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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Where the on-rail shooter compilations at?

(A review of Mamoru Hosoda’s Belle is coming VERY soon, btw)

As the remake of the first House Of The Dead game is set to release soon on Switch (as a retail packaged release too), i’ve just realized how incredibly really no company before Sega with this remake has tried to bring on-rail shooters to the only current-gen (kinda) popular console that still retains Wii style pointers controls via the Joycons.

Given how the nostalgia market will only grow even larger in time, i’m surprised Namco didn’t dig from its huge backcatalog and pushed out a Point Blank or Time Crisis collection, or made compilations of some of the many others games of this kind that only existed as arcade cabinets.

I named Namco, but heck, even Konami and Sega were quite prolific back in the day, though Konami nowadays it’s better when they just licensed compilations-ports of their older titles to people who care (like Digital Eclipse, also handling the recently announced TMNT Cowabunga Collection), and Sega quite likely simply doesn’t care.

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[EXPRESSO] Contra Returns iOS | Better than Rogue Corps

This isn’t technically new, since it has been available in China for years, but i guess someone at Konami woke from their slumber and figured out they didn’t release it westward yet.

I mean, this is the same company – among OTHER things – that wanted to release 3 Silent Hill games in the same month, cancelled a project involving Junji Ito, Norman Reedus and Guillermo Del Toro, and keeps embarassing itself even with the few things it still peddles as videogames, instead of pachinko and/or slot machines.

Who the hell knows.

And i wanna stress that, because i’m almost surprised by how this is actually decent, fun even, and furious since Konami decide to release that abomination of Rogue Corps and ask full price for it, when the older free-to-play mobile game by chinese developer Timi was miles better.

Sure, it looks cheap, the art direction it’s kept familiar to the Contra bombast even if you can still kinda tell it was handled by a chinese team (as in, it’s solid but kinda generic), but it’s actually proper Contra devoid of bullshit (like overheating mechanic for weapons in a shooter)), and it’s actually playable enough with touch controls, while it supports (and plays better with) gamepad.

There’s the gacha, the power level bullshit and all the upgrading n equipping and shit that comes as standard with the mobile free-to-play model to get you hooked and all the usual crap we fully expect from this business model.

It even leans big into the nostalgia for the olden days, but it actually backs it up on the gameplay department, nothing great in terms of level designs, but considering the trappings of being on mobile and free-to-play, Contra Returns it’s definitely fun enough to waste some time on it.

Didn’t expect that.

[EXPRESSO] Castlevania: Grimoire Of Souls iOS | Rise from your Konami grave

Another review i wasn’t expecting to make anymore, since this mobile Castlevania title was made available only in Australia (outside of the usual asian territories) before getting removed after only one year. Until it was recently resurrected as an exclusive Apple Arcade title, so this version is free of microtransactions bullshit seen in the original free to play release.

It also “means” i used the free trial period to play it and see if it’s any good.

Plot see Alucard travel through various magic books (the titular “grimoires”) regarding all past events and stories of the Castlevania games, all to subdue the dark power that has grown in them and keep them under control. An excuse as any to have all the characters from the series together.

Gameplay it’s an actual sidescroller 2D Castlevania that really benefits from playing it with a gamepad (and now it’s easy as pie to connect a PS4 or X-Box One controller to iOS devices), but it’s fairly playable even with the touch controls, and know what?

It ain’t bad.

The removal of microtransactions is compensated by handing out the “premium currency” liberally, but they didn’t change anything else, so it’s clear this was originally designed as a mobile free-to-play game, with multiple currencies and resources, gacha for weapons and items, and having to keep upgrading the characters’ “power levels”.

It’s not a bad game per se, it’s just not very good either, it starts promising enough but the level designs and enemies take a while to ramp up, and it hindering from being better by mobile design trappings, so it values content more than the quality and favors the usual “upgrading shit” as a way to resolve hurdles over actual skill.

Still, it’s just ok, nothing that bad to be worth shutting it down.

Some (mostly) SPOILER FREE words about Castlevania’s Season 4 and the series as a whole

Since i don’t have time to review the whole series right now (maybe for october), i’ll just talk about Season 4 of Netflix’s Castlevania animated series in a less composed and more “first thoughts” kinda way.

One season with the tall task to basically undo the damage the crappy (and honestly problematic in handling its themes and issues) third season did, and keep in mind i didn’t even know of the allegations of Warren Ellis (the writer) being a sex pest when the third season hit, i found out a bit later, and sure as shit it didn’t make me like the absolute trainwreck Season 3 was.

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Haunted Castle PSN [REVIEW] | That Dastardly Dracula

Played in the Konami Arcade Classic Anniversary Collection on PS4.

In this fairly good collection (thankfully Konami tasked the Arcade Archives team to do this one, and this one has a regular Arcade Archives release as well), there is something that will stick out from the many old shoot em ups that make up this collection, and that made Konami a premier videogame company, once upon a very long time ago.

Is the spooktacular arcade version… kinda of the original Castlevania title on NES, released in the west as “Haunted Castle”. And when i mean “arcade version”, i mean this isn’t a conversion, but a completely different game that uses different hardware and graphics, but still adapts the first Castlevania in gameplay and premise, the stages being original but also drawing comparisons to the NES game. To make things even odder, this isn’t even the first title in the series to do that.

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