Retro Club - Scrolling beat 'em ups
  • Week nine: Snake, Rattle 'n' Roll (NES, Megadrive)

    Isometric 3D search 'em up developed by Rare, released on the NES in 1990.  Take control of Rattle (and Roll in the simultaneous two player mode), and scour eleven levels - twelve in the MD version - for Nibbley Pibbley's.  Each Nibbley Pibbley increases the length of your snake, and if you find the required number before the timer hits zero you can exit the level after ringing the weigh-in bell.  Keep an ear out for classic 50's rock 'n roll chiptunes too. 

    I hope this information is right - I've never played it, so I pinched all this from Wikipedia.  Mean Machines awarded it a tidy 94%. 

  • I seem to remember playing a version of this on the Gameboy.
  • The Wiki page said there was a Gameboy sequel called Sneaky Snakes.
  • Just googled images of it and, yes, that was it. I owned it at some point but can barely remember what it was like and must have got rid of it many years ago.
  • I had this on the Mega Drive and I could never get past the second level.
  • This is a ridiculously hard game to play with iffy diagonals on the d-pad.  I wish I was playing with the NES pad - instead I'm struggling through on the GP32X with liberal save states.  Up to the penultimate level.  It's great.
  • Castle of Illusion (MD)

    Decent platformer with amazing graphics, some decent level design and bosses, let down by its length like most Disney games of the era. I think thats more acceptable for an 8Bit game than it is a 16Bit one and with a little retrospect the Mega Drive was capable of much more E.g. Sonic/Ristar/Dynamite Headdy/Earthworm Jim etc.


    World of Illusion (MD)

    As above really except the bosses in this game are pretty poor. The game is saved for me by the excellent co-op.
    Both of these are a whisker away from a 4/5 but I just feel there were better alternatives out there, especially by 1992 when World of Illusion came out. Recommended but not essential Mega Drive classics.

    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • Harsh but probably fair.  Castle of Illusion on MS is a 5.
  • Moot_Geeza wrote:
    Harsh but probably fair.  Castle of Illusion on MS is a 5.

    If I had some nostalgia for them they would definitely be a 4.

    I’m gutted I didn't play the MS one tbh. From what you've said over the years it sounds every bit as good as the Capcom Disney games on the NES which I would probably all give a 4/5 to except possibly Chip N Dale... that might be a High 5!
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • Not feeling Snake Rattle and Roll yet. Only played the first level mind. I'll try and get a bit further into it by the end of the weekend. I haven't really got a clue what's going on.
  • The idea on the early levels is to eat the blobs that are spewed out of the machines (avoiding the bombs), which adds length to your character.  You open the exit, if you're heavy enough, by weighing yourself on the scales with the bell at the top.  Never played anything like it myself.

    Edit: Actually, now that I think about it, I think they borrowed some ideas in Sonic 3D Blast (which is pretty much a cross between Flicky and SR'nR).
  • Ah ok. That's a ridiculous concept for a game. 

    I approve.
  • Week ten: Flashback (Amiga, Megadrive, SNES, various)

    Delphine software's cinematic platform puzzler from 1992. Lauded for its realistic animation system - dubbed 'Rotoscoping' - and intricate sci fi plot, you control Conrad B Hart, who wakes in a jungle on Titan in the game's first level, completely unaware of who is or how he got there. Taking influence from, amongst other sources, Prince of Persia, Total Recall and Running Man, Conrad must unravel the mystery of his amnesia, and subsequently tackle an extra terrestrial threat to the human race in the form of a species called 'the Morphs'.

    Play and discuss, or just simply reminisce.


    Week eleven (19/11): Gynoug (Megadrive)
    Week twelve (26/11): Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose (SNES)
    Week thirteen (03/12): Super Aleste (SNES)
    Week fourteen (10/12): Back to the Future III (Megadrive)
    Week fifteen (17/12): Sub-Terrania (Megadrive)
  • I'm giving up on Snake Rattle 'n' Roll, I was hoping to finish it but the final level is proving impossible even with save states.  It's just a square with a bouncing foot on it, and you have to follow the foot around, hitting it enough times in quick succession to destroy it.  It looks simple on Youtube (the level can be done in 30 seconds), but I'm struggling with the aforementioned Caanoo dpad. 

    Played the first level of Flashback.  It's still great.  Level two was always my favourite - work permit here I come.
  • Yeah I gave up a few levels into snake rattle and roll. Too fiddly and aggravating. May have enjoyed it more back in the day but the precise 3d platforming mixed with the shit controls arent something that's held up well.

    Onto Flashback.
  • I finished this.  Probably not the best idea to choose a game that requires a bit of time in the wake of Halo and COD releases.  I still think it peters out a bit in the second half (moar purple!), but the first half is peerless.  Death Tower is even better than I remembered it, and the handgun/barrier mechanics are still decent. 

    I hadn't forgotten how to run through walls unfortunately, which caused a needless amount of deaths through faffing about. 

  • I love Flashback. I will be playing next week, all being well. Better late than never, right.

    How many hours to complete?
  • It took me most of this week's lunch breaks and a brief session last night.  Three hours maybe, but I knew the first couple of levels pretty well. 

    Late feedback is fine, of course.  Gynoug tomorrow.
  • Week eleven: Gynoug (Megadrive)

    A non-platformer at last.  A side scrolling shooter where you control an angel of sorts, attempting to destroy the demonic forces of Iccus.  Each of the six stages has a mid-level boss and an end of stage guardian.  Apologies for the brief write up, Wikipedia is a bit light on info.  The only other things I know about the game is that in 1992ish, my shoot 'em up loving mate said that this was a better game than Hellfire, and that it was known as Wings of Wor in the States.


    Play and discuss, or just simply reminisce.
  • This was one of my favourite MD shooters back then (along with Hellfire), and playing it recently it still holds up. Excellent enemy design, especially later on and especially some of the bosses - gruesome organic-machinery hybrids of various kinds (end of level 4 is a highlight). The music is also great. And it's not too tough for the most part if you've got some decent dodging skills.

    That cover is shocking, though.
  • Flashback done. Did not enjoy as much as I thought I would. Some of its greatness was I think comparative to what else was around and that's been a little lost. 

    The first level remains awesome. As moot said, the game probably peeks somewhere around the Death Tower bit. Not just because it stops making new ground after that but also because as the difficulty increases, some of its deficiencies become a bit more apparent. 

    Some of Conrad's moves are very slick. You can drop down from a ledge, press the button to draw your gun in the air and time it so you get a 3 or 4 shots off before an enemy's had time to do anything. But I can't help but think its a flaw that, with a gun drawn you can only inch forward very slowly, or roll forward 5 paces. It makes the combat quite limited and, although you can plan a little bit, some screens just put you in the midst of 3 or 4 cops or shape shifters, and if they split up and come at you from different angles, you're basically fucked because your movement is so limited. Unless you try scrambling around from ledge to ledge, and drawing and re-holstering your gun all the time.  The melee doesn't work at all well in these situations either so you haven't even got much of a last resort.

    Even when you get something that could be a brilliant tactical tool for outflanking multiple enemies like the transporter, you're still basically stymied by Conrad's move set, and the level design. They could have made a lot more of that angle in the later parts to keep the variety up. 

    Still very good though. And in some ways, I'm holding it up to what I expect from a modern game, rather than forgiving many things I wouldn't now accept, as I tend to with retro stuff. I think that's a decent indicator of what I think of its quality. 

    Four exploding mice out of five.
  • Some games are easier than others to look back on without the rose tinted specs.  I loved Castle of Illusion as a kid, but looking back on it a few weeks ago I could see it hasn't aged well (the Megadrive version mind, I won't hear a bad word said about the 8-bit version).  There's very little similar to Flashback - Another World perhaps, Blackthorne - so I'm slightly more lenient in a re-appraisal.  Quicksaves are another element of modern retro gaming that can sway opinion in the wrong direction.  Conrad kicked plenty of arse, in cinematic style, in my run-through, but only after multiple epic fails.  I'm inclined to agree that it hasn't aged especially well, despite moments of genius, but I'm sticking with a high score because there's very little since, with similar gameplay, that's surpassed it. 

    It's tricky attributing scores to retro games, especially if you've never played them before (Plok), but I'm trying to go for the middle ground between what I would have thought at the time and what I think now.  You've talked me down to 88%.
  • I think I'm near the end of Gynoug now, I've just started a horribly garish pink stomach level of sorts.  I'm terrible at scrolling shooters, it baffles me how this is doable without save states (and I'm aware this game isn't even considered that hard).  I don't quite understand the weapon system either.....if you change special weapon you don't seem to be able to cycle back, you just lose what you were previously weilding. 

    It's very good though, even if I am rubbish at it (and cheating as I go).  I always think the fact that I'm awful at scrolling shooters - and block puzzle games, it has to be said - puts a massive dent in my gaming skills credentials.  1CC Youtube videos of bullet hell titles leave me slack jawed and confused.
  • With the special weapons you press the button to select whatever's showing in the first window (out of the scrolls you've collected). Once selected it becomes active and you can use it until it runs out or until you select the next one, which replaces it. The other thing is if you collect scrolls with the same letter on consecutively, up to a maximum of 3, they will activate all at once into a more powerful weapon. It's sometimes best to ignore some scrolls and wait for a set of the same letter.

    It's certainly doable without save states. Even after all these years I managed to get to the stomach level (5) on one credit, just going on past memory, and I'm not that great at shooters. I think there are 6 levels altogether.
  • Gynoug is a crazy old game. I'm inside some organic thing, looks like a giant blood vessel (level 5?). Should finish it (or get as far as I can with it) tonight. 

    The music is brilliant, very catchy. The first level particularly. The designs on the bosses are ridiculously captivating. 

    Everything else is all over the place. The first probably 3 levels or so are unbelievably easy in between the boss fights. There's plenty of stuff to shoot but you're not really asked to move much. That does change later on but it wasn't a very balanced first half. Then the bosses come along, and they are much better with a decent difficulty curve as you progress. It may be the ROM or the screen settings but there's a lot of barely visible enemies. The third level boss fired off these little mushroom things that kept killing me because I couldn't see them. I ended up having to turn the gamma setting up to eye-searing levels to get through that one. 

    And after that point, it becomes a proper, very good side-scrolling shooter game. The collisions on your flying angel man are a bit off sometimes. Some things seem to pass right through your head on some occasions but will kill you on others. This might be the projectiles themselves that are a bit variable maybe. Gripes though. Very challenging in all the right ways. Well-balanced between giving you pretty awesome firepower but still giving you a lot to do to stay alive. 

    I did own this game at one point. I can't remember much of these later levels though so I don't think I got here too regularly. I definitely haven't finished it, so I'll try and set that right (even if it requires a game breaking use of save states). Might give Hellfire a go as well as Jon B mentioned it above, jogged my memory that that was another I had and thought was terrific. 

    Although UN Squadron is the one to beat in the 16-bit side-scrolling shooter category imo.
  • Would Zero Tolerance be worth a play through?
    [quote=Skerret]Unless someone very obviously insults your loved ones with intent, take nothing here seriously.[/quote]
  • Hodge360 wrote:
    Would Zero Tolerance be worth a play through?

    Don't see why not.  Old FPS titles don't tend to age well, but it'll certainly be different.  I'll add it. 

    I've just finished Gynoug.  I agree with most of what Monkey says, especially the annoyingly hard to spot projecticles on the third boss.  The difficulty really ramped up towards the end, especially the final boss rush, but I managed to disptach the final boss without taking a hit, which was surprising. It's not my genre to be honest, due to my previously mentioned ineptitude, but this was good, solid fun.  Some lovely parallax scrolling on the final level too.  Not a stunning game to look at, but plenty of decent effects and some nice artwork.    


    UN Squadron added too.
  • Week twelve: Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose (SNES)

    Konami's sumptuous SNES title from what some would consider their golden era.  Originally released in Japan in 1992, this varied cartoon tie-in is considered by many to be amongst the best platformers on the Super Nintendo.  Guide Buster through six levels packed with cameos from his numerous cartoon buddies, whilst marvelling at the artwork, sound, and general level of sheen applied to this labour of love from one of Japan's finest developers.      


    Play and discuss, or just simply reminisce.

    Week thirteen (03/12): Super Aleste (SNES)
    Week fourteen (10/12): Back to the Future III (Megadrive)
    Week fifteen (17/12): Sub-Terrania (Megadrive)
    Week sixteen (24/12): Christmas break
    Week seventeen (31/12): UN Squadron (SNES)
    Week eighteen (07/01): Zero Tolerance (Megadrive)
  • regmcfly
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    Hello! I am in on this owning a perfect boxed copy an having played through it multiple times. Gorgeous game
  • I've only ever played the first couple of levels, which were great.  I was a big fan of Buster's Hidden Treasure on the Megadrive; I'll finally get to see if I was just being a dick about this one in the early 90's.  It was always one of those games I really wanted but couldn't play, so I tried to convince myself it was crap (this worked for Donkey Kong Country too).

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