drowning in medals
Extremely initial impressions of the Japanese Sega Master System
I only have six compatible games, and of those there's (only) two I'm interested in trying out at the moment (H.E.R.O. I've seen emulated; it's improved over other versions but this is a story for later). One of those games is Aleste, also known as Power Strike, which is basically Zanac on the SMS (without the changing difficulty level, I believe), and essentially the same game as on the MSX except with a different stage order (and maybe different levels of slowdown). As a result, many of the JPN SMS's apparent improvements can be immediately observed.
I'd been thinking about playing Zoom 909 first, but I remembered that Aleste had improved sound. Hooray! The sound is pretty good - reminds me of MIDI actually.
Aleste is actually somewhat annoying to play because you need to hold down both buttons at once. I didn't unwrap the SMS sticks (the little screw-in nubs are still in a little bag tucked into a small slot in the box's styro) and instead opted for a 3-button Genesis pad. It works perfectly without any shenanigans, and if I wanted super-precise control I could likely plug in a MSX or X68000 arcade style controller with no problems. Hooray for unofficial standards!
For people with an original SMS, you remember that there's two buttons on the faceplate: RESET and PAUSE. There's no reset here; instead, there's something I always like to see: RAPID! Aleste already has built-in autofire, giving you a decent level of firepower against enemies. Soft toggle, not a two-position switch. Before I turned on the system I gave these buttons a firm push and they feel flimsy and soft enough that I was both unsure if they were two-position or if I would break them...true story. Autofire definitely helps this game, and interestingly enough it only affects the left button (the hybrid Start/A button); you can hold down button B as normal.
And I guess that leads me to why Aleste is silly; holding down button B while using weapon #2 makes you virtually invincible, able to plow into enemy formations and most bullets from the front and most of the sides. On top of that, past stage 1 the whole game seems to be constantly playing at half speed due to all the bullets and other crap onscreen. Ah well, it's still a decent enough game, although it puts me to sleep somewhat. Will have to reach the ~5M endgame highscore before I can say that with absolute conviction, however (I've only gotten 701,200, although in my first sitting with the game)!
Note on the video: There are two video options provided by Sega in the box: RF, with a somewhat bulky switch and extra wire with frayed-looking copper ends ready to be tied into something else, and an RCA-style mono cable. The mono cable only has something like 8 pins on the back, arranged in a circle, kind of like a MIDI cable. This is a common enough design for old computers. On the back of the SMS there are spots for plugging in many more pins, however, so I'm asking around to see if there aren't better options for sound and video.
Strawberry (Level 2)
The soft-autofire should work for either button. You hold down the button(s) you want to turn rapid-fire on, press the rapid button on the system, and it should have rapid-fire on for each button until you do the same procedure to turn them off individually.
The DIN output on the SMS is mono-only, unfortunately, but at least it outputs RGB video, if you have the proper display device.
drowning in medals
Cool, thanks for those hints. I realized the autofire was just Aleste's built-in. I don't actually think autofire will make a difference in Aleste, but it'll be worth checking out for powered-up levels.
Cool information on the monitor; will have to check that out. Is it anything an XRGB2 can make use of? I'll just use a RCA splitter on the sound (I've been needing to find mine for the MSX2+ anyway).
drowning in medals
I didn't realize, since the front connectors on the TV are flaky, and so is the headphone jack, that when you turn the system on without media in it plays a nice version of the Space Harrier tune. Done off the FM Sound chip too.
I don't think it was incredibly cheap, but if I picked it up it can't have been too bad.
Originally Posted by fahlim003
Adventure Island and Girl's Garden are two of the games that go for more on the system. Ninja Princess probably as well. Three games I wouldn't mind having, those!
ZOOM 909 was terribly boring and had the same perspective issues I get with the NES Contra's tunnel sections: Shots not going where you think they will, things not approaching as you expect, etc.
Then there's the top-down stage which is kind of like Spacewar! with A for accelerating and B for firing, or something like that. Died because it's very hard to control for some reason. You also start off drifting in a direction.