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Old 02-09-2004, 11:09 AM   #481
Icarus4578
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Kick some ass!

Capcom Generations Vol.2 - Saturn (Import) - Rating 7
Ever since I first experienced classic games like Mega Man and Bionic Commando I've been an admirer of Capcom. It didn't take Street Fighter II for me to relate to their frequent knack for expressive, individualistic gameplay which is the hallmark of most of their software, especially as far as action and fighting games are concerned. You don't need to be told that a game like Ghouls 'N Ghosts received the Game of the Year award from EGM when it was ported by Sega from the arcade original back in the day, and it was 5-MEGS which was considerably big at that time. You don't need to be told that games like Strider (Genesis version) and Resident Evil altered many a gamer's perceptions as to what is possible. You don't need to be told that Capcom is going to keep crafting more classics because you already know that they will.
But the type of gaming this decade represents is far different from the one back then. If a game was easy or even somewhat challenging people would write letters to the game publications demanding they make games harder because they wanted their money's worth, to cite just one reason. And you know that back then there was a special certain respect for those that successfully met the requirements because if you pull out an old game like Mega Man you'll surely get your ass handed to you on a silver dish.... many times, whereas now if somebody buys a game and dies twice in it they go crying to their store complaining that they want to trade it in for something else because it's too hard.
Games shouldn't be hard. They should all be instant gratification - one point moving to the next with ease and flow. If there's gonna be something difficult in a game then be sure that it's only part of some side-quest apart from the straight path. Who wants to be challenged anyway?
If you can't see the sarcasm spewing from that last paragraph then you've been playing too much Donkey Kong Country. I'm not saying that the challenge necessarily makes a game good or bad, nor that people wouldn't complain back then if a game was just too hard, but just because a game is difficult doesn't make it bad. Read some reviews of classic games as done by today's learned reviewers and compare them to older reviews for games like Ghouls 'N Ghosts and you'll see a clear difference, aside from the fact that personality used to be an inherent quality as opposed to how most everybody these days does their best to sound like a broken game manual.
And so we return to the past for not one, not two, but three times the classic ghoul-fending, wasp-slaying, gargoyle-whipping action. Capcom Generations Vol.2 raises all three classic G&G titles back from the dead (no pun intended). How did this compilation come about? I think I've got it all figured out: Capcom got together one day for a meeting and decided that not enough people were getting their asses kicked on the new 32-bit systems. So they went back through their classics and hand-picked one of their most formidable series to get the job done. And here we are.
You're not gonna get some mundane showoff CG torture ride to try and make it appear to be a movie, no cheesy attempt at depth in plot, and certainly no lame 30 minute cinema after every stage is complete. Right from the beginning you're just gonna see our brave hero Arthur shooting lightning magic from his armor and then the title screen. From here you can select to go to whichever G&G game you'd like, go into the collections section, and change the sound settings. I'll get the Collection section out of the way first. In here you can view enemy sprites complete with a description (in Japanese), concept artwork and illustrations, and three remixed tracks for each game! Each game has its own collection section, and there's also secret sections which open up when you complete each installment.

Now for the games.

Ghosts 'N Goblins - Rating 1
NES gamers surely remember Ghosts 'N Goblins for being one of the hardest games for the system. It was originally an arcade though, and the version here on this compilation is just that - the arcade. Is it as good as the original NES version? Yes, certainly. You even get an options screen in which you can alter how many lives you start with, the difficulty, play with the sound test, change the controls, and backup data. The issue I have with this game is not that it's super-difficult (even on easy!) but rather the controls which are hard and a tad sloppy. Some of the jumping feels awkward and lacks the very necessary finesse required to be successful based on one's skill like it's supposed to. For example, in stage 2 you have to jump onto floating platforms and sometimes you'll be over the platform just a little but will fall through it. Is that a good thing? The enemies are a pain and the fact that the controls are so unresponsive at times makes me think that Capcom should've reworked them. Mega Man is a challenging game but it controls just fine nonetheless so why doesn't G&G? The graphics, put simply, suck, and although some of the songs are certainly well-composed I don't think that you'll be tuning in after you've heard it once before. It's just nothing that stands out. Even the bosses can be experiments in frustration if you're not really careful. And let's not get into what happens when you're encountered by two gargoyles whilce other enemies move about. Just absurd. The last stage requires you to climb up through a castle but the only way you're gonna do it is with some unreal skill and a lot of luck, let alone make it there.
What was Capcom thinking?

Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Rating 6
(Just to get this out of the way - yes, every G&G title on this compilation has an options screen.)
Yup, this game kicks ass. Too bad Sega's port of the arcade for the Genesis played even better. That's not to say that this version plays bad; just not as good. It controls smooth with exact precision on everything. Arthur can now attack up as well, and can even harness the magical properties of each individual weapon when he obtains Magic Armor. Just be careful not to commit yourself to a jump that you don't know the outcome of beforehand. Get to know stages because if you've lost your suit of armor and you find yourself in a tight spot - and this is bound to happen - you'll have added leverage by knowing where to find the hidden chests. And be careful of the magicians that appear as they can transform you into an old man (gasp) or a duck (gulp). There are five stages total, and each is divided into two halves. After you've beaten the game (or at least think you have) you'll find yourself back at the beginning because you don't have the proper weapon, the Goddess Bracelet, to fight against Loki. So you're required to go through it twice and obtain the weapon before you defeat the Giant Wasp at the end of stage 5!
The graphics look pretty good and the animation, while not smooth, is acceptable and animates no less good than some 32-bit 2D games do. The artwork gets the mood down just right: from the windmills dwelling against the thick darkness in the first half of stage 2 to the crystallized infrastructure of stage 4 this is retro Capcom goodness through and through. The enemies always provide a good challenge and the bosses are still very fun to do battle with. Great game. (For a more detailed review of this title please refer to the Genesis review on page #1 of my personal ratings.)

Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts - Rating 7
Yet another great game, but there is one thing that makes this worse than the original SNES version - due to whatever emulation technique Capcom used to port this, the side borders have been trimmed. Once you get past this shortcoming (not much of one I'd say) you can delve into the meat and bones that is this excellent game. This time there are eight stages (seven literally) and most have two sections to them like in Ghouls 'N Ghosts. The major additions are the new Super Magic Armor, the ability to obtain a blue shield which can be used to block enemy shots, and you can double-jump. You'll have to be especially careful how you approach certain things because simply holding forward and pressing jump twice will not produce the same result as leaving the d-pad neutral and pressing jump, then holding forward and pressing jump again. You'll know what I mean when you play it.
The enemies are slightly more varied than before and you'll certainly have to continue a few times in the first few stages alone. In order to obtain continues in SG&G you need to collect money bags, but like myself you'll never find this to become a dilemma because there are a lot of them hanging around. Bosses are rather easy, and, yes, you'll have to complete the game twice before fighting the last boss. The last boss, Sardius, is rather easy once you've figured out his simple pattern, though he's not as easy as Loki. The Satans you face near the end are harder than any other boss when you've got the Goddess Bracelet, including Sardius. Some of the enemies and bosses are named differently in this Japanese version than the English translation of the game for some reason. It doesn't really matter.
The graphics are what you'd expect from a first-generation 8-MEG SNES cartridge. It looks very good - even better than Ghouls 'N Ghosts, but it still animates just about the same. The music is memorable just as it is in the former, and it's a shame Capcom didn't add the option to remix the entire soundtrack to this and the others on this compilation. Instead, you have to listen to remixed tracks from the Collection sections, as I said before.

All in all it's a solid effort by Capcom that I wholeheartedly recommend. If you don't want to face such an arduous challenge then don't bother with this compilation. But if you're looking to add a little edge to your current Saturn Import library then this is a good place to look.

This guy has the coolest G&G site ever. It includes complete enemy data, items and weapons, etc. etc. for each individual installment.
Here's his section on Ghosts 'N Goblins ~ http://gngseries.retrogames.com/gng1/gng1main.htm
This is for Ghouls 'N Ghosts ~ http://gngseries.retrogames.com/gng2/gng2main.htm
And finally Super G&G ~ http://gngseries.retrogames.com/gng3/gng3main.htm

Rock on. :cool guy:
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Old 02-09-2004, 01:57 PM   #482
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whereas now if somebody buys a game and dies twice in it they go crying to their store complaining that they want to trade it in for something else because it's too hard.
Too true. I've seen this many times and it's annoying that some people don't want to put the effort into "hard" games. They would rather just give up and completely miss a great game.
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Old 02-10-2004, 12:31 AM   #483
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Theres nothing wrong with someone wanting a game to be easy. To each his own. The developers should just stick in easy normal and hard modes is all. Then everyone happy.
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Old 02-10-2004, 02:14 AM   #484
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Sorry, but I don't believe that victory should be assured right from the beginning with every game just by simply switching an option to "easy". The developers should want to make the gamer work to achieve a result. Otherwise, why bother? What's the point in winning if you've really accomplished nothing?
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Old 02-10-2004, 09:37 AM   #485
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I wonder why Super Ghouls & Ghosts took away the ability to shoot up? That annoyed me. That and the fact that the game moved so darn slow were the reasons I believed (and still do) that the Sega Ghouls & Ghosts was a much better game. If the arcade had diagonals turned on, it would be better than the Sega version. Don't forget to review the SuperGrafx version!

I wish the remixed tunes on the Saturn collection would have been of higher quality. They are 16-bit 22050Hz AIFF files. They should have gone with 44100Hz. There is noticeable noise (hiss) in the background as a result. You can pop this disc into your Mac and grab these files.
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Old 02-10-2004, 09:47 AM   #486
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I think the reason Capcom took out shooting upwards in SG&G was because they probably wanted the player to always face foes head-on rather than standing beneath an enemy and firing away in many locations. Arthur runs slow but the reason is because Capcom wanted to build tough sections around jumping precisely over/around things like lava pools and the like, and in order to do this they intentionally slowed down his movement to make these usually simple tasks more challenging. I'm not saying I like that fact but what's done is done. I cannot review the SuperGrafx version because I don't own a SG system. That's alright - after all the G&G action I've had in recent days I need a break from it. Besides, Metroid ~ Zero Mission comes out today, and you know I'm playing that one a lot. ;)
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Old 02-11-2004, 12:24 AM   #487
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Originally posted by Icarus4578
Sorry, but I don't believe that victory should be assured right from the beginning with every game just by simply switching an option to "easy". The developers should want to make the gamer work to achieve a result. Otherwise, why bother? What's the point in winning if you've really accomplished nothing?
If you dont want to play it in easy mode, then dont. Simple as that. Besides its better to play a game in easy mode then just go get a whole bunch of cheat codes. And pretty much every game has codes in it anyways. Some, well actually probably alot of gamers play games to just have fun, they dont want to be challenged.
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Old 02-11-2004, 10:22 AM   #488
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I don't know where you're coming from with that. If anything, it is best when you earn your way through and then things open up. In fighting games it makes sense to have difficulty settings but in some games the developers (wisely) would rather have the player earn their way through, such as (Mike Tyson's) Punch-Out!!, Yoshi's Island, Alundra, etc. In Yoshi's case the player has the choice to either rush through all the stages and ignore going for 100% in order to open the extra stages, or for an added challenge go through and get them all plus defeat the extras (with 100%). Unfortunately you don't recieve anything for getting all perfects in the game except the satisfaction of getting the job done, but nevertheless it's an incredible game.

I should have up my review for Metroid ~ Zero Mission tommorrow. I've beaten it once but still have about 22 hidden items left to find.
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Old 02-11-2004, 10:29 AM   #489
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You've already beaten Metroid Zero mission? OMG!!!1111!

How many hours(or minutes) did it take you to finish?
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Old 02-11-2004, 10:36 AM   #490
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Four hours and eleven minutes with 78% complete (that was without exploring fully). After you beat it (I beat it on Normal) you open up a gallery mode, Fusion~Zero Mission connectivity, and the original Metroid. And, when you play it afterwards (even on your old save file) it shows in the map how much time you've been playing, you can view any map from any location, and in each location it clearly shows how many of each item you have left to find.
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Old 02-11-2004, 12:57 PM   #491
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Man. I thought this game was supposed to be longer then that.

Well I'm looking forward to reading your review.
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Old 02-12-2004, 02:29 PM   #492
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Icarus' review might be longer than the game itself.
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Old 02-12-2004, 05:59 PM   #493
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At the rate I read..................it will be longer
Thank God, I'll have my dog here who can read fast. He'll read it outloud to me.
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Old 02-12-2004, 10:27 PM   #494
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Don't blink

Metroid ~ Zero Mission - GBA - Rating 8
Samus Aran is back in action for Nintendo's retelling of the story of the original Metroid with a little bit of improvisation thrown in for good measure. Veteran Metroid fans know what to expect here - but there are certain changes that make this experience, well.... let's just say less enthralling. I'm not sure how to be tactful with the die-hards, trying to explain to them simultaneously why they should buy this and why they should be weary of it, but I suppose it doesn't matter much, does it? I mean nothing I'll ever say will change the fact that this is classic Metroid gaming and that every serious Nintendo gamer is gonna purchase it at some point, but I don't really want to be the wall that stands between you and the game store. Get the game ASAP - it's truly great. Just read on and learn about the changes, for better and for worse.
I powered-up my GBA Player for my GC and was greeted with a stylish opening in similar vein to Metroid ~ Fusion. The song for the title screen is one of the best yet for the GBA - the theme music from the original Metroid reworked so splendidly that it provoked me to want to purchase the soundtrack. After a short cinema with a briefing given by Samus I found myself on familiar territory as she made her way down an elevator into the depths of Brinstar. Like before, I headed left and collected the first important item in the game - the Morph Ball. From there I was heading right, blasting my adversaries into kingdom come while I surveyed the familiar scenery. Truly majestic. The overwhelming feeling of nostalgia was in full force here, only it felt more like a cross between Metroid and Super Metroid. I advanced onward and found plenty more familiar foes, goodies, and locations. Everything about Zero Mission looked, sounded, and felt like a genuine A+ title.
Everything except for difficulty and length....
When you begin a new file you're given the option of selecting between Easy and Normal modes of play, and I opted for Normal with the hope that I would be presented with a reasonable challenge. This wasn't the case. Although MZM is laced with some rather crafty puzzles and secrets there was only one - count it: one - spot where I was having trouble figuring out what to do next and that was in Kraid (note: that's the name of the area where Kraid lies in wait). The actual bosses are a cinch and consist of three general patterns.
--Pattern #1 - Keep blasting with all your firepower until it's destroyed (and don't worry about getting hit because you won't die).
--Pattern #2 - Hit some spot in order to expose another spot for a brief period of time and blast it with either Missiles or Super Missiles.
--Pattern #3 - Simply wait for the vulnerable area to reveal itself and blow it away.
Did I say "Super Missiles"? Why yes I did. These weren't in the original and nor were the Power Bombs, the Power Grip which allows Samus to grab ledges like in Fusion, the Speed Booster, etc. Basically put, a lot of the features in Super Metroid and Fusion are now incorporated here, and although these features make this game easier than before the game itself is easier no matter what you do, even on Hard which became selectable after I completed the game, as did many other new bonus features - including opening up the original Metroid in all its 8-bit glory! I haven't completed it with 100% yet because I'm busy with something else as you'll find out by reading on, so I cannot comment on what might be unlocked via 100% or even a faster clear time.
I wasn't expecting much of a challenge from the bosses to tell the truth but Fusion's bosses seemed much more capable than these twirps. The only boss that presents an even slight challenge is ironically the easiest boss in the original -- Mother Brain. Of course Metroid games aren't built around boss battling like, say, Alien Soldier (Mega Drive) is, but then it's not supposed to be a letdown in this department either. If I could say something good about the bosses it's that they're no less impressive than the ones in Super Metroid.
All of the familiar territory returns from the original with every detail accounted for, such as the deep red and green metallic constructions exhibited in Ridley's area. Backgrounds aren't just plain black anymore and have detail that's often reminiscent of comic book art. There are even more areas than in the original, but aside from Crateria the other new area, while massive, is poorly designed both in terms of gameplay design and in the inconsistency between that area and the others. I cannot come out and say the name of it without ruining the 'suprise' so I'll leave it for you to find out. Enjoy....
If you've read other reviews for this game then you already know about how the game continues onward after Mother Brain is defeated. Without ruining anything I'll just say the real end boss sucks ass (and don't nobody write me saying how I ruined anything because you knew damn well that when others said "continue" they meant there's more, including a boss). While it wasn't a bad idea it certain wasn't executed to my liking.
If anything MZM ends way too soon. For me it took 4 hours and 11 minutes my first time (and that time includes quite a bit of exploring; I didn't just rush through it). I'm sure that if I play through it again it will take far less time to complete as I know everything that is required. What MZM offers me is a great albeit short-lived replay of the original and not too much else. It's shorter than the original because everything is made convenient by maps which clearly show you most everything. This effectively ruins much of the suspense of the original but doesn't really harm the experience, except for when you're shown where to go next. There are secrets galore but most of these are non-essential and don't really empower Samus any more than she needs to be in order to complete the game. My total completion to date is 87% because I have to admit that after my initial play-through I went right back to what I was doing previously with my time -- playing through Dragon Force (Sega Saturn) which is a better game in some ways, not that that has any relevance here, but it does come to show how easily my attention could be swayed away. I mean, I beat MZM in ONE SITTING but with Dragon Force I've been playing virtually non-stop for THREE DAYS with ONE CHARACTER and still haven't completed it. That is what I call getting my money's worth. :cool guy:
Wanna know the kicker? Previous to this year, 2004, I've never played Dragon Force, even though I've had it in my possession for many years. Amazing....
My point is that perhaps the addiction that is DF has tainted my views a little of MZM. Say what you will but having played both games I can tell you with utmost certainty that one clearly outperforms the better. I know I shouldn't be doing this in a review but I am and there's just no way of avoiding it. I tell the truth about how I feel about something. That's the entire purpose of writing a review.
EDIT: Yes, Dragon Force is a better game in many ways than this title, but it lacks the charm and replayability of Metroid. Metroid, as it is an action/adventure title, is judged differently than Dragon Force. Therefore, the ratings for both games are not going to be reflective of which is actually a better game.
MZM has great graphics, smooth gameplay, and devious secret items, and once I completed the game and went back to my save file I noticed that I could select to look at any map at anytime by pressing Select, and on the top-left of the map screen it shows how many of each item remains to be found in each area. The animation is superb on Samus moreso than anything else, but the enemies are done with no less detail and the bosses are especially well-crafted, as I said before. It's one of the three best-looking GBA titles yet.
If there's one thing that stands out it has got to be the music which is ethereal, subdued, weird, lazy, and tons more definitions I couldn't possibly list in entirety. Truly fantastic, this soundtrack makes me feel great to even be allowed to play this game. The music for Kraid's area, the title screen, and the credits are my favorites, and I enjoy the others as well. Good job through and through, except for on the short tune that plays whenever you collect an item. It's great but Nintendo changed this aspect from the original so that once you've gotten your first Energy Tank, Missile, Super Missile, and Power Bomb every subsequent one of these found just makes a "SWOOOSH!" sound instead of playing the tune. Why change this??? It made getting items feel so much more satisfying. :bigsmile: Sound effects are of the same quality of Fusion, and Ridley's death screeching is just as impressive as before.
Ok, just forget about this review and get the game because you're going to enjoy it greatly just as I did. Forget all the negatives and nit-picking from this resident idiot gamer and have yourself some fun. It may not be all that I was hoping it would be but it still beats the daylights out of most of the software out on the other consoles. And we've got the sequel to Metroid Prime on the way this year. Nintendo is on a roll and I hope it doesn't stop anytime soon.
Just don't blink or it may pass you by too suddenly....

To read my review for the original Metroid go to Page #8 of this section and compare it with Zero Mission.
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Old 02-12-2004, 10:48 PM   #495
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WoW. I really need to buy Dragon Force! sounds like a great game................ummm.....anyways, Metroid is awesome though and I've been playing it off and on since yesterday. I love it and I will try to spend more then 4 + hours finding every hidden object. I will get my $29 worth. I agree with everything you've said about music, control, graphics etc.... just a great all around game and one of the top reasons to own a GBA.

So Icarus, if you haven't said already or even if you have, what are the other 2 GBA games that make up your top 3 list?
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