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Soulstar

Retro Game Club - January 20’ : Shadow Dancer

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I completed the Mega Drive game over the weekend, and I agree that it's the better game. The arcade game might have more impressive graphics, and the setting and plot make more sense, but it really feels as if the developers took a look at the arcade version and said, "We can do it even better." And, all in all, they did. The Mega Drive game simply has better controls--and that makes all the difference. The dog mechanic works much more efficiently, and the stages are more varied and interesting. I still hate the ninjas, but at least game gives you more time and space to think about the challenges ahead--which extends to the the bosses, which are much fairer.

 

Sure, it's frustrating, but in a good way this time. It's a shame that it doesn't really make full use of all the features and capabilities it introduces in the first level. The environmental hazards basically stop appearing after the first level. The forward-back plane level structure is underutilized, and I wish that they'd done more with vertical planes as well. The thing that puzzled me the most, though, was just how little the dog is used. You have a couple of levels where he/she is really useful, (the beautiful cave level being a good example) but it's a shame that for about 85% of the time, he's just a sprite accompanying the main character.

 

I feel they could've done much more, but as it stands, it's a fun, clever game, and I can see how it became a cult favorite. I think Ninja Cop/Five-O is the best ninja-themed game, but this was good.

 

I also played the first couple of levels of the Master System port. It's a very impressive game, with amazing graphics and sound--especially when compared to the ESWAT port--but I don't plan on playing any further, as it's even more frustrating than the arcade version.

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Done! What a great game. I like the dog, personally. Good for taking out the guys with guns and he barks if anyone is lurking in the darkness in round 4.

 

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I can’t get on with the arcade version of this at all. It’s weird - Shinobi type games (Rolling Thunder et al - is there a more precise name?) are entirely my thing, but this kills me unfairly and just doesn’t feel “fun” in the way other entries do. Maybe it’s just me. Is the MD version that much different? 

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