november 27, 2013

Hector '87 on famicom

I decided to take another look at this game.
In general I don't like vertically scrolling shooters such as Xevious . Some games just have loads of enemies coming at you with no big variation. I enjoy Twinbee (as I have mentioned about 5 times) because there is a strategy element with the bell system and because the music is nice. I also liked Zanac AI (mentioned in previous blog post) because it was rather intense, had a lot of cool upgrades, and it felt like a genuinely well made game.

Hector isn't as original as these two, but I agree with the article on hardcoregaming ( that it is nice with a shooter over land, as compared to others Hudson games such as Star Soldier and Star Force.

After the recent retro-party I wanted to redeem myself just a little and see if it was possible to get a decent score. After searching for a while I found and their high score table, which I question because I don't think the SFC game is exactly the same as the famicom/NES game. I don't see how it could be possible to get that high score in this NES/famicom game unless there is a glitch somewhere. But okay, I don't know and I'm not much of a gamer after all.

Anyways, I thought I should aim to get 300 000 points in 2 min to feel satisfied.
After one hour of button mashing my arm was hurting and I decided to connect my Twin Famicom Turbo with auto-fire. Technically this is cheating but I play for my own enjoyment.
It was more enjoyable with auto-fire and much easier, too. I was never good at button mashing.


The video shows my two last attempts.
Today I went back to play a couple of times without the auto-fire. The best try is added as last in the clip in the video. Not exactly a great high score but it will have to do for this video. If I wanted to improve the score I could focus on killing the enemies that I avoid. For example, in the third clip I had figured out how to kill the two jellyfish looking enemies that arrive at 04:30.

I felt some satisfaction because I don't play 8-bit games often. I felt 8-bit nostalgia. Interesting, because I didn't even play that much NES as a kid. But I could imagine how the kids in those days sat in front of their TV and NES with a difficult game like this. It was frustrating, but also rewarding and fun. The graphics and 8-bit music work well together to creates an experience.

Recently I asked a friend who plays modern games what he thinks of modern games compared to old games. He said the modern games don't have that frustrating challenge that the old games had.

I remember some games on the Game Boy that I could never ever complete. In fact, with more than half of my games I still don't know if they were beatable -- such as Qix, Aero Star and Boulder Dash that I have blogged about before. When I received and beat Kung Fu Master I was surprised that I had come to the end of a game. "Are games beatable? Or am I just so bad that I can't do it with the others?" I thought. That's why I rarely put in real effort to beat a game -- I didn't know if they were beatable.

Maybe modern games really are better, but there are so many of them that I don't feel anything special in regards to them. Now that I have given Hector '87 a try, I feel happier. I don't even know what the second level of Hector looks like, but the first one wasn't so bad. It was like watching some classic movie.

Bonus video! See the music and sound effects in this video I made earlier.
I wonder if Hudson re-used the sound effects and music on purpose or if they were just lazy.
Bomber King sure is frustrating too. A year ago I sat in a nightly session to beat it and was fully focused, but the game just goes on and on like this for hours and I had to quit at stage 8-1, at 5 AM.

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