januari 27, 2013

Playing Robo Warrior / Bomber king on famicom

So I decided to play this famicom game. I've played the game boy version earlier and I enjoyed it very much. I though it was an excellent game and played it until the end.
 Bomber King: Scenario 2 (JP) Blaster Master Jr. (EU)
But it sure was a long game, at least for a game boy game. I think it has passwords and it feels like you're always making progress so I accept it. I think the general strategy/puzzle/action games are games I enjoy. Games for adults -- people who like to think and to make progress.

I think the graphics is excellent for a game boy game. Technically the two game are not the same games but very similar. But why was Blaster Master Boy released by SunSoft and Robo Warrior by Hudson? Mystery. But there are some differences in what kills you.

The main difference in gameplay is that in the game boy version you can drop the bombs behind you, but in the famicom/NES game you place the bomb in front of you. This is quite annoying until you get the hang of it...

I feel like since I beat it on GB, I have beat the game once and it has taken enough of my time. It was quite long.

I did want to see if I could beat the first level on the famicom on my own. It took a while to understand that the level kept on looping until I found the special item ( I think that's the reason anyways). So it took a couple of hours of frustration and accidental suicides, but I beat the level. On level 2-1 it took a while to figure out how to get through the wall, but then I made it to level 2-2. I'm satisfied with that. I think it was pretty fun and I would have kept on playing if I didn't already beat it on the GB.

When you game over you start from the first level of the world and you even get to keep your upgrades (or most of them I think). Going back a level also has its advantages. Just as in the game boy version, you may find that world 2-2 is underground and you need the a couple of lights, but you have to collect the lights in level 2-1.

Played a couple more hours yesterday and made it to 4-1. Too bad there are no passwords so I have to restart next time. I shouldn't be playing this, but it's the most fun I had since Kid Icarus. I don't know why some people hate this game. I think it has a great combination of strategy, action and puzzle. Some reviewers are saying "This game sucks" and "Avoid at alla cost!!!!". But I think it is game for grown ups, not for kids.

januari 25, 2013

Trying to play the Island Story of Seven Winds for Saturn

Also known as Nanatsu Kaze no Shima Monogatari which I will never remember. Except that Monogatari means Story.

But it was too hard to play without knowing Japanese. I really liked the hand drawn graphics so I hoped it would be possible... But you can't even exit the house if you don't write the name of the clock in katakana (the Japanese syllable alphabet).

After you have managed to exit the house, you reach this stage.

The reviewer didn't complete his walkthrough so it's too bad we can't see all the scenes.

The game also comes with a CD with artwork from the game. I was able to access the CD with no problem. :)

I think that apart from the graphics, the gameplay is generic point-and-click. The story is linear so you do things in a certain order. I think a lot of it has to do with catching the right bugs and then you store them in your house. It is slow paced and the menu is complicated to navigate. Not sure if there is music in the game, but not much.

It looks a little like Wonder Project J for the SFC and I read the graphics were made by the same contractor.

Wonder Project J screenshot, from hardcoregaming101.net

If you can read and understand Japanese well, and you like these kind of adventure games, I'd give it a chance. It is also playable with a FAQ and a katakana chart, but will take time and effort.

And you need a Saturn console.... If you don't have a Saturn, maybe you'd be interested in my transparent Saturn for 300$.

I also have normal Japanese Saturns for 495 SEK but they get sold quickly...

januari 21, 2013

Super Deformed platforming games on Famicom

I have for sale right now a little nice game called SD Hero Soukessen, released in 1990 by Banpresto.

By the way, most of my pictures disappear after a while because the item gets sold and the picture gets deleted after 2 months. That does not bother me. You have to read my blogs fast.

I think there are several of the SD ("Super Deformed") games that should require to be better known. I am personally hesitant of them because it reminds me of SD Gundam (strategy games), but in fact SD games can be anything.

In SD Hero Soukessen you can use several different characters and I think switch between them. When you power up you get the ability to shoot, and lose it when you get hit.

The game, released in 1990, also shows what I mean in my last blog post about Kid Icarus and how the music on the Famicom/NES improved in the later years. I think I read that SunSoft started this development in June 1988 with Blaster Master. Blaster Master was strangely unpopular in Japan and is a bit uncommon, but it became a surprise hit in the rest of the world.

Well the next SD game in our blog today is called Robocco Wars, and it was released in 1992 by IGS. I have not heard of IGS before actually. Maybe the game isn't an SD game but I'll just write about it anyways.

I really like the music in this game, and look at how simple it seems. In fact, it is so simple even I could beat it on the first try. The music is great, especially stage 3 in my opinion. But somehow it is so simple, it is like Kirby's Dreamland, it is almost not a game rather a demo.

Then Great Battle Cyber, also from 1992 and by Banpresto. I am not sure if Banpresto is a sub-company of Bandai but it seems likely. I don't have patience for beat'em up but as far as gameplay goes I think it is unique for a famicom game.

The games are a bit uncommon but not that expensive because they are not that well known. Robocco Wars is probably the least common, I've only had it once.

Namco famicom games

I bought something from Japan yesterday, but I can't understand why. 25 boxed games, but most of them were crappy games. The best ones are some Namco games: Xevious, Super Xevious, Warpman, Pac-Land, Sky Kid, Star Luster but they are only worth maybe 10$-15$ each. Maybe I have started to like the ultra-small famicom boxes, "slim fit". They are pretty nice collectors items: small, good looking, and numbered. Most games are completely in English, since they were originally released in the arcade. Yet they were often only released in Japan.

Warpman is actually not that bad once you get into it.
It has a two player mode, where you play together.

Several people ask for "Battle City" which is another Namco small box game that also has a two player mode.

I wanted to play Super Chinese once with a friend but we didn't get around to it. Also two player, co-op (the video shows 1 player).

I don't know if these games have continues though. I don't like games without continues. I am also not too fond of games with this "Atari" graphics, but I know many people like them. Especially if they had famicom multi-carts (pirate carts) , where you often found these games.

A friend of mine made a video of Pac-Land. I can't stand playing games with such bad graphics, but some players like them. Pac-Land is a platforming game where you move right to level 4 or so, then you get an item that makes you jump, you return back to the first level to give back this jump item, then you move right again. Well I don't remember exactly.

januari 18, 2013

Kid Icarus beaten

Turns out I was wrong with this game too. In the Japanese version the ending only depends on the number of continues you have used. I got the second worst ending.

"Thank you Kid Icarus, I will make you a farmer"  (no, I don't know what the text really says)

I didn't use a walkthrough or guide, one reason being that I thought they were inaccurate, another reason that the guides lead you to the perfect NES ending, but also because I enjoyed the game too much to care about walkthroughs. I got stuck first at level 3-2, until I found a little glitch in the beginning that makes the first witch drop down, and then finally got lucky and got through the initial hard part. The theif enemies had stolen my crossbow and that made the first part much harder. I think next time if enemies steal my item, I will just kill myself to restart the level.

The last castle (3-4) was quite difficult too because I kept getting eggplanted, and couldn't find the boss room. Then I died with only 11 hits left of him, and again with 14. But alright, it's done, and it was a pretty fun game! That's the fourth Famicom game I beat.

I'm no 1, saved on the disk for as long as it lasts. I don't think there is a way to delete high scores from the disk in a normal way.

I now want to buy all Kid Icarus disks I can find to see what their high scores are and try to beat the game.

januari 14, 2013

Kid Icarus and Bio Hazard (Resident Evil)

Hikari Shinwa: Palutena no KagamiI have played a bit of Kid Icarus for a couple of days and it has been pretty fun. It's not like in Metroid where you just jump around. In Kid Icarus there are different levels you progress and even the fortress was hardly a maze, it took me only 15-30 minutes to find the boss.

I looked at the FAQ and there are five different endings to the game. That's  important information. The ending you get is based on how many of the five stats that you have maxed out on. I don't remember them exactly, but the game has some RPG element in that you upgrade your experience points and get stronger, have weapon upgrades and so on. But it is still is a very basic platforming game and it isn't required to know Japanese to play it. It may however be useful to look at a FAQ or a manual to tell what the different upgrades and weapons are useful for.

I don't plan on getting the best ending but I hope I will get at least ending 3 out of 5.
Kid Icarus NES Making a difficult jump in this unforgiving game. Even though you have wings, you can't actually fly (with a few exceptions). If you fall, you have to start over from the beginning of the level.
The platforming part of the game is more tricky than it looks. It is easy to jump outside of the small platforms even though there aren't that many difficult enemies. Since the game allows you to save and continue at each level it is still a fair game, in my opinion.

What brings it down is that there is nothing spectacular about it. The graphics and enemies feel generic, the music has memorable tunes but doesn't have the effects of later NES games. The main hero is probably one of the least memorable Nintendo characters, and the platforming is standard jumping around. I do appreciate the difficulty level, as there are no "insane" moments and the only boss so far was very easy to defeat (maybe a kid drew the boss with crayons).

I spent two or three hours trying to collect hearts on the first level, because Game Center CX said so, but later found it it was completely unnecessary. I also spent two or three hours fixing the A-button on my controller (finally thank you aluminum paper), a button that must be in perfect condition for this game. That's the two things I've spent most time with so far, so it's not that hard. I would rate the game 4/5.

BioHazard (JP)However, I had to take a break from playing that game because yesterday I got some Saturn consoles and wanted to try if Bio Hazard was completely in English if you set your Bios to English. I have read that Dynamite Deka actually does that. But turns out I was not lucky with BioHazard. All dialogue in the game is in English, but the item description is still in Japanese. I want to see if it was possible to play the game without knowing Japanese and I played it for an hour or two. It's one of those games where you have to find items. I'm quite bad at such games and usually spend most of the time running back and forth, clicking everywhere, trying to put everything on everything.  We'll see if I can make much progress.  I suspect that the game is quite big and I will soon lose patience.

It's a pretty good game, but it feels stupid that I play as a woman who gets rescued by the "big man" all the time. Maybe it was an intentional joke.

januari 10, 2013

Max Warrior is scary, Crayon Shin Chan is nicer

I received this game and sold it, and my customer told me it was a sticker on it. I hadn't noticed! But I understand why, the label is a bit scary.

I think it looked better with Crayon Shin Chan!

The game is also known as Isolated Warrior and is an interesting shooter, should you find it. It's a bit rare.

januari 06, 2013

SMB2 for the famicom disk system beaten

Last night I beat the game without too much difficulty. My 100 lives helped -- I used up some 50 of them. I found level 8-3 to be quite fun with few precision jumps. I remember I have played level 8-4 before, I think it was on Super Mario Bros DX on the Game Boy Color. But playing on the real hardware is more difficult. I also don't remember that I have had to do the jump trick in 8-2 on the GBC.

I think it is necessary to play this game with a strategy guide for the first time. A lot of necessary things are otherwise unlikely you'll discover.

It turned out I was wrong in my last post. You will play world 9 if you beat the game without using warps, true. World 9 ends with the text "Arigato" (in katakana) so it's to be considered a bonus level more than anything.

However, worlds A-D are accessible if you have at least 8 stars in the title screen, and press A+Start.  I did not know that. So I didn't have to beat the game to access world A, because it already had 8 stars. Worlds A-D are considered secret worlds so I don't consider them necessary to beat the game. But I looked at them and they look fund. I don't think they are impossible, having warps, 1ups etc. I may have a try at them later.

I shot bowser dead.

I saved the princess and got a lot of points for my 50 remaining extra lives. Since it says it is the end of my trip, I'll consider myself to have beaten the game.

It feels good to have put another star in the title screen. You can't save your stars if you play a repro, you need the original hardware. Also, the game boy color version of "Lost Levels" doesn't allow you to play the A-D worlds.

januari 05, 2013

Trying to beat the Lost Levels, SMB 2

The last couple of days I have been playing the Japanese Super Mario Bros 2, aka Lost Levels.

Some people have misunderstood what the Lost Levels is about. It isn't so much of a new game, but a Super Mario Bros for Super Players. It really says just that on the cover, in the ribbon. Today it might have been called an expansion pack (or is it extension pack?). It was released for the disk system only, making it cheap to produce. You need to put things in context and respect them for what they are.

I took a break while playing 2 to play the first Super Mario Bros. I don't like Super Mario Bros because of the physics. Either you make a lame short jump, or a long superjump. I have played the levels many many times but keep on dying on 8-2 and other levels that require accurate jumping. I learnt about the continue trick recently so I decided it made the game acceptable, and finally played all the way to end.

In All Stars they have fixed the movement, I think, making the game more manageable. All Stars will also allow you to continue from the same level when you're game over, while the FDS version takes you back to the first level of the world. But I do prefer the original 8 bit graphic, it feels more genuine.

In Super Mario Bros 2, I planned to beat every level of the game and not just warp them, because I don't think it is fair to say you have beaten a game if you warp most levels. Also I want to play them because I think the game is quite fun. Thanks to the Game Center CX video, I got some help from the 1up trick right at the beginning and made it quite far with my extra lives. The 1up possibility was likely put there on purpose by Nintendo and doesn't feel like cheating.

As so often in these early games, the levels aren't super hard by themselves, but having to replay the earlier stages all the time takes a lot of time. Today, the lives ran out by 8-3. The levels aren't that hard, but it is the controls that have their ways. 7-4 cost me 25 lives, mostly because of the jumping between five platforms. It should be simple jumps in any other game. 7-3 also cost me 25 lives, and that level is just about making jumps...

I hope I can stack up lives again today and start from the beginning. I'll warp to 8-1 this time, since I have beaten all the earlier levels. If the game is completed without warps a world 9 is opened, but that's not my ambition for now.

In the FDS version I think you need to beat the game 8 times and then the world A is opened, followed by B-D, and then you get to the "real" ending. The question is then how to decide if the game has been completed. My copy already has been beaten 8 times, which you can tell because there is one star in the start menu for each time the game has been beaten. There is actually no direct way of deleting the stars. The only known way is to brutally remove the disk while it is saving.

I suppose that warping and completing the game shouldn't take very long for an experienced player anyways. The 8 completions can be accomplished in less than an hour, especially with 100 extra lives. 

Still, world A-D are said to be very difficult and I don't think I could beat them in any reasonable time period. Maybe I should just try to beat the first 8 worlds once, if possible. I read that 8-3 is the hardest level of the first 8 worlds, and therefor I might put the game aside for now...

januari 02, 2013

Super Mario World beaten

To celebrate New Year, I played through Super Mario World, beating it completely with 96 exits found.  Of course I have done it before, or I wouldn't be able to do it in one day. Most of the exits are reasonably simple to discover, but some are very tricky. In one course, your exit depends on how many coins you collect. In another course, it is the time that decides your exit. This would have been difficult for me to figure out the in the Japanese version.

If you don't have the manual and happen not to know this game too well, I have some suggestions:
  • The courses with red dots have two exits. Ghost houses may also have more than one exit, such as the Super Secret Area of the first ghost house...
  • There is a warp zone I think is called Star Road you can discover. Each course there has two exits. From the last course in the Star Road, you can enter the Special Road where you'll find a couple quite challenging courses and a little surprise bonus if you beat them all.
  • The A-button jump (screw attack) can be used against most opponents. The cape attack (Y-button) is useful against many opponents too.
  • Finding the switch block courses (yellow, red, etc) are useful for several reasons, so try to find them.
  • You can exit courses you've beaten by pressing Start+Select
  • There are many ways to get extra lives, such as jumping on many enemies in a row or taking them out with a star. Using the trick above, you'll never need to get a game over.
That's about it.

It was fun playing it again. I played Super Mario World 2 for the first time a while ago. I found it confusing with the different attacks, eggs and babies, and weird colors. Maybe it's just that these days I am not able to dedicate that many hours discovering everything.