The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Guest on Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:21 pm

Ouch. Crushed that game Laughing

Fair enough though.

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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by RealGunner on Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:23 pm

Where is no 66
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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce on Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:25 pm

@RealGunner wrote:Where is no 66



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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:47 pm

@RealGunner wrote:Where is no 66


I am actually going back up.

I have played a number of games, some of which I just stopped playing. I realized I would never enjoy beat em' ups and hack n' slash games, so I skipped a few of those. I ended up skipping 3 games that were originally in my list for a variety of reasons.

The reason I jumped to 67 is because PSIII was @ #79, while PSII is in 67. However, I like to play game series in order, so I jumped forward to PSII, and once I reach it in the list, I am jumping back to PSIII.
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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:58 pm

#69

Game: Warsong.
Year: 1991.
Genre: SRPG.
Publisher: Treco.
Developer: Masaya Games.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Of the three important SRPGs of the 16 bit era, the Langrisser series is probably the least well-known, and that's becaue few of its titles were ever localized in the west. Warsong is actually the first Langrisser game, and it was localized as Warsong.

With that in mind, we are discussing a game that is arguably as important as the first Fire Emblem and Shinig Force games. Obviously, since the series went on to find some success, the first game in the series must have had some positive elements. It sure does, but it also has its share of obviously glaring problems.

"The legendary sword, Warsong, was said to give its bearer magical powers"

As with many SRPG games, Warsong begins with the main character's retreat from his own kingdom. The Dalsis empire is right at the doors of the castle, and Prince Garett of Baltia will then need to organize an army to avenge that loss. Yet, its not all as it seems, as monsters, those that are not controlled by Dalsis, also seem to move in more intelligent ways.

The set-up is basic, but could offer up some interesting plot elements. For instance ,the magical sword, Warsong, is a basic fantasy trope but could be interesting if the game did something with it. However, the narrative of Warsong doesn't go much further than the text blurbs before each mission.

True, there is some dialogue, but its typical low quality translation. One unfortunate point is that your allies never have any lines beyond their introductory chapter, and a few lines if killed in battle.

Limited Story: -3

"We can't retreat now! Everyone stay close and try not to get hurt"

As an SRPG, Warsong tries to separate itself from the pack by its use of soldiers along with commanders. Each character can hire up to 8 soldiers of the same class. Of course, the enemy commanders have their own soldiers as well.

This means that you can control up to 72 units in one turn. Which is why this system is the most unique, and most frustrating part of the game. Turns can take an eternity because of that, as you see each unit move, even at the fastest setting. Trying to play the game on slow is worse than watching paint dry.

Compared to all the SRPGs I played, Warsong's turns are probably the longest, as these separate units all take such ha long time to move. Unfortunately, you can't even effectively use the game's auto-move feature, because of the game's stupid AI (which I will discuss later).

Other than the use of soldiers, the game uses a unique health system. Each unit (commanders included) have 10 HP points, but with their stats, you can see a commander completely decimate a soldier unit without getting hurt. Additionally, soldiers that end the turn next to their commander heal, and a commander can stay at their place and heal as well. This all leads to an extended time, but also lends a more strategic element than other SRPGs.

Hence, this is not a game for people who want to blaze through the chapters, as the the more tactical approach means each turn is longer than other comparable SRPGs by a lot.

Very Long Turns: -4
Tactical Gameplay: +4

"No, such strong defense"

Let us now talk more about the more tactical gameplay, as well as how soldiers serve in the gameplay. For starters, terrain is varied, and it affect both defensive bonuses and movement points. Second, soldiers are stronger within their commander's sphere of influence. Finally, there is a rock-paper-scissors relationship between soldier types.

All of these elements, as well as the various statistics and classes for each character, means the player has many options in how to approach the game. Sure, some options are obviously superior, archers are very good units for example. Yet, the option is there for the player to experiment.

One part that is worth mentioning is the game's AI. I cannot complain about it much, conisdiring the game's age, but it can be daftly hilarious. For instance, the computer could send ALL of its soldiers against one commander that is sitting in a high defensive position, and that commander wouldn't lose one health point. It's like sending all of their soldiers into a grinder.

This is the reason you cannot trust the AI to move your units; it simply could ruin all of your plans.

Gaemplay: +5
Stupid AI: -2

"Is the evil chasing after Warsong?"

Graphically, Warsong looks fine. Its colorful, and the character portraits are really good, especially for a 1990 game. Sprites are detailed, and animate adequately. When attacking, the game goes into a 2D plan and showcases a small battle, and when using magic, the effects are cool enough.

Thankfully, all the information is conveyed in a clean and obvious form. Soldier types are clear, and the terrain types make it obvious where the best defensive positions are.

Unfortunately, the same care doesn't extend to the music. Its not that the soundtrack is bad; in fact the tracks that are in there are good. However, there are just too few tracks, and as such, you hear the same five or six tracks for a long time in a lot of levels.

Graphics: +3
Limited Music: -2

In Conclusion:

As the first game in the Langrisser series, Warsong makes it obvious that the series has a lot of ideas. Ideas that would make for some better games in the future. Unfortunately, this first attempt for the series suffers because of the very long turns.

It feels like the balancing was off, and because of that, the game is inaccessible for many who will not want to invest the time in finding what fun is there in the game.

Final: 26/50

"Tips"
1- Don't buy the maximum number of soldiers, 5 or 6 is fine.
2- Characters level up through kills fro mboth themselves and their sodliers, make sure to kill everything in site.
3- The cleric class is a pain to level up, save slimes and lizardmen for them to kill.

"Next Game"

As my introduction to the Langrisser series, Warsong does excite me about the possible improvements to the series in the future, even if it is an underwhelming game.

The next game I am reviewing is going back to number 79. Coming back to review Phantasy Star III, which is considered a different game to others in the franchise. However, after finding PSII terribly aged, I don't think I am going to trust public opinion regarding the Phantasy Star games.

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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:33 pm

#79

Game: Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom.
Year: 1991.
Genre: RPG.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Sega.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Among Phantasy Star fans, the third game in the series is usually derided for being different than the rest, and is considered inferior to the second and the fourth game. Finding Phantasy Star II to be a terribly aged experience, I cam into this game with some reservations. Anything that is considered "inferior" to that game would be damn near unplayable.

Yet, I found a significantly better game in Phantasy Star III, one that while retaining some of its predecessor's major faults still manages to push the envelope RPGs in general. Ironically, this game might feature one of the earliest misguided fanboy tantrums in videogame history.

"We are the keepers of our people's history"

The major change that ticked Phantasy Star fans off was replacing the Sci-fi setting to something more similar to medieval fantasy but with clear remnants of that space-faring past. It flagged the game as yet another standard RPG, instead of the unique setting of the series.

For me, the fact that PSII's setting was poorly used (it could have been set in a bathtub and it would work), makes this a non-issue.

Clearly, this third entry works much better in a story-level. While retaining the poor quality dialogue and minimal character interaction, the game's central premise makes the player much more involved with the game. Phantasy Star III takes place in three generations, and in each generation, the main character can marry. Essentially, this is one of the earliest choices in RPG history, and it has noticeable difference in the game even if the endings are not as drastically different.

Apparently, the space-faring age came to an end due to the sereis's big bad, Dark Force. Then, a war broke out between the people of Orakio, and Laya. Early on, we learn that Layans are the scume of the earth. However, the plot unravels in a way as to question that assumption. Immediately, this is much more engrossing than the Dam hunting escapades of the second game, even if there is just as little exposition.

Generations Mechanics: +4
Limited Dialogue: -1

"I can see the pity and confusion in your eyes"

A lot of the time you will spend in Phantasy Star III is divided between two things, grinding, and looking in confusion for where you need to go next. Even though this is a linear game (when not choosing who to marry), there are still difficulties in finding where you need to go next. The map the game gives you is pitifully inadequate, and sometimes the game's environment adds insult to injury.

One entrance for a cave is hidden under the snow, and there is no physical indication of its existence whatsoever. If someone is not lucky enough to find it, they might search for hours to look for it. Especially since they do not know what they are actually looking for.

This issue is actually exacerbated in this sequel, but is made better with the decreased random encounter rate.

Other issues of the past game still remain. Grinding for one thing is just as important as it was, but at least new characters are not as useless. Outside of battle, trying to navigate the game's many menus still is a labyrinthine task. With everything taking thrice as much as it should.

Thankfully, this time around you won't need a GPS system to navigate the game's dungeons, as they are made much better.

Caveman Design: -4
Grinding: -2

"Come back here you dragon-spawn of Laya"

Outside of the mindless grinding battles against the bottom feeders, the battle system in PSIII actually manages to be tactical and interesting. Far more so than PSII, which is one possible reason some didn't like it. It actually necessitated planning your party's equipment more so than buying the best stuff.

It changes things from normal by adding enemy position, changing the spell system, and by the fact there are no misses or critical hits in the game.

With enemy positions, weapons have different attacking range. Some weapons weakly hit all enemies in a row, while other pierce through the first row and hit the back. Generally, the prime result you should look for is being able to finish each battle in one round.

To do that, you will want to utilize the spells in your disposal. Unique to this game, is the fact that all spells for each character are unlocked from the start, but get stronger with leveling up. Additionally, you can change the balance for those spells. This means you can increase the strength of one spell at the expense of the others. Initially, you would want a balanced healer for instance, but once you get two of them, you would want specialize more.

Back to the one round rule, once you understand the battle system, you realize you could finish most battles in one round only. Through a clever combination of weapons that can hit multiple enemies, and one hit strong  attacks, you can game the system on your favor. But you can even go further than that.

For instance, you can equip your front tank with two shields, making sure you spend minimal time in the archaic menus healing yourself. As for spells, you can either upgrade the spell that hit multiple enemies to prepare them to be mowed down by your melee attackers, or have a slow caster specialize on one target spells to kill that extra strong enemy at the end of the round.

This all combines to make a battle system that is engrossing if you take the time to understand it, even if it appears chaotic and confusing at first.

Good Battle System: +4

"You used and escapepipe, normally a smart move but you will need to restart the game"

Eve though this game was released only 1 year after Phantasy Star II, it nearly looks a generation better than that game. Sprites are more detailed throughout, and the environment, while less interesting, is much more detailed than before.

In the battle system, we no longer see the backs of our characters, but the enemy sprites are more varied well designed, and there is actually varied backgrounds instead of one black screen.

Generally, the game's presentation is acceptable for its time, even if the overall design is a bit stale and repetitive. Looking back at what I thought of PSIIs graphics, I cannot believe I was as generous as I was.

Musically, the same trend continues, with higher number of tracks of higher quality. However, these tracks do lack the catchy nature of its predecessor. One thing of note though is how battles feature more than one battle track, with planning phase and attack phase each having a different tune.

Graphics: +3
Sound: +2

In Conclusion:

Sometimes in gaming history, you go back to a much maligned game and do not understand what all the fuss was about. Clearly, Phantasy Star III is a much better game than Phantasy Star II, yet it consistently gets lower ratings, and is derided by fans of the series as an inferior game.

With its unique generation mechanics, and its overall better presentation, this is a better sequel, and one with enough qualities to offset the many sins of its age.

Final: 32/50

"Tips"
1- Save before you make any marriage decision in a different spot. Maybe you would like to go back to see another ending.
2- Make sure you rebalnce your spells for what you need.
3- Many spells are cheap to use, so don't be stingy with them.
4- Generally, offense is the best form of defense, so prioritize having better weapons over defensive gear.

"Next Game"

This game actually gives me hope in Phantasy Star IV. After experiencing the second game, I was beginning to think the series is just hyped by Genesis fans against the mighty Final Fantasy series, but this is actually a good (if a bit aged game).

Next in the list is ARPG and the first of many Treasure games on this list, Light Crusader @ 65. Here is hoping for a good time.

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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Mon May 16, 2016 3:24 pm

#S2

Game: Traysia
Year: 1992.
Genre: RPG.
Publisher: Renovation Products.
Developer: Telenet Japan.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Sometimes, a game can have all the right ingredients behind it, and yet still manages to be a complete disappointment simply because the programming experience wasn't there.

Traysia is an RPG that could have been the among the top in its genre, yet curious beginner mistakes and balancing issues relegates it to the footnotes of the Genesis library.

"Traysia, I am sorry that I have to leave you"

Two things are immediately apparent in Traysia's plot. First, is that the developers behind it really believe in its potential, as evidenced in the investment they made to make some nifty "cut scene" screens. Something that wasn't much in use in the 16 bit days.

Second, is that the dialogue is actually pretty decent and flows well. This isn't the usual half-assed attempt in translation especially popular on the Genesis, but actually decent stuff.

The story involves Roy, who wants to travel and see the world, and so leaves his girlfriend Traysia and goes away. What at first starts as a trip of self-discovery with all the intention to come back, turns into a quest from town to town with the real possibility of not being able to.

Roy and his new found friends travel from town to town, resolving some issue after another. While these issues are not directly related, they all might be due to the influence of something bigger and badder.

Due to the decent dialogue, and the fact that Traysia actually attempts to tell more story than it keeps in the instruction manual, the plot is actually quite okay.

Decent Dialogue: +2
Okay Story: +2

"One person is powerless, but with all of working together, we will gain victory"

This is a game that doesn't immediately fall apart after you play it. In the beginning, it actually makes a decent first impression.

Battles are turn-based random encounter affairs, but they play like in an SRPG. In your turn, you move you characters and attack with either offensive skills or magic. Position becomes very important, and battles are more strategic because of that.

Naturally, this means that each battle takes more time than other turn-based RPGs, and this when the game starts falling apart. Once you go into the world map, you realize that the game doesn't actually have an overworld. Towns are connected to dungeons and caves through one extensive world (broken in several parts).

This would actually be cool, if not for two facts. First, the high random encounter rate, which is a major pain. Second, the very significant lack of a world map. Unlike in physically mapping a dungeon, mapping the expansive world of Traysia (which you will need to do) is an ugly exercise.

Since the battles are fun, and the story is okay, wouldn't beating you head against this mapless world be more tolerable. Not if you realize that the game cannot be comfortably beaten without completely breaking it.

In battle, if Roy dies its game over, and Roy is usually always the weakest of the bunch. Navigating the world regularly drains your health in useless battles, necessitating going back to camp for supplies. Even with this forced grinding, the battles only become easier after a while.

That is until you realize you could equip unlimited number of accessories. Seriously, you can equip as many defensive accessories as you can carry. With how the game calculates damage, if you go beyond one defense number, you are practically invincible for the rest of the game.

Hence, you will be walking around in a maze of a world, fighting hundreds of impossible-to-lose battles that take more time, and that's it for the game.

Broken System: -4
Maze without Maps: -4
High Random Encounter Rate:-4

"I want to visit lands I've never seen before"

Besides the nifty screens the game uses in its storytelling, the game has some really good graphics. It uses those cute-looking chunky sprites, and the world pops because of it. Both enemy and friendly sprites look excellent.

It is good then, that as you wander stupidly in the world, that it looks good and all. Otherwise, there wouldn't be much point.

What's different about the game is how the dialogue box and status bar are always visible in the game. Hence, the actual gameplay screen is limited due to those two screens always open. Its not a big deal, and the extra information would even have been welcome if not for the fact that it is not actually needed.

Musically, the soundtrack is good, and uses the Sega sound chip well. Unlike some other Genesis games, the tunes do not feel like they could brake the sound chip at any minute and start grating at your ear.

Good Graphics: +3
Decent Soundtrack: +2

In Conclusion:

Traysia could have been a much better game. If the overworld had a map, then moving around it wouldn't have been such a pain. If the random encounter rate was much lower, then moving around that maze wouldn't have been such a chore.

Of course, even with those improvements, the unlimited accessories mistake would have made it all boring, and that's not actually an easy fix. Before using those accessories, we see the limited experience of the developer team in how your characters grow. Even with all those battles, you don't feel much stronger.

Like the hero of the story, the developer team went on with a lot of hopes, but unfortunately their limited experience showed in the final product.

Final: 22/50

"Tips"
1- Have some colored pens and paper handy, you will need them.
2- Just equip the characters with as many accessories as you can.

"Next Game"

So that's it for Traysia, a game I was even too bored to finish with. With that many accessories in my heroes pockets, I could move forward without ever losing a fight, ore even getting one point of damage. However, it was all too boring.

Next game in the list is actually #60, Sonic the Hedgehog 2. However, because I like to play games in order, I am jumping all the way to #20 and play the first Sonic the Hedgehog game.

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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Wed Jun 08, 2016 5:26 pm

#20

Game: Sonic the Hedgehog.
Year: 1991.
Genre: Platformer.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Sega.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Few games are defined by their main competition as much as Sonic the Hedgehog. Here is a game that was not formed naturally, but deliberately designed to compete with Nintendo’s Mario and provide Sega with their own mascot to rally behind.

Knowing that, Sega were not in a position to halfheartedly make any game, but needed a sure hit. This was going to be a game that could compete with the most iconic character in videogames, and it needed to be something special.

The result was the first Sonic the Hedgehog game, a complete opposite to Mario in design and philosophy, which nevertheless managed to convince people it was in the same league. Even if we now find that illusion to be far-fetched, Sega actually fooled a generation of people into thinking so was huge.

"Collect the chaos emeralds"

Right of the bat, I am going to say that Sonic never stands a chance in direct comparison to Super Mario. At the time this first sonic game was released, Super Mario World was released. In comparison to that masterpiece, Sonic the Hedgehog’s mere 18 stages wouldn’t stand a chance.

So, as an advantage to the Sonic games, I will review them based on their own merits. And those are many.

In this game, you control the titular blue Hedgehog as you blur through 18 acts to free as many animals imprisoned by Dr. Robotnik as possible. This culminates with a fight with the egg shaped man every three stages, and it invites multiple plays.
I say that because the game is pretty short. However, it is designed in such a way as to invite replays in both its mechanics and stage design.

Mechanically, the game relies strongly on its speed. Sonic can pick up speed as you run, and with that speed can have access to different areas in the stage. Before you know it, the game becomes less about finishing a level, and more about using Sonic’s speed to explore the stages in different ways.

This is especially emphasized through stage design that is non-linear, meaning there are usually multiple ways to go through a single stage. While this is not true for all levels, it does add more incentives to go back and find new ways to finish a stage.
While the game doesn’t have too many levels, it manages to provide 6 different varieties of stage design that keeps things fresh and inviting again. From the classic labyrinthine Green Zone, to the claustrophobic Marble Zone.

Hence, here is a game that doesn’t just invite you to finish it, but to learn its mechanics and stages well so that you can perfect it if you wish so.

For the less dedicated, and for children, the game actually manages to become longer than it is by virtue of its life system.

Losing enough lives gets you all the way to the start. Thankfully, you can actually survive very long in sonic due to its health system (collecting rings keep you alive, and while you have at least one ring you can take damage without dying). However, bottomless pits and other environmental hazards still pose a serious danger.

Played as game where you go from start to finish, sonic the Hedgehog is a competent but not very remarkable game. However, if you give it the time and learn its mechanics well, it becomes a platforming experience that has never been properly imitated.

Unique Interesting Gameplay: +5
Varied Levels: +3
Emphasis on Mastery and Replay: +3
Just too Short: -2
Gameover Restarts the Game: -2

"Sonic has passed"

It’s not an accident that the sounds and shapes we see in the first sonic game became as iconic as they are today.

Through a meticulous phase of design and redesign, that covered every aspect in the game’s graphics, the development team managed to make the Genesis do things few knew it was capable of doing.

Immediately, the shape and sound of Sonic going into a blue blur become a treasured memory to all who have seen it in action. The Green Zone, became the iconic starting area for the franchise. Graphically, the game managed to set the standards for the Genesis, while showcasing its abilities to the masses. The dynamic background blended well with the 3D foreground.

However, the game’s attempt to use 3D imagery didn’t always go well. After collecting 50 rings and finishing a stage, the player is propelled into a special stage to look for the Chaos emerald. Those stages were annoying mechanically, and nauseating visually. By far, the worst part in the game.

Generally though, the game managed to craft its own graphical style, mostly thanks to the varied level design.

This extends to the music, which besides the famous jingles and sounds, also feature a quite decent collection of tracks. More importantly, each of those tracks work well with the zone.

Sonic’s music uses the Genesis sound chip with all its strengths and avoiding its weaknesses. Because of that, the soundtrack takes advantage of the sharp, chiptune-like quality of the Genesis music, while avoiding being grating and annoying.

Great Graphics: +4
Very Good Soundtrack and Sound Effects: +5
Bonus Stages are an insult to the senses: -1

In Conclusion:

In the early console wars of the 90, Sonic gave Sega a mascot to fight in that war. With that in place, Sonic managed to reach an iconic place purely through its competition with Mario.

In reality, Sonic the Hedgehog never reaches the level of polish the Mario platformers are known for. However, it manages to inspire a different style of play; one that focuses on mastering the simple mechanics of the game and using them to their fullest potential.

On that note, Sonic succeeds in becoming its own entity, outside of its competition with the fat Italian plumber. It would probably have been better for Sonic to realize that niche going forward.

Final: 39/50

"Tips"
1- Search the level around for powerups and lives.
2- If you lose a life, you can always get one at the same location you found it in the first time.
3- Collect 100 rings to get a life.
4- complete the stage with more than 50 rings to go into the bonus stages.
5- If you have no rings at all, play the game like its Ghost's and Goblins.

"Next Game"

My first review of a Sonic game in the genesis went well. These were very mechanically sound games, and they still hold up today.

Next game on the list at #57 is Shadow Dancer, an action platformer game which is actually the first Shinobi game.

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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by RealGunner on Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:09 pm

Could never get into Sonic as much as I tried. Played a lot of it but always thought they were repetitive. Good for nostalgia now though

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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:11 pm

#57

Game: Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi.
Year: 1990.
Genre: Action Platformer.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Sega.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Ninja themed Action Platformer games were surely common in the 8bit and 16bit eras, and the Shinobi franchise was considered among the top in that genre.

Like with Shadow Dancer here, the games had good graphics, good animation, and solid gameplay. However, as we can see from a better franchise, the Ninja Gaiden series, this Shinobi game is lacking in comparison.

"Haaayah"

In its genre, Shadow Dancer is almost a shooter, since much of the attacking power of Joe Musashi comes from his liberal use of shurikens, with the occasional sword slash when he comes close to an enemy. Outside of a wall of shuriken death to protect him, Joe dies from a classic one hit, even if a bullet touches the sole of his shoes. Or, if you are getting overwhelmed, you can use a one-time clear the screen ninjitsu attack.

Along with his trusty blade and infinite amount of steel to throw, Joe is accompanied by his faithful dog Yamato. The use of this canine is probably the only creative venture in the game. While holding the attack button, you can charge the dog's gauge and then order him to attack and hold someone to give you a chance to kill them. This does prove useful in some cases, but I wish it had more uses against the tougher enemies.

With these abilities at his command, Joe must go through 9 stages and 5 boss battles to finish the game. Meanwhile, he must save hostages to get points and powerups, and beat up the many minions infesting New York city.

Despite being a Ninja game, the action is neither frantic or fast for most of the game. However, this does change in the last two chapters where more Ninjas attack and force you to think on your feet. It becomes that each enemy encounter is more a puzzle than a brawl, and it all depends on finding the correct solution to that particular combination of enemies.

It's not a boring system, and the levels are engaging most of the time. However, it pales in comparison to other action games such as Castlevania and Ninja Gaiden. Its not as methodical and varied as the first, and not as fast and complex as the second.

This is most shown in the boring boss battles in the game. At first, because of the one-hit kill, they seem to be insurmountable foes. However, their patterns are soon shown to be ultimately simple, and the are shown to be pedestrian at best.

Simple Gameplay: -2
Simple Bosses: -2
Just too Short: -3
The Dog: +1

"Woof"

One thing Shadow Dancer clearly has an edge on other Action games is in its graphics and animation. The five chapters of Shadow Dancer all have some varied look, with once chapter sporting an excellent stage as an elevator climbs the Statue of Liberty.

It is these colorful graphics, and detailed sprites that would have attracted most gamers to play the game in the first place, and they are still up to par today.

Aside from still graphics, the game also animates well. Besides the fluid animation of Joe Musashi, the enemies move around and betray their next actions with visible movement telegraphs. This helps you avoid them as much as it gives them more realistic motion.

As for the soundtrack, its nothing special, with few memorable tunes and less than adequate usage of the Genesis sound chip. It does avoid becoming annoying, but that's mostly by being very forgettable.

Great Graphics: +4
Forgettable Soundtrack: -2

In Conclusion:

At its day, Shadow Dancer would have been seen as a great looking game that is worth playing just because of that. However, as games age, its their gameplay that keep them fresh and memorable.

In that regard, Shadow Dancer just doesn't cut it, no matter how many shurikens it throws.

Final: 21/50

"Tips"
1- Randomly hit stuff in the level and you might find some lives.
2- Pay extra attention to enemies that can shoot, not all of them shoot at the same level.
3- IF an enemy is jumping at you, you can jump and hit them as well.
4- You can always hit most bosses more than one time.

"Next Game"

The first Shinobi game I played proved to be a disappointment. It is literally shown up by a 2 year older game on an earlier generation.

Next game is the Adams Family, at #56, which is apparently a rather unique platformer.

Stay Tuned
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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:10 pm

#56

Game: The Addams Family.
Year: 1992.
Genre: Platformer.
Publisher: Ocean Software.
Developer: Ocean Software.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

When I first started playing The Addams Family, I thought this was going to be one of the many forgettable licensed platformers of the 16bit era. It looked OK (as licensed games often did), and yet the gameplay was very much by the numbers.

Yet, when I continued playing, I realized that while my initial impression was mostly correct, the game did have enough going for it to put it ahead of other similarly licensed games of the time.

"You have been foiled in your attempt to rescue your family!"

Reportedly, the game is based on the 1991 Addams Family movies. However, other than the cover art, there is indeed little to tie the game with any Addams Family story or continuity. Besides Thing (the famous disembodied hand) beckoning you to save the various family members around the house, there is nothing in the game resembling an Addams story.

Other than the characters, and the opening track, the game uses very little of the Addams license. Gomez is more like Mario than his own character. Enemies are either basic filler, or some B Movie horror trope rejects.

Regardless, the player's job is to go through the Addams mansion to save the various family members. The twist, is that the player can choose which level they go into. The Addams family at first seems like an interconnected maze, but its really a bunch of levels connected in a central hub. Except, this hub is a level in itself instead of a menu screen.

Other than that, the game does little to stand out in the midst of the many Genesis platformers.

Little Use of the License: -3
Very Similar to Other Platformers: -3

"Thank you for rescuing me. But honestly, I was having so much fun"

So, why did I end up enjoying a game that is literally a basic platformer with a shallow Addams Family paint job?

It came down to two things. First, the fact that platfomring is basically solid, and second is that the game has a healthy dose of challenge to it.

While at first, the level design left much to be desired, this changed quickly. Future levels had more traps, more complex jumps, and in general required more from the player than it was made clear at first. Because of that, the game ended up becoming more engaging for me, as I tried to go through with the limited number of hearts I had.

Occasionally, you will have use of some power ups. Most of them have been seen in various other games, but the flying Fiz I believe is unique to the game. With that, you gain the ability to fly in the air like you are swimming in a Mario water level. Its not often used, but everytime I found it, I liked finding new ways to break the game.

Otherwise, this is basic platforming, but with a healthy dose of challenge that keeps things from getting dull. It doesn't hurt that the stages (if you can call them that), are varied enough that they do not get stale, although there is sometimes a need to backtrack.

Healthy Challenge: +3
Gets the Basics right: +3

"What took you so long Gomez!"

I don't know what is it with these games looking good but neglecting their soundtrack.

The Addams family look good. The background in all stages is clean, and the foreground is clear and doesn't impede platforming at all. All sprites animate well, from the dopey B Movie rejects, to Gomez Addams himself.

In the beginning of the game, the image of Thing beckoning you to play the game must have been a highlight of Genesis graphics back in the day.

It is then a disappointment that the soundtrack doesn't receive the same amount of care, especially since the tracks that are used are actually quite nice. However, along with the sparingly used Addams family tune, there are only TWO soundtracks used.

That's a ridiculously low number. It means that you will be hearing the same exact two tunes for most of the game, and even the best tunes would wear out their welcome by then.

Great Graphics: +4
Forgettable Soundtrack: -3

In Conclusion:

Initially, I thought the Addams Family would be a below average platformer, and it ended up being average at final analysis.

Here is a platfromer that is very basic in its fundamentals, but uses them well enough that it rarely becomes boring playing it.

Final: 26/50

"Tips"
1- Move slowly as you go forward, you never know what fiends will jump at you.
2- Collect Dollar signs to get more lives.
3- Sometimes, taking the more difficult route rewards you with lives and money.
4- If you need hearts, and you see hearts close to a door, just take the heart and go out. When you come back again, the hearts refresh.

"Next Game"

While not wowed by The Addams Family, it was a better game that I initially thought it would be.

Next game is another Shinobi game, and actually the first to be released on the Genesis, Revenge of Shinobi at #48. I hope its better than Shadow Dancer, which I didn't enjoy very much.

Stay Tuned[/i]
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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Sat Jun 25, 2016 1:34 pm

#48

Game: The Revenge of Shinobi.
Year: 1989.
Genre: Action.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Sega.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Before reviewing this game, the only other Shinobi game I played was Shadow Dancer, a game released after The Revenge of Shinobi and criticized for being inferior to it.

Now, I join those who criticize Shadow Dancer, because The Revenge of Shinobi is a good game that should have had a better sequel.

"It Seemed as if the world had returned to peace"

In the old days of Action games, there is little plot needed to introduce the levels you have to go through. In The Revenge of Shinobi's case, its a rudimentary story about an evil organization taking over and giving justification to the "revenge" in the game's title.

Through that basic premise, which also includes a damsel in distress just to check all the boxes, Joe Musashi must go through 8 stages to finish the game. Each stage is divided into two sections and a boss fight, and players are encouraged to finish the game in one setting because there are no saves or passwords.

This actually isn't a big deal in Revenge of Shinobi, because the gameplay is good, and there are some ways to customize the difficulty of the game.

Other than the three difficulty levels which change both enemy placement and character's health, there is also an option for infinite Shurikens. As Shinobi's main mode of attack, the infinite Shuriken option should make the game more beatable for beginner players.

Still, Revenge of Shinobi would have benefited from more 16bit era advancements such as passwords and a little more story to the game.

Very Basics Story: -2
No Save System: -1
Invites Multiple Playthrughs: +3

"The world was once again swallowed by darkness"

Basically, what makes the limitations of an Actiona game, from story to lack of content, palatable is its Action gameplay. While Revenge of Shinobi is certainly not brilliant in that regard, it good enough to be an enjoyment in everything other than its boss fights.

In Shinobi, your main mode of attack is your Shurikens, which you can throw from a distance to hit your enemies. Once close enough, you can use your melee attack. To counter that, most enemies have the ability to shoot at you or simply guard against your attacks. Some goons will try and jump around to avoid your projectiles, while other will simply stand still absorbing your punishment while other goons lobe grenades in your general direction.

Where it gets exciting is in how you must think to defeat your enemies instead of simply mash the attack button. In standard conditions, your ammo is limited, so you must think before you throw. This means waiting for an enemy's guard to drop, or simply trying to jump in for the melee kill.

Except, there are many types of enemies and varied stages. This makes each level play slightly different, with some requiring you to jump into the background for instance, while others have you deal with enemies while dodging incoming obstacles.

Along with your standard Shuriken attack, you can double jump and throw eight shurikens in semi-circle arc. This good in dealing with multiple enemies at once. If stuck, you can use one of four Ninjatsu spells that can help you navigate the level or simply clear the screen from all enemies.

Once it comes to boss battles, you might want to use those spells because with the exception of two or three battles, these are mostly a chore. Sometimes, the pattern is just to easy to notice, and from there it is a simple battle against a sponge. In others, avoiding attacks is exceedingly difficult in most circumstances and it begins to boil down to luck and/or spells.

Generally, a level is fun until the boss at the end.

Healthy Challenge: +3
Fun Basic Gameplay: +3
Mediocre Bosses: -2

"Those who posses the power of stealth"

Revenge of Shinobi set the standard for Action games in the 16bit era. If a game could not learn from it, and have as much detailed sprites and good background graphics, that game would probably be forgotten in the Action scene where those details mattered.

Starting from the main character himself. Joe looks crisp enough, but as with all the sprites in the game, these are mostly low resolution sprites which look good enough. However, when they animate, the flaws due to that low resolution start becoming less noticeable. For instance, when crouch walking, Joe's legs both move instead of the mirror image trick used in some games to conserve space.

Similarly, enemy sprites are varied, well designed, and they animate well.

Of course, this all noticeable due to the pretty good, and varied background work in each stage. The game starts strong with its first level, with that crescent moon in the background, and then starts fading in latter levels. Yet, it goes back to end strong, in a last level with one of the best ocean waves and movement I have seen so far on the Genesis.

Lending to the very good graphics is a good soundtrack as well. While I didn't find the any of the game's tunes to be particularly memorable, the soundtrack in its entirety is fine. In fact, the reason I couldn't remember much of the tracks is that there are actually a good number of them, and stages are not long enough for any to properly stick in my mind.

Great Graphics: +4
Good Soundtrack: +2

In Conclusion:

The Revenge of Shinobi probably set the standards for the Action Genre in its day. In both its gampelay, and its presentation, the game was surely an acheivemnt by Sega.

Even though the game doesn't inspire that reaction in this modern time, it is still solid as an Action game despite being over 25 years old.

Final: 35/50

"Tips"
1- Conserve your Shurikens, don't waste them on enemies that guard.
2- Do not rush forward, check first to see enemies before they see you.
3- The fourth Ninjatsu skill attacks the bosses, give you back a spell, and costs you one life. Use it against difficult bosses if you have lives to spare.
4- Look around the stages for more Shurikens and power up.
5- When using a power up, you can guard against some attacks by moving forward.
6- You are most vulnerable when you jump, so make sure things are clear.

"Next Game"

The Revenge of Shinobi is certainly better than Shadow Dancer, and this makes me curious about the next Shinobi game. Still, while this was a good game, it was nothing special. In fact, I am yet to play anything special in the Genesis beyond the first Sonic game.

Next game in the list, at #47 might change that. Vectorman is a unique looking game, using 3D ploygons instead of the standard 2D art. This means it might have not aged as well as other 16 bit games.

Stay Tuned
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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:50 pm

#43

Game: Shining Force.
Year: 1992.
Genre: SRPG.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Climax Entertainment, Sonic! Software Planning.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

The Shining Force series is generally considered Sega's counterpart to Nintendo's own SRPG series, Fire Emblem. For as long as the two games existed together, the Shining Force series actually had more of a Western presence.

Unfortunately, the series was one of the many victims of Sega's exit from the console market. However, its games can still be enjoyed today. While the series initially started as an unfortunate dungeon crawling game. It changed gears into an SRPG with the second game, and it was an excellent start to the series.

"No matter what the cost, the mystery must be solved, and Runefaust's plan foiled"

As with other early 90s RPGs, Shining Force does not try to tell a complicated story. The evil nation of Runefaust have been plaguing the land, the Shining Force will need to fight to stop them. Still, it does more in its stories than other contemporary games.

It tries to cram in as many cool moments and cliches as it could. In fact, it is one of the games that founded those moments into the well-worn tropes used today. The noble enemy knight, check. The imprisoned enemy king, check. The hero's sacrifice, check.

It is surprising how much story the game actually manages to convey limited dialogue. Take for example the many cities you visit. One of them immediately stands out because you don't see any adults. By walking around and talking to the kids, you realize that a lot of the adults ran away from the impending Runefaust army.

Still, I wish the many character's that join your army had more lines to say than the two or three they currently have. This was a common flaw in SRPGs, and it was a shame in Shining Force which had an interesting looking cast.

Good Story and Setting: +3
Interesting Side Notes: +2
Limited Character Story: -2

"What's a youngster like you doing moving around? Get out and fight evil!"

One thing that is weird about Shining Force is that it doesn't progress the same way SRPGs usually do. Sure, the game is basically a series of battles. However, the story doesn't progress once you finish a battle.

In fact, the game first starts off as an RPG, with your character moving around the town and overwolrd. This allows you to interact with your own cast of characters (limited interaction) as well as the good townsfolk of all the cities in the game.

This is a small part in the game compared to the battles, but it does add something, and it differentiates the series from others in the same genre.

Walking around the world, you can also recruit characters to your army as well as well as buy and sell equipment.

Once you go into battle, its into SRPG gameplay. You will end up controlling 12 characters, with many different classes. In a character's turn, they can move and attack an enemy based on their class. Some classes can attack from two spaces away, but most must be adjacent to the enemy. Unlike the Fire Emblem series, the enemies do not counter attack, meaning you can kill enemy unit before they get a chance to retaliate.

In all of the game's stages, the goal is to defeat all enemy characters while making sure the main character doesn't die. You characters level-up based on their performance, which means you need to make sure all of your characters are engaged in the battle.

Its a solid gameplay system, and the stages all pose a satisfying sense of challenge  without being overwhelming. Some stages are simply too large, and those take a longer time to finish, but most are well-balanced and actually do not take too long.

Walking around like in an RPG: +2
Solid Gameplay: +3
Good Stages: +3

"Burn... You'll serve as an example to all who dare oppose Runefaust"

One thing SRPG veterans would have notice me say is how characters need to participate in battle to level-up. This is usually the case for SRPG games, and it affects how you play the game. Strong characters that can easily kill enemy units should not hog all the experience, and sometimes you need to make purposefully disadvantageous moves in order to get a weaker character the killing blow.

Also, this usually means experience points are limited throughout the game, and you could be in a bind if you level-up the wrong set of characters. With character promotions, and leveling up of each character going into different trends, this could happen in any SRPG.

This is not a problem in Shining Force.

First, because the game is not particularly hard. Through natural progression, you can get the your heroes to a decent enough level. Only near the end of the game does the difficulty spikes, and it does so mostly by giving the enemies magical attacks that completely ignore your defenses.

Second, because you can actually repeat battles before finishing them. If you want to level-up, just cast Egress with your MC and you retreat from battle, keeping all the exp you earned while fighting. This is a huge game changer, as this allows you to train weaker characters, and basically allow you the luxury of creating your favorite team.

Of course, if you abuse this, your team will simply grow too strong, removing any challenge in the game.

Making up your team can be really fun. You can have a full squad of Centaur Knights to rush the enemy (won't work well in forest terrain), and if you are going to use Centaur Knights you shouldn't ignore Arthur who grows up fast from weak beginnings. There are flying units, which you can to scout ahead and pick apart mages and healers. Then of course, there is the weak Dragon unit which grow up to become the most fearsome of them all.

Half the fun in battle is how different they are based on your team composition.

Ability to Replay Battles: +3
Varied Character Classes: +3

"In ages forgotten... light fought darkness for control of the world"

Immediately, Shining Force aims to impress the player. A young elf girl, nearly filling the screen, and animated in a way unique to Genesis games, introduces us to the game. From then, we see the colorful graphics used to make up the world and its inhabitants.

While repetitive, the game's graphics are colorful and detailed. They also always try to do more. For instance, battles are animated, and the effects of both attacks and spells are nice enough. Sprites are detailed, and character art is cool.

Its the classic 16 bit look that remains pretty today.

Unfortunately, the same care did not extend to the game's soundtrack. While the songs are ok, they are very limited, especially for an SRPG.

When a battle can take up to 30 minutes, listening to the same music track that has little depth gets boring.

Good Graphics and Character Design: +3
Goo animation: +2
Limited Music: -2

In Conclusion:

This first SRPG Shining Force game is an excellent start to the series. It easily became one of Sega's best exclusive games, and one of their winning IPs. At least, that is the case critically if not commercially.

Any fan of the genre would enjoy this game, and yet be sad at playing it. Sad that the series is now dead, and its once rivalry with Fire Emblem is of the same fate as Sega's with Nintendo.

Final: 45/50

"Tips"
1- You should try and level up Arthur, he is really good.
2- If you need to level your characters up, Egress during battle and continue to fight with your weaker characters.
3- You can do the same if you need money.
4- As with other SRPGs, promoting your characters early is not a good idea. Generally promote characters that reach level 20.
5- Main Character dies, and its gameover, make sure to protect him.
6- Domingo is a character with high priority, meaning that enemies will attack him most, and he is a tank.
7- There are hidden characters, search suspicious places in the environment.

"Next Game"

This an excellent start to the Shining Force series, and one of my favorite Genesis games so far. Its worth noting that Sonic! Software Team are now called Camelot Software, and they have been making good games for Nintendo. I am looking forward to Shining Force 2.

Next game in the series is Quackshot at #40, a platformer starring everyone's favorite duck. The working man's duck, the only good Donald I know, Donald D. Duck.

Stay Tuned


Last edited by Lord Spencer on Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by RealGunner on Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:55 pm

One of my favourite games of all time. Prefer the 2nd one though

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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:49 pm

#40

Game: QuackShot.
Year: 1991.
Genre: Platformer.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Sega.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

The first thing I thought when I started playing QuackShot, a game starring Donald Duck and using the same title font as Ducktales, is whether the game will actually be as good as the NES Ducktales game.

It turned out that QuackShot could have been better, but it unfortunately lacked the ambition to be anything more than a technically good licensed platformer.

"Just before he died, King Garuzia hid his most prized possession in a secret location"

To set the game up, QuackShot begins with a few opening screens explaining how Donald found a treasure map in Uncle Scrooge's study, and decided to go find it himself. This set up works, because it it feels exactly like what Donald Duck would do, and as such he put himself in trouble along with his three nephews.

Until near the end, the titular character and his three nephews never interact, wasting an opportunity at trying (even if its going to fail) at any world building or just plain joking around.

I don't understand why a game that invested much on the license, then invested more on the design and animation of these characters, then proceeded to do nothing interesting with it beyond an initial set up. Compare that to the NES game, where in a weaker hardware Ducktales actually had dialogue with the three nephews and that pelican pilot.

Ultimately, beyond the rare use of Donald's rage super move, and a number character sprites, the game could have starred Daffy Duck and it wouldn't show a difference.

Poor Use of License: -5

"Don't worry about us Uncle Donald, you don't need to give Pete the map"

Under the fact that this is just a licensed platformer is the realization that there is a very solid foundation to the game. QuackShot actually attempts to progress as Metroidvania game, but through multiple stages instead on one connected map.

Each stage is a linear affair, but sometimes you will need to visit other stages to get items and equipment that help you go forward. This means you can choose which stage to approach first, but you will need to quit at the middle of it and travel someplace else to get an item. It enhances the adventure feeling of the game, especially since you don't actually repeat any stage from the start.

Unfortunately, while this could have made for an adventerous game, the easy difficulty and short length of QuackShot makes this just a What If case. What if QuackShot actually had more stages and more depth and difficulty to its game?

Instead, we realize that we can finish this game in under three hours without dying once. Donald Duck can just waltz around with very little threat to his duck life. It makes it easier for him that in his actual comics, where everything from Bananas to Pot plants are out to get him.

Great Stage Approach Idea: +2
Lacks Challenge and Depth: -5

"Donald and his nephews took off in their plane, leaving a furious Daisy behind"

As is usual with licensed games, the production value for QuackShot is great. Immediately, the smooth design of Donald's sprite and its crisp animation would impress you in comparison to other Genesis games.

By using larger sprites, the design team were able to put in a lot of character into their drawings by adding in more details and focusing on the animations. Even the idle animation of Donald has been given much care. Enemy sprites are not as interesting, owing to the fact the game doesn't use the license much, but they are still well detailed and animated.

In the background, the level graphics are good, especially the far drawings. In some levels, we see more advanced effects, such as water waves in the foreground.

Musically, its not as impressive as its graphics, but it has varied and fun tunes. Nothing stands out much, but it all adds to the presentation of the game.

Great Graphics: +4
Ok Music: +1

In Conclusion:

Ducktales in the NES had a lot of ambition behind it, and as such it managed to become a classic. In many ways, QuackShot could have been the Ducktales of the Genesis, but it simply did not have the depth, and I would argue, the inclination to be more than a licensed game.

As a result, we have a good looking game that could have been much better than it ended up being.

Final: 22/50

"Tips"
1- If you travel from stage to stage, you get a fixed health.
2- Just travel around and don't worry about the order, there is a mid point that you can go back to in each stage.

"Next Game"

I hate to give a Donald Duck game such a score, but I was disappointed at something that should have been better. This could have easily been the successor of Ducktales.

Next game in the review series is going to be Castlevania: Bloodlines, at #38. This was reportedly not as good as Super Castlevania (which I really liked), but a solid game nonetheless.

Stay Tuned
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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:19 am

#38

Game: Castlevania: Bloodlines.
Year: 1994.
Genre: Action Platformer.
Publisher: Konami.
Developer: Konami.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Most games that released in both the Genesis and the SNES were similar in the surface, but clearly better in one console. With Bloodlines, we have Castlevania games that is very different to Super Castlevania IV on the SNES, but is just as good.

In Bloodlines, we have the rare example of a franchise delivering a very good game in both parties on the 16bit generation.

"The ancestors of the Belmont family are doomed to confront the power of evil incarnate... Dracula"

As with all of the early Castlevania games, the plot is confined to the admittedly cool opening scenario and the instruction manual. This does not impact the game, as the limited story only serves introduce you to a world where you will need to stop the resurrection of Dracula.

This compels the two playable characters, Texas cowboy John Morris and pretty boy transformed into Arnold in the US version, Eric Lecarde. Both have something to do with Belmont family, but John wears more modern clothing while Eric seems to fit more into Castlevania's previous lore.

Regardless of who you choose to play as, you will play through six stages set in Europe. It is these stages that offer the narrative backbone for the game. Like the stages in Super Castlevania, these six stages are full of the macabre atmosphere of the series, but they are also hauntingly beautiful.

In the second stage in Greece, you go through some broken Greece columns and platforms as the reflection of those platforms is clearly visible in the waters below. In another stage, as you walk by a fountain, the water suddenly turns to blood, inviting the undead to feast.

It through music, stage design, and adventurous gameplay that you feel like a Vampire Hunter going to stop resurrection of Dracula, even if the game doesn't say much.

Limited Story: -2
Excellent Macabre Atmosphere: +4
A Show Don't Tell Approach: +2

"Push back the evil horde and push back the Vampire to his dark netherworld"

If we are going to enjoy going through Bloodlines excellent levels, we would need the gameplay to be fun and engaging, which is exactly what we have here. True to Castlevania style, the movement of the characters is somewhat rigid, and there is little fluidity in jumping or attacking. However, it is a system that favors precision more so than button mashing, a system that forces the player to commit to every action.

For someone who just brazenly rushes through the game, they will be hit by ever incoming medusa head, and run over by every charging Minotaur. The way to play a Castlevania game is to understand the distances of both your jumps and attacks, and apply that knowledge with precision. If you see an oscillating medusa head coming towards you, threatening to plunge you in the abyss, randomly flailing at it might get you killed. Through a simple understanding of the distances, you can strike at the right time and place, and whack, kill the damn thing.

Once you understand how the game plays, you will start appreciating the challenge and depth these stages have to offer. Each stage is different than the others, with sub-bosses and a final boss to up the challenge, and with a lot of different set-pieces that individualizes each stage.

For instance, one stage has you climbing the tower of Pisa, giving you a more vertical stage to work with. Another is simple linear castle labyrinth, as has been seen in the series before.

Boss battles are as good as they have always been, with each boss offering a unique challenge. Though none of the bosses are truly great, they are a worthy end to each stage.

With six stages, that might seem like a short game, which is true as a run through all of them would probably need just over two hours. However, with two characters that change the gameplay to a degree, it invites two playthroughs at least. By finishing the game once, you also unlock a higher difficulty, which makes the game especially brutal, with no room for mistakes.

Great Gameplay: +5
Good Bosses: +2
Varied Stages and Characters: +3
Should have had One More Stage: -2

"To revive him she needed to travel all through Europe"

Despite being developed in a weaker hardware with a more limited sound chip, Bloodlines managed to look and sound exactly as good as Super Castlevania on the SNES. Through intelligent use of the Genesis's capabilities, and actually good art design, the game thrived in its presentation.

None of the stages would be as memorable if not for the excellent details liberally strewn about. Bloody corpses hanging from the ceiling, traces of their blood still dripping into the pavement. The head of a Greece statue, breaking you step into it, making another platform. The aforementioned water fountain, turning into a macabre summoner of death.

As with the early Castlevania games, the developers didn't only rely on conventional graphical design methods, but also attempted to do more with the system than people thought could be done. With Bloodlines, several stages use such effects that I never seen in another Genesis game. Mirror reflection, 3D steps, and even a nearly entire boss made of actual 3D polygons.

To complement the excellent art direction was not an easy feat, but Michiry Yamane, in hear first turn as a Castlevania composer, literally knocks it out of the park. With both new tunes like "Iron Blood Intentions", and remixes "Simon's Theme", she uses the Genesis's sound chip to its full potential.

With this soundtrack, we see the entire game linked together in the atmospheric style of the series, and we are ready to kick some Vampire butt.

Great Graphics: +5
Great Music: +5

In Conclusion:

Previously, I though Super Castlevania IV would easily be the pinnacle of the early Castlevania games. However, with Bloodlines, I am now undecided.

Easily one of the best games on the Genesis, Bloodlines actually benefits from having little of the competition Super Castlevania had on the SNES. It could have been better, by simply being longer. But that's a praise for any game; simply wanting more of it.

Final: 48/50

"Tips"
1- All sub-weapons are useful in their own way, see what works for you at the moment.
2- Dying sucks, it pushes your weapon back to its weakest stage, and loses all magic points you need to use your sub weapon.
3- John and Eric are not widely different, but each is different enough that you shouldn't use the same strategies with both.
4- By holding the attack button and changing directions, you can twirl Eric's spear around.
5- John's greatest advantage is the ability ot deliver a diagonal air attack.
6- Eric's diagonal attack can only be done in the ground, but he can stab upward.
7- By collecting some power up, you upgrade your weapon to its final stage, but you lose that upgrade when hit.
8- Learn the patterns and distances of each enemy to avoid being hit.

"Next Game"

I am entirely sure that few of the games higher on Retro Sanctuary's list are actually better than Bloodlines. At this stage, I don't entirely trust this list, and Castlevania's place on it is ample proof of its limitation. Maybe I will be proven wrong, but I don't think so.

Next game is Alien Soldier at #34, another Genesis game made by Treasure. So far, I was not impressed by what Treasure had to offer. Sure, they have good command of the system's capabilities, but their games were rarely engaging for me.

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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:59 pm

#34

Game: Aien Soldier.
Year: 1995.
Genre: Shooter.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Treasure.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

When you read those memes making fun on early 90's game translations, all those grammatical disasters and unintentional comedy gold, it is games like Alien Soldier that are usually feature. Starting with a grand story that crumbles with the slightest knowledge of grammar and sentence structure, Alien Soldier nevertheless manages to be a grand game in its own right.

The chaos in its opening story can never be put to order, but if you can master the chaos in its gameplay, then this can be a deep and fulfilling classic shooter.

"The planer Sierra is gripped by fear and is in the midst of a deep crisis"

Obviously, the designers thought they had something with the game's plot. After all, with a grand musical opening, the game's story scrolls into the screen, with sounds and visual promising an epic sci-fi adventure. Then you realize that the quote above is probably the only tangible thing in the entire narrative.

Its not only that the entire script, and its a long one, is simply poorly written. Its that its a poorly written script of an ill-conceived story. Somehow assuming the player has full knowledge of the terminologies of its universe, Alien Soldier assaults your brain with a ridicilously complicated narrative where your character, Epsilon-something is both the good and the bad guy, and apparently there are parasite things, which are apparently related to your Epsilon-ness, and... just damn.

Usually, I like to take quotes from the game and out them in my reviews, but in this case, I cannot lift any sentence from the game and present it as a semi-readable line.

The chaos in the story doesn't only confine itself to the text, but extends to the rest of the game. Simply put, the styletic choices in the game doesn't mesh well, and the entire thing is a garbled mess. At one point, you are in a futerstic looking city, at another you are riding in 1950's style subway.

Characters, enemies, and bosses all do not seem like they belong to the same universe, yet they are in the same game. Of course, why should they all fit, when the player character himself doesn't fit with anything else.

Confusing Story: -2
Boring and Garbled Setting: -5

"Xi-Tiger something something"

Alien Soldier's gameplay is no less chaotic than its story, and at first, it seems like a mindless shooter hell-bent on robbing coins in a seedy arcade parlor. Except, its robbing your time at home. That is, until you realize how all of its varied systems work, and then you see how beneath all the chaos and visual carnival, there is actually a deep and engaging game.

First, you get the choice of four different weapons from a choice of six. Each weapon is theoretically useful on some situations, but there are clearly better choices. Right off the bat, I recommend using the Homing and laser force weapons.

Second, realize that this is a game that values mobility and reflexes. You have the ability to dash through enemies to the other end of the screen, and that can put you away from danger as well as in better positions to dish out some damage. You also have the ability to guard against some enemy attacks, changing their projectiles into precious health. With full health, you dash becomes a phoenix charge that does some serious damage.

Finally, realize that the game is mostly boss rush mode with a short distraction between each boss. This is not your Contra game, where the boss is the culmination of a challenging level, but this a level that simply prepares you to face a challenging boss.

With different weapons, the ability to charge and guard, the odds are clearly in your favor. Except, dying basically ensures you are going to have a hard time completing the game. In theory, you could die and continue. However, when you die, you lose all of your acquired power-ups, reducing your offensive power significantly.

Also, correct use of your abilities will need some practice, as the game is fast and doesn't give you time to think.

In that regard, the game's somewhat easy "supereasy" mode gives the players the chance to familiarize themselves with the game's systems, so that they can challenge the seriously difficult "superhard" mode.

Fast and Fun Gameplay: +4
Deep and Challenging: +3
A Unique Boss Rush Shooter: +3

"......."

With uninspired and loosely fitted artistic choices, and a lot of gameplay feedback to process due to the chaos in its gameplay, Alien Soldier's visuals had a huge task in hand. Thankfully, the game manages to look good even if the design choices aren't interesting.

More importantly, the game manages to convey all the chaos on screen clearly, and as such you are able to see where each threat is coming from and can decide on the best course of action.

Sprites are unintresting, but they are well-detailed, and bosses look menacing even if they look like they have nothing to do with the base game. Hell, even the player character manages not be a total wash. Still, Epsilon-birdman would probably have fit more with Starfox's crew than this game.

In sound, the game is good, and sometimes manages to even impress. In fact, the only consistent artistic choice is the game's music, which fit into a sci-fi game. It manages to tether an otherwise garbled mash-up of styles to a singal theme, and that's just as hard as it looks.

Good Graphics: +3
Good Music: +3

In Conclusion:

Mechanically, Alien Soldiers is a very good game. Unfortunately, its setting is weird and uninteresting. Hence, you might have fun playing the game, but the game struggles to be memorable.

There are games that are not as mechanically good, but due to their setting, they are probably more highly regarded. Still, if you can ignore the garbled mess that is its story, Alien Soldier's gameplay might just captivate you.

Final: 34/50

"Tips"
1- Never EVER have an arsenal without Homing force.
2- When picking up an upgarde, make sure not to pick up the wrong weapon.
3- To upgrade a weapon, equip it and pick up an upgrade with the same icon.
4- Make sure to counter guard often, it changes enemy projectiles to health.
5- Dashing is your best strategy, learn that distance by heart.

"Next Game"

So, here is the first Treasure game that I kinda liked. As usual though, Treasure's ability to use the Genesis hardware is undermined by how they use. You don't feel there is a consistent art direction on any of their games.

Anyways, next game on the list is the classic Capcom action-platformer, Ghouls 'n Ghosts which sit at #32 in Retro Sanctuary's list. Hope it is as good as the SNES game.

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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:59 pm

#32

Game: Ghouls 'n Ghosts.
Year: 1989.
Genre: Action Platformer.
Publisher: Capcom.
Developer: Capcom.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Known as one of the most difficult games in their time, the Ghouls n' Ghosts series are unfortunately not remembered often for also being technically impressive as well.

With Ghouls n' Ghosts on the Genesis, we have a great looking action game, that is hard as nails but also fair in its difficulty.

"Good luck Arthur, I believe that you will defeat Loki"

While the setting (as the name implies) involves the world of undead Ghouls and Ghost, this doesn't mean that the game's style is of macabre horror. It uses undead and horror imagery in a humorous way, more like a Halloween festival than a satanic ritual.

It does that very well, resulting in a unique world where Arthur's worst enemies look like cartoonish version of the goons in Castlevania. Arthur himself doesn't look half serious, especially when is hit and walks around in his boxer shorts.

True to series tradition, you are unable to see through the final ending until you beat the game twice. First time, you realize you should have come in with some magical weapon. Note that you actually need to find that weapon in a random chest and reach the final boss while using it.

As a reward, you get a hilariously translated ending. Of course, this is not a game you go through to see Arthur kiss his princess, but a game where the journey is its own reward.

Unique Style: +4

"Arthur, you've done well so far but go back to your village"

Ghouls n' Ghosts difficulty comes from two sources. First, is that at most, you are two hits from death. Second, is that everything in the level is out to get you, and they shoot projectiles as well.

Despite being in medieval setting and using sword and lances as weapons, this game is more a shooter than an actual action game. Arthus throws around whatever weapon he uses, making this more a run and gun game than a methodical brawler. And run you should.

Because you can never get red of enemies, as they come from all directions. In one level, you have to avoid some jumping turtle maniacs that come at you (and they can't be destroyed) while dealing with some of them in the ground spitting some green stuff.

To fend against your enemies, you cannot rely on your defenses. Your armor is cheaply made, and one shot can destroy it. Finding more Armor is not guaranteed. The best defense, is a barrage of flying lances and axes to carve a path forward.

There are 6 different weapons you can use in addition to the magical weapon you need to finish the game. Generally, all weapons are useful in some instance, except the Sword with its close range capabilities only.

Once you get the golden armor though, not all weapons are equal, and the sword actually gets some use (but not by much). Each weapon has a magic power that you can infinitely use by charging the attack button, and that power is obviously better in some weapons and not others.

Anyway, with all these tools in place, Arthur actually has pretty even odds in his favor, that is if you actually pay attention to everything happening in screen and learn enemy attacks and movements. This is why the short length of the game is not that much of an issue, because through different difficulty levels, and actually trying to speed run or get a high score, Ghouls n' Ghosts is a game built for repetitive play.

Fast and Fun Gameplay: +4
Deep and Challenging: +4
Only Five Levels: -2

"Arthur has finally defeated Loki, warrior the strongest in the world"

It is a definite surprise that one of the earliest games on the Genesis is still one of its best-looking games. While the choice of an all black background might have been thematically appropriate, it is hard thinking it would add much visual variety to the game.

As such, Capcom focused a lot on the foreground, with both platforms and sprites receiving a lot of attention. This results in consistently good character sprites that animate really well. Starting obviously from Arthur, we notice how everything in his movement is fluid as well as stylish. The same can be said of both minor an major goons against him.

While some areas are not overly impressive, the majority of level design is visually great, and even attempts to achieve unique visual flair, as with the storm section in the first level.

Unfortunately, the soundtrack is clearly an early Genesis experiment. All the weaknesses of the Genesis sound chip are obvious here, as the melody is hidden because of the system's annoying screeches, and tracks lack the necessary depth to be memorable.

Its not that these are bad tracks, as some are remixed in Super Ghouls n' Goblins on the SNES to such great effect.

Even with an underwhelming soundtrack, Ghouls n' Ghost, without actually stretching the limits of the Genesis, manages through smart art direction to craft a memorable and unique presentation.

Great Graphics: +5
Underwhelming Soundtrack: -2

In Conclusion:

I like a decent challenge. Initially, with Ghouls n' Ghosts, we see that this might not be an entirely fair task. Arthur has many enemies, and his armor is made by an incompetent blacksmith. However, we soon realize that the game's mechanics are simple, and that we have every tool in our disposal to go the entire game without getting hit once.

We also see that its a lovely looking game, and that we might want to get hit just to laugh at Arthur trying to save everyone in his boxer shorts.

Final: 38/50

"Tips"
1- The Lance is easily the best all around weapon.
2- To actually fight the final boss, you need to find the Magic Ray weapon in a box, AND NOT TRADE IT FOR ANY OTHER WEAPON LATER.
3- Only with that weapon can you fight the final boss.
4- Rapidly press the attack button to fire more projectiles.
5- Learn the distance of your jumps, because that helps you evade attack and not jumping into them.

"Next Game"

That's it for Ghouls n' Ghosts, a difficult but fun game that I wouldn't mind playing all over again.

Next in the list is a game that was actually made by Capcom on the SNES, I am talking about Aladdin on the Genesis, which is #30 in Retro Sanctuary's list, and man say is the better Aladdin game in the 16 bit generation.

Stay Tuned
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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:22 pm

#30

Game: Disney's Aladdin.
Year: 1993.
Genre: Action Platformer.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Virgin Games.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Of the many Disney licensed games in the 16 bit era, none are more famous or well regarded as the pair of Aladdin games on the Genesis and SNES. The fact that both games were considered good meant a comparison between the two always took place in the middle of the larger console wars debate.

Aladdin on the SNES was a good game, but Aladdin on the Genesis has some more obvious qualities that helped it get considered as the better game in the general consensus. Even if not by such a large margin.

"In Agrabah, a faraway land of wind and sand, a young street-rat named Aladdin must steal to survive"

Obviously, a licensed Aladdin game in 1993 would basically try and cover the plot of the film's story to the best of its ability. Aladdin on the Genesis does mostly that, and by borrowing some of the talent in Disney, it manages to convey the style of the film as well.

For the game to actually benefit from its license, its not enough for it to follow the basic plot, which it does in a very rudimentary 16bit game style. It should also convey its style. Which is what this game does.

The guards, who serve as basic enemy fodder, walk around and behave like they do in the movie. If you see a guard accidentally walking on burning coals, they prance about just like they did in the first song. Elsewhere, the game's levels, music, animation, and general style fits in really well. Even the gameover screen manages to convey the wonderful comedy of the Genie for a bit.

Unfortunately, that game over screen and one ugly level are all of the Genie's contribution to the game. Even Abu has more screen time, ignoring the fact that Aladdin would be a poor movie if not for the brilliance of big blue.

Good Use of the License: +4

"Infidels...Now you will never see the light of day again"

No matter how well you you use the license, it doesn't matter if the gameplay is not good. Thankfully, this gameplay in Aladdin is good. More focused on action than platforming, Aladdin goes through many stages where he has to defend himself with his trusty sword. He can also throw apples.

The sword is good, and its ability to deflect attack and projectiles make it much more useful than you would initially think due to its short range. Using it is also cooler than throwing apples.

Movement is fluid, especially with such a good animation, and you are almost always involved in doing something in these varied levels. However, I feel that just as with many games in the 16bit era, this could have benefited from a level or two more. It is just too short.

One disappointing aspect of the game is the boss battles. They are rudimentary at best, but that is being very generous. Take the final boss for example, you can only defeat him using apples. Since apples are a consumable item, your supply could run out before you defeat Jafar (spoiler alert, Jafar is the final boss). When you then die, you go to a checkpoint near the boss, with only 10 apples, which are not enough to kill him. Meaning you must go backtrack through the level picking up apples like some damn part time fruit picker. Worst of all, the fight is mind numbingly boring.

Other than that, the gameplay is fun enough, with some variety sprinkled in. Abu's bonus stages are a singular highlight, especially with their soundtrack, but other attempts at variety are also good if not particularly effective.

Fun Gameplay: +5
Bad Boss Battles: -2
Short: -1

"Free from the magic lamp, the Genie helps Aladdin escape the cave of wonders"

I would argue that what made Aladdin such a memorable game from the 16bit era. Probably, the most memorable of licensed games, is its impeccable art direction.

It is simply one of the best looking (if not THE best) games on the SNES. The clear, large, and detailed sprites are nice. However, its how they move that makes them especially unique. No surprise then to learn that actual Disney animators worked with the development team on this.

While not the same level of care was given to the backgrounds of the game's stages, the fact that every sprite was carefully designed and animated to be faithful to the film makes this a beautiful looking game.

This is what allows it to easily imitate the playful spirit of the film into the game.

What seals the deal though is the game's musical score. I don't know how they did it, but Aladdin manages to transform all of the songs in the film into a 16bit score wonderfully. Listning to "Prince Ali" while jumping around in the streets of Agrabah is of course a delight.

I didn't particularly like the level inside the lamp, but "A Friend Like Me" pushed me right through it with a nostalgic smile in my face.Even tracks unrelated to the movie, such as the one playing in Abu's bonus stage, are good track (Even if they don't fit with the rest of the soundtrack).

Definitely, the game's graphics and musical score are its greatest assets.

Great Graphics: +5
Underwhelming Soundtrack: -2

In Conclusion:

I still have not decided which game I prefer from the two 16bit Aladdin games. I know that I like both, and I know that outside of their use of the license, and the very good production value, both are not actually very special games.

However, they are good games, and are very good examples of a license being used well. The Genesis Aladdin lacks the polish of the SNES version, but it makes up for that by Disney's own help in its production.

Final: 38/50

"Tips"
1- Apples are the best way for dealing with bosses.
2- You can use your sword to deflect most projectiles.
3- Make sure you have an adequate supply of apples for the final boss, you cannot defeat him without it.

"Next Game"

Between the 2 16 bit Aladdin games, I can't really decide which I actually prefer. Both a re good games that use the license well, and both are good games that sadly rely on that license doing most of the leg work. Of course, the Sega version won commercially, with Aladdin on the Genesis being the 3rd best seller in that system.

Next game is one that is compared to A Link to the Past, at #24, Crusader of Centy is obviously not considered as good, but it looks very interesting indeed. Its made by Atlus, which makes it one of the earliest games that have been localized by that company

Stay Tuned

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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:17 pm

#24

Game: Crusader of Centy.
Year: 1994.
Genre: Action Adventure.
Publisher: Atlus.
Developer: Nextech.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Crusader of Centy is probably a not very well-known Sega Genesis game. While originally published by Sega in Japan, then little know publisher Atlus was responsible for the North American version. Consequently, it didn't get as much exposure as it deserved.

While not exactly the Genesis's answer to A Link to the Past, CoC is a very solid game that manages to be a fun and unique lighthearted adventure. What it lacks in polish, it makes up for with charm.

"The Age of Darkness without Light ended, but the monsters did not completely disappear"

As it begin, CoC appears to have a straight forward story. Darkness came back to the world of light, and monsters are now back with a vengeance. Alas, a young lad must then adventure to rid the world of these evil monsters.

However, the game soon takes a strange turn. The hero loses the ability to communicate with other humans and gains the ability to talk to animals. This lends the game a different perspective, which then changes for a third and fourth time.

In the space of this surprisingly deep adventure, you are going to travel to heaven and hell, befriend god-like creatures, and go back to the past just to round things up.

Meanwhile the story is told in a well-translated, and even occasionally funny script. Sure, we get the odd translation error, but more effort have went into this translation than all of the past Genesis RPG games I played combined.

It helps that the story itself lends itself to the witty writing. At one point, your hero suddenly changes into a slime, the well-known lowest rung in any RPG beastiary.

Charming Story: +4
Funny and Well Written Dialogue: +3


"Young man, take your Sword. Now is the time to fight"

There is more to the similarity between CoC and A Link to the Past than the top down perspective. With light puzzle solving, a somewhat expansive world, and similar style, CoC is clearly inspired by the Nintendo classic. However, its an obviously a more action oriented game.

Using his Sword to attack nearby enemies, or simply throwing it like boomerang, the hero has more offensive abilities than link. Naturally, this lends itself to the action-oriented gameplay. Tasked not only with advancing against enemies and "dusting" them, but also charging a throw that lays down the law from a distance.

With fast movement, and the vulnerable times where you are waiting for your sword to come back, you can imagine this to be the foundation of a fun and challenging combat system. While it is surely fun, it unfortunately lacks the challenge that could have made it more so.

Anyone looking for a difficult game will not find one here, as not only do the hero have enough health to survive the enemy's attacks, but the enemies themselves are neither varied or lethal in their attacks. Also, the hero simply has a lot of firepower.

Fortunately, even without the challenge, the fun gameplay means you will probably enjoy throwing your sword about even if its not encountering any resistance. A big part of that is the mobility you have, which includes fast running and the ability to jump. While enemies might not actually be a threat, they will at least force you to move around to avoid their attacks, maintaining the illusion of difficulty.

Fun Gameplay: +4
Easy: -3
Fun to Move About: +2

"Humans will attack anyone just for being different...be careful"

Other than combat, there are dungeons and various locations to explore. Like Zelda, you are often locked out of certain places because you lack some item or ability. Unlike Zelda, you are almost always going to find the necessary skill as soon as you need it, eliminating the need to back track.

However, you are not going to be using items, but will solicit the help of some animal friends. You can "equip" two animals at a time, even getting unique combination effects if you choose the correct animals.

All animals, with the exception of three that you can hire, must be found to defeat the game. None of them is really hidden, but some will require a little more effort and.or exploration to find. The skills they give are somewhat varied, but are not really game changing, and some are actually limited to a rare use. Also, some bosses can be only defeated through the use of some combination effects, and figuring out which one to be used is simply a matter of trial and error.

Still, the skills that you gain add a sense of progression, and the fact that you are seeing your "items" follow you is an added bonus.

It has to be said though that the dungeons in CoC lacks polish. Levels are often large and empty, the map feels disjointed, and you feel that the fact you can run and jump was used to avoid having to properly design the stages.

Because of that, dungeons are actually very short. A lot of empty spaces can be easily traversed by running and jumping all over. Occasionally stopping to bust up a boulder in your way.

Thankfully, some stages have platforming and block puzzles to stop your progress, which are fun to figure out even if they are too easy.

Animal Buddy System: +4
Lacks Polish: -3

"The old lady won't come out of the fireplace, so I will eat you instead"

The fun and charm of CoC's story and gameplay wouldn't translate half well if not for its charming and fun graphics and good soundtrack.

Character sprites are charming, if not particularly distinctive. There isn't a lot of variety, and enemy design is lacking. However, with the bright, colorful, and varied world they inhabit, these limitations are diluted.

With a lot of variety in locations, as well as good background design and animations, the characters do not look half bad. It especially works when it tries to be charmingly creative. Like the boss battle where you are fighting the big bad wolf with the grandma hiding in the fireplace.

Musically, the composer overcame the limitations of the Genesis beautifully. The majority of tracks are fun to listen to, and all of them are a great backdrop to the gameplay.

I especially liked the boss battle music, which didn't bore me despite listening to it in nearly every boss.

Good Graphics: +3
Good Soundtrack: +3

In Conclusion:

Due to purely commercial reason, Crusader of Centy was probably a little known Genesis game. I say purely commercial because in a gameplay level, it is a very good action adventure game that should have had a decent folowing in its time.

While it doesn't nearly reach the height of A Link to Past or some of the Quintet games, it surely manages exceed expectations.

Final: 42/50

"Tips"
1- Collect Golden Apples to increase your max health.
2- Some bosses will need special weapon combinations to even be damaged.
3- Make sure to hire the cat animal, which saves you if you die.
4- You ca save nearly anywhere from the start menu.
5- Once you have the Cheetah, you will probably never want to switch him off your party again.
6- Your dog can help uncover imposter (Hint).

"Next Game"

Somehow, I knew coming in that I would like this game. What surprised me most was that it actually had a decent enough translation and dialogue for its time.

Next game, at #22 is Strider, a well known game in the action genre. I am not sure I can play this game without constantly thinking about our own Dtoider, StriderHoang.

Stay Tuned
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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Guest on Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:45 pm

@Lord Spencer wrote:#30

Game: Disney's Aladdin.
Year: 1993.
Genre: Action Platformer.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Virgin Games.





I remember seeing the commercials for this game, but never getting it.


Looking back it looks so corny, but at the time this commercial had me, well my aunt and uncle mostly, begging our grandparents to get us this. They didnt even flinch on it though Mad

I even remember my grandmother struggling to read the writing on the lamp Laughing Laughing Laughing

I think this was the second rom I ever downloaded for the emulator Snes9x after Ranma 町内激闘篇. Great Great game I still think was on my computer when it finally died. Smile

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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:39 pm

Betty La Fea wrote:
@Lord Spencer wrote:#30

Game: Disney's Aladdin.
Year: 1993.
Genre: Action Platformer.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Virgin Games.





I remember seeing the commercials for this game, but never getting it.


Looking back it looks so corny, but at the time this commercial had me, well my aunt and uncle mostly, begging our grandparents to get us this. They didnt even flinch on it though Mad

I even remember my grandmother struggling to read the writing on the lamp Laughing Laughing Laughing

I think this was the second rom I ever downloaded for the emulator Snes9x after Ranma 町内激闘篇. Great Great game I still think was on my computer when it finally died. Smile


Commercials in the 90's were deadly in their cheesiness, so much that it would kill a lactose indolent person if they watch them.

That being said, that wasn't such a bad commercial. I mean, that was a pretty intelligently hidden joke of turning one kid into a dog and another into a hydrant.
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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:48 pm

#22

Game: Stider.
Year: 1990.
Genre: Action.
Publisher: Capcom.
Developer: Capcom.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Clearly, Strider is a very important game in its time. It tried, and to a great degree, succeeded in redefining the Action genre. It put emphasis on story and setting, not only on mechanics, and focused on being a unique game in its genre.

However, that success doesn't necessarily translate well when played now, unlike Super Mario Bros. for instance. Although Strider probably influenced the improvement of a lot of games in the genre, and in general, it is still trapped within the Arcade confines of the time. On the Genesis, those confines were more limiting.

"You really think you can win. You will never defeat the master"

It is ironic how the three major Ninja-based series in the 8-bit and 16-bit era all were set in modern times. Shinobi, Ninja Gaiden, and Strider are all set in a semi-dystopian future, where ancient skills faced off against modern weaponry. Of the three, I still think Ninja Gaiden has the best gameplay. However, none can compare to the attempted spectacle in Strider.

Besides the scant brief story scenes between stages, the game tries for an epic scale not seen before. With grand background design, diverse and expansive stages, and a very unique soundtrack, Strider is almost a dystopian opera in scale.

In this dystopian world, Strider is fighting against the Grandmaster and his army. People (or are they) controlling the world, appropriately from their base in St. Petersburg. The Grandmaster is an arrogant bastard who doesn't think he can get bested, but that's not why you are going through the adventure.

If anything, I simply wanted to see the next level, and the designs Capcom came up with. As with other action games in the time though, there are simply too few of those levels.

Interesting Setting: +5

"I have you now. I will show you that I control the world"

While its Strider’s presentation that most differentiates it from its Action peers, this does not mean that it was similar to them mechanically. Centered on the idea of continuous motion, Strider Hiryu is proficient in attacking while moving around, and even when jumping.

One of the first thing you will notice when playing the game is Strider’s flip jump. When continuing to press the directional button while jumping, Strider will leap in an arc, flipping to back to his position in an easy to predict fashion. The fact that you can slash through enemies while in the middle of this highly acrobatic jump plays into the idea of a constant offensive.

In both its movement, and its combat, Strider is still fun to play. This is especially evident in the early stages, as well as against the tense bosses. You will probably feel the game is difficult, but that you have a fair chance.

This is later proven to be untrue in the game’s latter stages. Especially because of design choices that were specifically made to get more coins in the Arcades, even though you are playing it on the Genesis.

One thing that can keep the odds favorable throughout the adventure are the power-ups you could pick up, increasing your health and attack range. However, once you lose a life, you also lose all those power-ups. Hence, you are very likely to be in the unenviable position of repeating the last stage with only the minimal health bar to protect you.

At that stage, repeating the entire game is a better prospect than mindlessly wasting your time as hordes of enemies and enemy bullets swarm towards you.

This unfair increase in difficulty is nothing strange in the time. It is simply a mechanic to ensure you do not notice how short the game actually is.

Solid Gameplay: +4
Poorly Balanced: -5
Short: -2

"They came from the third moon with ancient science"

I already talked about how the game was designed as a spectacle from the onset. This is clear in the varied level design, intricate background detail, and large and well animated sprites. From the first Moscow-inspired level, to fighting on top of a flying battleship, the game’s levels are as much a character in the story as Strider.

These graphics are generally always beautiful, even if the sprites are not as detailed as later games. Still, Stirder the animation is top-notch, and there is an obvious inventiveness to the whole artistic design.

To complement that, the game has one of the most unique and atmospheric soundtracks of that era. It ranged in theme from the obvious sci-fi influence, to strange tribal and baroque styles. It blended well with the stages.

Mostly though, it was the fact that the music changed while progressing in the stage that made it stand out. That simply did not happen before.

However, this highly effective soundtrack was effectively crippled by the Genesis’s sound-chip. It does not sound at all like the superior arcade sounds (when the arcade machine is actually working), and suffers from being one of the earlier Genesis games. Back before composers learned how to best use the system’s sound capabilities.

Good Graphics: +4
Good Soundtrack but Poor Quality: -2

In Conclusion:

Because Strider is an influential game, it probably will always be considered a great game in its time. However, in its time, Action games sometimes have had faults that are too obvious to ignore now. Faults that actively reduce your enjoyment with the end product.

In the case of Strider, I still enjoyed playing through it. Still, I wished it didn’t punish me as much in the end, and that the music had better quality.


Final: 29/50

"Tips"
1- Always move around to try and evade enemy attacks.
2- Look for power-ups in each stage.
3- If you die in the final stage, you might as well restart from the begenning. It's easier to repeat the whole thing than to finish the last stage without the health upgrade.

"Next Game"

Sorry Strider, but I couldn't get into the game as much despite acknowledging its influence. Maybe I would have loved the game if I played it 20 years ago, but not now.

Next game, is actually at #61, and that's Sonic the Hedgehog 2. When I originally reached #61, I didn't want to Play Sonic 2 before playing the first Sonic, which is at #20. Hence, I decided then to review the first Sonic, and review Sonic 2 when I reach #20 spot, where Sonic 1 is in the Retro Sanctuary list.

Stay Tuned
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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:35 pm

#61

Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Year: 1992.
Genre: Platformer.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Sega.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Without Sonic, there wouldn't have been the 16bit Consoles war. In a time where Iconic cartoon characters managed the most sales, Sega needed the Blue Blur to compete. It needed Sonic to be both an iconic character, as well as have pretty solid gameplay about it.

Since Sonic only started in 1991, Sega did not have the time to build him a legacy, as Nintendo did with Mario. Instead, they had to release the second game as fast as possible, culminating in the release of Sonic 2 only a year after the first.

Its good to say that probably hectic schedule did not affect the quality of the game, because Sonic 2 is continuation of the best parts of the first game, and then some.

"Sonic got through Act I.."

Sonic was never about precise platforming, nor was it about exploring different worlds and going through different levels. At its core, Sonic was a game about mastering the mechanics that makes it possible to race through a labyrinthine level in less than a minute.

While Sonic 2 is an expansion of that concept, it actually brings more personality to the game than speed alone. While the first game had interesting varying locations, it felt populated by generic left over characters and plastered with imitation landscapes.

This harsh assessment is only because the sequel brings much more character to the game. Chemical and Casino zones are levels that stick to the memory long after you play them. I only played Sonic a couple of times back in the day, but those levels were imprinted in my mind.

Finally, we actually see Dr. Robotnik personality more, as his creation become more bizzare, more mechanical, and simply more colorful.

Of course, the addition of Tails the fox is what stamps this as the true beginning of Sonic as a franchise. Something which at once separates it from the rest of platformers and paves the way for Co-Op gameplay.

A Lot of Personality: +2
Varied and Iconic Levels: +4
Addition of Tails: +2

"Sonic has all the Chaos Emeralds"

One major change to the mechanics of the first game is the spin dash. With it, Sonic gets the ability to charge his spin in the ground to launch himself with great speed. While its not used to its full potential in this game, it still adds a lot to the tools Sonic already has, and reduces times you have to track back to speed over a ramp.

Otherwise, the solid gameplay is still tight as ever. Mostly, this is a game about using your tools to master the game's levels. Each level has their own twists, and much more than the first game, they can be traversed through different paths.

Because of that, this game is instantly replayable, with mastering a level your goal, instead of simply beating it.

That is not to say that each level is balanced and fair. Several times, you would run at full speed jumping through hoops and bouncing of jump pads, simply to crash to an enemy right in the avoidable path of your landing. In those cases, it feels less like reaction time, and more like memorizing the placement of those obstacles.

One thing that completely ruins the balance, but in a fun way, is the Super Saiyan mode Sonic goes into once you get all 7 Chaos emeralds. Getting the emeralds, you must go through a fun mini-game that is much better than the vomit inducing nightmare of the first game. Once you do get all seven, then getting 50 coins turns you in Super Sonic.

The problem is that once you have this power, you cannot opt out of it, which turns most stages into trivial affair. I would recommend against getting all 7 emeralds, since it keeps you from experiencing the stages as they were meant to be played.

A final thing to note though is the TERRIBLE final boss. When the bosses in all levels are fun affairs where you can slog and counter slog the mad professor, the final boss has you without any rings. This throws the entire training of the game out of the window, and makes sure you die a lot in this fight. Worse yet, its two bosses after each other with no checkpoint.

Great Gameplay: +5
Invites Mastery: +2
Super Saiyan Mode: +1
Some Balance Issues: -3

"Booing..."

The only way to showcase the gameplay and personality of the Sonic games is to have the best graphics and sound on the system. In Sonic 2, the team manages to stretch the Genesis's abilities, while also respecting its limitations.

Sprites are bold, colorful, and contrast well with the varied and cool environments. Emerald zone is the typical starting area, with no threatening backgrounds and typical forest imagery. Yet, with the second Zone, Sonic 2's bold colors clash to make something memorable as well as edgy and dangerous. The first time fall from switch panels into a slowly rising pool, only to realize you need to race back up before you drown, is the time Sonic 2 manages to impress.

With its soundtrack, as well as its sound effects, the game manages to use the Genesis to the best of its capabilities to make a number of great tunes. Songs that compliments Sonic's speeds while styling each stage with a suitable sound.

Its the best soundtrack I have listened to in the Genesis so far, with the exception of one track.

Very Good Graphics: +4
Very Good Sound : +4

In Conclusion:

While the first Sonic game has to be respected for its innovation and what it brought to the table, it had a number of limitations that kept it from being memorable for itself, as opposed to memorable due to what it started.

Sonic 2 simply takes everything good about the first game and expands on it. This is the game that actually compares to the level of of polish Nintendo had with their games.

Its rough in some place, and grates in others, but its rocks and rolls like no other when in sync.

Final: 46/50

"Tips"
1- Search the level around for powerups and lives.
2- If you lose a life, you can always get one at the same location you found it in the first time.
3- Collect 100 rings to get a life.
4- complete the stage with more than 50 rings to go into the bonus stages.
5- If you have no rings at all, play the game like its Ghost's and Goblins.
6- Hold of getting the 7th Emerald if you want to experience all stages normally.

"Next Game"

I can't believe Retro Sanctuary actually has Sonic 2 at #61. Its an obviously better game than the first Sonic, and there is little debate about it. Now I am REALLY looking forward to Sonic 3.

Next game on the list at #19 is a game about Dolphins. You guessed it, its Eco: The Tides of Time, which is probably the most famous game starred by a completely aquatic creature. So long, and thanks for all the fishes.

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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:17 am

#19

Game: Ecco: The Tides of Time.
Year: 1994.
Genre: Action Adventure.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Novotrade International.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

The two Ecco games are probably one of the most unique games on the Genesis. Water levels in other games are usually described as the weakest parts, but here is a game about Dolphins composed entirely of water levels. It's also a game about a dolphin that looks like a dolphin, not a mascot character.

It is a testament to the skills of its development team that Ecco not only manages to be unique game, but also actually fun and worth playing.

"Now we hear songs of fear from the north"

When games starring Ninjas, Knights, and soldiers rarely got a story in the 16bit era, it is very surprising that Ecco: The Tides of Time attempts to craft an actual narrative around the game. As a sequel to the first Ecco game, The Tides of Time begins after Ecco defeated the Vortex aliens that threatened his world before.

Yet, due to some time machine mumbo jumbo, the Vortex are back with a vengeance, and Ecco will need to travel through the past and the future to face their threat.

In the course of the game, you will travel to a utopian Dolphin time, where flying Dolphins rule both sea and air, as well as into dark oceans where the Cthulhu-like aliens suck you into alternate dimensions.

One nice detail that is consistent throughout the game is its attempt to use known qualities of dolphins in its telling. For instance, all communication between Ecco and his allies is through song, which is how dolphins communicate in reality.

There is a Story: +2
Varied Locations: +2

"Return to your time and stop the Vortex before they take root upon the Earth"

In traveling through the varied locations, the entire game will depend on how you adjust to swimming your way through them. Since all levels are in water in some form, Ecco can swim in all 8 directions in 2D space.

Except, swimming is programed with inertia and position in mind. This means that abruptly changing directions will reduce your speed, but moving within a smooth curve can allow you to change directions without losing momentum.

It has a natural feeling to it, and so I got used to it fast. It might still cause you some frustration when you need to build up speed just before a sharp turn in order to jump over some obstacle in the water, but you will probably get used to it.

Other than swimming around, Ecco will have to deal with some enemies, as well as consistently look for air sources. Being Mammals, dolphins actually breathe air, and so trying to fill the air meter in-game is a constant source of positive tension.

Enemies in the other hand are more nuisance than fun to deal with. Due to the way Ecco moves, it is sometimes incredibly difficult to tackle a shark two times to defeat it. It is even worse if your double-tap didn't register, because that shark will then bounce right back.

This leads to a difficult game becoming more difficult, especially in regards to the final boss which can  almost be unbeatable if you don't figure out the only safe spot where you attack it from.

Fun Swimming Controls: +3
Managing Air Supply: +2
Weak Combat: -2

"I am from the distant future, or one possible future"

While The Tides of Time basically introduces all of its gameplay tricks in the first few levels, it manages to use them in a variety of ways in 30 levels without introducing much new.

Most levels are labyrinth of sorts, with Ecco looking for key stone to progress, or helping some sea creature who will return the favor. In the larger levels of this kind, it is sometimes difficult to get a grasp of your surroundings, or to know what you need to do to progress. Ecco can hold the sonar button to get a map of his surroundings, but the map is not detailed enough in some case.

Ecco is best in stages where it deviates from the maze structure. In one stage, you are swimming through a skyline while some giant squid thing chases you around. In another, you are being carried from one sky pool to another by one of those utopian dolphin creatures.

It is surprising how much mileage Novotrade International got from such a basic premise.

One reason the entire design works is because of the challenge in the game. Its not an easy game, and there is always the possibility of dying mid-course. This puts you back in the start of the stage, which is OK for most stages.

However, there are longer stages which make this infuriating. The final few stages are simply devilish to go through, especially with enemies that can easily kill you with one hit. At that point, a difficult but fair game becomes decidedly unfair. which is obvious when you learn that Novotrade International intentionally upped the difficulty of the game to decrease Trade-ins for the game.

That is not to say the difficulty is insurmountable, there is even a higher difficulty setting for the experts, but that it takes too much time to get through with no pay-off. I say no pay-off because the times I went through, it felt more like luck than skill.

Varied Levels: +4
Too Difficult in the end: -3

"When will we swim n peace again?"

When Donkey Kong Country was released on the SNES with wide praise to its graphical innovations, and Sega might have been able to fight back in that battle if Ecco was a typical game, since it employed many of the same innovations.

With sprites rendered in 3D, it allowed for a smooth swimming animation that contrasted beautifully with the colorful and varied backgrounds. Both under and above water, the level backgrounds were beautiful, with colorful coral reefs and larger-than-life moons.

In some levels though, the underwater backgrounds were nearly non-existent. That was perhaps an attempt to showcase the emptiness of deep sea. However, a whale in the distance would have made a more effective use of perspective.

That is a minor complaint regarding the graphics of the game, but I cannot have any negative comments regarding its soundtrack.

Seriously, this might be the best Genesis soundtrack.

Reportedly inspired by Pink Floyd music, the tunes in Ecco are atmospheric and convey both the oceanic and sci-fi nature of Ecco's quest. From the opening track, you will realize that Ecco is not about a happy-go-lucky dolphin, but about a much grander quest.

Energetic tunes like my favorite, The Tubes of Medusa, contrasts well with sombre and mysterious tracks like Moray Abyss.

Its a constantly good soundtrack that removes the pain of having to repeat a 15 minute level from the beginning.

Good Graphics: +4
Great Soundtrack: +5

In Conclusion:

Like dolphins, Ecco: The Tides of Time is a game that is not afraid from swimming against the current. As a result, it managed somehow to become both an iconic and forgotten game at the same time.

While it is easy to get lost, and the difficulty might not provide pay-off to everyone playing the game, it is simply worth it to play a unique game which was not imitated in any way since. It also has some pretty sick tunes.

Final: 42/50

"Tips"
1- Eat fish to restore your health.
2- Repeatedly use the Sonar skill to get a grasp of your surroundings.
3- Double tap the tackle button to permanently kill your opponents.
4- You can safely dodge enemies without having to deal with them, most of the time.
5- The Cthulhu like enemies can kill you very easily, either run away from them or immediately try and kill.
6- There is an item that upgrades your Sonar attack in almost every big level, it is worth it to find it, but don't go out of your way.

"Next Game"

At first, I was going to play the first Ecco game before The tides of Time. However, I found that game to be an unpolished mess (Enemies will respawn at your face when you use Sonar for instance), so I just went ahead with this one. Maybe its only the soundtrack, but I ended up liking it despite wanting it to finish fast.

Next game on the list is the final Shinobi game on the list, Shinobi III at #16. Since I liked the previous two Shinobi games on the list I expect to like this one.

Stay Tuned
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Re: The Official Sega Genesis Gaming Thread

Post by Lord Spencer on Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:55 pm

#16

Game: Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master.
Year: 1993.
Genre: Action.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Megasoft.



First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

With third Shinobi on the Genesis, Sega is making a game on the back of poorly conceived Arcade port, and a well loved game that is nonetheless overshadowed by other Ninja-themed action games.

It is Shinobi III that Sega cements the series as part of the holy Ninja Triad of the the 8 and 16 bit generation.

"He will be a shadow. He will be a Shinobi"

Unlike its predecessors, Shinobi III actually attempts to put together some story to Shinobi's actions. At least with an extensive opening essay. After that, the game basically leaves all pretense of a narrative, and simply let's the action speaks of itself.

In a supposed sequel to The Revenge of Shinobi, the evil organization in that game returned with a vengeance, and Joe Musashi needs to go through 7 levels to put a stop to it. Its all basic stuff, but that's not what you are getting into this game for.

Each level manages to be unique, in such a way as to invite multiple playthroughs through the sheer quality of the game. Unfortunately, playing on older hardware (without save points), you may miss a feature that saves progress, which is a common complaint in action games.

Still, it is a testament to the game's arcade quality that going through the same level several times rarely gets boring. After all, each time, you discover a more efficient way of moving forward, a more effective way to deal with danger. And that is the most important quality in an arcade-type game.

Very Basics Story: -2
No Save System: -1
Invites Multiple Playthroughs: +5

"Although his fighting spirit burn like fire. His mind is still and calm as water "

Retaining its shooter-like gameplay, Shinobi III continues to employ throwing shurikens as the most primary method of attack. However, it changes mechanics significantly by ramping up Joe's mobility and speed.

Now, the game invites faster play styles, and because of that, it does reduce the difficulty level overall. Which is okay, since this is the closest to a bad ass ninja experience the franchise came to achieving.

Since each level is a little different, each requires a different utilization of the game's mechanics. Some levels need a more careful approach, with a wait and see style. Others invite more speed, with one level adding in an annoying platforming section.

While the occasional platforming can be annoying, it manages to express the spirit of this faster iteration of Shinobi. With the ability to wall jump, as well as double jump, performing these ninja feats is a big part of the game's fun.

However, due to the frustrating unpredictability of the double jump, what could have been one of the highlights of the game becomes one of its lowest points.

Other than that, all action mechanics click satisfactorily. Especially with boss battles that are difficult, engaging, and beautifully tense.

Healthy Challenge: +2
Fun Basic Gameplay: +3
Fun Bosses: +3
Double Jump Inaccuracy: -2

"The wings of darkness burns and shakes the earth as it lands"

It is obvious that Sega applied all their production experience for the Genesis in making this game. As it manages to look and sound, simply better than any other action game in the system, and even rivals the best looking games of the SNES.

Due to the increased speed of the game, anything less than the top-notch sprite animation we see here would have been an obvious let down. It is then more satisfying to see that these well-animated sprites are also remarkably detailed. Especially the bosses, whose increased size allows for more to show, without sacrificing performance.

Yet, these sprites wouldn't look half as impressive if not for beautiful level and background design. One level has an impossibly large moon in the background, and somehow, the entire landscape somehow seems to be lit through that moon.

True, some levels do have some boring generic "secret base" look, but the majority of locations and backgrounds are either the perfection of a well-worn level type (forest level), or something new and exciting.

Similarly, the soundtrack is the best in the series, and among the best on the Genesis. It doesn't grate in the ears like other, usually non-Sega games, and it manages to be upbeat and exciting throughout.

Great Graphics: +5
Very Good Soundtrack: +3

In Conclusion:

Shinobi III is the culmination of Sega's experience in both the Genre and the console. It manages to be one of the most mechanically satisfying Action games in the system, as well as an obvious art production power house.

It doesn't have the interesting lore and look of games like Castlevania, or even Strider, but it does make it up by being very good at what it does, and that's being a very good Action-Shooter hybrid starring a Ninja named Joe.

Final: 41/50

"Tips"
1- Conserve your Shurikens, don't waste them on enemies that guard.
2- Do not rush forward, check first to see enemies before they see you.
3- The fourth Ninjatsu skill attacks the bosses, give you back a spell, and costs you one life. Use it against difficult bosses if you have lives to spare.
4- Look around the stages for more Shurikens and power up.
5- When using a power up, you can guard against some attacks by moving forward.
6- You are most vulnerable when you jump, so make sure things are clear.

"Next Game"

That's it for the Shinobi series on the Genesis. In fact, that is it for the Shinobi series until the PS2 era. Based on the games I played, as well as the reception for the series, I don't understand why it didn't feature in the Sega Saturn. Its a good Action series, that probably should have a greater fleshing out in the Saturn era.

Next game in the list, at #16 is Beyond Oasis, an action adventure game that released in 1995, after the Saturn was released. From what everyone is telling me, it looks like a good game.

Stay Tuned
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