Retrorevisited: Shinobi Series

Retrorevisited is a stream series where I revisit a game or a game series I haven’t played in over 10 or 20+ years. I’ll go through to try see what I remember until a game over or I run out of continues. In some cases muscle memory may slowly return, in others probably not. This is a chance for me to revisit games of my youth that I still have or had at one point, playing them with and without nostalgia goggles, and do with mini-reviews of them too. If I decide to play any fully later and do a full review, parts of the mini-review would be incorporated into it. Depending on the playstyle or system, games reviewed will either be mini-reviews or one about all games in this session.  

The Shinobi series from Sega started with the arcade game and grew into a franchise with multiple ports of the arcade game on systems, and various sequels for the Sega Genesis and new editions for more modern systems. Great graphics and music, tough action and gameplay define the Shinobi series throughout the series. Some games added to the series while others took a slightly different route, but all games are still tough.

For this Retrorevisited I tried out the Sega Master System ports of the arcade Shinobi, then Revenge of Shinobi (ver 1 with Batman and Godzilla still as bosses), Shadow Dancer, and Shinobi 3 for the Sega Genesis.

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Hack Showcase: Sonic Classic Heroes (Genesis)

Hack Showcases and RPG Hack Showcases are a series where I show off various game and rpg hacks. I try to stick with hacks that improve gameplay or add quality of life features, completely or partially change the plot and characters, along with additional content, dialogue, graphical and sound improvements. Non-rpgs I try to give a full run to, or at least enough for a solid review. Rpgs I will stick with titles that have enough changes in the beginning to show off, and when I can, show parts later in the games where more differences appear. There may be spoilers in the reviews and videos. Some of these I may stream fully in the future or play on my own. Reviews are open to later revisions due to bug and content updates or me playing them and finding anything new I wish to bring up.

Sonic Classic Heroes is a collaboration hack between flamewing and ColinC10, which combines their respective Sonic 2 heroes and Sonic 1 & 2 hack. Sonic Classic heroes features the games Sonic 1 & 2 with Team Sonic consisting of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, and Team Chaotix with Espio the Chameleon, Vector the Crocodile, and Charmy the Bee, all characters from Knuckles Chaotix for the Sega 32x. Gameplay is built on the Sonic 2 engine and also features SRAM capabilities for saving your progress, a stage select for both games, Team Chaotix mode, and a feature to go through all the Chaos Emerald bonus stages of Sonic 1 and 2. Gameplay consists of controlling 1 character from your team, while the cpu controls the other 2 and you can switch between them at any time, or play with only 2 members of a team or go at it solo. Game also includes the elemental shields and uses physics from Sonic 3. Finishing Sonic 1 leads right into Sonic 2 after a brief cutscene.

Also worth noting the download of the latest version as on Jan 4, 2022 from the Sonic Retro forums has a full color pdf manual for download with the plot, controls for a 3 or 6-button controller and more!

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Hack Showcase: Crystalis QoL & Ungrind (NES) and Doom 32x Resurrection (Sega 32x)

Hack Showcases and RPG Hack Showcases are a series where I show off various game and rpg hacks. I try to stick with hacks that improve gameplay or add quality of life features, completely or partially change the plot and characters, along with additional content, dialogue, graphical and sound improvements. Non-rpgs I try to give a full run to, or at least enough for a solid review. Rpgs I will stick with titles that have enough changes in the beginning to show off, and when I can, show parts later in the games where more differences appear. There may be spoilers in the reviews and videos. Some of these I may stream fully in the future or play on my own. Reviews are open to later revisions due to bug and content updates or me playing them and finding anything new I wish to bring up.

Note: Seeing how I streamed both games together, I kept the gameplay video together along with this double review.

Crystalis QoL & Ungrind is a hack of Crystalis for the NES by Mentil. The aim of the hack is to reduce the time to grind for leveling and gathering gold, along with some other quality of life changes:

Changes:

  • Equipping orbs and bracelets is no longer necessary. Upon exiting the inventory screen, the respective Power will go into effect for your equipped sword.
  • Attempting to cast a spell with insufficient MP now leads to a single error beep and no interruption of gameplay, rather than a pause and a window opening up.
  • There is now an additional way to get Tornel to return home, that is a more reasonable prerequisite. In the God Slayer version of this patch, Stom now gives a hint to this instead of a red herring; a hint was also changed for how to progress at Mt. Sable to reflect a different stumbling block.
  • Dialog boxes should no longer cause screen wobbling on certain emulators (credit to steve_hacks for inspiration/vector). Running on Fceux/Mednafen is confirmed fixed, at least. If your emulator of choice (such as gnes) now has wobble or other issues when it didn’t before, use the respective anti_antiwobble IPS for your ROM version.
  • Fixed a bug preventing one from using level 3 charge attacks when current MP was exactly equal to their MP cost. Additionally, level 3 Bolt had its flashing toned down (it couldn’t be fully removed yet still display the associated graphics).
  • Fixed the Skeleton so that it now has paralysis immunity instead of poison, and shoots bones instead of webs. (I suspect someone typed in data from the line above in the spreadsheet (Blue Spider) here.)

Additionally, in the ungrind patches:

  • Most enemies had their gold and XP rewards increased to 200-300% of their original values, so almost no grinding should be required in order to progress or complete the game, if you defeat every enemy that crosses your path.
  • Several enemies had their damage nerfed to more-reasonable levels, and some damage sponges were adjusted so that they should no longer require more than ~6 hits to defeat (at expected levels/equipment). A few enemies had their elemental resistances modified.
  • Bosses had their level requirements lowered to 1, so there should be fewer cases of encountering a level gate. Note: despite this, late-game bosses have high defense that is insurmountable at too low a level, which isn’t fixable without substantially nerfing them (or some recoding effort that’d have broad balance implications). This precludes completing the game below approximately level 14.
  • Halved MP costs for level 3 charged sword attacks. They should be more useful relative to other spells now.

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Retrorevisited: Streets of Rage Trilogy (Genesis)

Retrorevisited is a stream series where I revisit a game or a game series I haven’t played in over 10 or 20+ years. I’ll go through to try see what I remember until a game over or I run out of continues. In some cases muscle memory may slowly return, in others probably not. This is a chance for me to revisit games of my youth that I still have or had at one point, playing them with and without nostalgia goggles, and do with mini-reviews of them too. If I decide to play any fully later and do a full review, parts of the mini-review would be incorporated into it. Depending on the playstyle or system, games reviewed will either be mini-reviews or one about all games in this session.  

The Streets of Rage games were Sega’s answer to brawlers on the SNES like the Final Fight series. Sporting great graphics and music and action, the games depict a team of ex-cops and friends fighting to save the city from the criminal organization run by Mr. X. Each character has their own move sets and stats in all 3 games. The three games of the Genesis trilogy were all released on the Genesis between 1991 and 1994, along with some Sega Master System and Game Gear ports, and included and various Sega collections. a 4th game was released for Windows and modern systems in 2020.

I never really played the SoR games until 2, and I still love it to this day. The music is some of my favorite of the 16-bit era, the graphics and gameplay are fabulous and it’s one of my go-to brawlers. I never fully played SoR or the hard SoR3, but plan to sit down with them in the future.

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RPG Hack Showcase: Un-Worked Designs: Popful Mail, Vay, Lunar 1-2 (Sega CD)

Hack Showcases and RPG Hack Showcases are a series where I show off various game and rpg hacks. I try to stick with hacks that improve gameplay or add quality of life features, completely or partially change the plot and characters, along with additional content, dialogue, graphical and sound improvements. Non-rpgs I try to give a full run to, or at least enough for a solid review. Rpgs I will stick with titles that have enough changes in the beginning to show off, and when I can, show parts later in the games where more differences appear. There may be spoilers in the reviews and videos. Some of these I may stream fully in the future or play on my own. Reviews are open to later revisions due to bug and content updates or me playing them and finding anything new I wish to bring up.

Working Designs was well known for bringing amazing rpgs and adventure titles to the US for the Sega CD, Saturn, and PSX. They loved games and took a lot of time translating and making the titles they ported. Most people now have a love-hate relationship with them: They either love what they did and their translations, or love what they did and hate their translations due to many of the jokes and pop culture references made throughout the games. Besides their translations, they tended to make games more difficult then their Japanese counterparts for some reason and added other new mechanics that made no sense (needing magic pts to save in Lunar 2).

Supper reworked the 4 Sega CD Working Designs title (Popful Mail, Vay, Lunar 1 & 2) back to something more like their Japanese counterparts in way of difficulty and mechanics, and even changed the fonts for text in some cases, and more. Check out his website and writeups on TCRF for more details. Ms Tea took the improvements to Lunar Eternal Blue a few steps further with improving load times and a few other fixes too.

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Retrorevisited: Ghouls & Ghosts Series

Retrorevisited is a stream series where I revisit a game or a game series I haven’t played in over 10 or 20+ years. I’ll go through to try see what I remember until a game over or I run out of continues. In some cases muscle memory may slowly return, in others probably not. This is a chance for me to revisit games of my youth that I still have or had at one point, playing them with and without nostalgia goggles, and do with mini-reviews of them too. If I decide to play any fully later and do a full review, parts of the mini-review would be incorporated into it. Depending on the playstyle or system, games reviewed will either be mini-reviews or one about all games in this session.

The Ghouls & Ghosts series by Capcom is known to strike fear in the hearts of gamers due to their high difficulty, cheap deaths, and having to complete the game twice for the ending. I’ll be covering the NES, Sega Master System, Genesis and SNES ports in this edition of Retrorevisited. Prior to this I had only played the arcade version, NES and the SNES games, and had forgotten the Genesis and SMS ports existed. Each port brings something new to the table, especially the SMS one with its rpg elements. The NES game being based on Ghosts & Goblins, the prequel title to the Ghouls & Ghosts series. The Genesis and SNES ports are close to the same as the arcade G&G, but with a key gameplay mechanic difference: the Genesis one lets you shot up while the SNES port has the double jump and you cannot shoot up. I’ve never really been that good at any of these, especially the NES one, but willing to give these a try again. After doing this edition of Retrorevisited I still enjoy the SMS port and plan to finish both loops on stream sometime, and I really enjoyed the Genesis port too! I did enjoy the SNES game to a point when it was released in my teenage years and I was surprised with how well done and how much I enjoyed the SMS and Genesis ports too! least they all have unlimited continues!

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Night of Shaq Fu Mini-Reviews

Night of Shaq Fu was a channel point redemption challenge that got filled out awhile ago on my stream. I said I would play all 4 of these miserable games, so I did. These 4 games came out in 1994 for the Genesis and SNES, and 1995 gave us the Game gear and Game Boy editions. All games are 2D fighters staring basketball great Shaquille O’Neal. The plot follows Shaq as he finds himself in a mystical and magical realm, taking down fighters to stop the evil mummy Sett Ra in Second World. These are known as some of the worst games ever made. Even with the digitized graphics and sprites and decent music, the play control of the games were awful. Games have a story, duel and tournament modes, except the GB port. Normally I wouldn’t give mini-reviews a rating, but these were so bad I kinda felt I should.

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Hack Showcase: Sonic 1 Megamix (Genesis)

Hack Showcases and RPG Hack Showcases are a series where I show off various game and rpg hacks. I try to stick with hacks that improve gameplay or add quality of life features, completely or partially change the plot and characters, along with additional content, dialogue, graphical and sound improvements. Non-rpgs I try to give a full run to, or at least enough for a solid review. Rpgs I will stick with titles that have enough changes in the beginning to show off, and when I can, show parts later in the games where more differences appear. There may be spoilers in the reviews and videos. Some of these I may stream fully in the future or play on my own. Reviews are open to later revisions due to bug and content updates or me playing them and finding anything new I wish to bring up.

The Sonic 1 Megamix hack is an ongoing project by Team Megamix with the goal of enhancing and improving Sonic 1 for Genesis in the best ways possible! This hack showcase is for the current 3.0 for Genesis, there is an unstable beta 4.0 for Sega CD, use it your own risk. A later edition was released after files were stolen. Currently the project is on hold or dead, with the team members going their own ways and some who worked on Sonic mania. The Sonic 1 Megamix adds the ability to save and continue your adventure, and use Mighty the Armadillo or Shadow the Hedgehog throughout the adventure of new stages and using abilities from later Sonic games. Other highlights of v3.0 include:

  • All level layouts edited (some complete; others pending).
  • Each character now has a unique set of moves (though Sonic and Shadow share the homing attack).
  • Most levels (not all) have a small intro, ala S3K, where they perform some sort of action when starting the level i.e, running in from the left.
  • Loads of music edits.
  • There is now a “preferences” screen, where you can customize certain aspects of the game (suggestions are welcome).
  • Cheat codes have been changed – figuring them out will grant you access to a new, special level select
  • “Original Mode” allows you to play the original levels from Sonic the Hedgehog, using all of the additions from Sonic Megamix (such as bug fixes, moves, preferences, etc). There is also a separate save slot for a character’s original mode.
  • Title screen demos have been edited. Credits demos have not.
  • Super forms have been added.
  • Elemental shields, ala S3K, have been added.
  • Credits have been edited; each character has a unique end pose on the ending sequence.

SO HOW IS IT? This hack is so well done! The Sonic hacking community constantly puts out great stuff and this is one of them! Shame it was unfinished. The graphics are great and in line with the other Sonic games. Great music tracks in the new levels and some music was remixed for this one like the boss themes. Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal even plays in one of the later levels! The hud for your score, time and amount of rings each changes whether you use Sonic, Mighty, or Shadow. Sonic, Mighty, and Shadow can all use their basic moves and use the Shields, Mighty and Shadow each have a unique abilities too. You can also either play the new hack, or play the original Sonic 1 with all the gameplay changes of Megamix!

Being able to use Sonic’s abilities from Sonic 3 is a great change and really adds to it, especially being able to charge a spin dash which you couldn’t do in Sonic 1. The stage new layouts all have the different power-up monitors and you can find the lightning, water, fire, and basic shields throughout the level, sometimes in spots where you’ll need them in the water and fire based levels. Sonic, Mighty, and Shadow can each use them. The level designs are larger than that of Sonic 1, and more dangerous too. Sometimes their too long, and they use the design of Sonic 1 where Act 3 has you go through a level before fighting Robotnik. For the record, I never liked the Special Stages in Sonic 1, Megamix changes up the designs of the Special Stages so they’re more manageable. The music and design is the same, but there’s more to do and it’s not as hectic.

If I had to come up with some negatives it’s the aforementioned longer levels. Sometimes just trying to get through them is a chore and like Sonic 1, there isn’t many opportunities to go fast since you’re avoiding the environment and enemies, Misty Maze Zone is a great example. The Robotnik fights seem about the same as from vanilla, except the final fight is harder. The save feature is a great addition, but it saves where you left off and how many lives you had at the start. So if you make it to a later zone with 1 life, you’re kind of in trouble.

I GIVE SONIC 1 MEGAMIX 4 OUT OF 5 RINGS!!

GAMEPLAY VIDEO:

LINKS: https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/171/ – RHDN page
http://www.headcannon.com/TeamMegamix/index.php?p=mm_home – Team Megamix homepage
http://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic_the_Hedgehog_Megamix – SonicRetro Wiki page

If you enjoy reading any of my content and hearing of my nerdy adventures, feel free to share my posts on social media or leave me a comment. I would be forever grateful if you supported me via my Cash App or buy me a coffee via Ko-Fi. All donations are very welcomed and appreciated. I earn no income from this blog and this will help me continue in providing content and fulfilling my dreams. Thanks!

Theme Night: Spider-Man games

So I’m a big Spider-Man fan from the comics and various movies and cartoon shows. When i came up with the Theme Night ideas, doing one of various Spider-Man games throughout the years was one of my first ideas. I started reading Spider-Man on and off as a teen when the infamous Clone Saga was revving up, and later officially added the book to my comic pull list when the Big Time arc started when Brand New Day was winding down. I think my fav Spider-Man movies are the 2 MCU films, the animated into the Spider-verse (I’m also a big fan of Spider-Gwen), and Spider-Man 2 of the Sam Raimi trilogy. Kinda a tossup between my favorite cartoon series of the Fox Kids 90’s Spider-Man, and Spectacular Spider-Man (a show cut off prematurely in its prime). I’ve enjoyed the later animated series since marvel took over to a point. I like what they’ve done adapting classic stories and making new ones, but some of the animation and gags are really lame. So this is gonna be me trying out 10 various games across systems, including Spider-Man the arcade game.

Games played:
spider-man (arcade)
amazing spider-man (gameboy)
spider-man web of fire (sega 32x)
spider-man vs kingpin (sega cd)
spider-man lethal foes (super famicom, translation patch available)
spider-man return of sinister six (nes)
spider-man the movie (gba)
spider-man & venom: maximum carnage (snes)
ultimate spider-man (gba)
spider-man 2: enter electro (psx)

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Star Wars Day & Mini-Reviews 2021

star-wars-day-may-fourth-you-holiday

May 4th is Star Wars Day, with the familiar motto “May the 4th Be With You. Being a big Star Wars fan, I wanted to try to make a yearly Star Wars may 4th variety streaming night a thing. This year I played a bunch of games that I played last year, and some other ones! I was also running out of game ideas, lol I also forgot being i had work that day to try again with buying some games cheap off Steam and fussing around with getting them windowed and blowing up the dosbox window. lol i also played a neat little hack i found of Galaga but with Star Wars ships!

So this year I played a bunch on more modern systems as well, this year’s list was:
arcade (MAME) star wars
famicom star wars
atari 2600 death star battle
gba episode 3
32x star wars arcade
nes star wars galaga hack
gba star wars trilogy apprentice of the force
psx masters of teras kasi
psx rebel assault 2
n64 shadows of the empire
dreamcast jedi power battles

I’m gonna add a few mini-reviews of a handful of these later in this post like I did with a few games I played last year. If i longplay any of these there may or may not be a full review of them.

GAMEPLAY VIDEO:

ONTO THE MINI-REVIEWS:

STAR WARS EPISODE 3: REVENGE OF THE SITH GBA: This game is a GBA version of the Episode 3 PS2 game. That said, this is very well done. The graphics, animation, and music are beautiful for the GBA’s look and feel. Character portraits are well done, though some facial expressions leave a lot to be desired. Force powers are controlled by one of the shoulder buttons and directional pad. Gaining force points in levels let you build up your main stats along with your force powers, so it adds an rpg element. Plot pretty much follows Episode 3. Decent challenge, seems like boss fights you need to fight and defend instead of taking them out with brute force. I may have to give this another play!

STAR WARS TRILOGY APPRENTICE OF THE FORCE GBA: I believe this game follows all the major story beats of the original trilogy and it looks well done as well. Animation is pretty fluid and the graphics are decent as is the music.Controls are easy enough to figure out too.

MASTERS OF TERAS KASI PSX: This game is trashy. I see what they were trying to accomplish with a Star Wars fighting game, but it really feels phoned in. Music is the same John Williams tracks we all know and love, backgrounds for fighting arenas are familiar Star Wars locations. Character models look something between Legos and blocky action figures and the controls are quite stiff. You got the main cast of the OT here along with some new folks and even Boba Fett. Play this if you really want to or drunk.

REBEL ASSAULT 2 PSX: This game has the distinction of being the first (at the time) new Star Wars footage filmed after Return of the Jedi was completed. That said, this game feels like a Star Wars version of Dragon’s Lair where you go from a sequence of hiding and shooting Stormtroopers, to flying scenes where you control your craft through a small tunnel trying to avoid running into things. The space battle scenes are really nice! The FMV has an old “this is so bad it’s good charm” but then again that was the case of most FMV in the 90’s.

If you enjoy reading any of my content and hearing of my nerdy adventures, feel free to share my posts on social media or leave me a comment. I would be forever grateful if you supported me via my Cash App or buy me a coffee via Ko-Fi. All donations are very welcomed and appreciated. I earn no income from this blog and this will help me continue in providing content and fulfilling my dreams. Thanks!