februari 16, 2015

Famicom Friday: Wing of Madoola

A SunSoft game that is not very common, but still pretty cheap to get because it's not very popular.

One of the reasons why it might be overlooked is that it's classified as an action-rpg game, but I would say it is 95% action. The only RPG element is that you pick up weapons and upgrades. Use them by pressing Start and then Select to change weapon.

You progress through the stages and enter rooms where you can find these items. One of the rooms has a miniboss that you have to defeat in order to get through the exit. It is hard but not unfair. You continue by pressing Select+Start at the start screen. I won't call it a cheat because the game is unplayable without this. Maybe it is even mentioned in the manual (I don't have the manual though).

The game is entirely in English. Apart from the Select+Start trick, there isn't anything else that needs to be known. The last stage can also be a little tricky from what I read on Strategywiki, because you collect the Wing of Madoola item that allows you to fly by pressing down+jump.

When you continue you get to keep all the items you picked up, so you never have to visit a room twice for items. Still it is very difficult because of the myriad of enemies that appear. I really enjoy these kind of "enemy bombardment". :) See my previous reviews of games such as Ninja Crusaders and Demon Sword.

I read at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wing_of_Madoola) that the game has 16 stages. I was stuck on stage 12 for over an hour (see some of my game play in the video below) and then I accidentally pressed Start without pressing Select and lost the chance to continue. Arino on Game Center CX did this mistake too on stage 12... But I understand him. Stage 12 is the most difficult stage, according to Strategywiki... After getting beaten so many times you start to go cross eyed.

The Game Center CX video recommends to go back to stage 10 where there is a spring to recover health, then play through stage 10 and 11 without taking too much damage, in order to get to stage 12 with more health...

While the game has this continue function, it doesn't have any password or save function, so it needs to be beaten in one sitting. As long as you remember to press Select+Start you can keep on replaying older stages too to get items on them you missed and then jump forward again.

I recommend exploring all areas to make sure you don't miss any items. Some stages are a bit like mazes and have a Metroid feeling to them but they are actually not that big. If you don't feel patient, you can of course look at the maps on the strategywiki article.

It is still a fun challenge and I hope to go back to it some day when I have more time. Arino on Game Center CX beat it, eventhough he had to replay from the start twice. He had of course full help of his staff that told him what to do and even replayed old stages for him, but the game is clearly beatable while providing a nice challenge.

We have this game for sale at our webshop: http://japanspelshop.se/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=2550

februari 09, 2015

Famicom Friday: King's Knight

Last Friday I sat to play some King's Knight.
This game looks like an RPG but it's not. Its purpose is to be a shooter in RPG style. It has some novelty value, but that is probably the only advantage.

To play this game, there are a couple of things you need to know.
If you don't have a  manual, here they are:
1. At the start screen, you can continue by pressing the Select button. See my video below. Choose character to replay and press A then start, or simply press Start to play stage 5 with your existing characters.
2. You need to find all four special items for all characters so you can make it through stage 5.
3. On stage 5, having all four items on the characters, makes it possible to use their special attack once by pressing B. This must be used at the right moment.

Knight:  Cast Zainen to change into a winged horse.
Wizard:  Cast Naizath to defeat enemies in the water. 
Monster: Cast Cetune to change into a dragon.
Thief:   Cast Balbath to destroy monoliths.  

You upgrade your characters with items they take. For each upgrade you get an extra level added to your character for a maximum of 20.

To make it through the first stages, you are almost forced to know where the upgrades are. Without the attack upgrade, the shots are only half as effective for example, and you will die soon. You can see my video below how hard it was to kill the ghosts before I got the attack-upgrade at 0:55.

The good thing is that the upgrades are always in the same position so you can memorize them. This would take a very long time with normal play, and I think that the game is more fun if you follow a stage map. You can see the stage map for the wizard if you visit http://www.gamefaqs.com/nes/587386-kings-knight/faqs ) so you can follow my path in the video, if you want.

As you can see in the video, I didn't use the map yet, and missed item 1. Actually didn't have all four items with any character and I didn't have any chance on stage 5.

The game doesn't have any save function, but it is pretty short if you know how to play through the stages and know where the items are. If you don't mind playing with a map and maybe a walkthrough, I think you might want to give it a try. The Japanese version is entirely in English. It was also released for NES in the US.

januari 20, 2015

Famicom friday, 5 games

We've had a little more free time recently so Fredrik could take up Famicom Friday.
There are some games that have been laying around for a while that he's been curious about.
All of the games are for sale at our shop, you can reach the items through the title links below.

First the puzzle game Ochin ni Toshi Puzzle Tonjan. A pretty uncommon game, and puzzle games can sometimes be surprisingly fun. However, the game felt very simplistic so it was probably made for kids.

Then he tried Super Chinese 2.

There are three Super Chinese games for Famicom. There are also three games on Game Boy ("Super Chinese Land") and three for Super Famicom ("Super Chinese World). We have a gameplay video of the first game on Game Boy, too.

The first game on Famicom and the first game on Game Boy are full action games, and they seem to be completely in English. The rest of the games have some RPG elements. A fun thing with these games is that they fully support 2 player co-op mode.

But this Famicom game turned out to be pretty hard to play if you don't know Japanese... I suppose it is playable with a guide, but it would take a very long time to get into it. So Fredrik didn't play for long, since he wouldn't understand the story anyway ...

So he went on to some Namco games instead. Namco made many very enjoyable games based on their arcade games and you know you will always get some decent gameplay, even if the games may lack depth.

Dragon Ninja was more fun than expected. It is also called Bad Dudes outside of Japan. The initial feeling is that the movement is stuttering and unresponsive, but you will get used to it very quickly. It has a great "Double Dragon" feeling to it, and the fighting gives satisfaction. A charming and surprising little addition is the "I'm bad" speech when you defeat a boss. The game seems to have unlimited continues so Fredrik kept playing for several stages.

Quinty is a simplistic but perfectly playable little action game. It is also known as Mendel Palace in the US. Like with many Namco games, the Famicom games seems to be entirely in English. It also has unlimited continues. We recommend playing in 2-player mode. You won't get blown away by it, but it's always nice with co-op mode.

Lastly, he played Burger Time. He tried it before but never made it very far. So this time he decided to give it some more time.

Typical for these arcade made games is that they were made to NOT be beatable... It is a difficult game if you don't learn the enemies' movements, much like in Pac-Man. They often don't move directly towards you, but move right and left instead. After a couple of tries, he made it to stage 3. Must have been tough, though, seeing as he had nightmares about the game that night!

januari 10, 2015

Dragon Scroll for famicom

Yesterday I sat down to play Dragon Scroll, to see if it was playable in Japanese.

Dragon Scroll is an action/RPG game developed by Konami in 1987. It was only released in Japan.

Action/RPG can mean different thing. In best cases, all the fighting is in action, and you have a lifebar and level up. Some games are entirely in English. I have written about two perfectly playable FDS action/RPG games previously.

Dragon Scroll is very much like The Legend of Zelda. It has mostly action and there is no complicated menu system. With Select screen you see some items you can switch between, with English or little text. However, just like in Zelda, the challenge is to figure things out. To do this, you get clues from some enemies that you kill, and the clues are cryptic. According to strategywiki, the game is pretty hard even if you play the English translation (but I haven't tried). In Japanese, it will be impossible to get through it unless you follow a guide.

I played around for a couple of hours but it was hopeless. The good thing I can say is that the action sequences are definitely not unplayable. You have unlimited continues and I made it very far in experience points, to level 13 out of a maximum 15. So I don't think the game is hard if you know how to get through it. If you die, you keep all of your Exp points and can chose to get a password to continue at a later time.

I wasn't able to figure out any of the puzzles. Some of them include to stand between two statues for a couple of seconds, or to shoot certain statues a couple of times. (I read this later) You will in some cases get certain items, that you will have to use later on other items.

The game has typical well made Konami graphics and music. Nice big characters. The controls work flawless as soon as you get used to how your big character gets hit.

I'll quote from Chrontendo:

Konami does a Zelda clone! That's sounds really great, but the game itself turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. You spend most of the game wandering around five worlds (forest world, desert world, moutain world, etc. No ice world, thank God) and various dungeons looks for staffs, books, bells, rings and plants. Dragon Scroll is great looking, has awesome music, and the final dragon vs dragon battle is cool. But something doesn't quite click here. The magic is a little lame -- it's mostly used for finding hidden items. You never really gain any fun abilities from all the stuff you collect. The game feels structureless and lacks character; it mostly plays like a big easter egg hunt. Some of the items and areas are virtually impossible to find on your own (much like Castlevania II), so a FAQ will probably be necessary to finish this thing. -- http://chrontendo.blogspot.se/2009/09/chrontendo-episode-25-is-finally.html

Note that Chrontendo is usually a bit negative towards the games he describes.
I still have to agree with him on most points.

screenshot, taken from gamefaqs

Anyways, the game is perfectly playable and anyone who enjoys top-down NES/Famicom action/RPGs such as Crystalis or Willow should definitely try this out as this is in the same style with the same type of big colorful graphics. It isn't extremely deep and has a very standard story, but is a nice little fantasy game set in a world of waterfalls, castles and dragons, for those who enjoy that. Try it on an emulator with English text, and if you can beat it then try it on original hardware.

On gamefaqs, Dragon Scroll has a score of 4.10, which is pretty high. Higher than Willow, and a little below Crystalis. However, there are no reviews for it yet. It was only released in Japan and is probably not that well known.

Also see: