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Ikrananka

Team Pixelboy - Ghost - Finally Finished

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Posted (edited)

Well, I finally finished the game Ghost and thought I'd post my impressions and experience with the game here.  This isn't a review, more a serious of ramblings as they come into my head.

 

First impressions of the game were that it looks and plays awesome.  I'm a big fan of platformers so knew this game would suit me very well.  The graphics, animations, music, control responsiveness and art style all blew me away.  Sounds are functional but that's all that's necessary when the music is so good.

 

I spent quite some time mapping the game as I played and this is essential due to the maze like nature of the map with it's many one way systems and dead ends.  The exploration and mapping exercises were great fun and I very much enjoyed that aspect of the game.  Objects in the game are obtained in one of two ways.  Either by shooting boxes to find a hidden object or by buying objects in shops.  Each shop only offers one fixed item which I found rather frustrating as it means that the game dictates how you progress through it rather than the player having a choice as to which shop items to purchase in preference to others.  The map, object locations and shop contents are identical every time you play the game so replayability is not great for this game.  Initially I tried playing the game with a stock CV controller and soon gave up.  The frequent need to access both fire buttons in quick succession, often with critical timing between the button presses, made me curse the controller more and more.  But, once I switched to using a joypad controller (in my case an NTT Data) timing jumps and firing became much easier.

 

I am not a fan of the health system in the game, I found it to be rather brutal.  For much of the early stages of the game, lose one health point (which happens a lot) and you then need to defeat 20 enemies to recover one health point.  This leads to a lot of grinding, roaming around the same rooms simply to kill the same respawned enemies just to regenerate lost health.  It would have been nicer, in my opinion, to have been able to say buy health packs in shops and/or health regenerated over time and/or hidden health packs could be discovered.  Talking of grinding and the shops.  As you progress through the game and discover a new shop offering a new item, they get progressively more expensive.  This again, leads to an enormous amount of grinding in the game to collect enough cubes to buy the next item on offer.  This is my greatest criticism of the game - the grinding that leads the player to have to work through the same rooms again and again and again - just to buy the next fixed item on offer.  This happens each time you come across a new shop - of which there are many.

 

I found defeating the first three bosses to not be too difficult.  You just need to learn their patterns and there is a nice progression in difficulty.  However, the difficulty spike to defeat the final boss I found to be way too much.  It involves jumping, firing rapidly while in the air and often having to nudge your character back to the right upon landing.  Also, the final boss is behind a shield which keeps regenerating, so a lot of your shots don't hit the boss but instead just reduce the shield strength - prolonging the agony of the battle.  Trying to juggle all three control aspects while dodging the many incoming attacks was beyond my skill level and I'll be impressed if anyone can do this without rapid fire or some cheat.  So, how did I defeat the boss?  Only by using a rapid fire cheat - and I mean VERY rapid.  I had to ramp the speed of the rapid fire up to an insane amount to defeat the boss.  Reinforcing that not only could I, personally, have not done it without cheating, but also that the difficulty spike on this last boss is rather jarring compared to the rest.

 

Overall I really liked the game and had a lot of fun.  But the grinding through the same rooms again and again wore down my enjoyment and the final boss took away the rest as I realised I had no hope of ever defeating it without help.

 

BTW - there is also a rather annoying minor graphical bug in the game that appeared every single time I played it.  I'm surprised the bug wasn't identified and squashed before release.

 

 

Edited by Ikrananka

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I was very glad that to jump you have to press a button instead of pulling up. I think the MSX version you had to pull up to jump.

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14 minutes ago, Ikrananka said:

However, the difficulty spike to defeat the final boss I found to be way too much.  It involves jumping, firing rapidly while in the air and often having to nudge your character back to the right upon landing.  Also, the final boss is behind a shield which keeps regenerating, so a lot of your shots don't hit the boss but instead just reduce the shield strength - prolonging the agony of the battle.  Trying to juggle all three control aspects while dodging the many incoming attacks was beyond my skill level and I'll be impressed if anyone can do this without rapid fire or some cheat.  So, how did I defeat the boss?  Only by using a rapid fire cheat - and I mean VERY rapid.  I had to ramp the speed of the rapid fire up to an insane amount to defeat the boss.  Reinforcing that not only could I, personally, have not done it without cheating, but also that the difficulty spike on this last boss is rather jarring compared to the rest.

Where did you find the rapid fire cheat?

 

You know, it's funny... during my years in game development, one of the most common arguments I would have with game designers is about the insane difficulty level of a final boss.  I worked with so many designers that wanted that final boss to be ridiculous to the point of nearly unbeatable.  And I used to tell them "Look, the percentage of overall people who actually complete a game is not high to begin with, so when they actually get to that point, why don't you at least make the final boss 'challenging but not frustrating' as to let players have a really rewarding final moment in the game?"

 

And so many designers would fight me on it.

 

I personally have given up on so many final bosses that I couldn't beat that it's a shame to get 99% of the way through a game, only to not be able to complete that final 1%.

 

Just make your final boss something fun and a great last moment in the game.  It doesn't need to give you a million thumb blisters. I wish more game designers would subscribe to this kind of logic.

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Yeah, I'm not a fan of jumping by pushing up.  As I said, the controls in the game are great and responsive, and intuitive, so no complaints there at all.  It's just the sheer number of different coordinated and critically timed control actions for the final boss that defeated me.

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1 minute ago, TPR said:

 

Where did you find the rapid fire cheat?

 

 

I actually used an AutoHotKey script and played the final boss using CoolCV.  Here's the script that rapid fires the Left Ctrl key when it is pressed.

Rapid Fire.ahk

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51 minutes ago, eebuckeye said:

What graphical bug?  I have not seen any..

The first two screenshots show one of the tiles that I consistently see become corrupted.  When the bug occurs the content of that tile is different nearly every time.  I've also seen another tile or two corrupted on occasion and saw this in action on the Epilogue screen where three locations kept cycling through various letters of the alphabet (third screenshot).

 

I've placed red circles around the offending tiles to highlight them.

image001.png

image002.png

image005.png

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Great work Ikrananka

 

I've bought it for msx few monthes ago (I have to play with when I'll finish Where Is It ?)

 

Thanks :)

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