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rllmuk

DeDeDe

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  1. I completed the Mega Drive game over the weekend, and I agree that it's the better game. The arcade game might have more impressive graphics, and the setting and plot make more sense, but it really feels as if the developers took a look at the arcade version and said, "We can do it even better." And, all in all, they did. The Mega Drive game simply has better controls--and that makes all the difference. The dog mechanic works much more efficiently, and the stages are more varied and interesting. I still hate the ninjas, but at least game gives you more time and space to think about the challenges ahead--which extends to the the bosses, which are much fairer. Sure, it's frustrating, but in a good way this time. It's a shame that it doesn't really make full use of all the features and capabilities it introduces in the first level. The environmental hazards basically stop appearing after the first level. The forward-back plane level structure is underutilized, and I wish that they'd done more with vertical planes as well. The thing that puzzled me the most, though, was just how little the dog is used. You have a couple of levels where he/she is really useful, (the beautiful cave level being a good example) but it's a shame that for about 85% of the time, he's just a sprite accompanying the main character. I feel they could've done much more, but as it stands, it's a fun, clever game, and I can see how it became a cult favorite. I think Ninja Cop/Five-O is the best ninja-themed game, but this was good. I also played the first couple of levels of the Master System port. It's a very impressive game, with amazing graphics and sound--especially when compared to the ESWAT port--but I don't plan on playing any further, as it's even more frustrating than the arcade version.
  2. I've just completed the original 1989 arcade game, and I must admit I have very mixed feelings about the game. It's a really accomplished game, tech-wise. The game runs on Sega's System 18 board, which apparently is a beefed-up System 16, and it really shows. It's not a graphical showcase like Super Scaler games, of course, but there is some impressive sprite work here, and the vaguely gamelan-like soundtrack is really interesting and a real step up from the original Shinobi soundtrack. Gameplay-wise, the addition of your dog as a weapon to distract enemies is an interesting touch; level design is good as well--there's a surprisingly amount of variation throughout the four chapters, and you don't really know what to expect at every level. It sounds interesting on paper, but in practice it's a very frustrating game. Like with the Mega Drive ESWAT, the game reminds me of Ghosts 'n' Goblins, as it's not really an action game, but a puzzle/strategy game that just happens to be structured upon an action game template. Timing, reflexes, and anticipation are important skills, but there is not a lot of freedom to advance through the levels and the game is not forgiving at all. What makes it especially annoying is that Joe Musashi himself doesn't feel like a ninja. He controls really stiffly, and what's worse--he's really fragile. If you're hit, that's it: you have to start again from the beginning of the level. Bosses in particular feel cheap: every boss battle starts off really abruptly, and they quickly become incredibly tense (in a bad way), as any mistake will cost you a life. In many ways, I feel like it's a better game than the arcade ESWAT, but it's much less fun. I don't think I'll play it again, but I'm looking forward to the Master System port and the Mega Drive game.
  3. I made this today. It’s nowhere near as confusing as the Wonder Boy series, but the timeline finally made sense to me when I plotted it out in full. I’m not very familiar with the series, so I went with what Wikipedia suggested are the main games in the series. I believe the PS2 game is a sort of reboot of the series as well, but I didn’t denote it in the graph for the sake of simplicity.
  4. To each their own, I guess, but in what way are Iconoclasts, Chasm, and The Messenger not metroidvanias?
  5. I watched this a couple of days ago. I really enjoyed it. It probably tries to cram too much plot into just one movie, but aside from that it was a really fun ride. One welcome surprise is that I felt that the movie suggests that the movies can be understood as the movements of characters within the continuum of the light and dark side of The Force--in a similar way as to how time and karma are understood in Buddhism.
  6. I finished Radical Rescue, the third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game on the Game Boy, about two weeks ago, but the usual festive duties/events prevented me from writing about it. I'd been hesitant about playing Radical Rescue, however, because earlier in the year I played the first and second GB TMNT games (Fall of the Foot Clan and Back from the Sewers), to find that they were much worse than I'd remembered. Not terrible games, but disappointingly average games with great music. Radical Rescue is much, much better, though. I'd even venture to say that it's probably one of the best TMNT games. My thoughts: (spoilered for length)
  7. I also hear that the launch games will include a remake of the original Ridge Racer arcade game (with reality synthesized graphics) and a game featuring historical battles set in ancient Japan.
  8. OK, how about handhelds? GB - X: 3D graphics on the original Game Boy. GBC - Shantae: They actually had to cut down the script to put more sprites on the screen. GBA - Simpsons Road Rage: Developed by licensed game assembly line Altron. DS - Metroid Prime Hunters: I'm not a fan, but it's certainly impressive graphically. GG - Tempo Jr.: The easy answer might be "Treasure games," but this looks impressive. PSP - Monster Hunter Portable 3rd: This is where it starts to get boring, but the PSP certainly had graphically impressive games.
  9. Hmm... SCIV can be a frustrating game, but I have to disagree about that: there certainly is a (relatively) forgiving difficulty curve. It’s just that things do get much harder later on. And, to be fair, the difficulty curve is not smooth in places like the Clock Tower, for example. The way I see it is that Super Castlevania IV is a game that is always testing you in three key gameplay areas: Whipping (in 8 directions + swinging) Verticality (jumping, falling, enemies above or below you, etc) Stairs It's a fairly strict teacher, and you usually don't get a second chance on the same life, but I don't see it as unfair. I grew up with these game design philosophies, so maybe it's a mild case of Stockholm Syndrome. SCIV is a game that chooses you, and maybe not the other way around. The randomness of the game also presents mini-challenges or lucky breaks at times, and I like that about it. One moment that stands out to me is in Stage 9, when a skeleton was hanging around the edge of a platform as I was jumping towards it, with the ground disappearing below. Normally, that skeleton stands a bit farther back, so this was going to be tricky to go through. I lobbed an axe at the skeleton, and two jumps later whipped down-right and then quickly whipped him again as I landed on the platform right next to it. It was a really tense moment, and I felt a rush when I pulled it off. I imagine it might not be the same for everyone, especially if you don't click with the game. Nevertheless, it's telling that Castlevania gradually started to get rid of all these "classic" elements from this point forward. I believe one of the basic design points of SOTN was "no stairs."
  10. So, erm... I finished the game last Friday. It wasn't my intention to do so this quickly, but, spurred by @Qazimod’s progress, I started my own play-through about a week ago, and after three sessions, Dracula was dead, and Simon Belmont was looking across from the cliff as the castle crumbled. (You'd think Dracula would place his castle in a less conspicuous place...) My impressions (spoilered for length):
  11. @ulala I don’t get what you’re saying. We can argue about how difficult and unfair Super Castlevania IV is, but what's odd about the password system and the linear design of the game? Passwords are there simply to mark your progress, in lieu of battery save. Are you saying that the game would be better without passwords? Or that SCIV would work better as a Metroidvania? Edit: Ah. I think I get it now. Now that you point it out, you posit an interesting argument about game difficulty in 8-bit and 16-bit games. Arcade games needed to be difficult to get as much money as they could from players. With console games, developers had to make games hard in order to make people think they got their money’s worth. Password systems made things worse, as they freed developers from balancing the game as a whole, and encouraged them to think only in terms of stages. It’s a compelling argument which merits a longer discussion, I think. However, I’m not sure the developers were conscious about it in this case. Arguably, the various Castlevania games developed previously had set a precedent, and I think everyone expected SCIV to have the same sort of difficulty level.
  12. I'm not sure, but I get the feeling that you really like Contra. Anyway, Cybernator doesn't really count, as it was developed by Masaya and published by Konami. So if you're going by games published, you could make a good case for Enix, which published Actraiser, Soul Blazer, and Dragon Quest V during the SNES's first two years. (If you stretch the time period to mid-1993, you could even count Ogre Battle and Torneko no Daiboken as well.) But, yeah, no one could match Konami during that golden era. You can add Buster Busts Loose to your list, and they published Cybernator and arguably the best version of Prince of Persia.
  13. As soon as the winner of the poll was announced, I had the soundtrack of the game stuck in my head. Super Castlevania IV is a bit of a divisive game among Castlevania fans, but everyone agrees that the soundtrack is amazing. I like it even better than the one in SOTN, although maybe that might be because the baroque stylings appeal to me more. It's amazing to think of how many amazing soundtracks Konami was making for 16-bit systems back in the day; I really took it for granted. Jeremy Parish's YouTube video analysis is worth watching, and then there's an article about the development of the game which might be a little cloying, but it has interesting information about the game. It was a bit of a surprise to find out that the game was developed as the same time as Castlevania III. Anyway, I just bought it on the e-shop, and I'm really looking forward to playing it. The chain whip sound is a little different, and there are other differences as well. I personally feel that the title logo and the font choice is better in the non-Japanese versions. However, the blood in 8-1 certainly gives the level a different feel.
  14. One more unpopular opinion: I think the music in the New Super Mario Bros games is rather good. One of the best parts of the series, I think.
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