Retro Club - Power Blade 2/Trouble Shooter 2
  • davyK
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    I'm using the Fusion emulator.
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • Castlevania: Bloodlines - Switch (80mins)

    Strong effort from Konami for this exclusive MD entry, there are technical tricks on display in places that would make Dynamite Headdy do a double take.  Occasionally things are pushed just a little too far, as unlike the company's other efforts this creaks a little under the weight of its own ambition (although oddly the 'this console shouldn't be doing this!' bits are mostly slowdown free).  Still, overall it's a tremendous technical achievement with a cracking game holding at all together.

    I played as Eric Lecarde this time, whose lance is absolutely fine but makes it feel a bit odd for a Castlevania game.  I'm sure this was intentional as added variety for the second character, but I have my suspicions that the ridiculously OP vertical attack wasn't supposed to be quite so useful.  If you over-use it and take your time the frames of invulnerability will get you out of most problems.

    Exploitable specials aside, difficulty wise this is hard to judge - I thought it was extremely tricky.  Perhaps even more so than Contra Hard Corps.  Obviously you get far more health to deal with each stage but there's precious little opportunity to claw any of it back.  I've approached most CV games with save states tbh, and it's hard to get a feel for the full shebang even using states at the start of stages.  Does this have a finite number of continues, for example (if any)?  Dunno.  If not then wow, it's tough.  Some of the passages of play - especially towards the end - are pad smashers with the number of sections you're required to get through in a row.  That's the nature of the beast, clearly, but these games are definitely harder than most.

    Scores high for effort (the two characters don't share the exact same stages iirc, although it's been ages since I've played as Johnny Morris) and almost as high for execution.   It's not quite Castlevania IV, but for my money it's closer than a lot of people think.  90%

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  • Actually ignore the continues comment, just remembered it has passwords.
  • davyK
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    It's tough all right. I fucked up last night and over-wrote my save state!!  Starting again. But enjoying it. It's a bit of a cracker.

    Those damn bats are real widow makers. :)
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • Played a bit of Zombies ate my Neighbours this week, forgot to mention it here. I briefly had it as a kid but didn't get on with it so we sent it back to Index and got Hyperstone Heist instead iirc. I know it's considered a good game but it's quite monotonous solo.

    Had a blast with the Konami stuff but I'm ready to move on if anyone has anything else in mind.
  • davyK
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    Got Castlevania collection on steam for £4 tonight. Given the only game I've spent any time with in this is C4 I'll get good value out of it. M2 emulation too - Bloodlines is in there. That and C1 and 3 will ensure I get £4's worth!!

    Some funny little additions too - and there's JP ROMs as an option.
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • I've been playing Zombies in co-op recently.

    Although it has its charm I would say its a borderline bad/not good game.

    It can be quite dull, very frustrating and it's difficulty is all over the place.

    I know Konami only published it but its definitely one of the worst games to carry their name from the era imo.
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • davyK
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    I had it on SNES. Played solo. Some levels were great fun; others a dirge. There was a hedge maze level with Leatherface enemies I hated.

    Was very tough. I reckon the difficulty was set for co op. The idea was great though. A reconsidered modern remake could be rather good but licencing would probably kill it.
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • Rocket Knight is free on Games With Gold this month. I assumed this one passed me by as I never bought it in the 360 era and didn't know it was on the BC list. Happy with this, reviews were mixed at the time but I've read some positive things since.
  • Changing topic to something a little less focused than usual, simply play something you haven't played for ages.  Partly inspired by watching this....



    ...which made me realise I haven't played Wardner since around 1992.  Plenty of Master System games sprung to mind too, I don't think I've played Quartet since I owned it, for example.
  • davyK
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    Wardner. I have a deathless run I made on YT. Arcade version. Just under 1m points. There's a shortcut in the forest level I take which cuts a tricky section out. Always meant to go back and do another run without using it.


    My tower of shame is teetering re consoles. But there's SNES games I played to death I haven't touched in ages...Smash TV springs to mind.
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • So, save state assisted runs of the following...

    Quartet - Master System

    Or duet, lel.  The arcade game had four characters and supported four players, but the MS version was nerfed down to two.  Still, it ran quite smoothly in co-op, which was the main reason to play.   I had this back in 1990/early '91, and presumably played it a fair bit.  I thought time would have been despicably nasty to this, but it turns out it was just mildly unkind.  There's novelty value to the way your depleting score is also your health bar, and the levels are occasionally non linear, but it's not really a game to play unless you're armed with nostalgia.  It can be fiddly and irritating once it hots up, especially when it starts to throw precise platforming at you.  Not one I finished as a kid iirc, at least not properly (you have to collect hidden stars within stages or you'll be booted back to earlier stages after level 5).  The music tugs at some half-forgotten the reminiscin' strings, but tbh the main thing I remember about this is wanting the second pad so I could play as the bald chap (Edgar) rather than the lady (Mary).  Not awful considering its age, but also not worth playing.  56%
  • Wardner - Megadrive

    My dad bought my Megadrive from a colleague in October 1992, and it came with the following games: Bonanza Bros (PAL, in a plain white box), El Viento (Jpn, loose cart), Sonic the Hedgehog (PAL, boxed with manual), Rastan Saga 2 (Jpn, boxed with manual), Magical Hat Turbo Adventure (Jpn, boxed with manual) and Wardner (USA, loose cart).  It sat in a black plastic sack in his wardrobe for around three weeks before my birthday, and I don't know that he didn't know that I knew but I think he didn't know I knew.  This sounds like one of those for-the-cameras half truths, but I used to go and paw through everything whenever the coast was clear.  Initially, Wardner just wasn't as OMFG as Sonic or a snazzy as Magical Hat.  It didn't scream 16-bit either (I also got Revenge of Shinobi from a new school chum on my birthday, which felt bleeding edge to me, and Sonic 2 as an early Christmas present, which definitely was).  I warmed to it eventually, but I made slow progress at first - it's brutally difficult.  Little by little I got to grips with it, and all these years later I'm probably ready to declare it as one of the best of its kind.  I've always been partial to Ghouls 'n Ghosts, but I actually prefer the more measured/methodical approach to the similar-ish template here.  

    If anything, I think time has been especially gentle to this as despite the chunky sprites, fairly basic visuals and an overall look that is unmistakably early 16-bit, it's a bit of a gem.  You play, you learn a bit more, you die, you repeat, then you learn to do it all a bit quicker as there's a ticking clock to consider too.  I know exactly where I got to as a kid, and that's 21.50ish on the video below, as I always ran out of time after being held up by the sodding floating heads.  I must have completed it since as I remembered the final boss from today's playthrough, but I couldn't say if that was a revist on the console many years ago, or with save states not quite so many years ago.  It's basic, but there aren't many better LEARN IT platformers from the era.  89%

  • A suggestion for people up for it.
    The epic Enix trilogy:

    Soulblazer
    Illusion of Time
    Terranigma

    Yeah it's a big undertaking and an enormous timesink but would also be an interesting change of pace?
    Steam: SirPunk01
    Windows Live: mr of unlocking
  • I'd sit it out but only because I can't handle RPGs (and if I ever felt I could I'd probably play Chrono Trigger), would be interested to read the feedback though.
  • Chrono Trigger would also be an excellent choice for a revisit. It's shorter too.
    Steam: SirPunk01
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  • I'm playing Final Fantasy VII atm so I wouldn't join in either tbh.

    Chono Trigger is the only JRPG I've ever completed, but I did get about two thirds into Final Fantasy IV before messing up the save file. I do intend to go back to that, probably on the PSP as that version looks great imo.
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • davyK
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    My deathless Wardner run (MAME). Did this during lockdown#1

    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • Hugely impressive stuff, Davy. Are they all your own tactics? First and last boss approaches both surprised me.
  • davyK
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    Last boss I learned from watching a playthrough otherwise it's my own work. I used to be able to defeat the final boss the old fashioned way as there is a safe spot but you have to be pixel perfect. Keeping the guardian fairies is the best way - makes getting past the ghost sections in the last level trivial too.  But keeping them means not losing a life in the last level.

    That bit with the stone heads is still the most likely place to screw up.

    I take that flying shortcut through the forest level which makes things a lot easier. I mean to go back and do another run not using that.

    There's another hidden 1up I missed in the maze level which would get me over 1m.

    That MD port looks solid. Some nice effects added even. Worth a packet now.
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • davyK
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    post moved - wrong thread.
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • Have started Soul Blazer. It's blueprint is remarkably close to Actraiser but this is Quintet after all. Simple script and gameplay template yet still addictive enough to keep you coming back for more.
    Steam: SirPunk01
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  • Isn't Soul Blazer a top down thing? Don't think I've played that one.

    Not sure if it was prompted by the RPG chat but I've decided to replay Shining Force 2. Not got out the first village yet but enjoyed revisiting the opening.
  • Yeah, Soul Blazer is a bit like a cross between Zelda and Actraiser.
    Simple yet surprisingly good. It captures that '1 more go' feel to a tee.

    Shining force 2 is excellent if I recall. Great for Fire Emblem/Advance wars lovers interested in the history of the genre.
    Steam: SirPunk01
    Windows Live: mr of unlocking
  • How's Soul Blazer coming along? I played about 10mins a few years ago, just enough basically to decide if the ROM was worth keeping for a serious play.

    I've been playing Road Rash II for this. I'm up to Level 3 but am starting to realise I've fucked up by not doing the old trick of repeating the earlier races to build up the cash.

    It's one of those 16-Bit games where I think without the memories you just won't get it. Its a bit rough these days with quite a choppy frame rate, kinda like Star Fox on SNES. You need a bit of time to adjust, but once you do it's still a blast imo.
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • I loved Road Rash 2 but it's one of those games that kinda never really gets any better than your first few races.
  • Nearing the end of SoulBlazer. Gameplay and puzzles are simplistic but suprisingly addictive. Perfectly suitable for mobile play actually. Well worth a playthrougjh even if it isn't quite up there with classics like som2 or Zelda lttp.

    Final thoughts in a week or so.
    Steam: SirPunk01
    Windows Live: mr of unlocking
  • I've been pushing on with Shining Force II, which I hadn't played since the late 90s.  It's superb.  Slade has just joined the party (it is Christmas after all) so I'm up to a crew of six.  Some of the dialogue is awful but the grid battles are still hugely moreish.  There's not as much to keep you on your toes as there would be in most games like this these days, but simplicity is usually key to how much I enjoy the genre (and this is where it started for me).  SF2, Skulls of the Shogun, Mario Rabbids, Ghost Recon Shadow Wars, Gears Tactics, Advance Wars - FE Awakenings excluded that's the roll call for my favourites, off the top of my head anyway.  They're all deep enough to be extremely rewarding without going full XCom.  

    All things considered this is probably my favourite single player 16-bit game, so it's nice to be back.
  • PETER and MAY have joined the party. Replaying this was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
  • SF2 is an evergreen classic. Lot's of hidden characters in there as well and has aged like a fine wine as an early 16-bit strat RPG.

    Almost at the last boss with SoulBlazer. Don't have all the items yet but it was a good run. Story is pretty barebones but the the gameplay loop is solid.
    Steam: SirPunk01
    Windows Live: mr of unlocking

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