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Re: Together Retro: Eighties' Ladies' Night

by marurun Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:10 pm

Valis II was the first Valis title ported to the PC Engine and it was a regular CD-ROM title. It is rather rough at the edges, yeah. I think it was also one of Telenet’s first PCE titles overall.
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CFFJR
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Re: Together Retro: Eighties' Ladies' Night

by CFFJR Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:50 am

Well I spent quite a bit of time tonight playing Shubibinman, an action platformer.

It's a pretty rough game. It takes time build up momentum when you move, and if you let go of the pad, you slow to a stop at about the same pace. It wouldn't be so weird though if it didn't feel like you're being dragged back. But you can quickly stop yourself by slashing your sword or ducking. Takes some getting used to.

Platforming itself isn't so bad once you do though, especially because you can step quite a ways off a ledge without actually falling off of it.

More frustrating are some obnoxious design decisions, such as platforms that slide you along conveyor belt style (quite fast and directly in to pits) without any visual indication that they do so. They look like like any other floor you can stand on. So you land and oh shit. There are also a couple of levels with Mega Man style shifting blocks, but the transitions are instant, and in one case don't activate until you step on the first block, which immediately disappears and dumps your ass in lava (or whatever it is, some hazard). There are also these missile hazards, sometimes thrown by enemies, other times just appearing off screen. If you know one is coming and try to anticipate it by ducking for example, it comes in at your ducking height instead. Some are incredibly fast, so it often seems like there just isn't time to dodge.

There's more, but the point is there are a lot of "fuck you player" moments in this game.

Anyway, the game has a map and you can choose your route, but you'll end up playing the other levels anyway because completing them gets you upgrades like tougher armor, a stronger sword, and upgrading a beam attack you can do by holding the attacking button. There's also some shop options where you can spend gold, but as the game is in japanese I don't know what they really do. I definitely had some bonuses happen, like my life suddenly refilling when I'd lost it all, but I could never get this sort of thing to happen consistently.

Anyway, I ultimately beat all of the levels and made it to the final boss, whom I fought 6 or 7 times before getting a game over. He's too fast to dodge, and watching videos it appears the strategy is "eat shit while you pray". No seriously, look here: https://youtu.be/UYz4mJNl5O8?t=287 The player in the video has a larger health bar than I did, and while I did get 2 extensions (there are 4 possible) I don't know how. My attacks weren't any different, so it appears you must simply outlast the boss.

I'm a little peeved I didn't beat it, but I also don't particularly want to revisit the game to try again. It's just not very fun. :| Apparently the sequels are a huge improvement.
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Re: Together Retro: Eighties' Ladies' Night

by BoneSnapDeez Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:09 am

Oh so Shockman is the sequel to that? Interesting.
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Re: Together Retro: Eighties' Ladies' Night

by laurenhiya21 Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:41 am

Been too exhausted to play too much Metroid (or really much of anything really), but I did manage to play some today! Thanks to your guy's suggestions I did manage to make some progression woo!

I'm using the patch to allow saving + a map (although I couldn't actually figure out how to save without dying) and I'm using a map to help. I got the morph ball bomb, some missiles, the ice beam, and the long beam. I won't say that I'm liking the game so far, but I'm not hating it either. Using a map definitely makes it a lot better (and the ice beam is nice!), but I'm not a huge fan of having to grind up for health especially after getting missiles, since that meant health dropped less often.

Unfortunately even though I made some progress, my save state won't load back up! I'm not used to emulating NES, and I was expecting it to be nice and easy to save & load save states like with my SNES emulator, but nope! :evil: I probably wasn't going to make too much more progress before the end of the month anyway (yay homework...), but I still was planning on going back to it :|
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Re: Together Retro: Eighties' Ladies' Night

by Ack Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:43 am

Well, the parts necessary to repair my computer came in, so I fixed it all up. I have now run a victory lap by beating Flicky!

Once again, I'm pleased to say I found yet another game I probably would not have normally played had it not been for this month's Together Retro. As I've said many times, I'm not a big fan of platformers, and considering I'd have been forced to track down an arcade platformer port for the Sega Genesis...yeah, it wasn't in the cards for me. Yet with access to a version that Sega has put up on Steam, I gave it a go, and I'm happy I did. It's a cute little game, easy on the eyes, and with a simple premise that is complicated by slippery ledges, floaty jumps, and some wicked stage design at times built around hammering you based on how slippery everything is. Some levels you rush through in a few seconds. Others provide a nasty challenge, and while there are some levels I consider difficulty spikes, in general things progress smoothly in an upwards ramp that the game prepares you for.

While Flicky is 48 levels long, 15 or so of those are bonus levels meant to increase your score and help you earn extra lives. The game also has a win screen at 48 but then starts throwing old levels at you with added difficulty from new enemy additions. While it's technically endless, I'm considering this one done since I reached that win screen and then did a couple of levels beyond.

Did I ever find things excruciating? Yes. I've mentioned the slipperiness, and this is further compounded by speed and by the bounce of the walls; a narrow ledge can be a harrowing encounter because you may underjump in a bid to make it or you may hit a wall beyond and ricochet right off the ledge into a worse position you were in. More than one level has traps built around this where you can end up in narrow vertical corridors where a misstep will send you to the bottom while enemies close in. That's where Flicky gets stressful. Yet, removing such features would also likely eliminate much of the challenge, so I can't criticize it as shoddy platforming design; it was a definite choice, and it does make things tougher.

I still don't care for platformers, and Flicky did not change that. But, perhaps surprisingly, I did find myself enjoying Flicky immensely. I can't help it, there is just something about the game I liked.
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Re: Together Retro: Eighties' Ladies' Night

by nullPointer Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:47 am

laurenhiya21 wrote:Been too exhausted to play too much Metroid (or really much of anything really), but I did manage to play some today! Thanks to your guy's suggestions I did manage to make some progression woo!

I'm using the patch to allow saving + a map (although I couldn't actually figure out how to save without dying) and I'm using a map to help. I got the morph ball bomb, some missiles, the ice beam, and the long beam. I won't say that I'm liking the game so far, but I'm not hating it either. Using a map definitely makes it a lot better (and the ice beam is nice!), but I'm not a huge fan of having to grind up for health especially after getting missiles, since that meant health dropped less often.

Unfortunately even though I made some progress, my save state won't load back up! I'm not used to emulating NES, and I was expecting it to be nice and easy to save & load save states like with my SNES emulator, but nope! :evil: I probably wasn't going to make too much more progress before the end of the month anyway (yay homework...), but I still was planning on going back to it :|

That's awesome that you managed to find some time for playing Metroid, and that patch sounds pretty great. I contend that any time spent with Samus is time well spent. Regarding the health grind, one thing you can do is to plan your routes around energy tanks. When you get an energy tank it completely replenishes your health. Obviously this requires either some precognition or the use of a walkthrough, but as others have pointed out there's no shame in using a walkthrough on this one.

Just out of curiosity, what NES emulator are you using? Most modern NES emulators should handle save states with grace, and some of them even support rewind functionality which is a nice alternative to save states.

Ack wrote:I still don't care for platformers, and Flicky did not change that. But, perhaps surprisingly, I did find myself enjoying Flicky immensely. I can't help it, there is just something about the game I liked.


Flicky was a game that was completely off my radar until this month. I have to say I'm pretty curious to try it out now!

Well ... like you guys I'm in the midst of a game that I'm enjoying quite a lot despite the fact that I'm not super great at it. I have to acknowledge the greatness of The Guardian Legend while at the same time struggling through the shmup sections. I've made it up to Area 9, but the twin Shmup bosses in Area 8 completely ate my lunch, multiple times (I had to look up the name and apparently these guys are called Grimgrin)

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I'm hoping to beat this one within the month, but I'm guessing I'll just barely miss the cutoff, particularly with Easter preparations and making sure my kiddos have a good time (We had a bit of a blizzard blow through last night which will likely require some improvisation of Easter activities, lol).
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Re: Together Retro: Eighties' Ladies' Night

by Exhuminator Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:34 pm

I'm glad ELN has encouraged players to try vintage games they normally never would have. To me, that's the best aspect of TR. I like that idea much more so than everyone just playing some particular renowned classic in general. ELN has also gotten me to play (and beat) quite a few obscure '80s games I normally never would have tried (or even known about for that matter). I hope the rest of this year's TRs prove just as fruitful.

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Anyway, I figured as your curator I should point out the obvious; today is the FINAL DAY of Eighties' Ladies' Night. So if you want to squeeze any last minute participation in, by all means do so! Or if you want to reflect on any of your gaming experiences this month for ELN, feel free to chronicle your experience here for posterity's sake.
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Re: Together Retro: Eighties' Ladies' Night

by laurenhiya21 Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:40 pm

nullPointer wrote:Just out of curiosity, what NES emulator are you using? Most modern NES emulators should handle save states with grace, and some of them even support rewind functionality which is a nice alternative to save states.

The emulator I've been using is fceux. It is a pretty basic emulator, but I feel like it should at least handle save states properly :|
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Re: Together Retro: Eighties' Ladies' Night

by noiseredux Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:52 pm

Exhum, in the spirit of posterity, I'll repost my full Phantasy Star II blog post here:


Phantasy Star II
1990, Sega


In the great console wars, I always leaned towards the side of Sega. I mean really I was playing games on all kinds of consoles back then. But I just totally loved Sega. And over the years it's been Sega systems that have delivered the most nostalgia for me. I probably think of the Master System way more fondly than might be considered normal. I could enjoy all games by all publishers, but if I had to make some choices I'd go with Sonic over Mario. And when it comes to RPG's I have an adoration for Shining Force and Phantasy Star games that I just never quite felt for Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest.

I didn't actually get to play the original Phantasy Star until maybe a decade ago, but I grew quickly in love. While it was a contemporary to the original Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games mentioned above, it immediately became crowned my new favorite 8-bit RPG. Not only did the setting and art style (snatches of elements ripped from many a sci-fi works like some kind of futuristic mixtape) appeal to me hardcore, but it was also ambitious as fuck. You think getting a boat is cool in an 8-bit RPG? Well this game gives you a SPACESHIP. And you can travel to OTHER PLANETS!

Not long after I also became insanely addicted to Phantasy Star Online. Like I mean super addicted. For years. I was playing with multiple groups on multiple servers spread out across both Dreamcast and PC versions. Even now, I'd probably rank the original Xbox version of Phantasy Star Online as my Most Wanted Backwards Compatible Game on Xbox One. Don't even get me started.

I originally started playing Phantasy Star II like five years ago. I got a few hours in and was having a great time and then I happened upon a major plot spoiler that pissed me off. I had a bit of temper tantrum about it and stopped playing the game out of annoyance. But this month I decided to grow up and revisit this one. The results were fairly mixed for me.

At first I felt warm and fuzzy. Even though I hadn't gotten all that far last time I played, there was this sense of nostalgia here all the sudden. It felt comforting to be revisiting something familiar like this. And honestly the game looks great. The visuals may be the one thing that the sequel has a leg up on over the original. Although the battle backgrounds are just blank here whereas in the first Phantasy Star they actually looked like the overworld terrain. Hmm. The music is good, but there's not really enough of it. Given that you'll be spending A LOT of time grinding - more on that later - you'll grow tired of the music fairly quickly. My wife has commented a couple of times now at the monotony of the music. And she's not even the one playing the game.

The skeleton of the game itself would be great. I love the setting, love the story, and love the characters. The overworld is nice and big and fun to explore. The battles are... pretty good. I mean I'm not a fan of the thing where you don't manually target each enemy. There is technically a way to do it, but actually doing it would be a lot of work really. But the battle system works fine here, and is really just a carry-over from the first Phantasy Star. Speaking of which, those really hard to figure out first person dungeons from the first game? Gone! And really THAT is the best thing about the sequel. Granted, each dungeon now uses weird layers so that you're like peeking through "the roof" or something. It's kind of distracting, but nothing to get upset about.

Do you sense a "but" coming? There is one.

It's the excessive grinding, you guys. It's just so much. It felt like for everything hour of progress I might make, I'd need to then spend two hours grinding to either get characters leveled up so they could learn new techniques or for meseta to buy new gear. It just felt really bad for the pacing. And what's worse is that turns an otherwise charming and playable game into a bit of a drag. Maybe I would have had more patience as a kid, before I had less free time and more options of games to play. But yeah, the grinding really started to wear on me.

It's too bad because if the game were balanced differently I feel like I'd be able to keep at it. If battles gave out more experience and mesata for instance so that things could be sped up a bit then who knows. And it's not even like I hate this game. Quite the contrary. It just feels like a misstep after the original game. Some growing pains to be worked out. But I still really appreciate Phantasy Star II. Hell, I even want to finish it but I feel like it's something I'll have to take a break from and come back to later.
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Re: Together Retro: Eighties' Ladies' Night

by Exhuminator Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:20 pm

laurenhiya21 wrote:The emulator I've been using is fceux.

For future NES emulation on PC, I recommend Nestopia.
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