Friday, 14 July 2017

Super Castlevania 4 Isn't That Easy

Castlevania has changed a lot since its days on NES and SNES but whenever you talk about classic Castlevania with people the common opinion is that Super Castlevania 4 is the easiest in the series.

There are a lot of features in Super Castlevania 4 that basically all the other ones didn't have, including other SNES Castlevania games like Dracula X.  These included an 8 way whip, the ability to crouch walk and a sub weapon mapped to it's own key rather than being up+whip.  This made managing the games many challenges a lot easier to deal with compared to earlier games however what gets my back up is that people talk about Super Castlevania 4 as if its an easy game.

Despite all the advantages you get in this game compared to others there's still plenty of bullshit that will make you want to tear your hair out.  For example any stage that scrolls up will have the bottom of the screen instantly kill you if you fall down rather than just scrolling back down to where you came from.  This is especially annoying in some stages with tight platforming or a cheeky enemy that will smack you into a bit because you let your guard down for a second.  However that's not the worst of it because once you get to stage 8 in this game things start to get really bullshit.  One hit kill spikes fucking EVERYWHERE are the big offender and I do mean absolutely everywhere.  Then there's the clock tower which has the aforementioned death drops but only this time with TONS of enemies that could potentially knock you into them.  Then you get to stage A and there's fucking stairs that fall from underneath you that will sometimes not allow you get a proper footing on them and if you make it through that there's random floating platforms that will carry you up into more spikes if you are unlucky and aren't given another one to jump to.

This becomes all twice as hard if you're trying to speed run because not only do you have to worry about these traps but also things like health management so you can damage boost off basically everything to save time and making sure that you always have a triple shot cross.

If you really think Super Castlevania 4 is an easy game go and replay it right now, I think you'll be in for a little bit of a shock.  Still though its a great game so it doesn't matter if you breeze through it or die an absolute shit ton, you'll have fun with it.  If you've not played it before then what the fuck are you doing?  Go play it right now

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Back From Korea

At time of writing I have basically just come from my trip in South Korea and I just thought I'd say a couple of things about my trip before going to bed since I'm absolutely shattered from walking around in 35+ degree temperature for such a long time.

Usually I hate capital cities no matter what country they are in.  Tokyo, London, Paris, doesn't really matter I fucking hate them however I don't quite have the same levels of hatred for Seoul.  It's not exactly what I'd call the nicest place in the world to be but it's definitely the least "offensive" capital city I've ever been in for lack of a better word.

Anyway I did the usual touristy bullshit like visit temples and little historical villages and stuff.  The temples/palaces in South Korea are really weird because they all seem to be copy pasted.  All sort of arranged like dungeons from the original NES Zelda game with large expanses of nothing much going on.  Granted the palace I visited this time had a "secret garden" that I didn't get to see but that was extra money AND only available as a guided tour so fuck that.

The food in South Korea is really good though, especially if you're into spicy stuff.  We were taken by my friend to some kind of beef restaurant and they give you about 7000 different side dishes for you to construct your own meat-lettuce wraps with.  The following lunch time me and my wife went to a place where they served something called Galbi.  It was chicken and rice in a spicy sauce that was served on a sort of huge hotplate and they cook it for you at the table.  Fucking delicious.

As far as the gaming scene in concerned out there I didn't really see much of what was going on.  According to the friend that we stayed with the famous net cafes are of course super popular but I think everyone in the world knows about that shit since Korea is famous for Starcraft 2 and shit pop music above all else really.  Outside of that the big thing seems to be mobile gaming.  We spent an afternoon in a big shopping area and I didn't see a single game store but the subway had adverts for mobile game apps fucking EVERYWHERE.  Sort of similar to what I saw in Singapore with PC and Mobile markets being huge while console users are pretty few and far between.  I could be wrong about this of course since my total time spent in Korea is probably equal to about 3 days.

Don't know if I could recommend it for a long trip but if you're passing through or you already live in Asia and need a weekend destination then Korea is a good bet.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

MSN Gaming Zone and Others

A few days ago I had a sudden flash of memory back to my early days of online gaming.  A time when connections weren't as stable and the idea of playing and talking with other people who weren't in the same room as me blew my goddamn mind.

Nowadays online gaming is very easy, you just hop on PSN, Xbox Live or Steam and you hit "Multiplayer" in whatever title and it will find people for you and then drop you in a match.  Back then though things were very different and a lot more annoying.  There were these 3rd party services like MSN game zone where you'd have to chat to people and set up little rooms and wait for folks to join you.  That was the easy part though because I seem to remember once you were actually in a game connections being really unstable and games being dropped left right and center. 

This was OK if you were playing a Tom Clancy game or something where matches were short but me and my friend would often try and play things like Heroes of Might and Magic 3 through this thing and those games are fucking LONG.  If you dropped connection during a match of that there was no chance to reconnect, you were just done and that made things very frustrating.  It could have been a problem with my internet rather than the MSN Gaming Zone service but the point is that stable connections during games are something I think we very much take for granted now.

There was this other service called Gamespy which was kind of similar but I remember that had chat rooms where you could use a microphone to talk to people which was another thing that absolutely blew my mind.  It was also something that sort of freaked me out because I came from a time when I was constantly told that everyone on the internet was a predator so the idea of voice chatting with people was not something I enjoyed at the time.  Probably for the best because I was a bit of a twat as a child so I saved myself some embarrassment.

I sort of miss the these times but at the same time I'm so happy that online gaming is mostly hassle free nowadays.  I'm more than happy to sit here and reminisce but I don't think I'd ever really want to go back to using these kind of services ever again.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Pianista

Pianista is a game that just randomly came up in an advert while I was scrolling through Facebook one day.  Usually I steer clear of mobile rhythm games because despite their fairly decent quality they are almost always full of bullshit that makes me quit.  However the idea of a rhythm game based on classical music piqued my interest so I gave it a try 

So the bullshit that I'm talking about with other rhythm games usually involves the collection and leveling of characters.  You can play a song perfectly in games like Love Live but still end up with a shitty rank because your characters don't have enough levels to earn you the required points.  Luckily Pianista doesn't do that.  You just pick and song, play it and you're graded based on your actual skill rather than any money-grubbing character breeding system.

The game has I think about 50 songs at time of writing with new stuff getting added every so often and songs are played on something called Tour Mode and clearing them in this mode unlocks them for your collection where you can play them freely.  There are 3 difficulty levels of play which are normal, technical and master.  I've not tried master yet so I can't say just how challenging it gets but if you aren't really all that familiar with the genre there are certain songs on normal that may give you a hard time.

As you play songs you earn gold and you can use this gold to upgrade your piano which will get you different bonuses and such but apart from that you don't use the gold for anything else.  There's also a premium currency which I think lets you cut down the wait time on your plays recharging but considering this is something I'll do a song or two with on the train that's not really an issue.  The game also has leader boards so if you're the competetive type you can see how you stand up to the rest of the user base.

My only real complaint is that you get 5 song points to play songs with and then after that you have to wait before you can play any more.  1 song point regenerates every 30 minutes so if you're just fiddling with it it's not much of an issue but if you have a long journey and you were hoping to jam out to some Chopin you may have to start spending premium currency or just listening to him on a music player and live without the game part.

Either way, it's free to download on the app store, the game looks slick, plays really well and has a decent number of songs for you to enjoy.  So unless you hate classical music you should probably go and give it a try.