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Sprite Machine

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  1. While I'm still plugging away at Xenogears and rather enjoying it (I might post in the dedicated thread later), I'm still going through some SNES games on the ol' Mini. I'm making a concerted effort to at least play all of the games on this little retro console, even I don't complete them. As I never had a real SNES, I feel I've missed out on a piece of history. Super Punch-Out!!. I was pretty bad at Punch-Out on the Wii but I blamed that on analogue HDTV lag. I don't think I can use the same excuse now, I'm just not very good at it!! This one feels like more of a proper boxing game, with life bars, blocking and multiple strategies for beating each boxer. I got through the Minor League but the Major League is harder. It took 20+ attempts to beat Dragon Chan once and then I couldn't do it again. My brain just can't process the left-right/high-low responses needed to his ever-changing stance, and I can't get the timing right for counters. It's one of those games that I'd probably have to play for months to get any good at it and I can't be arsed, frankly. Donkey Kong Country next. I've only ever played this on the GBA, which I understand was slightly different, so I wanted to play the original. I gotta say, it has not aged well. The pre-rendered look is rather dated, although it's technically clever. The general feel of movement is nice and solid but then it's got enemies with really annoying movement patterns, or an entire stupid mine cart level, or stupid barrel cannon levels, and a save system that sends you back when you run out of lives like it's still 1991. I reach the end of a level with a desire to never go back to them again, rather than a sense that I've enjoyed myself. The game seems intent on causing frustration and 'catching you out' rather than having a good time. That said, I'll probably push on with it! ---- (I'm sounding a bit down on SNES games at the moment, but on the other hand I completed Super Metroid the other night and that was absolutely magnificent.)
  2. Caught up with episode 4 at last. Good god, this is both boring and stupid.
  3. I think you can still use the method in the opening post with that firmware. In which case, it's ludicriously easy. As for emulation, I would also like to know if SNES is viable on Vita. I've heard it's a bit hit-and-miss with some games. I've got Retroarch but I find it so confusing and hard to use.
  4. I played the Director's Cut of the original Q.U.B.E. and thought it was pretty good, although it did come across like they just added an in-vogue Portal-style story and 'in-ear' narrative to an otherwise ordinary puzzle room game - because apparently that's exactly what they did. The sequel looks more substantial. Glad to hear it's good.
  5. In an effort to stop flitting between games and abandoning them, I've settled on a 50+ hour RPG. Xenogears (PS1) - which, within the first thirty minutes, instantly comes across like a mashup of Star Ocean, Grandia, Front Mission and Chrono Trigger. And of course the main character has amnesia. Looking forward to putting some serious hours into this one, finally.
  6. Three levels into The Tides of Time and it's clearly just more of the same absolute bullshit - instantly respawning enemies, deadly ambushes, frustrating controls and collision detection and now the sound effects are somehow worse (no CD-exclusive sound samples) so you just bump against rocks making ear-splitting squeaky noises. The only positive I can say is that the redbook music is quite nice again and it's got some impressive CGI story re-cap videos littered around the levels. But it's clear that no fundamental lessons have been learned, and I don't have sufficient motivation to put myself through such an ordeal again. So that's another one onto the abandoned pile!
  7. Bushido Blade on the PS1 (well, Vita). One of the most idiosyncratic fighting games I've ever played, which is both a good and a bad thing. 'Realistic' kills, inflicting wounds and localised damage are all great ideas. The story mode's 'single stage' that you can run/climb around is just bloody bizarre and seems pointless, unless I'm missing something. And the 'code of honour', that the game never explains but is required for finishing it properly, is more frustrating than anything else. Particularly as the controls feel sluggish and I can't work out how most of the moves are done - including the rather important act of blocking. I was curious about this but I don't really 'get' it. It's probably better to spend some time with it and focus on two-player mode, but that's not gonna happen.
  8. Blimey, you get the Power Bomb pretty early in Super Metroid, don'tcha?! Excellent examples of visual learning with the alien 'ostrich' showing you how to spineshark and the little critters showing you how to wall jump. A simple idea but beautifully implemented. Into the waters of Maridia now, and I'm getting a little stuck again. I'm not sure how to proceed yet but I'm definitely gonna need a Wave Beam soon, a Grapple thingy very soon, and a Gravity Suit even sooner! I may remember all the things you get but I can't remember where any of them are! Might need to backtrack and see what I've missed. The problem with this game's map is that it doesn't show where doors are. It is very hard to remember where to return to. EDIT: Forget Maridia for now, Norfair and Crateria are where it's at! Got the Spazer Beam, Wave Beam, Grapple Beam aaaaaaaaaand.... the X-Ray scope, which is awesome. Metroid games!
  9. Arguably, releasing WipEout HD as digital only (at first) was a smarter financial move than releasing a physical product that would likely be returned to stores for being "too hard".
  10. Are the comics considered "canon"? 'Cos there was a comic that came out around the time of ST2009 that had Data still alive and fully functional inside B4's body, and that's obviously been retconned out of existence now.
  11. Bloody hell, I can't believe I forgot there was a "run" button! Thought I'd gotten stuck in Brinstar! It's such an odd thing for a Metroid game to have nowadays. With the more recent 2D Metroids fresher in my mind, I naturally assumed a crumbling ledge was unpassable without the speedbooster ability, as per every other 2D Metroid game, but I wasn't considering that this was the first game to feature the speedbooster so players in 1994 wouldn't make that assumption and would keep trying to pass over the crumbling bridge. And, being Nintendo, "run buttons" were commonplace in platformers. And no doubt the rather elaborate instruction manual mentioned it too. Leading player discovery through exploiting assumptions is a really fascinating subject to me, and it's something that places Metroid games in the era they were made. Like in the original NES game, where the very first essential upgrade is immediately on your left because most players in that era wouldn't think to run left first. It trains you to backtrack early on. It's one reason why remakes are very tricky to get right.
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