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Breath of Fire, not sure why. Convenience maybe. Slow, really basic combat that reminds me of the Fast Show sketch where two men trade punches for days and the Switch has loads of better JRPGs.

 

Subconsciously it might be because I know the PS1 games look gorgeous and I can't willingly start a series from the third entry.

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I finished Radical Rescue, the third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game on the Game Boy, about two weeks ago, but the usual festive duties/events prevented me from writing about it.

 

I'd been hesitant about playing Radical Rescue, however, because earlier in the year I played the first and second GB TMNT games (Fall of the Foot Clan and Back from the Sewers), to find that they were much worse than I'd remembered. Not terrible games, but disappointingly average games with great music. Radical Rescue is much, much better, though. I'd even venture to say that it's probably one of the best TMNT games.

 

My thoughts: (spoilered for length)

 

 

Radical Rescue was released in 1993, when both TMNT's and the Game Boy's popularity was on the wane. It was released at around the same time as Tournament Fighters, and Konami might have been (somewhat) forgiven if Radical Rescue had been another game in the vein of Foot Clan and Sewers. However, you get the feeling that the developers had other ideas, and, much like Tournament Fighters, went into an interesting direction.


By this time, Konami seem to have had a good idea about how to make use of the license to fit design ideas that they had while remaining true to the license. Radical Rescue feels more like an episode of the TV show: Shredder has kidnapped everyone this time, except for Michaelangelo, who had gone out to get pizza for the crew. You take control of the partyin' turtle as he heads to a coal mine to rescue his friends.

... And, that's it. There are no stages in the usual sense; no gimmicks or stage effects--it's just you traversing the mine (and whatever is hidden underneath), within the basic Metroidvania framework. That is to say, an action platformer in which progress is gated through abilities. Each turtle has a unique ability, and as you rescue the other turtles, you are able to access other sections of the map. 

It's not a complex game, really. Radical Rescue belongs to the "proto" side of the genre: there are not so many upgrades and new abilities, and they are of one-dimensional use and confined to certain key sections in the game. There are only a few secrets and shortcuts, too. But it's not as linear as that suggests. Playing the game makes you realize just how many game design concepts have been codified in the genre, and when you don't have those ideas in the game, it makes for a really interesting playthrough.

In Radical Rescue, there are no maps or save rooms or anywhere to pause for breath. It's an exhilarating trek from room to room, and the only places where there are no enemies or traps waiting for you are the Mega Man-like "airlocks" before the bosses. There's a real exploratory feel to the game, too, as you're able to explore a lot of the map without any special abilities, too.

People have cited the map as one of the weak points in the game. It's not so much a map, as a diagram of the mines with the key areas/items denoted with a clear black dot. I like it, though: it adds to the sense of mystery and adventure. The fact that the turtles play the same (except for their special ability) is slightly disappointing, but nothing major, given the structure of the game.

What slightly spoils the game, really, is the boss battles. They're tough. Really tough--and what makes it worse is that the battles are confined to a claustrophobia-inducing small room, which adds to the stress. The game only gives you three tries to beat the game, so these encounters can become really tense. Radical Rescue records your progress via passwords, which helps, but only up to a point. Before you face the last boss, the game makes you go through the cliched gauntlet of bosses, and that makes the last section a real slog to play.

Still, I really enjoyed the game. It's not very long (I think it took me about 4 hours to beat it, and speed runs clock the game in 25 minutes), it's full of character, and there are some interesting ideas there. In many ways, I feel this is the best Metroidvania game on the Game Boy.

 

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Just finished Area 88 on the Super Famicom. Absolutely loved it.

I think it might be one of the best shooters ever, and here’s why...

 

It has a level system system that lets you choose your level order, but not only that, there IS strategy in picking your level order. Which levels give you good money? Which gives you good weapon levelling up? What weapons does each level need? Which weapons should a buy and when should I NOT buy? Etc etc.

 

very clever stuff.

 

The levels have a good mix of recognisable enemy types that come in from all directions and require you to think about your screen position a lot as you progress.

 

The game has a whole, money, plane, weapon purchasing system that allows experimentation, decisions to be made and preference.

 

The music is awesome!

 

It has huge multi-destruction bosses!

 

It has more story than most shooters, that includes YOUR base being attacked.

 

I always knew it was a good game. I played it back in the day and would always have a ‘quick blast’ when rom hopping. Having picked it up recently I decided to sit down with it and figure it out and, wow, what an amazing game.

 

 

 

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Creatures 2: Torture Troubles (C64)

 

I never played this back in the day, even though I really enjoyed the first one. When I got a The C64, this was the first thing I got working on it.

 

Its quite hard. And by "quite", I mean "exceptionally".

 

 

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I just played SNES pilotwings properly for the first time

 

 

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I say this every time someone mentions Pilotwings, but the perfect difficulty for me is to complete each level without using the light plane. It's an awesome challenge which forces the player get to the bonus levels using the remaining modes.

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My first experience of the light plane was a disaster, and yet I didn’t score too badly. it handles like a brick too.

 

Cleared lesson 1 by 2pts.

 

got 100/100pts on my first rocketbelt lesson...

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Ecco The Dolphin. I fancied playing this after watching Strafefox's mini-documentary on YouTube (link - check out the channel, loads of a great videos).

 

I opted to emulate the Mega CD version (1993) for the better soundtrack. I remember bits of Ecco The Dolphin on the Megadrive when I was younger and less patient with hard games. I don't recall getting very far with it. I'm older now, surely I'll appreciate it more?

 

Eh, well it's still kinda frustrating. Mostly this comes from navigational puzzles and the level design is samey, so finding your way around identical-looking underwater caves is not particularly fun. Enemies have a habit of being "in the way". Now I'm nine or ten levels into the game and there are giant enemy crabs that just home in on you, take two hits to kill, jump out at you from hidden spots and can move through walls that you can't. You get "stuck" when you're hit and have to do these awkward manoeuvres to get away and turn around to attack again. It's inelegant as a combat mechanic. I realise the game needs some adversaries but I'd rather they weren't in it.

 

And then there's floating ice blocks that crush you instantly if you have even a fin stuck between them. Some of these levels are quite long, and if you've managed to pick up whatever hard-to-reach key glyph you needed, the last thing you want is to instantly die and have to start again.

 

I dunno, I'm not really feeling it. I love the idea of a dolphin game, swimming around majestically, managing air supply and solving puzzles, but this isn't hitting the right notes for me just yet. The swimming is fun, the premise is intriguing and I'm looking forward to the more sci-fi-y levels later. Also, the CD music is awesome, particularly 'The Vents'.

 

I'm 'vlogging' my journey. First session is with 90 minutes of audio commentary. Enjoy :unsure: :

 

 

 

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Coloris (GBA) - an eBay bargain, completing my set of the seven Bit Generations games

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Action in New York - NES. Such an inventive and underrated shooter. Level 3 does my eyes in though.

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On 02/01/2020 at 00:09, Sprite Machine said:

Ecco The Dolphin. I fancied playing this after watching Strafefox's mini-documentary on YouTube (link - check out the channel, loads of a great videos).

 

I opted to emulate the Mega CD version (1993) for the better soundtrack. I remember bits of Ecco The Dolphin on the Megadrive when I was younger and less patient with hard games. I don't recall getting very far with it. I'm older now, surely I'll appreciate it more?

 

Eh, well it's still kinda frustrating. Mostly this comes from navigational puzzles and the level design is samey, so finding your way around identical-looking underwater caves is not particularly fun. Enemies have a habit of being "in the way". Now I'm nine or ten levels into the game and there are giant enemy crabs that just home in on you, take two hits to kill, jump out at you from hidden spots and can move through walls that you can't. You get "stuck" when you're hit and have to do these awkward manoeuvres to get away and turn around to attack again. It's inelegant as a combat mechanic. I realise the game needs some adversaries but I'd rather they weren't in it.

 

And then there's floating ice blocks that crush you instantly if you have even a fin stuck between them. Some of these levels are quite long, and if you've managed to pick up whatever hard-to-reach key glyph you needed, the last thing you want is to instantly die and have to start again.

 

I dunno, I'm not really feeling it. I love the idea of a dolphin game, swimming around majestically, managing air supply and solving puzzles, but this isn't hitting the right notes for me just yet. The swimming is fun, the premise is intriguing and I'm looking forward to the more sci-fi-y levels later. Also, the CD music is awesome, particularly 'The Vents'.

 

I'm 'vlogging' my journey. First session is with 90 minutes of audio commentary. Enjoy :unsure: :

 


I played the MD version back in the day. Never finished it as it’s ridiculously difficult. 
 

I did enjoy it, and the mags loved it, but TBH I don’t really have any desire to go back to it, mainly because I think your comments are pretty valid. I’m actually a bit more interested now as, like you stay, would playing it as an adult allow me to dissect it a bit better.

 

I know the last couple of levels are brutal. They’re auto-scrollers that have loads of red herring dead ends and annoying enemies. I remember using the invincibility cheat and level codes and still struggled to see the ending. If I remember rightly the last boss has an insta-kill move (even if you’re invincible!) and if you die it’s right back to the start of the final auto scroller level
 

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I got to the final boss of Ecco as a young un but never beat it. Really tough game. Don't think I could do it nowadays even with save states

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Ecco was possibly one of my biggest gaming disappointments. I was so hyped for that game, but was relatively young and it seemed insanely difficult. I did like it, and love dolphins, so it was a no brainer. It cost maybe 40/50 quid and then I had to hide the disappointment from my mother for 9 months until my birthday and I could get my next game. #lifeishard

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On 04/01/2020 at 08:38, Goemon said:
On 02/01/2020 at 00:09, Sprite Machine said:

Ecco The Dolphin...

 

I played the MD version back in the day. Never finished it as it’s ridiculously difficult.

 

So, aside from five extra levels, the CD version has mid-level checkpoints -- it saves when you open a 'door' glyph and means you don't have to start every level from the beginning if you die. This helps but, as you say, it is still ridiculously difficult overall.

 

I've just had to look up the solution to getting through the Deep City level (third Atlantis level) because it requires an insane rocket jump out of the water to clear a wall far higher than any other. The game does not make it clear at all what you're supposed to do, and makes the right way so difficult that you can't believe it isn't wrong. Then there are the flowing water currents where it isn't clear if you can fight against the current or if you have to wait for a block to appear (which often doesn't). At one point, I literally got stuck embedded in a stone ledge and had to wait until I drowned before I could try again. And when I eventually got through the level, it was more by glitching/fluke than any sort of intent. The respawning enemies are utterly infuriating.

 

Absolutely appallingly bad level.

 

Some of the others haven't been quite so bad, but if it's only going to get harder and harder, I'll end up pulling my hair out. How a game that should be relaxing, graceful and intelligent could have turned out so belligerent, dumb and broken I do not know.

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I’m playing Lufia 2. 

 

The dungeons are amazing and genuinely rival Zelda. The story is total dog shit but I think that’s because it’s s really basic crappy translation. 

 

I hope someone retranslates this game at some point. It’s such a masterpiece that it needs doing.

 

another negative is the really shitty monster designs. Still, none of this really detracts from the utterly excellent dungeons. Makes me wish that clever, puzzle-based dungeon design was a staple of all RPGs

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2 minutes ago, beakbeak said:

I’m playing Lufia 2. 

 

The dungeons are amazing and genuinely rival Zelda. The story is total dog shit but I think that’s because it’s s really basic crappy translation. 

 

I hope someone retranslates this game at some point. It’s such a masterpiece that it needs doing.

 

another negative is the really shitty monster designs. Still, none of this really detracts from the utterly excellent dungeons. Makes me wish that clever, puzzle-based dungeon design was a staple of all RPGs


I thought I saw there was a patch for it.

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1 hour ago, Rex Grossman said:


I thought I saw there was a patch for it.

 

There is, but it doesn’t change the dialogue. Just cleans up some spelling errors, balancing and bug fixes 

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Barbarian (C64)

 

This is a lot, lot slower than I remember. It's pretty move move in -> hit -> move back, repeat. But once you get into the rhythm of it, it's still a lot of fun to play. Hard as nails, though.

 

Games were definitely a lot harder "back in the day", weren't they?

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A bit of Mario 3. I don't normally use save states, but they're useful in games like this where it's takes time to play through the game in one sitting.

 

IMG_4546.thumb.jpeg.a49cda1e4fbd8b32fff8ce4af322af4e.jpeg

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Hopefully Gaplus arcade pcb from tomorrow as the adapter is due!

Think that's the right pic of board! Also has a lovely Namco foil sticker on it.

You can't see that from this pic.

I cannot wait to play this!

IMG_20191220_154825.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Urgh, I finished Ecco The Dolphin. Christ almighty, that's got to be one of the worst final levels in any game I have ever played. Whoever thought it was a good idea needs their head examining. Auto-scrollers are boring at the best of times, but this had the temerity to be frustatingly, teeth-gnashingly difficult and mean-spirited to boot. And putting you back to the beginning whenever the final boss kills you (which is often - just touching it accidentally is instant death) has to rank as one of the worst design decisions in any game I can think of. The fact that they patched in a checkpoint for the Windows port three years later shows they eventually realised they'd made a huge mistake. As far as decisions go, it makes "let's put a car park level at the beginning of Driver" seem like a tame idea in comparison. I can't imagine that they actually wanted anyone to speak well of the game, never mind finish it - it's utterly masochistic.  And this is the CD version, which is supposed to be easier!!!! I can well imagine the original being hailed as one of the hardest games of all time. I literally would not ever have completed it without relying on numerous emulator save states.

 

As final levels go, this was a bafflingly bad, frustratingly hard, achingly dull, tedious slog through a Giger-esque nightmare.

 

 

As for the game as a whole, what a missed opportunity this was. The premise is amazing, the tone and atmosphere incredible, and the core idea has such potential -- but instead they built frustrating, badly designed gameplay around it.

 

Was the sequel any good in comparison? I don't know if I can force myself through more of the same, but it sounds intriguing and some people said it was a little easier... :unsure:

Edited by Sprite Machine
added correct video
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I often have a blast at (Saturn) Sega Rally via OpenEmu, but today I finally got around to connecting a pad (DS3) to my Mac. What a difference!

 

Time has not aged this classic at all, the balance of the controls is so bloody right. It looks pretty good even now, and I am surprised it didn't have even more impact than it did vs the comparable PS1 games. Granted it's thin on content compared to Colin McRae or VRally and doesn't have the merit of cutting through to the club crowd like 2097 or Rage Racer... but it's really is bloody brilliant!

 


(as an aside.. forgot to record sound with the vid, done after-the-event. Oh well!)

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On 07/01/2020 at 01:30, Sprite Machine said:

Urgh, I finished Ecco The Dolphin. Christ almighty, that's got to be one of the worst final levels in any game I have ever played. Whoever thought it was a good idea needs their head examining. Auto-scrollers are boring at the best of times, but this had the temerity to be frustatingly, teeth-gnashingly difficult and mean-spirited to boot. And putting you back to the beginning whenever the final boss kills you (which is often - just touching it accidentally is instant death) has to rank as one of the worst design decisions in any game I can think of. The fact that they patched in a checkpoint for the Windows port three years later shows they eventually realised they'd made a huge mistake. As far as decisions go, it makes "let's put a car park level at the beginning of Driver" seem like a tame idea in comparison. I can't imagine that they actually wanted anyone to speak well of the game, never mind finish it - it's utterly masochistic.  And this is the CD version, which is supposed to be easier!!!! I can well imagine the original being hailed as one of the hardest games of all time. I literally would not ever have completed it without relying on numerous emulator save states.

 

As final levels go, this was a bafflingly bad, frustratingly hard, achingly dull, tedious slog through a Giger-esque nightmare.

 

 

As for the game as a whole, what a missed opportunity this was. The premise is amazing, the tone and atmosphere incredible, and the core idea has such potential -- but instead they built frustrating, badly designed gameplay around it.

 

Was the sequel any good in comparison? I don't know if I can force myself through more of the same, but it sounds intriguing and some people said it was a little easier... :unsure:

 

Congrats!

 

I think the scores in the mags at the time justified their design choices. The popularity was huge and spawned numerous sequels.


TBH I think too many mags were wowed by the premise as it was something that felt very unique. 
 

 

 


 

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@pastry Sega Rally is amazing. The handling is so good. Thing is, I had this, and my best mate had GT on the PSX. He was doing driving tests and unlocking new tracks and cars every evening. I was shaving off 10ths of a second on the Desert Stage.

 

Thing is, I don't think he really games any more, is happily married and quite balanced overall. I moved countries 4 times in 5 years, have an addiction to shmups, high scores, arcades, and pangs of nostalgia that make it feel like I was in a relationship with SEGA or something.

 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8E5516B88B57BBA8

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