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  1. With spring in the air, I’d like to nominate one of my favorite GBA games: Kuru Kuru Kururin.
  2. The SNES sound chip generated audio using audio samples, which was both its strength and its weakness. It had a dull standard sound library with a characteristic SNES slap bass sound, but skilled composers could do amazing things with it. I've read that Yuzo Koshiro hated working with the SNES sound chip, though. I'd argue that the hit-to-miss ratio was more extreme on the Mega Drive. The problem with the SNES is that it had a lot more bland soundtracks.
  3. Yeah. I also feel Nintendo missed a trick by not having Virtual Boy games on the 3DS Virtual Console. Last I looked, there was a Mednafen homebrew emulator, and another one might still be in development. But neither of them is any good apparently. On a separate note, one of the highlights of last year for me was watching Jeremy Parish's Virtual Boy Works series, where he played through all the titles released for the console. Having owned a Virtual Boy myself, I tend to agree that, although the concept and execution were very flawed, some of the games were quite good, and it had really impressive graphics. Without the 3D stuff, it really could have been a worthy successor to the Game Boy.
  4. If it’s not too late, I’d like to nominate Um Jammer Lammy again.
  5. @Luck I work as a professional translator, so I'm well aware of the sorts of difficulties and challenges that you come across in this kind of project. But, yes, to answer your question, I've never been involved in any kind of game localization project. If I was too critical of the translation, it's mostly because I feel like the Goemon games deserve a bigger audience. I'll get in contact with the group to see if they need at the very least proofreaders with the Goemon 4 project.
  6. I don't want to be that guy, but I'm very unimpressed. I wouldn't say that I'm a great Goemon fan, although that's mostly because I've only completed three games in the entire series. I'm trying to rectify this, though: as it happens, I've currently started a chronological exploration of the all the Goemon games, from the arcade Mr Goemon until the DS game. I have yet to play the Goemon 2, 3, and 4 on the SFC, so maybe I'm missing something, but... What I'm seeing right now is crude graphic replacements, a very pedestrian translation, and an awful choice of font faces. Yes, yes--I'm aware that they're not professional localizers, but I can't help but feel disappointed.
  7. That’s really impressive, but I couldn’t help but think...
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. To each their own, I guess, but in what way are Iconoclasts, Chasm, and The Messenger not metroidvanias?
  12. 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.
  13. 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)
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