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Old 12-01-2004, 09:45 PM   #166
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He started a new venture called Koto Company, (established: September 11th of 1996) with plans to produce handheld games for children, it is also said his work with Nintendo was the beginning of a long career... he dreamed of creating a company that would rival Microsoft!
You may know Koto Company from the WonderSwan portable game machine they created (later a joint project with Bandai), which was largly designed by Gunpei, and guess what the name of the first game that appeared on the WonderSwan in 1999 was... it was "Gunpey".

Gunpei Yokoi, a 56-year-old native of Kyoto, Japan, was traveling with Etsuo Kisoo, an executive from Kyoto, on the Hokuriku Expressway in Neagarimachi, Ishikawa Prefecture, when Kisoo rear-ended the car in front of them. When the two stepped out of their car to survey the damage, both Yokoi and his associate were sideswiped by another car (driven by a Mr. Iwao Tsushima, whom and his wife received slight injuries). Yokoi sustained serious injuries and was immediately transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead two hours later. All his associate was treated for was a fractured rib.
Virtual Boy wasn't a bad idea. It had great potential but didn't get the crucial handheld fundamentals down(company support,price,advertising). It happens to all handhelds not under the Gameboy name and next up is Sonys.

Shiggy:



A reminder:

Last edited by Vert1; 12-01-2004 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 12-01-2004, 10:11 PM   #167
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Originally Posted by Vert1
Virtual Boy wasn't a bad idea. It had great potential but didn't get the crucial handheld fundamentals down(company support,price,advertising). It happens to all handhelds not under the Gameboy name and next up is Sonys.

Shiggy:



A reminder:

and migranes don't forget migranes
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Old 12-01-2004, 10:38 PM   #168
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Be patient! I have to first BORROW Contra: Hard Corpse from VicViper who has it stashed away at his parent's house because he is in the middle of moving.
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Old 12-01-2004, 11:45 PM   #169
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Magician Lord
8/10
SNK Neo Geo


The supa-huge cartridge came in a supa-huge box.
Even 40 meg Genesis games weren't any bigger than usual.
I think that SNK was compensating for something else.


Back when the Neo Geo was first released in the US, Magician Lord was one of the first games available. Believe it or not, it is still far and away one of the best games available for that system. The Neo Geo didn't offer much at all, so good games like Magician Lord really stood out. At a whopping 46 megabits, Magician Lord had memory to spare. Back when the Neo Geo was first available, I had an argument with so-called "Game Lord" Chad Okada with the information he wrote for SNK's ads. He was firm in the belief that Neo Geo games were measured in megaBYTES, not megabits. He and I went back and forth on the issue a few times until he told me to take a Neo Geo cartridge to any technician, have them crack it open and they can tell me that a game like Magician Lord is, in fact, 46 megaBYTES. Well I don't know what a technician would be able to tell by looking at a few ROM chips mounted on a board, and also I am a technician (film projection and sound) and that had no relevance to the cartridge size, so ANY technician just wouldn't do. I remained firm in my belief that Neo Geo games were rated in megabits. But guess what? The ROM for Magician Lord is 5.1 megabytes, which equals 40.8 megaBITS! So not only was I correct all along about Neo Geo games being rated in megabits, but it turns out that SNK "rounds up" a bit on their games. Ka-ching! But I digress. Don't let that make you think that Magician Lord isn't a great game, because it rocks!


Freakin' awesome 2D graphics!


Those flying thingies on the left CONSTANTLY
annoy the hell out of you throughout the game.


Graphics: 9/10
Graphics didn't get much better than this at the time, that's for damn sure. Many of the backgrounds looked like paintings because they were so detailed and colorful. Much of the artwork had a wavy, swooping style which can be seen quite abundantly in the clouds. Each new level bombarded you with colors and fine detail. The animation on the characters was pretty good for the day, and the characters themselves were quite bright and colorful. There could have been a larger variety of enemies, though. There is a lot of scaling in the game, especially on many of the rather large bosses. Seeing these bosses on my TV at home back in the time when the Genesis first started to gain footing was just amazing. I was absolutely blown away. But even today the graphics are outstanding, as many of today's current games lack the artistic style or attention to detail that Alpha Denshi provided here.


You can become a sweet ninja, but
you can't become a kick ass pirate.



Look out Mr. Magician! A giant
golf ball is about to destroy you!


Sound: 9/10
They didn't stop at just having great graphics, but they went ahead and made sure this game had fantastic music as well. The Neo Geo is nothing more than a glorified Genesis in every respect, and that includes the sound chip. The sound chip is identical, in fact, with the exception of many more PCM channels for voice and digitized sound. But Magician Lord relied mostly on the FM side of the sound chip, so it really sounds like a Genesis for the most part. But hey, I liked the way the Genesis sounded when it was done right. The music is awesome, and there are a lot of digitized sounds and voices as well. The voice quality isn't too great as they added a bit too much echo for my taste. But the "Engrish" is fantastic! Before you fight the boss of each stage, the final boss of the game comes onscreen and says something completely nonsensical for absolutely no reason at all. Japan surely has no respect for the English language at all, yet they complain when we screw up speaking Japanese. Asswipes.


Oh really? Then why are you
putting up such strong resistance?


Gameplay: 8/10
They didn't stop at just having great graphics and sound, but they went ahead and made sure the game was actually fun to play as well. This is a novel concept for a Neo Geo game. It's a basic platformer, but it's a trip worth attempting. I say "attempting" because the game is not exactly easy. In the day of unlimited continues, this was one Neo Geo game that really offered a substantial challenge. You'll have to work damned hard to get past this game. And I am proud to say that I beat it. You can morph into many different characters, such as a sweet-ass ninja who throws swirly-flames at enemies. Or maybe a fire breathing dragon-dude who burns enemies to a crisp. Or how about that Poseidon dude who is fairly useless, but hey... he's there! Sometimes you'll want to pass by a morph power-up just because the character you're using is the best one for the spot you're in and it would be unwise to change. Get hit a few times and it's back to being your old flaccid magician self again. Unfortunately the game never EVER gives you a break. Ever. You can't even stop and rest. There are constant flying thingies all around you trying to shoot you, and it's often hard to avoid them and it gets really annoying. There is also a part in stage 2 where you are falling down a pit and it's almost impossible to avoid the random spikes that are placed everywhere. Ouch! Oh well. You'll get used to it and eventually get past the trouble spots. Control is average, I'd say. Good times are to be had with this game!


This level smells like rotten fish.

Wrap up:
A game for the Neo Geo that is not only good, but it's actually an exclusive as well! Alpha Denshi did start work on a Magician Lord 2, but then they realized that people did not want good games for their Neo Geo, but cheesey-lame fighters instead. So instead of a fantastic Magician Lord 2 we got the wimpy World Heroes. Yay us.
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Old 12-02-2004, 12:07 PM   #170
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Gee I Feel sad for ya bout ML2, man.
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Old 12-02-2004, 08:13 PM   #171
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Dracula X
AKA: Dracula X: Rondo of Blood
9/10
TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine Super CD-ROM


Can you imagine how bad the box art
would have been if this came out in the US?


Believe it or not, Konami actually used to make good games. Now I know you're probably saying "Yeah right Joe, you are so full of sh!t. Surely you jest, you assnut!" I kid you not, Konami games of old were ACTUALLY GOOD! Take a few moments and some deep breaths to calm yourself and get used to the idea of good Konami games. Better? Good. The PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16 in the US) was one of the most popular game systems ever in Japan, so naturally Konami will put some of their good games on that system. And that's exactly what they did with Dracula X. This game is the prequel to Castlevania: Symphony of da Night. And this game was also never released in the US, unfortunately. However PC Engine CD games worked flawlessly on TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM systems, so it was just a simple matter of importing the game, which I did. And I have never ever regretted it for a second.


Cut scenes are scattered throughout the game.
Look at the way this sword is being held here.
Just look at it. It's not upside down or anything.
That's gotta be an uncomfortable way to sacrifice a victim!


Graphics: 9/10
For the Turbo, the graphics were outstanding. The design is simply superb, with tons of sharp detail in everything you see. No other Castlevania game before this had design this good. And although this game does not feature background scaling or rotation, I'd say that the graphic design here is as good if not better than Super Castlevania IV on the SNES. Don't get me wrong, Super Castlevania IV is a freakin' awesome game, and that game does have better use of color. Your character looks 10 times better, the enemies all look 10 to 20 times better, and the bosses are absolutely amazing. Let's not forget the generous amount of animation applied to each sprite and even some objects in the background. The colors are used brilliantly on the backgrounds, and everything just looks awesome. Tons of graphical polish went into this game, that's for sure. And for the system it is on, it definitely deserves a "9" even with a little bit of flicker here and there. Wow.


Looook!!!! It's the first town from Castlevania 2!
Thankfully, it's in ruins. Obviously the developers felt
that part 2 was a horrible game and should be burned.


Sound: 8/10
Of course you have fantastic arrangements of your typical Castlevania tunes, as well as a cornucopia of great original tunes as well, all sounding fantastic. The game doesn't let you down in the sound effects department either. You get great howls, groans, creaks, and other spooky sounds that fit the game like a glove. Some of the voices are done by the Turbo's internal sound chip rather than straight off of the CD, and they can sound a little scratchy, but they are more than adequate.


This is the first Castlevania game where
I could actually tell what those bone-heads were.



Here in Super Castlevania IV, they
really don't look like anything cool.
Nice colors, though.



OMG it's the first boss!!!
The boss battles in this game are truly special.


Gameplay: 9/10
This is, by far, the best action-oriented Castlevania game ever. Castlevania as a series would not improve until it adapted the Symphony of the Night style of play. This game is longer and more challenging than any arcade-style Castlevania before it, including the SNES Super Castlevania IV which was short and easy. This game offers multiple paths, which enhances the replayability. You just HAVE to get 100%. You will have to rescue a few people and you can even play as Maria. She's more of a joke character since she is a child in this game, but she can be VERY effective if you can get past her sugar-sweetness. Fortunately this game allows you to save so you can keep trying again and again. This game also introduced the ability to pick an item back up that you accidentally dropped. What a welcome addition that was. Also added is the ability to jump on and off of stairs and special attacks, which eat up a large quantity of hearts. The control is perfect, and you can even do a back flip to get to places that are just out of reach. The amount of design in this game is amazing, and you'll realize that as you play though the game.


That's gotta be somewhat painful.

Wrap up:
If you are a Castlevania fan, this game is absolutely worth all of the hype that it receives. If you are not a Castlevania fan, you are less than human and really don't deserve to be alive, much less be called a "gamer". Also, try playing the game with the normal 64k Version 2 System Card for a kooky surprise!

Food for thought:
What the hell is a "Rondo"?
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Old 12-03-2004, 12:35 AM   #172
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Rondo ~ [n] a musical form that is often the last movement of a sonata

A lot of Castlevania titles are musically-inspired. "Rondo of Blood," "Symphony of the Night," "Harmony of Dissonance," etc.
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Old 12-04-2004, 12:54 AM   #173
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Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure
7/10
Neo Geo Pocket Color


A little bit of Sega love for your Neo Geo Pocket Color!

Back when the Neo Geo Pocket Color was out in the US, Sega will still going full-thrust with the Dreamcast and was not in a position to become a 3rd party developer for any console. They did not have a portable system, however. So it wouldn't hurt to put Sonic on the Neo Geo Pocket Color. So in 1999, Sega programmed a Sonic game for this system themselves, and SNK distributed it. It's a whopping 16 megabits if you can believe that (I have a very hard time believing it) and is really more of a retelling of Sonic 2 on the Genesis more than anything else. But Sega spared us and thankfully left Tails out of the game.


Sonic wonders just how many times he
must run through this same damn zone.


Graphics: 7/10
The graphics are nice and colorful considering the abilities of the system it's on. Everything does kind of look 8-bit-ish unfortunately. I guess that goes with the territory when your screen has such a small (and odd) resolution. The Neo Geo Pocket Color's screen uses a very narrow aspect ratio. It makes you feel a bit boxed in, that's for sure. The system is also capable of two separate layers of scrolling, but unfortunately this game uses only one layer. A second layer could have really done a lot to help the game look a bit better and more like the true 16-bit game it is. But the detail in the background in stages like the Aquatic Ruins is pretty nice. The bonus stages are also like Sonic 2 on the Genesis and basically looks exactly the same. I can't really say anything nice about that.


Collect rings in the
boring bonus stages!


Sound: 7/10
The familiar "Seeeegaaaa" voice opens this Sonic game as it has done in so many other Sonic games. That's the only digitized sound you'll hear here. The music is presented in full stereo and most of it is pretty nice... much of it lifted from Sonic 2. It sounds 8-bit-ish of course, but good 8-bit-ish.... very similar to how the Game Gear sounds is the best comparison I can draw. The music isn't quite as good as Sonic 1 was on the Game Gear since master musician Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage, Revenge of Shinobi, Shenmue, ActRaiser) did the musical chores for that one. Still, if you slip on a pair of light headphones you will be groovin' to the beeps and boops all night long.


Yes, it's Dr Robotnik AGAIN!
He just never learns, does he?


Gameplay: 7/10
Well I guess this game just scores 7's all around. If you've played a side-scrolling Sonic game before, you pretty much know what to expect here. It's, well... Sonic! Jump and get the rings, defeat Dr. Robotnik's crazy inventions on Act 2 of every stage, and try to get the chaos emeralds in the bonus stages which have you running forward into the screen. Getting an emerald will earn you an extra continue as well. The NGPC's microswitch d-pad feels pretty good with this game, and the one button action allows you to easily do just about anything you need to in the game, including a spin charge. There can be some slowdown in the game, especially when you are in a boss fight (with Robotnik, of course) and you drop your rings. Unfortunately the NGPC does not have a backlit screen so you will be forced to find some place to play where there is abundant light. You also don't to cast a shadow on the screen with your giant head, so playing this game (or any NGPC game) can put quite a strain on your neck and upper shoulders. I recommend short, 10-minute sessions with this one. I have not played any of the Sonic games on the GameBoy Advance (yet) so I can't compare this portable version to those. But I imagine the GBA versions would probably be better,or at least they most definitely should be. Still, this one is nice and back in the time it was released, it was the best portable version of Sonic available.


Become a pinball and gamble
for hookers in the Casino Zone.


Wrap up:
If you have a Neo Geo Pocket Color, this would be a good game to have in your library. If you don't have that portable, then try not to lose too much sleep over it.
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Old 12-04-2004, 03:09 AM   #174
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joe, what did you mean when you said symohony of the night was not released in the U.S.? nice review of rondo. the game is truly spectacular.

magician lord is pretty sweet as well. i liked the music.
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Old 12-04-2004, 03:13 AM   #175
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When I said "this game was nevah released in the US" I was referring to Dracula X, the game being reviewed. Maybe sometime I will review the version of Symphony of the Night that wasn't released in the US --- for the Sega Saturn.... sometime. Not soon.
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Old 12-04-2004, 12:13 PM   #176
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I was so pissed when I played Noctourne in the Moonlight for the saturn, it was so horribly ported.
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Old 12-04-2004, 12:18 PM   #177
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My brother had the import SotN and then it "disappeared" one day for no reason. The two added areas are stupid and so are the bosses. But there was a sound test and they reworked some of those old Castlevania tunes. The sampling quality wasn't up to the PS version's standards, but then I didn't really mind; it still sounded fine. The animation was missing frames and the effects were weakened.

No CV soundtrack matches IV--there's no contest.
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Old 12-05-2004, 11:42 PM   #178
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Rastan
6/10
Arcade


Try not to let your eyeballs be distracted
by the painful art around the video monitor.



I wonder how they carved that giant statue in the background
being that Rastan's world has no technology whatsoever.


Blasting into the arcades and taking no prisoners, Taito unleashed the mighty Rastan upon the world to behold with awe. It was the hack and slash platformer that was to change the face of all videogamedom forever as well as thrust the arcade industry to new heights eclipsing the movie, recording and car industries combined. The world would be renamed "Taito Land" and Rastan would be our new God in place of all former religions. Unfortunately Rastan didn't work out quite as well as Taito had hoped, but it did make nearly $25 per machine during its entire time in the arcade. You may have gotten a glimpse of this game as you chased that errant token you dropped which rolled into the back corner of the arcade. Maybe you even put that token in and gave Rastan a try. You could do worse.


The game attacks you with bats from every
direction when it feels that it's not being hard enough.


Graphics: 7/10
The graphics in Rastan were decent for the time. They weren't quite up to Sega standards, but they were on par with other Taito games. The characters were almost large compared to what one would see on the NES and SMS which were the main consoles during Rastan's day. You had fairly adequate animation, no flicker or slowdown, and two whole layers of scrolling (also par for arcades at that time). The layers only scrolled independently in the horizontal direction, though. When scrolling vertically they both scrolled at the same speed. When the screen scrolled diagonally the separation was a bit weird as a result. There was a decent amount of detail in the backgrounds, but the way they were constructed and the colors that were used gave them kind of a "chunky" look, for lack of better description. The water in the stages doesn't actually flow, it just kind of color cycles a bit. You won't be blown away by anything Rastan has to offer in the graphics department, that's for sure. The game is only 2.3 megabytes (about 18.5 megabits or so).


Why must everyone want poor Rastan
dead? What did he do to the world?


Sound: 6/10
There is an echoey yell when you die. And a grunt when you swing your sword to prove your manliness. And you are quite manly... well at least Rastan is. You also get little twings and blings when you pick up items and the such. Then there is the music. When you first hear it, it's not too shabby. You get the main theme for the first part of the stage, the castle theme, the boss theme, and the stage clear theme. Oooh look! A new stage. Waitaminute. Same damn music. That's right, you get the same tunes again and again throughout the entire game. Gets a bit tiring. The sound quality of the music is a bit like the graphics... a tad chunky. It sounds kind of rough and abrasive, and it's certainly not something you'll want to record and listen to in your car.


Rastan has the absolutely FABULOUS flaming sword!

Gameplay: 6/10
At first the control seems quick and fluid. Everything is fairly simple to do, and you've already killed a bunch o' enemies. Waitaminute what's that? A breakable rock below me leading to a hidden passage where I can get a mace? Score! I just have to jump and stab the rock with my sword as I come down to break it! Sometimes this is easier said than done. You can only do the downward thrust with your sword when you do a normal jump. If you accidentally do a high jump or press any other direction than down first, forget it. If you are jumping off of a ledge and want to stab the enemies below as you land, you had better do the downward thrust move quickly, and you can't do it at all if you simply walk off of a ledge. You MUST jump. Just as frustrating is thrusting upwards with your sword. I still haven't figured out an easy way to do this, and it seems to only happen when I really try hard. Other than that the game is kind of fun. Jump around killing a small variety of enemies (though larger than Halo 2's enemy roster), climb chains and swing from ropes. But whatever you do, DON'T TOUCH THE WATER.... EVER!!! Just like in real life, touching the water is instant death. You can pick up blue potions to help restore your life (red potion takes it away) and other items to increase your power or defense. The bosses each have an easily learnable pattern and aren't very impressive in any way. Don't get me wrong, this game is pretty damned hard. There is always something coming at you, and your life goes down really fast. It's very hard to aim your jumps and because of that it is difficult to make it to the end of many levels without dying a few times. You can only jump straight up or forward as you move for a predetermined length. I don't know why I can't change direction mid-air like I can when I jump in real life. Rastan challenges you, but not always fairly. Still, it's not impossible.


Timid Rastan becomes nervous as
he slides down a slippery slope.


Wrap up:
Slightly stiff gameplay, decent graphics and sound, and a dude with a sword. Hell yeah! Rastan is much better than Final Fantasy 7 in my opinion.
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Old 12-05-2004, 11:42 PM   #179
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Rastan
7/10
Sega Master System


Taito tried to infect the SMS with Rastan,
but they accidentally made the game good!


I was blown away by the fact that Rastan even came out for the Sega Master System instead of the Nintendo. And not only that, but it was programmed by Taito themselves, Sega didn't do the conversion! I was decently impressed with Rastan in the arcade, so I figured that I would pick this up to play at home. I was pleasantly surprised with what Taito did with a paltry 1 megabit! And I was also stoked to own an actual 3rd party game for the SMS. That just blew me away as a Sega owner who was used to getting ignored by the rest of the world. Rastan was directly responsible for selling 3 more Sega Master Systems than the weekly average of 10 worldwide when it came out.


Rastan is prejudiced against all non-humans.

Graphics: 6/10
Well, almost everything from the arcade is here... kinda. The level layouts differ greatly from the arcade in many respects and obviously it was reduced to one layer of scrolling. The characters are all teeny tiny now, and that kind of sucks. And there is a noticeable amount of flicker. The animation is OK, pretty much what you'd expect from any average 8-bit game. Surprisingly I thought that the interiors of the castles looked a little better than the arcade. They seemed to have more color and detail (in a Sega Master System sort of way, but still...) You'll travel across 7 different rounds, most of which are unique. The castle interiors all look similar for each level, however. Not too shabby, but could have been much better.


The first boss is NOTHING like the one in the arcade.

Sound: 6/10
Gone are any voices that were in the arcade, but this game has the same exact music, only now it sounds like the SMS, surprisingly. The same tunes play each and every round, and they get old fast. The sound quality of the music isn't quite as rough or abrasive as the arcade was, however. It has a slightly more "smoooth" sound to it. Don't read too much into that, because it's nothing amazing. What more can I say? It's Rastan, behold!


Rastan can even (slowly) swing from ropes.

Gameplay: 7/10
One area where the Sega version beats the arcade is the control. They actually improved the controls! Now it is super-easy to do your downward sword thrust as well as the upward thrust. You even have new abilities that were not present in the arcade. For one, you can now bounce off of walls which is really quite enjoyable. You still don't have super-control over where you aim your jumps, but they are less annoying in this version. The key word there is "less" since it still can be quite annoying. The game plays at a slightly slower pace than the arcade, and it seems like you fall in slow motion. Also gone is the instant death if you touch water. It still hurts you, but you're not gone. Unlike the arcade, the bosses now have a life meter which I am quite thankful for as well, as it's nice to see that you are actually doing some damage. The levels are MUCH shorter, however, anywhere between 1/3rd to 1/4th as short as the arcade levels. The game seems pretty damn easy when you begin, but by level 5 or so the challenge starts to pick up. You also have a limited amount of continues at your disposal. The game is beatable after maybe a few hours of practice. It won't be one of those games that gnaws at you constantly, but it's a good one to take out and romp through from time to time.


Poor, lonely Rastan. Will you keep him company?

Wrap up:
Still kind of stiff when it comes to the gameplay, but this 1 meg wonder delivers a more enjoyable experience than the arcade.
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Old 12-06-2004, 02:12 AM   #180
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Ahh, Rastan. I remember playing the arcade a looong time ago. Magic Sword (Capcom) was pretty similar.
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