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Thread: Opinions on poorly documented imports

  1. #121
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default SDI & Quartet

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ID:	8218The Sega Ages 2500 series started off really strangely, with those sloppy 3D remakes of classic games. Toward the end of the line, though, there were just great, straight emulation/ports of Sega's legacy and some great compilations. This one, SDI and Quartet, tends to get swept aside and maligned for containing unimportant games. Even a site I really enjoy, HG101, was particularly dismissive of these two games, which Japanese fans apparently voted for to be included. When I bought this on day one, it was to play arcade Quartet, because it's fucking Quartet. I was unfamiliar with SDI. Or was I?

    Turns out, I did know SDI, but I knew it as Global Defense for Master System. It's a one or two player shooter in which you control a defense satellite, alternating between horizontally scrolling stages and single screen defensive stages that aren't entirely unlike Missile Command. You move your satellite with the D-pad, and control a reticule with your right stick or a mouse, which is an enormous upgrade from the SMS version, in which you held down a button to move the reticule, but couldn't move both at once. This better simulates the arcade experience as well, as from what I've heard it used an interesting stick/trackball combo, though admittedly I've never seen one. It's a pretty nifty game when you get a feel for it, and it's immenently more playable than the SMS port.

    Speaking of which, the SMS port is included as well. You can even select between the US and Japan versions, and the same goes for the arcade version. There is also an arrange version with different patterns included, and access to the arcade dip switch settings.

    Quartet, though... God, I love Quartet. If you are unfamiliar with the game, it is probably most easily described as a side-scrolling Gauntlet, where up to 4 players romp through brief levels filled with power ups and monster generators, competing for points along the way, not unlike Zelda: Four Swords on Gamecube. Each level has a boss monster with the key to the exit, but exiting first nets you more points. There are jump boots, jet packs, and an assortment of guns that will have you cussing at you friends when they pick up your item of choice. It's long and awesome, and it was out in the US in arcades (or in my case, a 7-11). Again, you can pick your region or to play the two or four player version of the board.

    The Master System version is again here, though it is a completely redesigned game. It now of course only supports two players, and is much shorter. The levels are now completely different, and are in my opinion more difficult, with bottomless pits and the like added in. Your continues are also limited in this version, making it more of a console experience. Both are good, though I much prefer the arcade 4-player insanity when I can get it together.

    While these games tend to illicit little more than a shrug from most, I adore Quartet, and SDI is pretty cool and different. I also happen to really dig the '80s anime sci-fi cover art, with that color scheme you just don't see used these days. If you think it sounds kinda cool, you're probably going to find it's right up your alley, and it's not crazy expensive, as no one seems to care much about these two. I do.

  2. #122
    Peach (Level 3) Koa Zo's Avatar
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    Some fantastic music in both of those games too!

    The Sega Direct DX Pack of SegaAges2500 Vol.21 SDI & Quartet Sega System 16 Collection included a nice SDI printed metal tin and a mini USB mouse with retractable cord, along with the jammin' OST.
    I was lucky enough to buy a dented tin on clearence sale from PlayAsia, shit 9 years ago now.
    Last edited by Koa Zo; 08-03-2015 at 09:37 PM.

  3. #123
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    That is freaking awesome. Mine is unfortunately the standard version, as I was unaware of the Sega direct version at the time. I'd love to see a picture of that set if you have one to post!

  4. #124
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    Default War of the Dead

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    So, this one is still a little obscure, but it's started to pick up a little notoriety in the last few years thanks to the rise of horror games over the last several years. War of the Dead on PC Engine is an early survival horror game that combines the theme and resource management of Resident Evil with gameplay stylings much closer to Zelda II. After seeing the cool cover art and finding a couple of screenshots, I was expecting something along those lines, so I gave it a shot. In the meantime while waiting for shipping, I found an article that had just gone up on videogameden.com that warned of a very hefty language barrier, a crippling but documented bug with the experience system, and unwieldly passwords. Still, those screenshots looked right up my alley...

    When the game arrived, I waited until a 3 day weekend I had coming up to give it a go. I wanted to play this the way I prefer to play games; no FAQs, just figuring it out and talking to friends. Now, none of my friends have a PC Engine, so I was on my own, and I started to wander, and I did encounter each of those issues. Here's how I dealt with them.

    First off, saving and passwords. You get passwords not upon dying, but by going to the altar at the church. The passwords are indeed lengthly and in Japanese. However, that's what smart phones are for, right? Snapping a quick photo saves time and errors. Yeah, it takes awhile to enter them, but it's not so tough to stay alive if you take just a few minutes and level up a couple of times.

    That brings me to the second issue, which is the experience bug, in which you die if you go past level 15 if I recall. This sounds like it might be a tightrope walk in meting out your levels as you progress, but it's really nothing. See, you don't get experience by killing enemies, but rather by picking up the orbs they leave behind. Ignore the experience orbs when you get your level to the max, and you're good, so it's really a non-issue so long as you're aware of it.

    Lastly, there's the language barrier, which is uniquely odd in this game. I was able to muddle through about 80% of the game by talking to everyone multiple times and exploring. However, there is a segment late in the game in which you must talk to several people in a specific order to be able to go on, and I was pretty friggin' stumped. I found a roughly translated FAQ, which was not entirely correct, but got me on the right path to figure it out. It was perplexing, and I'm not sure I'd have figured it out on my own, so be warned.

    Challenge wise, War of the Dead is rather accessible. Your weapons are powerful as you go up, and the overworld battle scenes, like Zelda II, can be escaped by working your way to the edge of the horizontally-scrolling battle area. The rest of the game takes place in an overhead perspective akin to nearly any JRPG of the time.

    War of the Dead has good music, atmospheric graphics, and a cool quest involving rounding up survivors of a demon invasion and escorting them back to the church for sanctuary. You then must find the opening to hell and seal it off. It's awesome, and the graphics support the atmosphere well. There are only a few enemy sprites that are recycled throughout the game, but it's brief enough that it doesn't ruin things.

    I really enjoyed the heck out of War of the Dead, both for its atmosphere and because there aren't enough games like Zelda II for my liking. It's an inexpensive HuCard that offers about 6 to 10 hours of game to play through for a first playthrough. Mine only cost abou $7, but as it's starting to get a bit of coverage, it's likely to eventually cost a little more. If it sounds like your thing, it probably is.

  5. #125
    Peach (Level 3) Koa Zo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celerystalker View Post
    That is freaking awesome. Mine is unfortunately the standard version, as I was unaware of the Sega direct version at the time. I'd love to see a picture of that set if you have one to post!
    As you can see with the US quarter there for reference, the mouse is straight up tiny. The cord is very thin and seems almost delicate.
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    Regarding War of the Dead, I got that many years ago after hearing about Dead of the Brain. Mainly the artwork tricked me into thinking it would be really cool, but also in my mind I remembered reading impressions of Dead of the Brain, and I got confused and thought it was that there HuCard game.
    Never did give War of the Dead a serious try. The section you describe having to talk to multiple NPCs in the correct order sounds discouraging.

  6. #126
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koa Zo View Post
    As you can see with the US quarter there for reference, the mouse is straight up tiny. The cord is very thin and seems almost delicate.
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    Regarding War of the Dead, I got that many years ago after hearing about Dead of the Brain. Mainly the artwork tricked me into thinking it would be really cool, but also in my mind I remembered reading impressions of Dead of the Brain, and I got confused and thought it was that there HuCard game.
    Never did give War of the Dead a serious try. The section you describe having to talk to multiple NPCs in the correct order sounds discouraging.
    That looks awesome. Thanks for posting those pictures! Wish I'd known about that at the time.

    War of the Dead was a trip to get through. I wish there was a translation out there to make it more accessible, because aside from that one part, I loved it, but it truly was a stumbling block.

    I also took some time to post a few more photos throughout this thread of some of the extras and bonuses packed in with games if I have them. I'm gonna try and post some more tonight.

  7. #127
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    Default Dragon Force II

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    So, this one, Dragon Force II... The reason I wanted to talk about this one a little is because posthumously, the Saturn gets lauded for its great shooters (true), its great 2D fighters (also true), its excellent arcade ports (super true), and its expensive rarities. The original Dragon Force tends to be spoken of more as a part of the Working Designs legacy or itw value than as an innovative, bad-ass strategy game that minimizes micromanagement in favor of fast-paced battles and a great take on maximizing strength of units vs opponent weaknesses. Even moreso, its sequel has become somewhat of an untranslated forgotten relic that can't even buy its way into a conversation about games that should have come out in the US anymore.

    If you aren't familiar with the series, you basically have an overworld map of the vast land of Legendra divided up between castles and the roadways in between. You assemble groups of up to five generals, each with varying types and amounts of troops, and travel the roads in attempt to conquer the continent. Think almost an arcade-like Romance of the Three Kingdoms, eschewing all of the provincial management and getting down to brass tacks of battle. Battles are also streamlined, allowing you to pit varying troops under your generals in skirmishes on a horizontal, belt-scrolling playfield. You give general formation and attack commands instead of controllong your troops directly, and can use special attacks from each leader to sway the tide. Wipe out your opponent's army, then let them whittle away at the leader. If both sides armies are wiped out, a duel begins. It's all about matching the soldiers that are strong against your rival's type, and matching up well team vs. team.

    Where Dragon Force II ups the ante is by allowing each general to command and separately direct two types of soldiers at once. That may sound like nothing, but it is a radical game changer to an experienced player, and allows for more strategic play and wild battles. Also, with new leaders, types of troops, and special attacks, it's a whole new ball game.

    Think of Dragon Force as the protestant to Koei's Catholocism, rejecting its orthodox PC-style strategy and economic management and getting hard and fast into quick battles with more immediate payoff. Both have their audience, but Dragon Force really reaches out to players who want to like strategy games but are easily bored or turned off by excess menus. Dragon Force II ends up being rather playable, as its menus are largely the same as its english predecessor.

    I love Dragon Force II. To me, that second layer of additional infantry is just what the doctor ordered for a great sequel, and the fact that the game gets largely ignored by a fanbase still pissed about the other two Shining Force III scenarios is a shame. Its anime characters, nifty sprites and scaling, and fast pace are a real treat, and I'd especially recommend it to Ogre Battle fans. If you've never played a Dragon Force game but love Sega, strategy, or the Saturn, just... just do. They're freaking awesome.

  8. #128
    Strawberry (Level 2) sfchakan's Avatar
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  9. #129
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfchakan View Post
    That... is beautiful... Wish there was an official disc or even a nice repro that didn't require a modded Saturn, but super cool all the same. That series would have also lent itself so well to a portable like the PSP. So quick and accessible.
    Last edited by celerystalker; 08-08-2015 at 05:03 AM.

  10. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by celerystalker View Post
    That... is beautiful... Wish there was an official disc or even a nice repro that didn't require a modded Saturn, but super cool all the same. That series would have also lent itself so well to a portable like the PSP. So quick and accessible.
    I was about to say DFII has a fan translation to.I've had a copy of the game myself for a long time but i never took the time to play it.Recently i thought about buying another (pro action replay) and have it modded to play burns.

  11. #131
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default J-League Excite Stage '94 and '95

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ID:	8259J-League Excite Stage '94 and '95 aren't the sort of game I'd usually care to talk about. I do like video game soccer most of the time, but I already love Super Sidekicks 2, FIFA (on SNES), and Kunio's games enough to render most irrelevant. Hell, Excite Stage '94 even came out in the US as Capcom Soccer Shootout. No, the only reason I want to talk about these is... Barcode Battler II Interface results! Hooray (or substitute that with a fart noise and make fun of the rest of this if you don't care)!

    So these are horizontally oriented soccer games on a slightly tilted perspective. They play faster and more arcade-like than the likes of ISS or FIFA, but not so much as Super Sidekicks or Hat Trick Hero. I could go on about the specifics, but given that one is widely available in English and is dirt cheap, why bother. The exclusive Japanese feature is the J-League license and Barcode Battler II compatability. Each game was packaged with a set of exclusive barcodes to scan:

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    Excite Stage '94 was packaged with a set of 12 cards featuring the J-League mascots on the front and a barcode on the back. '95 cheaped out and put its barcodes in the margins of the instruction manual. It works the same in both games. You pick enabling Barcode Battler in the option menu. Then, after selecting your team, you can swipe barcodes on the lineup screen. This will allot stat boosts to specific position players for the game. It generally works best in exhibition 2 player matches, having players blind draw cards at random.

    Realistically, this feature feels like another waste of a cool idea. Aside from the novelty of gaining an advantage for owning everything you need to do this (which I explained elsewhere in this thread) and some multiplayer hijinx, it doesn't add much of note. It is not available in the US release as an option, though, so I guess there's that. They're fun, cheap games, but hardly better than what is readily available, so unless you're curious to mess with the Barcode Battler or love '90s J-League, these are just... there.

  12. #132
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default Legend of Dekoboko

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    Legend of Dekoboko (or Dekoboko Densetsu sometimes) is an overhead racing game for the PC Engine CD that aims very much to ape the likes of Micro Machines. I picked this one up in a pile the day I picked up my Duo-R, and at the time it fell to the wayside as Legend of Xanadu II really captured my attention at that moment. It took a few years for me to give this one an honest shake. With the promise of wild top-down racing with weapons and 5 player simultaneous play, it looked to have a lot of promise.

    Well, as one might imagine, issues began to show their ugly faces pretty much right away. With 5 racers, there's no real good way to split up the screen, so everybody is stuck on one. This is where everything goes to shit. In order to accomodate all of those players, no one can really fall behind, and on large courses not unlike Micro Machines, this means if you start to fall off screen, you get boosted back into the field, which diminishes the advatage of obtaining any large disparity in skill. To make matters worse, in a foolish attempt to give distance the frontrunner, the lead cars end up at the very top of the screen, allowing for virtually no reaction time to what are obstacle-laden courses. Instead of frantic fun, you get abundant frustration.

    That said, you do have a lot of fun tweaks reminiscent of RC Pro Am, where you can power uo between races and collect itens and weapons to take into the chaos. The computer-controlled cars tend to cluster, so it can be easy to get good use out of weapons. Realistically, though, the game is so disorganized due to its aforementioned design flaws that it just feels sloppy.

    Graphically, it has an extremely simplistic look with mostly monochromatic cars and tiny sprites, and it reminds me of Micro Machines... too bad everyone is either bunched together at the top of the screen or incessantly bouncing up from the bottom.

    As a multiplayer experience, Legend of Dekoboko works okay, but there are just a ton of better similar games out there. Moto Roader manages to do this formula well better on the Turbo, so this one is more of a curiosity than a secret masterpiece. I'll put up a picture in the morning. There's a power outage tonight that has me up, so I figured I may as well do something with my phone.
    Last edited by celerystalker; 08-20-2015 at 11:50 AM.

  13. #133
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default Gain Ground

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ID:	8269Gain Ground for the PS2 is a remake of the arcade/Genesis classic in the Sega Ages 2500 line. I have a soft spot for this one, as several friends and I used to take serious runs at this one from time to time. Given that the Genesis game not only came out here, but is also included in several compilations and flashback plug and play systems, what makes this version special?

    Well, for anyone unfamiliar, Gain Ground is an overhead action/strategy game that is fairly unique. In each level, your goal is to either clear each stage of enemies or run all of your characters through the exit. Each set of ten stages ends with a boss fight that must be completed. When I say characters, there are a ton of them. You start with three, but in most stagesthere are characters to rescue. By getting them through the exit, you can take control of them and their abilities, many of which are game changers, such as Verbal, an archer with good speed, range, and the ability to hit characters on high elevations or behind barriers, or Water Knight, with his spinning typhoons. These varying abilities are often the key to clearing each stage, so choosing the right characters for the right situation is a big part of the game's strategic component. The game can be played cooperatively with 2 players working together, so communicating about who does what makes the game all the better.

    So, the PS2 differences. First off, you have 3D character and stage models, but it still plays in the same overhead view roughly, but now you can tweak the camera if you want. Secondly, this remake is based on the arcade game instead of the Genesis, so it actually has fewer levels. However... the Genesis game only allowed enemies to aim in 8 directions, making it easy to play the angles and clear the game relatively easily. In this version, they have 360 degrees of firing direction, making it much easier to get annihilated. Make no mistake; this version is ball-bustingly difficult, and it is more than happy to kick the shit out of you, offering unlimited continues until the final set of stages. Hard, hard, killer robot infested stages... but I digress. If you have the mettle to take the sumbitch down, you unlock extra mode, which changes up some of the backgrounds, adds new music, and puts new twists on some abilities. It's basically an arrange mode, but it's pretty neat.

    The other difference is that this version actually displays the character names, which doesn't sound like much, but it adds some flavor to the game, and makes it easier to coordinate when playing co-op.

    So, basically, the gist of what I'm saying is that if you're a Gain Ground fan, this is an awesome, challenging version to play with a friend. It's not super pricey, so I really recommend it to fans. If you aren't familiar with the game, take a look at your compilations. You probably have it somewhere, and it's a great multiplayer game.

  14. #134
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    Default Lost in the Rain

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    Lost in the Rain for PS3 is actually available in the US as a digital-only release on PSN. In Japan and Asian regions, though, it received a physical release with a few bells and whistles. If you're like me, and averse to picking up digital copies, and find it awfully difficult to keep up with the vast amount of games released over these services, this was easy to miss.

    Lost in the Rain (or just Rain in the west) is an adventure game not unlike Ico or Shadow of the Colossus in tone. Take a simple storybook premise with very average 3D play control, add in heaps of atmosphere with that creepy, twisted feel, and hope nobody notices that there isn't all that much game to play. You control a boy who was sick in bed, and he sees as invisible girl formed in falling rain, chased by some sort of beast. You go out to help her, only to end up invisible in the rainy night yourself, chasing her and trying to avoid death. It is definitely style over substance, but that style is not without charm.

    Actually, the game really reminds me more of games like Out of this World or Heart of Darkness. It's that cinematic platformer, where you are supposed to memorize and navigate traps from one set piece to the next as the story unfolds silently in front of you. It's trial and error, memorization over motor skills fare, and as such it's a very niche game. That story, though, is told elegantly. The choice to use watercolors for the cutscene opening cleverly intertwined with the theme of rain water and a lack of definition, and invisibility in dry areas helps keep tension high throughout the brief adventure while aiding the sense of isolation.

    The bonus features for actually owning the physical disc include an active theme for your PS3, the game's theme song with a video, and a couple of extra themes. Underwhelming, really, but they're there.

    I like Lost in the Rain, but I certainly wouldn't rant and rave about it to anyone willing to listen. However, if you like games like Out of this World, Oddworld, or Ico, this is probably in your wheelhouse, and the Asian region version contains full English language options, and it can be had for about $20 new right now.
    Last edited by celerystalker; 09-02-2015 at 03:36 AM.

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    Default Taisen! Bakuden PoiPoi

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    Another of the massive Simple Series collection (Ultimate Vol. 17), Taisen! Bakuden PoiPoi is the handicapable love child of Bomberman and Trap Gunner on the trusty PS2. It is a competitive arena-based 3D bomb blasting rumble in which Japanese stereotypes gather explosives and endeavor to blow up all of the everybody.

    You start in your part of an open arena in which bombs with numbers on them constantly drop. These represent the length of fuse on each bomb. You simply run through them to pick them up, and they drag behind you inert, forming a train as you build an arsenal. Any time you want to use one, simply push any face button to raise the first bomb in your explosive tail. This raises the bomb over your head and ignites the fuse, which you can deal with in three ways: drop, roll, or throw. At the timer's end, it will blow up, also igniting other bombs in its blast radius. The goal is to set up a good enough trap to catch your opponent in the blast, sending them sky high. Drain their three hearts to win and move on to the next level.

    Other hazards and a few powerups fall from the sky as well, such as glowing zones that slow time down for those unfortunate enough to tread, heart piece refills, running shoes, and more. These can add an interesting wrinkle to keep things fresh. There are also unlockable characters to give some shaky legs to the single player game.

    So, pretty straight forward, but let's be real. It's a slapped together D3 Publisher game that has funny visuals, cheap production values, and sloppy but passable game play. It only supports 2 players, so it can't quite make it as a party game. The fun here comes from workaday Japanese citizens flying through the air in a ball of fire. It's a novelty game that isn't balanced or fast paced enough to really catch my attention. It was fun to laugh with for a bit, though, so that's something.

  16. #136
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    Default The Bowling Hyper

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    Simple Series 2000 vol. 24, The Bowling Hyper caught my eye when I looked at the back of the case and saw some sci-fi bowling land curved out into space. I'm almost always down for an oddball bizarre super sports game, and all of my bowling games are pretty samey, even with Nester's involvement in one. So, I picked it up for just a few dollars and gave it a whirl.

    Mode wise, there's three main ways to play. The standard mode is just basic bowling game for up to four players. No season or career, just a single, bare bones game of bowling. Next is Quest Mode, which gives a series of pin formations as challenges to knock them all down in a limited amount of tries. There are five stages with several formations in each, and only a handful are difficult splits. Third is the reason they named it Hyper. You have a series of challenges like in quest mode, but now on new challenging lanes of changing lengths, curves, conveyors, and holes. This easily represents the most interesting challenge in the game, as the bizarre lanes really task you to master your angles, spin, and timing.

    The mechanics for rolling are simple and effective. Left and right position your character on the lane, L1 and R1 ange your shot, and up and down adjust your power. The harder you throw, the faster your spin meter moves as you approach the lane. Stopping it at the center causes a straight shot, and the farther left or right, the more english in that direction. It all actually works rather well, and I felt very quickly like I had great control of what I wanted to do... but there's a problem.

    It's not the graphics. They're serviceable enough, and are at least on par with the better D3 games. It's not the sound, which is bland, but not detrimental to the experience. It's not even the lack of any career mode or anything, as multi-player is what bowling is all about anyway, and the Hyper lanes are fun. It's the pin physics. The pins have horrid hit detection, and you'll see pins roll straight through standing ones, and you'll rarely get proper ricochets. The initial impact is sound, but afterward, it just goes to shit. This makes getting strikes and picking up splits considerably more difficult than they ought to be, which really can take some of the satisfaction out of the challenge modes.

    So, what this is is a bowling game with decent modes and options such as ball weight, good bowling shot mechanics, and poor pin physics. If those were spot on, I'd heartily recommend this game with no reservations, as it's cheap with a lot to like. As it is, though, I'd mainly recommend it to someone who likes the idea of the challenge modes and could enjoy a simple time waster. I really do like the Hyper lanes.

  17. #137
    Strawberry (Level 2) sfchakan's Avatar
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    Hey celerystalker, have you ever checked out Linda³ Kanzenban or it's PS1 counterpart Linda³ Again?

    Last edited by sfchakan; 10-25-2015 at 02:45 PM.

  18. #138
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfchakan View Post
    Hey celerystalker, have you ever checked out Linda³ Kanzenban or it's PS1 counterpart Linda³ Again?

    I am in fact familiar with the Saturn version. I haven't finished it, though, as I picked it up in a group of RPGs one day for just a few bucks a piece... I think the others were Blue Forest Story, Oreshika, and Blue Seed. I liked that the items have icons by their names, which is always handy when playing RPGs in Japanese. I need to try and finish that one. Oreshika turned out to be really cool, too, but has a really rough language barrier.

    Edit: just read your write up on your site, and enjoyed it quite a bit!
    Last edited by celerystalker; 10-26-2015 at 04:10 AM.

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    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default Sailor Moon vs Sailor Moon

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    This isn't a particularly obscure franchise, but I thought it might be fun to write about these two versions of Sailor moon for a couple of reasons. First, there are a lot of Sailor Moon games, so if anyone were to be looking to buy one, knowing which is which is always beneficial. Secondly, both the SNES and Genesis versions of Bishoujou Senshi Sailor Moon are based on the same arcade game, but the Genesis version costs a ton more. So, I thought it might be worth doing what a couple of obscure websites have already done, but without all those helpful screenshots (because I don't have a capture card), but with more of a focus on the actual gameplay and not just a graphics comparison.

    So, first off, the games pictured here are just known as Bishoujou Senshi Sailor Moon, and are beat 'em ups based on the early '90s arcade brawler. The game is heavily stylized in the Capcom mold set forth in Final Fight, using throws, basic combos, and character-specific special moves. You can pick from the main group of Sailor Scouts, each of which feels a bit different, some even using kicks instead of punches and so on. There are only a handful of levels and enemy types, complete with palette swapping enemies and a cameo at each boss fight from good old heart throb Tuxedo Mask in which he drops a rose that can refill your life bar in its entirety. Punch the bad guys, eat some food off of the ground, and watch the boss patterns and you'll be through in no time.

    So, differences. The SNES game uses more colors and slightly larger sprites in order to put out better-looking characters and more varied backgrounds closer to the arcade game. Without modification, the ability to run the SNES through S-Video also allows for a super clean picture that looks undeniably better in stills. However, the animation on the SNES is decidedly choppier and slower, causing the game to feel considerably less fluid, which detracts from the visual appeal quite a bit. The Genesis version makes a few smart cuts and redesigns in the background imagery to keep it competitive and not outclassed badly. At a glance, the SNES game looks way better, but in motion, things get murkier.

    Sound-wise, I almost universally prefer SNES games... but not here. The SNES game sounds like shit, with sluggish music using strange sounds for the melody. It's slow and almost like some crummy carnival version of the Sailor Moon music. The Genesis version is, to the contrary, very upbeat sounding, and sounds more like it should, even given the limitations of the chip'd synth. The sound effects in game are comparable, but the Genesis just comes off as more crisp through and through. There's no question as to which sounds better, and Sega takes it easily.

    Play control-wise is where the differences start to really mount. I mentioned how the SNES game looks slower and choppier, and it moves that way as well. You move at about 2/3-3/4 speed, so mundane fights seem to last forever. Jumps are floaty, strikes are lazy-looking, and the charging for your special attack is very slow. The Genesis version, however, plays comparatively fast and smooth, with crisp strikes, better hit detection (some enemies and bosses in the SNES game are a chore to hit), and not only do your specials charge faster, but they look better, too. The Genesis version just feels better by a long shot.

    There are a few other differences to note. For one, the Genesis game has less weird distortion on the stage title screens. The SNES game uses some mild censoring to make the transformations slightly less provocative. The biggest thing, though, is that the SNES game supports two player co-op, whereas the Genesis gane does not. This is a clear advantage on the SNES, which also has a translated PAL version. The level designs also vary a bit between versions... actually, quite a bit, with some completely different in each and different bosses (with the same story).

    So, which is better? Like I said before, I'm really more of an SNES guy, and I don't hide it. However, that's why I can be truly honest and admit it that the Genesis version is more fun to play, and I like its levels slightly better. I do prefer to play beat 'em ups multi-player, so it feels like a waste to have thar absent from Sega's version. So, I played both, and I did the SNES game with a friend as well for good measure... and I still prefer the Genesis game. The co-op is almost enough to sway me, and the SNES game is dramatically less expensive, so it's not an awful pickup, but if you usually play alone, the Genesis game honestly beats it silly. Don't be fooled by screenshots. In action, especially with controller in hand, the SNES game feels significantly worse. But, hey... if you were gonna buy the Genesis game, just snag a Japanese SFC copy too for less than $10.

  20. #140
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default Zombies vs Ambulance

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    I stumbled across Zombies vs Ambulance at the dearly departed Game Trader in St Charles, MO some 12 years or so ago, and it really took me off guard. A zombie virus outbreak has occurred, and the city is now overflowing with the undead. Zombies meander everywhere, continuing to infect the ever-dwindling masses. However... a cure has been found, so long as it is administered early enough. So, asan intrepid ambulance driver, your job is to brave the deadly streets, rounding up survivors to bring them to the hospital in order to slow the spread of the plague and begin to mass a healthy civilian force.

    The game plays largely like Crazy Taxi, and you round up survivors like fares from Sega's classic, delivering them to the hospital. Instead of a timer, the virus slowly overtakes your passengers, causing them to wreck your ambulance from inside. There is also a timer for how long you can be away from the hospital, which you can keep from filling by killing zombies along the way. Powerups like blood transfusions and toolboxes will keep you afloat, and you cam grab up as many survivors as possible before returning.

    When you save people, you get the ability to power up your ambulance, changing its capacity, speed, adding weapons, and even cow-catchers or tiller blades to the front, allowing you to save more and kill more efficiently. It's funny to see what upgrades are available, and it adds some progression to what would otherwise be a simplistic Crazy Taxi clone.

    There is also a score attack mode, as well as the optionfor a more complex technical control mode, which I personally eschew in favor of the streamlined simple mode.

    Zombies vs Ambulance is fun and comical, even if it is a tad rough around the edges in typical D3 style. It certainly isn't a masterpiece, but it's kitschy and has a little depth that can turn it into a fun game to spend time with now and again, and it is a great Halloween season game. I like it, warts and all, but it is mostly a fall season game for me.

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