A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Retrocomputing Why Bother?: Part 6 and a Half: Dosbox as Shown by Thexder 2

Another retrogame update?  Yes.

This time showing Thexder's less abusive little brother, Firehawk: Thexder the Second Conflict

Its a more modern game than Thexder 1 so has things like save games and continues.

Even support for more audio and graphics!

(Protip: Click the pictures for larger.  You REALLY need to do this to see the EGA graphics mode at its' worst.  To see what I saw playing it.)

Let's see if EGA/VGA mode got any nicer:

 Its certainly a PRETTIER game than Thexder but it still has those annoying dithering lines and low color malarkey of its parent.

 Back to Tandy then.  No dithering garbage and whatnot, but.. it still doesn't look that hot, in fact its a wash which version looks nicer.  Lower resolution but no dithering liney-winey gobbledy goo.

And MCGA, IBM's PS/2 PC line of 256 color proto-VGA like graphics.  With.. virtually NO difference.  But its nice that non Tandy 1000 owners can still enjoy some Thexder 2.

But thanks to the miracles of emulation and fan translations, there is another way.  See.. the MSX computers ALSO had Thexder 1 and 2.  As I have mentioned, the original MSX model was effectively a Colecovision and most MSX emulators cover that machine too.

In fact, let's take a look at MSX Thexder.  Given how it has save states maybe I can use it to complete this classic and abusive game:

Well.. its.. something.  The graphics & sound are sort of better AND worse than the Tandy 1K version with a couple tweaks to levels that remove bits.  But the Energy gained and lost seems a bit more lenient to make up for it.

There is also the Apple IIGS with its amazing sound.  And that version's manual gives it a pair of Continue commands, nothing the other versions seem to have too!  (H for highest level completed, L for last level)

Well.. the music and sound are really good but... back to dither-o-rama.  And the Apple IIGS is a capable machine.  Sadly the emulator is a pain in the backside and the keyboard controls are mapped to the numeric keypad.  ARGH.  JoytoKey will get a workout to do this one justice!  Though the level command thing works like a charm.  

Ok.. Let me dirty myself by trying the Famicom.  Maybe Jeremy Parish will like me if I play a game on his beloved Nintendo, a company he writes about in a manner as if he would go A2M for them if they asked him to.  (Don't look it up.  You do NOT want to know.)

Oh sweet Mary Mother of God.. WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO YOU, Darlin?





Level layouts are changed, enemies changed, damage is a tiny number in the corner, shields just form a little bar on the opposite, no score listed...  they just destroyed this game.  No wonder Square of the mid 80s was about to go under if not for Final Fantasy.  THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DESTROY SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL.  Just like the Bronies Square, just like the Bronies.

Like so many amazing 8 bit era computer games, when translated to the NES they become nearly unrecognizable, mangled piles of suck.

Computer to Nintendo Entertainment System(Famicom in Japan) conversions are like using Meth.  It destroys and leaves an ugly, ruined, soulless husk that is willing to do anything just to ease the pain.

Weep for so many beloved 80s classics that Nintendo's world conquering (provided you weren't in Europe or Brazil anyhow..) pile of silicon damaged.

I know I am not gonna like it, but let's see what the MSX version of the sequel looks like, just for laughs:

Wow.  Sounds good, looks good.  With the help of a translation patch and FRS' Enhanced HDD Version which comes with a number of game fixes and will autopatch the game for you Thexder 2 really looks great for its' age and has the cinemas Sierra chopped out of their port.

Sometimes you gotta buy a version of a game, then play a different one to get the best and most fun edition.  Its a bleeding shame we have to go through hoops though.

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