Retro Club - Shinobi III (Megadrive)
  • Rollergames! Another NES gem from one of the masters of 2D console gaming... KONAMI!

    I'M IN!
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  • Played through the first two levels of this just now, and came away with the same opinion I formed the first time I played it last year - it's magnificent. It's pretty much the best 8-bit scrolling beat 'em up I've ever played.
  • Konami + NES = Joy.

    They really were amazing, I think I may even have more NES games of theirs than Nintendo. Capcom and Rare rarely (you 'avin that) put a foot wrong either.
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  • davyK
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    Contra and Gradius were pretty awesome on the NES too. Konami on NES and SNES were hot.
    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • So I got a NES emulator and started playing Rollergames. Then I turned off after about 5 minutes. It seems a bit... shit. I will try again, of course.

    TBH it's rare I can get into pre-16 bit games nowadays. Only a few of my old Master System favourites still seem worth playing, for instance.

    The SNES/MD generation or arcade post about 1987 is about where I draw the line for all but the best of stuff.
  • I'm quite fortunate in that I can often enjoy an older game I've never played before by almost subconsciously comparing it to other titles of the time.  I can see that Rollergames was bettered, rather quickly in fact, even on home consoles, but part of me just thinks 'wow, this is so much better than Running Battle', or even how much I would have loved it in 1990.  Likewise the graphics and sound of older titles can still genuinely impress me because I've factored in the limitations of the hardware.  I'm sure everyone does this to an extent, so I'm kind of waffling, but I can still put on, say, Asterix on the Master System and be blown away by the visuals.

    Rollergames seems like a great mix of playable scrolling beat'em up and obstacle course gameplay so far.  I would have been over the moon if I owned this as a nine year old.  It seems a lot better than Battletoads to me.
  • davyK
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    I have a fairly high tolerance when it comes to graphics too. One thing I do find hard to put up with though is flicker - was always that way - even back in the 2600 days when flicker was almost inevitable.

    A certain amount of flicker back then was expected - the 2600 couldn't deal with more than 3 or 4 objects on the same scanline so if there were more than they had to be displayed in alternate frames. Phosphor behaviour on the old CRTs reduced the flicker in some cases to almost imperceptable levels as long as too many frames weren't being skipped between redisplaying sprites.

    Activision had a policy of no flicker games - but they were the cream of the devs who got fed up with Atari management and left - not many devs back then were anywhere near as good as those guys.

    Holding the wrong end of the stick since 2009.
  • Rollergames NES

    A solid scrolling beat em up with a decent amount of variety in enemies and levels, especially for an 8Bit. The physics of being on roller skates makes it stand out a bit from the abundance of scrolling beat em ups from the era. Its second only to Double Dragon II (off the top of my head) as far as the genre is concerned on the NES. Maybe a tad on the short side but the difficulty ensures you won't be completing it in one sitting. Nice graphics and music to.

    4/5
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  • OK, well I thought I should try it again since you've been so positive and played until level 3. It has some originality, but I still can't see what's good about it, tbh. The fighting's ruined by poor collision detection and terrible flicker. Other than that it seems to be based around learning what's coming next, because there are so many things that suddenly appear and hit you before you have time to react. And to think, without save states you go back to the beginning of the level every time you die. Not fun. 4/10, maybe 5 if I'm being generous.
  • Finished this today.  I really liked it, but Jon's comment about the restart points did give me pause for thought.  I cheated my way through it with save states, and whilst I could get a feel for it being a far less ridiculous game than Battletoads, it'd clearly be a tough nut to crack.  Apparently it has infinite continues, which always meant I'd see the credits eventually as a kid (through sheer determination/perseverance), but there are a lot of patterns to learn for the obstacle courses in this. 

    Going back to the part about really liking it, I'd still rank this as the best scrolling beat 'em up I've played on NES/MS, except possibly the original Streets of Rage port, or River City Ransom/Street Gangs (which I haven't played enough to judge).  Off the top of my head, the dumbed down Master System Golden Axe port was okay, and stuff like My Hero and Black Belt were enjoyable, but this adds the aforementioned obstacle course aspect, and I love the reflex-based gameplay.  In fact, by the end it's as much a Marble Madness type game as a scrolling beat 'em up.  I would have absolutely loved this as a kid, to the point where if I'd played this before Alex Kidd in Miracle World there's a good chance I would have been a Nintard from 1990 onwards.  The flicker and slight collision detection problems didn't bother me - I enjoyed the MS version of Vigilante when I borrowed it as a kid, and you could hit the second boss with a crouching punch from the other side of the screen.  93%
  • Forty (week): Actraiser (SNES, Virtual Console)

    Released in December 1990, ActRaiser featured a unique two-genre system, combining side scrolling hack 'n slash gameplay with God game/simulation stages.  I'm using Wikipedia again:
    The player plays as "The Master", the main protagonist of the game. Although the Master is never directly controlled, the player interacts with the world by controlling an angel and an animated statue. The player plays as an angel during the simulation sequences of the game, and as the statue during the action sequences.

    The overhead-view simulation mode involves protecting and guiding the Master's new civilization towards prosperity, beginning with two humans. This portion of the game requires the player to take actions that encourage the growth of the population, including road planning and using lightning, rain, sunlight, wind and earthquakes as miracles. The Angel can interact with the monsters in the area by shooting them with arrows as well as aid the Master by indicating where to build and use miracles.

    One obstacle in the simulation mode is the presence of flying monsters which attempt to impede the progression of a civilization. The source of the monsters are several lairs around the region which continuously spawn the creatures as the servant kills them. As the population expands, it can seal the lairs of monsters, which prevents them from spawning, and eventually eliminate all the flying monsters in the land. Doing so increases the civilization level of the region, allowing more advanced structures to be built and increasing the potential population. Once all the lairs have been sealed the population will begin to build the most advanced homes available to the people in that region. The Master levels up by increasing the total population of the world, granting an increase in hit points and SP, used in performing miracles.

    Each area has two side-scrolling action sequences, one before the building simulation and near the end. In the action sequences, the player controls a human-shaped statue brought to life by the Master. The player must jump from platform to platform while defeating monsters to accrue a score. At the end of each action sequence, the player must defeat a boss.

    The final level is an action-sequence boss marathon, culminating in the final fight against Tanzra.
    Oh, and the music was composed by YUZO KOSHIRO.

    actraiser.jpg

    Play and discuss, or simply reminisce.

    Schedule:

    (23/09, fortnight): Grand Theft Auto (PS, PC)
    (07/10, week): New Zealand story (various)
    (14/10, week): Bitmap Bros free choice
    (21/10, week): Vectorman (MD, compilations)
    (28/10, fortnight): Free choice Megaman
    (11/11, week): PC Kid 2/Bonk 2 (PC Engine, VC)
    (18/11, week): Wonderboy week
    (25/11, week): Kirby week

    (02/12, fortnight): Solstice II/Equinox (SNES)
    (16/12, week): Fantasy Zone (MS)
    (23/12, fortnight inc. Christmas break): Pinball free choice
    (06/01, fortnight): Blackthorne (various)
    (20/01, week): Pilotwings Week (various)
    (27/01, week): Atari 2600 High-Score Challenge Returns
    Edit: Vectorman and PC Kid reduced to 7 day sessions to make space for a fortnight of Megaman.
  • I just started Actraiser. It's a game I played years ago although never owned - I think I borrowed it off someone - and found pretty enjoyable.

    So, have done the first scrolling bit and the first God bit. The latter definitely more fun so far, since the hack and slash stuff is pretty basic. Looks nice though. Even the God stuff is quite simple, but it's amazing how quickly you can get absorbed into it. It's really a plate spinning game - keeping an eye on different things and making sure they're doing ok.

    Enix games were always good in terms of sound too, and I like the way sound effects even carry across from one game to another. Some of them still remind me of Soul Blazer, which I also fancy playing again at some point.
  • I'll try downloading it tonight.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • Will play it at the weekend, very good game (the God mode) overall but the scrolling levels are quite average.

    @Moot_Geeza make sure you play at least the first level of the God mode to get the most out of it. Just doing the 2D levels misses the point imo.
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  • @Moot_Geeza make sure you play at least the first level of the God mode to get the most out of it. Just doing the 2D levels misses the point imo.

    You said that on Saturday.  Outing me on the forum eh?  Haha.  I'll give it a go, two weeks is long enough to give it a proper go, plus I have it on the VC.
  • I'm on the second God bit now. It's all quite straightforward and not very challenging, but it's fun nonetheless. The scrolling bits aren't as bad as I thought either - they're no Castlevania or whatever, but they work.

    More than the sum of its parts.
  • JonB wrote:
    More than the sum of its parts.

    This is precisely what it has always been, hasn't it? The overall game is very enjoyable and fun. The sim bits are full of charm. Love the little guys that pray to you and stuff.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • So I was feeling a bit off yesterday and ended up not doing any work and played Actraiser all afternoon and finished it.

    I pretty much stand by what I said before except I was a little disappointed that the God sim sections didn't develop into something more complex. Once you get the basic pattern down nothing really changes and they become easier and easier. So really both sections are charming and well made but neither have much depth or challenge (I didn't need save states until the final bit). It would have been great to take the template and really make something bigger and deeper out of it, with more to explore in the scrolling sections and room for different strategies in the sim sections. But the whole thing is still fun. 7/10

    I will give Actraiser 2 a go too, even though it's supposed to be a bit crap.
  • Good review, would probably agree with everything you said.

    Is the sequel just the action/adventure game without the God mode?
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  • Yeah, and not very good either, or so they say.

    I did have a quick go, and it looked nice but seemed very slow and cumbersome to control. I'll try again though.
  • And that's enough of that. Absolute travesty of a game. I gave it about 20 mins and couldn't get off the 1st level even when I put it on easy. Awful controls, painfully slow character movement, and just general shitness. I don't know what went wrong there.
  • Good graphics, on paper at least. How was the music? The original has one of the best soundtracks ever.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • The intro stuff was the same. Other than that, I only played 1 level.
  • Tomorrow night is Actraiser night for me.  My SNES emulator struggles massively with the God section, so it'll have to be on the Wii.
  • ZSNES wouldn't run Actraiser 2, so I had to try it a different emu. I like to think it's because it knows how shit it is.

    Also, I'm now playing Soulblazer, which is an old favourite Enix thing.
  • Jon, please tell me you played and liked Terranigma too; another Enix/Quintet game on SNES?! Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • You know, I'm not sure now. I had Soulblazer and Illusion of Gaia/Time on my SNES, but not Terranigma and I can't remember if I ever played it on emu or not. I've been meaning to try it anyway.
  • Just had a quick look and it's not familiar. I'll get to it one day.
  • OK, so I ended up playing the arcade mode for a bit.  At first I wasn't keen, as it seemed slightly unresponsive, and based too heavily on slow progression/trial and error.  However, after dying numerous times on the first boss something clicked and I warmed to it after storming through the level without taking a hit.  I only got to what I assume is the level two sub-boss, but I'll definitely have another go tomorrow, and yes, will also check out the story mode. 

    The music is stupendous so far, the fuss is justified.

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