Best On NES

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If you’ve played some of the arcade games by Konami and/or Capcom, you’ve probably noticed some of the differences between those and the later home versions of the same games on the NES. Granted some of the differences might be minor, but those changes still make all of the difference in the cosmos.

When looking for some examples of these differences, one can easily see it in Ninja Gaiden. The thing with Ninja Gaiden is that the arcade beat-’em-up and the NES action platformer were likely developed at roughly the same time. Another game mentioned by JiibayDan was Dragon Spirit. I don’t know enough about the game to know if it had a better home port.

I recently played and finished the NES version of Jackal. This Konami game was originally an arcade game which I never saw or played until I briefly tried it out via MAME. The differences in this title are mostly in the controls of the jeep the player uses. Popping off a grenade takes a fraction of a second longer than on the NES. Because of this it doesn’t always fly in the direction you intend it to. This is the sole reason why Jackal is best on the NES.

Another game which also has smaller changes is Gun Smoke (That’s right, I don’t type it as “Gun.Smoke.”). The differences here is mainly the difficulty. There’s four fewer stages, smaller amounts of enemies, and your quarters stay in your pocket. :D Shops were added to the game to make the money displayed at the top of the screen mean more than just as a score. The music is also better too!

Bionic Commando is up next and this is one NES game that is known and loved far and wide. If you’ve ever played the arcade game, then you truly are familiar with probably one of the greatest examples of best on the NES. The graphics are artistically better, there’s a fleshed out story, and the damn thing just controls great! There’s also more variety in this version than compared to its quarter-munching cousin.

Finally there’s two Konami games which are some of my personal favorites of all time. They are the pair of run-‘n-gun titles Contra and Super C! I’ve played a bit more of the arcade original than that of Super Contra, but both of them run off of the same hardware and therefore had pretty much the same issues. The vertical screen didn’t help with the view of oncoming enemies. When aiming in a different direction while shooting you needed to wait a few seconds for the bullets to feel like it. I also felt that the arcade versions color palette was drab.

Best on the NES fits Contra and Super C well. The problems with the arcade versions were dealt with perfection. More stages were added and lengthened, but the challenge is very much still there. The difference being that the precise controls make it possible to have the character do what you want. There’s no more of the nonsense waiting for the bullets to go in the direction you intend them to. All you have to worry about on the NES is where and how much of Red Falcon’s ass to kick!

If you have any other potentially fun arcade games which, once on the NES (or another system), finally paid off on that potential, please, by all means, regale me with your story below.

The Raiden Project

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The cases of visiting a video game store are rare for me these days. However, one in particular that I found in Delaware was called Gameplay Unlimited. The experience was top notch in a few ways most every other place isn’t. The store was clean and well lit. The staff was attentive to customers and I never felt I was ignored or a nuisance. A number of shops I’ve been to felt like a place for the owner’s friends to hang out at. I’m glad to say it wasn’t at this shop.

Another thing that always seems to be the case is that games are priced as if gold was falling out of them. The Raiden Project for the original PlayStation is a good example. It’s a compilation of the arcade shoot-’em-ups Raiden and Raiden II and granted it’s an early PS1 game that didn’t sell well and has since been rare and hard to find. Most places, like eStarland.com, will charge $50 or more for a complete copy. I found it in the wild at Gameplay Unlimited for half the price!

For the other three games I bought, they don’t exactly show up themselves all that much. They are:

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (GEN)
Space Harrier II (GEN)
Gun Smoke (NES)

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Click for a larger view.

Oh and by the way, that’s Delaware the city (Ohio) not the state. Thanks for reading!

NES Wish List

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Yesterday I went through the list of NES games on GameSpot. I found 24 games that I either owned or played years ago that are nowhere in sight today. Below is the 24 games split up into three categories, Owned, Rented/Played, and Never Played.

Owned (9)
Castlevania
Dragon Warrior*
Excitebike*
Ikari III: The Rescue
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out*
Ninja Gaiden*
Shadow of the Ninja*
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game*
Time Lord

Rented/Played (11)
Bad Dudes
Batman*
Blades of Steel
Bump ‘N Jump
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
Double Dragon II: The Revenge
Gun Smoke*
Mega Man 2*
P.O.W.
Road Blasters
Street Fighter 2010

Never Played (4)
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
Double Dragon
G.I. Joe
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project

Out of these 24 games, all but eight are available from where I’ve looked online. The games that are marked with an asterisk are ones that I remember playing a lot of and enjoying, as well.

I will be getting most of these games, eventually. A game like Time Lord will more likely be dropped off of the list than be purchased, however.

On an interesting side note, Time Lord, being a pretty crappy game, was developed by none other than Rare. Yes, that’s right. The same company that made great games like Killer Instinct, Goldeneye, and Perfect Dark were also responsible for ass games like A Nightmare on Elm Street (AVGN review) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (AVGN review).

So there it is. My list of NES games that I’d like to have once again. Expect an SNES list and Game Boy list soon!

The Days of the Arcades

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Recently I’d read a blog post by Wil Wheaton on suicidegirls.com. In it he talks about how important arcades were for those of us that grew up during the 1980s. Being one of those people, I found a lot of what he said to hit home with me. The following post will be quotes from the article with a commentary of sorts talking about how it relates to me.

Donkey Kong will forever be associated with Verdugo Bowling Alley in La Crescenta…

Park Lanes is the name of the bowling alley where I live. I remember such arcade games as Mortal Kombat II, Fighter’s History, and the terrible Time Killers being there. They even had Capcom Bowling. I guess that made sense. It was the only place that I’d ever seen it.

Another Nintendo staple, Punch Out!!, takes me back to Malibu Grand Prix, a Southern California staple in the pre-lawsuit-as-lottery ’80s where adults could race cars around a twisty track while their kids played mini golf outside or tons of video games inside.

I remember going a few times to a location of Malibu Grand Prix. I couldn’t tell you where it was. Maybe somewhere outside of Columbus, OH. That’s my best guess. The game that comes to mind was a hacked version of Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. During the demo the word “ACCELERATOR” would appear on screen. When I played it as Ryu I soon was against a CPU controlled Ryu. With both fighters having the same color outfits, it was certainly difficult to tell who was who. The tokens that they had were of the oddly shaped variety. One side was what you’d expect, but the opposite side of the token had about three slots cut into it. It was the same with where you’d insert the token. I haven’t seen anything like it since.

Crystal Castles, Demolition Derby (did anyone ever get to see more of that girl between levels?), and Journey conjure up images of a Bally’s Aladdin’s Castle…

Aladdin’s Castle. Now that’s where a majority of my time in arcades took place. At the local Richland Mall in Ontario, OH. I remember bugging my mother to take me out to the mall so that I could go to that arcade. The early 1990s was the best time I had there because that’s when the fighting games genre was huge. It’s why I like fighting games and what started the whole craze for me. They had all of the major fighting games. Street Fighter, King of Fighters, Fatal Fury, Mortal Kombat, Samurai Shodown, Virtua Fighter, Tekken, etc. My biggest memories of that place was watching others play MKII and SFII: Hyper Fighting. I did partake in other types of games, but the fighters were definitely what drew me in at that time. Sadly, Aladdin’s Castle was closed up a number of years ago. It was replaced by the emo-shop, Hot Topic.

I really miss those days when Chuck E. Cheese’s had more than an assortment of ticket-dispensing coin suckers…

I do remember going to a Chuck E. Cheese only about two times when I was growing up. I also remember how it was. Just as Wil Wheaton said, lots of arcade games to play. At the time there wasn’t a local location, which explains the few times we went. Now the Richland Mall has one and I can atest to the fact that all they have now are ticket-dispensing machines. I guess fun is only a passing thing at Chuck E. Cheese now.

Another place I remember a number of fun arcade games being at was the rollerskating rink in my hometown of Mansfield, OH. I was introduced to that place as part of a grade school outing. After that I went many more times. The games that I remember being there were: Shinobi, Robocop, P.O.W., Gun Smoke, and Black Tiger. Eventually SFII: The World Warrior was added to make a total of about 15 games in all. That was also the place where I watched Usagi704 beat an arcade version of SFII. It was pretty cool!

Extra reading: A farewell to arcades at The HUB.

Capcom’s Not So Classic Collection

A few hours ago I purchased another retro gaming package called Capcom Classics Collection. It’s one disc of 22 games that span from 1984-1992. You get some really fun games like 1943 Kai, Final Fight, and Forgotten Worlds. A few mediocre games like Gun Smoke and 1942. Unfortunately, you also get some pretty awful games like Bionic Commando and Street Fighter II.

I’m sure that some of you are saying to yourselves, “Wait a minute! Bionic Commando and SFII are NOT awful in any way.”

You’re right, at least, about SFII. The gameplay for Street Fighter II is as solid as ever, but there are a few glaring problems. My biggest problem with this version is that the announcer sounds an octave higher than usual. Even on the SNES games he never sounded this crappy. I can’t understand how this could be translated wrong. It’s very hard to play while still having to hear this announcer.

Loading is another problem that I have with these three versions of SFII. I understand that the original PlayStation version from Street Fighter Collection 2 needed a little time to load, but this is a PS2 game. There just shouldn’t be any loading time. Even when there isn’t a “Now Loading” screen present, it’s still loading in the background before and after a match. Not acceptable at all.

Onto Bionic Commando. Most gamers will remember this game as a great NES title and that’s true. However, this isn’t the NES game we all know and love. It’s the extremely worse arcade version. You may be able to play the game for a little bit, but sooner or later you’ll find yourself looking for one of the other games to play.

Quite a few games in this collection I’ve never played previously. One of those games is Forgotten Worlds. It’s okay to play alone, but it’s even better with two players.

Capcom Classics Collection has the best set of retro games seen since this genre started about 15 years ago. With that being said, you should still be aware that some titles included aren’t the greatest and not something I’d really consider a classic.

You can find the full list of games included in this package along with screenshots at capcomclassics.com and a review for the game can be read at GameSpot.