Jump to content
MattyP

Currently playing...

Recommended Posts

Decided to give some old JRPGs a go. Not a genre I know much about. Am playing Breath of Fire. Liking it's style. Though there are a lot of random battles. But not that hard (yet). Just taking my time exploring.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just finished the original Tomb Raider (great).

 

Done the first level of Fade to Black. I really like it. It's clunky but there's something artful about it's presentation (bar the CG cutscenes), and the animation (especially the jump fwd from the spot anim) is lovely for the time. Gonna keep going.

 

I loaded up Gran Turismo 2 last night as well, and suddenly have a hankering to play it properly. Went straight from GT1 to GT3, skipping this, and then bailed out of the whole series. I hear this is by far the best version if all you want to do is churn through loads of random races and buy dad-cars from the 90s.

 

Also, finally trying Halo on legendary here and there, having never been brave enough before. It certainly is a different experience.

 

Loving retro gaming at the moment. The games are so easy to parse and settle into. Think a recent-ish bad experience with Titanfall 2 single player (so busy and chaotic) has turned me

off anything new for a while.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/09/2018 at 02:21, PengTiki said:

Decided to give some old JRPGs a go. Not a genre I know much about. Am playing Breath of Fire. Liking it's style. Though there are a lot of random battles. But not that hard (yet). Just taking my time exploring.

 

If you're emulating, there's rom hacks for most RPGs to drop the encounter rates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, BBBBBB said:

 

If you're emulating, there's rom hacks for most RPGs to drop the encounter rates.

 

I'll keep it in mind. But I think it's working out because exploring at my normal relaxed pace the encounters are levelling me up a good amount. Which will hopefully mean no need to go out and specifically grind. Will see.

 

And coincidence, I just bought original Tomb Raider off ebay. Never touched the series before but hoping for a good experience. May be a while till I play though.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This week, I have been mostly playing... 8-bit Sonic games!

 

I never had a Game Gear or Master System so I've always considered these B-list entries to be irrelevant. Finally, I've gone through them all* (generally the Master System versions, except for Sonic Triple Trouble, which only came out on the Game Gear).

 

They have a different feel with Sonic's movement, level design is more basic and 'flat' and his momentum doesn't work the same way (you can jump up slopes much more easily). The first two games are the most difficult and feel the most 'retro', despite the fact that they were released around the same time as their 16-bit counterparts. There are loads of traps, spikes, pits and baddies you can only avoid by memorising the levels, and it's often ruthlessly unfair.

 

There's also ludicrous amounts of slowdown whenever more than five objects are on screen at once, and this is particularly painful in the underwater levels. Loop-de-loops are not present in the first game, and in the second game they are scripted and cannot be entered backwards. 360-degree physics don't exist in these versions, it's just a fudge. The games have massively simplified graphics and no parallax scrolling, but they manage to recreate some of the styles and themes of recognisable zones. Music is mostly an earsore in execution, but the compositions are nice enough. Sonic 2 features the theme from Sonic CD ("Toot-toot Sonic Warrior") in its Green Hills level, albeit chippier!

 

Despite their difficulty, as a kind of trial-by-fire memory test gauntlet, these games have a certain old style satisfaction to them. The first game had a decent conversion to Game Gear, changing level designs and redrawing sprites to fit the smaller screen. Sonic 2 did not, and from what I've seen it suffers greatly from the conversion! Sonic 2 also integrates vehicle sections, like mine carts, hang gliders and zoom tubes, turning the game into a bit of a gimmick towards the end. Tails features but only as a plot device; he's not playable. I wouldn't really recommend either of these games except as curios, or to scratch a retro challenge itch.

 

Onto the third and fourth games, and this is where things improve. Sonic Chaos (titled Sonic and Tails in Japan) feels faster and more in tune with the 16-bit Sonic games. Tails is playable (and can fly) and also acts as an easy mode, unable to collect Chaos Emeralds but awarded the full ending regardless. It makes the game effectively twice as long, as you can play through it with both characters, although being much easier, you're unlikely to need many replays to complete it. I got through to Tails' ending on a single attempt, picking up countless continues on the way. My main complaint with this game is that, to collect Chaos Emeralds and get the best ending (as Sonic) you need 100 rings in any level. This slows the game down as you hunt for rings, and also skips the rest of the level. Effectively, to get the good ending, you have to intentionally go slow and miss parts of the game!

 

I remember playing Sonic Chaos very briefly back in the mid-nineties on one of those Sega buses they had around town fairs and things. Remember those? This would have been on Game Gear, as the Master System version didn't get released outside of Brazil. They had rows of Game Gears you could play for free, and Megadrives hooked up to TVs. Fun times.

 

Sonic Triple Trouble is another improvement and, in my opinion, the best of the lot - despite being Game Gear only and crammed into smaller screen space. The sprite work is improved and the level design fits the screen size well. It's still riddled with slowdown in a lot of places but it's nice enough to play. Knuckles and Nack (Fang) are non-playable antagonists with decent animation, and levels are full of detail and colour. It's almost hard to believe it's an 8-bit game, it looks so much better compared to Sonic 1!

 

Taking damage only reduces your rings by 30 or 50, but the game doesn't have shields so I feel it's a fair compromise. You can also roll into a temporary ball from a fall or spring jump, which is a nice addition to the moveset. Although spin-dashing off a ledge unrolls you, which is quite annoying. The game even has a snowboard item that works better than the scripted sequence in Sonic 3, amazingly. Loop-de-loops are plentiful and almost work properly, with just a bit of momentum assistance pushing you around them. Special stages are now hidden in boxes, a better solution. The bosses are pretty good, and you get to fight Metal Sonic (CD)!

 

This has been a very interesting trip through a series of games I had written off as irrelevant. They will never replace the 16-bit titles as some of my favourite platformers, but they hold up surprisingly well in their own way. It's like an alternate history of Sonic games, seeing the improvements evolve through the series, and the new characters introduced in parallel and in their own way. If I'd had a Game Gear back then, I'd have been all over these.

 

Right... NeoGeo Sonic Pocket Adventure next?

 

 

*I'm pretending Sonic Spinball and Sonic Blast don't exist.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first two MS Sonic games are brilliant and absolutely not a trial and error 'earsore'. I completed them comfortably as an 11 year old and the emeralds hidden in the levels is far better than the horrible bonus levels in MD games. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Green Hills Act 3 is literally "fall down and die again and again until you figure out where the spikes are", so I disagree. :P

They are more memory-based learning than skill-developing, is my point. I enjoyed Sonic 1 and got good at it, but this made no difference to my skill at Sonic 2 with its entirely different and unpredictable level designs. As 11-year-olds, we probably had time and patience for that sort of thing so it wouldn't have bothered us.

 

EDIT: That said, Sonic Chaos goes the other way and is too easy. Triple Trouble is better balanced and I feel the best of the bunch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought SMS Sonic 1 had great music. Yuzo Koshiro arrangements, from memory. There's a romhack out there which adds a Mark III FM soundtrack, which I'd like to try one day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/09/2018 at 12:42, new666uk said:

 

Crazy Taxi and Simpsons Hit & Run on PS2

 

 

Crazy Taxi on Gamecube.  My daughters are disappointed that you can't run people over.  They did enjoy drowning the monkeys in Super Monkey Ball 'Monkey Target' though.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, tonic_water said:

 

Crazy Taxi on Gamecube.  My daughters are disappointed that you can't run people over.  They did enjoy drowning the monkeys in Super Monkey Ball 'Monkey Target' though.

 

What delightfully violent offspring ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 18/09/2018 at 12:55, Sprite Machine said:

Right... NeoGeo Sonic Pocket Adventure next?

 

A protoDimps-developed Sonic 2 demake with 8-bit renditions of Sonic 3 music... is not something I was expecting.

 

It's pretty good, though. 8-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More 8-bit fun, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (SMS version).

 

Now, I loved the Megadrive version back in the day and, although this is a less pretty game, it is rather good in its own way. A touch harder, a bit more cerebral in places (quick-thinking and block throwing puzzles), less linear level design and worlds you can play out of sequence. Aside from the story and level themes, it's a completely different game and well worth a look.

It's not overly long, and only took me a couple of goes to complete it without running out of continues, but I enjoyed it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After expressing my disappointment at the demo of Fifa 19 for being too much of a graphical show off and being no fun to actually play, I was recommended the arcade game Premier Soccer - Konami (1993).  After playing it for an hour and learning the 2 button controls I now realise that if Fifa19 is Project Cars, Premier Soccer is Burnout 2.

 

It's on Mame and I recommend it very much. Use a zoomed out viewpoint for best playability and look out for Jacob Rees-Mogg as the referee.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't really class the DS as retro yet but I'll post anyway...

 

I've been playing the "remaster" of Shantae: Risky's Revenge on the PS4 and you know what? It's fucking great. It was only a few years ago I played the GBC original (thanks to the VC on the 3DS) and although I like that there was a lot of annoying backtracking and it was really, really hard.

 

This is just better all round, and so, so gorgeous. They've streamlined the dancing, made the map less confusing, and it's a lot easier! Seems shorter too (makes sense, it was supposed to be part 1 of 3, all DSi downloads), but that's OK with me.

 

tumblr_pfvq7gDssA1svmpf2o1_1280.jpg

 

tumblr_pfvq7bnbOA1svmpf2o1_1280.jpg

 

One issue with the PS4 version, which these shots don't show, is that the very top (so the top half of the hearts) and bottom are missing off the screen. There doesn't seem to be a way to fix it. Not a massive problem, it just means you can't see the difference between a full and a half heart!

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, deKay said:

One issue with the PS4 version, which these shots don't show, is that the very top (so the top half of the hearts) and bottom are missing off the screen. There doesn't seem to be a way to fix it. Not a massive problem, it just means you can't see the difference between a full and a half heart!

Have you got overscan turned on off your TV, or overscan correction turned on on your PS4?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Sprite Machine said:

Have you got overscan turned on off your TV, or overscan correction turned on on your PS4?

 

I don't have any overscan options on my TV, and I've tried changing it on the PS4 but it makes no difference.

 

Same thing happens on LiS BtS and Captain Spirit. It happened on the original LiS too, but they fixed it in a patch.

 

I suspect devs just don't care some people are still playing on non-HD TVs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ridge Racer (PS1) - Only ever fleetingly played this on PS1, after going straight to Rage Racer and Type 4. This plays better I think. It feels like the handling has you driving more on the very limit of the car's capabilities and there's just something more rewarding about throwing your car around the track. Feel that Rage Racer is too lumpy and Type 4 is too imprecise and easy (Modern arcade handling models (Forza Horizon as an example) similarly seem to try and avoid you spinning out at all costs and so miss out on what still makes Ridge Racer 1 so great).

 

Dipped into the Hi-Spec demo as well, and it's kinda amazing heading into that tunnel with the bonnet cam at top speed at 60fps. Both versions are so nice and colourful, again, moreso than the sequels.

Daytona USA (Saturn) - On Saturn I went straight to CCE and it was gash. Ignoring the graphics (pretty bloody shonky, but just about servicable) it plays just like the arcade and is great. The sense of speed and hanging onto a perfect drift around a tricky corner by the skin of your teeth is brilliant.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Sprite Machine said:

Playing Flashback for the first time. Gosh, it's a hard game, but I love the style.

 

Falls to bits somewhat after the third stage, sadly. Worth playing through, but you’ll be relieved when it ends. 

  • Empathy 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 03/10/2018 at 11:01, Alexlotl said:

 

Falls to bits somewhat after the third stage, sadly. Worth playing through, but you’ll be relieved when it ends. 

Yeah, those last two levels on the alien planet are a bit of a nightmare!
 

It becomes much less forgiving to the point that it turns into a memory game where you have to do the proper actions exactly right or you'll die. Combat against those morphing things is impossible unless you've got room to do a combat roll, otherwise you get stuck bouncing up against walls, locked into standing/crouching/falling animations until you run out of shields - so effectively you've got to plan exactly how you enter each screen, like putting together a puzzle, with added panic.

 

Anyway, it's done now. It's a lovely presented game with great animation and style. The sci-fi influences are many, but most notably Bladerunner, Total Recall and The Running Man (level 3!). Gameplay has the kind of rhythmic precision of Prince of Persia, and when it's going well it does look and feel very cool, but it borders on the tedious at times, forcing you back and forth between health/save points to have chance to getting through it alive. I would say that the save system itself is bad, as it requires so much repetition, but actually repetition is how you get better at the moveset, so maybe it's necessary.

 

I'm glad I finally played it.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.