Thursday, November 8, 2007

Episode 4 Delayed, Now Available

Chrontendo Episode 4 is now available for download, albeit at a much later date than originally intended. A month ago, I stated Episode 4 was "well under way." Why the delay? After recording the voiceovers, I found I was becoming increasing dissatisfied with the sound quality. After some mental debate I finally decided to obtain a better microphone. Said microphone arrived several days ago and all the voiceovers were re-recorded. I have certainly not yet mastered to art of microphone placement but am pleased with the results so far. Hopefully, this will give Chrontendo a patina of professionalism that was completely lacking in the first three episodes.

Now... about the new episode:

Our Most Valuable Game award this episode will go to Tower of Druaga.



















Not well known in the US, TOD was a considerable success in Japan. While most players, myself included, would not consider it a good game, it is one of the first examples (and certainly the first on the Famicom) of a modern style console game. With its finite storyline, end-of-game boss and collectible objects and powerups, TOD points the way towards such games as Super Mario Bros. By implementing a fantasy setting, very, very light RPG elements, and a simple plot into a top-down maze game, Namco established a new type of game with TOD. The most obvious example of TOD's influence would be Legend of Zelda, released several months after this Famicom port. Surprisingly, Tower of Druaga was originally an arcade game from 1984.

Honorable mentions:

Elevator Action. A well done, accurate port of the arcade classic.
Star Force. Decent, if not spectacular vertical shooter.
Road Fighter. Underacheiving, but reasonably enjoyable top-down driving game.
Hyper Olympic. One half of the game released in US as Track and Field.
Astro Robo Sasa. Unique but difficult game featuring a little guy and his great big gun.

And the "avoid at all costs" category:

Super Arabian. Ugly, unplayable platformer.



















Field Combat
. Taito commits the video game equivalent of a war crime. Yes, that thing in the character's hand is supposed to be a gun, not an oil can.
Geimos
. A dull, poorly designed psuedo-3D shooter

Also featured this episode are the Robotic Operating Buddy games, Stack-Up and Gyromite, Door Door, Field Combat, Zippy Race, Honshogi and Warp Man.

Unfortunately, a minor error was included in this episode: the music used in Hyper Olympic was identified as John Williams' Olympic theme. In fact, it is from Vangelis' score for "Chariots of Fire." I suddenly realized this after uploading the video.

Chrontendo Episode 4 may be downloaded here.

Episode 5 is around 60% finished and promises to be the most eventful yet!

4 comments:

Jonathon said...

I think you may want to double check that the files of this episode available at archive.org aren't corrupted. For some reason, the embedded flash and all three downloadable versions cut-off abruptly at about 38 minutes during Frontline. The mp4 streams simply won't connect and play for me, but that might be my problem.

Doctor Sparkle said...

Thanks for the heads up. The file has been reuploaded and should work now. I assume Frontline was so awful it broke the file. It is one seriously shitty game.

Chris Sobieniak said...

HYPER OLYMPIC:
Heh, I remember playing Track & Field later on, though it's nice to know the NES cart contained all the events that way (not that it devalues the separate Famicom carts, but it's nice to see an upgrade here).

STAR FORCE:
While it is true Tecmo wouldn't release the game in Japan first, they appear to have done so for the US NES release later on (when many earlier Famicom carts were playing catch-up here it seems).

ELEVATOR ACTION:
One of those I would play over and over and over!

FIELD COMBAT:
Rather nifty bit of box art of the guys representing your squad in the game! Reminded of City Connection also featuring a chick driving the car (which somehow gets replaced with a dude for the NES version).

DOOR DOOR:
Funny the first game for Enix has to be the cutest! Many of these unrelesed Famicom carts could easily be put on the Virtual Console in the US if Nintendo of America or the original game developers/copyrighters would bother to do something about it so we could share in these unusual oddities.

SUPER ARABIAN:
Another cool game that should've got released for the NES. It's true many games originally developed for arcades or computers often get licensed to other companies who reprogram them for the NES as with other consoles along the way. Hudson Soft did a number of these themselves.

STACK-UP:
Shame I never had R.O.B. or the NES when it was initially released, but I remember feel like I wet my pants at the sight of playing a video game with a robot bud! Sad that didn't last too long once I got an NES. I still hate the design/look of the NES if only for NOA's approach to make it more like a VCR the way it could be placed on your entertainment shelf.

THE TOWER OF DURAGA:
A friend of mine over in Japan sent me this cartridge sometime ago (not to be confused with a recent anime series produced by Gonzo, although that show is a continuation of this). Too bad this didn't get a US release though (though not late for a Virtual Console release if they can make it happen).

GYROMITE:
Again, another game for R.O.B., yet a shame they couldn't find anything else for 'em afterwards.

Adamant said...

Some input on the shogi game:

"HONSHOGI: NAITO KYUDAN SHOGI HIDEN" translates to "Authentic Shogi: 9-dan Ranked Naito's Secrets of Shogi", and refers to Kunio Naito, one of the world's best shogi players (9-dan is the highest rank you can attain as a shogi player, think of it as somewhat equivalent to "grandmaster" in chess), whom Seta produced the game in cooperation with.

As far as quality goes, it's competent enough, but it has only one difficulty setting, no 2-player mode, and no additional settings, modes, or anything, making it super bare bones in comparison to what would come later, and pretty outdated once more complete packages would come along.