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Master System Appreciation Thread


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17 minutes ago, Dudley said:

heh, aliexpress?

 

I've got an ali knockoff one, although entirely for homebrew.  Flight of Pigarus is astonishing for an SMS game.

 

yeah

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Not quite the right thread for it, but I finally updated my Mega SG to the latest firmware yesterday, and as usual had to redo all my preferred settings for the Mega Drive and Master System cores.

 

But in the Master System core config, I spotted something new (I think) - an option to use the SG1000 palette when playing SG1000 games (and F-16 Falcon, which uses the legacy graphics mode). This is ace, because the Master System has a skewed palette for this by default. I already have the ROMs on my Smokemonster pack, but this is the first time I’ve seen the games as they’re supposed to appear.


The timing of this is very fortuitous, as Jeremy Parish is currently briefly reviewing the whole SG1000 library as part of his Works video series on YouTube. Gave the launch title N-Sub a go today, it’s a lot of fun - recognisably a space invaders clone, but with lateral attacks as well as vertical, genuinely makes you think.

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It's pretty cool that SG-1000 now looks correct on the Mega SG. As implied, this is a feat only possible on real hardware using an actual SG-1000.

 

When I had my phase of my needing to complete all three Sega-produced Ninja Princess / The Ninja games I ended up using an emulator on the Dreamcast for the SG-1000 port. 

 

The alternative I had for real hardware - a Mark III console and a suspected bootleg of Ninja Princess my brother has (as far as I'm aware this was never produced as a Mark III cartridge) was too much of a faff to sort out just for a weird videogame whim.

 

Anyway - I'd long regarded the arcade original (accessible in perfect form on the Saturn Memorial Vol.2 compilation) as the best version because it was the prettiest and had a dedicated button for the invincibility magic..but it turns out that the western SMS rendition - the budget release I had a kid - was quite refined and superior playing to its arcade parent.

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I always had a soft spot for Soko Ban, the ancient block pushing puzzle game.

 

I first had it as part of one of those early pirate Game Boy multi-carts, and it stood out even amongst the proper games. Something about how it married pure logic and devious map design, I dunno, it just stayed with me.

 

Since then I've always given Soko Bans and clones / variants / jazzed up sequels a fair shot - most recently with the fan translation of Power Sokoban on SNES - but never really connected with any version since that first monochrome one..

 

..Until this beast came along, 'SKBN', (written by Raphnet of the controller adaptor empire):

 

https://www.smspower.org/Homebrew/SKBN-SMS

 

This version is amazing. Seriously. It's Soko Ban and yet here I am enthusing about it. 

 

What the author has done is place almost 1200 original Soko Ban levels - all credited properly and arranged in self contained sets - in a slick, beautiful, lightning-quick engine that's a joy to experience and dip in and out of. No matter how complex / large the map, there's a custom tile set which makes it look wonderful and pop. Undoing any amount of moves or switching over to one of the many other level sets is trivial. Every completed level is automatically logged as such by way of a persistent SRAM file, so of course there are no passwords involved. And it's all so damn quick and silky. 

 

I know it's only Soko Ban..but dare I say, it's probably the ultimate, final, perfected form of this video game. 

 

Also, 1200 freely selectable, properly designed maps in a 128Kb ROM. What a marvel.

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On 17/04/2021 at 03:40, spanky debrest said:

..Until this beast came along, 'SKBN', (written by Raphnet of the controller adaptor empire):

 

 

Yeah I'm covering all 10 entries in a video soon and this is right up there.

 

In some ways though I'm actually more impressed by the other Sokoban game in the list.

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9 hours ago, Dudley said:

 

Yeah I'm covering all 10 entries in a video soon and this is right up there.

 

In some ways though I'm actually more impressed by the other Sokoban game in the list.

 

Cool, I'll look forward to that.

 

I haven't tried the other one yet but it looked liked it had some interesting pallette choices and extra features that definitely put it outside the realm of classic Soko Ban.

 

I was also perhaps prejudiced towards SKBN because I thought Raphnet's first SMS homebrew release, 'DONKEY.SMS', was similarly brilliant.

 

Also I trust you noticed the Light Phaser support he added to his SMS-A-Sketch demo? Absolutely amazing stuff.

 

Edit: I just had a bash on Soko Ban Engine v0.72, and yeah, it's good, a nice complement to SKBN because the approach is so different. Rather than a super clean, polished mega-compilation of classic maps it's like an original SMS 'adventure' with extra elements almost from the get go. Coming from SKBN though, the limited moves per stage do seem a bit on the tight side (most of the 9 stages that I completed were done with very few moves left).

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Noticed, noted, can't test it with the current setup.

 

Well that's the thing about sokoban engine, you can fix that, and it's that aspect that's impressed me most.

 

For everyone else, there's an online level designer for sokoban engine, when you're done you hit go and it generates and downloads an actual .sms which I can confirm works absolutely fine on an Everdrive.  Technically you just made your own (admittedly simple) Master System game.

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Any interest in the following Boxed Sega Master System Games before I chuck it in the trading folder/facebook?

Dead Angle

Trivial Pursuit

World Soccer

Tennis Ace

Pro Wrestling

Super Tennis

Doube Dragon

Aztec Adventure

Sega Chess

Wonder Boy 3 Dragon's Trap

Shadow of the Beast

Slap Shot

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I keep of thinking I should get some Master System games again as it was my first console.

I've kept California Games but I miss the likes of

Shinobi

R-Type

Wonder Boy 1-3

Operation Wolf

Alex Kidd In Shinobi World

Impossible Mission

Gauntlet

And quite a few others.

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I saw someone laying into Psycho Fox the other day - "OMG the controls and inertia make this bizarre game unplayable and the blind jumps and not being able to double back on yourself are just shit 80s game design" ...and...I had some feelings about it.

 

Obviously, I'm hugely nostalgic for the game.

 

I remember being enthralled by how smooth and fast it ran, how good the art direction was, how huge and vertical the stages were and how well the game was structured.

 

When the original Sonic the Hedgehog came out a year or so later its speed instantly reminded me of Psycho Fox. Up til that point there was no faster platformer, especially once you knew the levels a bit and had transformed into the tiger (my preferred character) for maximum running / jumping velocity.

 

I didn't own a copy for a while, I just borrowed it from a mate. A lot. And it was a journey getting good enough to comfortably finish it to watch possibly the best, most charasmatic credit sequence of any SMS game. 

 

Though it was far from perfect (the bosses were mostly repeating, super-easy one-trick afterthoughts, for example) I think complaints related to the main characters acceleration and jumping behaviour being 'bad' basically boil down to "I can't adjust to this bullshit after years of Super Mario Bros".

 

Sometimes I think the outsized influence SMB has on the genre kinda homogenised things too, making complaints about platformers that take a different approach the norm.

 

Granted - the lack of graphical background detail made huge leaps into the unknown harder to handle for a first timer but blind jumps were just something you learned to work around and enjoy on subsequent playthroughs. And I mean *genuinely* enjoy.

 

At least with this game, if you found yourself falling for several screens you could have an extra 'hit point'  by keeping your cool and letting your sentient bird projectile take damage from enemy contact, if need be.

 

And as far as the apparently primitive design choice of having full scrolling in any direction but reverse - this ensured that multiple paths throughout the levels were in fact multiple paths, each with unique obstacles and rewards. 

 

The licensed, Mega Drive sequel / reimagining 'Magical Flying Hat Turbo Adventure' (and its  Western 'DEcap Attack' remake) have most of their levels designed as fully open collectathons - a definite step back in engaging level design IMO. 

 

Having replayed Psycho Fox the other night it's a much smaller, easier, tighter game than the one I sunk hour upon hour into learning as a kid. But it's also still pretty wonderful if you ask me.

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There are certainly definitive problems with the physics in psycho fox, it's almost a rhythm game at times and it's absolutely possible to get stuck on a platform that's too short for you to build up sufficient momentum to get to safety. And blind jumps are bullshit in any game for almost any reason no matter what you say.

 

But it's underrated overall certainly.

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I still feel rage for it 30 years later. Spent all my savings on a copy from Toys R Us and couldn't get on with the physics at all, was completely sold on the look off the back of the box but thought it was awful. The physics don't do it well at all and even coming back to it in modern times I still can't get past them because of the momentum.

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19 hours ago, Dudley said:

There are certainly definitive problems with the physics in psycho fox, it's almost a rhythm game at times and it's absolutely possible to get stuck on a platform that's too short for you to build up sufficient momentum to get to safety. And blind jumps are bullshit in any game for almost any reason no matter what you say.

 

Yeah, you can get stuck and have to off yourself in the odd spot, especially near bodies of water where you can't speed up enough to bounce off it. 

 

These things can more easily happen in platform games with locked scrolling (such as in Super Mario Bros and Super Mario Land). I know it can feel more brutal in Psycho Fox but there's never any reason to die in the same spot twice if you're paying attention - or remember that in tiger form you can jump further and in monkey form you can jump higher.

 

You'd have to argue that the level designs in the more open levels in Sonic the Hedgehog are bullshit too because of blind jumps but I wouldn't personally agree with that either. They're part and parcel of 2D platformers with verticality -  I don't think it's reasonable to, say, expect signposts and arrows to be littered throughout levels, pointing out where every hazard is. Actually - maybe they wouldn't have been a bad idea for the first world all things considered.

 

And if you annoyingly lose some lives on your first playthrough because you understandably haven't learned the rough level layouts, it might be worth noting that it's technically possible to gain 25 bonus lives in between every single level, enough to die at the hands of most pits and baddies most levels and still be drowning in lives by the end.

 

16 hours ago, Lorfarius said:

I still feel rage for it 30 years later.

 

Genuinely saddened to read this.

 

The divisiveness of this game has taken on a whole new form.

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i've got a lot of love for psycho fox, but it is frustratingly difficult.

I spent a bit of time trying to do a speed run of it, as it can be done in just a few minutes. But just getting to the warp on the first stage is surprisingly hard. I still want to do it though!

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3 hours ago, spanky debrest said:

Genuinely saddened to read this.

 

The divisiveness of this game has taken on a whole new form.

 

Doesn't help that the game I'd bought several months before this was Wonderboy 3 The Dragons Trap. Was expecting something as amazing as that.

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Been ages since I've been to a shop but couldn't resist popping into a retro one before lockdown comes back. Picked something that was bound to be a good game from the box art :blink: Quite why publishers thought people would flock to 8bit consoles for flight sims is beyond me but it looks quite good from those screenshots.. that's probably the entire game. Haven't really dabbled in SMS stuff for a bit as I've been focusing on my NES collection. Have to bounce my cash between the two fairly or I'll never complete a full set for both!

 

1.jpg

0.jpg

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