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Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

Posted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:37 pm
by pierrot
I played a few hours of Ikaruga last night, and it's sort of clicking for me, in terms of the fervor for the game that a lot of gamers seem to have. I feel like I kind of get it, but it's still a really confusing, frustrating game for me at times. Anyway, I was bestowed an extra continue (now up to 8), and made it to the second phase of the multi-part, timed enemy in Stage 5, who I just assume is not the final boss. I wasn't able to extend my single-credit record at all, though. I have mostly gotten a grip on the pattern of the spinning thing in the middle of Stage 4 now, which is huge for extending my play. I timed out on the Stage 4 boss, though. What is it about rotations that Treasure seems to love so much in their shooters? Radiant Silvergun, Ikaruga, and Gradius V all have these bosses that rotate and crap, but Ikaruga seems to have the most, by far. I truly despise the Stage 3 boss for all of the different rotational aspects to it. Sometimes I'll be in the thick of it, when the center starts firing lasers, and realize that I've just completely forgotten about the scaffolding pieces that are connected to some of the radial lines of the circle, and I've just been magically dodging them for some time.

Sort of a side note about the Dreamcast, that I thought was kind of interesting: Apparently this version has no idea what the hell a "2018" is, because my system clock is set for the current date, but my scores table is just full of records from 2002 (month and day are accurate, though; also I didn't own this game until 2011). Some of my old records, that are swiftly vanishing from the table, are from 2012, so I seem to have only played it a bit six years ago, and then not again until just this month. That's a little sad to think about.

I forgot to mention in my last post that I actually played a bit of Dynamite Headdy again, too. My skills in the game have diminished significantly, but I'm also at the point where I think the US version of Dynamite Headdy is probably more difficult than the US version of Contra Hard Corps. I am dead serious, but I also think the difficulty of Contra Hard Corps might have been overstated by a lot of people who just haven't committed the same level of time to it as they may have other Contra games. I always remember reading the Hidden Gems article for the Genesis, here, and reading that one downside to Dynamite Headdy is how it isn't a long game, from start to finish, but with probably 20-30 hours of time I've put into it, over the course of owning it, I've still never seen the ending. So I feel like the hour or so run-time figure is potentially misstating things. Anyway, I made two attempts, and only got to Act 6, each time. This first time I was KOed in the Maruyama fight in the hallway, and the second time I got to baby face, but kept dying to the middle-age phase. Both times, I only managed to get two of the 4 numbers from the bonus rooms (normally I would have had all four by Act 5). So, lots of issues: A) Continues are even more impossible to collect than I remember (I somehow got one on the second attempt, but didn't hear the "You got an extra try" message at all) B) I can't play basketball anymore, apparently C) I'm really out of practice with some of the bosses, so the guardian fight in Act 7 is probably going to wreck my shit all over again.

I think I might just focus mostly on Ikaruga, for now, but I might give Dynamite Headdy a few more tries at some point. I also finally got a new micro SD card from Amazon (this time of much better quality), so I'll potentially fire up Alien Soldier on the ol' Everdrive, too. We'll see.

Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:08 pm
by pierrot
I beat Ikaruga on Easy and Normal modes, after unlocking Free Play. If I had gotten the rhythm down for the last form of the multi-phase boss in Chapter 5 just a little bit sooner, I would have made it to the point where I lost my weapons after only eight continues. That final boss kicked the crap out of me, though. So I ended up using 12 credits in all (11 continues). I actually kind of figured out the Chapter 4 boss, too, but then I tried Normal mode. Normal mode is just different enough in bullet patterns and such that it makes me want to throw my arcade stick. The Chapter 4 boss feels completely impossible on Normal. I know it's not, because I watched the superplay by Sa SuiSai, but it still feels impossible. I made it into Chapter 5 of normal mode on the ninth continue, and I completely lost track of how many I used in the last chapter. Probably more than 4. I respect Ikaruga. I think it's fancy, and cool, but I struggle mightily with it, and I think I'm done with it for a while.

I also spent some time with Alien Soldier. I don't know if anyone remembers that I had said early in this thread, or the poll thread, that I've never played a Treasure game that I didn't like--. Well, I don't think I like Alien Soldier. First of all, I like the soundtrack. It's pretty great. I'm totally conflicted by the graphics: From a fidelity and colors standpoint, the graphics look great; In terms of designs the game kind of looks like ass. The director/programmer for Alien Soldier really should not have worn the art director hat too. The main problems I have with Alien Soldier though probably boil down to just how inferior it feels to Contra Hard Corps. Actually, the biggest sin Alien Soldier commits is probably the fact that it doesn't (at least appear) to support the 6-button controller, and also doesn't allow for any button customization. The other massive issue I have with the game is the weapon selection. It should not take three or four (at an optimized minimum) button inputs, while locked in place, in order to switch weapons in this sort of game. This is one area where they really needed to look at Contra Hard Corps, because CHC has an almost impeccable weapon selecting system: Cycle through the weapons with a button press; Don't use a selection wheel; Don't force the player to stop moving and/or shooting in order to switch weapons; Allow for weapon switching while paused. So if the object of the wheel--which by the way, I also hate in the Capcom D&D beet-em-ups--is to allow for scrolling forward, and backward through the weapons, then this is even more of an indictment on the lack of control/controller options.

I think Alien Soldier does feel incomplete, but I honestly don't think more time, and the director implementing more/all of his ideas would have fixed that. The stages feel a bit claustrophobic, and pretty much anything that fires bullets, no matter how slow, is immediately super sayan level strength, because avoiding anything requires spider legs for fingers, and reaction times of an F-15 fighter pilot. Basically what I'm saying is Epsilon-X (is that its name?), for an eagle-person in a space suit, seems to have the mobility of a brick, aside from his dash (which really should have been a directional double tap, and not down+C). I played up to Stage 12 before I'd just had enough. This level of boss gauntlet isn't really that fun to me, either. I'm sorry Alien Soldier fans, I just don't like this game. No one should be playing it over Contra Hard Corps. As much as I like Treasure, Konami may have been right about some of their ideas. I don't like Contra III; Gunstar Heroes worked; Contra Hard Corps is possibly the most glorious run-n-gun ever; Alien Soldier is really problematic. I cannot endorse it, but I may still revisit it before the end of the month. For now, I'm going to keep going at Dynamite Headdy, and maybe play a bit more of Yu Yu Hakusho than I have in the past.

Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:14 pm
by Markies
pierrot wrote:I beat Ikaruga on Easy and Normal modes, after unlocking Free Play.

Congratulations Pierrot! I've added you again to the front page. :D

Ikaruga is very much a learnable game and has a very forgiving curve to it. I think it is a great game for beginners of the Shooter genre as it is not too punishing. I am glad to see that you kept up with it and that your perseverance paid off.

Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:11 pm
by Nemoide
I haven't had as much time as I'd like to play console games this month, but I put more time in Dynamite Headdy tonight.
This game continues to really impress me and I'm up to the part where it becomes a horizontal shmup! The level design and boss design are all over the place, but in a consistently fun/interesting way.

There's no way I could be beating this without save-scumming like I am on Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, but I'm planning a trip to Japan next year and I'll definitely be keeping an eye open for a Mega Drive cart. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to beat the game by the end of the month, but I'll definitely be cutting it close...

Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:55 pm
by pierrot
Markies wrote:Ikaruga is very much a learnable game and has a very forgiving curve to it. I think it is a great game for beginners of the Shooter genre as it is not too punishing.

I kind of find Ikaruga to be excessively punishing, actually. Even for quasi-bullet-hell games, I think Batsugun would probably be a much better place to start. Even potentially DoDonPachi, or DoDonPachi DaiOuJou might be more friendly for newcomers. The Easy mode in DDP SaiDaiOuJou is a pretty different, and dare I say, almost "casual" sort of shmup experience. Also, Blast Wind. There are a number of other bullet-hell games I just tend to prefer, in terms of fun, like Guwange, Ketsui and Mushihimesama Futari, too. I might even prefer Radiant Silvergun, and I've kind of wanted to revisit RS to confirm. Ikaruga is still a very cool, interesting game, regardless of whether or not I personally love/loath it, though.

Maybe it's a lot more friendly when playing as a dot-eater; That's potentially how I should have actually played it. For whatever reason, I was reminded of xoxak's reviews recently. If you really love Ikaruga, it might not be as entertaining, but I find all of his reviews to still be pretty hilarious, even when he seems to hate a game I love.

I played and beat Yu Yu Hakusho: Makyou Touitsusen the other day. Pretty interesting game. I've dabbled with it before, but I really spent a good amount of time fiddling with all the characters in the training mode, and taking a good look at each of the stages, before jumping into some tag matches, and the main game mode. I really wanted to use Genkai, but she seems to have trouble actually dealing damage, so I settled on Kuwabara, who is beast. That was one of the main issues I felt like I encountered, was that the roster is nice, and quite varied, but a lot of the characters don't feel very well balanced. Like in the tag matches, if I used Kuwabara, with Jin as my computer partner, I tended to get ganked occasionally. Whereas, if I used Urameshi as my partner, I was a completely unstoppable force. Part of the reason I thought Genkai would be the character I ended up using was because of the training mode, where you can't actually see what moves are doing for damage, but you can still be led astray by combo hit numbers, and other flashy specials. Anyway, it was not to be. Kuwabara is pretty cool, though.

If you've played the arena battles in Guardian Heroes, then you kind of know what's up here. They feel pretty similar, although Yu Yu Hakusho isn't quite that unbalanced (no pun intended), and only offers two planes to switch between. Interestingly, I was able to find some unlisted super moves for a couple characters, which were just double motions, but I'm not really sure if every character has them, and I was also only able to use them in training mode. This is probably where I should mention that all the special moves use up spirit energy, and once you run out, the specials can't be used without charging up, DBZ style. One of the things that kind of holds this game back from being one of the best fighting games on the Genesis, is the fact that hitting the direction opposite of the one your character is facing makes him turn around. There's a button to backstep (as well as a dash, which can be accomplished with a double-tap forward, or one of the corner buttons on the six-button controller, depending on facing--another couple nails in Alien Soldier's coffin), but it can still be difficult to train yourself out of the habit of pressing backward in order to back away. It makes sense, though, considering the free-for-all, and 2v2 matches.

For the Yu Yu Hakusho fans out there, this game incorporates things from basically all three of the major arcs, with the Doguros, and Gensui, as well as a demon realm stage. Kurama's white fox transformation, sadly, does not make an appearance, even though the main characters are pretty much in their final arc garb. The stages are actually kind of impressive. Especially the tournament stage, which goes through a whole shifting from day to night, and back again. There are some other cool stages, like the other-world planes, but there aren't all that many stages, when all is said and done. Enough that there's some variety, but not so many that you wouldn't have one or two favorites, and probably not bother with the handful of others. Some of the music is really cool, but there are also a few tracks that are kind of unpleasant. Su's fight theme in particular is pretty bad.

It's a pretty cool game, overall, but feels kind of like a budget game from the PS1 era. It's a fairly complete package, but would probably only have much staying power as a multiplayer game. After beating the main mode, there's a handicap match mode that's unlocked, which is kind of fun. It's sort of like Dramatic Battle, before Dramatic Battle, in that it's just a 1v2, or 1v3 mode.

After Yu Yu Hakusho, I tried again to see if I might be able to beat Dynamite Headdy (US). I was doing really well, managing to get 3 continues, getting all the secret numbers by Scene 7, getting a lucky bomb on the Scene 7 boss, and farming the hell out of extra lives on scene 8-3. I used up most of my lives and continues, but actually managed to beat the boss in Scene 8-5. Alas, with only three lives left, scene 9-1 kicked my ass. It's pretty nuts. There's an insane amount of trial and error at that point in the game. Anyway, that attempt failed. The next day I tried again, but couldn't seem to get any continues, and couldn't get the bomb off at the right time on the Scene 7 boss (had also only managed three of the four secret numbers at that point).

Maybe the day after that, I decided to finally play the Japanese version of Dynamite Headdy, and it was good. The health indicator is a little bit harder to read, but there are all kinds of cosmetic differences that I just tend to prefer in the Japanese version. Especially Maruyama's machine in Scene 6-2. They were pretty nice in Scene 3-1, as well, by placing a power up that included the hammer head, on the platform where the propeller soldiers fly overhead. It's a small change, but it amounts to a lot less frustration. There's not a lot else that's different, though. I think the second form of the Scene 7 boss might be a little easier, just because I was able to beat it pretty quickly without getting the bomb on it. Also, I think the hitbox for the Scene 8-5 boss is a bit bigger, making it hitable without actually jumping, most of the time. There's also the more lax requirements for getting continues; I got all the continues I could, and ended up with a boat load of them at the end. I used three in total, though. The end of the game is still pretty friggin' tough, regardless. I did quite enjoy the added story, though. It definitely added a fair amount to the overall game, and the final boss/ending is fairly amusing. I'm not sure it would have made much sense if I had beaten the US version first. I got all four secret numbers, as well, so I was able to fight against the man and his money: Just say no to Dynamite Headdy 2, y'all! There's quite a lot of humor in the credits, too. I have no idea what they ended up doing for the English credits.

So, that was good. I was kind of thinking that I should be able to make it through the US version of the game, now, but I'm not really sure if I want to try again. It's a great game, but damn, how about at least one continue to start?

Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:26 pm
by noiseredux
I personally find most bullet hells much more inviting than Ikaruga or Radiant Silvergun. Maybe it's just a preference.

Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:21 am
by alienjesus
noiseredux wrote:I personally find most bullet hells much more inviting than Ikaruga or Radiant Silvergun. Maybe it's just a preference.

Ikaruga was the game that got me into the shmup genre, and is still my favourite one. I've yet to try Radiant Silvergun though.

Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 1:36 pm
by Markies
Congratulations Pierrot!

You are now up to 4 Treasure beats, almost half of our total 9!

We have two more days of Treasure games. Get your beats in before the end of the weekend.

Get in all the action you can before Ack scares our pants off! :twisted:

Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:57 am
by alienjesus
I finished up Wario World today. It is a very thoroughly OK game.

The levels were too long, but the game was too short. The game over-relied on it's basic beat-em-up mechanics when it's platforming puzzles were it's strongest point.

Overall, it was decent enough. I wasn't enamoured with it though.

Re: September Together Retro: Welcome To Treasure Island

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:42 pm
by Markies
Congratulations AJ!

We have reached double digits when it comes to Treasure games beaten this month.

We only have 12 hour left, so get those beats in as fast as you can!