The 8-bit GAME COMPARISON Thread

Discuss and discover all the great games of yesteryear!

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ivarf
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Post by ivarf » Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:19 pm

CraigGrannell wrote:
SirClive wrote:Comparisons done by a biased commodore fan though.
Who's cleverly used BMP as the format for the images, meaning they won't load in most browsers and take, ooh, about ten times as long to download as they should. *marks as 'never visit again' site*
As an Amstrad.user I didn't notice that but I do use Linux with Firefox on a 10/10 Mbit line

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Emperor Fossil
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Post by Emperor Fossil » Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:00 am

Comparison time!

Alien Syndrome

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This game was one of my favourites in the arcades. Recently I decided to try its various 8-bit incarnations in the hope of finding that one of the console versions would be worth playing via emulation on GBA. Unfortunately, disappointment lay in store...


NES

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It's all too much for me. I think I'll just have a little lie-down instead.

Well now, this is an odd beast, and not just because it's a SEGA game on a Nintendo console. It's recognisable as Alien Syndrome, which is something at least, but that's about where the good news ends. Slow scrolling -- particularly the diagonal scrolling, which moves as if the player is wading through mud -- combined with somewhat oversized versions of the original's maps mean that getting around each level is a long trek. But that's not this game's biggest problem. The real deal breaker is the player's bullets -- or rather, bullet. You see, each player can only have one bullet on the screen at once, so if you've just let off a shot and then fire again, the game simply removes your first bullet in order to draw the next, which means that if you start firing madly in the heat of the moment, your firing range is reduced to less than spitting distance. This is a particular problem during the boss battles, where you'll usually be striving to keep some distance between yourself and the hulking monstrosity you're trying to kill. It becomes a case of: shoot, wait, shoot, wait, shoot shoot, whoops, wait. The fact that some of the bosses have been made even more challenging than their already difficult arcade counterparts doesn't help matters. Graphically, it gets the job done, though it tends to feature rather garishly coloured aliens on blandly coloured backdrops, and it suffers from plenty of sprite flicker, particularly in 2 player mode. The sound is quite good, with a great recreation of the tense, pulsing background music featured in the original. Overall, however, the game is a disappointment. I really wanted it to be good, but every time I try to force myself to enjoy it, something inside me withers and dies a little.

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Just as well they put those danger stripes around that gaping hole in the floor of the ship.



Master System

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Attacked by rejects from a children's TV show.

Dear Sega,

What the hell? You couldn't even do a faithful conversion of your own game for your own wonder 8-bit machine? OK, I understand the Master System was pretty new at the time, but are you telling me your programming boffins weren't sure how to make the screen scroll smoothly and so had to resort to making it quick-scroll from one area to the next when the player reaches the edge of the screen, resulting in a game that feels more like a flick-screener than a scroller? You didn't even manage to include a simultaneous 2 player mode -- only alternating play. What's more, you fiddled with the maps (making them needlessly convoluted), you switched the order of some levels, and you made bizarre changes to the enemies. On top of all that, the graphics are bland, the gameplay is plodding, the way the aliens 'teleport' into each screen is annoying, and to add insult to injury you take away the player's weapon when he loses a life. In short, this really isn't Alien Syndrome at all. If you really wanted to make this game, you should have called it something like 'Extra Terrestrial Disease' and kept the Alien Syndrome name for an actual conversion instead of wasting it on this uninspiring effort.

Sincerely,

E. F.

PS. And what's with the sound? Yes, the background music starts off sounding similar to the arcade, but when the exit opens it changes to some godawful elevator muzak. I think that really sums up your attitude to this conversion: Take something from the original and find a way to make it shitty.

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Asophy expresses his anguish over being trapped in this poor conversion



Game Gear

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So... you must be my new roommate.

Dear Sega,

Five years later you had the chance to redeem yourselves for your dodgy master system version, but instead you dished up this drastically different 'sequel in all but name'. OK, given that this is a sequel, perhaps I shouldn't be comparing this with the others, but perhaps you should have called it 'Alien Syndrome 2' or something, because I approached it expecting it would be 'Alien Syndrome' full-stop. Once I got past this fact, I could see that this isn't a terrible game, even if it falls far short of the standard set by the original. The graphics are decent, though the backgrounds can be repetitive, and the ability to upgrade weapons by collecting them twice is interesting. (Mind you, I only tried this with the fireball, as the laser is gimped in the same 'one bullet' way as all the weapons in the NES version.) Unfortunately the gameplay lacks the fast pace of the original, and is prone to slowdown when bullets are flying. The music is good, and the SFX are all fine and dandy, but that's really just a smear of icing on a generally disappointing cake.

Sincerely,

E. F.

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I think I can hear Sigmund Freud's ghost giggling in delight.



Amstrad

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Facing west, but firing south. Kerrrazy!

Normally I'd try to write a fair appraisal of a game's pros and cons, but I feel I don't have to worry too much in this case, because as far as I can see this game is pretty much nothing but cons. In fact, 'con' is a word that certainly comes to mind as you play this, as the whole thing appears to be nothing more than a shameless attempt to cheat fans of the arcade out of their money. Awful, amateurish graphics, appallingly jerky gameplay... Really, you'd have more fun plugging your joystick into a bucket of mud. I can't comment on the end of level bosses, as I didn't play far enough to see even one. Believe me I tried, but my eyeballs turned in on themselves and glared furiously at my brain until it gave in. The only good point about this game is that the background pulsing music is similar to that featured in the arcade, but that's a bit like saying that the man who beat me up and stole my wallet had a nice voice.

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Busting for a pee, our hero wanders the ship in search of a toilet.



c64

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Last time we invite the locals aboard for tea and scones.

In this case, I had two versions to choose from -- the UK version and the US one. They look much the same, but they share a few key differences, foremost of which is the scrolling. Both scroll smoothly, but in the UK one the scrolling moves at a slower speed than your player. This means that if you don't keep waiting to allow the scrolling to catch up, you'll soon be smack up against the edge of the playfield, giving you no time to react if an alien suddenly appears next to you (or on you!). This 'catch up' style scrolling may sound off-putting, and at first it is, but you soon learn to adapt -- trot along a bit, shoot some aliens, trot along some more, etc. However if this doesn't appeal to you, I'd recommend the US version, in which the scrolling (and the player) move at a cracking rate, making for a fast and frantic experience that feels even faster than the arcade. So which one would I prefer? Really, they're both good. Although they play differently, they both do a good job of capturing the overall feel of the arcade. To put it another way, the UK version recreates the feel of playing the arcade version cautiously, while the US one is like playing the arcade in a balls out, hell for leather, speed-run fashion (though I do kind of wish it were about 10% slower).

But it's not all sunshine and roses. Both versions have sticky walls, meaning that if you run into a wall at an angle, instead of sliding along it, you come to a dead stop. This isn't gamebreaking, but there's no denying that it's annoying when your swift dodge becomes a sudden death simply because you rubbed against a velcro wall in your woolly jumper. Also the game is a multiload, and it commits the cardinal sin of multiload games in that it doesn't wait for you to press fire before starting a level, so you can't nip off for a quick pee while it's loading. Finally, although the background music is pleasant enough, I don't know why they didn't stick to the tense low-key backing music of the original. Yet despite these niggles, the c64 versions are good conversions with suitably aggressive aliens and nice touches like the inclusion of parallax scrolling, and would have satisfied many an Alien Syndrome fan back in the day.

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If only these aliens were made out of marshmallow.


Spectrum

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Captain's log, stardate 2287: Looks like the maggots are back.

Not all bad, but it has a few unfortunate design choices that impact upon the playability. First off, it doesn't scroll as such. Like the Master System version, only when your player strays within a certain proximity to the edge of the screen does the game scroll briefly (and somewhat jerkily) onwards to the next bit. Secondly, when you go to move your player in a different direction, instead of instantly facing that direction, the player rotates around until he (or she) reaches that point. I presume this was done so that you can sort of rotate the player around to fire at angles more easily, but the delay in changing direction this causes can mean the difference between life and death, particularly during the boss battles, where sudden changes in direction are most needed. On top of this, the player tends to move fairly slowly, while the alien projectiles, although infrequent, move at great speed. What's more, the game slows down when there's a lot happening, and I noticed that in 2 player mode you can kill your partner, which is a departure from the original that could be seen to detract from the gameplay, depending on whether you're a sadistic bastard or not. When it comes to sound, we have basic SFX that aren't too intrusive, along with the constant pitter-patter of the player's movement, which is silly and yet kind of cute all the same. Overall, you can't help but feel that this game could have and should have been better, though it's not a disaster by any means, and it does deserve an extra point for being the only version here to include the two little outrider droids you can pick up to provide some rear fire. However, I'm not sure whether to add or subtract a point for changing level one's thick worms into filthy, horrible maggots.

edit: It turns out the Speccy version is also missing a couple of levels. So ... yeah. Bad speccy version, bad!

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Don't just stand there. Reason with him... it... them!


Verdict

The c64 version wins with smooth, fast gameplay that feels generally faithful to the arcade original and doesn't falter even in 2 player mode. If the 'catch-up' scrolling of the UK version annoys you, there's always the frantically paced US version. As for the others... if we're ranking them in terms of how accurately they recreate the arcade original, the Game Gear version can't really be counted, in which case I'd go: Spectrum and NES roughly equal, then the Master System, and finally the Amstrad version not just at the bottom of the ladder but buried six feet below the foot of it.

If we only look at the success of each version as a game in its own right, I guess I'd slip the Game Gear version in just ahead of the speccy and NES, but it really is a bit too slow for my liking, and of course, being the game gear, it's restricted to one player only.

Emulators used: Nestopia 1.09, MEKA 0.72, WinAPE 2.0 Alpha12, Vice 1.21., ZXSpin0.61.
Last edited by Emperor Fossil on Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by paranoid marvin » Mon Aug 27, 2007 4:02 pm

Next Up - Ghosts 'n' Goblins

A great arcade game , but very tough
Playing it in the Retroleague this week (Arcade version) so I thought I would compare the 8 bit conversions

Amstrad

Very odd choice of music style . A kind of remix of the arcade version , but they shouldn't have bothered as it detracts from the game. The graphics artist obviously liks the colour orange , as it's splashed liberally throughout the game. Blue and orange crows anyone? Orange haired zombies? And the bad guys explode in flames - orange flames of course!

Like the other 8 bit versions , the level design does not stay consistent to the arcade (not necessarily a bad thing) , however the fact that Arthur doesn't lose his armour , he simply dies with one hit , makes the game needlessly tougher than it should. For once the Amstrad has a full screen of action , and the scrolling is pretty smooth

Not a bad game , but certainly not the best

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C64

this game almost wins for the music alone - it's frikkin superb! Totally different to the arcade , it's actually better , with a great eerie soundtrack
One of the C64's best. graphics are blocky , but colourful, making this version look the closest to it's arcade parent ,and scrolling is silky smooth as with most C64 games.

It is a little on the easy side (I managed to get to level 3 on my first attempt ), the only thing that makes it tough is the pathetic 'jump' of Arthur in this game ,making platform leaping pretty awkward. It is also quite common to jump when you simply wanted to move left or right - this is one game that desperately needs a second 'jump' button , or allow you to use the spacebar

Overall a good game

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Spectum

Hmmm... a tough one . Graphics are well defined , and resemble the arcade version the closest - minus the colour. To avoid colour clash , Arthur changes colour chameleon-like to match the background
The game is tough - really tough , far more so than the other 2 versions or indeed the arcade version (which is petty darn tough itself) The first boss you meet requires numerous hits to defeat for example . However you do start with 9 lives , adn Arthur has his armour , so its not all bad - in fact if you're up for a challenge , then you should enjoy it (it's not dfficult in an unfair way)
Arthur jumps well in this version , so that's not a problem , and the scrolling is nice and smooth.

One major drawback is the sound - or rather the lack of it. No background music (par for the course with 48k Speccy games) but the effects are probably the worst I've heard in ANY game. It's a good job the game plays well then

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1.C64 (only cos of the sound)
2.Speccy (only cos of the lack of sound)
3.Amstrad
Mr Flibble says...
"Game over , boys!"

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SirClive
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Post by SirClive » Mon Aug 27, 2007 4:59 pm

Thats 2 top notch comparisons. Nice one Marv and Emporer F.
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Post by markopoloman » Mon Aug 27, 2007 5:47 pm

Yeah! Nice one guys.
Loved Ghosts n Goblins on the C64 and you are correct - the music is brilliant!

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Post by Emperor Fossil » Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:54 pm

Oooh yeah, GnG. What a great tune! I remember being surprised when I tried the arcade version some years later, only to find it had different music.

And how strange that they would leave out the "one hit=lose armour" feature in the Amstrad version. What the hell were they smoking?

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Post by batman877 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:38 am

Re: Ghosts n Goblins comparison

Agree with you that the C64 version is the most enjoyable, but must disagree that the Speccy version beats the Amstrad.

The Speccy versions is ugly, with poor sound and a stupid difficulty level. The Amstrad version is better looking, with good sound and whilst still difficult, is more fair.

Cheers.

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Ghosts n Goblins

Post by sscott » Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:48 pm

Are any of the Ghosts n Goblins games enjoyable, have never gotten off level 1, 2 measley hit and your dead, too hard!

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Re: Ghosts n Goblins

Post by paranoid marvin » Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:53 pm

sscott wrote:Are any of the Ghosts n Goblins games enjoyable, have never gotten off level 1, 2 measley hit and your dead, too hard!
like any game , practice makes perfect
The C64 version is immeadiately plaayble , thanks to it's easier gameplay
I feel the Speccy version to be better in the long run (apart from the disappointing sound)
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Ghosts n Goblins

Post by sscott » Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:27 pm

Just went to the the speed demos website to see it done properly, you've got to wonder about the guys playing these games to that standard!!

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Re: Ghosts n Goblins

Post by Emperor Fossil » Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:54 pm

sscott wrote:Are any of the Ghosts n Goblins games enjoyable, have never gotten off level 1, 2 measley hit and your dead, too hard!
I always thought the c64 version tended towards the easy side. The NES version, on the other hand, was brutal.

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Post by GarryG » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:05 am

I've only ever played the spectrum and Arcade/MAME versions, but agree they were to hard to be enjoyable.

I have only ever got to the third level once, I think. And mostly get killed towards the middle-to-end of level 1!

For a platform game the difficultie and learning curve is to much for the average pick-up-and-play gamer!

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Post by woody.cool » Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:04 pm

Another woody.cool comparison.

This time I'm digging into my budget collection and have picked a Mastertronic 199 title.

FORMULA 1 SIMULATOR
Not the best game ever, but one I used to play often.

Commodore 16 / Commodore +4
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Fortunately I owned (and still own) this version as a child. I was rather impressed by the way Mastertronic managed to fit this into 16K.

The graphics are probably the best of all the versions (except the C64 - they are on a par with the C64 version). The sound, however, is slightly disappointing but not to bad.

The game moves at a rapid pace and is highly playable if a bit bland - but that's common to all the versions compared.

I love this version because it brings back so many child hood memories, it makes me feel all 'warm and fuzzy' inside when I see it and/or play it :D

On top of all this - it's a bloody quick loading game on a C16 as most of the Mastertronic games used the 'Novaload' system.

Commodore 64 / 128
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Much the same as the C16 version except the addition on music - the music is alright too, but of the quality of full priced games and it definitely doesn't push the C64's SID chip to it's full potential. The backgrounds are slightly more detailed.

The game still moves quickly with identical visuals to the C16/+4 version however the sound is much better.

I was slightly disappointed to see that it was just like the C16 version really.

ZX Spectrum
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This version I liked a lot at first, although it was a b!@#h to get working on my +2 :x

With this version (& the CPC version) they have now introduced the ability to change tracks & you also have a qualifying round. This makes the game more interesting than just racing around a track before the clock runs out but unfortunately the controls are kind of sluggish. The graphics are of average quality but they do have some charm about them, the car is more detailed than the Commodore versions but it doesn't handle too well.

This is a missed opportunity really!

Amstrad CPC
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OH MY F@#$ING GOD!

This is a complete pile of crap! They creators have ported the Speccy version so the visuals are almost identical, but the CPC version handles WORST than the Speccy version !!!

I think Mastertronic should of been locked up for ever releasing this game on the CPC (& possibly the Speccy)

Also, you can hardly see the track on this version!

Conclusion
Everyone here knows I'm an Amstrad CPC fan and owner, however I'm honest enough to admit that the CPC version was a complete load of bollox! The Speccy version wasn't that much better.

However, there's a semi-decent game to be had here for Commodore owners and to top it off, Commodore 16 / +4 owners didn't get a bum deal with this one - the C16/+4 version is remarkably good (considering the comparison)

The Low Down!
Here's my opinion on this one:

1. Commodore 16 / +4 - This game suites the C16 perfectly. Finally a game existing on all 8-bit machines that isn't just an after-thought on the C16/+4

2. Commodore 64 / 128 - a very good conversion, but too similar to the C16/+4 version. This could of been so much better!

Edited after realizing I have completely contradicted myself - thanks SirC :wink:
3. Sinclair ZX Spectrum - Good initial attempt, liked it at first, especially seeing that the actual gameplay had altered with the addition of practice and qualify modes. However it's not too good really.

4. Amstrad CPC - what can I say!?! What a complete load of old crap. Another direct (but made worst) Speccy port. You win with this one SirC :lol:
Last edited by woody.cool on Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SirClive
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Post by SirClive » Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:10 pm

How can you possibly say that the Speccy and CPC are joint, when you have just slagged off the CPC and said that you liked the Speccy a lot! You just can't bare to put the Speccy first can you Woody :wink:

I competely agree with what you say about the C16 version. I too had it as a kid and loved it. I would definately say that the C16 is the best version for mking such a fun and playable game from such limited memory.
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Post by woody.cool » Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:19 pm

SirClive wrote:How can you possibly say that the Speccy and CPC are joint, when you have just slagged off the CPC and said that you liked the Speccy a lot! You just can't bare to put the Speccy first can you Woody :wink:
Edited! I re-read what I have written and noticed that I contradicted myself :shock:
SirClive wrote:I competely agree with what you say about the C16 version. I too had it as a kid and loved it. I would definately say that the C16 is the best version for mking such a fun and playable game from such limited memory.
Even though I was the 'odd one out' who had a C16 - I never had a bad game for my C16. Maybe I was just good at picking the best of a limited bunch! There was some fun to be had with this budget 199 release on the C16 and it showed that the C16 could be a good game machine.

If you really want to see a good C16 game, play the C16 version of Bomb Jack :wink:

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