Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Demon Front (Arcade)

This game is by IGS, for their PGS arcade hardware, a company and a system both mostly known for their high-quality beat em ups, such as Oriental Legend and the Knights of Valour series. This isn't one of those, though: it's a huge Metal Slug rip-off.
Well, rip-off might be a bit harsh. Everything about the game is very high quality, and it does have a couple of new ideas. But the general feel of the game, as well as some of the weapons (the most blatant being the machine gun and shotgun) are exactly like the Metal Slug games. You go across slightly hilly horizontally scrolling stages, killing tons of one-hit enemies, occasionally stopping for a bigger set-piece type enemy, and there are even litle hidden paths and points items gained by shooting the right parts of the background, just like Metal Slug. One thing they were right to steal is the concept of having really nice 2D graphics. To be extra clear, the graphics themselves aren't stolen, but it's obvious the developers knew they couldn't compete with SNK unless their game looked just as good, and it definitely does. Well, a lot of people might prefer Metal Slug's "everything is dirty and slightly melted" style to Demon Front's "really really nice use of colours"
style, but either way, Demon Front looks great.
As for the original parts, the first is that each character has a little pet flying alongside them. Holding the fire button for a couple of seconds makes the pet do their attack, which is different for each pet, and pressing the third button turns the pet into a forcefield around the player which can take a few hits. It's obviously a lot safer using the pet as a shield than a weapon, and when playing, I've survived longer when using this tactic. Once the forcefield has taken its share of hits though, it disappears and won't reappear until you lose a life. Some brave players might want to try being a little more tactical, using the forcefield right up until the last hit, then turning it back into the
pet and using its powerful attack for a while.
There is also some kind of levelling up mechanic regarding the pet, and you get different kinds of experience from enemies depending on whether you shoot them, stab them or kill them with the pet's attack. The levelling doesn't really seem to have a huge effect on what happens either way, though.
All in all, Demon Front is a pretty great game, and is definitely worth playing, and even if it's not totally original, its general quality makes up for that.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Waku Waku Monster (Saturn)

It's been suggested that I do more posts on Saturn games, and I'll try to, but the Saturn and Dreamcast both share a problem when it comes to this blog: the two systems are so beloved by all that most of the games worth talking about already have been at great length all across the internet.
I will try to find more interesting things hidden away in their catalogues, though. Like this!
Waku Waku Monster is a versus-type puzzle game that also includes a minor monster-raising element. Although the game was released well after Pokemon Red and Green, the monster raising in this seems to take its cues more from the earlier  Tamagotchi. Having said that, one of the monsters in the game is a flagrant and shameless knock-off of Pikachu.
You start the game with an egg that hatches into a young monster after the first stage, which then changes form after each subsequent stage. I don't know what, if any effect the form of the monster has on the game itself, though the opposite is fairly clear. After each stage a stats screen is shown, the results of which do seem to affect the forms your monster takes, though I don't know exactly how, nor what each stat is, as it's all in Japanese. I've included a screenshot of said screen in case any of my kind readers wants to lend some assistance.
As for the game itself, it's fairly simple. Your character stands at the top of the screen holding a blob, which will be in one of six colours. You move them left and right to decide where to drop the blob. If three or more of he same colour ar touching, they disappear, and game over occurs when the well is totally full, as opposed to ending when the blobs cross the top. As it's a versus-type puzzle game, there are also attacks. Rathyer than happening whenever a chain occurs, as in the Puyo Puyo series, the players each have a power meter that fills up as blobs are removed. When a player's meter is full, they attack automatically, sending junk blobs over to their opponent's field and the meter's maximum is raised. Players can also attack manually by pressing B, and of course, the attacks are more powerful the more full the meter is. This is measured by the amount in the meter, not as a percentage, so filling the meter at least once to raise the maximum is a good idea. If a player have some power when their opponent attacks, they can also press B to
guard, reducing or even completely stopping the attack from happening.
Waku Waku Monster is a pretty good game, though it can't really hold a candle to the giants of the genre, such as Puyo Puyo, Tetris Battle Gaiden or my favourite, the Magical Drop series.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Disc Station 15 (PC)

So, most of the games on this volume were very text heavy, and as such, completely impenetrable to me. The one remaining game wasn't very good, either. But! It does has some pretty interesting extras, so I'll upload those for your viewing pleasure, starting with these two pieces of art from the disc's OMAKE folder.

There's also a whole bunch of interesting videos!