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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: February Together Retro: Off the Rails

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:59 am

Undoubtedly.

Space Harrier (3DS) is just a lot of fun even without nostalgia. It moves so, so fast, and M2 added some great modern conveniences to the arcade experience. Anyone looking for another fun rail shooter should also look into After Burner II (3DS). That game is not as awesome as Space Harrier - and it really requires the moving cockpit arcade machine for the full nostalgia experience - but it’s still a fun game on the 3DS. (Finally... and a bit off topic...the Outrun homage ‘80s Overdrive (3DS) is a really fun racing game with a bit more variety and depth than its inspiration. It arguably has a better soundtrack too. No fan of scaling sprites should miss it!)
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: February Together Retro: Off the Rails

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:44 pm

pook99 wrote:I never played space harrier, I've heard lots of great things about it over the years, maybe this month is a good month to finally play it. Assuming I can play any version do you feel the PCE version is the best? Or should I just MAME it and do the arcade original?


PCE port is good, but it took a bit of a graphical hit (it's missing the iconic checkerboard design, for instance).

The arcade original is officially emulated now, by the way. It's on Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection.
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Re: February Together Retro: Off the Rails

by pook99 Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:18 pm

Had a snow day today so after shoveling myself out I decided to play Panzer Dragoon on Saturn.

This is a game that has been on my to play list forever, I played panzer dragoon saga at release and it is one of my favorite saturn games(probably second only to dragon force), and while I knew that the first 2 in the series were dramatically different I always wanted to get to them...eventually.

The game starts out with some nice and ugly mid 90's FMV, I always say that this generation of games probably aged the worst graphically than any other gen and sequences like the intro to this game make my point. Of course that does not affect my opinion of the game but the graphics are just so ugly that it is hard to look at.

There is a story here but it didn't really make any sense or was even the least bit engaging. As far as I can tell you are some dude who is in a battlestation, it blows up and you get hooked up with a dragon. There is some evil army trying to kill the dragon for some reason and you and your newfound buddy fly around decimating everything in your path. The evil army also has a dragon of its own which randomnly pops up before finally evolving into a mega dragon that also serves as the final boss.

Obviously, going with the theme of the month, Panzer Dragoon is an on the rails shooter with tons of annoying old game conventions. No save system? check Limited continues? check A lifebar that does not replenish fully between levels? Check Enemies that blend into the floor and are difficult to see? check, it has just about every outdated game convention you can hope for which really sucks some of the fun out of it.

Despite the annoying game conventions the game is not that difficult, I died several times on the first level because I didn't understand the game, once I learned the controls I was able to pretty easily plow through the game and if you do well you will earn an extra continue or 2 at the end of the level. The game basically boils down to staring at your radar and as soon as you see a yellow blip, hold down the fire button, point yourself in that direction, highlight the enemies and release. Rinse and repeat this for the first 5 levels and you will be pretty good to go.

Then of course you reach level 6 and the remainder of the game becomes a shit show. Level 6 is just really fast moving with enemies and projectiles everywhere, you cannot possibly kill or avoid everything and this level boiled down to me just waggling the controller and holding and releasing the a button, luckily there is no real boss here and just as I was on my last bit of health the level ended...lucky me, I'm not sure if I could do it again, but I am sure I will never try.

Upon beating level 6 the final level is just a boss fight with the huge dragon mentioned earlier. This boss fight is just moronic, there are projectiles flying everywhere, enemies being vomited out of his mouth at an impossible to keep up with rate, and he flies around in such a way that it becomes very hard to target his head. Luckily I had accrued enough continues to eek out a win, but, just like the prior level, I feel I only won through luck and could not do it again.

I think that is my main problem with the game, the early portion is pretty easy, watch your radar be quick with your lasers, and you will get through most levels with minimal damage, and while all 5 of the first levels end in a boss fight, most of them are pretty simple to figure out, but then the game takes a sharp and difficult curve and you just feel helpless. I even watched a longplay of the game and I felt that even the guy in the longplay was just waggling around and taking tons of damage fighting the ludicrous final boss.

I am glad I finally played the game, but this definitely inspired me to not bother with part 2, and if you have not played the game I would not recommend it at all.
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Re: February Together Retro: Off the Rails

by marurun Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:06 pm

The key to playing Panzer Dragoon well is mastering the gun, not the lock-on lasers. You can shoot most projectiles out of the air with your gun. Relying too heavily on the lock-ons will just cause you to take damage. Also, the gun fires when you depress and release the fire button. Further, all 3 A B C face buttons fire. By rapidly tapping all 3 buttons you can keep a nasty full-stream barrage of shots on any hard target, and that kind of rapid fire power also helps reduce the need for accuracy when taking out bullets. 3 quick button presses will fire out 6 shots, so as long as your crosshair moves over the enemy shot it is probably taken out.

Mechanically, Panzer Dragoon 2 is an advancement of 1. It handles better, it looks better, it is better.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: February Together Retro: Off the Rails

by BoneSnapDeez Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:59 pm

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Another one down!

Finished Attack Animal Gakuen (1987, Famicom) this evening.

This is a game that shamelessly rips-off Space Harrier. Plot-wise, you're a cutesy anime girl, and all the enemies are real-life animals gone insane. The levels are cool, and the heroine changes outfits a few times which is pretty charming. There's even an underwater stage, though the controls remain the same.

The game runs much smoother than the Famicom Space Harrier. I do have an issue, however. There are power-ups, for speed and firepower, and the power-ups stack. If you lose a life, all power-ups are lost too. The game is a bit like Gradius or R-Type -- if you become weakened in the later stages (or even the earlier stages) you are boned. Like, think about resetting the game.

I made it through by the skin of my teeth. Died at the penultimate boss. Sucked ass throughout the final stage. Was getting massacred by the final boss before I accidentally (and miraculously) discovered I could cheese the battle by moving around in a "box" the size of the television screen while mashing the fire button. Won the battle without getting hit again, though it took some time. Reminded me of the duck/attack "Dark Link" trick in Zelda II.

Decent game, but I hate that power-up system.
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Re: February Together Retro: Off the Rails

by pierrot Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:45 pm

Panzer Dragoon Zwei isn't just better than the original; It's beyond godly. It's a mother loving masterpiece. It's the alpha and the omega of its genre, and its series. Zwei's final boss is among the most epic in human history. I like the original just fine, but Zwei is perfection. I don't understand how AJ can hate it so much.

Also, I don't know what anyone is doing playing ports of Space Harrier that aren't on the Saturn or the 32X. Nevermind, I do know: You're doing it wrong. If you don't have the arcade machine, get yourself a flight stick, a Saturn, and the Sega Ages release of Space Harrier. Then you'll be playing with power-- uh--.


prfsnl_gmr wrote:I’m playing Sin & Punishment. It’s s pretty rad rail shooter. Nowhere near as good as its sequel, but much better since I altered the controls in accordance with DSH’s instructions. The shooting is tough until you figure out what to do (i.e., the patterns and tells). Once you have those down, though, it’s not too bad (at least, not yet). Also, per Treasure, the plot is bonkers. There are rebels and mutants and people who turn into giant monsters and a kid with some weird mouse pet who gives people blood transfusions and Tokyo was destroyed and I still haven’t figured out if I’m the hero or the villain. It’s like watching an poorly translated anime series when you have a 104 degree fever.

I kind of like the first game better, personally, and that's even after considering that I played it on the N64. I don't remember a damn thing about what happened in the sequel, but the story in the first game was a pretty interesting metaphor, that doesn't quite pull completely together until the ending credits. It's not a metaphor I haven't seen attempted before, but it was still done fairly well. Did they translate the subtitles for the VC release? I'm not saying that the story doesn't have a propensity to be abstruse, but the Engrish voice dialogue makes things way worse.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: February Together Retro: Off the Rails

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:55 pm

AAAAAHHHH!!!!! You people! 3DS Space Harrier or GTFO!!! :lol:

Also, Panzer Dragoon is, admittedly, just OK, but as several others have noted, its sequels scale way, way up. Panzer Dragoon Zwei is, in fact, a god-tier rail shooter, and Panzer Dragoon Orta (Xbox) amazingly, unbelievably improves upon it. (Panzer Dragoon Saga is also a near perfect ‘90s JRPG.) I really, really love that series, and I am glad to read about people playing and enjoying it.

.....

Also....no, the subtitles in the VC release of Sin & Punishment aren’t translated into English. I can only glean the story’s meaning from the awkward, stilted English dialogue...That’s OK, though. I go into a Treasure game for the gameplay, not the story.
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pierrot
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Re: February Together Retro: Off the Rails

by pierrot Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:33 pm

prfsnl_gmr wrote:I can only glean the story’s meaning from the awkward, stilted English dialogue...That’s OK, though. I go into a Treasure game for the gameplay, not the story.

Ah, bummer. Usually that's a pretty safe bet, but S&P is the odd example of a Treasure game with a fairly inspired narrative. The best part of it is the scene in the ending credits, though, which aren't voiced at all. That epilogue is kind of adorable, and I love it.
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alienjesus
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Re: February Together Retro: Off the Rails

by alienjesus Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:59 am

pierrot wrote:Panzer Dragoon Zwei isn't just better than the original; It's beyond godly. It's a mother loving masterpiece. It's the alpha and the omega of its genre, and its series. Zwei's final boss is among the most epic in human history. I like the original just fine, but Zwei is perfection. I don't understand how AJ can hate it so much.



I don't hate Zwei. I just think it's worse that it's predecessor and it's XBox sequel. I just found the game to be amazingly empty - too much dead air time for my tastes.
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Re: February Together Retro: Off the Rails

by Gunstar Green Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:52 pm

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Omega Boost remains one of my favorite rail shooters, not just because of the robots (though they help... with design work by the legendary Shoji Kawamori) but the graphics push the PS1 to the limit, the soundtrack is absolutely incredible and the opening cinematic is deliciously cheesy. Add to that it's an intense ride. It had middling reviews back in the day because I don't think critics were really looking for this kind of arcade action title so late in the PS1's life. It gets overlooked a lot in favor of the bigger names in the genre, but it's right up there with them for me.

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Speaking of shameless Space Harrier rip-offs, Namco's Burning Force is a fun one. The Genesis port is a bit of a downgrade from the arcade but I like it better than Space Harrier 2.
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