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pierrot
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Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

by pierrot Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:00 pm

I beat Silhouette Mirage today. It's interesting to me that I've never really thought of this game as a run 'n' gun before, but I think that might actually be the most apt description for it, really. It shares a lot of play mechanics with Gunstar Heroes (particularly in the sliding, and grappling). Although SM opts for a variety of seven weapon types (actually named for the seven deadly sins, and formally known as "parasites") that level up over time, and the color-based enemy/attack duality more readily associated with Radiant Silvergun, and Ikaruga (although Silhouette Mirage came first), in favor of the weapon combining in Gunstar Heroes. I sort of feel like people tend to consider this game more of a platformer, and that got me thinking a bit about the nature of a run 'n' gun, and at what point something like Mega Man becomes not that. Is it the the lack of 8 directional fire? Silhouette Mirage has it. I suspect that Mega Man's genre description is more about its focus on a particular part of the gameplay: the platforms. I wouldn't say Silhouette Mirage has that same emphasis, though.

At any rate, SM is a charming little game, that's fairly short, and relatively easy. The early adjustment phase really involves finding a good weapon, and perhaps one that works best for a particular player. It was probably fortunate that I've had some experience with the game before, and once I had found my preferred weapon again (the laser beam, Gluttony), things went quite smoothly. I took a number of deaths over the course of the game, but finished with a couple reserves. The game looks very nice, and the settings are detailed, lively, and fun to look at and be a part of. Enemies are varied, and challenging, while not being too overtly frustrating. Of course, there are also plenty of bosses with gimmicks premised on the overall gimmick of the game, so the gameplay is still a bit varied, even within the confines of the relatively simple core gameplay. The music and audio are both good as well, but some of the music doesn't have a whole lot of staying power, and just trickles along in the background. It's never out of place, but sometimes just isn't all that memorable.

This is one of those Treasure games with a bit more of an emphasis on the story, and yes, it is overly complicated. At the same time, I enjoyed it, too, though. The main points are that Sinna Neutlarva Sinner has awoken to reverse a global catastrophe, that plunged the world into a post apocalyptic state, and imbued every being with one of two elemental affinities (silhouette and mirage). The silhouette beings are typically more rational beings, and more aloof, while the mirage beings rely on the persuasiveness of violence. Sinna comprises of both silhouette and mirage affinities, and is referred to by the manual as a "half." The mirage and silhouette beings of the new world have no memories of the old world, and thus try to impede Sinna's mission to restore it. The story starts to spiral a bit into a vacuous hole of sci-fi jargon towards the end of the game, but in general it doesn't get too over the top. It strikes a pretty nice balance with its comedic sensibilities, and hamfisted exposition. Overall, I did not mind it, and the characters were quite enjoyable. I especially like Dunamis, the factory made half-type fish/flower-girl.

Some of the drawbacks to the game include a severe lack of options. There's no options menu at all. When first starting the game, there's only an option to start a new game, and then if one dies, and quits, there's an option in the main menu to continue. Otherwise there's nothing else. The main thing that I find tragically absent is key rebinding for the control pad. The default is kind of silly (A - reflect, B - shoot, C - Jump, X - Bomb, LR - Change Weapon, Start - Pause), and I really wanted to be able to change it so that I could use the inner or outer diamond of the face buttons for all of those actions (the best way to play almost any Saturn game). I found out from some information online that there is a hidden option menu that has a difficulty select, and debug mode option, though. This sort of leads into my other small gripe, and that's the relative lack of replayability. Initially this seemed a bit worse, when I didn't think there was anything in the way of multiple difficulties, but even still, Silhouette Mirage is not a long game, by any means (about two to three hours, really), and while there seem to possibly be multiple endings (I think I might have gotten the "best" ending) the two points for branching happen very late in the game, so it seems like it would really just be the same path each time through the game, for the most part. The difficulty select might help this, though. I'd say the weapon variety could add to the replayability, too, except that there are some clear winners and losers out of those seven weapons, and one can always carry three of them.

So, overall, it's a pretty good game. Not without some minor annoyances, but definitely still worth a playthrough, at least.
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Markies
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Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

by Markies Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:38 pm

Congratulations Pierrot on beating Silhouette Mirage.

I have added you to the first post list as you are the second person to beat a Treasure game this Month!
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Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

by pierrot Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:47 pm

Thanks, Markies. :D

I was a little surprised you made it through Mischief Makers so quickly. I've dabbled with the first world of that game, and the whole grabbing, thing, doesn't really make a lot of sense to my simple brain. Sometime I'll probably give it a little more effort, but not this month.
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Exhuminator
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Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

by Exhuminator Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:00 pm

pierrot wrote:Someone's playing Light Crusader! Somehow I'm not surprised that it's you, Ex.

I've put an hour into it so far, and I've very much enjoyed the experience. It's hard to believe Treasure made this game, it's so... not Treasure. I'm looking forward to delving deeper into the dungeons.
PLAY KING'S FIELD.
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Markies
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Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

by Markies Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:35 pm

pierrot wrote:Thanks, Markies. :D

I was a little surprised you made it through Mischief Makers so quickly. I've dabbled with the first world of that game, and the whole grabbing, thing, doesn't really make a lot of sense to my simple brain. Sometime I'll probably give it a little more effort, but not this month.


Trust me, I felt the EXACT same way.

I watched so many videos of the game and I had no idea how all of it worked. It takes a long time to figure everything out, but eventually, you will reach that A-Ha moment where everything clicks. It is worth it and not that long, so I'd give it a shot again...someday.

But, I'm glad you enjoyed Silhouette Mirage. That is another Treasure game I've had my eye on, but I have never seen out in the open.
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noiseredux
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Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

by noiseredux Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:17 am

I haven't quite decided which game I'll be focusing on yet. I feel like if I revisit Gunstar Heroes it should be co-op. Otherwise I'll prob check out Alien Soldier or Light Crusader instead.
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Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

by Exhuminator Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:39 am

Markies wrote:Silhouette Mirage. That is another Treasure game I've had my eye on

I'd recommend tracking down a copy of one of the Japanese versions. (I'm pretty sure Pierrot beat a Japanese version.) The USA version was altered to be ridiculously difficult due to Working Designs being Working Designs.

noiseredux wrote:Otherwise I'll prob check out Alien Soldier or Light Crusader instead.

Light Crusader seems solid so far, but you really can't go wrong with Alien Soldier. Indeed, Alien Soldier and Sin & Punishment: Star Successor are apex Treasure, must plays.
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noiseredux
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Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

by noiseredux Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:17 am

Exhum, can you describe a bit the gameplay of Light Crusader? Is it basically just an ARPG? Or it's like Gauntlet-y?
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Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

by Exhuminator Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:28 am

noiseredux wrote:Exhum, can you describe a bit the gameplay of Light Crusader? Is it basically just an ARPG? Or it's like Gauntlet-y?

From what I've played it reminds me of Diablo mixed with Solstice (NES).

It's an isometric view dungeon crawler, with a single party member (knight). This is real-time. You can jump, sword slash, and use magic. Magic uses an elemental system, so you can mix different elements to create new spells. You solve switch and block puzzles, slice up slimes and goblins and skeletons. Sometimes there's platforming not unlike Landstalker, except not nearly as sadistic.

You're a knight trying to stop a wizard from doing a dumb thing. You start off in a town, the town acts as your home base. There's a cemetery in the town, with a secret entrance to a dungeon. You go down in the dungeon, kill stuff, collect loot, return to town to restock/resupply. Then you go back down in the dungeon, and try to make it further than before.

This sounds cliche overall, I know. But the "feel" of the game is great. Plays very well, is fun to engage with. The interface is well designed (includes a built in map too). The way you can tell Treasure made it is due to the special graphical effects, and occasional quirky sense of humor. Also I came across a statue with tits and nipples. Guess SEGA didn't care?

You should still play Alien Soldier before this though. I think Alien Soldier represents Treasure in their purest form.
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Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

by noiseredux Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:04 pm

damn, you make Light Crusader sound really appealing to me, though. Haha. That does sound like something I'd be into. Well, at least I've got some good options for the month right now, then.
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