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Exile finished.

 

Not a bad game overall but can certainly see why it didn’t set the world on fire. It’s a nice balance of story, overworld traversal and platform action, there’s also no major sticking points, so you’re always moving forward.
 

Probably took me about 6 hours overall, which I’d personally consider quite short but I’ve actually found a few action RPG types like this are finish-able in the 6-8 hour mark. So possibly it was just the normal for the time.

 

TBH 6-8 hours is fine for me. I really dislike a lot of the bloat that comes with modern games and prefer something that keeps to the point. Still, when I was a kid I had games that took months to finish and I needed the to last months too. I can’t imagine this would have taken me that long, even having less skills than I have now.

 

There is a number 2 on the PC Engine which I will keep an eye out for as I’d be hoping for general improvements on everything they’d put together in this one. In that case I imagine it could end up being a pretty good game.

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I finished Exhumed on the Saturn today with all 23 team dolls. My last attempt at this was when i was 12 years old during summer 1997 and I managed around 14 without a guide, after many, many hours of play. This time I was armed with a PDF of the official Saturn magazine issue that I missed as a kid , and got them in a single afternoon. 

 

Feels great to 100% that game 24 years later.

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Don't worry a lot of them are unobtainable until you have many artifacts and the amun bomb . Some of them aren't too bad but others are so obscure it's like how did they expect anyone to find them? 

 

Also a tip the pal version runs great at 60hz other than sound skip during FMVs and when you speak to Ramses . If you toggle back to 50hz for those bits you get the best of both worlds 😁

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Haha, good to know. I'm on the Nile Gorge at the moment - Not sure how far through that is! Can't get the hang of using the grenades to boost my jump height, so gonna have to come back for that transmitter.

 

I'm playing the PAL version on an unmodded JPN Saturn via Action Replay, so no 50Hz option for me - I actually found that the game crashes during the intro FMV on the disc, and from an ISO sourced from the web on another JPN Saturn with a Fenrir. Very strange, but as long as I don't leave the title screen running, it's all good.

 

 

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I’ve been playing Mystic Formula for the PC Engine. I’ve played for about 4 hours and I’m now officially abandoning Mystic Formula on the PC Engine.

 

I’ve tried really hard to ek some kind of fun out if the game, but it’s tough. It’s so badly made; awful graphics, boring gameplay, dodgy hitboxes, woeful AI and a tonne of cheap death.

 

For those that don’t know this game is a walk along action shooter similar to the likes of something like Kikikaikai.

 

The game has anime cutscenes and recognised/famous voice actors…and I’m pretty sure this is where they spent all their budget. 
 

TBH I could forgive the graphics and subpar gameplay if there wasn’t so much shitty cheap death. Nearly every death feels like you’ve been mugged. There’s little to no bullets to deal with, all the death comes from constant AI enemy spawns that randomly fly around the screen and just suicide into you. Even trying to shoot them, with the dodgy hitboxes, random movement etc. you fail and it’s 1 hit death.

 

I personally suspect these enemies were added as an after thought as without them the game would too easy and dull.

 

Oh and don’t don’t even get me started on how poor the vehicles sections are.

 

Biggest crime of all though is the money this game is commanding. You’re talking £90-£100 on eBay for this game, which IMO is a complete turd.

 

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On 24/08/2021 at 08:03, simms said:


oh yes absolutely. I wanted to go in all hardcore but modern games have spoiled me with their fancy in-game maps and I struggled with directions going to the same dead area multiple times and my lack of direction compounded this.  I ended up finding a lovely site that has brilliant maps with graphics seemingly lifted out of the game somehow.  I used the one without items shown so as not to hand hold me too much and spoil the experience.  Great maps here:

 

https://nesmaps.com/maps/Metroid/MetroidCompleteMapBG.html

 

I've hit a brick wall in terms of progression.  Cant get past Kraid on Metroid 1.  I ve worked out the gap between his attack pattern and can get some hits in but when I jump to the back to the platform which is the entrance I sometimes accidently go back to the previous screen and am wondering whether Kraids health resets everytime this happens.  Dark Souls has nothing on this.

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Finished Gate of Thunder on the PC Engine.

 

Before I really knew anything about the PC Engine, this is one game I had seen that had instantly made me think ‘that looks like a great shooter!’

 

The game has really strong Thunderforce 3 vibes, in fact I read somewhere this game was the PC Engine’s answer to the Thunderforce 3. I don’t know if this was the official reason for this game being made but it’s no bad thing, they’re done a great job and it in no way feels like a cheap knock off.

 

The game has some cool ideas that are unfortunately (IMO) slightly under utilised.
 

The first is the ability to switch your pods to face backwards for when enemies come in behind you. This is great but the only time I really felt that I needed to use it was at the start of stage 5. Outside of this they always stayed facing forwards. Would have been nice to have multiple sections where you had waves coming from behind you.

 

The other is the idea that once you hit maximum level for one of your weapons (there are 3 weapon types) picking up another power up of that type causes a screen clearing bomb. This again is a cool idea but unfortunately drops normally come at a quiet period of a level (I guess to give you a chance to pick it up) so most of the time the bomb is killing 1-2 unthreatening enemies. I did look to try and push this by not picking up power ups and leaving them floating around for more intense moments but they float off screen pretty quickly after dropping.

 

So, yes, great game. Doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of Nexzr or Rayxamber 3 but it’s a solid shooter well worth playing.

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I’ve swiftly moved onto Winds of Thunder for the PC Engine, as it’s the sequel to Gate of Thunder. It’s not so much a sequel as to the next game in the series and are very different games.

 

My first controversial opinion…So far I’m not really enjoying it.

 

I know the game is considered in very high regard and some think it is better than Gate of Thunder, but for me so far it’s a bit of a mess.
 

A mess in that many times there’s so much going on on screen it all just becomes a bit of a blur and half the time I don’t even know what hit me. This is compounded by the fact that the main sprite’s hitbox is not reflective of the sprite, this becomes troublesome in both taking hits and picking up items. 

 

I’m persisting for now as I’ve only been on an hour or so but so far I’m a little bit cold on it.

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I played through Nei’s Adventure, one of the Phantasy Star 2 download only text adventures, earlier in the week. It was both very basic and kind of intriguing, and it managed to finish just before outstaying it’s welcome, although I did use save states to bridge it across two nights. Unclear if it’s canon, but it was nice to explore Paseo in a bit more detail. 

 

Apparently all the adventures (one for each PS2 character) are quite different and vary in quality wildly, so I may stop there rather than playing the rest.

 

Now having a crack at SMS Shinobi. 

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Finished Winds of Thunder.

 

I’m not actually sure where it sits on my list as I started out not liking it and ended up quite enjoying it. I think it’s in the 7/10 category.

 

One of the best ways to describe this game is ‘frantic’. I think their design ideas (health bar, power bar, currency, shop) lead to the game needing more going on in the levels to ‘balance’ the fact that you could overpower yourself. This lead to design decisions like tonnes of enemies and nothing destroying on impact with you, which causes scenarios where you’re getting hit multiple times in the space of like a second as the invincibility frame window is so small.

 

This frantic nature can sometimes be quite frustrating as getting caught in a ‘bad scenario’ leads to losing a tonne of health and power, which depending on where you are in the game, can mean curtains. You can choose your level order and I actually started playing out of the default order, and based it where I was more likely to run into a bad scenario. My final order was actually 1, 6, 5, 3, 4, 2, 7.

 

Saying all this, it’s meant a lot more to figure out and I have ultimately enjoyed figuring it out. So from that POV it’s definitely a good game. I guess it just feels more non traditional, which I imagine some people love and others not so much. For me, I prefer my shooters traditional, so it’s in the good camp but not amazing.

 

Pretty chuffed to have finished it though. There were a couple of times I thought I might have to abandon it due to tricky sections in levels basically killing a run. So happy to have powered through.

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Gran Turismo 2 on Xbox Series S via Duckstation. 

 

I think this is probably the second best GT game, after 3. The range of cars, tracks and races is great. The competition structure really works for me, with different categories and horsepower, though they aren't actually stringent enough in places. 

 

Duckstation smooths out any roughness in the graphics. Literally. So it looks fantastic as well. 

 

What lets it down a bit is the physics are a little unfriendly. Cars spin really easily and they bounce around when cornering at high speed, meaning the faster cars are frustrating to drive. The cpu cheats as well. 

 

Loving it, though. 

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Finished Ninja Spirit on the PC Engine. Probably only took me about 4 hours.

 

Bitterly disappointed.

 

TBH it’s probably my own fault. There’s so much positivity about this game that I’d built it in my head as a classic. Like a ‘Revenge of Shinobi beater’ type game, but it really isn’t. I imagine the people who played the arcade back in the day probably have a special place for it but in the cold light of day I saw it for the 1988 arcade game it was. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an enjoyable game but not what I expected at all.


All the classic 80s arcade quirks are there, relentless random AI spawns, questionable hit boxes, cheap death and the most insane money stealing final level I may have ever seen.

 

A lot of PC Engine games seem to have infinite continues too. I think devs just figured they couldn’t be bothered to balance their games, but having this allows you to tank the entire game by relentlessly playing until you figure it out. Games can be finished in a few hours.

 

I reserved myself to 3 continues until I got to the final stage where I must have used 50 trying to do the last section. I fluked my way down eventually and was able to finish it and then I immediately went and watched a 1CC run for the optimum route, which I doubt I would have found.

 

For those that don’t know the final section you jump off a cliff and have to dodge ninjas flying up. These ninjas are unkillable and unreactable, you just have to find/know the path…which isn’t easy.

 

Once I saw the path I went back and did a 1CC for kicks (PC Engine mode), which wasn’t too hard outside of this bit. 
 

PC Engine mode you can take hits from minor enemies, but arcade is 1 hit death from everything. So I won’t be going for a 1CC arcade run as the game’s random factor is too great and I’m won’t be subjecting to that kind of pain.

 

 

 

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On 31/08/2021 at 07:49, simms said:

 

I've hit a brick wall in terms of progression.  Cant get past Kraid on Metroid 1.  I ve worked out the gap between his attack pattern and can get some hits in but when I jump to the back to the platform which is the entrance I sometimes accidently go back to the previous screen and am wondering whether Kraids health resets everytime this happens.  Dark Souls has nothing on this.

The thing with Metroid is that, depite being a very influential game and a great starting point to get to the excelent Super Metroid, it's absolutely horrible. I can't get any fun out of it at all. I'd suggest giving up and playing Zero Mission instead - I think you'll get a lot more enjoyment out of it.

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5 hours ago, JamesC said:

The thing with Metroid is that, depite being a very influential game and a great starting point to get to the excelent Super Metroid, it's absolutely horrible. I can't get any fun out of it at all. I'd suggest giving up and playing Zero Mission instead - I think you'll get a lot more enjoyment out of it.

 

I managed to get past Kraid and have also defeated Ridley so I think I'm nearing the end.  Super Metroid next then probably Zero Mission.  Save states helped as well as using a map.  I love seeing the origins of these games series and am willing to put up with punishing gameplay and zero QoL systems to see it through.

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9 hours ago, Goemon said:

Finished Ninja Spirit on the PC Engine. Probably only took me about 4 hours.

 

Bitterly disappointed.

 

TBH it’s probably my own fault. There’s so much positivity about this game that I’d built it in my head as a classic. Like a ‘Revenge of Shinobi beater’ type game, but it really isn’t. I imagine the people who played the arcade back in the day probably have a special place for it but in the cold light of day I saw it for the 1988 arcade game it was. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an enjoyable game but not what I expected at all.


All the classic 80s arcade quirks are there, relentless random AI spawns, questionable hit boxes, cheap death and the most insane money stealing final level I may have ever seen.

 

A lot of PC Engine games seem to have infinite continues too. I think devs just figured they couldn’t be bothered to balance their games, but having this allows you to tank the entire game by relentlessly playing until you figure it out. Games can be finished in a few hours.

 

I reserved myself to 3 continues until I got to the final stage where I must have used 50 trying to do the last section. I fluked my way down eventually and was able to finish it and then I immediately went and watched a 1CC run for the optimum route, which I doubt I would have found.

 

For those that don’t know the final section you jump off a cliff and have to dodge ninjas flying up. These ninjas are unkillable and unreactable, you just have to find/know the path…which isn’t easy.

 

Once I saw the path I went back and did a 1CC for kicks (PC Engine mode), which wasn’t too hard outside of this bit. 
 

PC Engine mode you can take hits from minor enemies, but arcade is 1 hit death from everything. So I won’t be going for a 1CC arcade run as the game’s random factor is too great and I’m won’t be subjecting to that kind of pain.

 

 

 


I really love Ninja Spirit but have never played it in an arcade. I think it’s truly a great game but 100% agree about the last level. It’s so stupid. 

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21 minutes ago, Camel said:


I really love Ninja Spirit but have never played it in an arcade. I think it’s truly a great game but 100% agree about the last level. It’s so stupid. 


Interested to know why you love it so much, do you have a lot of nostalgia for it?

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No, the first time I played it was on a PC Engine probably ten years ago now. I haven’t played it for a long time so can’t remember that much about it tbh, but it has a really great feel to it. The arc of the sword, the extra guys following you around, the ridiculously high jumps. One of those games where you can power up and feel pretty powerful, and the controls make you feel in charge. I’ll have to play it again and see if it holds up.

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13 hours ago, Camel said:

No, the first time I played it was on a PC Engine probably ten years ago now. I haven’t played it for a long time so can’t remember that much about it tbh, but it has a really great feel to it. The arc of the sword, the extra guys following you around, the ridiculously high jumps. One of those games where you can power up and feel pretty powerful, and the controls make you feel in charge. I’ll have to play it again and see if it holds up.


That’s cool. Just shows that everyone can have a different view of things

 

I remember reading another thread somewhere in the retro folder about playing old games but only going near top rated ones as everything else wasn’t worth the time. I think this is a mistake as games that rated as average or poor in some mag 30 years ago you may still find interesting and enjoyable to play. There’s also games that scored highly that you may dislike.

 

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Had an urge to go back to the original Master System Fantasy Zone 2 and relearning it has been a joy.

 

There's a lot about this game which makes it an 8-bit masterwork but not rewarding you for blitzing through its stages as fast as possible is unique amongst all Fantasy Zone games.

 

Enemy bases don't give you a pittance upon destruction if you decide to spend a moment or two grinding for cash or hunting for secrets first - activities which take on extra significance in this game.

 

It's so much more than just arguably the prettiest game on the system.

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1 hour ago, Goemon said:


That’s cool. Just shows that everyone can have a different view of things

 

I remember reading another thread somewhere in the retro folder about playing old games but only going near top rated ones as everything else wasn’t worth the time. I think this is a mistake as games that rated as average or poor in some mag 30 years ago you may still find interesting and enjoyable to play. There’s also games that scored highly that you may dislike.

 


Absolutely and I think it also holds true for conversions even if you have access to the original, as each is a different experience, even if not arcade perfect.

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Recently added a Playstation Eye to my bedroom PS3, specifically for a bit of Time Crisis. I already have a pair of Move controllers for my PSVR in the living room. So lately I've been looking into Move compatible gun games. Time Crisis Razing Storm is fun but the disc held a lovely surprise, Deadstorm Pirates. What a blast, great cheesy dialogue and a real fair ground ride aesthetic, love it. Brilliant, daft fun.

 

Need to find a couple more Eye/Move compatible titles now I'm in the mood.

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On 13/09/2021 at 18:03, simms said:

 

I managed to get past Kraid and have also defeated Ridley so I think I'm nearing the end.  Super Metroid next then probably Zero Mission.  Save states helped as well as using a map.  I love seeing the origins of these games series and am willing to put up with punishing gameplay and zero QoL systems to see it through.

 

Completed Metroid 1.  Got the retro achievements to prove.  Was a bit of a slog at times but glad I got through it.  The mother brain boss was infuriating 

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Just finished JuJu Densetsu (Toki) on the Megadrive

 

It dropped through the door last week so I thought I would actually start straight on it over going into the backlog.

 

Its not a bad game actually. I was always put off as I thought it just looked a bit weird and I found the colours a bit drab.

 

There’s some really good level design in here with levels going up, down, left and right and well as multiple levels having cheeky short cuts with a bit of exploration. It’s definitely the highlight of the game. There’s some nice graphics and effects in there too, some bits look really nice.

 

Its pretty tough. 9 areas with 3 stages and a boss in each area. It’s 1 hit death, which puts you right back to the start of the stage. Definitely a lot of learning to be had.

 

The main character is very slow. A playthrough probably takes an hour just because of your speed. You have to be careful as it can sometimes cause you to switch off and the next thing you know something has caught you out.

 

Another nice feature is the ability to move the camera up and down. This is pretty cool as you need to use it for leaps of faith, possible enemy patrols etc. which you can’t see with your standard FOV.

 

The game has 4, yes 4 music tracks. 1 for area 3, which is all under water. 1 for boss fights. 1 for a unique stage in area 9 (why!?) and 1 for the entire rest of the game! Yes, 1 track for the other 23 stages! Thought I was going crazy but no, it’s the same 1 tune for 90% of the game. The most surprising part about this….there was about 8 people listed in the credits and 3 of them were listed under sound!

 

So yea, not mind blowing but better than I was expecting. Worth a look

 

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I decided to move onto Rambo III for the Megadrive.

 

I remember this getting scores in the 80s back in the day and always thought the chopper fight screen shot made it look really cool.

 

Due to unlimited continues it’s actually possible to finish the game in a couple of hours, there’s only six levels and they don’t take long to figure out.

 

This lead me to the ‘Mean Machines Esstential Sega Guide’ on Sega Retro to read up on the review.


For Rambo III they noted that it ‘wasn’t too difficult to finish and most players could do it in a week’ A week!? Try an couple of hours. They also noted that there was multiple difficulties for replayability.

 

So I decided to read the review of Toki…

 

Wow, what a complete load of made up nonsense!

 

‘The Megadrive version isn’t a close conversion of the Taito coin-op. (true) Unfortunately the level layouts have completely changed - for the worse. Instead of fast and fun it’s now slow and irritating with lots of unavoidable traps (lie)

 

Where to start with this…Firstly the arcade is not ‘fast and fun’ it has exactly the slow pace of this MD version. ‘Lots of unaviodable traps’ if they were unavoidable, you’d never be able to finish the game as you die in one hit. Also the arcade has exactly the same kind of trap setups for you to learn.

 

Last bit ‘you can see why the programmers added them (the traps) because without them you’d finish the game on your first go’ this is coupled with the ‘lastability’ section ‘it’s a game you’ll complete very quickly if you can stand the gameplay’

 

I absolutely no way us this game easy, it’s a tough game with lots of learning.

 

Final score 43%. 
 

Couple this with Rambo III’s 80% and I’m absolutely flabbergasted. These mags were my bible back in the day and I believed everything they told me. I’m mortified to think how many kids read these mags and didn’t buy games based on their reviews.

 

I guess you could say I’m just being naive

 

It just reaffirms the point that you need to play any game for yourself and not listen to any review (good or bad)

 

/ends ramble

 

 

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