back and farm, but I agree it's not a good thing. Though honestly, with the red boomerang (even if you don't have multiple) all the bosses go down really quickly.

Quote:
Speaking of, I'm not sure if I like the second boomerang's removal. That second shot helps a lot in reacting to surprises. Removing it increases the need for memorization which is already a lot more important here than in the base game. Without a second boomerang the charge up meter has become pointless, but I never saw much value in that thing in the first place. With only one boomerang, range upgrades are often downgrades. With the shortest shot you can still fire pretty quickly, fully upgraded, there's a sizable vulnerable period. It does force you to play more responsibly, but I'm against changes that reduce the player's murder potential.

This rises an interesting point, especially the ability to to quick reactive maneuvers, which is one of the things that makes the original Power Blade a lot of fun to play, but also generally very easy. It's definitely something that IMO lifts the gameplay massively from something like Kage's onslaught of cheap hits. But on the flip-side, beating Kage actually feels like an achievement.
I think I need to keep at least one drastic change like this in the hack, and I didn't really like removing the red boomerang but keeping the 2x - it barely changed the game. The combination of being stuck with one throw and enemies doing more damage makes the dynamic of moving through stages more interesting to me, but I won't deny that the vanilla version's murder spree offers a lot of fun on its own. But it's also what makes the game a pushover. So it's a tough balance, and there might not be a perfect one.

Quote:
If you pick up a suit of armor while already wearing one does it give you a second hit point of armor? Because it should.

It doesn't, but that's a great idea actually.

Quote:
Would it be possible to modify the ladder controls so that pressing jump always lets go of the ladder and drops down? It works in some places and doesn't in others and it isn't clear to me what the cause is. Mostly it's ladders at the very bottom of the screen, which aren't too big of deal.

I haven't looked into it, but yeah with this hack it suddenly becomes very obvious that the game does this - probably to prevent such dumb deaths from falling. I think it's just that you can't do it below a certain Y coordinate, but if it's not too complicated to change this, I'll do it - another good idea.

Quote:
Overall this is promising! I'm enjoying it much more than I ever did vanilla Power Blade.

That's very nice to hear! :) I felt the same while testing it.

Quote:
I don't believe this has anything to do with the hack, but I don't understand how damage knockback works. Sometimes I get knocked back and sometimes I don't. I don't think it has to do with what I'm getting hit by. Does one of the powerups grant super armor?

It's definitely not related to any powerups. I think it's just the knockbacks might have been an afterthought (outside of the tighter time limit it's literally the only "expert mode" changes), and the mechanics that determine them are probably really wonky. Could be another thing that would be fun to look into.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:18 pm 


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BIL wrote:
It's most definitely not the POS Athena to Dogosoken's Psycho Soldier! (I apologise, Athena fans! CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE YOU FUCKS)


Oof, this game.

It reminds me of King's Knight, a lot. For so many reasons.

Besides the idiocy of digging through piles of inanimate blocks to level up, it really does put the mind to focus on power up systems. The randomized weapon drops with gigantic differences in power levels between them (wider than being barehanded in Altered Beast versus a demigod beast that slaughters everything) has to be possibly the worst of power-up system I've seen.

.... honestly my gut always says there's always something to learn from flawed and bad ideas, but my brain only has to say this about Athena: poo poo pee pee, it is a bad game. It didn't deserve the NES cover.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:51 pm 


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Nor the C64,ZX Spectrum/etc cover :D

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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:01 am 


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I came upon Kitten's Captain Saver playthrough and decided to revisit the game after watching it, employing her "strategy" of just liberally abusing the power suits. It definitely made the game more enjoyable (and a lot easier, too), even making some of the downtime areas less annoying, even if they still require a lot of waiting time.
It's not a terrible game, but definitely in the lowest tier of Natsume's action platformers. Mitsume Ga Tooru doesn't get mentioned much (I guess it's more platform'y), but I liked that a lot more.

Being on a bit of a Natsume kick, I also decided to revisit Kage, seeing it through to the end. I haven't touched the game since acquiring an NTSC copy (been stuck with my PAL "Blue Shadow" up until last year).
It's kind of crazy come to think of it, considering Natsume's NES output feels almost custom tailored to my tastes, I really haven't played most of them as much as I should. I think Shatterhand is the one I've spent the most time with, and I never saw the final boss of that game.

Anyway, as I touched on shortly in my previous post, Kage did leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth starting out, remembering almost nothing from the game. It felt a lot more challenging than I remembered (which might be related to playing the Famicom version now), and getting knocked down to the standard sword constantly made it very hard to make any headway into it. Conversely, the moment you do manage to get on top of your path through the game and hold on to the fully upgraded sword, the game becomes incredibly easy. It's almost like a parody of Contra's spread shot :P
The enemy design is a mixed bag, and all of them taking a crapton of hits to finish off definitely takes some time to get used to. It feels extremely bad at first, but once I got back into the groove it wasn't too bad of a problem anymore.

A lot of the time, this kind of feels like "Natsume's Raf World" to me. In that most of the enemy encounters are kind of unintuitive, and will punish you when you don't know the game. The boomerang throwers are proably the worst offenders, and there are some of them I never figured out how to handle. The stages range from really fun to 4_2 (at least they took a cue from Mega Man 2, and packed all the game's worst BS into a single stage), it has a very nice and short arcade-like length, and the game's single autoscroller is completely apt and serves as a great build-up to the final boss fight.

I should revisit Shatterhand and Dragon Fighter too, to finish off Natsume's series of compact action men for good.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:04 am 


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Sumez wrote:
employing her "strategy" of just liberally abusing the power suits.


hey, it's a good strategy >:[ lol

i did kind of route the game! you can really shred some bosses to pieces and clown on some of the stage segments. also, pls "slam that like button," someone hit the dislike on that video like a year ago and it hurt my very fragile feelings.

i don't know why, but playing captain saver gives me really similar vibes to playing ankoku densetsu on pc engine. something about... their palettes? pacing? i don't know. they're pretty different games, but for reasons that words are failing me, i like them in pretty similar ways. ankoku densetsu is a game i'd probably be more willing to go to bat for as being good, but they're both pretty overlooked games. maybe this is just magical thinking about my weird and growingly ingrained love for the occasional forgotten action game creating connections that don't really exist, though? anyway, uh, play ankoku densetsu, i guess. if you haven't.

Quote:
Mitsume Ga Tooru doesn't get mentioned much (I guess it's more platform'y), but I liked that a lot more.


we talked abt this one a couple of years ago when i uploaded a play, too (right about when i won captain saver on YAJ, actually lol) - i'm surprised to see you prefer it over captain saver, i feel like it's even more bumpily paced. bosses are too beefy and the money system feels like it eats more time than captain saver auto-scrolling/crusher/etc. bits. most the enemy and encounter design just feels... slow, also. i always feel like i'm slowly chugging and never carving my way. i feel the same way playing mitsume ga tooru that i do watching someone play a rockman game badly with all the stopping and plinking. i love the production value on the game but i frankly think i enjoy playing jetman more, which is probably natsume's lowest tier action output on the famicom.

Quote:
A lot of the time, this kind of feels like "Natsume's Raf World" to me.


i posted about this a couple years ago right around the same time i was talking about mitsume ga tooru, but it's "rough" world. it's not an "A", it's the IPA symbol "ʌ" that reads as the "uh" sound. if you go into the sound test, the word "rough," in english, is kept at the top of the screen, too.

Image

if everyone knows this and i'm being the dork going "ackshully, it's...," i apologize ;__; i genuinely couldn't tell if that post got overlooked or everyone just likes raf better.

- -

eugghhhh god i just realized i never wrote a description for metal stoker and moved it out of my YT drafts. i need to do that before i forget too much of the game to even write about my play. here's some other runs i meant to post about when i planned on posting that and horribly procrastinated. longer reviews in the description for each of these 4 -

ganbare! daiku no gen-san (nomiss) - easier than other games in the series and with a weirdly awful MIDI soundtrack, though i think this packs enough silly visual pizzazz and pleasantness in the well-executed basics to be worth a spin.

mystic formula (hard mode, 1cc) - pretty breezy top down shooter with semi-free scrolling through linear stages. fun anime presentation. a little too unremarkable to wager a serious recommendation, but it's fun!

jumpin kid: jack to mame no ki monogatari (nomiss) - outright kusoge - i implore you to seriously strike an emulator up and be baffled at the awful jump. weirdly charming, decent soundtrack, maybe my favorite asmik game, but they only ever made dogshit.

cocoron (nomiss) - i've talked about this one on here before, i believe. link to my article in the description. offbeat game by the creator of rockman that is delightful and charming but has too many undercooked ideas to nail the execution.

Image

now to just... actually maybe sit down and write a goddamn description for this tomorrow and publish it, it's been more than a month v___v;;;
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:51 am 


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I actually remember that post, and I didn't realise it until you pointed it out then.
I won't deny that the game is meant to be a stylised "Rough World", but if I wrote that I think few people would recognize the reference. :P That's all there is to it.

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Aw man, I bought that one.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:04 am 


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oh yeah that's probably a good point lol

re: jumpin kid - i still like it a lot! it's really bad but it has this strange charm to it. it also has a memorably creepy ending screen where you just stare into nothing in your basic 3-quarters profile sprite while the princess looks directly into your face in front of a big heart. neither of you move or blink and you cannot escape the screen without resetting.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:58 pm 


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Just updated my Non Shmup clear list, can be seen on my sig, I forgot that I did clear Mad City before, I swear game was patheically easy like I got a 1CC after handful of attempts, but Bayou Billy is different story. Another example of SUPEREASY and SUPERHARD example.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:50 am 


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Got a 1CC in Power Blade R2RKMF. Now that I've spent time with both the hacked and unhacked versions I can see Power Blade's merit. That inconsistent knockback on expert is some amateur hour shit though. That isn't the Natsume I know! Did gaijin program that crap? It doesn't interfere with play that much, but it sets off my kusoge alarm really badly. I can't enjoy the game properly with something so fundamental messed up like that. I'll stick to normal mode.

On the hack itself, the checkpoints don't seem to work in stage 7. I died on the final boss and got sent back to the start of the stage. That's probably for the best since that boss would not be fun with one blue boomerang.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:42 am 


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Vanguard wrote:
That isn't the Natsume I know! Did gaijin program that crap?


Very likely since there was that article from Captain Nintendo who wrote about localizing it.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:52 am 


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BryanM wrote:
BIL wrote:
It's most definitely not the POS Athena to Dogosoken's Psycho Soldier! (I apologise, Athena fans! CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE YOU FUCKS)


Oof, this game.

It reminds me of King's Knight, a lot. For so many reasons.

Besides the idiocy of digging through piles of inanimate blocks to level up, it really does put the mind to focus on power up systems. The randomized weapon drops with gigantic differences in power levels between them (wider than being barehanded in Altered Beast versus a demigod beast that slaughters everything) has to be possibly the worst of power-up system I've seen.

.... honestly my gut always says there's always something to learn from flawed and bad ideas, but my brain only has to say this about Athena: poo poo pee pee, it is a bad game. It didn't deserve the NES cover.


Ahh, Kingeh Wingeh. Proud owner of a NOS Famicom copy here. ;3 I can dig the "HOLY FUCK - UR BASE CHARACTER SUCC" conceit in its simpler STG context. Though it most definitely runs into problems at the finale, revealing itself to be not

"Build a strong party during the opening stages, for a better chance at the final gauntlet!" (Cool! Image), but

"Find all teh hidden tiles, or LMAO WALL CRUSH U" (What the fuck Image oh FML, it's already shipped)

What saves it for me, ultimately, is THIEF TOBY's walk animation. I can't believe it's real! Image His knackers must be pointing in opposite directions ENTIRELY :o

But yes, Athena blows ass at the same concept. The tiresomely arcane lore of WTF does what (blue sword, red sword, etc etc etc). The hideously dull rock-bashing, like you're some bikini-clad Nelson Mandela (Kingy's scenery-smashing at least has a viscerality, provided you CHEETZ with autofire, your men levelling town, castle and countryside alike with the mowing satisfaction Image). The dogshit physics and handling. But most noisome of all...

...the worst Screen Edge Ride™ I have ever seen, in my god damn life. "Explore and find items" Ok! "With 1pixel clearance between your character's face and enemy swords!" No. Worst game I've purchased in the last fifteen years, which isn't saying much, as my collection is AMAZIN, but the gulf between this odious kusoge and the LEAST of my shelf is measurable in galaxies. ATHENA A SHIT GAME :evil: (slowpoke.jpg)

I still want to like it. :oops: Some cool people like Janet enjoy it enough to no-miss the PCB. Or maybe they were driven by sheer hatred. That does happen. :o

Oh, watching that vid reminds me of the one thing I do like - the dopey, muffly little tune that plays when a secret tomato sprouts. That's alright at least.

Sumez wrote:
Anyway, as I touched on shortly in my previous post, Kage did leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth starting out, remembering almost nothing from the game. It felt a lot more challenging than I remembered (which might be related to playing the Famicom version now), and getting knocked down to the standard sword constantly made it very hard to make any headway into it. Conversely, the moment you do manage to get on top of your path through the game and hold on to the fully upgraded sword, the game becomes incredibly easy. It's almost like a parody of Contra's spread shot :P
The enemy design is a mixed bag, and all of them taking a crapton of hits to finish off definitely takes some time to get used to. It feels extremely bad at first, but once I got back into the groove it wasn't too bad of a problem anymore.


The NES version's reputed enemy HP buffings always sounded like a terrible idea to me... Kage's enemies are already plenty durable. Even on FC though, it's by far the least gracefully-executed of the Natsume Power Trio. Middle child and all that. Dragon Fighter's more accessible and Solbrain's more sophisticated. Rough entry barrier, partially due to unforgiving powerdowns, partially just flawed design (blind hits from offscreen boomerangs, the bizarre projectile system, an overly-brutal base weapon).

Still love it though, it's a blast to tear through once mastered. Lately, I'm finding a good endgame run will really redeem sub-optimally designed games (indeed, see also Raf World). Kage's finale autoscroller is an uncommonly great one too, even. Brutal sniper pressure!
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:18 am 


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BIL wrote:
Lately, I'm finding a good endgame run will really redeem sub-optimally designed games

That's absolutely true, and ultimately I guess what gives it a little bit more of an edge over Power Blade's otherwise insanely well orchestrated flow and control. The satisfaction of mowing succesfully through Kage hits the nerve that I want from my favourite NES-Famicom outings.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:23 pm 


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Says a lot about the quality of Stage 5-2 that, despite being an autoscroller, it's possibly the game's most intense sequence. Dreadfully easy to get punishingly walled in and sniped there. Most intense other than attacking 4-2 at high speed and risking multiple falls down the lift shafts, at least. Image

---

Hey Marc, you were right about Sunset Riders' [duck] command having a bit of lag! :o It's a relatively small amount, but I could definitely see it becoming noticeable on a sub-optimal controller/display, as you mentioned. Seems like 4/5 frames. Interestingly, the input has to be held, too. The character won't even move if you feather the [down] input. Every other directional input comes out next-frame, including diagonal-downs, which means slides are instant just like shots.

As shown here: ShmupMAME 4 behaves exactly the same. Offhand, I'd guess it's game coding, rather than emulator lag. I wonder if it's some internal check, like KOF 98/99's four frame wait (for directional inputs) before executing buttons. Crouch state in Sunset differs significantly, depending on whether you're on a "floor" or "ledge." (different animation frames, and distinct aiming mechanics).

On my usual setup, it's not bad enough to impede - I didn't even notice it until this afternoon, testing out my battered dpad after nailing my first second-loop nomiss. Didn't even pick up on it while doing stuff like the Dark Horse speedkill. But I do duck/drop a bit "in advance" now.

---

The loop is interesting, differing subtly but significantly. Enemies' generous attack startup is marginally shorter - if you're accustomed to instakilling them, you may not even notice at first. But now, if you're not whip-smart, they'll get shots off. Enemy attack frequency and bullet speed both seem subtly boosted, too - if they start firing, their shots will reach you faster, and with more followups.

This also makes enemies left behind you more dangerous. They're much likelier to take potshots before being scrolled offscreen - creating a potential sea of flying lead, if you're sloppy. I really like this - makes the game feel deadlier, without compromising on its rampant feelgood pace. You can still steamroll all in your path with barrages of hot buckshot, but those left lurking behind aren't without recourse!

Basically, the loop makes authoritative play vital, rather than superfluous - no bad thing. Very much like Elevator Action Returns' default VS max, come to think of it.

Stage 2's autoscroller is a bit livelier, though still the game's weak link, while Stage 7's stronger attempt becomes outright dangerous and thrilling. Even st2 ultimately doesn't detract much - Sunset's aesthetic is so innately gratifying, simply sending bandits tumbling into the dirt, rolling haplessly, endlessly along as their bellowing steeds rear up and the train thunders on is fine entertainment in itself.

Just like third_strike said in his 2ALL 1LC notes, the biggest threat by far is Chief Wampum, whose shuriken burst is now a fearsome five per (I do love that you're pretty much fighting Super Shinobi Joe with Contra Hard Corps' Ray, down to Chief's guard stance and brutally dominant automelee... except, uh, for the slide being non-invincible, never mind :shock:).

It's possible and maybe preferable to devise a set speedkill route, as his movement seems determined by your position. But he can still be fought "normally," with similar tactics to Loop 1. Aggressively chasing him with slides, to evade most of the spread, without being in sword range upon his landing is my basic principle.

I think bosses get a smidgen more HP in the loop, though it's only a tiny amount if so. The Dark Horse speedkill is a bit tight, where in Loop 1 it's a breeze.

Having such a good time with this. Image Not to be greedy but MYSTIC WARRIORS PLS. This is like a long-lost Contra finally getting home release. Image
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:35 pm 


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Glad to hear I wasn't imagining it - I just couldn't tell if it was the game, the shitty mushy D-pad, or a combination of. Much better with the SNES mini pad, but still feels a bit odd. Need to get back to it this week, managed to Chief last credit I played, got battered.

NES Contra is nice. Makes the coin-op feel like an early access demo at times.
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:59 pm 


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Ducking's not all that important in Sunset, thankfully - you're almost always better off just blasting whatever's in your way. Most of the Rolling Thunder scenarios (Purple bandit behind box, Injun archer behind boulder) are best handled by hopping over and splitting the fucker's wig with a jumping downshot, Contra-style. :lol:

I'm really glad the slide is frame-instant, that would've been a crying shame if it were lagged. There's a move you frequently need to come out instantly, and it's also just fun to bust out for style points with its instant, ripping speed and enemy side-switch properties.

Spoiler: show
Image

Spoiler: show
Image


Was interested to see, while messing with Loop 2 Dark Horse, that he'll actively get out of your way, if you try to jump down onto him. You can actually exploit this, if you're trapped between he and his men's guns, to escape. Just hop down and he'll scoot - he will promptly level his gun and blast at ground level, of course.

Much friendlier sort of arcade game than, say, Ikari, which will happily piledrive your respawned player straight onto a landmine if you don't actively counter-steer. Image

Even Richard Rose does similar - jump down onto him and he'll retreat. A very handy "reset" if he's underneath you and firing too close for comfort! Noticed some nice safespots in that fight, not that he's all that dangerous once his cover and zako are exhausted. Very ad-libbable, provided you don't do something daft like try to hop over him (he'll shoot you in the ass every time).
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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:00 pm 


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BIL wrote:
Ahh, Kingeh Wingeh. Proud owner of a NOS Famicom copy here. ;3 I can dig the "HOLY FUCK - UR BASE CHARACTER SUCC" conceit in its simpler STG context. Though it most definitely runs into problems at the finale, revealing itself to be not

"Build a strong party during the opening stages, for a better chance at the final gauntlet!" (Cool! Image), but

"Find all teh hidden tiles, or LMAO WALL CRUSH U" (What the fuck Image oh FML, it's already shipped)


I don't even consider the final stage part of the game. Got your four guys to the end, alive? Congrats, you win! You get the best reward for your ending: Now you can turn it off.

When I heard they were making a gacha game based on this franchise, I was a bit flabbergasted. Yes yes, I know they'll make a gacha out of anything, especially if the idea is bad or terrible. (They could make good games or good passive incremental games if they wanted to, but they don't have to so hardly anyone ever does.) But of all the properties in the backlog, all the shit you could just pull out of your ass and see if it'll stick to the wall, they chose King's Knight. For a phone game. ...I can't think of a single reason this might have been a good idea.

It was a one and done product, in that it lasted one year or less (quite a bit less in this case) and then gets shut down forever. Certainly incentivizes people investing their time into squeenix gacha games, making it an easier sell for their future games, I'm sure. Customers love having their games taken away after putting money into them, it's what they love the most.

Quote:
But yes, Athena blows ass at the same concept. The tiresomely arcane lore of WTF does what (blue sword, red sword, etc etc etc).

...the worst Screen Edge Ride™ I have ever seen, in my god damn life. "Explore and find items" Ok! "With 1pixel clearance between your character's face and enemy swords!" No.

I still want to like it. :oops: Some cool people like Janet enjoy it enough to no-miss the PCB. Or maybe they were driven by sheer hatred. That does happen. :o


I'd like to like it too, but I know it's just my love of platformers with RPG mechanics (Cadash, Zelda 2, etc) talking.

Athena just isn't even trying to be liked - what's with the bosses. A tree and an octopus are not bosses, they are mooks. They could have just as easily had stuff like Magical Schoolboy Poseidon as a boss. The melee attack animation is almost invisible since the weapon is already held out and the difference between the passive/attack state frames is like 2 or 3 pixels, you can't even be sure if you've attacked or not!

I prefer my kusoge to be magnificent, like Hoshi wo Miru Hito. At least they were trying at some things, they didn't just dump the most generic, thoughtless crap possible into their cart. Athena why do you no try hard.

Fixing Athena:

* Have more magical schoolkids as allies and baddies. Have the stages be less generic. Why isn't one of the powerups a stupid cute fluffy piece of shit that follows you around and shoots things? All magical girls have fluffy soul-devouring monster mascot sidekicks.

* Gear progression goes only incrementally up or laterally. ai, if you have a level 2 sword, drops can be a level 3 sword, or a level 2 hammer, bow, etc. Having multiple player characters with different weapon trees (Artemis with bows/spears for example) would be even better.

* Have a bit more range for melee weapons, especially if enemy knockback isn't going to be a thing.

* Get rid of the rocks. Replace with rare treasure chests.

Argh. And it's hard to get mad at the designer and dev team, since I have no idea how much freedom they had. So I'll just blame the suits - it's always their fault anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:53 pm 


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Vanguard wrote:
On the hack itself, the checkpoints don't seem to work in stage 7. I died on the final boss and got sent back to the start of the stage. That's probably for the best since that boss would not be fun with one blue boomerang.

I made it so that the game's built-in checkpoints still take priority (start of stage, when you get a key, and at a boss fight). The game probably intends for you to replay the entire stage if you die at the final boss (I can't remember honestly?), so it might be overwriting my own checkpoint with one for the start of the stage when you enter the fight. I'm gonna have to make a special condition for that stage, otherwise it'll be like Ninja Gaiden XD.

I added the max damage boomerang at default and stacked power armor HP to the patch, and made it possible to drop down from ladders no matter how far down on the screen you are (that was fortunately an incredible simple hack).
I'll look into fixing the final boss checkpoint tomorrow, and maybe see if I can fix the glitchy knockback too!


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:25 am 


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BIL wrote:
The NES version's reputed enemy HP buffings always sounded like a terrible idea to me... Kage's enemies are already plenty durable.


HP buffings? I was under the impression that some enemies took less hits in the US Shadow of the Ninja.


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:13 am 


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I've never played the US version, but the enemies definitely felt a lot more buff playing the Famicom version than what I recalled from the EU one (been a few years).


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 Post subject: Re: Ninja Gaiden [NES] + Scrolling Action Monogatari
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:35 am 


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Oh duh, completely misread Sumez's post. Yeah, I remember now, it's the FC with tougher enemies. Piling even more HP on them would be comical.
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