9thNight – Es trial Beta
Pretty much the same as before. I can’t even tell whether or not there have been any significant changes. Not really worth getting again if you’ve played it before as the number of stages available (two) and the upgrades are still the same as before. There are no added weapons, stages, or whatnot; it feels somewhat different, but mostly minor changes like better graphics.
ASTRO PORT – 魔女ボーグメグリロ
The title, roughly translated, is Witch-borg Meglilo, which is, what she is. A witch cyborg named Meglilo. The game features, well, just that. Scenes before each stage are hilarious, even if you don’t understand the dialogue (because I sure don’t). The general preamble for each stage is that an alien does something bad (while Meglilo just watches on) – usually killing someone – and that is when she steps in and must punish the alien. As a shooting game, it doesn’t have any power-up items or even bombs. Instead, you pick up weapon pods for your left and right side, which include standard two-way, three-way, full-on spread shots, homing missiles, rotating energy balls, and even a giant sawblade. And yes, there is a big drill. As a replacement for a bomb ability, Meglilo is able to warp to any part of the screen, stopping time as you pick a location at your leisure. This allows you to easily dodge even the thickest of streams and most ridiculous of bullet patterns with a simple push of the button, as well as letting you navigate some maps that are otherwise impossible to pass through (ie: stage 5). This ability of course, is limited to the gauge on the left of the screen; while in timestop mode, the gauge is drained until you pick a warp destination, and mind you, the gauge refills quite slowly, so you’ll need to be prudent with your warping. MajoMegu also features different costumes for Meglilo, though whether or not they make a difference in handling or in the game is yet to be determined. The lighthearted, and yet often morbid story, combined with the bright pastel colors and cheerful music, give the impression of a gentle pick-up-and-play game, which this game certainly is.
EasyGameStation – 特急天使
EasyGameStation has a knack for making awfully creative games. By taking a relatively mundane activity – delivering stuff – and putting a twist on it, EGS creates a game with incredible replay and multiplay potential.
Tokkyu Tenshi – what I like to call Special Express Angels – is basically a footrace, complete with laps and finish lines. Gameplay, that is to say, the game’s basic objectives, are simple. For single player play, make it through a specific number of laps within the time limit. Nothing too special. Get to multiplayer however, and it gets a whole lot more fun. And chaotic. Instead of focusing on who gets to the finish first, it’s a point collection frenzy with the race for the finish put away as a second priority. Basically, get as many points as possible, lose as few as possible, and make it through to the finish. Gathering jewels and taking out enemies nets you points. Tripping or falling and getting left behind make you lose points. Awfully simple, but throw in a plethora of
weirdly uniquely designed courses, lots and lots of traps, enemies, and whole assortment of items and well, you’ve got pure chaos just waiting to happen. Tricky maps willed with jumps, branching paths, and false roads demand foreknowledge of the courses. Spiked floors, falling boulders, supportless platforms, and other obstacles will mercilessly pummel those whose skills aren’t good enough; even enemies will constantly swarm the map, waiting for the next player careless enough to stumble onto them. And the items. You have carrots which give you an instant dash, through solid walls and objects. Magnets which collect all visible jewels automatically. Bombs that… blow stuff up. And let’s not forget EGS’s giant spinning fish.
In theory, multiplayer would be quite the sight, with up to four players knocking each other around the map senseless and explosions and screaming everywhere. I say “in theory” because I’ve never actually had the chance to play with other people and thus, have never tried the multiplay function, and I doubt I ever will, given that no one else here shares such… interests. Single player unfortunately isn’t very non-Japanese-literate-friendly because even though the game has multiple possible endings, not being able to read the dialogue makes the entire point moot.
There also seems to be some costume unlockables, but I haven’t played the game enough to be able to get any.
Tokkyu Tenshi would probably be a great multiplayer game for any occasion, but playing it solo is likely to get boring rather quickly.
erka:es – RosenKreuzStilette FreudenStachel Trial
I probably would’ve glazed over this game if Trancehime hadn’t made a note of it (and thus, I made a note of it) when I went to his place. The best way to describe this game, in a single word, is, “Moegaman”. Yes, I made that up. Of the few Megaman X games I’ve played (only partially as a passing interest), though, they don’t even come close to this game’s difficulty level. Slippery floors, pitfalls, the traditional spikes, lava, moving platforms, this game has it all. All within two minutes of each other. In other words, each level in peppered with death traps that would send any beginner into his doom (ie: me). A little bit of research shows that this game is actually a sequel to erka:es’s previous game, RosenKreuzStilette. I’ve had the good fortune to play it, having just recently acquired it, and it plays much like, well, a Megaman clone. Usual buster and charge shot, and so on. There’s a marked difference in level design however. A number of stages in RKS are awfully bland; very “safe” designs. RKS FS takes those and improves them by adding interesting changes such as Liebea’s stage having wind outside of the tower, or Zorne’s stage taking disappearing blocks to an entirely different level altogether, making the level design even more imaginative and challenging than its predecessor.
Judging from the reactions from some fans, the game’s level design is indeed notably harder compared to RosenKreuzStilette’s designs, though there are a number of rather cheap traps that require particular tricks to get through. Grolla’s stage, in particular, is much, much harder than before. Enemies located on slippery areas rapidly spawn to hit you mid-jump and make you fall into pits. A lot of stages involve memorization of layout and nailing some clever tricks and maneuvering through some of the harder areas, and you might as well memorize how to “edge-jump” off platforms as jumping just a fraction of a second too early will get you killed. A lot. But perhaps all of this is inevitable for such a doujin game, more centered on the tougher, older Megaman series, rather than the gentler X series of late, targetted at such a hardcore audience of Japanese gamers.
With such level and character designs, and a rather interesting-seeming story, RosenKreuzStilette FreudenStachel, is, after all the frustrations and hardships, a pretty good game.