Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

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Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Flabyo » November 23rd, 2019, 5:22 pm

So a while back I went on a bit of an eBay spree to pick up a bunch of Megadrive games I wanted to play. You know, the usual stuff, Street of Rage, Desert Strike, Road Rash, Sonic etc...

Now I’m not a collector, so most of what I picked up were loose carts, usually bundled along with 3 or 4 other games on the cheap. Most of those extras got dumped into a cardboard box that ‘I’ll get to at some point’.

Well I’ve decided to start working my way through it. I’m going to give each one I try at least half an hour of my time, the vast majority I’ve done no more than just check they boot up, so it should be a ‘fun’ time. I’ll post my impressions of them as I go.

I know some of what is in there are absolute stinkers, but there’s a lot there I’ve not ever really read much about.

Here’s the box itself, after removing all the duplicates and the mountain of near identical Madden and FIFA games:

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Flabyo » November 23rd, 2019, 5:28 pm

#1: Galahad.

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1992, developed by Traveler’s Tales.

History lesson: this is an EA published port of a Psygnosis game from the Amiga called ‘Leander’, which I remember being way more anime than this is in its presentation.

It’s a platformer with basic melee combat. The levels are a little more interesting than a bog standard linear trudge. On each one you have to find an item then make your way to the exit. Sometimes the item is beyond the exit portal so you have to backtrack.

It’s... ok I guess. The character has a little too much inertia, and there’s too much reliance on ‘leap of faith’ navigation (combined with a lot of instant death spike pits). Using a continue is pointless, you lose all your stuff and can’t really kill anything after that. Some really difficult to time moving platform jumps as well, I can’t imagine how much harder this would’ve been on the Amiga with having to push up to jump...

Enemies are mostly predictable, but it also occasionally spawns a random bird at a random height, kinda like the medusa heads in Castlevania. And just as irritating. Not one I think I’m likely to come back to, there are much better examples of this design out there.

Time played until had enough of it: 75 minutes.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Stanshall » November 23rd, 2019, 5:40 pm

Great stuff. Looking forward to this thread.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Flabyo » November 23rd, 2019, 5:45 pm

I’m hoping where I’ve got something more interesting to say it’ll be more fun, but Galahad is just kinda... there. Not terrible, but you probably wouldn’t be too happy to have dropped 40 quid on it.

It’s a lot like a lot of other Amiga games of the era, it seemed to get a *lot* of these platform exploration games. The only real oddity here is how they dropped so much of the original anime aesthetic in favour of a generic Arthurian thing for the Megadrive port.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Flabyo » November 23rd, 2019, 8:46 pm

#2: Atomic Robo Kid

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1990, Tremco.

On the surface it’s a shooter, but there’s no auto scrolling. Some of the levels are just left to right, some involve exploring a bit. You can walk along the floor and jump, or you can free fly. I couldn’t see any benefit to walking at all though, there’s probably some nuance I’m not getting.

Some of the level design is incredibly harsh, dead enemies respawn as soon as their spawn point is one pixel off screen, and when you’re dodging around a lot it gets very hard to keep things dead and make progress.

The bosses are nice and big, but all seem to follow the same pattern of ‘wait until you can get in front to shoot the eye, otherwise just dodge’. You do then have a weird one on one duel with another Robo kid after each boss though.

It feels like there’s something here, but I suspect the arcade version was more fluid and probably more precise on the collision detection than this is.

I’m sure the shooter kids in here will have an opinion. I had to switch it down to easy to make any progress at all...

Time until I got frustrated with it: 60 minutes.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Flabyo » November 23rd, 2019, 9:36 pm

#3 James Bond 007: The Duel

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1992, Developer: The Kremlin, publisher: Domark.

Oof. This so badly wants to be Rolling Thunder, but it is not. Not by a long way. The controls are so sluggish and unresponsive. It feels as deliberate and heavy as Flashback, but in a game that needs way faster response than that does.

Timothy Dalton (for it is he in this one) has to rescue blondes, set a bomb, then escape Jaws before it goes off. That’s the first level. I completed it once, then fell into a pit of spikes at the start of level 2 and lost my last life.

It gets basic platform game stuff completely wrong. The jump is weirdly much faster than the run (a speedrun of this would be constant leaping). It’s really hard to read what you can and can’t actually jump on.

You get knocked back miles on a hit, often into a fatal drop. There are no checkpoints. It’s just bad.

Stopped at the 30 minute mark. This game is bad.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by clippa » November 23rd, 2019, 10:43 pm

Flabyo wrote:
November 23rd, 2019, 8:46 pm
I’m sure the shooter kids in here will have an opinion
Oh, that's n0rtygames' avatar on the shmups forum - https://shmups.system11.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=64728
That's all I got.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by ratsoalbion » November 23rd, 2019, 10:50 pm

UPL’s original arcade version of Atomic Robo-Kid is available on Switch and PS4 for £6.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Simonsloth » November 24th, 2019, 7:58 am

Flabyo, this is a brilliant thread and the way you’ve structured your posts is great. Do you have any kind of running order as I might give a few a whirl at the same time?

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Suits » November 24th, 2019, 8:12 am

Ha, wicked mate 😎.

I’m super impressed with the amount of time you’ve given some of these 😄.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by hazeredmist » November 24th, 2019, 8:52 am

Flabyo, this is a great thread! Consider it followed

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Flabyo » November 24th, 2019, 9:32 am

Suits wrote:
November 24th, 2019, 8:12 am
I’m super impressed with the amount of time you’ve given some of these 😄.
As a game designer I’m a firm believer in the idea that every game can teach you something about game design, even if all it is is ‘dear Lord, if you’re going to have platforms the same colour as the things you fall through, at least add some damn shadows so I can tell’.

I don’t have any particular running order for this, I’m just picking them out of the box as takes my fancy. (I’m actually moving them to a larger box as I play them, the old box was getting close to overflowing)

Also, I’m taking photos of the screen with my iPad cause I’m not running the MegaSg through a capture device (I don’t have one), so excuse the occasionally unintentional use of Dutch angle :)

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Flabyo » November 24th, 2019, 10:19 am

#4 Afterburner 2

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1990, Dempa, for SEGA.

Afterburner 2 isn’t really a sequel, more of an update to the original game. If you played afterburner in an arcade, it was almost certainly 2 you were playing. The home versions never really capture the spectacle of it though.

Without the loud speakers right by your ears and the big hydraulic cab throwing you around, afterburner is actually kinda dull. This is a competent enough port though, it’s just not got much to work with.

It’s a score attack game at heart, but I find it’s a bit too difficult to pick out the incoming missiles for it to feel consistent. There just isn’t a lot to it. Also, the audio is really weak. Go pay Rez instead, same basic gameplay in a much better game.

Played for 30 minutes, figure I’ve seen pretty much all it has to offer already.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Alex79uk » November 24th, 2019, 2:01 pm

Excellent thread, love reading this stuff! Nice one Flabyo.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Flabyo » November 24th, 2019, 7:24 pm

Random select has picked out Rise of the Robots next, and I’m trying to build up the enthusiasm to subject myself to it for half an hour. Hehe.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Alex79uk » November 24th, 2019, 7:37 pm

I spy Psycho Pinball in that box. Absolutely loved that back in the day, it'll be interesting to see how it holds up. My fear is not very well, now we're all used to accurate ball physics and the like.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by clippa » November 24th, 2019, 7:45 pm

I spy risky woods as well, lots of lovely respawning enemies in that for you :lol:

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Flabyo » November 24th, 2019, 8:16 pm

#5 Rise of the Robots

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1994, Mirage for Time Warner (MD version by Data Design for Acclaim)

Well at least this one is out of the way now. This is a port of a game that was bad to start with, that’s only been made worse by trying to make it work on hardware not even remotely close to what the original developer was aiming for. (There are loading screens, purely for the cg movies, that have all been dropped down to 16 colour and look dreadful)

You can only play as the one robot, the most boring one. The default round timer is so short the rounds end before you’ve even got the enemy down to half health. There are no continues. There are allegedly special moves, but I couldn’t get them to come out, and I’m *good* at fighting games.

It’s hard to talk about it for what it is though, because most of the story is around how it was hyped. The preview screens of the PC build looked amazing, they talked about advanced adaptive AI... none of that made it.

I’m amused to learn there was a toy line planned of this train wreck. Warner thought better of it after seeing the reviews, yet somehow greenlit a sequel.

Awful, just awful. I’ll never get those 30 minutes back.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Flabyo » November 25th, 2019, 7:11 pm

#6 Viewpoint

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1992, Sammy.

This one surprised me. It’s an isometric scrolling shooter with art that looks like it was rendered in 3d then turned into sprites afterwards. And if it weren’t for some deeply frustrating slowdown it’d be really good.

The levels are a mix of standard shooter stuff (you have a charge shot, it takes a lot from R-type mechanically), and ‘avoid the moving scenery’ bits. I suspect people better at shooters would find it too easy, but by the third stage it’s got the better of me.

Turns out this was originally a Neo Geo game where it looks a hell of a lot prettier, and that there’s a PlayStation conversion too, though the reviews suggests the Neo version is the one to play. It’s pretty fun, and I’m definitely tempted to track it down on an emulator at some point to see what it’s like without the slowdown problems.

Played for about 45 minutes before my lack of skill defeated me.

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Re: Flabyo plays through a box of old Megadrive games

Post by Suits » November 25th, 2019, 7:27 pm

Viewpoint looks rad.

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