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spanky debrest

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Posts posted by spanky debrest

  1. Some of my player deaths were down to mistiming bullet avoidance due to unfortunate slowdown.

    Sloppy play too of course but I think getting used to compensating for performance dips will be part of getting better.


    I also think I saved a bunch of lives by ignoring power-ups that spawn upon death/revival in the literally the most dangerous spots during boss fights (particularly the final one).


    Of all the random bits of animated background detail that caught my eye I'm thinking about the bird doing something with an egg in its nest. Those Nazca / ex-SNK / ex-Irem artists were on top of their game. 

  2. Just finished my first run.


    One credit got me to Stage 2, I was spamming credits from Stage 3, and got to the end using 18 credits.


    Very impressed with all the one off and level specific graphic flourishes, and every enemy vehicle having huge sound effects. The whole thing felt a lot fresher and tighter than later entries I'm more familiar with. 


    Tempted to relearn how to use the unibios (looking up that button combo, basically) and seeing how much easier a lower-than-default difficulty setting makes things for another run at some point. 


    It felt like most of the game was cruising along without significant shaping of difficulty; a spike here and there, being pincered between enemy tanks every so often, the final level unsurprisingly throwing the most at you.


    The high score table made me smile. APE, BAT, CAT, DOG, EEL. 

  3. To be honest, none of the Metal Slugs have struck me as games that can be reasonably mastered (i.e. comfortably 1CC'd with enough memorisation, strategy and repeat plays).


    The chaos just gets out of hand and at some point you have to decide whether you're happy to credit-feed to see the end. 


    I remember always getting annoyed at having a decent run through an early level only to lose a life during the boss which results in forfeiting all your P.O.W bonuses. 


    Will report back tomorrow.

  4. 9 hours ago, Shimmyhill said:

    Speaking of EverDrive carts… why are there so many variations of them, are there models to avoid and ones to snap up!? I can see the mentioned EverDrive pro as many fancy features so that one is obvious but all the other variants 🤷🏼‍♂️


    I have mine all setup with the OSSC now and getting a very decent image, I’m thinking of getting a new RGB scart lead with stereo sound plug - retro gaming cables seem to come up often, go to brand or others to consider?


     And finally, I have been running a few PAL carts switched to 60hz and generally they run fine but there is an occasional stutter - ive read up on it and its down to the outputs not exactly matching NTSC timings - has anyone gone to the lengths of replacing the crystal oscillator to resolve this esp the claimed dual mode ones?


    I'm not an expert but -


    Reasons why there are so many Everdrive models:


    The Mega Drive Everdrives are Krikzz's oldest flashcart products, so there have been a *lot* of revisions / improvements over the years.  


    Today I think the X3 remains the lowest entry model - it loads all official ROMs including the SSF2 (the biggest one).


    The X5 adds a pause button for Master System games, if you care about that library. The X7 uses a bigger FPGA and has power-user features like being able to load extra-big ROMs which use custom mappers (for some hacks and homebrew), and FM-sound support for SMS games.


    The latest Pro model supercedes the X7 mainly because there's an entire Mega CD unit inside, so I think the X7 has been retired. There's a lot of cool stuff only available on a Pro model but I personally never upgraded from an X5 because I was happy running CD-Rs on a real Mega CD, loading CD BIOSs as desired. 


    The stuttering via an OSSC is just how it is until, yes, either you use a real NTSC console or replace the crystal with a true 60hz one. It's less to do with PAL games being played at 60hz but rather the slightly off-spec version of 60hz / NTSC timings outtputted by modded PAL Mega Drives..which the OSSC (and Framemeister I believe) just don't like very much. 


    I used to have a PAL MD with an NTSC crystal installed (regular, not dual frequency) - but only ever used it direct to a CRT. It's a cool mod but only particularly needed for some PAL consoles played through specific scalers, as I understand it.

  5. I remember reading a review of GnG MD over and over, Julian Rignall's one-page piece in the first 'Complete Guide To Consoles'.


    It got 98%, a thoroughly deserved score.


    Until Gunstar Heroes came along, I'm quite sure Ghouls N Ghosts Mega Drive was my all time favourite game.


    I'm sure a lot of the motivation hackers / developers have for improving or writing new versions of classic coin op versions is the knowledge that the the Mega Drive is capable of so much more than what we thought back in the day. It could certainly have rocked, say, accurate versions of R-Type or Shinobi or New Zealand Story or any number of big deal arcade games from around the Mega Drive's birth, had the circumstances been different.

  6. 6 hours ago, geldra said:

    Well, was more thinking with the advent of home brew products like the Satiator and things like STV multi carts from Darksoft etc, could Saturn/DC games be launched on STV/Naomi hardware? 

    Reckon the STV would benefit more than Naomi. 


    Those Saturn / DC games could almost certainly run on STV / Naomi, provided any Saturn / DC specific code in those ROMs pertaining to inputs, memory mapping and probably a bunch of other stuff was replaced accordingly (basically what @Ninja Doctor said). 


    Unlike with those Atomiswave / Triforce / ZN-2 conversions though it'll be a lot of work per game for obviously far more niche target platforms.

  7. Checked out Taito's Qix Neo on the PSX expecting a typically weirded out 32-bit remake of a classic coin-op, but found the ultimate version of a personal all time favourite, Volfied, instead. 


    I'm not really a Qix enthusiast, but my love for Volfied has run pretty deep since discovering it on one of those Taito Legends PS2 compilations back in the day. Between the hidden depths & secrets, open play style, randomised power ups and creative enemy designs, it got me hooked.


    This PSX version seems to have perfectly transplanted the arcade board whilst also redesigning the levels for horizontal screen layout - which itself wasn't unusual (the MD and PCE ports also did this) - but here they've also used what seem to be original source assets but subtly improved / enhanced them in places.


    It's done with such class and taste that it feels period correct AND correct correct - as if this was always the way it was meant to be.


    There's added sprite scaling and rotation effects and pseudo surround sound audio trickery which is really cool. Gone are the non-existent / limited continues, which is also really cool. It plays so goddamned smoothly.


    And there's a separate Arrange Mode too, which seems to offer modified levels with smoothed / digitised reworks of sprite / background assets and all new redone music / sfx - some of which I'm not particularly fussed about -  BUT the most divisive aspect of the original game - an undulating high frequency drone that's used as main background atmospherics - has been reworked to something a lot rounder and more palatable.


    So, I lost two hours to Qix Neo tonight. What an utter gem.

  8. I don't think anything is screwed up.


    A bunch of cores which run multiple systems all got new folders a while back, mainly to allow for different video settings to coexist simultaneously.


    - WonderSwan Color (WonderSwan core)

    - Game Gear (Master System core)

    - SG-1000 (Master System & Colecovision core)

    - Mega Duck (Game Boy core)

    - Maybe one or two others 


    These folders didn't exist a month ago but they seem to be part of how things are organised now. 


  9. I miss playing Saturn - traditionally my favourite console, the one I own the most peripherals and games for, the one with all those A-grade exclusives and near-perfect ports that are the epitome of Video Games for me. 


    It's still hooked up. It's permanently hooked up. But the competition with other machines is fierce, and I rinsed my favourite games so hard so long ago that I don't really feel like going back to any of them.


    The last Saturn game I played was the translation of Yumimi Mix Remix - which was wonderful, but more of a comedic animated visual novel than game. Ultra charming and time well spent, but two sessions and done.


    Bulk Slash was good to experience in an English form too, but I didn't connect with it like I wanted to, putting it down after a few levels. That short draw distance in the outside sections was a hard to acclimatise to.


    Maybe I should try out that unfinished Wachenroeder translation? I heard this was an incredible game but the thought of hitting a language-related brick wall several hours in puts me off from investing time into it.


    I guess this might make more sense to revisit when the Saturn MiSTer core is ready, as there'll be no need to burn CDs or deal with dodgy cartridge slot connections.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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. 

  16. 11 minutes ago, Yasawas said:

    This will be the least hot take ever made in this thread but I'm rediscovering the MD love recently with the Mini II having lapsed a bit in recent years - just how ludicrous is Thunder Force IV? 55-inch screen, fuck your scanline filter and smoothing nonsense. Beautiful, colourful, fast and relentless. Literally struggling to believe some of what I'm seeing.


    I suspect the MD Mini 2 is running it overclocked, removing a lot of the slowdown but yeah, Thunder Force IV is a marvel. 

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