Tag Archives: Subspace Brief Facts

Castlevania Symphony of the Night: Maria Goes to Saturn

It’s difficult to cover something that’s been done to death, but I’ve always wanted to do something on Symphony of the Night.  Hopefully I’ve provided something somewhat new and original by exploring a very specific aspect of the Saturn version of Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight– the ability to play as Maria Renard. Enjoy!

You’ll also note that there’s a decent amount of footage from Dracula X: Rondo of Blood for the PC Engine. Here’s some fun little gifs I ripped from that game while recording:

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WEAPONIZED RELIGION!
mariadeath
You might be a king or a little street sweeper, but sooner or later you dance with the reaper.

And here’s Maria and Richter’s’s official concept art, which can be found on the Saturn disc:

And because I’m such a (tragic) prince, here’s the audio for the music used in the video:

As usual, the game was played through a Framemeister. I used Chris Genthe’s upscaler settings – you can find all of his videos here. I’ve embedded his Saturn video below:

I’m a big fan of Chris’ settings for 1080p output. Give them a shot!

On a somewhat sad note, you will also see that this video is dedicated to the beloved memory of my recently departed corgi, Gizmo. Among many other things, Gizmo was my “games dog” whenever I had to verify shipment of Saturn imports, I’d always try to make the photo more entertaining by throwing in Gizmo.

He was one of my best pals. He’ll be missed.

Arcade Memories, Pt. 2: Time Killers

timekillerstitleTime Killers
Arcade, 1992
Developer: Incredible Technologies
Publisher: Strata

Time Killers made such a indelible mark on my pre-teen brain, I felt it warranted a Brief Facts as well:

Time Killers was released in late ’92, meaning I didn’t encounter it at TK’s until the summer of ’93 – a time when fighting games ruled the roost, and arcades were populated with angry, clove-smoking, Nirvana-loving teenagers. It was a wonderful place to be a chubby 11-year-old.

Co-op games like Crime Fighters hadn’t vanished, but their numbers were dwindling. If you wanted to make the most out of your time in an arcade, you HAD to learn how to play fighting games. Street Fighter II had changed arcades forever, for good or for ill.

I positively LOVED fighting games. When the home port of SFII dropped in June of 1992, I played it into the ground. Damn near mastered it. However, those skills never quite made a clean transition to the arcade. Not because I was outclassed by the competition, mind you, but because I was SCARED.

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It feels odd to have to explain this, but the arcades of the ’90s were not the family fun centers you see today. In fact, to my 11-year-old brain, they kind of resembled the future from Terminator: constant loud noises, dim lights, frowning faces leaning against every possible surface, and smoke everywhere. They were probably nowhere NEAR that bad, but damn if they didn’t FEEL just a little bit dangerous. I fully acknowledge that I was a little chickenshit, but hey, this is my story, so BACK OFF PAL.

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Anyway, rolling up to a fighting game in ’92 meant (1) you were going to pay $.50 for a credit, and (2) you were going to get challenged by an angst-ridden teenager in a matter of moments. The fear of losing my hard-earned allowance to some hormonally imbalanced high schooler in a Megadeth t-shirt caused me to fold under pressure. How could I beat a kid who was a foot taller than me at ANYTHING? Even if I could win, would it get me beat up? Intimidation was in the air.

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But Time Killers helped fix all that. No, not because its excessive gore exposed me to the horrors of the world and gave me the steely resolve of a grizzled veteran – but I’m sure that didn’t hurt. Time Killers helped me conquer my arcade fears because I just happened to be the first person at TK’s to figure out its (admittedly simple) control scheme.

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As noted in the video, killing somebody in Time Killers is INCREDIBLY easy. All you do is slam all 5 attack buttons. If your opponent isn’t blocking, their head will fly off and you’ll win the match in seconds.

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Believe it or not, most folks just just bashed on the top button (for headbutts) in an effort to pull off decapitations. Suckers. Image source: arcade-museum.com

Through dumb luck, I somehow figured this little trick out about 3 days before everyone else at TK’s did, including many angry and family members. Sorry, cousin Rob! For a few glorious days in the summer of ’93, I was the absolute KING of Time Killers. My competition jitters evaporated as I racked up the cheap wins.

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To my surprise, however, the rest of the world took this extremely well. A few folks complained, but most just calmly walked away. Some even shook my hand. Nobody threatened to beat me up (which is remarkable, because credits weren’t cheap, and any threat would have caused my pansy ass to yield control of the machine immediately). It was then I came to realize that maybe I had been taking this whole thing just a little bit too seriously. Video games were just video games, and arcade-goers were just normal people. Foul-mouthed teenage people, but people nonetheless. Some of them were actually pretty cool. As long as you didn’t run your mouth, you had just about nothing to fear.

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For that reason, I’ll always remember Time Killers as the game that got me over the hump. It’s how I learned how to perform under arcade pressure, and on a broader level, it taught me a little something about how to relax in uncomfortable social situations.

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So there you have it folks. Violent video games build character and teach life lessons. Suck it, organized athletics, and TAKE THAT JOE LIEBERMAN.

…come to think of it, though, had I been on the receiving end of those cheap decapitations, this game could have just as easily made me swear off arcade games forever. Makes ya’ think.

Also the makers of Time Killers went on to design Golden Tee Golf, which may well be the world’s most popular arcade game. Look it up.

Deep Fear

This one was a doozy! Deep Fear is one I’ve been meaning to play for a while, so I figured it would make a great installment for the 10th Brief Facts!

As you’ll be able to tell from the video, I played through the Japanese version of Deep Fear. While all the text is in Japanese, it’s not too difficult to fumble your way through the game; your objectives are fairly straightforward. Notably, all the voice acting in English. Hilariously awful English. It’s like they got their American accounting interns to do all the VO in one take.

I also think this game has the most righteous Engrish tag line ever:

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“Hereafter we will have desperate days with nowhere to escape.” Why even bother trying, then, one wonders.

I’ll update this post in the coming days with some more media. In the meantime, enjoy this charming misspelling:

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It’s like storage, but more efficient.

Thanks for watching – and to all  you videophiles out there, sorry about the jailbars!

Corpse Killer (Sega 32X CD)

Corpse Killer (32x) Screenshot 2016-01-13 07-35-19Corpse Killer
Sega 32X CD, 1994
Developer: Digital Pictures
Publisher: Digital Pictures

We round the halfway point on the 32X CD library with Corpse Killer, an interesting, if flawed, light gun/FMV adventure hybrid from Digital Pictures.

If you’ve got a hankering to play Corpse Killer after watching this video, I’d stick to the 3DO or Sega Saturn versions, if you’ve got the means to play them.  The Sega CD/32X simply didn’t have the horsepower to make the digitized zombie sprites look like anything more than a blurry mess – which is pretty amazing when you consider that said sprites have less frames than your average animated gif. My, how far we’ve come!

This one really felt like a long road to a small house. We’ll be taking a brief break from 32X CD games for a bit. For as positive as I try to remain about these games, playing them end-to-end really makes you appreciate the wonders of modern console gaming.  Don’t worry though, I hope to continue in a month or two with either Night Trap or Surgical Strike.

Supreme Warrior (Sega 32X CD)

SupremeWarriorTitleSupreme Warrior
Sega 32X CD, 1994
Developer: Digital Pictures
Publisher: Digital Pictures

Oh yes, I’m going to play ALL SIX Sega 32X CD games. Why? Because I want to play an entire game system’s library at least once in my life, and this is LOW HANGING FRUIT. And on top of that, the 32X CD isn’t really its own system, so it’s kind of like winning on a technicality. We lawyers LOVE technicalities.

Anyway, I played through Supreme Warrior, one of the last gasps of Digital Pictures, quite possibly the most prolific producer of FMV games in the early-to-mid-90’s. Supreme Warrior is simultaneously all that is great about mid-90’s FMV (fantastic production values and surprising fluidity) while at the same time a reminder of why the genre never reached its potential (shallow and clumsy gameplay).

If you’d care to have a look at the differences in quality between the Sega CD and Sega 32X CD versions, I’ve ripped the introductory sequences for both games.

While the 32X version certainly looks prettier, I find myself more impressed by the Sega CD version. It’s pretty ugly, but quite good by SCD standards.

The game’s credits make it clear that the actors who portrayed the enemy fighters did all their own choreography. In my mind, this accounts for (1) why the action looks so good (when you can see it); and (2) why the button prompts are so mercilessly short. Someone needed to tell these guys and gals to slow down for the benefit of the players at home.

I couldn’t recommend Supreme Warrior to anybody but the most devoted fans of FMV games, but for what it’s worth, I enjoyed my time with it; it’s a beautiful disaster of sorts.