Partly because the Castlevania thread got me wanting to play old school games again and partly because I just wanted to play something different I booted up my Snes this morning. Honestly its probably the most fun I've had with games for a little while (not that modern games are bad, but damn do I miss some of the simplicity and lack of handholding that older games gave you. That and the lack of hour long fucking tutorials).
I decided to start with an old friend:
Super Castlevania 4, a "remake" of the original according to Konami and its creator but honestly its much less a remake and more a brand new game. I miss the days of CV when they were stage based platformers with end bosses as opposed to the (admittedly awesome) Metroidvania's the series is now famed for which is perhaps why I hold this particular game in such high regard. Its aged graphically in places (background are fairly by the books and some of the enemies/animations aren't exactly amazing by Snes standard) but it still looks the part all round. The bosses especially Death look the part and the larger bosses especially look great. What does still impress me though are some of the mode 7 effects the game uses. Rotating rooms and background not to mention a couple of bosses and chandeliers look pretty cool and because of it some of the levels have some great, unique obstacles.
The other major inclusion is the mutli directional whipping. It can't be understated at how bigger thing this is. It changes the way the series plays, adds new opportunities and also adds the swinging mechanic which adds another dimension to the gameplay. Its all really great which makes me really sad that said mechanic gets pretty much binned after this game and never used again. Not sure why, it makes Dracula X seem a little basic...
The last thing that really gets me is the challenge. The first six or so levels I've played to death in the past so I know them pretty much inside out but things ramp up once you reach the second half of the game. Some of the platforming becomes much trickier (sometimes a tad frustrating perhaps) and the end couple of bosses are no push over. The clock tower especially is pretty evil when it comes to some of its jumps and if your not careful the boss battle against the cursed mummy Acmodam is really short as you tumble off the top of the clock tower!
Between the two CV games released on the console I'd say this is the better of the two. Its an all round great game that is just as good today as it was on release and its levels and bosses are a blast to play through. It also doesn't help that Dracula X was a let down gameplay wise (its bastard hard even by my standards) and its a distant second to the god tier PC Engine version that looks, sounds and plays better.
So once my CV itch was scratched I decided to stay with Konami (and remind myself of when they used to be a good developer) and play a game that I'd never completed before:
Batman Returns. Its a 2D side scrolling beat em up/platformer and bearing in mind its a 90's Konami game that of course means its nothing short of excellent. I've personally always favoured the Animated Batman game that the Snes got but I must say I really like this game. It looks and sounds exactly how I'd imagine a Batman game to be and its got excellent gameplay...
Konami made some of my fav side scrollers back in the day and this one is no exception. Batman has a nice array of moves at his disposal like his batterang to stun enemies, a grappling hook mainly used to get around the platforming sections and of course plenty of grabs to dispatch bad guys. The grabs especially I like as the scenery is pretty interactive (visible damage after smashing an enemy into a window, bench or wall) but my favourite grab is the one where he smashes two goons into each other.
The whole game is really fast paced which I love, the game just flows really well. Beating up on goons never gets old especially once you get the hang of stunning enemies > combo > grab etc. Plus the platforming sections are a nice way of breaking up the action and are also really well done.
Really the only thing that kind of annoyed me at times were the bastard hard Catwoman and Penguin fights. Compared to the other bosses they could basically maul your health bar just by blinking. Catwoman especially was crazy as in just two attacks you could be dead! I still need to figure out a better way to beat her...
Still its one of the best Batman games I've played. It does the license proud and I highly recommend it to anyone that wants a decent comic book game or a decent beat em up.
Next up it was time to give a Capcom game a try (ah the good old days of 16bit Capcom...):
Mickeys Magical Quest is one of several Disney tie ins Capcom handled. Its not quite Duck Tales or Rescue Rangers levels of awesome but its playable. Graphically its serviceable. It looks the part and is bright and colourful but it doesn't beat Castle or World of Illusion on the Mega Drive in my opinion, Sega was just so good in that regard. The first few levels are standard mascot platform fare. Jump on enemies, leap over pits, forest setting etc. All very familiar and mundane...
After beating the first area I unlocked the first powerup - the turban/magic outfit. I could now Megaman charge beam my way through levels and it made the game far more fun. The powers added an extra layer of depth to the game.
After beating a few more stages I got the fireman outfit. This one was less offensive in terms of weaponary but it allowed me to move blocks around and put out fires (surprisingly) so it again added a nice new twist to levels.
Lastly I got the grappling hook weapon which allowed me to traverse areas in style. Its an excellent power up that bar level 4 is barely used again which sucks. Level 5 was just a fast paced couple of platforming stages followed by a boss battle and then I'd arrived at the finale. The final level was an evil looking castle where you could use your powers (well most of them) to traverse the dangerous environment. Then you reach the final boss which probably took longer to beat than the rest of the game combined! Your pretty much restricted to using the fireman outfit to inflict damage which takes a while. You also have to swap outfits (slowly) to counter one particular attack. Did I mention the boss spends most of his time in a state of invincibility? Its not a hard boss, its just really really long.
Its a very short game when its all said and done. Not bad but it falls short of what I like my platformers to be. Its also weirdly tough in places! Don't let the cutesy look fool you into a false sense of security, the game doesn't pull its punches. It does a bad job of conveying what you need to do in sections (or maybe I shouldn't skip all the cutscenes) as at points it was a little tricky to gather what I needed to do. Thankfully the game has infinite continues and only kicks you back to the beginning of the stage if you die. Its the very definition of a 6/7 out of 10 game. Fun, not bad but nowhere near as good as a dozen other platformers that I've played before.
Which sort of brings me to the point of the thread. I'll be playing through a few more Snes games but wonder which are worth picking up? I'm a huge platformer/action/run and gun fan so anything like that would be ace. I'd also not say no to RPG's like Soul Blazer which I also really like.
I've got a nice backlog of stuff to play. I think I'll give the following a shot: Rendering Ranger R2, Super Punch Out, Yoshi's Island and Wolverine (which isn't a good game, I've just been meaning to finish it since the mid 90's...)
Edited by shadowman, 13 March 2014 - 05:20 PM.