The Ninja Warriors (Arcade Archives) NSWDDL [REVIEW] | Arcade Ninja Terminators

Well, guess who bought this on sale on the Nintendo eShop on a whim and kinda regretted it.

I was surprised to see this on the “ACA” label, as The Ninja Warriors received a remaster on Switch, even on a non-limited physically produced cartridge, didn’t knew it had an arcade version…

and i was right because it didn’t, Taito just happened to make an arcade game called “The Ninja Warriors” (the one being reviewed here) in 1987 and then reused the same name for the sequel on the SNES… which is kinda confusing anyway(and also oddly appropriate) as it’s more of an enhanced remake.

And boy, the arcade precedessor/original, aside being outclassed in everything by the SNES game….didn’t age as well, as the arcade trappings are so obvious and dated, thought it’s not a complete disaster or a completely mediocre forgettable relic that leaves nothing to say about it.

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[EXPRESSO] Rival Turf SNES | Dashing Beat

So, Nintendo opened its maw again to spit out another meager assortment of old titles for the NES and SNES Online services, but this time it did add Rival Turf, as in the localized version of the first Rushing Beat, so i guess it’s time to complete my trifecta of reviews for the Rushing Beat trilogy, with the others being localized as Brawl Brothers and The Peacekeepers respectively.

Like The Peacekeepers the throwing and suplex moves are so overpowered that you’ll rely too much on those, especially since the enemies knows this as well, and can deal way too much damage even without using throws, made worse by the fact this is the only beat ‘em up i know that has “recovery damage”, as in you lose life even by getting up from getting knocked down.

At least it works for both you and the enemies, but still, weird.

Everything else is crappy bootleg Final Fight, from the bootleg enemies with smaller sprites, the iffy collision detection, the punches and moves lacking much “oomph”. The only difference being the “run” button which allows to also execute dash moves, despite the hilarity of the character not so much running (there’s no running animation per se) but “walking-gliding” at a faster pace.

It’s also such a blatant rip-off of Final Fight you really have to compare it to that game, and its own only reason of being was the 2 player co-op mode that the SNES release of Final Fight lacked, but nowadays means squat.

It’s aged crap from Jaleco, and while the sequels – mostly – improved gameplay…. there’s very little reason to bother with the original Rival Turf/Rushing Beat, unless you’re a beat em up buff on a mission to play them all for fun, education and/or profit. There’s worse.

Ninety Nine Nights X360 [REVIEW] | #musoumay

In the 2000s, the Dynasty Warriors series (and most of its subseries) was not well received in western grounds, often maligned by people that never even gave the formula a real chance but eager to play them for 5 minutes, stop and write some half-baked “review”, because it was cool to bash musou games, and they’re a niche interest anyway, who cares.

But that didn’t stop various other company from having a go at the formula, often proclaiming that them alone knew how to “fix” musou games… and then churning out shit that only demonstrated how people genuinely misunderstood the formula and the appeal of these games, often thinking that they just needed to beef up the enemy IA… leading to crap like Spartan Total Warrior.

One of the “musou pretenders” from that era was definitely Ninety Nine Nights, or N3 because we’re cool like that, dawg. Drop the beets for the l33t.

A X-Box 360 exclusive launch title, developed by Q Entertaiment and Phantagram, Ninety Nine Nights also had a fairly rushed development cycle, which you can really tell from the story perspective. It’s the usual “Light VS Darkness” bullshit set in a medieval-ish looking world with all expected high fantasy races and tropes: goblin, trolls, orcs, dragons and all dat shit.

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Fate EXTELLA: Link PS4 [REVIEW] | #musoumay

3 years after putting out Fate Extella: The Umbral Star, Marvelous followed up with the sequel, Fate EXTELLA: Link.

And yes, it’s a sequel, taking place after the “true/actual ending” of The Umbral Star, where the protagonist and “child Altera” are suddendly approached by attack programs, only to be saved by a new Servant of the Saber class, identifiying itself as Charlemagne.

He then explains that within SE.RA.PH a new threat has arisen, with a self-dubbed “Conquering Emperor” that’s bent on controlling all the digital created world by a mind control/brain wash process he dubs “Oraclization”. The protagonist, with his/her Servants Nero Claudius and Tamamo are then helped further by this new ally, as Charlemagne gifts them a new flying fortress where to organize the counter-offensive and figure out how to stop the plans of this mysterious “Emperor”.

And no, it’s not Caligula. Gotta specify that, it’s Fate we’re talking about, that could have been a honestly sensible guess.

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[EXPRESSO] My Hero Academia: The Strongest Hero iOS | Smarthphone Smash!

So i missed my chance to play it and review it when it first launched here, but figured now, when the third My Hero Academia movie just released, would also be a sensible “fit”. So here it is.

There’s plenty of licensed anime games on mobile, a plethora, doesn’t matter if its popular or something like Karakuri Circus, there’s always a chance of an anime/manga series resurfacing as a free to play smarthphone title, because that’s were the microtransaction zillions are made.

And also because if the official licensed version don’t appear quickly, some bold faced obvious ripoffs will surface on the App and Play Store.

So of course there’s a mobile game for the uber popular MHA, with MHA The Strongest Hero, which does give you the very basic gist of the series and it’s setting, a world where 80 % of the population has superpowers, and sadly protagonist Izuku Midoriya happens to be in the latter 20 %, until a fated encounter with his idol superhero, All Might, changes his life forever…

It gives you the basic gist but it has its own story and it’s more focused on provide you with missions to do, in order to level up, scrounge resources, upgrade stuff and get addicted to the gacha.

But honestly it’s actually kinda impressive, it has various open ares you can actually explore, talk to characters, accept side quests and whatnot, it looks quite good and the main bulk of the game, as in combat missions, are actually satisfying thanks to a very solid and fun combat system that reminds me of the one in Honkai Impact 3rd, even better, with a lot of moves and systems based around each character’ superpower, making each feel different enough to play as.

Yeah, this is surprisingly pretty good!

The Initial STEAM [REVIEW] | School Swords Gals Fight

Have been meaning to get around this one for a while, so much i eventually got a PC to run most games decently, in the meantime. As in, 3 years ago.

So, do you like games like Oneechanbara and Senran Kagura, are you into the niche of “anime ladies fighting with scanty clothes and swords”? Want more of them?

The Initial is borne of that mentality, and comes from a niche indeed, a chinese 5 people team called Restory Studio, who clearly know their audience, so much that one of the first paragraphs on the Steam store page says “THE INITIAL is a hyper action game about pretty schoolgirls battling against evil.”, which is a very apt and synthetic description.

Because you already know if you’re in or out after that.

You know where i stand on the matter.

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Fist Of The North Star: Ken’s Rage X360 [REVIEW] | Ai Wo Torimodose!!

I’ve been wanting to revisit the Ken’s Rage series for a while, especially because it seems like a no-brainer to make a Warriors style game about one of the most beloved shonen series of the 80s, Fist Of The North Star, with Kenshiro and his cast of powerful, larger than life foes, with more post-apocalyptic muscle mountains and the array of martial arts that explode people from the inside, cure them from all ailments, and do whatever insane mystical, awesome bullshit they do.

Not that Fist Of The North Star lacks videogames based upon it, but aside from the first NES game (released without the FOTNS license as Black Belt), most of them never left Japan, or did reworked due to licensing into something else. In either case, here in Europe we almost got nothing of that for decades, so Ken’s Rage was actually a nice treat for starving fans that wanted to experience Kenshiro’s post-apocaliptic odyssey in videogame form on their modern consoles.

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Knack II [PS4] [REVIEW] | Knack Me Twice

Developed By: Japan Studio

Players: 1-2

The very existence of this game is big “?”, not only because it came out 4 years after the first Knack, bamboozling the gaming community at large, given how widely hated and reviled the first game and its titular protagonist were. Again, it’s worth remembering that the fist Knack was both a critical and a financial failure, and didn’t do worse in revenue because it was a launch title, so there wasn’t much else to play at the time on the newborne console.

In a way, i can understand why someone at Sony did ultimately greenlit this, as an underdog story for this pitiable franchise (and main characters) would have been nice, and proof you can turn thing around with a sequel; it has been done before, after all, so why can’t Knack be redeemed of his sins?

There are many reasons for that, but let’s start from the beginning, meaning the story.

(review based on a playthrough on Normal, for review purposes)

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[EXPRESSO] Brawl Brothers SNES | OH, Maize!

Played via the SNES – Nintendo Switch Online’s service.

Since i reviewed the last game in the Rushing Beat trilogy (as in, what became of it when Jaleco brought it over as The Peace Keepers), might as well do the second one, or – more appropriately – the western release of Rushing Beat Ran. But since it’s an emulated game, the old code for playing the japanese version works here as well.

And if you go to The Peace Keepers back to Brawl Brothers, you’ll find it hard to believe this one came before, because it’s noticeably the better game, right away it’s obvious, as absurd as it is.

That said, while the gameplay is decent, it apes Final Fight , yes, it also has 4 stages, each being twice as long than usual, long for the sake of it, without the enemy variety to fully sustain it (even for the era)… AND if the pacing wasn’t hampered by the maze-like sections. On paper they should spice things up, make the game less mindless, but they are just obtuse and stupid, as the level design doesn’t comunicate or hints at the “right way”, but its quite happy to still tell you to “GO=>” even when it will lead you into looping into the same ¾ nearly identical corridors.

So 15 minutes in and you will have to either keep trying to access the sewer’s doors in random order or go look up a guide if you wanna save some time. More baffling, this “maze crap”, while it bogs down an other decent – if flawed – game for the time, isn’t even a complete deal breaker, as it applies to just 2 specific sections of the whole game … and it wasn’t even in the Japanese version to begin with.

[EXPRESSO] The Peace Keepers SNES | The Suplexing Complex

Played via the SNES- Nintendo Switch Online’s service.

And i gotta say, despite Nintendo handling this service.. in a totally Nintendo way, sometimes there are surprises, like this forgotten SNES beat em up by Jaleco, actually the third of the Rushing Beat trilogy (which also includes Rival Turf and Brawl Brothers, the latter already released on the service), at least it was originally. I’d say this is a fairly obscure release, as i never even heard of its existence, even by name.

Playing it, i realized why it slipped into obscurity so easily. Just plain ol’ crap in a market – at the time – saturated with tons of titles like that, often better.

It’s hard to say The Peace Keepers is “bad”, as it pretty much plays like Final Fight (aside from a plot that throws movie clichès AND literary references into the pot, with mutants, villains named Iago and places called Ozymandias Island), but it’s not a fast paced affair. Also, the combination of slightly stiff controls and the screen never scrolling properly to the right leads to you dashing into enemies’ fists, not that the game really ever throws tons of foes at you. Which is “good” because each takes more hits than it should to go down in a game like this, making the throws (already a bit too efficient than punches, in a brawler) pretty much mandatory to get anywhere.

Branching paths leading to different bosses and endings are nice but aren’t enough to make the story seems more than a jumbled sequence of scenes. And for some stupid reason the game by default just has the sound effects and ambient noises, i almost went the whole game wondering if the game had no actual music. It does, but you have to change a setting in the options.