The missing link between the brawler and the modern character action game, Kaze Kiri is nearly ruined by its extremely repetitive gameplay loop.
Every level plays out the same way, with each area giving you a set number of enemies to beat before pushing you onto a boss. There is no platforming, each level is just a long hallway. It's good then that the core control is super solid, with a surprisingly deep combat system. It appears clunky at first but once you get the hang of it you'll be surprised at what you can pull off. The bosses are also really fun, the combat system excels in one on one encounters. The sprite work (especially in cutscenes) is top-notch and is reminiscent of Naxat Soft's other PC Engine games like Fausetté Amour.
It honestly feels like a proof of concept, the small team that worked on this clearly did their best with the time they had and I think with more varied levels this probably could have been one of the best games on the platform. As it is now though, its worth a go just to try out the combat systems.
I'm not the biggest shmup person but I had fun with this while it lasted. It also kinda just ends with little fanfare, I was expecting something a little more, especially since the final boss was probably the easiest. I kinda wish I had more to say, but it's just kinda generic with nothing really going for it - oh well.
For better or worse, this is the full Streets of Rage experience, with all the stages present just with the visual downgrade you'd expect from an 8-bit conversion. This game should've been a slam dunk but something went seriously wrong in the conversion process - this is a really janky game. Seriously, there are some seriously scuffed hitboxes here that you can exploit but be prepared to take just as many cheap hits as you do to enemies, if you time things right they should just walk straight into your punches. Stages take forever too, It was like the enemies just kept coming over and over (only 2 on the screen at a time) and it took forever to keep moving. It really is just a tedious, boring downgrade of the original.
Had this one as a kid but never got too far into it. It's not pushing any technical boundaries but it's just a really fun game, with a lot of personality. A little sadistic sometimes maybe, but it hits that sweet spot that makes you want to try again and again.
What at first appears to be a pretty fun platform shooter in the same vein as Mega Man, Psychic World's MSX origins become increasingly apparent, with its level design and movement being its greatest weakness.
Control is quite finicky with movement physics being pretty slippery, made apparent by our heroine deciding to go into a full sprint after a few seconds of movement. Unfortunately, there really isn't anything to distinguish when this speed-up will occur, so it will get you hurt more than a couple of times. There also aren't any invincibility frames so with some bad luck you can lose half your life in a few seconds by sprinting right into a hazard when you least expect it. An invincibility power-up is there and should be used regularly to compensate, but I'd think the game should just be designed more fairly rather than forcing players into using a power-up for balance. Luckily, bosses are pretty simple, for at least half of them you can just stand right next to them and be completely safe. Level themes are also pretty generic but it's passable I suppose.
I did like how the powers you get from said bosses are incorporated into the levels; freezing waterfalls to make ice platforms seems basic enough, but it's something I didn't expect. The final boss(?) is also surprisingly cinematic for the platform and was a decent end to a pretty mediocre MSX conversion. it would definitely be a better fit on the Game Gear, but for a console release, it's just OK really.
Better than the first in some ways, and also worse. I'm glad it's been included on the Cowabunga Collection for preservations sake, but this feels like KONAMI was just trying to get as many TMNT games out as they could while the brand was still relevant. An easy skip unless you're a completionist.
This review contains spoilers
(Ramble Ramble, these thoughts are still fresh)
A great opening hook and ending can't make up for the bloat that makes up the majority.
I have no real issues with the gameplay. It does feel more approachable from the outset, but its still Xeno. It basically feels like a mix of all the systems so far which is nice. It is strange how the game provides incentives to fight enemies above your level but then punishes you for being over-leveled by reducing your CP gains to basically zero. There were long stretches where I didn't get any class levels because I was just too overpowered. You need these levels to unlock class quests too, I don't get why it's like this.
My biggest gripes are with the pacing and story presentation. Heroes and Villians are introduced and discarded at such a rapid rate that they leave little lasting impact, and placing substantial character moments behind side-quests is such a baffling decision especially since not much happens in the main story until the last third. Several times I noticed the story would set up a plot-thread only for it for it to be completely removed from the main plot to move on the next one. They pressure you to do side-content so much I wonder why they made most of them optional in the first place. These quests usually involve Moebius in some way or another who suffer from the same issues with content bloat. Threatening at first, they are so overused that they become the least threatening set of villains in the series - did they really need to add one for each letter of the alphabet? There is one who sets up an interesting premise but he's also completely optional, truly wasted story potential.
In general, the game really could have benefited from a tighter focus, stripping back the number of Heroes in particular to give them greater focus in the story. It really is the strangest case of a game doing too much and too little I think I've ever played.
I'm not sure if this is as good as Sunset Riders but it's just as high-energy. It's a fast-paced run-n'-gun platformer switching set pieces at an exhilarating rate complimented by a soundtrack capturing that 90s club trance at its peak. The female Ninja also doesn't wear pants, maybe it's more aerodynamic that way?
Kane & Lynch: Escape 2 Africa's recent reappraisals might be giving it a bit too much credit, but there's an undeniable charm about a game that is so committed to a particular aesthetic or theme, especially one as dour as this. It's about 2-3 hours of misery-porn that won't appeal to everyone, but it has a certain crowd.
Just kind of uninteresting, a step above those handheld LCD games in complexity but nothing special. It's about 30 minutes long at most and is very easy.
To be fair, for 1990 this is one of the better licensed Game Boy games, the music composed by Michiru Yamane of Castlevania fame sounds quite good for the hardware, and the sprites look nice. Lets be honest though, these days you'll play it, move on and forget it existed. One for the completionists and those nostalgia driven, it's merely ok.