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A thread for appreciating the greatest videogame genre! Time to spread some platforming love.

Not just my favourite platformer of all time, but my favourite game of all time; Rainbow Islands. From the music to the art style to the simple but challenging gameplay, I still crave a bash at this game, its been around for my whole life but it still feels fresh every time I play it. The simple mechanics which anyone can pick up and play but only through practice can it be mastered, and only then do you have a chance of reaching the end. You die many times but never does it feel unfair, harsh or unavoidable. Its just the perfect platform game.

Still why Taito haven't felt the need to give us an xbla version i'll never know (the abomination currently on there is Rainbow Islands in name only), then again they've neglected xbla/psn. I'm awful at explaining why a game is so good, if you've never played it why not? its as good if not better than Mario World and Mario 64.

Rainbow_Islands_flyer.png

PC Engine:

Rainbow-Islands-PC-Engine.jpg

Sega Saturn

RainbowIslands.jpg

Megadrive

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Arcade:

Rainbow+Islands+%28game%29.jpg

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I've been playing Rainbow Islands on iOS MAME recently and I love it as much as I did when I first played it. The ability to create your own platforms all over the place and bring them crashing down on others delivers this sense of creative chaos that's only emphasised by the threat of the rising water. You can place rainbows everywhere across the width of the screen and send them falling with a chain reaction, you can "stack" rainbows on top of each other by standing in one place and casting them in the same spot, then collapse them all to deliver massive damage to bosses, and with the potions you can ascend the stages quicker and create more destruction. It's particularly awesome when your rainbows collide with the red and yellow stars as it only causes even more chaos. :D I could never figure out the method for collecting diamonds and I always seemed to end levels missing one or two, but I'd have so much fun on the way that I didn't care that much. I have to give special mention to the C64 port though; it doesn't do anything super-special (and they messed up Bub's hair) but in terms of gameplay it's still a solid conversion.

rainbow_islands_03.gif

Anyway, I'm a big fan of the platforming genre so I'll probably dig up some titles to gush about when I have a bit more time. :P

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I remember this from the days I used to own and play an Atari ST. It was a great game defnitiely, but certainly difficult as well. Fortunately (being a copy), it had a cheat built in for infinite lives which took the edge off the levels themselves, but the bosses were still really tricky to beat as you had to do them with one life or restart the boss sequence again.

It was always the point where the vampire boss came on where I found it difficult, which I think off the top of my head was about the end of stage 3 or so. Some of the later ones were really tough but I got to the end of it. It was only way I ever completed Bubble Bobble as well, but on this game it was definitely a challenge to do.

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They are all great games, but I think of the first three, Rainbow Islands is probably my least favourite.

I don't think the simplicity of Bubble Bobble can be beaten and I played that more than the others on C64, Amiga, PS1 and then MAME, plus the odd trip to the seaside. With my brother we did genuinely complete it without cheats.

Rainbow Islands I played a lot on the Amiga, but I have fonder memories of Parasol Stars. I know I got to the end of them, but can't for the life of me remember if that was with cheats or not.

The later Bubble Bobble games never appealed at all - I just found them to be a really poor imitation.

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I liked Bubble Bobble & Rainbow Island from arcade days, but New Zealand Story, for me, was Taito's crowning masterpiece. Liquid Kids felt shallow and slightly charmless in comparison, and didn't dazzle with its aesthetics despite the spec leap of the board it used (proper X68000 16-bit power like the Mega drive and Neo Geo from what I recall).

The late 80's / 90's saw other Taito gems like Rolling Thunder 2, Elevator Action Returns, Volfied and probably other amazing games I've completely forgotten Taito made. But I think New Zealand Story was their platform game apex (despite all the sections where you can fly).

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I've always had an enormous love of Toki. Its always the first thing I fire up in any MAME session.

It probably stems from college refectory days where we had Snow Bros, Toki, Golden Axe and that weird beat em up with bumming baddies and spent 2 years playing them to death.

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Funnily enough I was thinking about Toki yesterday while glancing through this thread. That was an awsome game. There's a remake of that game but I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere since I first heard about it. Would love to get hold of that.

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Another mention for The New Zealand Story from me. Played it endlessly on the Master System, the music is crack in the fact it still rings in my head to this day.

There are plenty of other platformers more popular and that I'm more fond of overall that people will write about over and over again, but TNZS was one of the first that stays special to me.

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I could never figure out the method for collecting diamonds and I always seemed to end levels missing one or two, but I'd have so much fun on the way that I didn't care that much.

Wasn't it that you had to get a cleanly destroying a rainbow onto something (not firing direct into an enemy) with the enemy being in the relevant 1/7th of the screen width and each different 7th gives a different colour diamond? How can I remember that, but not what I did in general last week.

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Hmm, I had a feeling that it was something like that. I remember trying that out and completely failing because of the enemy trajectory when they get hit; more often than not they'd fall down somewhere off-screen and I'd make a suicidal leap down to chase them... :rolleyes:

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There was the other trick where you'd slowly get higher scores by finding all hidden fruit platforms. The whole series is great because of its collectables.

Fruit was amazing back then - in pac-man but moreso in the the BB/RI/PS series.

Someone should write a book about fruit and its iconic status in videogaming.

As for platformers - to be honest i enjoyed many arcade ones and home ones. In the arcade i loved Wonderboy, Wardner and Karnov and Rygar.

Mostly because of the powerups to make the game easier.

I didn't really care for level design as such. This is where Karnov was clever.

In Karnov you could use the shoe/ladder combo anywhere so you never really knew if you'd seen ALL the level. Quite a few other power-ups you could utilise.

Wonderboy - 4 similar levels but the jump mechanic felt really good at times, esp. when you were running. Early hints at Sega's "sunshine" theory of making a game with lovely blue skies and sea to be more appealing. I never did get all the Ankh's and items.

Wardner - a lovely smooth game with some very interesting levels. Quite hard, but again it was about powering up. The jump mechanics felt really satisfying but like so many platfomers you had to be pixel perfect.

Rygar - theres hidden powerups (i've never found the complete set of 5) in Rygar and i loved the level completion music. If i was to compile arcade music that still makes my hair stand on end, this would be in it. The C64 version had it, but buggered it up but it gives me fond memories in mame. Had nice upwards rope levels too which were quite the innovation at the time.

On the home formats, Elite's Ghosts 'n' Goblins was lovely (i played it more at home then my arcade as that never had it long and it was cheaper). In the old (C64) days you'd see games like Quo Vardis and (IIRC) one man and his droid boast about having 155 screens and such stuff. I lapped that shit right up if it was a platformer. To me it was like a proper adventure game. Dan Dare was another example, as was Super Robin Hood (which was pants as it had huge sprites).

But there were a few other sci-fi based ones. I think one had 255 screens but i've forgot it. Probably a budget game by the time i saw it.

And they were another example of your brain compensating for basic graphics. You'd have a level with say, one german looking building - a couple of shops or something - and that was Germany. See Monty mole for such examples....

But you won't feel that unless you where there or your very young and have only ever seen or played retro games.

the arcade games though - oooh they're solid to play...even now.

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Oh I need to shout out Pacland as that was an older fav of mine when I was younger. I did like the original Wonderboy as well. I played it once on holiday around 2000 or so and remember getting pretty far, but some other kid played it a few times at the same place I was staying while on holiday somewhere, and I named him the Wonderboy Kid as he used to get far. The icons or something in the stats would change. I remember a teddybear for some reason which is one of the later icons to appear. I can't remember it too well though. It was one of those games where you had to memorise the jumps properly in order to get further.

There was a time I saw another Wonderboy game in the arcades and I always remember it as Wonderboy II, but this one was more like an RPG as it even had save states. I was really young when I played this, probably about 6 or so.Going back to Toki and NZS, I had both of those on the Atari ST and they were some of my fav arcade platformers.

I used to like the Aliens game in the arcade when I was younger too. I've played it on mame a bit, but you start off in a platform scenario which then switches to a vertically angled view where you fight an alien which comes at you then eventually its head blows off firing out huge projectiles at 45 degree angles.

There's a platform game that I don't know the name of but I thought it might be able to get identified because of a distinct moment I remember in it. I'm guessing it was most likely to be a japanese developer in its style but the very first boss was a huge bee. Maybe a queen bee or something. I remember liking it. Arcade platformers were always brilliant to me.

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