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TG16-mini: First impressions and playthrus


fox

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So after a nearly year long wait, I finally got my TG16-mini, so I have been digging into some 16-bit goodness from this forgotten console.  

Though I would share some of my immpresions and playthrus, the good, the bad, the weird.

I do own a Turbo Grafx back in the day, but I only had a couple games like Keith Courage and Darkwing Duck, so needless to say I missed out on much of the good $hit.  Some of the titles in this collection I have played elsewhere, but many titles this is my first time really sinking my teeth in.

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Air Zonk - I really was not too big into the Bonk games so how good could this spin off be?  But Air Zonk is a surprisingly good cute'em up, tons of power ups, funky options, and clutch charge up attacks.

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Alien Crush - A fun videol pinball game inspired by HR Giger with a soundtrack that slaps.  I rather play this than Sonic Spinball or many of the other video pinball games.  Only shame is the equally groovy Devil's Crush isn't on this as well.

Blazing Lazers -  Very similar to Gun-Nac another Compile joint.  Good to see a shmup that doesn’t “eat your lunch” right away.  There are a couple bully enemies, but once they tag you once you know what to expect.  The game is very generous with 1ups, bombs, and power-ups littering the screen.

Bomberman ‘93 - Old school B-man you know and love, but adding the 5 player mode really takes this to the next level.  Nothing like having a couple buddies together to throw down, talking mad $hit only to trap yourself with your own bomb.

Bonk’s Revenge - An improvement over the first game, better funny animations and more complex levels.  It still has a lot of problems of the first game.  Your attacks don't seem to hit when you expect them too and several gotcha enemies and traps.

 

Edited by fox
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Enjoyable so far.  I'd strongly suggest going back into Bonk games again.  I think you're misreading/not timing it well as I've never had that problem having it do something I didn't want.  It has a good hit box, good connect and bounce off that hit too either grounded or flying headbutting.  I'm coming from this not as a Mini owner, but a Duo owner(US) in the 95-05 period, then in the last 3 years getting back in with a Core Grafx and again now a Duo(JP) as well and I've got the first two (3rd on everdrive) also have Denjin(Air Zonk) and I agree it's solid.

I'd like to follow this too, see how this goes as I think this could be a solid debate space on the thing.

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Akumajō Dracula X Chi No Rondo – This title gets a lot of praise and it is easy to see why, all the levels and enemies are so well crafted and deliberate.  You can read their attacks and how you need to navigate around the level, getting there is the hard part.  That animated intro and CD soundtrack blew me away for being a 16-bit system.    There are alternate paths, bosses, endings, and another character to play as so I imagine this is one I will be coming back to.

There are so many nods and throwbacks, this is like the swansong and love letter to the classic vania.  And many of the enemies and storyline spill over into the excellent in its own way Symphony of the Night, so it really feels like the end of an old era and the start of something new.

Aldynes – A rather generic Shmup, expect a few of those on here.  Some cool big boss designs.

Appare! Gateball – A ton of menus but once you are playing this is basically croquet.  I don’t know of any other video croquet games so that is pretty unique, could be fun multiplayer.

Bomberman ’94 – A step up from the other Bomberman title as it features some more complex single player levels.  Turns out we did get this one as Mega Bomberman for the Genesis, I might prefer that version because the soundtrack really slaps in the Sega version.  But you still have everything you need here for some serious multiplayer fun.  It's a blast.

Bomberman Panic Bomber – I played this one before on the Virtual Boy of all places.  A bit like Puyo Puyo mixed with the bombs of Tetris 2.  Maybe I am missing something with how the combo system worked but it really felt like a stalemate as it was easy to clear garbage blocks with small bombs and even regular blocks with the big bombs.  A single vs computer match must have lasted 15 mins, which is just too long, this shouldn’t be paced like a round of tennis. C’mon

Chō Aniki – The infamous flying muscle-man shmup.  It is still quirky, but not quite as queer as later entries in the series got.  Just alrite.

Edited by fox
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22 hours ago, DoctorEncore said:

Looking forward to your impressions. My son and I have been playing here and there since I got my PC Engine Mini and it's really cool to be discovering new old games in 2020.

 

1 hour ago, CasualCart said:

I'm loving these quick, concise reviews @fox! Your writing has such great personality, too haha.

I've got my TurboGrafx 16 Mini on the way, and I'm stoked to try out all the space shooters!

-CasualCart

 

31 minutes ago, ifightdragons said:

Agreed! Your write-ups are really fun and to the point.

Thanks for the support!  Let me know what games y'all are diving into.

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Daimakaimura (Ghouls n Ghosts) – I’ve always been more of a Castlevania fan than a GnG fan.  It feels like enemies are constantly swarming and even if you fight them off, they respawn 2 seconds later.  Seems like a solid port though.

Dragon Spirit – Play as a Dragon shooting dinosaurs, how cool is that?  The dragon’s hitbox is pretty big and sometimes background objects can damage you when you wouldn’t expect.

Fantasy Zone – One of the couple of TG16 games I used to own.  Really fun cute em’ up along the lines of Defender.  Got to love those tunes.

Galaga ’88 – It’s Galaga again, doesn’t have any additional bells and whistles over the original.  Enemies explode into fireworks, so at least it is festive.

Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire – sick 3D effects, hard rockin’ soundtrack, cyberpunk backgrounds, anime girls!  There are more than a few shmups in the mix, but this is one that takes it to the next level.

Gradius – The classic shmup.  You know the great gameplay and the power-up system.  But why no continues?

Gradius II – Bigger and badder than the first one.  Largely the same gameplay-wise, but being able to customize your loadout is nice.
 

Jaseiken Necromancer – very Dragon Quest influenced early RPG with some kind of creepy monster designs.  It is all in Japanese, so not able to really tackle it here, but don’t feel like I’m missing much.

 

 

Edited by fox
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On 5/28/2020 at 8:50 PM, fox said:

Old school B-man you know and love, but adding the 5 player mode really takes this to the next level.

I think you'd be hard pressed to find a Bomberman game newer than 1990 without 5-player. It was probably the primary appeal of that whole series, and what made it so popular 😛

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Cadash – A sidescrolling action adventure game like the arcade.  A little wonky but seems like a good time.
 

Chew-Man-Fu – Pac Man meets Bomber Man in kind of a funky puzzle/maze game where you run enemies over with giant marbles.  Some hilarious dialogue between stages.

Dungeon Explorer – A gauntlet style hack n slash for 5 players.  Plays pretty well.

J.J. & Jeff – Another one I owned.  Honestly one of the worst games of all time.  Ugly graphics, worse controls, and bird poop humor.

Lords Of Thunder – This game rocks.  You pick different power=ups and armor sets and go at it in fantasy flavored shmup levels.

Military Madness – Easy to get into Strategy game.  The in-game user manuels lays everything out and fans of Advance Wars should feel right at home.

Moto Roader – Busted racing game, pretty much unplayable with the way cars teleport around the track.  Micro Machines this ain’t.

Neutopia – Nintendo’s lawyers should have sued, this has to be the most shameless Zelda clone ever.  Still if you like the original NES and wanted more, this is for you.  Hitting enemies with the sword seems harder than it should be with how easy it is for them to hit you.

Neutopia II – Much of the same as the first, but this one makes combat a bit less clunky since now you can attack in 8 directions and you sword stays out for a second allowing you to move in into enemies.

New Adventure Island – Pretty much a 16 bit Adventure Island.  I think I like this one more than Super Adventure Island.

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50 minutes ago, Sumez said:

Someone has never played Golden Axe Warrior 😛

Neutopia definitely has its own identity IMO. You can easily tell how Bomberman Tournament takes from that series moreso than Zelda.

I think I enjoyed Golden Axe Warrior more than I did Neutopia. One advantage it has though is its lore, nods to previous characters, etc. I never really played Neutopia 2 so maybe that's the case since this time it had a game as well.

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Oh yeah, Golden Axe Warrior is fun. But it really is just a carbon copy of Zelda 1, right down to the hidden caves where NPCs will take money from you with nothing you can do about it. It does have a little more interesting environment, with something that looks like towns, and of course the nods to the Golden Axe characters as you mention, but that's about it. 🙂 

Also, I think it's worth pointing out, that game came out in 1991, same year as A Link to the Past XD

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"pretty good" o____o

The PCE/TG16 Mini has probably the most overall solid lineup of any of these mini consoles. Even though the SNES is filled with amazing games, you could always make arguments for several obvious omissions. But the PCE Mini has just about a bit of everything. If I didn't already own most of the best games I would have invested in a heartbeat.

Rondo of Blood is obviously the crop of the cream, but don't underestimate Parasol Stars. It's only too bad that they didn't choose to include its surprisingly solid Rainbow Islands port also.

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Ninja Ryūkenden  - Something feels off about Ninja Gaiden here, maybe it is just me.  Still cool to see a different spin on the classic.

PC Genjin – Remember Bonk?  One of dozens of mascot platformers with ‘tude to come out in the 90s.  Compared to Sonic and Crash, Bonk sure was the poochie of that group.

Salamander – Better known as Lifeforce.  Hell yeah, honestly it plays the same but I dig this even more than Gradius.  Having a new “near arcade” mode is pretty sweet as well.

Seirei Senshi Spriggan – A Musha-like shmup.  If you are into that, you will like it, felt a bit samey to me though.

Snatcher – A really cool cyberpunk detective adventure.  This is a super text heavy game and it is all in Japanese here, but try this out on the Sega CD sometime.

Spriggan Mark 2 – Switches from a vertical to horizontal shooter in this sequel that barely resembles the first game.  Plays out like an episode of Robotech, with pilots constantly in your ear yelling stuff.  The non-stop chatter does really break up the flow of the game, might not mind it as much if I had any idea what was going on.

 
2 hours ago, Sumez said:

The PCE/TG16 Mini has probably the most overall solid lineup of any of these mini consoles.

I'd agree with that.  Come for Rondo, stay for Blazing Lasers, Sapphire, Military Madness, Splatterhouse, Bomberman, etc.

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13 minutes ago, fox said:

Ninja Ryūkenden  - Something feels off about Ninja Gaiden here, maybe it is just me.

It's not just you. I'm a massive fan of the original Ninja Gaiden, and I was dumb enough to shell out for a boxed copy of the original PC Engine HuCard, but I'm not gonna let that cloud my judgment.
The PC Engine version of this game is atrocious. It adds a few more colors which at first might make it look like a graphical upgrade, but it's really substandard from what you could expect from the PCE hardware. It's very obvious that no effort was put into it, with a lot of sprites and backgrounds being completely undiscernible. But even if that doesn't put you off, the attempted parallax backgrounds will be sure to make you nauseous.
At the end of the day though, what matters here is that the port plays like garbage, and really proves what a fine line this game rides on - because the original NES game is still a masterpiece.

17 minutes ago, fox said:

Having a new “near arcade” mode is pretty sweet as well.

As with most of the PCE Konami shmup ports, Salamander is probably really most desirable in this version. The original arcade game features some extremely dodgy hit detection that's all fixed in this port. It's completely solid.

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 Star Parodier – Kinda the Hudson answer to Parodius.  Fun cute em up that lets you play as a flying Bomberman or even a Hu Card.  You know you love it.

Super Darius – Other than the over the top, G Darius which features screen-size dueling lasers and the ability to convert mini bosses to allies, this fishtank shmup series didn’t really excite.

Super Momotarō Dentetsu II – Some kind of train based board game.  Can’t read it so can’t play it.  Wonder if this inspired some of the later Mario Party games where you all travel around together in a car or buggy.

Super Star Soldier – Another solid shmup.  I’m running out of ways to describe shmups!

The Genji and the Heike Clans – Just a random incoherent mess of enemies swarming you in this ugly title.  It features 3 different playmodes: overhead, side scrolling, and “big” mode, too bad they all play awful

The Kung Fu – It’s the first endless runner!  A pretty primitive auto-walking punch and kicking brawler.  More of time capsule, rather than something that holds up today.

The Legend of Valkyrie – a neat like overhead action-adventure title with an adorable Valkyrie.  Not sure what the characters are saying in the shops but seems mostly straightforward and playable.  The animations are cute and even the jumping is handled well.  Surprised this didn’t take off and become a franchise.

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Legend of Valkyrie is as you said.  The shops are basically it, or wishes where you pick a power up of one choice or another.  It has a translation patch for other means of play, and a guide that spells it out.  I have the HuCard for this one because it's just a lot of fun.  It is a franchise though, just not one that saw the US.  I had the prequel, it was a famicom release.  Then that one on the PCE it's also an arcade game, fairly good representation of it on the home front but not entirely.  There have been other minor outings and random popups, it's like the female namco mascot of sorts.

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Ninja Spirit – Irem does it again with a really cool ninja action title.  Haven’t two clones tossing out ninja stars and hooks makes you feel like a total BA.
 

Parasol Stars – How did we get from dinosaurs shooting bubbles to guys shooting rainbow out of their crotch to using umbrellas like a kung fu Mary Poppins?  What if it the next Mario game, you didn’t jump on enemies heads but instead tossed vegetables at them?

Power Golf – Boring even by golf standards

Psychosis – Kind of trippy shmup, kind of ugly and run of the mill too.

R-Type – A classic shmup with good powerups, tunes, and enemy designs.  Sure you can play it elsewhere, but this is still a pretty good port.  Check it out!

 

 

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