spreadshirt banner

december 27, 2013

Famicom Friday: The Guardian Legend / Guardic Gaiden


My Famicom Friday series is about me picking up some famicom games that I am curious of, and then just sit down to play and see what I think. Last two famicom fridays were very positive experiences.

If you have played The Guardian Legend, you already know how great it is. But you probably don't know about the Japanese version called Guardic Gaiden, so keep on reading. If you don't know about Guardian Legend, then you must keep on reading as well.

Now is this game HOT!?!? Let me know if you know a better looking game cart on ANY console

My promise for the new year is to try and beat more games, if I enjoy them. 8-bit games are good because they are usually not extremely long. It isn't new year yet but I started early. For this reason, I only had time to play one game for this Friday.

It sure was a good one. I played it all the way through. You may chose not to watch some videos that could be spoilers, in case you want to play it yourself. I'll first show you the first 10 minutes of gameplay, with some parts edited out to make it shorter, that you could safely watch.



Sorry about the music being louder than normally!! I played on an AV famicom instead of my usual Twin Famicom.

I tried it out on my newly arrived AV famicom. See how sleek it is?!?! You can hardly notice it is turned on. Awwwaaa !!! The awesomeness.

The Japanese version has some Japanese text. This got me stuck in the beginning, because there is often a puzzle in how to enter the corridor ( コリドー ) that take you to the shooter stage. Sometimes it is about shooting the gate, sometimes you have to arm a certain weapon and fire, at one corridor you have to shoot the sign, or other things. There are clues for how to enter. The clues are easy to find in the caves, so I don't consider them spoilers. However, I couldn't read the hints in Japanese and finally had to look at a FAQ: http://www.gamefaqs.com/nes/587320-the-guardian-legend/faqs/3027.  Some corridors are more tricky and without a guide you won't complete the Japanese version. You can see me enter the first corridor in this video.

The game is somewhat non-linear. You can explore freely and look for upgrades, but the main missions will unlock new areas and you have to do them in order.

Here is the second problem with the Japanese version: the password.

This password contains your experience points, location and upgrades. For this convenience, you apparently need a 32 character password. Let's see how long it takes me to enter it...


Luckily I only restored from password once. You can either keep the console on, or keep on playing. The game isn't that long that you need passwords, if you are good enough.

Here is the stage after restoring. The boss was difficult. I paused the recorder everytime I died, so you only see the shooting stage once. The rest are the boss battles.
 

It may be of interest that this is the third shooter made by Compile that I have written about. I have previously written about Zanac and last week about Gun-Nac. Great games. You can see how similar the gameplay is in all the three games. With my new years promise, I am considering going back to try and beat Gun-Nac. It would most likely be worth it.

Sure is more frenetic than Xevious, no? Still, Xevious sold more copies than all these three combined, seeing how common it is.
The video below shows the last stage. By this time, I had so many upgrades that playing was a breeze. The last boss took longer but it was mainly about finding the best weapon and a decent strategy rather than shmup-skills.

_
Nice ending. It was a nice experience to play this during the Christmas days. I am very happy that I got to experience it. I am not great at shooters, but when you get lots of upgrades the game is almost just flying through. Try to get a high chips count and then be clever with weapons, trying out the one that works best all the time.

I am still trying to think how to enter that last password you get in the ending, since the password screen only has hiragana characters. In the EU and US version, you get the password TGL , that will allow you to play a special world with only the shooter stages.

Among true NES-fans, this is considered a must-play game. I have seen it on several gamers top 10 NES lists. It is still suprisingly cheap (10$ for the PAL or US version). The Japanese version is a bit more expensive (30$), since it is relatively rare. Personally I think the look of the cart is worth 30$ alone....

One thing that may scare people is that it is a shooter/RPG hybrid with some puzzle elements. I know that NES games where it takes time to understand the gameplay are always more difficult to sell. It reminds me of Labyrinth, a lovely famicom game that I played through 10 months ago and blogged about.

Positive points

One thing that I appreciate, now being familiar with so many games, is the attention to small things that the game has. Such as:
  • When you die, your health gets fully restored. No long grindings to restore your health.
  • No long walks back and forth. You have a map that indicates exactly were the next corridors are. Even if you walk around on your own, you have the map and it never takes very long to walk around (unlike, say, Legend of Zelda).
  • If there are many enemies in an area, they appear gradually instead of all at once. This makes you able to walk passed them.
  • When you die, you never have to walk very far in order to play the mission again. (maybe a minute, max)
  • The missions are also not very long. If you die at the end boss, replaying the mission up to the boss might take 3 minutes and it is fun, so no complaints.
  • No boss is extremely difficult. I am not great at shooters, and the most difficult boss took me no more than 10 tries or so. Take this *3 for replaying the level, plus time spent on the boss and walking to the mission, and no mission took me more than 45 minutes (maybe 60, I didn't keep time).
  • You are free to escape from the mini-bosses if you don't have enough health. Just walk out when you hear the mini-boss music, before the gate closes.

Tips

Some tips for playing
  • As so often in shooters, upgrades are essential. The upgrade system is complex. You have one upgrade for Weapon, one for Shield, your speed, your rapid fire and shooting spread (not indicated in the Select screen); you can upgrade your health meter, your chips count; secondary weapons can be upgraded to level 2 or 3. Take everything your see and fight all mini bosses to get upgrades. You also get upgrades when your score reaches certain levels.
  • Chips. You need them for special weapons, but for max weapon power you don't want it to go below 200 (or 100 depending on how far you've made it). You also use your chips to buy items in the store.  Consider not using the secondary weapon if weapon strength is important.  
  • Try different strategies and different weapons. Some bosses and mini-bosses are easier to beat with certain weapons. I think I killed them all, but some were harder than others.
  • The "EE". This special weapon kills every small item and projectile on the screen. Very useful sometimes.
This is one reason why the game can be completed rather quickly. That doesn't mean it is short. In terms of rooms and contents it is a very big NES game. I think the number of areas it has is comparable to Metroid, although this was just something I picked up at a message board. 


december 22, 2013

Super Famicom Friday, four games


It isn't Friday and I didn't even play them on a Friday. As artistical freedom I'll still call this my Famicom Friday (super edition). It is almost Christmas and maybe you expect some Christmas games, but sorry I only celebrate Christmas for two days and don't bother for the rest of the month.

During the week I played a couple of SFC games that you probably are not familiar with.


Blazeon, an uncommon shooter by Atlus.

_
At first I was perplexed but then I discovered I could freeze some enemies and fly into them to get their suit. Interesting idea. Usually when I try crazy stuff like that I die but ever so rarely I discover something.

The game looks like Gradius at first. The most distinct difference is that in this game you fly really slowly sometimes without any enemies appearing. Maybe the enemies will appear if you set it to Hard mode.  It does make the levels take a long time.

There seems to be infinite continues. Because the levels take so long, you still have to replay 5-10 minutes of moving along sequences. If you like this peculiar kind of gameplay, give it a try. It is original in the way that I have never played anything like it.
Also, I read on gamefaqs that the game becomes a real challenge later on. The manual tells me there are only five levels though (or six? don't remember).

The game is uncommon and my copy in a fine collectors condition, as new, will cost you 448 SEK (70$). Worse condition or loose cart would obviously be cheaper.

Also played Popful Mail. I was impressed by this game, one of the more playable action/RPG games I have tried. With all that walking and ladders and so on it felt like Castlevania. Maybe it is just my lack of experience with these games that makes me feel that way.

The game is also on Sega CD and Pc Engine with all games being different. This article explains more: http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/popfulmail/popfulmail.bak.htm. They recommend the Sega CD game released only in Japan and USA. A working Sega CD does costs a bit these days. I could mention that we offer restoration of Sega CD consoles, and can also rather easily make it region free.

_
The levels take a bit long. If you enjoy playing cute hack'n slash games you probably won't mind.

There is some Japanese text in the shop but I quickly guessed my way. There is also a battery save option here. You need to know that you have to trade your Exp for Gold, which you either do in the shop or in some other places.

In the video I made mistake at around 09:30 when I didn't go into town to be health items. Then I died around 13:50 and had to restart. Finally found my way into town and bought the health items I needed by 18:00. I also saved there. At around 21:00 I continued the trip. I played on and beat the boss and then came to an underground level (with bats!).

This game is rather common and can be had for around 175 SEK (25$). I recommend you check it out. As I read on hardcore gaming, this game is rather long and you get more characters you can switch between.  A nice story driven adventure.

Dolucky's A-Leage Soccer.

Another sports game. Sports games are thankful to play because they are easy to into. Some of them have good gameplay, although most have strange problems with controls and I quickly get annoyed. I feel that about modern PS2 and PS3 sports games too. Sports games are fun only if you can beat them, no?

This one I played for some 30 minutes at least, so I would rate it a playable game. After a while the controls got frustrating. You have to tackle all the time and the computer cheats. Also, you can't see much of the playing field. For 48 SEK (7$) it could be worth to try it out. If there is a 2-player mode, and there should be, it is probably fun with a friend long enough to justify the 7$.


When you have charged your power meter, you can press L to go into overdrive mode. This will make you shoot a super shot. A humerous game, and maybe you can play it better than I could.

As a bonus, I will recommend a different soccer game on SFC. Fighting Eleven, by Konami! There is also Fighting Eleven II. The EU/US titles for the games are Internation Superstar Soccer and Internation Superstar Soccer Deluxe. I read on gamefaqs that the Japanese version has more teams, but don't rely on that info. Here is a video I uploaded a month ago where I beat Denmark. I'll include it here as a bonus. More information on how to play is in the video page.
_


Finally, during the week I also uploaded this video I made a while ago of Hashire Hebereke.
_

It is a racing game with inspiration from Super Mario Kart. This was my first time playing. I didn't do well the first race but I quickly got into it. Another game that should be fun to try it for a while.

I don't know if it can be played multiplayer. If so, that should be fun. I sold the loose cart for 75 SEK (12$) and for an uncommon game like this I think it is worth paying that. Getting it Complete In Box would be more expensive.


Tenchi Muyo! RPG, super famicom

Except for retro games, my colleague Kristin also likes some Japanese animes and manga. Here follows her review of this game on to which we put an English translation. 

Written By: Kristin
There are many Japan-exclusive strategy games, one of them is Tenchi Muyo! Game Hen, also known as Tenchi Muyo RPG in the inofficial translation. The game was developed by Banpresto and was released on the Super Famicom in 1995. If you ever saw the anime or read the manga, you will probably recognize most of the characters presented during the game: main character Tenchi, Princess Ayeka, Ryoko the demon, Mihoshi the space cop, cat-bunny Ryo-Ohki and so on. But this game introduces two new characters, never seen outside of this game: the girls Mizuki and Kusumi.


These screen shots are from the english translation which we can add to a physical, original cart.


Kusumi, an old classmate to the scientist Washu, is filled with revenge. During the game, you fight monsters who are summoned by Kusumi, but also by Mizuki - the girl who suddenly appears during the first scene. At first, she works as Kusumi's right hand - to do the dirtywork; for example kidnapping princess Sasami (also known as Pretty Sammy).

But when Tenchi and the gang manage to rescue Sasami, Mizuki is abandoned by Kusumi who in turn kidnaps Ryoko the demon. Mizuki now joins Tenchi and she becomes a playable character. By using her knowledge and Ryo-ohki's ability to transform into a space ship, they follow Kusumi to the moon where she continues her revengeful plans.


These screen shots are from the english translation which we can add to a physical, original cart.

All characters have different abilities; pros and cons. Some are naturally weaker, some a bit slower, while others can move around more freely. You can level up your characters up to level 8 but you are limited to use only four characters for each game.

To make a character level up, he or she needs to make the decisive hit, making the monster die. Just like in many other games, each character also has its unique set of attacks, which grows in numbers when they level up.

The game is really short in comparison to many other strategy games, but even if reaching the end isn't that difficult, there are many extra gaming hours to gain, plus some bonus characters. You have the possibility to go back to places where you already visited.


If you like this series since earlier, you won't be disappointed. There are a lot of dialog and the chemistry between the characters are often familiar. The game is very well-made, and even if the dialog can get a bit messy at times with all the honorable titles, you are pretty forgiving once you start playing the battles. And it's hard to quit. Tenchi Muyo! RPG is, compared to other startegy-RPG titles, actually very easy-going where you won't have to deal with a heavy story line. So if you're curious on how these type of games work, this title could be a great starter before taking on the bigger and longer strategy-RPGs.

december 15, 2013

Famicom friday, three games


I had a nice little famicom friday, two days ago.
Took a little while to get the videos ready though.

A good news is that I can now upload longer videos on youtube again. I think that my fair use request for Magic Knight Rayearth (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxIbKqu9Dsc) was accepted! To my suprise, actually.

I think I wrote something like this in my request:
"This video shows the intro of the 15 year old video game. It does not hurt the economical interest of magic knight rayearth anime in any way. It is used to promote the series and the game to make it sell more" and so on.

Okay back to famicom friday.
I tested out three games that seemed interesting to me and I hadn't played before. To be honest, I played four games, but the fourth game, Kiki Kaikai on FDS, I couldn't figure out how to play properly so I won't talk about it.

Aces: Iron Eagle III on famicom
175 SEK for this game

Another flight simulator !? Yes incidentally. I just got this game in my last package from Japan and I got curious about. It is an uncommon game that I haven't had before. I have a theory that some of the more interesting games on the famicom are uncommon because the majority of famicom gamers were kids and that's why the best selling games were made for kids. They had cute anime characters and not too advanced gameplay. Later games like Aces: Iron Eagle III were made for teenagers, and they didn't sell that much so that's why they are uncommon.

_

The game reminded me of an early PC games. After you shoot down three planes in the flight simulator mode, you go into the isometric view that is more common in PC games.
I played the first four missions they have. After that, there are another four missions. I don't know what happens after that.

After each course you get a password, which I think the is mature way of playing a video game for people like me who don't have the unlimited time of a 12 year old.

The flight simulator part isn't too hard. The first two times it was somewhat hard to aim, but I quickly got into it. The isometric view had me confused at first. One important knowledge is that in the top left there is an arrow that points to a target on the map. I really enjoy these games where you move around freely and just shoot and bomb things as you see them. It took a few minutes to understand how to aim and hit. That's why I only uploaded missions 3 and 4 where I had learnt to play it properly.

I am also a bit nerdy learning about games with speech, because I know how hard it was for the developers to create them and put them into carts. They take up space too. This game has some nice and crisp spoken words, which I liked.

In all, a solid title. It has some Japanese text but the essential text is in English.

Captain Silver on famicom

175 SEK for this game also
A game with the same name was also released on the Sega Master System, and is considered to be a good game. The famicom game doesn't have a good score on gamefaqs, but I thought I'd take a shot at it. It turns out that it is a solid title. The main thing that saves it is that the gameplay is solid, with decent controls, good music and graphics; and that you have unlimited continues with short levels. I think any game that has unlimited continues and short levels immidiately should get a score of at least 7/10, to put it above the frustrating and almost unplayable games where you replay first first stages hundreds of times because of some impossible fourth level boss. That is torture and I refuse to play such games for more than a few minutes.
_
As you see, I died a lot but just start over and within soon you have reached the end of the level. I read there are 6 levels in the master system games. If that's true, the game is simple. I felt that 5 levels were enough for my friday evening. Completing games isn't necessarily a goal of mine.

You also get some cool powerups.
The graphics in this game also looked like a PC game, or maybe an Amiga game. In any case, I liked the game, and it has enough originality to make it worth trying out.

I don't know why it has a rating below 5 on gamefaqs. I don't see anything wrong with it.

Gun-Nac on famicom
228 SEK for this cart
Wow, this was a cool game. I think I have previously written about Zanac AI that played on the FDS. This game was made by the same team, I think, and has the same powerup system. It also has the same frenetic but fair gameplay. Good music, nice flowing graphics without slowdowns or too much flickering. A very nice shoot'em up game. I played a few levels and it didn't seem to hard but maybe it gets harder later on.

I have so many games to play and I rarely play one to the end.


_

Anyways it was enjoyable to play. I've already watched my own video twice. It is such an awesome game to watch.
It took me some time to try and understand the powerup system, and I am also not sure what to do in the shop at the end of each course.
Understanding and mastering the powerup system may be the most important thing to beating the game. As in Zanac AI, the different numbers represent a different powerup. I liked number 3. You can also boost this powerup. And there is a secondary weapon that you change by taking a letter.

There you have three of the four games I tried out for my famicom friday.
I don't agree with the people who say that 70 or 80% or whatever of the famicom library is crap. So far I've had two successful famicom fridays. I don't play a game for very long if I don't enjoy it.

Maybe you have to dig a bit in the library, underneath the baseball and RPG games. These are three games I haven't even had before so it was a nice experience. I am already looking forward to next week.

december 13, 2013

SMB2 "lost levels", original vs All Stars version



One of my favorite games is Super Mario Bros 2 in Japanese version.
The appeal of this game for me is in its original FDS version.

In its original version, SMB2 is more challenging. The physics in the FDS version is the same as in the first Super Mario Bros, and I hope that people can remember that SMB is more difficult to control than a game such as Super Mario Bros 3 or Super Mario World.

Personally I think that the "cutified" sprites and music in All Stars take away the charm off the original.

In the original, you can't control your character very much after he has started to jump. And I think your character seems bigger and less likely to fall off platforms. So they have made it easier.

A more obvious difference is that in the original you don't have any save function. If you are game over on 8-4, you have to continue from 8-1. And the levels 8-1 to 8-4 are really difficult.

When it comes to level design, the levels are basically the same. 

I remember when I first played this game in Super Mario All Stars, 20 years ago. It felt kind of weird. But after having tried the FDS versions I started to appreciate the original more than I ever did before and it surpassed my lack of curiosity for the All Stars.

I think it took me around 30 lives to beat 8-1 and 8-3, and they are still tricky. 8-4 takes me even more lives. 8-2 is actually relatively easy. There is supposed to be a very difficult jump there, but frankly I can often get it on the first try. Maybe the difficulty is in finding out you have to do the jump in the first place, in case you didn't know.

Here is my playing from the castle in 7-4 and all the levels to 8-4.

_

I don't have any good editing software and all I can do is the cut videos at the beginning and end. I took the videos from in between boring parts where I died alot, but the gameplay in each video is continous. So cheer for me! When I die, you'll have to wait longer.

You should know that I took a lot of extra lives in the beginning of my run! But I had lost almost all by the end, LOL. Here you can check the beginning where I took 100+ lives.
_

If you think it is cheating, you should know that this trick can only be done in this particular place in the game, right at the beginning. Nintendo must have put it there on purpose.

I got inspired to play through the game, and do the 1-up trick, by watching the Game Center DX episode of the game. Seems it was deleted from youtube, but it can be found here: http://vimeo.com/22219988.

I've also made a video of the all-stars version here. As I play it again, it feels slower than the original. That's one thing I like about the original - it is a fast paced game.

_

I made a longer play of the original, playing through every single level one by one without using warps. If you complete it that way, you get to play the secret world at the end, as you'll see.
I was sure I wouldn't make it because I had died so many times and only had a few lives left, but with some luck I did it. This video shows my last attempts at 8-4. I was nervous,  still can't believe how I did it.

_

Each time you beat the game, either with warps or without, you get a star added to the title menu. This is saved onto the disk and will be there for as long as the disk works. In my copy above, you can see from video 1-1 that there are 3 stars. At the end of the video 8-4, you can see that another star was added.

I don't know how many stars you can have, but I have had some copies of this game that has had the title menu full of stars. When you have 7 star (or 8?) you can press Left+A (or Left+Start?) to reach the Hell Courses. They are pretty much impossible, and I don't even bother with them.

The original SMB2J can also be found as a famicom mini game which is identical to the original but on a smaller screen.

For GBA (region free game). I had one for 275 SEK
 
It is also on Wii Virtual Console and 3Ds virtual console. I don't own those consoles and can't evaluate that.

A review said about the Wii game:
A fairly popular trend on the Internet now is hacking old Mario games to make new levels, then challenging friends to try to beat the purposefully too-difficult designs. You can find videos of the subculture scattered on YouTube and similar sites, and watch as players try over and over to get through seemingly impossible side-scrolling challenges. Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels is a lot like that. 

Compared to the Mario we Americans know and love, The Lost Levels feels a lot like a fan-made hack – with platforming challenges that are just a bit too frustrating and don't flow as well as Mario 1, and graphics that seem like a downgrade as well. But, odd as it is, this is the real, actual follow-up to Super Mario Bros. the way it was intended to be. A set of 52 extra levels, all made harder than any found in the first SMB, and all spiced up with just enough new elements to make it stand alone as its own separate game. It's absolutely worth 600 of your Wii Points to experience it, and Luigi's alternate controls, and the near-maddening new vision of the Mushroom Kingdom for the very first time. Just prepare yourself for repeated trips to the Game Over screen, because it turns out that NOA [nintendo of america] made the right choice after all, over 20 years ago, in holding this one back.  -- http://www.ign.com/articles/2007/10/04/super-mario-bros-the-lost-levels-review

Personally I think the best experience is still to play the original software on the original hardware. This can be a difficult and complicated thing. First you need to get either an AV modded famicom+disk system, or a twin famicom. And make sure the disk system is refurbished by a qualified person!

Twin Famicom I sell for 998 SEK, fully working, with EU power and two disk games
I do the necessary belt restoration, but sometimes I have to recalibrate some of them because they weren't reading 100% accurately. I have a free 1 year warranty for recalibration. I hope I now have to skills to do it properly, but three months ago I had two recalibrations.
Getting either of these setups in working condition usually will cost around 1000 SEK (150$), plus shipping. Possibly you have to spend more on finding the power supplies you need.

Then the game will cost around 100-150 SEK (15-25$) for the disk. If you want a boxed copy, you'll need to pay a bit more. The good thing is that the game is common, it sold more than 2 million copies in Japan. A little trivia is that the game only takes one side of the disk, so if you are lucky you might get another fun 1 sided game on the other side, such as Twinbee, the original Super Mario Bros, or Ice Hockey.

december 08, 2013

Gun Sight on famicom, second look


Two days ago I played Gun Sight. I didn't try it for long but I thought the game probably had more to offer, if I spent some time learning it. So I did. A Friday evening isn't so good for frustration, but a couple more minutes and it wasn't too difficult.

The map on the lower left shows your helicopter as the big solid object. The X shows a base you can refuel. The o shows your objective for the mission.

_

I stopped at the X to refuel. A little tricky to land, I think if the down arrow lights you have to press Up. But as you see it worked out several times. I did miss one landing and had to circle.

At the end of the O I met the enemy helicopter. This took some time when I just used the normal weapon, but you can shoot a missle to. I am not sure how, but I think you hold down B and then also press A. Not sure though. With Select you can cycle between the Missile and the Extra Fuel.

After I landed, I played in this Operation Wolf mode. I am not that good at it but am glad I made it. On the inside you walk around in a old-school 3D mode where more enemies appeaar. It was difficult to get them and I died several times. I had to cut the video before 15 minutes, but I made it to the exit not long after and cleared the mission. I also got a password that can be entered in the Option menu.
  
There's several lives, continues and password, something typical of Konami games.
Konami produces quality. Great game considering it is famicom. Probably sounds better on famicom considering the big and heavy cart. I see on http://bootgod.dyndns.org:7777/profile.php?id=4086 that it uses the advanced MMC5 mapper.

I also found out that you can indeed use the famicom lightgun! That's cool. I couldn't record it because the recorder can't show the light properly through the recorder.


Good thing I have a lightgun saved away for a customer.
I think it is hard to play with a lightgun but it could be a practice thing.

december 07, 2013

Famicom Friday: Fuzzical Fighter and Palamedes II


Yesterday I had myself a Famicom Friday, with some games that have not been sold for a while.


Palamedes II.
125 SEK

I played this game for about an hour. At first it is almost as annoying as Puyo Puyo but there are two good things compared with Puyo Puyo. First, the matches can be over really fast which reduces the annoyance. Secondly, I won sometimes.
The game has some randomness to it, so one is likely to win after a while.

_
The gameplay seems complicated but it isn't. You have the die [sv not: "die" är singularform av "dice"] at the top with a number. Your have to place your dice that will make a poker-like number. The best combination is a straight, such as 6-5-4-3. Second best is four of a kind. Also good is three of a kind, or two of two different sorts. When you get some good combination, you will remove 1-4 rows from your screen, and the opponent will get 1-4 rows added. That's the puyo puyo aspect.

The tricky thing is that you can only place a die that has the same or acjacent number as the die on the table. So if the die on the table has 5, you can place 4,5 or 6. Say you place a 4, then the die on the table will change to a 4. This also effects what the opponent can place.
I think the video explains the rest of the gameplay.

The game was fun for a while. The main annoyance is that the die on the table is hard to see when you look at your own board. They should have put it in the middle, and maybe have a sound indicating what it changes to. The second annoyance is that the game feels random. In one moment you are almost dead, and the next your screen is empty and the opponent is almost dead.


The third game I played was Fuzzical Fighter.
195 SEK

Strange that this game hasn't been sold, but I was happy because I enjoyed it very much. I played it for 3 hours. Not only is it uncommon but also a great game.

Sometimes I think many people don't have very good taste, because I keep on getting requests for games like Trip World, that I don't even think is fun, but I now have a loose copy for sale for 795 SEK (125$). That is the lower end of the current price on eBay. Fuzzical Fighter is unsold for 195 SEK. Oh well.
_

At first Fuzzical Fighter may be confusing because you start in this Dragon Quest view and might think "oh no, not another weird japanese RPG". But actually the RPG mode is insignificant and easy to figure out. To prove my point, you get passwords that consists of FOUR NUMBERS and is the same for a level no matter how you upgraded. So it isn't an upgrade-heavy game.

It also starts off slow and easy and may seem boring. But there are 8 levels and they get harder and faster.

You get gold when you shoot enemies and you use it to buy stuff in the shop. In the shop with an ship sign you can upgrade Shoot (シュート ? I don't know), Shield (シールド) or Engine (エンジン). The katakana is literally the English word phonetically. Learning some basic katanaka is actually not that hard. I recommend practice on: http://www.realkana.com/

In the other shop you can buy items, literally アイテム.
You use the Item by pressing Select during gameplay. I know one item will take you back to the last castle you won. One upgrade is "Add Power" (パワー means power) to add HP, and one is "Add Magic" (マジック means magic) to add more Magic points.

The magic that is 16 MP will also take you back to the last castle. This is useful if you are almost dead. Use magic buy equiping it, and press the A button.

To equip your ship, simply press Start when playing and select your upgrades.

A special thing about the game is the Fuzzical mode. This is an autopilot of sorts that will avoid obstacles. I think it is useful on later stages when the screen scrolls fast and there is a ceiling and ground that show up. I actually had the Fuzzical mode on in the video because it made it more fun to play. It feels weird at first but is strangely playable. Easier than when I tried Darius II last week with my not-too-functional Mega Drive controller.

The graphics is nice and the music is well made.
To buy upgrades you sometimes have to "level grind", meaning you play a bit of a level until your HP is low, then you use a magic to go back to base, buy an upgrade, restore health, and restart the level. You restore your health by going to Inn, select the top menu item, and then chose the top item that is cheap and will restore your HP and MP.
I didn't mind grindning because I thought the game was fun to play.

If you are one of the people who read my blog posts regularly, you may know that I enjoy action games with a strategy element. That  is so that my brain will do some work and not just my reflexes, and to keep my from falling asleep by repetitive gameplay.

It is also nice with a shooter where you can keep on trying. Keep on collecting gold and buy upgrades instead of getting game over. It doesn't feel super hard either, which is nice for someone like me who is not a mad-skillz button mashing shmupper (who only plays with a custom made Seimitsu part stick).

I show a video from early gameplay only. It gets more fun later on.

And as bonus, a few days ago I also played some more Super Mario Kart ghost valley 1, to show I could beat the time I mentioned in my recent Mega Drive blog post.
_

And I made another Goemon video! Now on super famicom: Gokujou Parodius. Wow, some of my favorite games Twinbee, Gradius and Goemon all in one, what a combination! But I feel that parodius is more of a joke than a game. :) I don't play it seriously.

_

december 03, 2013

Savaki, Sega Saturn

This is an uncommon 3D fighting game for the Sega Saturn which was never released outside of Japan. My colleague fredJ played this game on original console and recorded a video, and here is the result. It's divided into two parts because of YouTube's restrictions.



The characters are named after different fighting styles. You have a kick and a punch button. You can aim high or low with the up and down buttons. You block just by standing still, but there is also the extra super block that will try to cancel the opponents attack and make him open for a counter-attack.

This actually works well (unlike in Dead or Alive for Saturn), but you have to guess if he will attack high, low, or middle. FredJ didn't have to use this special block during the first part of the video because the opponents were not very strong, but when he played against the last boss he had to learn how to play the game properly.



This second video shows him playing against the final boss. He says:
"I played the first guys in 20 minutes, then was stuck with this big ugly guy for 1,5 hours while I improved and learnt the moves. He hits you hard once he gets going and you have to learn the removal-block function. His kicks take a lot of health too. I found a weakness that I exploited as you see here. This video shows my last battles with him until I finally won."
It is a very original fighting game which aims to be more realistic. And it actually works, which is unusual for a fighting game. If you're interested, we currently do have the game for sale, right here: at our webshop where you can also find lots of other Sega Saturn games and more.