The Retro Games Thread

serpantino

Thousand Master
Funnily enough, while that's definitely the case with the first couple of games, the ten minute limit can become a very real problem in Sonic 3. Mainly, I think it's because you have to find the hidden giant ring(s) to enter the special stage, I was taking it much more slowly to look for secret rooms by that point, but the levels are also much larger, and getting lost or doubled back on yourself can be a real problem. The penultimate level of &K is also quite long, requiring you to fight a boss with multiple stages after you've already spent potentially a good six of your ten minutes just getting there...
That's why I prefer sonic 2. That and, even with muscle memory, there's bits in some levels that can grind me to a complete halt for a minute or so just trying to get whatever obstacle to do what I want, how I want.

I grew up as a Sega kid at just the right time to soak up the anti nintendo propaganda. As I've gotten older I have lurked both sides of the line but still have little love for their key franchises.

Mario has never sat well with me due to how slippery it feels. I also found mario 64 clunky & never understood it's high praise (the one I enjoyed was sunshine).

Zelda is enjoyable sometimes but they mostly seem to follow the exact same template with a gimmick thrown in (there are a couple of games that are an exception) and I prefer a stronger story.

Metroid.... I have never been a big fan of repeatedly backtracking through areas looking for that 1 new block I can now destroy etc.
Pokemon.... Yeah I was part of the first wave of that craze & utterly soaked it up :p

That said I love the rpgs & I was a huge fan of the gba, to the extent I took the time to extensively mod my old gba sp (shame the sound chip was so awful).

Did sega brainwash me? Maybe :p
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
That's why I prefer sonic 2. That and, even with muscle memory, there's bits in some levels that can grind me to a complete halt for a minute or so just trying to get whatever obstacle to do what I want, how I want.

Yeah, I know what you mean, there's a couple of really bad moments for that. Particularly that rotating drum thing in Carnival Night that looks like you should jump up and down on it to build momentum, when what you're actually supposed to do is just press up and down on the d-pad...

Did sega brainwash me? Maybe :p

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serpantino

Thousand Master
Fun fact: only one of those two companies survives to this day as a hardware designer. 😏
Yeah but they've turned into apple with the regular hardware revisions & loss of quality. The only difference is nintendo still has a shred of innovation :p.

Plus ninty's ethics are dwindling rapidly... Amiibos unlocking advantages etc, more pushing of micro-transactions.

As for sega, it's a shame they dropped out of the console market but as a publisher they're ridiculously successful now.
 

Neil.T

Titan
Hah-hah... as a longtime Nintendo fan, I'll take this one. 😋

they've turned into apple with the regular hardware revisions & loss of quality. The only difference is nintendo still has a shred of innovation
I know that the word I've highlighted in your quote is being used kind of as bait, serpantino, but I can't resist a reply. Nintendo have always been the innovators in the home gaming market, as far as I'm concerned, inventing the things which rival firms then just copy. I'm thinking things like the ubiquitous D-pad from the Game & Watch days; shoulder-mounted extra buttons on the SNES controller; analogue control and then, later, vibration feedback with the N64... And that's just off the top of my head.

Nintendo have long been ahead of the curve and have evolved with the times. I think that's quite hard to dispute.

As for the drop in quality you claimed, is that related to the Switch? If so, I don't actually own a Switch, so I can't contribute to that debate, I'm afraid. I do, however, own the Super Mario Bros. Game & Watch they released last year, and the manufacturing quality is excellent. The same goes for their NES and SNES Mini micro consoles from a few years back.

The units are no longer manufactured in Japan, of course, but... that just seems to be the way of the world now, I guess. 🤷‍♂️
I don't think it's too cynical of me to suggest that the quality of everything is in a gradual state of decline generally.

Plus ninty's ethics are dwindling rapidly... Amiibos unlocking advantages etc, more pushing of micro-transactions.
Hmmm... to link this back to a previous point of mine, I think that's more to do with just evolving with the times to stay relevant and survive. I certainly wasn't around at the time to witness it, but I imagine that there must've been people who grumbled when Nintendo first moved away from making hanafuda playing cards and started dabbling in those newfangled electronic gaming things from which nothing good could possibly come. 😉

As for sega, it's a shame they dropped out of the console market but as a publisher they're ridiculously successful now.
This one gave me pause when I read it. I wasn't aware of Sega having that kind of reputation today. 🤔

I know that Wikipedia articles are only written by mere mortals like you and I, but I took a look at the page on Sega as a company as a starting point. The introductory section ends with this sentiment:

Sega has been recognized for its time supporting its own video game consoles, its creativity, and its innovations. In more recent years, it has been criticized for its business decisions and the quality of its creative output.

That contrasts quite starkly with the equivalent part of the article on Nintendo. Leaving the hardware part out of the equation, it reads:

It has created numerous major franchises, including Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, Kirby, Metroid, Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, Splatoon, Star Fox, Xenoblade Chronicles, and Super Smash Bros. The character of Mario is internationally recognisable, and serves as the company's mascot.

It appears, to my eyes at least, that it's Nintendo and not Sega who are the firm that could be described as being ridiculously successful.

If you wanted to instead measure success in terms of outright profitability, the figures don't seem to support Sega either. Again, Sega are no longer hardware manufacturers, so it's not a like-for-like comparison, but those two Wikipedia articles give the latter's revenue as ¥247.7 billion at last count, versus Nintendo's at ¥1.759 trillion.

As I suggested before, though, perhaps it's not Nintendo's that I should be comparing Sega's figures with, but instead those of another software house. If so, who should I pit them against for a fairer comparison? Any suggestions?
 

serpantino

Thousand Master
@Neil.T To be honest it's not something I really care about much nowadays, I was largely being tongue in cheek & baiting because fanboyism always strikes me as pointlessly limiting and the idea I ever played into it as a child is a source of embarrassment.

I can't agree too much on innovation as sega was massive for innovations & that push to be the first was a large part of their downfall.

I'm pretty much platform agnostic and enjoy games on an individual basis, I have been since the dreamcast flopped & I went for the wild card option, the original xbox, which I loved almost as much.

I've recently I've been playing my new 3ds xl a lot whilst baby sleeps on me but overall I prefer my vita.

When I could afford to piss about I bought a gamecube just for metal gear solid - twin snakes but ended up enjoying a lot of the library (same with ps3 & mgs 4). I think that generation was unbeatable & I owned all 3 consoles and every one was incredible.

As for sega I am always shocked by how many games open to their logo on pc but it's entirely possible that they just publish a lot of what I like such as the total war series, company of heroes, two point hospital & football manager.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
As for sega I am always shocked by how many games open to their logo on pc but it's entirely possible that they just publish a lot of what I like such as the total war series, company of heroes, two point hospital & football manager.
Sega actually owns the studios that develop those games. At this point they’re basically a less openly malevolent EA.
 

serpantino

Thousand Master
Sega actually owns the studios that develop those games. At this point they’re basically a less openly malevolent EA.
There has been talk of them re-entering the market but I'd rather they didn't, especially after atari's recent attempt....
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
In his congratulatory message for the series's 30th anniversary, Yuzo Koshiro has commented that Axel's famous attack name shout in Streets of Rage is actually "Ground Upper", not 'Grand Upper', as most English-speakers have always assumed.


My life has been a lie :/

I also did not know that he was the VA for Axel too - hearing him do the voice is slightly spooky.
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Sorting through my megadrive stuff again today, it reminds me that I finished another one a while back and never got around to writing about it.

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Toejam & Earl 2: The Panic on Funkatron moves away from the quirky isometric puzzle-maze approach of the original game to become a more conventional platformer, but it's remarkably well presented and has bags of character, adding a touch of non-linearity as it sends you out to explore the levels and capture the rogue earthling tourists who've invaded TJ & Earl's home planet, by trapping them in giant jam-jars.

The game starts well; the graphics are distinctive and the dialogue is funny. Controls are rather twitchy to the point of being slightly cumbersome (moving around while jumping feels vague in particular), but the gameplay, with the subdue and capture approach to enemies, is novel and the difficulty scales at a reasonable pace.

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Unfortunately, once you've done the first few levels, it soon becomes apparent that the rest of the game is pretty much just what you've already seen on repeat. There is disappointingly little variation in both the look of the levels and their gameplay; once you've seen the four or five basic scenes and the bonus level, that's kind of it, barring more complicated layouts to navigate, and larger groups of enemies in more difficult positions. I was always a bit irritated that I'd never finished this one as a kid, so I was willing to persevere, but it did feel like I was having to push myself to actually finish it, especially when the game is only able to give you a password for every other level, so I found I had to play for at least about an hour at a time to make any real progress.

Impressively, there is a simultaneous two player mode that I imagine would add a lot to the experience, but it's a shame that the gameplay becomes so quickly repetitive - Toejam, Earl and their friends are genuinely entertaining characters, and the little exchanges between them were a big part of why I even bothered to keep going. Although it was never massive on the scale of Sonic, the original game was a kind of cult hit, and perhaps if the franchise had become more popular, we might have got the animated series that it seems like the setting is crying out for (it would have been a perfect fit with the early '90s Nickelodeon fare).

A glance on ebay suggests that the game is still relatively buyable, price-wise, but unless you're desperately keen for another simultaenous two-person platformer, there are plenty (and I do mean plenty) of other, more entertaining options out there on the system. Heck, even the mighty Gunstar Heroes can still be had for not that much more money.
 

serpantino

Thousand Master
@Professor Irony
I absolutely coveted that game as a kid. The theme is pure 90's 'tude; it's got a lot of secrets in the levels, accessed mostly by warping into walls & the inclusion of little kid mode (unlimited lives) made really exploring the levels an aggro free experience.
The music was utterly amazing as well & is still one of my top video-game soundtracks. the theme was pure 90's 'tude! (I own an old cd with John Baker's live renditions on somewhere).

I never even knew about the first game until the 3rd was announced for the xbox so it doesn't hold a special place in my heart like the 2nd.
 

Greygo

Completely Average High School Student
I love retro and retro games - first of all, the difficulty level of the games was much higher. He was eager to see a refreshed version of Contra on Snes
 

Neil.T

Titan
So, I've been watching a bunch of YouTube videos lately by an outstanding Super Mario Bros. player by the name of Kosmic. He's so good that he even beat the original SMB on NES hardware using an absolute abomination of a controller called the Power Glove.

Oh my god, it looks so frustrating to use. 😅
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Another one I’d been meaning to write about for a while:

Rocket Knight Adventures

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An appealing, steampunk-themed mascot platformer from Konami, Rocket Knight casts you Sparkster, an armour-clad opossum out to save the princess of his kingdom, after she is captured by the invading enemy army, who are literal (fascist?) pigs, because of course they are. The presentation is extremely cute, but don’t let that fool you, this game is tough! After the first level gives you some time to get accustomed to how Sparkster’s jet pack works, it’s pretty relentless from there on in. You’ll typically be fighting three bosses per level and the gameplay is constantly changing - you’ll rarely find yourself just going from A to B without some kind of new twist each time.

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The pacing, in fact, may be the game‘s only real issue. Like many games of the era, there is a frustrating lack of any save or password option, so you have no choice but to go right back to the start every time, and I found that even more stressful than usual. There’s really no downtime here, you have to be constantly switched on to deal with everything the game throws at you, and, after a while, I did find it a punishing experience to even get back to where I left off between sessions.

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If you’re up for the challenge or are otherwise willing to persevere, however, this is a beautifully presented and expertly engineered game. While tough, the game never feels unfair - Sparkster only has a few different attacks, but once you get used to it, knowing how to use him is very intuitive. The stages are so varied, it‘s almost too much to take in (the enemy homeland with its Victorian-industrial aesthetic is a real visual treat) and there are lots of little humourous flourishes to amuse you between battles. I haven’t actually checked the names, but I would be almost certain that many of the staff working on this one were the people who would soon leave Konami to found Treasure, as I think you can see a lot of this game’s DNA in Gunstar Heroes.

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The game is also still very buyable, with boxed copies starting around £30, and I think it’s fair to say it’ll last you a good while.
 
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