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Now You're Playing with Power. The NES.


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#1 bowser123

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 07:13 PM

Like for most people on here, and probably in Europe, the NES was a machine that didn't get much time. I started with a home computer (Amstrad in my case, Spectrum for the majority) before progressing onto a SNES (again maybe altered for a Mega Drive for others). I imagine that's a similar story for most and if you did go 8 bit it'd be for the Master System.
 
I did own a NES, along with Mario 3 and Double Dragon, all bought for me as a present. The problem was the machine was bought when the NES was dead and after I'd already owned a SNES for about 18 months. I did play the arse out of SMB3 and think alongside SMW it represented the pinnacle of 2D platforming.
 
Over the years I bought, played and completed a few more Nintendo classics like the original Zelda and Metroid on my NES. Enjoyed them all, but again, belatedly playing them after I'd finished Super Metroid and LttP took some of their impact away. Other NES games I played largely came from compilation discs like Mega Man Collection on the Gamecube, Zelda 2 on the 3DS. Almost uniformally everything I've played has been Nintendo made. Other stuff was bought on NES cart- Battle of Olympus, Low G Man, Mega Man 2, Cosmic Spacehead- but they largely remained unplayed. Duck Tales, Chip 'N Dale and Blades of Steel are some I played more of to a degree but again it's only really Nintendo classics I've finished.
 
 
Then the other day, inspired by the Mega Man thread, I decided to seek out and play stuff I'd never really tried before. Made a list using NESguide by selecting developers I know (Konami and Capcom mainly), aided by a top 100 list , which again is predictably dominated by Nintendo, Konami and Capcom. First game I tried:

 

 

 

 

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Played and completed the original Catlevania inside a day. That's the first none Metroidvania from the series I've managed to finish. What did I make of it?
 
It's reasonable but nothing special. By far the best bit is the music.
The game is split over 15 stages or so, with a boss at the end of every 3 or so. The bosses are where the main challenge is introduced really, besides death meaning a restart from the beginning of the stage with no checkpoints. By far the hardest for me was Death though having played him again I realised I could cheese it by trapping him in one place with the fire water. Dracula was reasonable but quite easy once you got his pattern down and destroyed his flame attack with said water.
 
The game finishes, gives the credits and reveals the names of the enemies involved. It then loops back to the start (bottom right pic) where the game begins again with seemingly more enemies that move faster and hit harder. It's a reasonable starting game though nothing special, one that was tricky but didn't force me to rely on save states. I used them, but mainly as a way of saving the start of every level and only Death forced me to utilise save states at various points of the same fight. Then again I tried him again once he was down, reloading a save state and cheesed him in one spot.
 
Castlevania: B-
 
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Talking of save states and the screen grabs from my actual playthrough, hands up time. Despite owning a NES, and having some of the games on cart, I've gone the emulation route. Several reasons really, mainly being the limitations of the hardware. The NES being RF or composite only everything looks shockingly bad on my LCD. Worse than that there's an element of lag present that's noticeable. I also suffered with hardware faults like the flashing light, having to load a game three times to make it work, jamming a second cart ontop of the first just a few things I had to do.
 
I very quickly grew tired of these hardware issues and played the games through my modded Xbox and a surprisingly perfect Android emulator on my tablet. The NES pad is also really uncomfortable. Luckily for me I have an adaptor to use different pads on the Xbox. Better still the tablet lets me use bluetooth controllers so I've been using a Wii Classic Controller and the official Wii SNES pad . Got to say flicker free, enhanced graphics with a comfortable pad and save stats very quickly won me over. The games no longer feel dated.
 
Second game I played, and it's an absolute revelation. Stupid name, brilliant game:

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Metroidvania is one of my favourite genres. I've played and finished so many, it really is a genre that hooks me in. A quick think and I reckon I rate the genre like this in my order of preference:
Godly games- Super Metroid, Castlevania Symphony
Superb games- GBA Castlevania and Metroids, Kirby Amazing Mirror (man that handheld)
Decent- Megaman ZX, Shaman King, La Mulana, Cave Story
OK- Monster Tale, Guacamelee, NES Metroid
 
Anyway. Point of the list? I reckon Ufouria ranks below godly but deservedly in the "superb" list. It really is that good and quite possibly in my (limited) top 3 NES games. One thing for sure is it's miles, miles better than NES Metroid. What makes it so good?
 
2e3sqi9.png2vru0pv.png
 
You start the game with one little dude, the blue fella (left pic). He can do very little and is weak, though the game is kind initially in allowing him to take four or five hits off his HP before he dies. His initial aim is to reunite with his three other buddies. This is important as each has their own unique skills that makes traversing the world possible. The first guy jumps hight and is fast, the second dinosaur (middle pic) can swim and traverse successfully on ice. Trying either with a different character outright fails as only the dino can stay upright on ice and is able to move in water.
 
All have a basic attack, similar to Duck Tales in that you jump and have to hold down to initiate a stomp. Merely jumping without the stomp results in you taking damage. Later on there's secret weapons to find that enhance their attacks. Generally though you stomp on an enemy and it either turns into a blob (left pic) that you can throw to attack, or less frequently a heart to top up your HP. You switch the characters with a pause menu., intelligent use of their powers necessary to overcome the puzzles.

 

Lot's about the game is very bizarre and makes it feel quite unique. The enemies are varied, the use of items super. I like the idea of a plunger to help you wall climb for example.  Everything looks so weird, the level of oddity is so high. One can attack by detaching his head, another when ducking proceeds to lie on his back and crawl around. The animation is of a high standard and the music catchy.

 

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The real quality of the game? It allows real exploration, a genuinely none linear experience. Once you have the first two characters you really can go almost anywhere, skill allowing. Aided by a map (which has to be found, above right), it later highlights parts of interest. Judging by the difficulty of the bosses and the items I've received I've definitely been playing out of order something that has come about by my exploring.

 

Whilst the map is little more than perfunctory in quality it's immensely valuable in comparison to something like the original Metroid that had none. I've enjoyed returning to old areas and using new abilities to create a shortcut. These new passages have been important because upon death the game puts you back to the original start point. There's no lives or checkpoints, but you do retain all your items so death isn't too frustrating. A small concession to this is the bosses that place you just outside their room. The game also isn't that hard so it hasn't been a regular occurrence to see the game over screen, it's a game where I have used no save states outside of saving when I turn off to negate the use of passwords.

 

I don't really know how far I'm in but I estimate about halfway given the filling of the item screen and the ticking off of the green special areas. So I don't think it'll be much longer than a 10-15 hour game, but so far it's been immensely enjoyable.

 

So much so that the game enthused me enough to want to write about it.

 

 

--------------------------------

 

Point of the thread? A blog for me to keep track of the new stuff I've played. Hopefully it'll reveal some new games that people will try. Though I won't be retreading old classics like Zelda and Mario it's always nice to read about them if you do play them.

 

Next post- completing Ufouria. Writing about the excellent Gargoyles Quest 2 and maybe inroads into Kid Dracula.

 

 



#2 uiruki

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 07:32 PM

That's Hebereke. It's available on one of the Sunsoft classic games combos that's currently free as part of Japanese PS Plus. Gimmick! is available too.



#3 bowser123

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 07:46 PM

Thought he looked familiar, I've previously played Hebereke's Popoitto on the SNES years ago. Checked, he's called Bop Louie in the English Ufouria.

#4 bowser123

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 09:56 AM

Played loads more of Ufouria and think I'm near the end. It's hard to know the exact time I've played it but I think the original guess of 10-15 hours is broadly accurate. I reckon I'm moving it down a tier in my Metroidvania rankings though to "decent" as it's not really on par with those GBA games.

 

So what changed to give me the new assessment?

Well mainly it's become more linear and map trekking and less exploratory. The first half of the game was more reliant on skill to overcome areas and beat bosses in presumably the wrong order. Either I missed obvious cues or just engrossed exploring, but initially the path wasn't set rigidly. Several of the newer areas absolutely have been only accessible with the conveniently acquired new powers. These new powers are pretty much more keys than powers too as they have very limited scope in where they can be used. For example one guy can use a power to destroy blocks and clear a path, but this item doesn't hurt enemies so can only be used in about two locations that conveniently open up the new area.

 

Having a set order isn't a deal breaker, I mean my favourite Metroid has such a structure (though it can be altered with unintended sequence breaking mechanics). The difference in Ufouria is that the game world is smaller (to be expected given the difference from SNES to NES) but is also totally absent of any collectables. The game also marks out the important items on the map too so the game has gone from a non linear experience to more being a lesson in efficient map traversal. Thankfully there are several shortcuts that cut the travel time. However on one occasion I deliberately died knowing that the game would place me back to the starting point (I get to keep every item and character) as that was far more preferable than making my way back through to the other side of the map where I had to go next.

 

 

 

Got the fourth and final character reunited with his buddies. Like the other two he suffered from amnesia and needs a bonk on the head to remind him that I am infact his pal and we all need to work together. The game has changed from a rescue mission to one of escape- I have some of the keys needed to open an ominous looking door where presumably the end boss resides.

 

So we have Bop Louie (real name Hebereke), fast, agile jumper who has the most important ability in being able to wall climb. We have Freeon-Leon (Oh-Chan), the dino who can swim and walk on ice. The most unique and with the best weapon is a ghost in shades, Shades (Sukezaemon). His ability is a long, floaty jump that sees him able to get across bigger gaps.

 

The new guy is just as freaky and slightly gormless looking as the others. Gil (Jennifer) is either a frog or like Mario a human in a frog suit. Disappointingly I guessed their ability before I obtained them- there's gaps in pools of water that I guessed you'd be able to swim through. Sure enough that's what Gil can do, though it's more of a drop like a stone to walk on the sea bed than swim ability.

 

 

The game has also given two or three heart items that act like reserve energy tanks. The weird thing is they've been introduced so late and deep into the game. Now, either the end boss is going to be a total walkover due to the abundance of health. Or they're going to go against the rest of the game and make him really tough and hit hard meaning the extra hearts are necessary. Just seems odd to introduce such items so late, made me suspicious.


Edited by bowser123, 04 March 2014 - 09:59 AM.


#5 E. Randy Dupre

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 12:26 AM

The NES was one of the generation of machines that I passed over. I'd been a huge fan of videogames for all of my life up until around 1988, when I suddenly found that music and films grabbed all of my attention and interest, and games vanished from my life entirely.

 

It's a console that I've been interested in getting hold of for a long time since, but I'd want it in its Famicom incarnation, due to the thousands of non-localised releases, and getting a Famicom to work on a non-Japanese television is apparently a lottery.

 

Emulation? Sure, but it's just not the same. Maybe I'll go with that now that I've once again lost all interest in most current releases.



#6 bowser123

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 07:43 AM

I've only ever owned a PAL NES so my info is second hand. My understanding is:

 

Famicom:6srhmp.jpg

+ Cute cartridges, push in connector like every system in the world. Hardware is much more reliable.

 

- The machine is RF only, it doesn't even have composite. Obviously the famous Nintendo region locked.

 

From personal experience I've had trouble getting a signal from RF on a PAL machine on an LCD, I think it's to do with the resolution being so low the TV doesn't support it. On a different LCD I technically got a picture but it's beyond horrendous- ghosting, awful colours, that famous NES flicker.

 

NES Control Deck: 2yjzlhv.jpg

+ Abundantly available, supports RF and composite. Composite is passable though nothing more albeit works fine on modern a TV.

 

- The machine is inherently flawed with it's toaster design. The act of pushing the cart into and then down to the machine is breaking the machine and game just a little bit every single time you use it. My machine was little used, stored well yet still displayed early symptoms with the game refusing to load and the LED flashing.

 

The problem is exasperated with age. Obviously you can't buy stuff new so it's all second hand. Any game you buy will have to be cleaned, because if not, the dirty connectors from the game will infect your machine and any subsequent games plugged into it.

 

NES 2/ AV Famicom:  18ltp3.jpg

 

+ The US NES 2 fixes the toaster design. Yay!

- The US NES 2 drops the composite support and is RF only. Boo!

 

+ AV Famicom now has composite

- The AV Famicom is rare and expensive

 

 

Of course you can buy converter carts that allow cross region compatibility. Naturally these are rare and expensive. Theoretically you'd want a AV Famicom plus a converter for the chance to play US and Euro games but that's one hell of a cost. With the issue of just how do you buy the hardware in the first place short of physically visiting Japan.

 

 

 

Emulation? Sure, but it's just not the same.

 

 

Personally I think for the NES it's not the same but significantly better in every respect.

I can play every game on a modern display or tablet, with enhanced flicker free graphics at HD resolutions. The games load first time, every time. I can use a proper pad (SNES or Wii Classic Controller), but if you must use the original pad then USB NES pads are freely available. Save states are optional but there's nothing to stop you not using them, or limiting there use as a password alternate like you would with a modern checkpoint save.

 

 

The only downside is the obvious one- piracy is bad. However I refuse to go along with that line with retro machines, especially the NES with it's chronic hardware issues. Totally accept pirating and playing modern games is destructive and harms the industry.

 

But the NES? Na. If the idiots at Nintendo had any sense they'd have a back catalogue of games readily available on modern hardware. They don't. They have 100 here on the WIi, that can't be played on the 3DS. The game selection on the Wii U and 3DS is literally different and significantly smaller than that on the Wii. By some small miracle Nintendo decide to release the games on 3DS/ Wii U, your old purchases from the Wii won't even transfer across to the 3DS. In this age of Playstation Plus, Cross Buy and Cross Play I find that fundamentally unacceptable. Then you have the Nintendo tax of games being so expensive, never on sale. Which is then topped off by the intelligent account system design.

 

Ultimately though the VC is still just emulation and in virtually every respect inferior to the emulation on a open source device.

 

 

There's the stuff like the modern RetroN3 , third party machines that play original carts with modern display options. My understanding of these though is that they dump the cart to memory and play. Technically they too are emulating then? So you have the feel good factor of owning and playing the cart, mixed with the reality that Nintendo still feel the device is illegal and are using hardware that's cheap and makes the original NES look reliable.


Edited by bowser123, 05 March 2014 - 07:52 AM.


#7 uiruki

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 08:38 AM

Do the Retron devices still let you plug them into a PC and just appear as a USB drive with the cartridge available in pre-dumped format? I'm sure the older ones did that and I thought that was pretty cool.

#8 Moodmon

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 01:11 PM

Shame that IGN list doesn't seem to be working right now, be interesting to go through it.

 

From memory I think I went Speccy, NES, Mega Drive, PC and then I had money to buy all the things.  Only had about 8 games on the NES.  One of my biggest gaming regrets is convincing brother to get dad to buy Snake, Rattle and Roll.  The other option?  Bubble Bobble >_<

 

Seeing as you mentioned it, I suggest you give Low G Man a go.  I have absolutely no idea how it holds up now, but I absolutely love that game.  You are a guy who can jump really high (especially with power ups).  You have a freeze gun and a spear (only goes up or down).  In theory you freeze enemies, then jab them.  Only if you spear them without jabbing you get more power ups.  Plus the game has vehicles, 4 sets of ammo for your gun that actually do damage and some cracking bosses.  Again, it might actually be rubbish now but worth a pop to see if my childhood self actually had good taste.

 

Something that I'm sure will still hold up well is Shadow of the Ninja/Blue Shadow.  Side scrolling platformer which was just fabulous, if a little short.

 



#9 bowser123

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 02:06 PM

I don't understand why the iGN link isn't working. Even if you click the individual games in the list it isn't working either.

Here is the rundown, each one is theoretically clickable to read their writeup. It's a shame as the writeups are pretty good.

Spoiler

 

Another list that I found better is this one . Being a fan made list for a forum it's not professionally written, however I found myself agreeing more with their list order. Plus it had a few IGN didn't have like Ufouria and Rampart that I've subsequently tried and really liked.

 

Shadow of the Ninja, that looks a good one to try. Obviously all NES games are hard, but some of the action platformers are bastard hard. That Ninja one looks manageable, though it's always hard to tell fully from vids as they're done by speedrunners or are tool assisted.

 

Currently I'm playing Bionic Commando which is incredible and perfectly judged difficulty wise. The Guardian Legend is one that's new to me and is also very, very good. Fuller writeups to follow.



#10 Moodmon

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 09:25 AM

Reading that list remind me of another really good NES game I had, this time made by Ultimate (soon to become Rare).

 

 

Okay, it had a typical massively long NES password system, but there was a reason this time around.  You are a spaceship.  You have to find pieces of a golden warpship (by going into a special section in the level and recovering it).  You can also grab random stuff dotted around the level for power ups and cash.  Cash is used in the shop between each stage to upgrade your ship, and eventually you can get different models of ship.

 

All sounds a bit meh so far.  Then you add the gravity.  As the video shows, you only have rotational control of your ship, a thrust and a shoot button.  You point craft in the right direction, thrust, and hope to go in the right direction.  This can be a little tricky as your craft blows up quite easily.  The  first thing you see on the first level pick up wise is actually a shield.  This is activated by down or up, and means you can bash along the sides a lot easier if you you them.  Down or up again activates the tractor beam, as you need to bring each item back to your ship to acquire it.

 

Now look at the video about a minute in.  You'll see the ship becomes an absolute bastard to control with anything big attached to it.  So you get this back to your ship, and have a shield.  Time to get the next pick up.  I'm sure this will be nice and easy with this shie...oh, shield has to be down to activate the tractor beam.

 

That is what makes the game so good, the risk of getting something back to your ship.  Now you can turn shields on at any point, and the item will stop where it is.  The enemies do get a lot trickier to deal with though.  Hence the massive amount of upgrades in the shop.  You can get lots of different sub weapons to use (which come out of the W bar below your health bar), little upgrades like a 'super booster' when pressing select and thrust (it really isn't that super mind) and all sorts of shenanigans.  Let alone little brown things that act as portals to your ship, to save you carrying an item all the way back (the portal itself can even be carried somewhere).

 

The levels get absolutely gigantic later on, and that password system saves all your equipment if memory serves.  Oh, then the game starts throwing stuff like narrow spiky corridors and super high gravity at you.  I don't think I got past much more than the third level as a kid.  Not so much the difficulty, but couldn't be bothered writing the passwords down.  Save states of course make this redundant.

 

Damn, nostalgia circuits have been activated in me over this topic.  Good job I can play all those modern games to make up for it.  Just like my latest purchase. Pokemon SoulSilver...dammit.



#11 bowser123

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 10:58 AM

Solar Jetman is impossible! When I had a go I found staying stable difficult and merely steering a skill in itself. Don't think I got much further than you in finding the second or third level. Maybe I'll give it another go. Another game of there's, Battletoads, was ridiculous too.

 

Wasn't really a fan of Rare until the N64 days myself, though I've never tried any of the old home computer, games published under Ultimate I mean. DKC was an exception I guess of a series of games I really enjoyed. That said there's plenty of NES stuff I've never tried outside of it's most famous games like Battletoads so there's scope for me to try more. Just a shame Rare reached their zenith on N64, got sold, broken up and now a shell of former glories.

 

Bought and played Monster Max on the Gameboy years after it's release, that was a fantastic game developed by Rare. My reference point for trying it was it's similarities to a favourite of mine (Head Over Heels). Shame neither have been re-released or had an improved graphics version.

 

I know there was a fan made Head Over Heels that I enjoyed, but being PC only has limited my playing of it. Never did complete the original HoH either, though that was nothing new in not completing any of my Amstrad games. Maybe that's a play through for another day, trying the old home computer games with modern conveniences.

 

 

---------------------

 

Incidentally I completed Ufouria. The last boss, as expected, was made redundant with the excess of health the game granted at the end. Still, fantastic game and well worth playing.


Edited by bowser123, 09 March 2014 - 11:00 AM.


#12 bowser123

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 12:27 PM

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The hero returns home (right pic) to find a heavily damaged castle, areas over run with enemies and the place virtually empty of his elf buddies. It turns out dwarves have attacked, twisted by poison they discovered when finding a fallen meteorite. This poison has not only affected their minds but twisted their bodies into hideous monsters. The story is progressing but it seems a nefarious force is behind the meteorite.

 

Faxandu is an action RPG with similarities to Zelda 2 and Castlevania. Played side on you walk, jump, climb ladders, able to attack with sword and magic. The game is split into three game areas- an overworld that links everything, the dungeons which feature bosses and item upgrades, plus towns where you are free from attack and able to buy upgrades, heal and save. Unlike Zelda 2 the overworld isn't overhead, but displayed in the same side on 2D graphics that the dungeons are displayed as.

 

The game controls are quite simple, one button action, another jumping and if you hold up or down with the action button you can either use an item or launch magic. You start the game totally unarmed and broke, only with a fee from the king as reward for being the last hope are you able to buy a sword and some armour. He can't duck or really block with his shield, though later equipment negates some of the early troubles of every enemy being a danger.

 

The massive tree, just behind the castle in the second picture, is the games main point of reference. The World Tree as it's known is a massive, all encompassing natural structure that is home to the entire game and all the societies that live within it.

 

ycxzc.png124dno5.png

 

The games setting inside a giant tree is fairly unique and provides the opportunity for a palette scheme which offers an experience that is fairly different to other bright, almost cartoon games I've played on the NES. It's mix of browns and greens creates an earthy feel, with reds and blues complementing and creating the Medieval setting. All the areas I've seen so far have used this scheme and I think I'm at about mid point. I've seen the outside, low level defences of the tree where the game begins. You move into the trees bark where the corruption is evident. I've moved my way up and am just starting to see branches.

 

All the areas are interconnected, though there's little exploration on the overworld as it's generally move right to find a new town, which then links to a fresh bit of overworld and new dungeon.

 

The game has got easier as I've progressed, boss enemies aside. You start off weak and with no items. What is slightly daft is one of the first enemies you encounter is a crawling, spiked one in the above right pic. It's weak but initially can't be killed. This is due to the sword you buy not being long enough to hit it (my image is misleading as it's of a later sword that can strike that mob), you are unable to crouch to hit it too. You can buy magic to attack the enemy but this isn't foolproof either as your money was taken up buying the near useless sword in the firstplace, your armour another expense too. So you have to jump them, something that proves harder than it should be with the slightly stiff and wooden animation the lead has.

 

As in seemingly every 8 bit game the enemies regenerate when you leave their screen. The game generally has a pretty self contained screen that doesn't really scroll much, instead you move from one screen to another. I've had some early frustration of taking a hit, being knocked off screen and having to go back and rekill enemies. Even more annoying is that enemies are generally placed in the same areas and sometimes that is right at the top of stairs. This makes avoiding them impossible so you have to take a hit, which becomes a worry when healing and magic is at a premium.

 

Staying alive at first is harder than it needs to be. Death dumps you back at the password/ save room, though you keep any items you died with. The game uses an XP system that levels you to different ranks, death loses some XP and puts you at the beginning death of what ever rank you were on. When you are able to buy the magic this too depletes and isn't recoverable in game. Occasionally an enemy will drop bread that heals, but I've yet to see a drop that replenishes magic.

 

2nbehbq.png2w3pz06.png

 

Instead, to recover magic and your energy bar in full, you have to heal at a town like in the above left pic. This proves to be a very costly experience with the prices charged by the NPC ramping up exponentially from area to area. The mobs you defeat get stronger and start to drop money, but never really keep apace with the rate at which the NPC prices rise. Instead what I've had to do is resort to grind two or three screens of enemies to gain more money. This has enabled me to buy potions to recover health, better equipment and new spells.

 

Another small annoyance is items can't be equipped in the shop you bought them, doing so results in a beep. At first I was mashing away trying to equip, using all sorts of buttons and combinations to no effect. Only when trying outside of town was I able to equip.

 

Perhaps most stupidly is at pretty much the earliest part of the game outside of the opening you have the option to buy a fantastic shield that absorbs damage and a spell that kills some enemies in one or stronger enemies in three, called Death. "I'd like to buy some death" is how the early conversation went, only to realise I don't remotely have the cash to do so. So now, at probably midpoint to 60% of the game done I've had to trek all the way back to the start to buy the items you see in the picture of the inventory screen. Like in Metroid this has proven fairly trivial as I'm too over powered for the starting area, but unlike that game or the recently completed Ufouria there isn't really any shortcuts. So about an hour of my time has been spent grinding the money, returning to buy and then getting back to the point I left off.

 

Theoretically you can go from one area to the next, running from overworld to new town as everything is interconnected. In practice this doesn't really happen as generally the new areas are just about blocked off, requiring an item you obtained from the previous dungeon.

 

21cxwli.png28l52eo.png

 

One example is above. In that pic I've not jumped but flew from the screen below with magic wing boots. It's all a bit crude as there's no flying animation or clear boot graphic, instead you just hold a button and rise up like a cardboard cutout. I found that area out of sequence, spoke to the dude and found out he wouldn't help until I'd done something else in a previous dungeon. Boots wasted.

 

Like nearly everything else the boot had to be bought and it's a one use item. Mess up and you have to earn the money to buy another boot. The 30 seconds of flying time you get is ample to reach the area I found after being tipped off by a NPC about it, but doesn't last long enough to explore. It's fairly obvious which areas are intended to hold secrets too, as the screen simply doesn't scroll up if it doesn't intend you to go above.

 

Another essential items are keys. They are required to gain access to the dungeons. These keys have to be bought and one use only. Rather bizarrely unlocked dungeons become locked once you leave them, requiring a fresh key to go back. This has meant preparation is essential- you must have enough health potions before you start the dungeon, you must have guessed and anticipated what keys are needed to even get in. So it's more money grinding.

 

 

Which all sounds a bit negative. In honesty outside of the grindy flaws, some enemy placement and early doors limitations I've grown to quite liking the game. Faxandu is simple yet quite fresh with it's premise and setting, offering a challenge whilst not being too hard. I think it's one I'll play to completion.


Edited by bowser123, 09 March 2014 - 12:35 PM.


#13 shadowman

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 01:33 PM

This thread is great. So many memories... I still have so many NES games I want to try, Faxandu included. I might have to give Zelda 2 a proper try finally, its the one game in the series that I've not played due to the change in gameplay and grindy nature in places.

 

Seriously give Castlevania 3 a go when you have a chance, its a badass CV game and has some excellent level design and killer music (and Alucard).

 

Super Turrican is another platformer that's worth a try. Some tricky platforming in places and seriously huge levels but it looks and sounds the part. If your a fan of the series give it a try.



#14 bowser123

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 02:45 PM

Zelda 2 is really, really good. I've not completed it but it's one I intend to do. Remembered I have the ambassador games on the 3DS. Looking through the spoilered list below it's also pretty much the only game I haven't played to completion that I'd want to. Well maybe give Wrecking Crew though my first go of it I didn't like it.

Spoiler

But yeah, Zelda II. I think it's pretty much the only big Nintendo made game I've not done to completion from the 8/16/64 bit generations. What I have played I really enjoyed and can't put a finger on why I've never finished it.

 

It starts off really tricky and is quite off putting. The enemies follow set patterns and you have to learn them and proceed carefully or it'll be an early death. The levelling is also interesting with it's risk/reward system, especially with how important it is to know when to shield and when to attack. The spells help lots, learning downward thrust is pretty magic given how good the move is, both in it's look, use and effectiveness. It's relatively early in I think the second or third dungeon but removes lots of the early frustrations.

 

 

Castlevania 3- yep, that's one I have on my list to play. When I finished Mega Man 2 and the first Castlevania I was tempted to move straight to the next games in the series. I opted against that, to try and finish another game before I try a sequel to MM or 'Vania. Didn't want to burn out on the series really. The second game I'm tempted to try but have read some very, very varied stuff from it being decent if obtuse, to others claiming it's system is frustrating to the point of being broken.

 

Generally speaking though if it's Konami or Capcom I intend to give it a go, or already have. Maybe not so much the shooter games as I don't really like the genre, but stuff like Contra and other run and guns I have played and liked. At the minute I'm playing Bionic Commando, Faxandu and Rampart. Got stuck on Gargoyles Quest though apparently the bit I'm at (world 3 or 4, in the jungle) is apparently easily the hardest and trickiest bit. So hopefully if I can see that bit off and can get back to it and finish.

 

 

 

Turican. I played the Amstrad version and I think I dabbled on the second SNES game. The original is one I probably should return to given I didn't finish it and will almost certainly be more refined than the CPC version I originally played.


Edited by bowser123, 09 March 2014 - 02:48 PM.


#15 shadowman

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 08:41 PM

Castlevania 2 is a really weird one. Gameplay wise I don't actually have that much against it bar the incredibly crap boss battles. Its a solid platformer with the beginnings of the Metroidvania template that worked so well for the game later on. It has an absolutely killer soundtrack as well. My main complaint with the game as you mentioned was it being insanely obtuse at times. At one point to progress you need to have a certain item and crouch on a certain spot in an area to be wisked through a wall by a tornado. How the fuck are you supposed to pick that one up without a guide (Its so good the indie Metroidvania game Dust had the exact same puzzle in the game and an achievement referencing it!).

 

Savor Megaman 3. Its the other amazing NES release in my opinion. The ones after it are good but 2 and 3 are the pinnacle in my opinion, almost perfect.

 

Going off topic for a second, but give the Amiga versions of Turrican 1-3 a try. I prefer them to the Amstrad versions as I prefer the graphics and eargasmic soundtracks. T2 is alongside Megaman 2 as one of my favourite games of all time.






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