Jump to content

Mega Drive. Yeah!


strider
 Share

Recommended Posts

Anyone played FX Unit Yuki on Mega Drive? It's a homebrew game released for various systems (PCE, MD, DC, etc.).

 

http://www.fxunityuki.com/

 

I discovered it today, put it on my Mega EverDrive Pro and got past Stage 00 and to the end of Stage 01.

I know it looks nice in screenshots, but it's one of the worst platformers I've ever played. A hot dumpster fire akin to Action 52 on the Mega Drive, albeit it with nice music and anime cut-scenes. The flying enemies, the stun-lock plummets down bottomless pits, the overall difficulty, the odd GIF-like colour palette (you can tell MD wasn't the lead system), the stiff two-frame animation, the excessively long stages, the unskippable dialogue, it's all just horrible.

If you have a flash cart that can play other Mega Drive games, you're better of with the entire system's back catalogue. Hell, even Bubsy the Bobcat is better than this drek.

To this day I am surprised/baffled at how homebrew game devs, despite having access to emulators, flash carts, and modern development tools, can't create a retro game for legacy hardware that's even equivalent to the worst that system has to offer. Everything always has that cheap, amateur look to it. Really, I don't understand how or why. Back in the day they were coding this stuff in assembly and they had to burn EEPROMs before they could see what they made. It should be easy to surpass at least the worst games on any given legacy system. Every homebrew retro game I've seen is a shallow, horrible experience. Which is weird, because homebrew PC games (indie games?) by lone people offer greater depth.

 

But it's like, if you're making a NES, or a Mega Drive, or NeoGeo, suddenly everything becomes this amateurish crap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, Sketch said:

To this day I am surprised/baffled at how homebrew game devs, despite having access to emulators, flash carts, and modern development tools, can't create a retro game for legacy hardware that's even equivalent to the worst that system has to offer. Everything always has that cheap, amateur look to it. Really, I don't understand how or why. Back in the day they were coding this stuff in assembly and they had to burn EEPROMs before they could see what they made. It should be easy to surpass at least the worst games on any given legacy system. Every homebrew retro game I've seen is a shallow, horrible experience. Which is weird, because homebrew PC games (indie games?) by lone people offer greater depth.

 

 

Just because you can code doesn't mean you can do things like art/sprites/decent level design or music. Even the worst of games often had several members of a large team working on projectors for a large amount of time (not the odd evening and weekend dedicated by a hopefuly homebrewer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't played the MD version of FX Unit Yuki but I heard it was less than great. Apparently the Dreamcast version isn't much better. But off the top of my head the Mega Drive has been host to some excellent modern homebrew which would have gone down a storm back in the day, such as:

 

- Tanzer

- Xeno Crisis

- Tanglewood

- Arkagis Revolution

 

Other homebrew titles I'd say are mandatory to have:

 

- Cave Story (latest version 0.7.0)

- Omega Blast

 

And some titles in production which show promise:

 

- Perlin and Pinpin

- Curse of Illmore Bay

- Demons of Asteborg

- Irena Genesis Metal Fury

- Cleopatra's Curse

 

But yeah, a lot of unlicensed stuff has a lower bar of quality compared to what professional teams pulled off back in the day. At least the scene is somewhat thriving (unlike with, say, the PC Engine or SNES).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You should give Xeno Crisis a shot then. It's an amazing little game that came out in 2019. Essentially it's a bit of a Smash TV clone, but vastly better than the actual Smash TV port that came out back in the day. My only criticism of it at all is the controls would work better on a SNES pad than they do on the 6-button Megadrive pad, but once you get your head around it it works well enough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, Zio said:

You should give Xeno Crisis a shot then. It's an amazing little game that came out in 2019. Essentially it's a bit of a Smash TV clone, but vastly better than the actual Smash TV port that came out back in the day. My only criticism of it at all is the controls would work better on a SNES pad than they do on the 6-button Megadrive pad, but once you get your head around it it works well enough.

 

I bought Xeno Crisis for the Dreamcast too but actually much prefer the Mega Drive version to control.

 

It's also *much* more difficult on the DC which isn't really something this game needed. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah it's totally weird how teams of professional programmers/artists/musicians, financed by videogame publishers, were able to put out products of a higher quality than hobbyists making games in their spare time.

 

There was a NES homebrew game being played during AQDG the other day that looked high quality and pretty good fun.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, spanky debrest said:

Other homebrew titles I'd say are mandatory to have:

- Cave Story (latest version 0.7.0)

 

 

This is what I mean, Cave Story was excellent. The original PC Spelunky also great. Is it just the legacy hardware being so much more difficult to use? FX Unit Yuki has like 4 or 5 people on staff, doing various jobs. I would have assumed modern tools would make devving easier. It's not free either - they're charging for it.

 

I've actually played Xeno Crisis round a mate's house, it looks very polished. The same metallic styling as the old Bitmap Brothers games. I got bored after a bit though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finished Monster World 3 (Wonder Boy in Monster World) last night. Used save states to let me retry the floating platform bit, because life is too short.

 

I enjoyed the reference to the original Wonder Boy in the form of the Nightmare Castle boss. The final boss was less enjoyable - a mother brain knock off in space? Doesn’t seem very Wonder Boy, although I suppose the Meka Dragon was a similar twist. It was a right sod anyway, with the buzzsaw on the floor (apparently added to the western versions to spike the difficulty for the rental market) making strategy pretty much impossible, so just using power magic and beating the hell out of it before your health power ups run out seemed to be the only approach.

 

Overall, I’d say it’s one of the weaker entries in the series. It lacks personality other than that which it borrows from previous games in the series, and while it’s technically a metroidvania like Dragon’s Trap, it’s actually pretty linear, with very little re-use of previous areas apart from exploring underwater in the first area, and a handful of hidden chests once you get the Pygmy gear. Bosses were fairly uninspired and, barring the last two, far too easy. The upgrade system is a bit wonky this time, with two big mistakes - movement speed being so godawfully slow until you’ve upgraded your boots several times, and the reach of your weapon increasing as you level up. The first makes the early game dull, the second makes combat in the early game much harder than in the late game, as you have to have ridiculously good timing with the tiny swords.

 

On the plus side, the magic system is good, I enjoyed fighting with spears, the AI companions were kind of a good idea (although they can mess up attack timings), and the music is occasionally great. 

 

Rolled straight into Monster World IV, playing the translated ROM extracted from the Virtual Console release. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Spoilers for the last boss of MW3, but look at this shit:

 

 

The JP version looks way too easy, but about on a par with the other bosses in the game. The Western version adds the conveyor belt and the buzz saw, turning it into an attritional battle just to get near enough to the damn thing to hit it once.

 

Glad to see all the YouTube videos I can find are as much of a mess as my final battle was. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 07/01/2021 at 16:08, Mr Monday said:

On the topic of homebrew, the unfinished port of Wolfenstein on the Megadrive  running without any additional hardware is pretty amazing.

 

 


that’s on original hardware?

 

that’s amazing. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, bplus said:

Has he got a write up of how he did this? Pretty amazing!

 

The dev behind Arkagis has been working on something which uses similar tech. A recent update is pretty impressive:

 

 

On a related note there's an in-depth write up on the making of the astonishing video for Red Eyes, the 'single' off of Remute's Mega Drive album 'Technoptimistic' (originally released on a cart but also available as a ROM in a partition on a separate CD release) which is well worth a read (link below video). It's a thing of aural and visual beauty.

 

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/17pX_PS5uXSWoaS71JurC-DSKIV8ZAzlaP4o1jXbJ9CA/edit

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

A new Genesis GX core, which is pretty much the best core to emulate a Megadrive with, has appeared for Retroarch. 

 

It's turns Megadrive games into widescreen versions. 

 

I'm looking forward to having a tinker with it at the weekend to see if it compliments the HIGH DEFINITION GRAPHICS nicely. 

 

https://www.libretro.com/index.php/genesis-plus-gx-wide-now-available-for-libretroretroarch/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I finished Monster World IV last weekend, meaning I've clocked MW1 - 4 in the last three months. It was really interesting, and on the whole I really enjoyed it.

 

Even in a series practically defined by radical departures, it's a pretty radical departure. Structurally, it's linear with a repeated hub town which you come back to after each dungeon. Crucially, you can't revisit cleared areas - once they're done, they're done, and any secrets you've missed are gone forever. MW1 had this no-turning-back nature, but there the whole game was linear, so this is quite an interesting mixture. I appreciated the lack of ambiguity about what to do at any given moment, but it made the completist in me a bit anxious. In the end, I finished with all but 6 heart drops (10 give you a heart, so I had all but one), and I didn't have enough money to afford the Legendary Shield, but I was happy enough with that. The hub world works really well for plot development, with you getting to see how the people of the town change throughout the story. There's also a clever system where you sell gold bars to a rich lady, and the value of them increases the later in the game you sell them - so saving them up in the early game can really pay off.

 

Plot! That's a big change. The game has a plot, and quite a good one (if simple), going in a fairly dark direction. Some of the NPC dialogue is pretty funny, too.

 

The biggest departure is the increased emphasis on platforming and puzzles, and the Pepelogoo companion. This is a kind of rabite bird thing which you can use to double-jump and glide, as well as various other dungeon specific uses - e.g. using it to shield you from falling lava, sniff out hidden doors, or weigh you down to stop you sliding on ice. You gain Pepe after the first dungeon, and he accompanies you on the next five or so, before plot events have you adventuring solo again. It's a measure of how natural using Pepe gets to feel that when you have to do a dungeon without him again, you feel so incomplete, and little things become big challenges. The platforming, particularly in the last of the main dungeons, is pretty challenging, although as it builds up throughout the game, and Asha's physics are so solid, there's no WTF difficulty spike like the moving platforms in MW1 & 3. There are also some pretty decent puzzles to solve, including ones in the ice pyramids which must have required pretty careful localisation.

 

The Monster World DNA shows through in the combat - there's a few familiar monsters here, and even rank and file enemies are tough until you work out their pattern. The last dungeon is basically an enemy rush, facing every enemy in the game in order, and if you took the time to suss out their patterns earlier, it's a highly enjoyable cakewalk. The change to having the shield be manually deployed is partially successful, but it somehow feels less fair when an enemy attack ignores your shield than it did when the same thing occurs in the previous games. The equipment system is a bit underdeveloped (shields feel thoroughly optional), but the way armor gives you extra HP is smart, and the gold bar trading mentioned earlier is neat.

 

It's a gorgeous game, with a vibrant pallette and lots of personality. Asha's a likeable heroine, and the game refreshingly doesn't make anything of a big deal about how it has a female lead - just gets on with it. There's an Arabian Nights feel to the whole thing here, which is a bit of a departure for the series, but I'm guessing was inspired by the success of Disney's Aladdin (which probably also spawned Beyond Oasis, come to think of it). The music is a mixed bag - cleverly, almost everything is a remix of the main title theme, and when it's good, it's very good, but one or two of the dungeon themes are borderline unpleasant. Highlights are the Ice Pyramid music (fortunate, given you have to clear three dungeons here!) and the wonderfully wonky music that plays when you summon your genie to teleport you back to town.

 

Heartily recommended, but completists should approach with caution.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, and in terms of classic series ranking:

 

1. Monster World 2 (AKA Wonder Boy III: Dragon's Trap)

2. Monster World 4

3. Monster World 1 (AKA Wonder Boy in Monster Land)

4. Monster World 3 (AKA Wonder Boy in Monster World)

 

Dragon's Trap is such a perfectly formed little game that it takes the top spot. I can't see much of a reason to play the SMS version if you can play the LizardCube remake, though.

 

That's the objective viewpoint, anyway. The nostalgia viewpoint has MW1 at the top!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a buttload of Wonder Boy / Monster World alright. Well done for avoiding burn out. 

 

For me it's all about the original Wonder Boy and Wonder Boy: Monster Land (both arcade and Master System) these days. 

 

There's a lot I appreciate about the Mega Drive games (especially Monster World IV's incredible aesthetics) but they kind of miss the mark enough for me to recently accept that I'll not be returning to them - unlike the first two games which I consider legit evergreen, always a joy to blast through.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, spanky debrest said:

That's a buttload of Wonder Boy / Monster World alright. Well done for avoiding burn out.

I played the Switch port of Dragon's Trap prior to going through that lot on the original systems too. I am giving myself a brief holiday before I tackle Monster Boy!

 

That said, I might finally try to get to grips with the original (Super) Wonder Boy, which I used to enjoy on the Speccy but have never really mastered. Pity the MD port of Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair is such weak sauce - maybe I'll pick up an Analogue Duo one day and play the PC Engine version...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently '100%'d' the OG Wonder Boy and found it a thrill, quite honestly. A worthy response to Super Mario Bros as any.

 

As far as Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair goes I think it's probably the weakest entry regardless of version..but seeing how the Mega Drive port might have the most exquisite sounding FM snare drums in the entire catalogue of official games my criticism can only go so far.

Link to comment
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
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

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.