Saturday, 15 December 2012
The presentation is excellent, the sprites and backgrounds are all super shard and well-drawn, and the music is really great too. There are some tiny cracks in the presentation here and there, like when the music abruptly changes between stages, but these are very minor. After playing a few times, I also noticed hat background graphics are re-used alot, which is also a negative, but they do look nice enough for it not to matter a lot. Plus, the locations usually have different lighting and bystanders when you re-visit them.
As for how it plays, it's not bad. There's no throw or grab moves, nor are there any weapons, which is a shame. You do get a couple of special moves performed via fighting game-style direction commands, though. The best part of the combat is that your normal combos can be interrupts with specials. This is somehing that really needs to be mastered to stand a chance of beating the bosses, who are incredibly hard. They'll relentlessly pummel you into a corner and keep pummeling if you let you guard down at all, but if you fight back hard enough with your specials and sliding kicks to knock them down, you should be able to get through. There's a cool extra touch during the boss fights, too: you can hear the crowd of watching bystanders cheer or boo when you or the boss gains an upper hand, though unfortunately they aren't animated.
Since this is a PC game, another thing to take into account is how much of a pain it is to get running. Mostly, Yainsidae is fine in this respect, just install it and play. There's one strange issue, though: although the game saves your high scores, it doesn't save your options settings, and by default it uses keyboard controls. So every time you play, you have to go into the options by keyboard and change the controls to joypad. It is a minor thing, but it is also a pain to do every time.
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Anyway, Dinosaur Island isn't really a game, it's more of an interactive cartoon. Everything's in Japanese, but it's not like it's some super-complex story or anything. It's just stuff happening to some kids who live on an island that's also inhabited by monsters.
It's definitely worth a look if you can get it cheap, though (and you probably can: my copy cost about £3 including shipping from Japan!), just for how amazing it all looks. The first generation of CD consoles (the PC Engine and Mega CD) had some severe limitations that really showed when they tried to play video. The worst example of this was the Mega CD Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers game, featuring ugly FMVs playing in a tiny box. One solution used to great effect was making animations using big sprites and such, meaning the graphics could be coloured to fit the consoles' limited palletes and they could be full screen too.
Dinosaur Island takes this idea and applies it to the much more powerful Saturn, allowing for super-clear, high quality animation that also has amazing bright colours. Don't pay a lot of money for it though, unless you speak Japanese, I guess.