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Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:10 am
by noiseredux
Continuing on with Donkey Kong Country and can now confidently say that I would not put it in the same tier as Super Mario World or other favorite platformers of the era. I still think that the music is great. I think that even if the look can feel somewhat dated, the expressiveness of the characters and enemies is excellent. The controls are tight. But for me... I'm not a fan of some of the level design choices. I feel like there's some really uneven swings in difficulty. The boss battles generally feel like a joke, but the you can get to some part in a level that feels infuriating.

I'm currently in one of the snow levels. The blizzard that comes in looks fantastic by the way. They really nailed the look of the snow coming down with hard wind. That said, the spot I'm stuck at right now involves a lot of those rotating barrels that you have to fire yourself out of and I'm struggling to get the timing down and keep over- or undershooting it and it's pissing me off. To me this part of the level looses the charm of how good the platforming controls are because you're not even platforming here. I don't know. I don't like it. I ended up rage-quitting out of frustration last night.

Hopefully I can push through this level quickly enough and get back to the enjoyable parts of the game. So yeah, it's still a good - but not top tier for me.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:28 am
by BoneSnapDeez
Which level dawg?

Snow Barrel Blast has a shortcut. At the final long stretch of barrels - the one that starts after the gold rhino guarded by wasps - shoot the third barrel straight down. You'll be transported to the level's end.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:34 pm
by prfsnl_gmr
Mario vs. Donkey Kong continues to be engaging, but I have a few complaints. The goal scores for some level are just a bit too high. I will make (what I consider) a near-perfect run only to discover that I missed the score by 100-200 points. This means another half-dozen attempts at a level to shave 1-2 seconds off my completion time. The levels are, thankfully, short, but requirements that tight take some of the fun out of the game. Also, the controls are not quite precise enough for the platforming. I don’t mind playing a level 100+ times if each failure is my own fault (see, e.g., 1001 Spikes). Here, though, I feel that my failures are at least 1/3 due to floaty, only-mostly-responsive controls. This makes “completing” the game (which, I must admit, is supposed to really hard and is completely unnecessary to beating the game) less fun than it should befor me.

BTW...has anyone else played this game or later games in the series? If so, I’m curious as to your experiences with them. (As much as I complain, I do really like the game, and I’m thinking about diving into the NDS sequel as soon as I finish up.)

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:04 pm
by Sload Soap
I've used this month as an excuse to put some real effort into Diddy Kong Racing. It's a game that has never quite convinced me in the past. This playthrough has greatly increased my appreciation for DKR and now understand why people prefer it over Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing. They are wrong, but I can see their point of view.

My biggest gripe is with the coin challenge races but that points to a wider issue I have with some of Rare's output relating to padding their games and being snide with their game design. The coin challenges are unlocked for each course after beating them once in Adventure mode. They require the player to finish first while collecting 8 silver coins placed around the track. This is fine, it is padding but it's a decent enough alternative to just upping the difficulty/speed as in Mario Kart.

However, Rare are not racing game developers by and large and it shows in the placement of the coins which are positioned not in any way that would make sense in a kart racer (along good racing lines, down shortcuts, on the apex of a corner) but rather as if the game were one of their platformers. So, as far out of the way as possible, hidden behind a blind corner, along as bad a race line as possible, etc. In fairness this is mainly in the kart only races, the hovercrafting and plane tracks by their nature can't hide the coins away. It's frustrating but wasn't enough to ruin the experience in the end. The music is top notch as well.

The actual mechanics of the game are solid though, I like how the plane and hoverboat feel very different to the kart. I also appreciate how it doesn't just ape Mario Kart's drifting and has its own boost mechanic. Adventure mode is pretty charming as well again a nice alternative to just upping the difficulty. I've beat all the tracks, including the secret space themed ones. May try to 100% it, see how annoying the coin challenges are for those final races.

I've also played a few C64 ports of old arcade classics Congo Bongo and Donkey Kong Junior. Congo Bongo is a pretty basic port of the Sega game. Only two screens or boards survive from the arcade so it's pretty easy to "beat" although it does repeat with increasing difficulty. It's an isometric platformer, two words that used in conjunction usually bring me out in a cold sweat, but it plays well even on a keyboard. This is an amusing footnote in Sega's history a bit of a Donkey Kong rip-off but with a isometric spin. The game has a bunch of weird ports, the best of which is on the Megadrive/Genesis Collection for 360/Ps3.
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The DKJ port is a bit of a cheat as it came out in 2014 but is very impressive. Not too familiar with the original but this port looks and feels pretty close to what I've seen of the NES. Need to put more time into it but it looks the part.
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Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:06 pm
by BoneSnapDeez
I have Congo Bongo on C64 and have never had much luck with it. Maybe I should try the keyboard.

There's a SG-1000 port that ditches the isometric view entirely, which is pretty odd as that was Sega's own hardware.
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Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:06 pm
by Sload Soap
Yeah, I had a look at that port. Weird. The Sg-1000 is just an interesting oddity all round. There are the usual myriad of computer ports of Congo and all of them seem to chop and change how many of the arcades 4 screens get in and what perspective the game is player from what I've seen.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:14 pm
by marurun
Still on vacation so haven’t yet had a chance to dig in. I still plan to spend some time with Sonson 2 (which began as a port of Black Tiger), but I also picked up a copy of Mario vs Donkey Kong.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:56 pm
by Gunstar Green
marurun wrote:Still on vacation so haven’t yet had a chance to dig in. I still plan to spend some time with Sonson 2 (which began as a port of Black Tiger), but I also picked up a copy of Mario vs Donkey Kong.


Been sick all week but am hoping to get it on like Donkey Kong as well soon.

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:44 am
by prfsnl_gmr
marurun wrote:Still on vacation so haven’t yet had a chance to dig in. I still plan to spend some time with Sonson 2 (which began as a port of Black Tiger), but I also picked up a copy of Mario vs Donkey Kong.


Awesome. Glad someone else will be playing this. It’s such a hot mess of a game. I’ve almost beaten it, and I’m still not sure what to make of it!

Re: March Together Retro: Arthur, Monkeys!

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:57 am
by noiseredux
Played s'more Donkey Kong Country and it's starting to overstay its welcome with me. The pure platforming (IE: running/jumping) is fine with me, but all the obstacle type stuff like the spinning barrels or the ropes that slide you up and down are just annoying to me. I suppose that's what makes this a Donkey Kong game rather than a Super Mario Bros game. But I certainly can see which I prefer. It's interesting to be replaying so much stuff from my youth lately and seeing what really holds up for me (Super Mario World) and what doesn't (this).