Posts Tagged ‘SNES’

DKC2 Stage 3 commences, plus why I hate classic save systems

April 5, 2010

So I finally made progress in Donkey  Kong Country 2 over the weekend, but not a whole lot.  Made it up to stage three, defeated the pretty easy Stage 2 boss (a flying sword, really?), and at least hit the save point in Stage 3 before quitting for a bit yesterday.

As much as I like old games, man, I really, really hate the save system in games like Donkey Kong Country 2.  Especially the damn coin system in this game, but I’ll rail on that in a minute.  I guess with DKC2 there was a certain expectation for difficulty, even though I’m not sure where that came from, since I never found the original to be particularly difficult.

Maybe old age and newer games has made me a little soft, but going from a classic Castlevania game to this title, well, I kind of think DKC2 is actually harder than Rondo of Blood was.  Not something that I would have expected, but I’ve certainly encountered more game over screens here than I would have guessed.  Part of my frustration with that is the limited save spots in this game.  In DKC2, and pretty much DKC1,  you’ve got about 1 save spot per level, meaning that you get about three stages into a level before unlocking that spot.  This isn’t so awful, hell, New Super Mario Bros. used a similar set-up (but allowed quick saves), so my issue isn’t really with that. 

My biggest hang-up comes from not being able to save a second or third time, once I’ve exhausted that initial save.  Well, unless I want to spend some in-game currency.  The coins haven’t really been liberally placed either, there seems to be about one or two per stage, but as you advance in level, these get harder and harder to get.  Also, you can’t travel back to previous levels to stock up, because then you have to spend coins for that too. 

Basically, I’m saying that I really, really hate the coin system in this game.  Especially when it’s tied into the save system, which after your first save requires you to spend two coins to save again.  This means, if you don’t have or don’t want to spend coins, you need to make it all the way through the last half of the level you’re currently on, beat the boss, and then clear the first half of the next level before getting to the next free save spot.  This wouldn’t be so hard if I could have my extra lives carry over every time I boot up the game, but if I’m at 10 lives when I turn my system off, when I restart it I’m right back down to three. 

So yeah, not every aspect of older games is awesome, and the save system in DKC2 is a shining example of that.  I know, I’m probably just being a weaksauce gamer here, but I don’t have nearly as much time to sit down and tough it out over two or three hours a day with this game, so it’s a little maddening to sit down and play only to have your progress destroyed by one annoying game over screen.  Thank god for the ability to suspend state on Virtual Console, I’m not sure I’d have the patience to deal with it on the SNES at this point.

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Dracula X vs Rondo, all Vampires must die!

March 18, 2010

When Rondo of Blood launched on the TurboDuo in 1993, import gamers were singing it’s praises pretty early on, but with some lackluster support for Grafx anythingl in the States at that point in time, the hope of an American release for the game was pretty much out of the question.  Konami,  however, had other plans. 

Enter Dracula X for the Super Nintendo, a re-imagining of sorts of Rondo of Blood, and the point of contention for many a Castlevania fan still today.  A lot of folks seem to look at this as the inferior version of the original Rondo, while others seem to appreciate it as another entry into the series that differs itself enough from Rondo to stand on it’s own two feet.  Personally, my experience with the game stems from being a lot younger, so my memory is a little hazy.  I do remember it being tough as nails, I never made it to the Dracula fight, so I can’t really form a total opinion on how it stacks up. 

But that’s why the Internet gave us Youtube! 

So here’s a couple quick and dirty comparison vids of different points in both games, just to give you a rough idea of what changed between the two:

The final Drac fight from Dracula X (I know, it looks easy!)

Versus the final Drac fight from Rondo of Blood.

A lot of  you guys will be pretty familiar with the Rondo take on it, since that’s nearly identical to the way Symphony of the Night opens up (it’s retelling this particular event and all).  It’s definitely different in style and art to the SNES version, what with the giant pillars and bottomless pits, and the big change in Dracula’s big monster form.  Also, notice the difference in how Richter moves between both versions.  Looking a little sluggish there, Rick. 

Here’s another comparison, this time on the Werewolf boss fight from both versions.

In Rondo of Blood, he’s the boss from Stage 2:

And in Dracula X, he’s the Stage 5 boss: 

These two fights are almost identical, as opposed to the Drac fight.  The background has changed a bit, but the moveset of the Werewolf hasn’t seen any change, just some animation differences, most notably with the fireball attack.  Notice though, the SNES version moves considerably slower, with both Richter and the Werewolf.  Current CV fans of the GBA and DS games will also recognize the Werewolf, who has become a more run of the mill enemy in the current Metroidvania style games. 

Finally, let’s do a quick music comparison too:

Rondo of Blood’s rendition of Bloody Tears, a personal favorite:

Dracula X’s version:

To be fair, these are pretty close too.  However, what a huge difference CD quality music makes over a cart, right? 

Overall, if I had to choose between Rondo of Blood and Dracula X, I’d say Rondo is a clear cut winner.  That said, I think Dracula X is totally worth playing, and something that I need to seek out again in the near future.  Maybe Konami / Hudson will grace us with a VC release of this too, before I have to shell out $50+ for the hard copy.