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Steven Pendleton

A thread for shooter recommendations

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Posted (edited)

So we started talking about cartridge shooters in the CD recommendation thread and I thought I would make a thread for shooters. I guess it's kind of similar to that top 3 shooters thread from a few months ago, so I guess you can write a little mini review or something about the games you recommend, both to differentiate it from the other thread and also to explain not just why you are recommending the games but also why everyone else should play them! I'll just paste a slightly modified version of my kind of huge recommended cart shooters post from the CD thread here:

 

I'm going to recommend some stuff that not everyone talks about: Gleylancer, Slap Fight MD, Thunder Force II, Herzog Zwei (not 100% truly just a shooter, but worth mentioning), and the Strike series. Those first two never got released outside of Japan and apparently Korea and they are both rare and expensive, but both are extremely good games and I recommend both of them. I do not think Japanese Mega Drive carts fit in the US Genesis or EU MD so be careful or use a flash cart so you don't have to pay $500 for each and then not be able to play them!

 

Gleylancer is almost perfectly balanced; it's not particularly easy or insanely difficult, you'll get a code to unlock a harder difficulty after you beat the game on hard, and unlike lots of other shooters I have played, you're not totally screwed if you die and lose all of your stuff because there really isn't much to lose at all. There is a bit of customization you can do, and the mover select screen is in surprisingly good English for the time if you consider that it only got released in Japan and Korea. You can have 2 little movers/gunners/whatever the game calls them, and you can choose from a few different types of targeting/motion, including a Thunder Force CLAW style, a Gradius option style, and an automatic targeting system. The Gleylancer's main cannon never changes, but you can pick up different weapons for the movers to change their type of shot. This game has beautiful graphics, awesome music, and a high production value and everyone should play it. It was available on the Wii shop, but that's gone now and it's never been ported to any other system, so it's still an exclusive. It also has super intense parallax scrolling, so if you like parallax scrolling, you'll love the first two stages! I talk about this game a lot and everyone knows it and is probably tired of it, but it's my favourite shooter on the system. This game is both excellent and pretty rare, so expect to pay a big amount of cash for it if you want a real one. This game got an official rerelease last summer, but the PCB in the cart is not of great quality at all, sadly. It is a decent way to pick up a real copy of this game if you want it but also want to avoid paying a ridiculous amount of money for it. This new release skips the Sega screen and both the title screen and the splash screen at the beginning have been updated to feature the 2019 copyright date and the new IP holder, which I guess is pretty cool, or maybe just marginally interesting. I haven't tested to see if the 1992 cart and the 2019 cart give the same or different Blue Sphere levels when connected to Sonic & Knuckles, which has absolutely nothing to do with this topic, but they both do work! I think I should mention that Mega Sg firmware 7.7 broke compatibility with the 2019 cart, even though it worked fine on previous firmware, so don't panic if you buy it and it doesn't work! The 1992 carts still work fine, though.

 

Slap Fight MD is a super awesome game where you shoot at Roombas. This game has no distinct levels and just scrolls infinitely. It was sort of based on Xevious, apparently, but also incorporates a power up system that's basically a copy of the one in Gradius but with different choices. It has 2 separate games on the same cart, and there is an important choice in the options menu that lets you change between normal and special modes. Normal mode is a slightly reworked port of the arcade game Slap Fight. Special mode lets you play Slap Fight MD, which is a totally different game with awesome new music by Yuzo Koshiro, the same dude who did the music in Streets of Rage, ActRaiser, and a bunch of other quality titles. If you press A, B, and C at the same time in the options menu, you will enable Toaplan mode, which makes the difficulty in both modes a little bit closer to the original arcade version by making the shield go away after a while even if you take no damage and also acts as a sort of level select. You can make your ship have little ships attach to it to power up your weapons, and in the MD mode you can press C to blow these small ships up to create a massive explosion that damages enemies and deflects enemy shots. If you do it when there are no ships attached, it still causes the explosion and stuff but then your ship becomes super tiny! There's also a dude in the MD mode who says "TERMINATE THE FLAGSHIP!!!", which is pretty cool. Definitely worth trying, and is exclusive to the system if you count the Slap Fight MD game mode. They only made about 5000 copies, so aside from being a high-quality game, it's pretty rare and priced accordingly. This is included on the Japanese and Asian versions of the Mega Drive Mini, so if you want to do it legit but don't want to pay $500 for a real copy, you can get it there and also have a cool tiny Mega Drive.

 

Everybody always talks about Thunder Force, but it's always Thunder Force III and IV and usually not II. They are all good, but Thunder Force II is probably not given the attention that it deserves. I think people do not like the overhead stages and just want the side scrolling stages, but I find both to be fun. I don't think it's very expensive, so play this one if you can! This one is also on the X68000. Like all Thunder Force games, it has awesome music and it definitely is not easy, but it is definitely a great game.

 

Herzog Zwei (it's German, so please don't destroy the pronunciation like everyone on Youtube!) is an early RTS/shooter hybrid thing that was inspired by the overhead stages in Thunder Force II, and if you compare the US covers for both games with each other, you'll notice something interesting! This is the sequel to Herzog on the MSX and PC-88. You're a VTOL thing that can fly around and shoot stuff and also transform into a mech to shoot stuff on the ground. You also create a robot army and give them orders to destroy the enemy base, so it's not just a shooter, but it's kind of close, and you can definitely blow stuff up yourself, so I guess it sort of counts. You DEFINITELY, ABSOLUTELY need to read the manual or use a tutorial for this game and you will have absolutely no idea how to play this game if you don't, but it's extremely fun when you know how to play it and it even has multiplayer! Great music in this game, too. This is another exclusive and has never been ported, but it will be getting a release on Switch eventually. This game is cheap, though, so pick it up if you can!

 

Strike series started with Desert Strike before continuing with Jungle Strike and then Urban Strike and then some PS1 games that I have never played. This is an isometric helicopter shooter, but there are times when you use other vehicles and Urban Strike has some on-foot sections. There are a bunch of objectives for you to complete and you have to pick up ammo so you don't run out and also fuel so your helicopter doesn't fall out of the sky. These games are all pretty difficult, but they are also a lot of fun if you like a challenge. No music during gameplay, so I hope you like 16-bit helicopter sounds, but I can forgive that given that these games are all pretty good and I don't think they are very expensive. These are available on a few different systems, but I've only played the Genesis and SNES versions and prefer Genesis.

 

If anyone else has any shooter recommendations for shooters, let us know! I wonder how many people will say Thunder Force III, Thunder Force IV, or both. Probably almost everyone, but maybe I'm wrong.

Edited by Steven Pendleton

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1 hour ago, Steven Pendleton said:

Strike series started with Desert Strike before continuing with Jungle Strike and then Urban Strike and then some PS1 games that I have never played. This is an isometric helicopter shooter, but there are times when you use other vehicles and Urban Strike has some on-foot sections. There are a bunch of objectives for you to complete and you have to pick up ammo so you don't run out and also fuel so your helicopter doesn't fall out of the sky. These games are all pretty difficult, but they are also a lot of fun if you like a challenge. No music during gameplay, so I hope you like 16-bit helicopter sounds, but I can forgive that given that these games are all pretty good and I don't think they are very expensive. These are available on a few different systems, but I've only played the Genesis and SNES versions and prefer Genesis.

 

I absolutely love Desert Strike - I’ve played and replayed it to the point where I know which building, contains which item, on every level. The game does seem hard at first, but as with most games if you sink a lot of time in they become second nature. The game is set in the gulf war and there are some very entertaining cut scenes featuring the protagonist General “definitely not Saddam” Kilbaba abusing his subordinate and ordering the deployment or nuclear weapons - the end of the game finds you attacking the General’s private jet before he can take off and “Drop the big one”. 
 

If you only have access to the console versions I’d go for the Genesis, there is something wonky going on with the targeting in the SNES version making it annoying to hit some ground targets. Back in the day I had the DOS version and I’ve a feeling that will have been far superior, I remember the explosions were a lot better anyway. 
 

Funny enough I never got into Jungle Strike, I’ve given it a few tries and it just didn’t give me the same vibe as Desert so I never played past the first level, I will have to sink some serious time into it as it is supposed to be good. Never tried Urban or any of the later PS1 games like Soviet. 

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, EddieHitler said:

I absolutely love Desert Strike - I’ve played and replayed it to the point where I know which building, contains which item, on every level. The game does seem hard at first, but as with most games if you sink a lot of time in they become second nature. The game is set in the gulf war and there are some very entertaining cut scenes featuring the protagonist General “definitely not Saddam” Kilbaba abusing his subordinate and ordering the deployment or nuclear weapons - the end of the game finds you attacking the General’s private jet before he can take off and “Drop the big one”. 
 

If you only have access to the console versions I’d go for the Genesis, there is something wonky going on with the targeting in the SNES version making it annoying to hit some ground targets. Back in the day I had the DOS version and I’ve a feeling that will have been far superior, I remember the explosions were a lot better anyway. 
 

Funny enough I never got into Jungle Strike, I’ve given it a few tries and it just didn’t give me the same vibe as Desert so I never played past the first level, I will have to sink some serious time into it as it is supposed to be good. Never tried Urban or any of the later PS1 games like Soviet. 

I think the Genesis versions run in the 320 pixel mode, unlike the SNES versions, which are limited to a 256 horizontal resolution, and that alone would probably make them better since the screen would show 25% more horizontally in 320 than in 256. I think stuff in these games already shoots at you from off screen, so this is an important distinction and a welcome upgrade. I don't remember what resolution they actually run at, so I might be wrong.

 

I never had Desert Strike and never played it until last summer. It's good, just like the others. I did own Jungle Strike, though, but I was just a kid and it was way too difficult for me to get far, but I did have passwords for every level since my father beat the game (or he got them from the internet) and I was able to play each level. I always kind of liked that the first mission and the last mission are both in DC, but the final mission is way more difficult since you have to protect the President's motorcade. Rented Urban Strike a few times and I distinctly remember the on-foot parts, but not much else. All 3 games are essentially the same thing, though. It's always funny to play them now because they were made in the early/mid-90s and your pilot dude has a bunch of 90s 'tude.

Edited by Steven Pendleton
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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Steven Pendleton said:

I think the Genesis versions run in the 320 pixel mode, unlike the SNES versions, which are limited to a 256 horizontal resolution, and that alone would probably make them better since the screen would show 25% more horizontally in 320 than in 256. I think stuff in these games already shoot at you from off screen, so this is an important distinction and a welcome upgrade. I don't remember what resolution they actually run at, so I might be wrong.

 

I never had Desert Strike and never played it until last summer. It's good, just like the others. I did own Jungle Strike, though, but I was just a kid and it was way too difficult for me to get far, but I did have passwords for every level since my father beat the game (or he got them from the internet) and I was able to play each level. I always kind of liked that the first mission and the last mission are both in DC, but the final mission is way more difficult since you have to protect the President's motorcade. Rented Urban Strike a few times and I distinctly remember the on-foot parts, but not much else. All 3 games are essentially the same thing, though. It's always funny to play them now because they were made in the early/mid-90s and your pilot dude has a bunch of 90s 'tude.

I’ll have to go back and check the SNES version now but yeah that does sound about right - I do feel like rockets come out of nowhere a lot more in that version. 
 

Ugg on foot bits in Urban?! I think I’ll pass - that sounds a lot like Starwars Rebel Strike on the GC where the devs must have thought “Guys we’ve made 3 games all ship combat, we need something new!” And ruined the game with slightly upgraded, on foot parts, from Rebel Assault. Guys it’s a flying and shooting game, I don’t want to get out and walk! Just give us the same thing with new missions and different locations we’ll still buy it 😂

Edited by EddieHitler
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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, EddieHitler said:

I’ll have to go back and check the SNES version now but yeah that does sound about right - I do feel like rockets come out of nowhere a lot more in that version. 
 

Ugg on foot bits in Urban?! I think I’ll pass - that sounds a lot like Starwars Rebel Strike on the GC where the devs must have thought “Guys we’ve made 3 games all ship combat, we need something new!” And ruined the game with slightly upgraded, on foot parts, from Rebel Assault. Guys it’s a flying and shooting game, I don’t want to get out and walk! Just give us the same thing with new missions and different locations we’ll still buy it 😂

Yeah, Rebel Strike is horrible all around (even the flying parts mostly are not great. Co-op is the best reason to buy it, but even that still runs on the Rebel Strike engine and your shots disappear way sooner than they did in RSII, so you have to get really close to hit things), but the Rebel Assault shooting sections were fun enough. I also remember flying past a bridge in the mist or something in Urban Strike as well, but that's about it aside from the first level, which I played recently for 30 seconds.

 

I should mention to play Urban Strike with the 6 button controller if you can since the strafe is now mapped to X.

 

I also forgot to mention my favourite thing about Jungle Strike. Eventually, once you actually get to the jungle, you will be able to fly the F117, which has unlimited something. Fuel or ammo or both. I don't remember since it's been 20 years since I played that part. Anyway, this is really cool and it controls totally differently from a helicopter, just like in real life! I remember that I crashed into lots of things when flying it, though, so if you are terrible at flying in games like I was 20 years ago, be careful!

Edited by Steven Pendleton

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Posted (edited)

Is this supposed to be CD or cartridge? Sorry if this is a stupid question.
A cartridge shooter I really enjoyed was T2:The Arcade Game (cartridge game for genesis) the graphics are near arcade quality, action is intense, and levels feel long and beefy. You absolutely NEED a lightgun to play this game, I personally really enjoyed using a Sega Menacer with this game, it's a great combination and the gun itself has nice tactile feel/look, much more stylish than the classic NES pistol design. Even with a light gun, getting passed the 2nd or 3rd level can be difficult, but playing with a controller (which is an option...for some reason?) you won't be able to move between targets fast enough.

If we're talking Sega CD then there's two obvious mentions:

Sewer Shark used the technique of linked short FMVs for gameplay (sort of like Night Trap or Dragon's Lair) which is REALLY hard to make a playable and enjoyable game with, but for what it's worth Sewer Shark had a funny storyline and gameplay was pretty tight despite the system used... maybe a 3/5 game.

and of course the other obvious CD shooter mention is Corpse Killer which is another game that is a hell of a lot easier with a light gun, it actually has similar level design to T2 Arcade, but it's also got OTHER gameplay elements that are so specific and picky that they drain any fun out of the game (you'll have to learn a pointlessly complex system of RPG-like item management and map choices) A lot of strategy is required to survive, unlike most mindless zombie shooters...and I'm not sure that it was a good choice. Still, this is probably someone's favorite game.

While the two CD games are interesting as gimmicks, I'd truly recommend T2: Arcade w/ a lightgun.

Edited by Sknarp

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Sknarp said:

Is this supposed to be CD only?
A cartridge shooter I really enjoyed was T2:The Arcade Game (cartridge game for genesis) the graphics are near arcade quality, action is intense, and levels feel long and beefy. You absolutely NEED a lightgun to play this game, I personally really enjoyed using a Sega Menacer with this game, it's a great combination and the gun itself has nice tactile feel/look, much more stylish than the classic NES pistol design. Even with a light gun, getting passed the 2nd or 3rd level can be difficult, but playing with a controller (which is an option...for some reason?) you won't be able to move between targets fast enough.

If we're talking Sega CD then there's two obvious mentions:

Sewer Shark used the technique of linked short FMVs for gameplay (sort of like Night Trap or Dragon's Lair) which is REALLY hard to make a playable and enjoyable game with, but for what it's worth Sewer Shark had a funny storyline and gameplay was pretty tight despite the system used... maybe a 3/5 game.

and of course the other obvious CD shooter mention is Corpse Killer which is another game that is a hell of a lot easier with a light gun, it actually has similar level design to T2 Arcade, but it's also got OTHER gameplay elements that are so specific and picky that they drain any fun out of the game (you'll have to learn a pointlessly complex system of RPG-like item management and map choices) A lot of strategy is required to survive, unlike most mindless zombie shooters...and I'm not sure that it was a good choice. Still, this is probably someone's favorite game.

I don't think he means light gun games... he means more like shoot em up games and 3rd person flying or vehicle shoot type games...

 

I don't have many shmups on Genesis just Thunder Force III, Arrow Flash, Grind Stormer (V-V), Task Force Harrier EX, and Twin Cobra (which is not very good but everything else is great). Also I have Galaxy Force II but that's a faux-3D shooter. Not big on the gameplay but I think the music is nice. I do want to grab the other Thunder Force games as well as some others like, Biohazzard Battle, Truxton, Musha, Phelios… I want to get Zero Wing as well but there's no 60Hz version with the English intro screens AKA "ALL YOUR BASE"... maybe as a repro, but it would have to be a hack with the English intro but with the Japanese version of the game.

 

I do have BattleTech (like the Strike games but with a mech instead) but the controls are kind weird in my opinion. 

Edited by DragonGrafx-16

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On 3/18/2020 at 10:33 AM, Sknarp said:

Is this supposed to be CD or cartridge? Sorry if this is a stupid question.

Both are fine. Even 32X is great! I think the only one there is Kolibri, though.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/18/2020 at 10:46 AM, DragonGrafx-16 said:

I don't think he means light gun games... he means more like shoot em up games and 3rd person flying or vehicle shoot type games...

 

I don't have many shmups on Genesis just Thunder Force III, Arrow Flash, Grind Stormer (V-V), Task Force Harrier EX, and Twin Cobra (which is not very good but everything else is great). Also I have Galaxy Force II but that's a faux-3D shooter. Not big on the gameplay but I think the music is nice. I do want to grab the other Thunder Force games as well as some others like, Biohazzard Battle, Truxton, Musha, Phelios… I want to get Zero Wing as well but there's no 60Hz version with the English intro screens AKA "ALL YOUR BASE"... maybe as a repro, but it would have to be a hack with the English intro but with the Japanese version of the game.

 

I do have BattleTech (like the Strike games but with a mech instead) but the controls are kind weird in my opinion. 

Check out the ones I suggested since they are all pretty great!

 

If you have a Game Genie, Mega Sg, or MegaSD, bad-translation EU Zero Wing runs at NTSC speed (actually 59.92Hz since that's the speed the NTSC consoles run at for some reason) if you use the code EAAT-BL1T (assuming US Genesis and not Japanese MD. Don't know the code for that one)! It works absolutely perfectly at that speed, too, as that was the speed it was originally meant to run at since it was developed in Japan.

 

EAAT-AY1T is apparently the code for Japanese MD. These codes allow you to run region locked games while also running them at NTSC speed. The codes do not work for all games, though. I do know that it does work for Maui Mallard, which is EU exclusive (US SNES has it, but not US Genesis) and also EU Zero Wing. Both games will run properly at NTSC speeds on NTSC consoles. I think Maui Mallard is region locked and won't normally run, but it does with the code.

Edited by Steven Pendleton

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