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September 16th, 2020, 20:14
Contra Hard Corps - Megadrive


^Haven't I seen you somewhere before?…………

Raved about in gaming circles, Hard Corps is renowned as one of the best in the series. I played it years ago, but could never take to it. Something about it didn't grab me like Contra 3 did.

So on the plus side there's branching paths, cool graphics, the usual Contra set-pieces, and some very groovy & well balanced characters. There's no denying that it does a lot of the Contra staples very well, and has some real individuality to boot.

But overall I was very disappointed. Firstly it recycles a fair few elements from Contra 3, which isn't bad per say, it just feels a bit too familiar at times. Secondly the music's fucking wank too. Ear bleeding shit at times. Really grated on me.

But I'm also not a fan of boss-rush type games in general. Despite there being some very inventive bosses, what it boils down to is spending a lot of the time locked in a samey course of repetitive actions. Stay in one place & rely on a certain weapon, jump in a certain repetitive pattern over & over. Not a problem when that's an occurrence once or twice per level, but when it happens 5 or 6 times throughout, it just gets boring. Especially when each one is so punishing and each fight lasts quite some time (whereas they were often over in half the time in Contra 3)

It can be quite fiddly at times too, with the weapon select method another step back from the L/R method used in Contra 3. Yes you can pause the game to select a weapon, but that detracts from the action. There's very little room for error, so that also highlights the fundamental design flaw with the A button both switching your weapons, and locking you in place when needed. It's very easy to pull off one instead of the other, and this becomes frustrating. And there's some absolute total bullshit deaths from out of nowhere too. I know it was rife in this era, but some games take the piss at times, and this is one of them.

It's really strange how just a few small differences from this to Contra 3 can make it so detestable, but I really didn't like it at all.

Very overrated IMO.

2/5
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September 16th, 2020, 20:16
Contra 3/Super Probotector - SNES


^ One of the biggest "wow!" moments in gaming of my life

A big fave of mine from back in t'day, Contra 3 really blew my socks off as a kid. One of my all time greatest gaming memories was watching that bomber dive in and scorch the ground. Fucking awesome.

So playing it now it still carries a lot of that impact. What it does so well is constantly throw new things at you, but purposeful things which present both a familiar & yet different challenge. You drive a tank, you jump over scorched earth, you ride a bike, you hang from missiles in the sky etc. All of them are done very well and, coupled with distinctly different enemies & levels, it provides a stream of constant freshness & excitement.

Within 2 minutes of playing this it was easy to see why I much prefer it to Contra Hard Corps. In comparison to Contra Hard Corps, the weapons feel more satisfying, the game actually gives you a chance to evade enemy fire even if you don't know it's coming, enemy mid-bosses are dispatched swiftly enough for the game not to drag, you're actually given space to assess enemies & situations, and the music is actually pretty banging too.

But those overhead sections. Uggggh. They aren't awful as such (well maybe the second one is), but they are definitely the game's weakest point & each level sees a dip in the fun. If the game was made up of those alone, it'd be pretty poor. Thankfully they're short lived.

It's a much better paced, better rounded experience than Hard Corps, but it's just such a shame that they didn't trade those 2 overhead levels for another side-scrolling one.

Great game, just falls short slightly due to said overhead levels dragging it down.

4/5
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September 16th, 2020, 20:40
I should try Contra 3, sounds good. The only Contra I remember playing was on the Gameboy, many years ago - not sure which one it was. I sank a lot of hours into it, so I must have enjoyed it, but pretty much the only thing I remember about it was that it was really, really hard.
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September 16th, 2020, 21:47
Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
I should try Contra 3, sounds good. The only Contra I remember playing was on the Gameboy, many years ago - not sure which one it was. I sank a lot of hours into it, so I must have enjoyed it, but pretty much the only thing I remember about it was that it was really, really hard.
Contra 3 is definitely worth playing mate. Some prefer the GBA version, which gets rid of the poorer overhead levels, and replaces them with levels from Hard Corps, but they make a few other twekas too which don't sit well with me, and personally I still prefer the SNES version.

I very nearly scored it a 5, but it just fell short.
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September 18th, 2020, 18:14
Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine/Puyo Puyo - Megadrive


^Flick your beans

Single player puzzle games can fuck off for me, but I love a good Vs puzzler like Bust A Move, Bombliss or Baku Baku. This was one I played more on emulation as an adult, so I'm cheating a bit reviewing it now, but I don't really care coz I'm a cunt.

Just one more go. Just one more go. In one phrase, that's this game. I can't put the fucking thing down. I put it on with the intention of playing for 5 min, and before I know it an hour's gone. When the AI is thrashing me, I force the missus to play it so I can kick her ass (although she is rather good at it). When I need a go-to game for mates coming over, and one that everyone can have a go on & enjoy, this is it.

What's there to say about it? It's lining up blobs so you have less than your enemy, and so you set traps which fuck their plans up too. It;s devious, it's risk Vs reward balance is spot on, and it's crazy that such a simple game can be so addictive.

But it is. Still to this very day. An absolute must own.

:5/5:
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“All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.”
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Yesterday, 11:39
Cybernator/Assault Suits Valken - SNES



^Moby's a dick

Back in t'day this was one of those rare gems which you'd find buried beneath a load of trash which the mobile game swapper would take round. "Am caming aaaahhhht eer fa facking chicken feed!" ours would say, as he fleeced the gullible lads for £60 for something like Golden Fighter. "Everyone's buying this daaan taan" he'd say. Meanwhile we'd unearth Cybernator, and be met with a game of wonder. This hit the spot back in the day because it was so different to most other shooters. But has that stood the test of time?

Yeah kinda. It's certainly not as awe-inspiring as it was, but it does enough well to be enjoyable. Movement is spot on. You feel weighty enough to feel like a badass stomping giant Mech motherfucker, but it's also fluid & fast enough to keep the game playable & enjoyable too. The combat is very considered, and it makes for quite a unique experience for a game of that era. There's great level design, with each stage encompassing the feel of what it sets out to, and the story flowing nicely through each too.

Sadly, the more considered pace also makes the game feel somewhat laboured at times, mainly when you have to repeat sections because of losing a life. Running through it once feels great, but second time round I felt myself wanting a bit of a fast forward button.

Plenty to enjoy though.

4/5
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“All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.”
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