I needed a bit of a break from shmups for the time being and the past few weekends, I have been spending time playing Dragon Warrior II, the excellent sequel to the original hit. Though, I'm not so sure how much of a hit it actually was as the first game was given away free with subscriptions of Nintendo Power. I think almost everyone I knew back in the day had a copy banging around somewhere.
The first Dragon Warrior pitted a singular hero against the world and required lots of leveling up to progress. Having to kill slimes for an hour or so before you could even make it to the second town was not exactly the most fun thing in the world, espoecially as Final Fantasy gave you much more story, a party of characters to work with and required much less leveling.
Dragon Warrior II fixed some of the weak points of the first game, giving you a party of three characters to work with, a stellar story (though it also revolves around killing a singular bad guy, in the case, Hargon) and good in-game mechanics, like very, very fast moving text in battles and an intuitive menu system.
The game is a lot of fun and still enjoyable after 20 years, though I had never played the original NES version, only the Gameboy port. It is a bit cryptic and confusing at times, requiring you to take notes when NPC's give you vague hints. You have to make sure you follow up on them as a lot of the key items in the game are found in fairly innocuous places. If you don't really want to take notes, there's a lot of good FAQ's out and they will most definitely save you some time.
I'm enjoying the hell out of the game and very close to the end with only the final battle sequence to go through. I'm sure I'll be back to the DP series soon, but first, Hargon is calling.
I got an Pm from Hydeux on Shmups a few weeks ago who represents a French shmup site (http://shmup-em-all.vraiforum.com/index.php) who wanted to translate my Ketsui review over at Cave-STG into French and post it on their site. Needless to say, I was pretty flattered.
I gave them the go ahead and it is now posted on their site. I can't read French, but the site looks pretty cool. Pretty neat to see your work translated!
Here's the link to the review for my bilingual readers: http://shmup-em-all.vraiforum.com/t444-Ketsui-tout-sur-toutes-les-versions.htm#p10497
Things just weren't coming together right on Tuesday. I got beat down on DDP, Galaga '88 and Tatsujin even before Andi made it over. It was just one of those nights where you do everything wrong and swear the controller is malfunctioning. I actually think it was, too.
Andi came over, we jammed on a few games, didn't really kick too much ass (though Andi did really get into Gigawing) and decided to end the night on an old Sega title, Flicky.
Flicky is an arcade platformer where you are a bird catching chicks and dropping them off through a door without getting killed or your chicks get taken from you by the two cats roaming the levels. You get incrementally more points from returning multiple chicks and if you finish a stage quick enough, you get bonus points. There are also bonus stages and you get a hefty bonus by catching the birds without dropping one.
The play control is excellent, with your bird (who I would assume is Flicky) able to hover for very brief periods of time and who can run much like Mario in the early SMB titles. Its a game where once you get the hang of the controls, you start to really click with the game, diving in and out of tough spots and making use of all the mechanics in the game. Andi and I both got really into it and traded high scores until I dropped this 185,950 - right after Andi left for the night.
We left on a Friday afternoon, Andi, Dave and I all taking off from work a bit early for the road, which really didn't help at all as we caught crazy traffic leaving Chicago, taking 2 hours to go 15 miles. Ouch.
But, luckily, we all are good friends and can actually all converse together, so we just bullshitted, played some hip-hop and made time fly as quickly as possible.
We got there at about 11:30 and loaded in in seconds and got right down to playing and we really didn't stop until we left at 1 on Sunday afternoon.
The surprise of the meet for me was just how much I enjoyed playing pinball. gunbird18 has a Pinbot and a Bride of Pinbot in his house and both were played constantly all weekend. There's something about such an organic game that can be fun from time to time. I ended up playing so much, my arm and hands hurt from repetitively hitting the flippers. It was even hard to type when I got home. Awesome.
Fire Shark was the surprise game that gunbird18 bought for the meet, finding one locally on craigslist of all places. It was not s much of hit as I was hoping it might be, but I did enjoy the hell out of it and luckily got a chance to borrow it from Todd.
What was a hit was Game Paradise's Time Attack mode, which must have been on one of the cabs for 6+ hours. Caldwert killed it with most every character and it was impressive.
The scoring contest was the 2-Minute Mode of Soldier Blade and Dave took home the title, beating out a bunch of people who, just like my previous meets, really dig the Caravan titles, making it a pretty impressive run.
I had a blast playing DDP as I have been working on it for the better part of a month. I did get a chance to 1CC it right before the scoring contest, raising my high score to 45 mil+. I made it to the last boss with two extra lives and a few bombs. I basically had a bombfest on the last boss and came up short for the loop, but that will hopefully be along in a future post...
As always, it was good to see everyone and play together and good to meet new people.
A HUGE thanks to Todd, aka gunbird18 for having Dave, Andi and I over for the weekend.