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What have you actually PLAYED tracker for 2020 (Season 13)

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40 minutes ago, carlsson said:

Excerpt from the NES/Famicom stats:

Super Mario Bros. 3 - 4650 min.

Action 52 - 3982 min.

Super Mario. Bros 1 - 3422 min.

Super Mario. Bros 2 - 989 min. (so very close to the 1000 Minute Club, anyone?)

etc more titles

And there it is! Action 52 has more time than SMB1 and 2!

 

I'm guessing that's international SMB2 (released on the Famicom as Super Mario USA) and not Japan SMB2 (as far as I know, it never got released outside of Japan on the NES/FC... and I think even in Japan it might be FDS only, but I'm not sure), right? I have the Nt mini now and was planning on playing Mario anyway eventually, so I'll go ahead and push it over because why not.

Edited by Steven Pendleton
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Yes, SMB2 in this context usually refers to the reskinned version of Doki Doki Panic. The Japanese version of SMB2 is known as Lost Levels (202 min). For that matter, the tracker also has minutes listed on these NES/Famicom titles:

 

Super Mario Bros. For Hardplayers (ROM hack) - 50 min.

Super Mario Bros. Special - 120 min.

Super Mario Bros. YY - 60 min.

Super Mario USA - 45 min.

Super Mario World [pirate] - 305 min.

Super Merio Bros. [hack by monkey] - 2 min.

 

Your guess is as good as mine what is what here. It is yet another borderline case whether the international version of SMB2 and the Super Mario USA should be listed as two titles if they're the same game. I know people like to keep SMB3 JP and international versions apart but in this tracker those are combined.

 

Edited by carlsson
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41 minutes ago, carlsson said:

Yes, SMB2 in this context usually refers to the reskinned version of Doki Doki Panic. The Japanese version of SMB2 is known as Lost Levels (202 min). For that matter, the tracker also has minutes listed on these NES/Famicom titles:

 

Super Mario Bros. For Hardplayers (ROM hack) - 50 min.

Super Mario Bros. Special - 120 min.

Super Mario Bros. YY - 60 min.

Super Mario USA - 45 min.

Super Mario World [pirate] - 305 min.

Super Merio Bros. [hack by monkey] - 2 min.

 

Your guess is as good as mine what is what here. It is yet another borderline case whether the international version of SMB2 and the Super Mario USA should be listed as two titles if they're the same game. I know people like to keep SMB3 JP and international versions apart but in this tracker those are combined.

 

Yeah, Super Mario USA is just the Japanese release of the reskinned Doki Doki Panic. It comes on a super bright pink cart and it's very easy to find in town. In that case, SMB2 and Super Mario USA should maybe be combined, as The Cutting Room Floor says that the Japanese version is the revision 1 version of the US version but with a different title screen: https://tcrf.net/Super_Mario_Bros._2_(NES)#Regional_Differences

 

The rest of those are extremely likely to just be ROM hacks and pirate versions.

 

I've never heard anything about SMB3 having major international differences, but I'll look into it, as learning about different versions of different games is one part of why I'm doing the tracker in the first place, as it gives me a great reason to study the games I play.

 

Edit: this is why for sure, I'm guessing: https://tcrf.net/Super_Mario_Bros._3/Version_differences#Damage_System

If you hadn't mentioned it, I never would have known about this! Now I know which version I want to play, and it will be the Japanese version!

 

I actually just found an interesting difference between Castevania Legends and Akumajou Dracula Dark Night Prelude today, for example, which is that the international versions give you a password and the Japanese version actually gives you a save file. Having played this game for the first time today, I can say it's not so great, though...

Edited by Steven Pendleton
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Yeah. Like I mentioned before, the tracker is not nuclear science but for our own fun. Some of the SMB3 minutes logged here may have specified which version was played, most probably did not. As noted we have a fair number of entries with JP version separate from international, to which extent the games really differ is up to each case. At the same time some games are combined too... 🤣

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11 hours ago, Steven Pendleton said:

So.. um... what are the recommended games in Action 52? I think a few of them have some potential, although I forget their names at this point.

Back in 2016 I beat 24 (I think) of the 52 games in the collection -- and by "beat" I mean "played them until they either loop or always crash". I've forgotten a lot about them, though I had an extensive set of reviews that were lost when NintendoAge changed hands (though I can probably get them back with some effort).

 

The one that really sticks out in my mind is Silver Sword, a kind of gauntlet through three levels of brutal overhead run-'n-gun-ish action. I practiced that one for hours and hours before I learned the levels, and it was satisfying as hell to get the win. Billy Bob and Haunted Hill had some decent animation and/or sprites, and beating them was a formidable challenge.

 

But to be clear, none of the games are "good", though I agree some had real potential. There were several programmers involved, and one of them churned out some really dreadful, 100% RNG-based efforts like Storm Over the Desert and Sharks, where there's no meaningful strategy at all and enemies can spawn directly on top of you, so the only way to win is for RNG to smile upon you.

 

Those are the games that are absolute trash beyond redemption; most of the others had something going on, even if it was only a thin thread.

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Nt mini Noir get!! = time to test a bunch of stuff on it and play a system that I've never played before. Everything this week was done on the Nt mini.

 

FC/NES
Action 52 - 57
Akumajou Densetsu - 418 (estimate)

Accidentally reset my timer without taking note of my time once, so I added 60 minutes to the time I had and called it good. Oops. I beat the game several times and restarted entire playthroughs a few times because I love this game ('s music) so much.
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse - 16

^ not sure if these 2 count separately or not, but as there are massive differences in the way they play, I wasn't sure, so here they are separately, just in case. 4 of the games this week, including these 2, are games that I have played before, so these are not new to me. I vastly prefer the superior music in Akumajou Densetsu and so do you.
Chou Wakusei Senki MetaFight (localized title = Blaster Master) - 28
Contra (FC version) - 10
Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryuu to Hikari no Ken - 98

The only real FC/NES cart that I own. I don't enjoy playing games in kana only, but no choice here since it never got released outside of Japan and I guess the FC sucks at kanji, sadly. Apparently I decided to be terrible and got Marth killed on the very first map after only 18 minutes. How shameful.
Jurassic Park - 14
Gimmick! - 45
Super Mario Bros. 2 - 30

Yay, it joins the 1000 minute club!

 

Genesis/MD
Gleylancer - 3

That's right, a Sega game on a fake Nintendo console, mainly to test the d-pad. Does this mean Nintendon't finally Nintendoes after all of these years?

 

GB
Akumajou Dracula Dark Night Prelude - 7

You probably know it as Castlevania Legends, its non-Japanese title. I do not particularly like this game now that I have played it. Will play it more later.

 

GBC
Crystal Clear - 42

This is an extremely interesting ROM hack of Pokemon Crystal that doesn't have Pokemon in the title (at least, it's not in the file name or title screen) even though people commonly refer to it as Pokemon Crystal Clear. I did also play Pokemon Gold as well for a few minutes to test the clock in the game to see if it works on the Nt mini, but it doesn't = dropped, as the game doesn't function as intended without it. Crystal Clear lets you adjust the clock manually if needed, which is why I kept playing it, even if I did not get far.

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Atari 8-bit:
Last Squadron - 22 min.
Sector Wars - 13 min.

 

Two fairly new games in the A8 HSC. While work on Sector Wars was started back in 1983, it didn't get a complete release until 2020. Last Squadron is a XL/XE game from the ABBUC competition but unfortunately my 130XE crashes out randomly on it so I can't enjoy it as much as I would like to. Oh well, there's always emulation though it is not my primary choice of gaming.

 

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Here are my times for this week (December 7th through 13th) on classic systems:

 

Arcade:

Chicken Shift - 6 min.

Donkey Kong Jr. - 8 min.

Hyper Sports - 9 min.

Galaxian - 4 min.

Mario Bros. - 18 min.

Ms. Pac-Man - 5 min.

 

This week I finished playing Mario Bros and played a few short sessions of other games - Chicken Shift, Donkey Kong Jr., Hyper Sports, Galaxian and Ms. Pac-Man - 1 game each. Other than that, I started playing the brower game "Castaway" which is to be found in the modern tracker. In Hyper Sports, I got through to the 5th event... maybe it will help to redefine the inputs like I did in Track & Field. Nothing spesial to report for the other games.The most unusial of those is probably Chicken Shift.

 

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My times for the week:


NES:
Bases Loaded - 184 min.

 

Master System:
Mecha-8 - 1 min.

 

PlayStation:
Buttsubushi - 91 min.

Hyper Final Match Tennis - 64 min.

 

More butts, more subushis.

 

EDIT: Ha, I don't believe "subushi" is a word in Japanese (and it'd be "tsubushi" anyway), but right after making that joke I just found out how Google Translate renders subushi (すぶし) -- as "fist"! LO-to-the-L.

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Times for the week:

 

Arcade on psone

Dig Dug 49 mins

Galaxian 18 mins

 

Atari 2600

Amidar 11 mins

Donkey Kong 86 mins for FB HSC

Eggomania 114 mins. Got my paddles working ok. 
Solar Fox 186 mins

Squish’em 14 mins

 

All fun. 4EE3ECDE-1755-4B15-9B55-25B71232BB60.thumb.jpeg.5dcab53b84f3968814571125e8e599e2.jpeg

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Gameboy (* = Color)

Double Dribble 5 on 5 14

F1 Race 12

Mario's Picross 178

Oddworld Adventures 127

Pokemon Gold* 654

Space Invaders 15

Super RC Pro-Am 14

 

SNES

Space Invaders 13

 

I played a bunch more Pokemon Gold and like @Steven Pendleton, my RT clock isn't working (but the game saves).  I don't really care as I'm just using it as an intro to Pokemon, and I have no real intention of catching morning Pokemon or evening Pokemon (or whatever).  I'm enjoying the game well enough - I finally had all my PokeMon "faint" for the first time yesterday.  Need to level up!

 

It turns out that the Gameboy version of Space Invaders will actually launch the SNES game when plugged into the Super Gameboy, so I played both the Gameboy version and the SNES version this week (which claims to be the arcade version).  Yeah - it was Space Invaders . . . yahoo.

 

Mario's Picross is a nice time waster and Oddworld Adventures is what you'd expect for a paired down version of Oddworld (I guess).  I haven't played an Oddworld game in years, so it's probably not the best re-introduction to the series, but it has some satisfying puzzles to solve.

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Cold weather means Cafeman is in a 90s Sega mood! In minutes:

 

Genesis:

 

Road Rash, 120 

Road Rash 2,  10

Road Rash 3, 10 

Jurassic Park, 120

Jurassic Park Rampage Edition, 90 

Super Hang On, 60

Earthworm Jim, 90

 

Sega CD:  Batman Returns CD, 90

 

Sega Saturn:

 

Baku Baku 120.  Including competition with wife!

Earthworm Jim 2, 120. (Trying to catch puppies is maddening by 3rd round)

 

 

 

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Atari 2600

Hunchy 2 - 5 minutes

Kaboom! - 69 minutes

Solar Fox - 58 minutes

 

I got to Rack 40 and 836,800 points on Solar Fox.   I made it through all the challenges and got back to the first one.

 

Edited by Atarian7
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It was a pretty darn good week for gaming around here this past week! I logged a bunch of time in Breath of the Wild on the Switch as per usual, started a new game of DOOM Eternal on the Xbox One, and did some classic gaming with the spousal unit. First we tried out Streets of Rage 3 on the Genesis, which unfortunately didn't have quite the charm of the first two games. It was way harder than the first two, often unfairly so, and the soundtracks that were always so memorable and well orchestrated in the first two Streets of Rage games were replaced with a bunch of industrial noise that reminded me a lot of two robots humping in a scrap heap. Soooo, yeah... I wouldn't recommend Streets of Rage 3. 

 

Next up we tried out Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition for the Genesis as well, since I always liked the original Jurassic Park game so much, but sadly the sequel suffered from much the same problem as Streets of Rage 3 in that it was absurdly difficult. We only played for 14 minutes before giving up, after half a dozen failed attempts to get through the first level. Finally, after two not so great games, we decided to give Snatcher for the Sega CD a go last night (via the Mega SD) and holy guacamole Batman this game is AWESOME! I rarely use all caps, but Snatcher totally deserves it. The cool Blade Runner-esque story, gorgeous pixel art animation, clever storytelling and solid (for the time at least) voice acting all make Snatcher a definite winner of a game, and I love that you can do all the shooting sequences with the Konami Justifier light gun! We're only a couple hours into it at this point but I'm sure we'll be playing through Snatcher to the very end, because this game is just freakin' amazing. 👍

 

 

DSC00640.thumb.JPG.cb31a06788a7dd3fbc709cdb14fb4238.JPG

 

 

Ineligible

DOOM Eternal (Xbox One) - 142 minutes

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Switch) - 635 minutes

 

Sega CD

Snatcher - 128 minutes

 

Sega Genesis

Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition - 14 minutes

Streets of Rage 3 - 82 minutes

 

 

Total Video Game Play Time This Week

1,001 minutes (16 hours 41 minutes) [224 minutes eligible]

 

Individual System Play Times This Week

Nintendo Switch: 635 minutes

Xbox One: 142 minutes

Sega CD: 128 minutes

Sega Genesis: 96 minutes

 

Edited by Skippy B. Coyote
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On 12/9/2020 at 11:51 PM, Steven Pendleton said:

So.. um... what are the recommended games in Action 52? I think a few of them have some potential, although I forget their names at this point.

If you'd like a far more detailed answer to this question than you ever possibly wanted, I decided to compile my Action 52 capsule reviews from 2016, clean them up a bit, and add a few entries. I've now beaten just over half of the games on there, the majority of which are the more difficult ones (someone else got to most of the easy ones before I did, since this was part of a community "beat all the NES games" effort).

 

Abandon all hope, ye who click on this spoiler tag:

 

Spoiler

Action 52 capsule reviews

 

As of December 2020. Most games played in 2016, the below is based on notes taken then. Asterisk (*) = I beat it, i.e. looped it or played it until it always crashes or softlocks.

 

1. Fire Breathers*

2P-only single screen player-vs.-player shooter, sort of like Gunfight/Outlaw with dragons, over the course of eight stages. Might be fun with 2P, but seems very bare-bones. I "beat" it by button-mashing my motionless foe to death, times eight.

 

2. Star Evil*
Total trash, buggy as hell, the basic mechanics are playable but there's hardly anything there. Infamous for killing you with obstacles at the very beginning of each level.
 
3. Illuminator*

By far one of the best games and game concepts in the set, though ultimately the random enemy spawns make it impossible to call it a "good" game -- but at least it's playable.

 

An Atari 2600 demake could be great, though a similar concept has been done with the homebrew Fade Out.

 

4. G-Force Fighters*
Absolutely pathetic, 3-level side-scrolling shmup. In essence it's Space Jockey for Atari 2600, but without the ground enemies, and with the addition of a health bar and very basic, repetitive music. At least Space Jockey had some vague charm and variety; this has neither. No sign of effort of any kind put into this one.
 
5. Ooze*

Experienced in its complete form, Ooze is probably the best and most coherent platformer that Action 52 has to offer (which isn't saying much). But that last level is brutal, the controls and hit detection are a mess, etc. It has an ending, though -- I'm one of the very few people on the planet to get that congratulations screen legitimately! Too bad I can't mail in for my prize...

 

6. Silver Sword*

Easily one of the best games on Action 52, and certainly one of the hardest. It's sort of like Action 52's version of Ikari Warriors: three very long, difficult stages that require extensive memorization or mapping. Fortunately, at least you can (mostly) waltz through Stage 2 unharmed.

 

If all the games on Action 52 were on this level, I think the cart would be a different story. Silver Sword still lacks polish and variety (not to mention a proper ending), and there are one or two minor bugs, but it's really not that different in quality from many early third-party Famicom titles.

 

Take Silver Sword, add better music and an ending, polish out a few bugs, throw in a couple powerups, and it starts looking pretty typical for 1986-1987 Famicom. (Hell, it's already probably better than the likes of Super Monkey Daibouken or Stargazers.) The lack of an ending is a huge demerit, though.

 

7. Critical Bypass
8. Jupiter Scope

Haven't played these, or not enough to form an opinion.

 

9. Alfredo and the Fettuccini* (aka Alfred N The Fettuc, etc.)

Alfredo has a certain kusoge appeal, and other than a lack of presentation/polish it's not that much worse than the worst Famicom platformers. Exploitable bugs help since enemies in the third level get very nasty, and repeating background patterns help to anticipate them.
  
10. Operation Full Moon*

Don't really remember anything about this one. Always crashes at the end of Level 8.

 

11. Dam Busters
12. Thrusters

Haven't played these enough to form an opinion.

 

13. Haunted Halls of Wentworth*

If it weren't for the random attacks from the left, and a couple of annoying control quirks (especially not being able to jump to a lower platform without dying), Haunted Halls (aka "Haunted Hill") would be one of the strongest contenders for "almost decent" in the Action 52 library. The stage layout clearly isn't random, and even hints at good design in a couple of places. And even the random attacks from skulls and ghosts can usually be defeated if you're quick and brave.

 

Over and over again I'm finding the same thing in these games -- there's always some way to make it through, some narrow path to victory, suggesting that the designers usually did have playability in mind. (They just weren't very good at it.)

 

14. Chill Out

Didn't beat/don't recall.

 

15. Sharks

Didn't beat this one, but it's one of the horrific titles that use random enemy spawn patterns (leading to totally unfair deaths) and require you to mash the fire button for minutes on end. Horrible.

 

16. Megalonia*

Pretty straightforward little shooter with an interesting gimmick -- every enemy you kill in the stage depletes the boss's health. Unfortunately your ship is slow, the music insanely repetitive, and the game itself is buggy, but it's still about as good as Action 52 seems to get in the shmup department.

 

17. French Baker*

Dull single-screen title, a bit like BurgerTime with projectiles? Very easy once you figure out where to camp to avoid cheap respawns.

 

18. Atmos Quake

Didn't beat/don't recall.

 

19. Meong

Unexpectedly cerebral game (by Action 52 standards) where you have to find a path through multiple grid-based levels filled with death traps, and can't stay still for long or else you'll fall to your death. There's the germ of a good idea here but the execution is rough to say the least. I didn't beat it, and would have to map it out meticulously to do so.

 

20. Space Dreams*

My notes say "Very easy until the last level or two, and even those aren't too tough." I think this was the vertically-scrolling shmup where you play as a baby bottle and are attacked by kids' toys, or something like that.

 

21. Streemerz

Didn't beat/don't recall.

 

22. Spread Fire

Didn't beat this, but my notes say "The trick is to maintain a very high fire rate, which keeps enemy sprites from spawning, and only let up for just long enough to allow one enemy to spawn at a time. I was able to get to Level 10 on my second attempt, and WashYourFace reached Level 12, so I think it's doable. The collision detection is maddening, though, and there's an invincible enemy that could ruin everything."

 

23. Bubble Gum Rosie*

AKA "Bubble Gum Rossie" on the title screen and "Bublgum Rosy" in the menu.

 

Whoo, where to begin with this one...it took me over five hours to beat. It starts out with relatively straightforward platforming in typical Action 52 style (at least your character can jump and fall a reasonable distance), except for a mid-level jump that requires absolutely perfect timing but fortunately doesn't punish you for failure. After a while I was able to no-hit that with relative ease.

 

Then the second stage switches to a driving game that depends almost 100% on the RNG, since the enemies move completely at random and there's nothing you can do if they block your path. Otherwise it's pretty easy, but only if luck breaks your way.

 

But the third stage, wow...easily one of the most aggravating I've encountered in Action 52. It's back to platforming, but you're constantly under attack from fast-moving bats (at least I think they're bats) that change direction at random and are hard to see (light yellow on light blue). You can proceed slowly and try to take them out one at a time, but it's incredibly frustrating to try to target them -- they always seem to be just out of range -- and in some areas, you just don't have enough maneuverability to do it safely.

 

When you've got three or four of them after you, and you pair that with tricky platforming over spikes or piranha plants à la Mario -- not to mention, of course, the utterly screwy controls -- it's just brutal. And you can only take two hits, and only get two lives, so...yep. Glad that one is done.

 

24. Micro Mike

Haven't beaten this one but it's a completely ridiculous, fast-scrolling shmup that requires superhuman reflexes just to survive for more than a few seconds. Dunno how Bea_Iank managed to beat this one.

 

25. Underground

26. Rocket Jockey

Haven't played these, or not enough to comment.

 

27. Non-Human*

Weirdest platform hit detection ever, more than a few pixels to the left of where your character's feet appear. I don't remember much else about it, since it only took me ~15 min. to beat.

 

28. Cry Baby*

This single-screen action game reminds me somehow of Impossible Mission, but there's nothing to it except offing long strings of enemies, and occasionally killing yourself by falling two feet or climbing down the wrong object.

 

29. Slashers

Haven't played/beaten.

 

30. Crazy Shuffle*

Bizarre overhead shooter set in a hedge maze, where the key to success is to find invincible enemies stuck in a fixed pattern, and shoot them until the level advances. It vaguely reminds me of a game I can't place, with similarly tiny characters and bullets...can't think of what it is, maybe something for the TI-99/4A. Kind of a cool concept but no more than that.

 

31. Fuzz Power*

You can tell they wanted to achieve something with Fuzz Power, since the character design and play control are a bit better than most other titles on the cartridge, but the gameplay is by turns abominably unfair and trivially easy. Ends with an impassable wall early in Level 3.

 

32. Shooting Gallery

Haven't played/beaten.

 

33. Lollipops*

Lollipops features a few Action 52 trademarks: unrecoverable dead ends if you choose the wrong path, music that glitches out completely in the third level, attacking suspends you in the air temporarily, falling kills you in mid-air, dying glitches out your sprite, etc. Still, it takes less than half an hour to beat if you have good antennae for the dynamics of broken games.

 

34. Evil Empire
35. Sombreros

Haven't played these enough to comment.

 

36. Storm Over the Desert

Didn't beat this one, but it's another "random spawn" game and even worse than Sharks. A horrible abomination. Bea_Iank at NintendoAge found some exploits to make it marginally less impossible to beat, but I still don't know how she did it.

 

37. Mash Man

I know/remember nothing.

 

38. They Came...*

Beating They Came... was one of the toughest feats I've ever managed on the NES. It's actually not too hard, except for the unremitting brutality of Level 6. I could reliably clear Levels 1-5 on my first try, Levels 7-8 on my second or third, and Level 9 I may have solved (see below), but Level 6 seemed almost impossible.

 

On my winning run, I actually lost count of the 20 enemies I needed to beat Level 6, and thought I had 4-5 fewer than I actually did, so clearing it was a great surprise (and maybe I played better since I was less stressed about making the threshold). Then I had plenty of extra lives for the rest of the game.

 

The game is a multidirectional, single-screen shooter. Everything is random, but you can control the number of enemy spawns based on your fire rate and the number of objects onscreen. Level 6 of that one seemed impossible, but I eventually got through.

 

In Level 9, I think there's a safe spot at the lower-right corner -- hide there, and I don't think the big ships can reach you (at least not the ones in vertical orientation). Throughout the game, maintaining a high fire rate is key to minimize the number of enemies onscreen, and also to discourage enemies from shooting, but you have to let up occasionally so that new enemies will materialize. (In Level 9, once a big ship shows up, shoot nonstop so no others will come.)

 

In Level 6, it seems like the grey enemies don't shoot if you've got 3-4 1UPs onscreen; if you have 5 onscreen, though, no enemies will appear at all until you collect at least one. I found it was too frustrating waiting for enemies to appear if I had 4 onscreen, so I typically had 2-3. Otherwise I just shot up the center-left (hanging out by the skull in the lower-left), got lucky with my shots when I could, and hit the occasional horizontal shot if an enemy dove to the side.

 

39. Lazer League

I know/remember nothing.

 

40. Billy-Bob*

It's amazing how much the infinite continues in Levels 3-5 change Billy Bob from an intolerable wreck, to something that's almost like a prototype of the "Nintendo hard" homebrews of recent years (where the whole point is playing and replaying a ridiculously difficult level repeatedly until you finally make it through). Without them I don't think there's much chance I would've beaten this -- Level 3 just has far too many possible insta-death spawns, and Level 4 has a couple stumbling blocks too.

 

The trick of starting big jumps by tapping the direction away from the pit made a big difference. Only five enemies can be onscreen at once, so tracking that can be helpful, and bumping your head against the ceiling to clear spears is an important tactic. That said, it's good to avoid jumping into the top of the screen whenever possible; it cut down on unnecessary deaths when I realized you don't need to jump at the end of Level 1, and there are a bunch of places where falling is preferable to jumping in Levels 2 & 3. On the third screen of Level 3, a halting jump forward near the gap on the second floor will put you in position to do a "grab the ledge" jump up to the top floor.

 

Really nice-looking game by Action 52 standards, still quite decent by general NES standards. Plays like a nightmare, of course, especially the jump controls. You have to be moving, and you should tap the button as quickly as possible. I think every frame you hold the button down counts against you for horizontal movement, so tapping for the absolute minimum time possible -- one frame? two? three? -- is best.

 

41. City of Doom*

City of Doom is sort of like Level 2 of Silver Sword, as if played on Crazy Climber's playfield. That is, the enemy spawn patterns seem deterministic and are triggered by scrolling, but like Level 2 of Silver Sword you can just charge ahead and ignore them (there are a few exceptions in Silver Sword, but none here).

 

Meanwhile the main body of the playfield is a deathtrap best avoided, with unpredictable hitboxes for the windows, and the boss battles are typical random Action 52 garbage.

 

The best approach is just to stick to the left edge of the building, shoot upward until you reach the boss (which makes the whole level before the boss battle trivial), and then hope that the random movements of the boss line up with your shots. Don't bother with horizontal movement, except when you move over at the beginning of each stage.

 

Try to stay as vertically far from the boss as possible, but if he's coming straight at you, better to shoot rapidly and hope for the best. It's important to know how many hits you've landed -- watch your score.

 

There are basically two positions he can be in when he reaches the left edge; in one of them, he can move vertically through you without inflicting any damage -- his hitbox is weird and seems biased toward one side.

 

Another glitch is that on multiple occasions I defeated the boss only for the level to fail to end; when it happened on Level 1 it was annoying, but on Level 2 it was infuriating. It started happening a lot after I'd been playing for a couple hours, so I restarted and the problem went away. I think hitting him with horizontal shots, and getting hit (but not killed) by the boss, increase the odds of the glitch.

 

42. Bits and Pieces

Didn't play/can't remember.

 

43. Beeps and Blips

Didn't beat this one and don't really remember it, but I have extensive notes from WashYourFace on how to approach it. Glitches out in Level 8, which can't be passed.

 

44. Manchester Beat*

This side-scrolling action platformer is so obviously broken that the whole game turns into one big exploit that you'll inevitably figure out. The boss fights add the vaguest whiff of interest, but it's a mess.

 

45. Boss*

Oddly enough this side-scrolling stroll-'n'-gun gets easier as it goes on, since while the bombs fall faster as the game goes on, the time between drops stays the same -- so in later levels, you actually have a larger window to get through safely.

 

In a way, then, Level 1 is the hardest level, though Level 4 cost me several lives when I got to the end and the boss didn't spawn. I think the trick to preventing that is halting as soon as you see the sixth and final enemy, and moving back toward the left side of the screen before shooting him.

 

46. Dedant*

Simplistic Centipede ripoff, sort of. The GameFAQs guide makes it sound like the safe zone on the edge of the screen is a glitch, but I think it's an intentional part of the gameplay (and absolutely necessary for survival).

 

47. Hambo's Adventures

Didn't beat/don't recall enough to comment. (I always think there's a pig in this one, can't remember if there actually is.)

 

48. Time Warp Tickers*

Pseudo-psychedelic-rockabilly-whatever side-scroller in which you play as a pair of fingers, are attacked by musical instruments and the like, and every time you kill an enemy, the word "Time?" floats upwards. Horrible hit detection and unfair, random enemy spawns, but it wasn't nearly as tough as I expected, as after a while, you can start to identify patterns in the enemy spawns. Total trash, but amusingly bizarre trash.

 

49. Jigsaw

Didn't play/can't remember. Crashes instantly on real hardware, at least in some revisions.

 

50. Ninja Assault*

Ninja Assault really brings home what a massive, massive difference it makes when these games are deterministic, i.e. non-random -- they're actually playable, and even mildly amusing for the hour or so it takes to figure them out.

 

In the case of Ninja Assault, the only tricky part is a log jump section with completely counterintuitive controls. Otherwise the game is one of a handful on Action 52 that approach "licensed Famicom kusoge" levels of quality, in that there's actually a game there with some sense of level design and graphic design.

 

51. Robbie and the Robots*

"Robbie and the Robots", aka "Robbie Robot", aka "Robbie N The Robots", is an action platformer of a very primitive sort. It's definitely one of the better Action 52 titles I've played -- but it's marred by a hugely unfair bottleneck near the beginning of Stage 4, where you reach an enemy gun turret on a set of ascending blocks. You have no chance to dodge its shots, and if you intuitively jump backwards to avoid them, you'll often die from falling one square too far, à la Spelunker.

 

The only chance is to fire like crazy (which you need to do throughout the game anyway since it reduces the enemy fire rate), while executing the jumps necessary to reach the turret in between shots, and hope it doesn't shoot you before you shoot it.

 

(That same segment is reused at the very end of the stage, but fortunately the stage clear point is a couple tiles before you reach the turret, so just charge forward and you're golden.)

 

The other big issue is just that you're constantly under fire from turrets that you can't shoot back (they're too high and you can only shoot horizontally). That always annoys me in games: we all spend so much of our lives taking unfair shots from people we can't hit back, so what's the sense in subjecting players to that same experience?

 

Otherwise, it's typical Action 52 -- though above-average for the cart, and with some vague sense of thought into the design. It reuses patterns that can help the astute observer (if the ceiling dips in Stage 3, then Evil Robbie is about to attack, etc.). Since the game lets you walk on floor tiles below the surface, it's often wise to do just that -- getting you out of the way of the floating robots.

 

52. Cheetahmen

Haven't played much, not enough to comment. The ambitious title of the bunch, right down to the team of Action 52 mascots, but even if you can deal with the janky gameplay, it'll crash on you eventually.

 

 

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ATARI 2600:

Jr. Pac-Man - 85 minutes

River Raid - 35 minutes

Stargate - 100 minutes

All of these games are being played for the 2600 NEW HSC Season 10 Paper Medal Tournament Finals, with 6 participants trying to win this tourney.

 

ATARI 7800:

Tower Toppler (for HSC Season 2020-2021) - 15 minutes

 

COLECOVISION:

Pac-Man - 47 minutes

Pac-Man Collection - 115 minutes

Squish 'Em - 3 minutes

 

MSX:

Beamrider - 29 minutes

Dig Dug - 40 minutes

Squish 'Em - 23 minutes

Xevious Fardraut Saga - 25 minutes

 

EVIDENCES OF THE WEEK:

1) My CV Pac-Man Collection gameplay footage: Ms Pac-Man - Score 110,000 (normal skill)

 

2) My MSX Squish 'Em gameplay footage - Score 61,360

 

3) My CV Pac-Man gameplay footage - Score 155,860 (easy - 5 lives)

 

Edited by oyamafamily
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11 hours ago, Skippy B. Coyote said:

Next up we tried out Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition for the Genesis as well, since I always liked the original Jurassic Park game so much, but sadly the sequel suffered from much the same problem as Streets of Rage 3 in that it was absurdly difficult. We only played for 14 minutes before giving up, after half a dozen failed attempts to get through the first level

Rampage Edition is way shorter and far easier than non-Rampage Edition is, although that's mainly because the original game is rather poorly designed due to all of those instances where you are forced to take damage to proceed in almost every level in the game. Try it on easy. After a while, you can beat the whole game in 15~30 minutes on hard, making it an interesting and fun speedrun game. Then again, it's one of the first games I ever played and I'm pretty good at it by now, as I've been playing it for ~25 years or so, so yeah.

 

Anyway, I'm assuming you played Aviary as Grant first... no fall damage, unlike the first game, so if you want to get through it quickly and don't care about picking up stuff like the rocket launcher or the max ammo powerup or the extra life that you can actually even grab on the way up if you know what to do, just get out of the nest and fall to the bottom and then go left or right to beat the level in ~45 seconds or so. It takes longer for you to get carried up to the nest at the beginning than to beat the level if you do this. You'll miss A LOT of stuff, but if you don't mind that, just jump down as far as you can and you'll be through it so fast and with such little effort that you'll wonder why they even bothered creating the level.

Edited by Steven Pendleton
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Didn't Get in much gaming time this week, and only played the Atari 2600

 

Atari 2600

 

Acid Drop                       -20 Minutes  This is a really fun game to play that reminds me of Columns. I like how these Columns/Tetris like games are still fun to play  today, and I don't think I will ever get sick of them. I highly recommend this game if you haven't played it before.

 

Demon Attack                -20 Minutes   I really like this game, and it is a challenging one. It is fun to play with my itunes music playing in the background, and to try to get a new high score.

 

Edited by Nintendo64
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On 12/13/2020 at 4:00 PM, carlsson said:

Atari 8-bit:
Last Squadron
Sector Wars

This Atari 8-bit looks like a good system. I wondered why the Atari 8-bit graphics look a little better than the 2600, and I just found out that its because it came out after the Atari 2600. By the numerical name of things, I just figured that the 2600 came out after the 8-bit, but I guess I was wrong.

 

On 12/13/2020 at 10:35 AM, Steven Pendleton said:

Akumajou Densetsu

I see that this is Dracula's Curse for the famicom. It looks like the same great game, but the music does sound better. I think there was a better sound chip in the famicom, is that correct?

On 12/13/2020 at 11:33 PM, agb said:

Eggomania  Got my paddles working ok. 

Glad to see you got your paddles working to be able to play this game.

21 hours ago, Atarian7 said:

I got to Rack 40 and 836,800 points on Solar Fox. 

Wow that is a really good score. I don't think I could ever come anywhere near that score, very well done.

 

On 12/14/2020 at 12:27 AM, wongojack said:

Double Dribble

Super RC Pro-Am

Even though you played them for the Gameboy, these were some of my old time favorite games to play as a kid on the NES. Are these versions similar to RC Pro Am and Double Dribble for the NES?

Edited by Nintendo64
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17 minutes ago, Nintendo64 said:

I see that this is Dracula's Curse for the famicom. It looks like the same great game, but the music does sound better. I think there was a better sound chip in the famicom, is that correct?

It's actually in the cart itself.

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4 hours ago, Nintendo64 said:

Even though you played them for the Gameboy, these were some of my old time favorite games to play as a kid on the NES. Are these versions similar to RC Pro Am and Double Dribble for the NES?

 

Very similar.  In the case of Super RC Pro-AM, the game plays a bit slower, but they did a great job of bringing the gameplay from the original over to the GameBoy.   There are even a few slight "improvements" in there in terms of the way upgrades work, and some of the transitions and little details flow a bit nicer.  For Double Dribble - it was a classic on the NES IMO mostly because there just weren't many (any?) basketball games on the system when it came out.  I enjoyed playing it more with another human which of course isn't really going to happen on the GameBoy in 2020.  Last week was the first time I had ever played the GB version, and I couldn't even get through 4 quarters.  I probably should read the manual, but that should tell you something bad about the game.  I'm very familiar with Double Dribble, and the fact I felt like I was "missing something" in the controls is a very bad sign.  I haven't owned this cart very long, but I seriously doubt it will be getting much more playtime.  I'd rather go back to that Half Pipe in Skate or Die.

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Here's the summary for Week 50, running from December 7 - 13. We logged 4441 minutes of eligible play, playing 65 games on a total of 16 systems.

 

Top 10:

 

1. Pokémon Gold (Game Boy Color) - 654 min.
2. Akumajou Densetsu (JP Castlevania III) (NES/Famicom) - 418 min.
3. Solar Fox (Atari 2600) - 244 min. (#5)
4. Bases Loaded (NES/Famicom) - 184 min. (#8)
5. Mario's Picross (Game Boy) - 178 min. (#6)
6. Snatcher (Sega CD) - 128 min.
7. Oddworld Adventures (Game Boy) - 127 min.
8. Baku Baku (Sega Saturn) - 120 min.
8. Earthworm Jim 2 (Sega Saturn) - 120 min.
8. Jurassic Park (Genesis) - 120 min.
8. Road Rash (Genesis) - 120 min.

 

Pre-NES top 10:

 

1. Solar Fox (Atari 2600) - 244 min. (PN#1)
2. Pac-Man Collection (ColecoVision) - 115 min.
3. Eggomania (Atari 2600) - 114 min. (PN#2)
4. Stargate / Defender II (Atari 2600) - 100 min.
5. Donkey Kong (Atari 2600) - 86 min.
6. Jr. Pac-Man (Atari 2600) - 85 min.
7. Kaboom! (Atari 2600) - 69 min. (PN#9)
8. Dig Dug (Arcade) - 49 min.
9. Pac-Man (proto) (ColecoVision) - 47 min.
10. Dig Dug (MSX) - 40 min.

 

Top 10 systems:

 

1. NES/Famicom (900) (#7)
2. Atari 2600 (803) (#3)
3. Game Boy Color (696) (#10)
4. Genesis (599) (#1)
5. Game Boy (367) (#2)
6. Sega Saturn (240)
7. Sega CD (218)
8. ColecoVision (165)
9. PlayStation (155) (#4)
10. Arcade (117) (#8)
 

A rather Nintendo dominant week with Pokémon Gold (GBC) ahead of the Japanese version of Castlevania III spells the top of the main list, and a big part of the systems list too. Of course no Nintendo systems (except for possibly their Pong models) qualify on the pre-NES list, which is won by Solar Fox and with enough number of other Atari 2600 games to make it second most played.

 

(Xevious: Fardraut Saga is logged as MSX2)

 

We have two new members in the 1000 Minute Club:

 

#424 Pokémon Gold (Game Boy Color) - 1076 min.

#425 Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES/Famicom) - 1019 min.

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Re: Genesis Jurassic Park games. I also used to think that Rampage Edition was too hard. But recently, this past week actually, I played both of them at length for hours. I almost beat Rampage Edition for the first time, in fact I got to the raft and T-Rex Chase last stage for the first time. I didn't know what to do so he ate me.  Anyway, Rampage Edition is programmed and QA tested so much better than the original Jurassic Park game. However, Jurassic Park is a platforming adventure with shooting, whereas Rampage Edition is a fast-paced more straight-forward  run-and-gun. Basically just collect ammo and keep shooting everything,  I was surprised the game isn't that hard once you are more familiar with it.

 

But boy oh boy is the original Jurassic Park game poorly programmed. The sound actually slows down along with the graphics. Grant is usually pretty good at grabbing Ledges and pulling himself up, but the jumping is haphazard and it's easy to convince the game you should fall and die. I played as the Raptor to this week, and it's more straightforward then the grant game played, but some of the blind leaps of Faith killed me off over and over again. You can't see where to go! So I didn't get to the final stage.

 

Despite my critical comments, I still enjoy both games now and then.

 

 

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On 12/15/2020 at 1:16 PM, wongojack said:

 

Very similar.  In the case of Super RC Pro-AM, the game plays a bit slower, but they did a great job of bringing the gameplay from the original over to the GameBoy.   There are even a few slight "improvements" in there in terms of the way upgrades work, and some of the transitions and little details flow a bit nicer.  For Double Dribble - it was a classic on the NES IMO mostly because there just weren't many (any?) basketball games on the system when it came out.  I enjoyed playing it more with another human which of course isn't really going to happen on the GameBoy in 2020.  Last week was the first time I had ever played the GB version, and I couldn't even get through 4 quarters.  I probably should read the manual, but that should tell you something bad about the game.  I'm very familiar with Double Dribble, and the fact I felt like I was "missing something" in the controls is a very bad sign.  I haven't owned this cart very long, but I seriously doubt it will be getting much more playtime.  I'd rather go back to that Half Pipe in Skate or Die.

That is very interesting to know about both of these games. You're right about playing Double Dribble with another person was much more fun, rather than playing against the computer. I really would like to try that Super RC Pro Am and Skate or Die on the Gameboy. One of these days if I ever get the gameboy I will check both of those games out. I owned a Gameboy as a kid, but I really only remember owning Tetris, Super Mario Land,  and I think Castlevania Legends.

 

On 12/15/2020 at 9:12 AM, Steven Pendleton said:

It's actually in the cart itself.

Ah, I didn't know that. That game is a classic one that I used to play allot as a kid. I owned that and the original Castlevania back in the 80's.

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1 hour ago, Nintendo64 said:

Ah, I didn't know that. That game is a classic one that I used to play allot as a kid. I owned that and the original Castlevania back in the 80's.

There is some hardware that the NES lacks which prevents the carts from passing the cart audio through on that system because Nintendo was cheap. Same with FDS audio.

 

Now that I've mentioned the FDS, I can play FDS games now and already have, so there will be at least 1 FDS game in my list next week.

Edited by Steven Pendleton
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