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Re: July Together Retro: I ❤ the monster hero!

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:52 pm
by BoneSnapDeez
I've only played Decap Attack via those Sega compilations, and I thought it was trash. So many of the "popular" Genesis platformers just don't hold up at all. I'm not a fan of big slow floaty sprites, nor do I like "edgy" 90s mascots and character designs. I haven't had the pleasure of playing Psycho Fox....... or Kid Kool. Don't forget about that one!


Have you played Last Armageddon? It's quite intriguing as well.

Pandora Box was a pretty interesting developer. They made some good shit for the Super Famicom, as well as one of the few N64 RPGs. I associate them mostly with the Magic Knight Rayearth games.

Re: July Together Retro: I ❤ the monster hero!

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:28 pm
by PresidentLeever
MrPopo wrote:So I remember when I played DK1 the most frustrating thing was trying to get my army to do what I needed it due to the somewhat cumbersome way of maneuvering things around; I wanted to just do an RTS attack move or something and instead needed to coerce them with candy. Is that improved much in the sequel?

As someone who played a lot of Starcraft and C&C as a kid I felt this way too. I would say the interface is a bit better but you're expected to use the call to arms spell, the guard rooms (which can be 1x1 or bigger) and the traps for more focused attacks and defending. Another way is to possess a creature and then add followers to it manually (you press a button and highlight creatures in sight, this replaces barracks in DK1), which is slower and more limited than standard control groups but still good for combat since you also benefit from possessing when attacking stuff like turrets in that you can strafe around them and block projectiles, and some special attacks are useful for combat. Some creatures hate each other and won't group together though.

Re: July Together Retro: I ❤ the monster hero!

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:46 pm
by pierrot
BoneSnapDeez wrote:Have you played Last Armageddon? It's quite intriguing as well.

I haven’t, but partridge was giving me the skinny on it, and it sounded about as bonkers as After Armageddon.

BoneSnapDeez wrote:Pandora Box was a pretty interesting developer. They made some good shit for the Super Famicom, as well as one of the few N64 RPGs. I associate them mostly with the Magic Knight Rayearth games.

Yeah, I was talking a little bit about that in the stream, but mostly because the sound effects in this game are junk af, and the only reason I can really think of for them being so bad is maybe they were trying to make sfx that sounded more like something on the SFC. They Ported Burai to the Sega CD, before this, though. So, I don’t know.

Re: July Together Retro: I ❤ the monster hero!

Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:48 pm
by pierrot
Had a bunch of fun playing After Armageddon Gaiden with Partridge, on the stream last night. We banged out four of the ten kings' temples: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon. Beat the ancient demon, Gabriel; Just Uriel, Rafael, and Michael (maybe?) left. Also somehow completed the Moon Tower trial without even fully realizing there was some trick to it--.

Partridge's masterful selection of evolutions for each of the party members created a far better group of monsters than my initial evolution selections, and really payed dividends with the leader character being made into a screaming jet monster, with two heads. It moves faster than the base dragon form, and we also later found out--when I randomly hit the B-button on the world map--that it can actually fly over all of the terrain, too. It was sort of a magical moment for me.

I'll be back at it again this evening, and could actually end up beating it tonight.

I also played through Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula Kun, but on the Game Boy, this time (otherwise known as Kid Dracula). There are more cutscenes this time, and it adds a couple new special abilities (while also removing the ICE ability), but it feels like it suffers from a lot of the same kinds of issues the Famicom version has. The cutscenes build it up as a sequel, but the stages make it feel like more of a remix. I guess on the plus side, the terrible water, ice, and city subway areas aren't in this game. On the other hand, the between round minigames may be even more obnoxious, overall (nothing is worse than the one from the Famicom version where you guess the color of the bloomers under the can-can girls' skirts, although the rock-paper-scissor one in the Game Boy version is pretty close). I kind of feel like the Game Boy version is easier, but maybe that's just because I was more familiar with the mechanics from playing through the Famicom game, and I was also able to stock up heavily on extra lives before the last two levels (still only finished the game with one or two lives in stock, because the final boss is an asshat again). I don't really find this one any more fun than the Famicom version, though. Overall, if I had to pick one over the other, I guess it would be the Game Boy version, but it's pretty close. I don't find either one to be all that good, really.

Re: July Together Retro: I ❤ the monster hero!

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:13 pm
by Nemoide
After Armageddon Gaiden sounds pretty rad; I wish my knowledge of Japanese was better so that I could give it a try. I've got to get back into studying the language!

I just played through Altered Beast on the Sega 3D Classics Collection for 3DS. The 3D is a gimmick but it DID help the game feel a bit more tolerable than the last time I played it, but I still stand by my opinion that Altered Beast isn't a very good game. I can imagine it blowing people away in the late 80s, but the graphics and sound seem so unimpressive that the game doesn't really have much of a punch. Unlike, say, Golden Axe, the gameplay has aged very poorly: it's awkward and stiff. A lot of the challenge comes from memorizing certain things (thankfully save states erase that difficulty) and at no point does the game feel like it has a comfortable flow. I can't imagine getting into "the zone" with Altered Beast the way I can with other action-based arcade games. For Sega-history nerds and masochists only!
But you play as a zombie who transforms into various werebeasts, making it one of the original monster hero games.
I don't understand why Sega puts it on all their classic game compilations.

Time is limited this month, but I'm hoping to play some King of the Monsters. I definitely won't be beating Twilight Princess before August, but I'd like to make more progress with that as well...

Re: July Together Retro: I ❤ the monster hero!

Posted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:40 pm
by pierrot
I've never been able to stick with Altered Beast past the bear level. It's usually at that point that I don't care anymore.

I beat Gargoyle's Quest on the Game Boy the other day. (More accurately, I played the Japanese version, Red Arimer: Makai Mura Gaiden, but close enough.) It has some moments that feel kind of like the GQII, but in general, it just feels like an all around weaker game, which I guess is not surprising considering it's an earlier Game Boy game. In that respect, it's fairly impressive, but I didn't really enjoy it terribly. Some of the later levels, like the one with extra hurty drills popping out of the claustrophobic spiked walls, on the initial descent, are a little too bull shit for their own good. Really all the bosses are too big for the arenas, too. I mean, it's kinda cool to have such big boss sprites, but it's also a nuisance, since everything is so cramped. Even some of the regular fights are a chore because of this. It's not a bad game, though. It's pretty good, really. Just might be my fault that I started with the best game in the series.

I will be playing more After Armageddon Gaiden on the stream, in a bit. It's conceivable that I could end up finishing that, also, either today or tomorrow.

Re: July Together Retro: I ❤ the monster hero!

Posted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 11:00 pm
by Nemoide
I played through King of the Monsters for Neo-Geo today (via SNK Arcade Classics for Wii).

I first played this game on the Wii at a friend's place about a decade ago and thought it was pretty cool. We were just casually playing and neither of us knew what we were doing, but it was decently satisfying.
Playing through the single player game... well, I'm not sure I ever figured out what I'm doing, but it's less satisfying. :/
At its heart, it's like if Rampage was a wrestling game with an isometric perspective, with the main goal to pin the other player for three seconds and a secondary goal of destroying cities. There's a health gauge, though I'm not totally clear on its significance since you can get unpinned even when it's at zero. There's a power gauge which lets you "level up" after collecting floating p-balls that appear after using some sort of special move on an enemy. AFAIK, special moves are the main way of knocking down enemies.

But to me who is unversed in wrestling games, it seems like a whole lot of nonsense is going on with button-mashing being the main strategy. It seems some attacks work better (as opposed to getting reversed and letting your enemy attack you) when you're repeatedly slamming on buttons. A specific button? All the buttons? I don't know! Same with when you're pinned, the game tells you to hit a button repeatedly, but I'm not sure if they meant one button or multiple buttons. There's a special range attack all characters can do that just takes a little charging, but it's tricky to successfully hit an enemy with it. After each match you get bonuses for destruction, contamination (I don't know what that means), and fatalities. TBH, I think that's a fun addition to the game, because you get to really be a MONSTER and SMASH STUFF.

The game has six characters who are all based on classic Japanese kaiju/tokusatsu movies & shows. I played as Geon, the Godzilla stand-in, of course. But I'm really glad that there's a Hedorah stand-in, Poison Ghost, in the lineup. You fight against all six monsters in various Japanese cities, climaxing with a mirror-match. I visited Japan earlier this year and was glad I could see recognizable sights in the cities I saw: Tokyo, Okinawa, Kyoto, and Kobe. After those six battles... you go through ANOTHER six battles, against the same monsters in the same cities. But now the enemies are powered up with extra life. I feel like this is a pretty significant weakness of the game; playing against the same enemies multiple times just feels bland, especially by the standards of SNK fighting games which are often overflowing with unique characters.

I'd say that this is a decently fun game if you're playing against a friend, but just a so-so game for single player.

Re: July Together Retro: I ❤ the monster hero!

Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:18 am
by pierrot
Nemoide wrote:It seems some attacks work better (as opposed to getting reversed and letting your enemy attack you) when you're repeatedly slamming on buttons. A specific button? All the buttons? I don't know!

:lol: I got a pretty good laugh out of this. The only experience I’ve ever really had with King of the Monsters (that I remember) was via Nick Arcade.

Well, I did not, in fact, beat After Armageddon Gaiden last night. At least not on the stream. After getting smacked around by the final boss a couple times, and getting tired of grinding, I decided I’d had enough. Except, I hadn’t, actually. I came back after an hour or so, and decided to try just using a bunch of the element defense special abilities that the characters have. They didn’t do a whole lot, but I got much more lazy action choices from the two bosses, and some really good luck with the random special attack ability giving me stuff like gatling, which does around 5000 damage (my regular attacks/magic usually do around 500). The final boss eventually went down, and I was greeted by the underwhelming ending.

I’m not really satisfied with this result, though. I want to try to get it on stream, just because I was potentially going to post all of the recordings to YouTube, for posterity’s sake, and it would bug me if it were incomplete like that. So, I’m going to attempt to do that tonight, which could take ten minutes, or ten hours. I shudder to think which it will be.

Re: July Together Retro: I ❤ the monster hero!

Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:12 am
So I finished up BloodRayne today.

The game is set in the 30s and has the dhampir Rayne dealing with monsters, nazis, and the occult. And since she's a dhampir, you can suck blood from your enemies, which is also the only way to restore your health. Which is pretty cool actually. You can either jump on guys to do this, or drag them towards you with a harpoon and pin them to the ground. If you jump on them though, you can turn them towards other enemies to act as a shield while you feed, while your victim's buddies pump him full of lead trying to shoot you. This it makes pretty easy to heal even during some pretty frantic firefights.

Combat is really simple. Melee is just a basic combo, and you automatically get upgrades to add hits to said combo as you progress, but it never moves beyond simply mashing the trigger a lot. You also fill up a gauge that allows you to use a blood rage, which slows time and changes your combo's look and power significantly. You can still get hurt in this mode, but its so powerful that you'll never be in real danger, so its effective for wiping out hordes of enemies. The game also uses fps style controls rather than playing like an action game, so you can kind of slide around while you're attacking and keep yourself out of danger. Which is kinda fun and makes things a bit more interesting than they would be otherwise.

There's also some gunplay, but Rayne somewhat effectively auto aims and you simply need to pull the trigger. You can carry a bunch of weapons at once, but rather than managing ammo, guns will be dropped the moment they're empty and you instantly switch to another weapon in your inventory. Enemies drop a lot more when they die, so you can often go around guns blazing without much thought.

The neat thing though is that, unless you're fighting a heavier enemy or a boss, Rayne generally doesn't react when she's hit. You can tank right through a lot of attacks and bullets. You still lose a lot of health if you do this thoughtlessly, but it works to makes you feel powerful. Of course, I'm not sure if this is intentional or just a quirk, because the game is a bit clunky overall.

There are three major areas, each chopped in to smaller, mostly linear chunks, but they all feel sensibly connected, and some of the larger levels let you explore a bit. Its all a bit heavy on the browns and grays, but there are still some interesting environments peppered in there.

Story is silly (that's not a bad thing), and some things aren't explained all that well, but BloodRayne seems to mostly be about violent spectacle, so it works. But it ends abruptly, and with a random sequel hook that has nothing to do with this game's plot.

Anyway, I had a good time. Probably jump in to the sequel some time soon, which looks to be an improvement.

Re: July Together Retro: I ❤ the monster hero!

Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:49 am
by Nemoide
I think Bloodrayne is a fun game, I'm glad you enjoyed it. And you beat the last boss without cheating?? I'm impressed!!

What stands out the most about that game for me is the insane difficulty spike with the final boss. I found the majority of the game to be fun, but not especially challenging... until I got to the last boss, which just *destroyed* me. Like, I remember thinking the programmers must have made some mistake to put such a difficult boss in the game. I think even after I entered the unlimited life cheat, it took me a good long while to take it down.