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spanky debrest

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Everything posted by spanky debrest

  1. So the Expansion Pak apparently 'enhances visuals' on select games? I thought its main function was to reduce frame rates to single digits.
  2. The arcade version is a lot harder IMO; Instant respawns upon death don't allow you to get powered up before facing the bit that spanked you - you're just thrown back in with peashooter power and no speed ups, which can mean certain death / Gradius syndrome in the final stretches. Also in comparison with the Mega Drive version: No native autofire, special laser bombs, colour coded weapon types or an or an excess of extra bonus lives thanks to generous 10K item point bonuses per power up once you're maxed out. You can even milk a certain MD-exclusive section for theoretical infinite lives. Maybe it's my overfamiliarity with it but being able to switch fire in all directions is a pretty overpowered mechanic. I mean, if you're front firing at popcorn enemies and suddenly a bunch scroll on screen from behind, one button press and you're instantly firing to your rear. Then three quick button taps and you're back to unleashing firepower frontwards again, taunting the game to try harder next time motherfucker. Gleylancer for example, to me, is definitely friendlier and more accessible (the true ideal quality 'beginner' MD shooter? Whiprush comes to mind here too), but something like Eliminate Down is the definition of MD shooter brutality IMO. That one really revels in delivering pain. I still have Gaiares to tackle and I'm super intimidated by that game.
  3. Had my very first satisfying bash on the original arcade version of Taito's Rastan earlier. I didn't play it very much back in the day because there were always other coin-ops I could squeeze much more time out of, and I was very much sorted with the Master System version at home. I'd dabbled with emulating it on modded SNES Classic running MAME years back - but not having access to DIP switch settings and putting up with horrific input lag (thanks mainly to my old Plasma telly not being able to gracefully process 720p video) made it feel impossible to get into. But tonight I got to play it with no compromises and couldn't put the controller down, eventually getting to the dungeon area of Stage 4 on the five credit limit I'd assigned myself. I learned the following: - The rope swinging / jumping sections are often tight and seem unfair (especially the dungeon varieties), but they look worse than they are - Certain items / buffs / pickups get dedicated indication icons, a touch I really enjoyed for some reason. And maybe this is due to playing on Easy but the drop rate of very helpful items was nice and high, providing you don't dawdle too much - Enemy sprites can disappear off screen as easily as they appear on screen - and this can be used to your advantage in certain places - The aesthetics holding up was almost a given, but the game itself feeling like almost as much of a console adventure than an arcade coin muncher (at least on Easy, aided by outdoor sections having well placed checkpoints) was a very nice surprise.
  4. Totally fair to not enjoy / gel with Hellfire, and Stage 3 and 4 probably ought to have been swapped for difficulty spike reasons, as those mini bosses are kinda stressful until reliable dodging patterns click. Back in the day I'd stock up on those Mega Drive-exclusive one-use special laser blasts just to tear through those gits and enjoy the later half of the game. And I swear the specials are way more powerful in the JPN version. It's interesting to me how certain titles are interpreted. I find Thunder Force III one of the unfriendliest, cruelest games on the entire system and have no patience with it at all, but the general consensus is that it's the perfect beginners shooter. I was chatting shooters with a mate the other day and mentioned that I keep coming back to Viewpoint on the Neo Geo despite not being able to clear Area 2. It's bastard hard and non-popcorn targets are ridiculous bullet sponges but as a package it stays compelling somehow.
  5. I'd get a Pocket if they had a UK distributor. The OpenFPGA / community developer aspect pushes it into the desirable zone, but not quite enough for me to wait a year & eat the taxes on top.
  6. I adore Hellfire. It's probably joint tied with Musha Aleste as my very favourite MD shooter, as it's always a great session, keeps me fully engaged throughout, and evidently never gets old (I was fortunate to have access to these games when they were new grey imports, thanks to an older mate). Anyway, when I first got my Mega Drive running again after years away from home consoles, Hellfire was a top priority to relearn and finish, as when I was a kid I never did survive the final boss. It's also the best / definitive version of the game IMO, as while the arcade original has more content and impressive animated elements, it's also stiffer and lacks refinement. The PC-E CD version is technically closer to the arcade in some ways but it lacks challenge and I do not care for the new agey soundtrack. The thing about the Mega Drive Hellfire soundtrack that stands out for me - aside from the Toaplan trademark bold bouncing octave hopping all over the place - is that most of the tunes have melody lines that are double-tracked in places, so they have distinctive 'louder' sections that really do reverberate their surroundings. Thunder Force IV's more metal / crunchy riff-tastic tunes did this a bit as well but Hellfire MD's implementation stands alone. The only flak I ever see this game getting is from shooter enthusiasts who prefer vertical oriented danmaku / bullet hell games from later generations, and inherently dislike checkpoint systems and environmental hazards, probably because they had formative experiences with Cave XBox 360 ports rather than Nemesis and R-Type arcade cabinets, at the risk of sounding like a decrepit boomer.
  7. Atomic Runner was one of the last MD games I bought, before feeling content with my collection. I played it a few months ago and found that it's way more ruthless than I remember. Even if you're instantly comfy with your preferred control set-up, it'll test your skills and memorisation. I certainly find it harder than most MD action games. As a random aside, a few years ago a converted every MD VGM sound pack I could find into individual playable 'soundtrack' ROMs, using the Deadfish VGMPlay tool. Every few days I'd create a new batch of them, and enjoy them via a flashcart. The Chelnov OST was one of a small handful that the tool couldn't build a fully working ROM with, for some reason, and there's more than one VGM rip of the OST out there as well, but same result (most tracks not being readable on console). I believe the sound driver itself might be unique to the game.
  8. Got around to trying out the wired 8bitdo Pro 2 as I couldn't resist trying another controller that could possibly work well with most cores. So I mapped the buttons on the MiSTer menu, and returned later to find it wasn't being recognised. After a quick Google, discovered that you need to hold the B button down upon boot for it to handshake properly. Okay, that's annoying, but maybe I'll get used to it. I guess this is all part of the 'convenience' of using a modern controller loaded with multiple functions no-one will ever make full use of. Today I switch the MiSTer on after a break, forget to hold down B on the new controller I've still not used for gaming, reboot, and update the system. Because I wasn't holding down B when the update finished & rebooted..I had to reboot again the correct way. Still not used this controller for gaming, but I think I kinda hate it out of principal and will stick to OG controllers via usb adaptors etc, because they don't need an unintuitive extra step prior to system boot to work. Also, needing to use Google / read forum posts to find out crucial info that doesn't exist in the user guide is the cherry on the cake. If you have a shit tonne of perfectly good original controllers there's absolutely no need to get this one. No need whatsoever. Edit: Reading back, this sure is a pissy entitled '1st world' post about a controller I'll probably never use because it asks me to do something first. But had I known about the holding button handshake thing I'd definitely have avoided it regardless of how good the d-pad is.
  9. I suspect the MD Mini 2 is running it overclocked, removing a lot of the slowdown but yeah, Thunder Force IV is a marvel.
  10. Maximum Overdrive 5/5 I heard this was an amusing and goofy movie, and it didn't disappoint. Hearing AC/DC's take on Bernard Hermann's Psycho strings throughout never got old either.
  11. Tate (tayte) Mode is fine. So is animated Gif (hard G). "Zee Ex" Spectrum is fine too. Fight the pedantry within.
  12. They're back on sale in a month apparently, and a version for NTSC-U systems will follow at some point. On another timeline I'd already have a Famicom & N8 Pro waiting for this thing to join the party, and the dual-outputting of RGB and composite to separate displays would be done day one.
  13. I loved SNES Prince of Persia so much. A whole new PoP game with 7-8 more stages, expanded combat and gorgeous music. It's the best but I got my fill in the early 2000s when I cheerfully worked my way to the final stage with loads of time left..to find an incomprehensible level I gave up trying to understand, let alone finish. Keeping on the SNES front, that new 'Twin Stick' mod for Pocky and Rocky is a lot of fun, especially with a Saturn controller instead of a SNES one.
  14. I use a cheap adaptor for PSX controllers and also a SNAC, but honestly that fast USB polling does kinda make the SNAC adaptor less of a necessity (unless you need Light Gun / esoteric peripheral support a cheap adaptor won't cover). Having to use a PSX multitap to be able to use real memory cards does make me wish the MiSTerfpga.co.uk PSX SNAC wasn't quite so stripped back though. I'd have preferred a couple of PSX MC slots on the adaptor, which would've been a more elegant solution (if a touch pricier and more complex to produce).
  15. An original PSX controller (pre-thumb sticks, all digital) hooked up through a generic PS2 controller to USB adaptor is a fine option. I do really love using that original controller though. The ones I have perform as well they did 25 years ago, as well as feel correct.
  16. "We want your Romsets to be complete and up to date" is a beautiful thing to tell someone.
  17. New Zealand Story is incoming, apparently. I had a bash at running the X68000 port a while back, but it really wasn't playable. It'll be a dream come true for me that an FPGA core for at least one of NZS board variants is a thing. Can't wait.
  18. Videogame which feature real life weapons have had the US war machine involved in their production, and should really be considered CIA propaganda in addition to anything else. As a developer, if you want realistic guns on your game you have to also ensure that you're doing your bit to spread American imperial values.
  19. Expectations might need reigning in as the team behind this new release of EAR are known to me because their previous Saturn-based emulation-ports (for the Switch at least) perform pretty badly. Double digit added frames of lag badly.
  20. It is expensive. But as someone who was in the market for a PC Engine and Famicom plus SD solutions / applicable mods, it was pretty easy for me to rationalise it as a bargain. The DE10 Nano board was about £130 shipped from Digikey only a year ago though, with a 4-6 week lead time. Mouser currently sell them for 'only' £208.44, but with a much longer potential wait.
  21. A few months before I got around to using a working MiSTer setup, I got back into using a real PSOne. I dug out, cleaned up and picked up a few choice controllers & peripherals (including a RGC SCART cable). Retrieved, tackled and beat a few loved-but-never-conquered games from back in the day, burned a decent stack of new-to-me games, hacks and translations to CD-R and basically lamented how long I'd been missing out on PSX gaming in recent years. Most crucially, I had accepted that the PlayStation One had come home after a mysterious exile to benevolently rule over the other machines. Anyway, I never thought I'd use the MiSTer for systems I already currently use, but I'm really enjoying checking out new PSX stuff via SD card - rather than faffing with CD-Rs & wallets - and don't feel I need to invest in an X-Station ODE (plus professional modwork / equipment) for an old original PlayStation anymore.
  22. You need a six-button controller to be able to fully control your movements (simultaneously controlling two separate components). It's an unusual/ tricky mechanic that might ask a lot of an unsuspecting player. I don't think so. If starting from scratch, a fully modded multiregion Mega Drive with flawless video and enhanced audio output, bundled with a high quality scaler and a high-end flashcart will probably have a comparable cost to a MiSTer setup (rising component prices nonwithstanding).
  23. Justified response IMO. I don't produce YouTube videos but if I made stuff a tenth as original / insightful / amusing as what Bransfield and Dudley do - and had to deal with insinuations of 'ebegging' because I had a patreon or virtual tip jar - it'd probably piss me right off.
  24. George's latest video reminded me of when Slopes Game Room was passionately defending THGM's brazen theft of multiple smaller YouTubers videos in comment sections ("I would have been HONOURED to have him lift my stuff"), which was also around the time that his then anonymous wife made her debut as a guest presenter on his channel. It's not a clique. It's just a few slightly dim content creators.
  25. Totally understand getting a decent scaler and foregoing hunting down a second-hand CRT, but this thread encouraged me to finally acquire a dedicated CRT for vertically oriented games.
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