| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Platformer; loc=JPN] |
|This is about as nice a port of Treasure's Megadrive games Gunstar Heroes, Alien Soldier, and Dynamite Headdy as you could imagine. They are pretty straight ports of the ROMs, but you can remap the controls, switch between Japanese and "Overseas" (ie, in English) versions, and choose from a variety of display settings, including low-res, progressive, and progressive with artificial scanlines (these options were much appreciated in Vol.21 as well--see entry 947). About the only thing I can think of that's missing is save state support (ie, being able to save your current game at any point), but that feature is hardly common in retro ports as yet.|
I've covered the MD version of Alien Soldier (see entry 955), and further play has served to confirm my frustration with the needlessly elaborate controls. Also, I forgot about the dashing thing for a while, which is pretty much the absolutely essential key to beating bosses, so prepare for some laughs in the video I took of myself struggling to do anything against the level 1 boss.
Dynamite Headdy I like less the more I play it (see MD version coverage in entry 959). The whole head-bopping thing just isn't very entertaining, movement control is a little sludgy, and on the whole it seems like the designers were more concerned with wackiness and effects than with enjoyable gameplay.
Gunstar Heroes I haven't covered before, although much of what was in the original is redone in Gunstar Super Heroes (see entry 982)--and for the better. In the original, you're simply a fool if you go for any base weapon other than the auto-tracking gun, and the weapon combining (find a second weapon and you combine it with the first to make a sort of hybrid weapon) is a highly overrated gimmick. Basically, you select tracking or whatever it is to start, then get the laser or electric gun or whatever it's called, then you just hold Fire and run, and your laser just goes around hitting things for you. Large sections of the game consist of moving in a single direction for a very long period of time, killing enemies who attack the same way over and over. The pacing is just plain bad in many spots. And it feels like the designers were just out to give you a bad time, what with things like dudes who grab you, holding you in place, then drop a bomb right on you which detonates immediately; or how about those scrolling levels where, if you fall offscreen, you lose about a fifth of your normal max health (keep in mind that you only get one life in the whole game)? And while the bosses are creative, most of their challenge comes from their large sprites simply blundering into you. Large sprites cornering my small sprite and just moving into it to cause damage is not my idea of a fun attack.
At any rate, I'm glad I finally have versions of these fabled games, so that at least I know what people are referring to when they gush about Treasure's old golden age. Personally I think Treasure's more recent stuff is far better than the games here, but that, I suppose, is just my opinion. I'd like to see ports of some of their other older stuff, like Bangaioh (the N64 version--see entry 1019), Sin and Punishment, Radiant Silvergun (see entry 816), and Mischief Makers, for instance.