Retro Club - Scrolling beat 'em ups
  • Couple more retro games I have played recently: 

    Caveman Ninja (Arcade)

    Another arcade game that's ruined by its almost broken difficulty by the need to keep gamers pumping those coins in.

    The only real positive of this is the graphics, the sprite art is gorgeous. Oh, and its co-op which made it just about bearable to see through to the credits.

    I had this on SNES as a kid, and from memory that had extra levels and a far fairer difficulty. I might add the ROM to my SNES mini and check it out.

    This version has disappointed.

    2/5  

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  • Thunder Cross (Arcade) - 30mins  

    Very good Konami shoot 'em up that never saw a home release afaik.

    Nothing out of the ordinary for 1988 really, R-Type and Gradius were both out by then but this does everything well.

    As much as I like shoot 'em ups I'm not very good at them, this one seems a bit on the easier side than most I've played, actually felt like one I could get good at if I put more time in.

    As usual, an absolute blast in co-op. Good stuff.

    4/5

    My reviews
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  • I fancy a run through of Shinobi III so I'll put that in here if that's okay with everyone. Join me if you can, it's a belter.

    I went back to Cameltry and it's a top tier curio, but I must admit I lost interest a little as the stages got more complex. It's something I expect would have played properly at the time, the idea is very well executed for a 16-bit game.
  • Yeah, that was my feelings with On The Ball. Like good puzzle platformers such as Solomons Key or The Lost Vikings it got too hard for me quite quickly.

    I've got a ton of retro games I've played recently that I need to do write ups for, will try and do it tonight.
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  • davyK
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    Solomon's Key - now there is a brilliant but rock hard game. I loved that on NES but I could only get so far and I don't think you could continue.   (Maybe you could but I got all anal about high scores)


    Played some Salamander 1 & 2 on Saturn last night. Really nice game that. Had forgot how good it is.

    Chilled out with some Sega Rally on Saturn too - played arcade/3 lap mode. Lovely stuff.
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • Questor
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    Had a quick blast on Shinobi III last night. 

    Still reckon I prefer Revenge, but that might be because I have so much experience with that game
  • Yeah that's where I am with it. If pushed I'd probably admit III is a better game but I've spent so much more time with Revenge I still prefer it.
  • On The Ball (SNES)

    SNES does Marble Madness, kinda. It's actually more like Kororinpa on Wii in that you move the maze and not the ball, just like those cheap handheld puzzles with tiny metal balls in we all had as kids.

    Anyway the mode 7 is used very well, and the controls are simple and intuitive, there's not much to fault really.

    Unfortunately I'm just not very good at it, I got just over the halfway mark before throwing in the towel.

    A good game that is very unique amongst the 16-Bit libraries, probably deserving of an extra point but it terms of personal enjoyment it's a solid...

    3/5

    My reviews
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  • Ghost Sweeper Mikami: Joreishi ha Nice Body (SNES)

    A Japanese only release that I discovered through SNESdrunk.

    A simple action platformer, based on a Japanese anime which is essentially Ghostbusters. It's developed by Natsume who made some great NES games and are a very underrated developer of the era imo.

    The graphics and music are both great and it controls perfectly, it has that great action platformer flow that games like Castlevania do so well.

    Unfortunately its let down by its short length and lack of challenge. There's only 7 Levels, and enough continues to see the credits within an hour, even for average skilled players. There's even a password system, which is completely unnecessary.

    If there was a bit more meat on the bone and more of a challenge this would be firmly in the hidden gems category. As it is its a fun playthrough, nothing special but there's certainly worse ways to pass an hour.

    3/5

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  • Cross-posting from the 52 games thread....

    Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master - Megadrive (90mins)

    I fancied revisiting this after watching a Sega Lord X video recently.  I missed it at the time as I think I'd had my head turned by the promise of polygons in the pipeline at that point*, but I did play the quality M2 port on 3DS.  It's an excellent ninja game and in many ways it's better than Revenge on paper, but that remains the pinnacle of the series (and genre) for me.

    Joe's expanded repertoire of moves is well handled, with the diagonal flying kick being particularly useful.  The wall jump is fun too, and not over-used.  Stages are well designed, leaning more heavily into outlandish territory than its predecessors, and the visuals are super nifty for a MD title.  Audio lets it down as it somehow manages to sound weaker than Revenge in every area.  I know these tunes are comparatively unfamiliar to me, but I don't think I'm being harsh by describing them as mostly uninspired and occasionally insipid.  The best piece of music appears twice, which was recycled and improved for the Ice Cap Zone in Sonic 3 anyway.  Bright spots aside it's a crushingly disappointing score on the whole - up there with Streets of Rage 3 muzak as the greatest travesty of justice in Sega's history.  Both games sound like Koshiro was replaced by a cat running over a keyboard at times.  The sound effects have that CLUNK sound I wasn't keen on with some Megadrive games too.  The horse/surfing segments are strong (or at least a welcome change of pace), which makes a nice change for that sort of thing, as are bosses for the most part.    

    I can't find too much fault with this elsewhere, but the pixel perfect arcade(athome)like simplicity of Revenge actually gives it the edge.  Time has dulled my skills and I played this with heavy use of save states.  Unless I've lost the ability to judge this sort of thing, the last two stages felt trickier than anything from its predecessor.  There are lots of insta-death holes in the back half of the game too, which feels harsh with a starting base of three lives.  NB: I don't know if this offers continues because save scumming innit. Either way this would be harsh game in original cart form for sure.  Overall it's very good, and I'd understand someone arguing its case for inclusion in a MD top ten, but it's not quite there for me. 88%

    tumblr_ofrmgtA77h1s9677oo1_r1_500.gifv

    *I checked the release date after typing this and it was released roughly a year earlier than I thought - the visual trickery is even more impressive for mid '93.  Not a clue why I wasn't itching to play this at the time then.  Reviews were mixed for an IP of this calibre but they were still mostly high.  I don't think it's always been placed on the pedestal it's on now - time has earned this extra kudos points.
  • Green Beret AKA Rush'n Attack (Arcade)

    80s Konami run and gun, that's a loose term as your main weapon is a knife. You play a Green Beret tasked with infiltrating enemy military bases (4 levels in total) to save POWs from execution by firing squad.

    There's a decent amount of enemy types in the game, cannon fodder that run straight at you that pose little threat, RPG and Flame thrower armed Soldiers and also dogs. Then from the air, Jetpack, Parachute and Gyrocopter Soldiers.

    From these you can upgrade your combat knife to a three-shot flamethrower, a four-shot RPG, or a three-pack of hand grenades.

    Had this on the NES as a kid and am happy to say this is an arcade game that's superior to the console version by not being a massive quarter muncher. Add to that the usual arcade benefits of superior graphics and sound and this is a winner.

    4/5



    Dynasty Wars (Arcade)

    Side scrolling beat 'em up from 1989 by Capcom. The goal is to wipe out the Huang Ching, defeat the tyrant and bring peace to the Han Dynasty.

    You play on horseback and attack to the left with one button and the right with another, with a third button used for specials.

    It's really basic and quite dull tbh, and at 8 levels it really dragged. If it wasn't for playing couch co-op I doubt I'd have made it past the halfway mark.

    2/5



    Carrier Air Wing (Arcade)

    Early 90s side-scrolling shoot 'em up and spiritual successor to U.N. Squadron.

    Like U.N. Squadron you choose from three different characters and buy weapon and shield upgrades in between stages from the shop.

    Also like the prequel instead of one hit kills you have an energy bar which is handy for people like me who despite loving these types of games aren't particularly good at them.

    There's 10 levels so plenty of content for a game like this, the graphics and sound are both superb which is kind of what you'd expect from Capcom in this era.

    Very good game, a shame it never got a console port back in the day.

    4/5

    My reviews
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  • Nice. Love the fact that of all the games available on Switch a mutual friend was most hyped about finally playing Carrier Air Wing at home.
  • Loved Green Beret and hammered my C64 version more than any other game. The C64 version also had some of the greatest chip tuneage ever written by Martin Galway...

    Live, PSN & WiiU: Yippeekiyey
  • Moot_Geeza wrote:
    Nice. Love the fact that of all the games available on Switch a mutual friend was most hyped about finally playing Carrier Air Wing at home.

    You can stick your Breath of Wild up your arse,
    You can stick your Breath of Wild up your arse,
    You can stick your Breath of Wild,
    Stick your Breath of Wild,
    Stick your Breath of Wild up your arse!

    He fucking loved it.

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  • Eric wrote:
    Loved Green Beret and hammered my C64 version more than any other game.

    Nice.

    I guess your feelings about the C64 version mirror mine of the NES. The arcade version is superior across the board but I'll alway have a huge soft spot and preference for the version I played as a kid.
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  • Absolutely. There's nothing like the wave of nostalgia I get from memories like that.
    It's been an age since I've played either and I should revisit.

    Moot, I hit Dynamite Headdy last night, had to play the game legitimately on genuine hardware without save states as I couldn't find my Retron 5 sd card!

    Got to the twitchy flying stage just after the Hot air balloon with arms boss and succumbed to the randomness. It's really stingy though, 3 lives and no continues!
    Live, PSN & WiiU: Yippeekiyey
  • It's extra mean when you consider that the game was developed with two base continues in mind, they just wiped them for the western release. I swear it was easier to nab extra continues in the Jpn version I played this week too - not seen this confirmed anywhere but it felt like you needed to collect less of the things that spew out either side of defeated bosses to earn another try. Brutal game, I'm sure I played it and loved it maybe three/four years ago (which was the first time I saw the hidden numbers post credits stage) but I can't find my write up. I rented it twice before buying it in the 90s, I think renting gamed sometimes helped me get better at them as the race against the clock kinda forced me to improve. Definitely remember it having to go back to Ritz/Blockbuster first time when I could only get as far as the 7-1 robot boss.
  • Moot_Geeza wrote:
    It's extra mean when you consider that the game was developed with two base continues in mind, they just wiped them for the western release. I swear it was easier to nab extra continues in the Jpn version I played this week too - not seen this confirmed anywhere but it felt like you needed to collect less of the things that spew out either side of defeated bosses to earn another try.

    I've been watching YouTube videos recently about this, the coined term is rigged rentals.

    Back in the day Nintendo (and maybe Sega?) took Blockbuster to court the try and ban game rentals, they lost.

    Their solution was to make the Western versions harder than intended to try and force the consumers hand into buying the game if they couldn't finish it on a rental.

    I've been playing Popful Mail on the Mega CD recently, which was a game that suffered from this, thankfully a hack is available that restores the intended Japanese difficulty.

    The most famous example is probably Contra Hard Corps on Mega Drive, again a hack is now thankfully available as the Western release was borderline broke with the increased difficulty.
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  • Makes sense (not the idea itself imo, just the revelation). Some western developed releases were stupidly difficult to the detriment of enjoyment too. I always moan about it but MD Aventures of Batman & Robin could've been such a great game, instead of somehing only really playable with a Game Genie/save states.
  • SoR3 was another title broken on western release.
    The japan release had the perfect difficulty curve.
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  • davyK
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    I think Atari back in the 2600 days tried to stop rentals too.

    I didn't know Green Beret was an arcade game. I always assumed it was a NES game as I never saw it on anything else. Heh.
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • I had it on the CPC464.
  • davyK
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    Yeah - it seems to have had plenty of ports. I possibly just wrote it off as a generic soldier-ey thing. I remember first seeing it run on a Playchoice 10 cabinet which was just slightly enhanced NES games.
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • I think you'd like it davy, might be worth booting it up on MAME.
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  • davyK
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    Yeah - was thinking that.
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • Mercs (Arcade)

    Classic co-op overhead run and gun shoot 'em up from Capcom.

    Only real fault is its short length, the Mega Drive version remidied this by adding an original mode with additional levels but was only single player.

    Playing with a friend always improves games like this for me, so its a win for the arcade version.

    4/5



    Forgotten Worlds (Arcade)

    Another scrolling shoot 'em up from Capcom.

    What makes this one stand out is the rotating controls. You shoot with one button and use two others to rotate your character clockwise and anti-clockwise.

    It's decent enough but once the novelty of the controls wore off I thought it was quite average. It had a Mega Drive port but I've never played that, it did remind me a bit of the Trouble Shooter/Battle Mania's on MD, which are superior to this imo.

    A decent playthrough with a friend but nothing special.

    3/5

    My reviews
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  • Strikers 1945 II (Arcade)

    My little 2020 write up of the first game:

    Another hard as nails 2D shoot 'em up.

    The arcade nature makes it another coin guzzler by default, if I was actually playing in an arcade I'd have spent (50p?) on about 1 minute of gameplay. Of course at home via emulation it equates to infinite continues and an inevitable completion.

    It amazes me how good people can get at these. I'm useless at any of the post 16-Bit entries in the genre, the sprite handling capabilities went through the roof and there's so much going on that I find it hard to keep up and clearly see what's going on.

    Like scrolling beat 'em ups they're just a blast in co-op though, and it becomes a contest of who can get the hi-score as oppose to 'can we complete it'. Good mindless fun.


    This is basically just more of the same, which is a good thing.

    3/5

    My reviews
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  • Loved Mercs, don't think I've played the arcade version.
  • davyK
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    Strikers 1945 II (Arcade) My little 2020 write up of the first game: Another hard as nails 2D shoot 'em up. The arcade nature makes it another coin guzzler by default, if I was actually playing in an arcade I'd have spent (50p?) on about 1 minute of gameplay. Of course at home via emulation it equates to infinite continues and an inevitable completion. It amazes me how good people can get at these. I'm useless at any of the post 16-Bit entries in the genre, the sprite handling capabilities went through the roof and there's so much going on that I find it hard to keep up and clearly see what's going on. Like scrolling beat 'em ups they're just a blast in co-op though, and it becomes a contest of who can get the hi-score as oppose to 'can we complete it'. Good mindless fun. This is basically just more of the same, which is a good thing. 3/5

    Real players only claim they have beat the Strikers games if they complete the 2nd loop on 1 credit. Bonkers skill levels. Those Psikyo games take no prisoners. They tend to feature stupid bullet speed which can only be dealt with my rote learning in the later levels. Life is too short for that caper. They are fun games if you crank the difficulty down but then you can't claim a 1CC.
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • davyK
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    Just tried Shinobi III on MD courtesy of the old Everdrive. It's a bit tasty.
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.

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